Bristol Life – Issue 352

Page 1



Nice one, Upfest. This summertime festival is always a joy, bringing the best in street-art talent to the walls of BS3, but the choice of festival artist this year strikes us as being especially timely and inspired – turn to page 24 to hear Mister Samo’s life-a rming messages of love and connection.

There’s love in the novels of Moses McKenzie too, but as they say, ‘it’s complicated’, being tangled up with the clashing demands of family, loyalty, faith and rebellion. Moses is a prodigious talent; set in the Stapleton Road ends of his youth, his first novel won numerous awards, including the prestigious Hawthornden Prize. His second novel, Fast by the Horns, set during the 1980 St Paul’s riot, has just been published. We’re not remotely cool enough to interview him, but we have a go anyway on page 20.

We’re nothing if not eclectic, though, and in the other pages of this early summer issue you’ll find everything from a look around ‘department store with a difference’ Sparks Bristol to a posh meal out in the Cotswolds and tips on creating a luxury bathroom (oh yes, we’re very far from ends now).

I once asked Michael Caine – don’t roll your eyes, everyone who knows me – to tell me the secret of his long and happy marriage to Shakira; his answer was ‘separate bathrooms’. On page 68, Kirsty takes a look at how the ‘more bathrooms than bedrooms’ trend now verges on the crazy.

Colin’s been reimagining potholes as lunar landscapes, as you do, or at least, he does; we have things to cook and things to buy, while the subject of the Bristol Lives page is, for once, not two-legged but a boat. Happy 40th anniversary, Thekla!

No pics of Bristol’s Northern Lights sightings, though. We did briefly contemplate running a page, but to be honest, when you’ve seen one magenta-streaked sky you’ve seen them all.

Back at you in mid-June, by which time it may even have warmed up a bit.

Bristol Life editor


EDITOR’S LETTER I BRISTOL LIFE I 3 Give it up for Upfest’s 2024 festival artist, Mister Samo!
Think pink 24

Issue 352 / Early summer 2024


Mister Samo, by and for Upfest Presents


11 ART PAGE It must be nice, it must be nice, to have Hamilton on your side

12 WHAT’S ON It’s still buzzing, though the arty indoorsy stuff is slowly yielding to outdoorsy festival stuff

20 AUTHOR, AUTHOR Straight outta Stapes

24 ART It’s the genial Mister Samo!

30 BRISTOL HEROES Planet Pothole

34 BOOKS Just say ‘yes’


38 RESTAURANT Fine dining, no tie required

43 FOOD AND DRINK NEWS Poco’s staying open, Squeezed’s selling up; it’s all go

44 RECIPES Fire up the barbie

47 CAFÉ SOCIETY Hello, Ruby Huesday


50 ED’S CHOICE That’s dope

54 WINDOW SHOPPING Broadmead’s bright idea


60 BATHROOMS 1 All the trends and all the tips

68 BATHROOMS 2 ... followed by a case history


71 NETWORK Fresh new property thinking, networking over lunch and introducing EntreConf Go

84 SHOWCASE Two words Pembroke Road


LIVES Except this time it’s a boat

We’re calling this the ‘Ta-daaaa!’ collection

Editor Deri Robins Senior art editor Andrew Richmond Cover design Trevor Gilham Contributors Colin Moody, Stan Cullimore, Storymith Books, Kirsty Lake Commercial manager Neil Snow Business development manager Craig Wallberg Business development manager Sophie Speakman Business development manager Tony Robinson Production/ distribution manager Kirstie Howe Chief executive Jane Ingham Chief executive Greg Ingham 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 and Bristol. 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:

6 24 54 4 I BRISTOL LIFE I


It’s not every day Bath takes on Bristol in the street-art stakes, so give it up for Mr oodle, aka Sam Cox, who has just pitched up in the hallowed halls of the Holburne. Not content with merely exhibiting his work in a conventional manner, he’s been busily covering the walls, floors, ceiling and stairs of the museum with his signature black-on-white ink doodles.

Sam, who studied illustration at UWE (ah, so that’s where he gets it from ) is a bit of an artistic sensation. His work has fetched millions at auction, he’s collaborated with major brands and has an Instagram following of nearly three million. His graphic style conjures up a oodleland peopled with quirky creatures and anthropomorphic forms, using what he describes as gra ti spaghetti’. Imagine Keith Haring let loose in the Where’s Wally? universe, and you’d be close.

Sam says his ambition is global doodle domination.

“I understand that the mission to doodle the world is a big one, and I’m not sure anyone else wants to live in a world of doodles,” he says. “But I think that by doing things like this at the Holburne it may change a few minds a little bit.”

Catch his work at The Holburne until 1 September.

For more


We never expected it to be more than a one-off show, but now Season Three of The Outlaws is almost upon us, with all five new episodes available on BBC 1 from 1 May. The first episode kicks off with crime boss The ean (Claes Bang) appropriately banged up; in the meantime, Rani (Rhianne Barreto), last seen heading off for a life of crime, needs the help of her former community payback group pals when a dead body turns up. As a murder manhunt closes in, the gang need to prove their innocence before


Has a more beautiful actor ever graced a movie screen than Alain elon That’s a rhetorical question, by the way, and the answer is no’.

Unfamiliar with the dude Book at once to see the new 4k restoration of Jean-Pierre Melville’s masterly 1 7 movie Le Samouraï, and marvel at the cool in which elon delivers his career-defining performance as a contract killer with samurai instincts.

It’s just one of 0 events at Cinema Rediscovered when the UK’s leading celebration of restored film and revivals returns to Bristol between 24-2 July. The

The ean’s case collapses and he comes looking for revenge.

The original cast are all set to return, including series creator Stephen Merchant. Fan-favourite Frank may have returned to the USA, but deep joy, for in the trailer Christopher Walken is shown in a New York café, sharing his criminal know-how with the gang over the phone. And a big welcome back to the great Jess Gunning, too –thankfully on comic terrain again after the trauma of Baby Reindeer For more @stephenmerchant

line-up also includes a brace of early films by Bristol-born director J. Lee Thompson, John Sayles’s Lone Star, five revivals from the new Hollywood’, and The Bill Douglas Trilogy, one of the finest achievement of British cinema in the 1 70s. Bill a bit too bleak for you How about the newly restored Gilda, with Rita Hayworth at her most ravishing, feistiest best

“Every man I knew went to bed with Gilda and woke up with me,” said Rita, a reflection which resonates in a world of impossible social media standards which ignore the fact that beauty is skin-deep.

For more

Monsieur Delon

Beat the evil alogorithms! Follow us on instagram and tag us with your pics: @bristollifemag


Every now and again we devote this page to a particular account we love. Say hi, then to Karol and Krystian, aka the @boysinbristol, who celebrate local green spaces at @bristolparksproject I BRISTOL LIFE I 9 SPOTLIGHT




Never seen Hamilton? OK, you need to sort that out right now.

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s 2015 smash-hit of a show about the titular “bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman” who went on to become an American Founding Father won every award going: Tonys and Oliviers, Grammys, even a Pullitzer, and it deserved every one of them.

On paper, it shouldn’t work – a musical about a little-known 1 th-century treasury o cial sounds about as riveting as a mime show about a Surbiton by-election. Instead, it might be the least dull two-and-three-quarter hours you ever spend in a theatre, if not your life.

The original cast recording on Disney+ sets the bar incredibly high, but seeing it live takes the experience to a whole new level. Performed by a magnificent, mostly black ensemble led by Shaq Taylor (although it’s very much a group effort; Hamilton would be nothing without a great Jefferson or superb Burr), the story unfolds through rap, hip-hop and pop, all delivered with the speed of a bullet. It’s transfixingly energetic and witty; it’s moving too, if briefly. “Let’s get back to politics,” insists the irrepressible Jefferson straight after the show’s most touching scene.

You have until 22 June to catch it at Bristol Hippodrome; do not throw away your shot. I BRISTOL LIFE I 11 PHOTO BY DANNY KAAN


24 May14 June 2024


Until 26 May


Hayward’s touring exhibition’s aim is to show that there’s more to motherhood in art than all those pious Madonna and childs, concentrating instead on the lived experience in all its complexity. k

Until 2 June

IPE 165

Or the International Photography Exhibition 165, to give it its full name; the world’s longest-running photography show, with a diverse range of contemporary global pics to marvel at; RPS,


In Between Time revives its soundand-light installation in Redcliffe Caves, with thousands of tiny flickering lights and the voices of 130 women and girls from Bristol aged 8-80. Add your own light to the constellation of fireflies as you enter, and join the whispers, murmurs and sighs; a magnificent roar for a fairer, safer and more equal world. inbet eentime. o. k

Until 30 June


Chris Killip and Graham Smith’s wonderful 1970/80s photodocumentation of the post-industrial

North East; at Martin Parr Foundation; martinparr o


Fan of 20th- and 21st-century European art? Hop over to IAP in Monmouth, for work nor just from Chris Gollon but avid Hockney, Maggi Hambling, Graham Sutherland, Terry Frost, Barbara Rae and more. iapfineart. om

25 May-11 August


A thought-provoking exhibition featuring spoken word, text, sculpture, and painting which delves into the realms of neurological research and the concept of the unfinished brain’; a poignant aspect of alda’s work is influenced by experiences of ‘Generation Windr sh’ children. RWA, r k


Ten portraits of remarkable Caribbean-British individuals by ten leading artists; a powerful reminder of personal resilience, determination and the positive impact of diversity across Britain. At RWA, r k

8-9 June


The artists and makers of Henleaze, Stoke Bishop and Westbury-on-

Trym exhibit at 11 venues many featuring multiple artists; come and marvel at the creativity. bs9arts. o. k


Until 25 May


Paul and Rebecca thought getting away to an isolated house at the foot of a mountain would save their relationship, but as the shadows grow longer, their paranoia deepens and things start going bump in the night. A tense, psychological thriller from BOVTS at Wardrobe; the ardrobetheatre. om


A wedding is set. A blood vow is broken. The wrath of a village is unleashed… Bristol School of Acting explores Lorca’s tale of the forbidden passion which tears through the heart of a local couple’s impending marriage; at TFT, toba o a tor theatres. om

Until 2 June


It’s circus, but with a purpose. Back in the Big Top, with new acts, original music, new apparatus and a more theatrical feel, NoFit State are here to challenge the status quo in fierce signature style, in an energising, uplifting and socially relevant new production. At Wilson Street, in Pauls.

Until 22 June


It’s here! Lin-Manuel Miranda’s award-sweeping tale of US Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, told through hip-hop, rap, R&B and Broadway musicals, is mid-run at Hippodrome and set to ruin all other musical theatre for you forever. More on page 11. atgti kets. om

24-25 May


Three magiciennes explore the witch-hunt mania that swept late 1680s England and sent hundreds of innocent women to the gallows. Expect stupendous stunts and the occasional disappearing rabbit, and all the joy, silliness and spectacle these three can muster, at TFT; toba o a tor theatres. om

27-28 May


Actors Stacy and Adrienne have been cast in Regency-era lesbian melodrama he orbidden r it; a hot mess of clichés and male fantasies. They’re pretty sure it’s a crime against gay people, but they need the work. Alma Tavern; almatavernandtheatre. o. k

28 May


Well, here’s a divisive little something that will get half of you going “hell, yeah ” and the other half looking

Love will save us all over again at Ashton Court

busy: La Price is back on tour with her trademark mix of anecdotes, songs, etc; at St George’s, of all places;

30 May-1 June


A bold, joyful exploration of the relationship between football and the queer community; one of The Guardian’s Top 50 shows at Edinburgh last year. At Wardrobe;

5 June-6 July


New play charting the events that led to one of the most remarkable medical breakthroughs of our time: the creation of IVF. Recognisable physogs Tom Felton and Meg Bellamy, and director Matthew Dunster, add to the allure; at BOV,

5-7 June


This ‘Untold Story of Epic English Poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth on their Previously Unknown Nautical Adventure’ invites you to witness the strained friendship of a pair of Romantics set adrift in the middle of the ocean, as they battle sea-monsters and endure storms and each other. Expect lightning, gunshots, and an albatross which keeps getting closer. Alma Tavern,

6-8 June


A BOVTS Summer Festival double bill: The Nobodies is a story of activism, power dynamics, and the lengths people will go when faced with injustice; Scenes with Girls tackles monogamy, questionable hookups and female friendships. At The Wardrobe;

7-22 June


The big 25th anniversary show, filled with floor-fillers from 1 absolute divas at The Sabai Pavilion;

11-15 June


Simon Woods’ intimate 201 domestic drama about a long and troubled marriage is also a comedy about politics, identity and the failings of the ruling class; funny, tender, brutal, and ultimately devastating. At Alma Tavern Theatre,

13-16 June


Another BOVTS double-bill; Octopus is a comedy examining themes of identity, perception and feminism, set to a pulsating soundtrack of ’90s pop and riot-girl punk; the darkly comic Shook offers a compelling look at the struggles faced by young male offenders trying to find their place in the world. At The Wardrobe;

12-16 June


Witness the human stories of Austerity Britain in this mixed reality installation; pop on the headset, and prepare to enter a striking, holographic gallery which lays bare the consequences when state safety nets fail. Part-exhibition; parttheatre, all history and humanity; at BOV,




All the drama of Succession. The grit of EastEnders. The rumpy-pumpy of Sex Education. Not remotely like The Wire; the world’s longest-running improvised comedy soap continues to bubble away amusingly at The Wardrobe;


Ramble along with Adam as he arrives at Beacon with his first live podcast tour;


0 years of shift work, first in the She eld steelworks and then as a copper on the beat, left Alfie with a face not so much lived-in as inhabited by a settlement of squatters. Now in his 40s, to his surprise, he’s a BBC radio comedy star. When TV fame beckoned could he grasp it or was he past it? Redgrave;


Laura’s here to ask how we can live our best life. Heads up: it doesn’t involve Instagram. At the Hen & Chicken;

25 May

GRIFF RHYS JONES: THE CAT’S PYJAMAS Griff rambles about the developing national permacrisis: age, family, I BRISTOL LIFE I 13
TOP: Miss Polly, presumably, with her dolly: Valda Jackson at RWA MIDDLE: String fellow: Jon Boden at the Beacon BOTTOM Calm down, this glass is ‘sample-size’ not ‘female-size’: Craft Beer Fest

fraud, nostalgia, the TikTok generation, crocodile-smuggling, dogs, hotels and midnight trains may feature; Redgrave,

27 May


As in Steve and Hugh, back on tour for the first time in 10 years. Older but not really much wiser, they are returning to what they do best; sitting in tra c jams wondering if a different route would have been better, and then in the evening, presenting their new live show. What wisdom has the last decade taught them? Have they learned any new jokes Let’s hope so. All will be revealed at Redgrave;

29 May


In their last show, Hair, Shelf joked about being mistaken for a teenage boy. Now, it’s time to grow up. It’s time to stop being teenage boys and start being teenage men; see how that’s working out for them at The Wardrobe

29-31 May


TGB is a magical legend; a relic of the music halls and a theatrical performer of the old school; a member of the Magic Circle (and also the Bristol Society of Magic and the Wessex Magical Association). He’s also quite silly and has been described as Tommy Cooper meets Blofeld. Alma Tavern;


The OG improvmeisters are back showing us how it’s done at Alma Tavern;

2 June



The “almost sexily cerebral” Alex and “major talent” Novelli run through their latest LOLs at Wardrobe;

7 June


“I dunno, it will be fun. Just buy a ticket,” said Luke when asked what should be written in the show description; if he can’t be bothered to write any more then, to be honest, neither can we. Redgrave;

7-8 June


Part one of Arthur’s farewell tour. As in, of the world. Potentially. Certainly Jersey. efinitely at Redgrave;




With daily gigs, encompassing orchestral, folk, world, indie, jazz and less easily classifiable genres; for full shizzle see


Classical, world, folk, talks, more, at St George’s;

24 May


The former lead singer of folk juggernaut Bellowhead, now doing his own thing, and appearing at the Beacon;


The female string quartet bring their empathic performances and shared musical language to St G’s, with both their established repertoire and lesser-known works of women composers.

27 May


Our electric friend is celebrating the 45th anniversary of albums Replicas and The Pleasure Principle, at O2.

30 May


Two artists playing analog synthinspired sets – evocative, spacey and powerfully emotive. At St George’s; I BRISTOL LIFE I 15
TOPTOBOTTOM: Here comes the General; the magnificent Hamilton at Hippodrome; this is what happens if you hang around too long in Broad Meadow on a damp day; circus with purpose: Sabotage in Pauls


The British electronic legends are on their first ever best of’ tour, celebrating 4 years since they formed; an untypically retro gig for Trinity, then;


The latest legends to arrive at Beacon one of the most innovative, influential and best-loved bands in rock music history,

8-9 June TAKE THAT

Now down to a trio comprising Gary, Mark and Howard, but to compensate for the no-Robbie and no-Jason thing they have special guest Olly Murs. Is it enough At Ashton Gate; ashtongatestadium

14 June


Britain’s biggest-selling tenor has conquered the world’s greatest opera stages and arenas and led the cast of Les Misérables. He’s currently touring with new album Open Arms – The Symphonic Songbook, reworking the world’s greatest rock songs into symphonic anthems; hear them at Beacon,




The year-round fest with the something-for-everyone remit. Our top pick this month is the brilliant BAFTA-winning BAIT; filmed in hand-held 1 mm black-andwhite, the 201 movie explores the simmering tensions between locals and posh second-homers in a Cornish coastal village. “They got ’emselves a porthole...” At Averys. bristolfilm estival. om

Until 26 May MAYFEST

The biennial international festival of contemporary theatre and live performance is back, taking over various venues in the city;

Until 31 May


No, don’t scroll past and pretend you haven’t seen this, because the monthlong walkfest has something to suit all ages, interests and fitness levels; yes, even yours. bristol alk est. om

Until 2 June


An 1 -day cultural programme,

5-15 June


The classical music festival returns with the likes of James Gilchrist, mezzo-soprano Helen Charlston, Bristol Symphony Orchestra and early music vocal group The Erebus Ensemble; li ton estival. om.

7-8 June


It’s all hands to the pumps again at Lloyd’s, with a huge variety of the finest beers known to humanity, to wash down the top street food and banging tunes; bristol ra tbeer estival. o. k

7-9 June


Good tunes, good rides, good times. If it has even the most tenuous link to a olkswagen, expect it to be celebrated at Birches Farm, Long Ashton. This year’s theme Carnival Las egas, baby bristolvolks est. o. k

12-16 June


Back at ueen Square with its usual blinding line-up of top names from the circuit; it’s just like ive at the pollo, but in a tent, and literally a laugh a minute. Think of a big name, they’ll be there.

featuring live painting, artist talks, arts activities, panel discussion; see also page 24. p est. o. k


Upfest takes street-art to WSM. Pairs well with chips. p est. o. k

25-26 May


The eclectic music- and-dance fest returns to Ashton Court. Headlining are CamelPhat, The Streets, Rudimental, Sub Focus and a whole host of stellar live B, electronic acts and Js who you cool cats will know. lovesavestheda .org


The annual showcase of groundbreaking music acts in intimate spaces across Bristol.

1-9 June


The UK’s biggest free celebration of the natural world, encouraging us all to take positive action to help local wildlife. Held across Bristol and Bath; the Wild Weekend is at Millennium Square over 1-2 June two days of free activities, stalls, screenings, talks, workshops etc. bnh .org. k estival o nat re



The walking tours return for 2024, with the new Cary Grant walk joining those about pirates, smugglers and many more themes. sho o k

Until 20 June



A citywide season of varied events to proudly celebrate the people involved with the Boycott, its impact, and its legacy.

25 May-25 June


Artists Sylvia Rimat and Charli Clark have created mini-meadows in Broadmead, harking back to a time when the area was a flooded meadow. With audio commentary via smartphone;

1 June


The biggest record fair in the South West is back at Beacon, with around 70 dealers mainly peddling vinyl; you know the drill. n I BRISTOL LIFE I 17 WHAT’S ON
Suits you, sirs: LEFT: Windrush: Portraits of a Pioneering Generation, at RWA RIGHT: Tom Felton’s come-hither eyes beckon you to BOV to see A Child in Science
Got a Spare Room? Host international students with EF Bristol and earn up to £1028* a month! Call us NOW 0117 930 3500 or sign up at *for hosting 2 students in a room

Both street-wise and literary, mixing Jamaican patois with Bristol slang and verses from the Bible and Quran, MOSES McKENZIE’s first novel An Olive Grove in Ends launched him as a major new writing talent. His second book, Fast by the Horns, has just been published

Words by Ursula Cole


Bristol author Moses McKenzie is a prodigious talent. He wrote his first novel, An Olive Grove in Ends when he was just 21; it was named as a Guardian Novel of the Year, he was one of The Observer’s 10 Must-Read ebut Novelists, and in 202 he received the Hawthornden Prize – a prestigious award whose previous recipients read like a Who’s Who of 20th- and 21st-century literature, the judges praising his “thrillingly distinctive new voice”.

Moses is currently working on the T adaptation of An Olive Grove; his second book, Fast by the Horns, has just been published and he’s currently working on a historical novel based in the Caribbean in pre-Columbus days.

Set in a contemporary disenfranchised world of drug dealing and crime, An Olive Grove is a moving tale of earthly and spiritual redemption, love, friendship and family. The Stapleton Road ends in which Moses grew up is peopled with characters of mostly Jamaican and Somali descent; for those unfamiliar with the neighbourhood

“I’ve never perceived the black population’s selfsegregation as a thing”negative

it provides a kind of literary doors open’ experience, taking us inside the family homes, shops and places of worship. Through Moses’s evocative prose you can smell the freshly-baked caanjeros in Hakim and Elia’s shop, feel the warmth of the welcome at Nanny’s house, taste the plaintain chips Sayon shares with Cuba. It would be a crass to make glib comparisons with Top Boy, but while this is may be a Bristol novel the characters seem to share a closer experience and speech patterns with London’s Summerhouse crew than they do with the privileged residents of Clifton.

Moses has since moved away from the city but his second novel, Fast by the Horns shares a similar geographical setting to Olive Grove, delivering another powerful story of broken dreams and divided loyalties This time, however, it’s set in St Pauls during an earlier era – the 1980 riots.

In the run up to the publication of the new book we managed to speak to Moses. In his own words, then...

What are your memories of growing up in Stapes? It was the happiest time; we were outside as much as possible. Now, as I am, at my age and somewhat removed


from Bristol, any other experiences have succumbed to a forlorn nostalgia.

Despite its multi-racial population, Bristol is far from diverse. Why are its communities still so segregated?

I’ve never perceived the black population’s selfsegregation as a negative thing, so aside from the obvious, I haven’t spent much time assessing the whys. I took comfort in it as a yuteman and a large part of me resents its present loss.

The chapter openers blend Bible verse, Quran and Jamaican patios. Do the various cultures of Easton co-exist equally harmoniously or is there tension at street level?

Allahu a’alam [God knows best].

At one point Stapleton Road was described as the most dangerous street in Britain; recently its tributary, St Mark’s Road was voted its best high street. Is this an inbuilt contradiction of the area? There’s a contradiction in those telling our story.

Have you witnessed increased gentrification in the area over the past few years, and is it affecting its character?

Before gentrification comes pacification, we all bore and bear witness.

In An Olive Grove in Ends, the central characters Sayon, Shona and Elia are all A-students – was that your own school experience, and were your writing talents spotted and nurtured?

I had a great time in primary. I went St Barnabas in Poles, though it’s closed now. Then I begged my parents to go CAB for secondary, but they refused, wrongly or rightly –we’ll never know. Ended up at Redcliffe and built some of the strongest relationships I have, Alhamdulillah. I didn’t start writing till like 2017/2018, by which time I’d been gone for a minute, so there was no evidence of said talent to nurture.

You studied English Literature at UWE. Did you get much out of your time there?

Schools and academies have quotas that turn children into numbers, universities love money. Most of the UWE English staff are committed and passionate educators, but the institution never appealed to me, never held meaning or represented success, and it wasn’t like I wanted to become a doctor or anything, so I didn’t need it.

Who have been your main literary inspirations?

Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Sachiko Murata, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Vasily Grossman, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, Mariama Ba, Maryse Conde, Susan Gri n, bell hooks, the many Shakespeares, erek Walcott, George Lamming, Ibn Arabi.

When did you start writing fiction, and when did you realise you wanted to make this your career?

Like 2017/2018 times, fell in love with the freedom and the mindfulness and decided to pursue.

An Olive Grove in Ends was a Guardian novel of the year, it won the Hawthornden Prize, and others too. How important is literary recognition to you?

“Awards aren’t something to root oneself in, nor is being anartist”

It’s important in that it can help man’s career which means I can then continue to do what I love. Awards aren’t something to root oneself in, nor is being an artist.

With recognition comes media attention. Have any of the comments you’ve read about your work annoyed you?

Nah not really, though my age is often misrepresented. I like the contradictory reporting though, it reminds me of Chris Marker’s Wikipedia page, which is the coldest.

The Derek Walcott quote on your Twitter page reads, “I had no nation now but the imagination” –why did you choose that?

Beauty aside, I think it summarises the Caribbean experience, and now, by extension, albeit with nuance, the black British.

Your first book is set to be adapted into a TV series – can you tell us anything about this?

We haven’t been greenlit yet. I’ve written the pilot. We got a director attached. Good adaptations and translations remain faithful to the source’s meaning not to literalism, so I’m trying to meet that.

Your new novel Fast by the Horns has a similar setting to An Olive Grove – do you see yourself continuing to base novels here?

I don’t see myself writing another novel based in Bristol for the foreseeable, not for any considered reason, only I’ve now written about East and Poles, and in many ways they’re the extent of my Bristol.

Fast by the Horns is set in the 1980s, before you were born; how you did you invoke this era?

Thankfully it remains in living history, so research became a matter of invoking a feeling that wasn’t far off. My third novel is set centuries ago, so much harder, a much different process, nonetheless, I approach history as a novelist.

If you were introducing friends to Bristol today, where would you take them to show what you consider to be the best side of the city?

If it was one woman I was trying to impress I’d take them Clifton Village on a summer’s day where we can pretend we’re Parisian. If it was anyone else, I’d take them to grab a food at Mama Cleo’s or Barwaaqo and stay in East.

We know you also write song lyrics. Has that affected your writing style?

Yeah for sure, I love the English language because of music, and my knowledge of rhythm and how words read, sound and feel stems from that.

An Olive Grove is grounded in morality, and the class of competing moral codes, all of which have both merits and hypocrisies. Is this what largely fascinates you and inspires your stories?

I wouldn’t know how to summarise what fascinates and inspires my stories without sounding grandiose, but it’s people init, as far as my worldview limits my perception of myself and of people, that’s what it is, people, as signs of Allah. n

An Olive Grove in Ends and Fast by the Horns are published by Wildfire and available at £10.99 at most Bristol bookshops I BRISTOL LIFE I 21 ONE TO ONE

Beach Houses, Cape Town


It’s never been easier to fly abroad from your local airport thanks to the network of flights offered by KLM ROYAL DUTCH AIRLINES from Bristol

Start your trip the convenient way this summer: fly right from your doorstep with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines from Bristol Airport.

Enjoy the benefits of departing from your nearby airport; say farewell to lengthy congested commutes to distant airports, and instead use the extra time to relax before your flight. Not to mention the added bonus of keeping a bit more of your dirhams, dollars, reals, or rands in your pocket thanks to the money saved from the shorter journey.

With convenient flight schedules from Bristol Airport, and offering connections to the world via Amsterdam, you can easily reach the beach and explore the

shore in far-flung sunny destinations. Dubai, anyone? The city that has it all, right in the middle of the desert, and easily reached from Bristol. Or perhaps St Martin, for all the sailing, swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving and sun you can possibly soak up in one Caribbean holiday. How about Rio? A cheeky trip to Cape Town maybe? Unmissable destinations are waiting to be discovered, conveniently from your local airport.

With KLM Royal Dutch Airlines all destinations can be easily reached via a simple transfer connection at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. Offering a single airport terminal concept with a wide array of shopping options, restaurants and quirky attractions: a Rijksmuseum, the world’s first airport library, a

kids playground where they can clamber on a real plane, and an airport park, keeping all ages entertained, helping towards a smooth and enjoyable transfer on the way. Via Amsterdam, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines connects to 155 worldwide destinations from Bristol Airport.

Irrespective of where you fly to, you’ll always receive complimentary snacks and drinks on the way during your short connecting flights from/to the UK, while on the longhaul part of your journey in Economy Class you can also enjoy a meal, bar and snack service all included in the price of your ticket. Recharge your phone, connect to WiFi¹ or watch a movie; enjoy the flight!

You can choose from a range of cabins to suit your budget, comfort level and needs: Economy,


Premium Comfort or World Business Class.

Travel in the newly introduced Premium Comfort Cabin², and you can elevate your comfort to enjoy more space and privacy. Sit back and relax in your seat with extra legroom and recline: a wide selection of meals and drinks, together with a large inflight entertainment screen tops off a memorable holiday nicely. Or travel in style and take to the skies in luxurious World Business Class, with fullflat seats on intercontinental flights. You’ll enjoy extra privacy and comfort alongside meals created by top Dutch chefs, prepared with the freshest ingredients. A great way to mark an extra-special celebratory trip.

If you are travelling more for business purposes than leisure, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines range of flight departures allow you to comfortably fit a business trip into a busy schedule. You can build international relationships and networks that will directly benefit trade and your company as well as helping the local economy prosper.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines makes it possible to take off closer to home, see and experience the world, and return with memories and opportunities when you fly back home. n

¹You can purchase WiFi during check-in or once you’ve boarded your flight ²Offered to select long-haul destinations

Information correct at time of print.


To nd out more about KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and their full range of exciting destinations, visit

Ipanema beach, Rio de Janeiro Desert, Dubai Caribbean Sea, St Martin



Upfest’s festival artist for 2024 is on a mission to “spread love and inclusion through art and consciousness connections”. Meet Mister Samo . . .

Words by Deri Robins

Photos by Upfest



Bedminster is in the process of turning itself into a giant outdoor canvas once again, as hundreds of street artists descend for the 17-day cultural extravaganza that is Upfest Presents. There are talks, work-shops, community events, there’s even comedy – and, oh yeah, street art.

This year’s headline artist is Mister Samo – a Portsmouth-based trans artist, public speaker, tattooist and activist whose international CV includes a piece for World Pride 2019 in New York. Samo was one of the first artist to complete a mural for this year’s festival – you can see it on the walls of Bristol Beer Factory – so he had a bit of time to tell us about his work and inspiration.

So, first off who are you, what’s your real name and can you tell us a few facts about yourself?

“My artist name is Mister Samo, real name Samo White; I am a street artist, illustrator and trans activist. As for three facts, I love skateboarding, I am a runner and I love animals more than anything. I’m a big dog-lover – I did have two pugs, but at the moment I’m embracing a time without animals. That said, I can’t wait to have more pugs in my life.”

Samo first realised he wanted to make a career out of art about 15 years ago.

“I’m from a fine-art background, and I’ve always been a painter. I did a lot of sculpture and installation at college. A friend and street artist, My Dog Sighs, invited me down to Portsmouth to come and paint with him; I was under the impression that you had to be amazing with a spray can, but he encouraged me to just have a play around, and I fell in love with painting outdoors.

“With a background in fine art, there was an expectation for me to work in galleries and a more ‘traditional’ artist environment, but what I love most about street art is how versatile and accessible it is. After I started to think about who I was, and what I wanted to say with my work, I couldn’t put the paint can down.”

Across Samo’s work, there’s a recurring message You Are Loved. So, what’s that all about, then?

“Yeah, that’s kind of a personal one. A lot of my work is obviously about my transition, my journey and spreading joy and positivity. It came from a place when I first started my transition and I didn’t feel loved.

“I started leaving these little post-it notes all around my home when I was healing from surgery and I’d write, ‘You are enough’ and ‘You are loved’. Seeing them throughout my home really made the message stick, and I realised, if I needed to hear that, maybe others needed to hear it too. It became like a kind of echo, and I realised that my message wasn’t just for the trans community, it was for everybody.”

Samo says it was a huge honour to be part of this year’s Upfest Presents. “When I first went to the festival, as a punter, I made so many amazing friends within the community. To imagine that five years down the line, I’d be chosen as its headline artist is absolutely amazing. It really shows how progressive Upfest Presents is to put a marginalised person at the forefront of the event speaks volumes about the direction in which they want

to see art progress. I think it’s a beautiful thing, and it’s going to be a huge signal to a lot of people.”

His signature style, deploying big, bold colours such as pink and yellow, developed about five years ago.

“I realised my wasn’tmessage just for the trans community – it was everybody”for

“I had major back surgery and I was at the start of my transition. My style started to change as I began to change. Before my transition, my work was quite fluid, but I didn’t really feel it had any sense of self. However, once I began to know and love myself, this became reflected in my work. Joy and happiness were coming through and pink and yellow just so happened to be the colours I’d landed on.

“Pink is usually associated with girls, but I’ve always loved it. It’s such a binary colour. It brings me happiness; so yeah, pink is for joy, and yellow is for creativity. And the two together merge in a beautifully bold way.”

On a mission to spread love and inclusion, creating connections and celebrating the trans community, Samo went to New York to paint during World Pride.

“As a street artist, you have a couple of big ambitions, and to be invited to paint in Manhattan as a queer artist for World Pride; that was just unbelievable. It’s definitely up there as a highlight, and was another

Mister Samo in front of his new piece for Upfest; in his insta feed he says “I think it’s my favourite wall to date”
“To put a marginalised person at the forefront of Upfest speaks volumes about how they want to see art progress”

moment where I realised that this was what I wanted to do with my life. You look over your shoulder, and you’re like, “what, me?”

“Part of the reason I was invited was because at that time there were only two trans street artists in the world. It was a real calling for the community to signify that we see you, and we celebrate you, especially in America, where being trans is more dangerous.”

Street artists are famously a tribe, and two of Samo’s best friends are cbloxx and aylo, part of the street art collective Nomad Clan.

“I met them six years ago at Upfest; they were there painting the train in the middle of the stop. My radar was like, who are these two? What are they doing? Then I realised that they were also queer artists; I became great friends with them and we went to New York together. Their work is phenomenal, so I’m constantly inspired by them and speak to them every day about work and projects. I think it’s really helpful to have other street-artist friends, especially those who have completely different styles, as it can challenge you to experiment and try new things.”

It’s always good to hear positive feedback about Bristol – and Samo has loads to share.

“I love Bristol! It feels like a second home when I’m here. It’s so culturally exciting. I’m from a city, but it’s a much smaller one, so when I come to Bristol, it’s like this entire magical world, with just about every nook and cranny that you walk around being filled with art –it’s visually delicious.

“Bristol is like a magical world, with just everyaboutnook and crannyfilled ith art – it’s visually delicious”

“It’s just really honest, isn’t it? The community of people is something that feels like home, and I love that that’s the norm for Bristol.

“I’m the kind of person who likes to go around and get lost in cities and find things that aren’t on the map, especially as a runner. I like to get up and then just get lost. Bristol is great for that, it’s like a maze. I fell in love with Turbo Island. I was a bit apprehensive at first, but everyone was super-friendly. It’s got a legacy that’s embedded because of the people.

“I can’t imagine what Bristol would be like without all this amazing art, even the buildings and the streets, there’s something different on every corner. I think as an artist, it’s inspiring.”

Final question: as a huge inspiration to the trans community, what advice would you give people today, or to your younger self?

“I think this circles back to my quote of ‘you are loved’. I hope it tells all the young people how loved they are, and that I believe that this journey is a gift, and it’s not negative despite what’s going on in the world right now. I’d tell them to turn off the news and just focus on how beautiful they are; we’ve all got something to add and an insight to offer the world – and we need to embrace that. n

Upfest Presents runs until 2 June; Follow Samo at @mister.samo



(As long as you’re in BS3)

Mr Samo may be the headline artist, but there are well over 200 others taking part in Upfest Presents: here are just five big names to look out for


Where they at?

Parsons Bakery, North Street Who? Synonymous with Bristol’s street-art scene and culture, and one of the world’s OG street artists, Inkie will be adding another of his signature murals to Bedminster. His previous Parsons mural was Bristol Born and Bread, so we’re expecting a fresh new bakery-related pun this year too.


Where they at?

George Carr, North Street Who? Jody has been painting for over 30 years, from early days with the famous Barton Hill crew which included Inkie, Banksy and 3D. He’s created some of the most iconic

artworks in the city, such as Sea Change (Greta Thunberg) on the Tobacco Factory. His work explores the emotional depth which lurks below the surface through his signature darkly glamorous aesthetic.


Where they at? Souk Kitchen, North Street Who? LA-based Japanese-American artist known for her distinctive portrayals of women. Growing up reading Japanese comics inspired Audrey to start drawing from a young age and her work often contains contrasting themes of innocence and eroticism, conveying the mysterious intrigue of feminine sensuality.


Where they at?

Stush Tattoo, North Street Who? Named as one of The Guardian’s top five UK female graffiti artists, HazardOne was one of the first to paint for the Upfest’s 2021 75 Walls in 75 Days project. She’s known for her portraits of women, community murals and detailed floral pieces.

5EPOD Where? Pantiles, Westminster Grove Who? Fusing concept paintings, graffiti and fine art, EPOD’s work is instantly recognisable. The London-based artist’s distinctive style encourages a timeless journey into the imagination, creating an alluring glimpse into the visions of the future.

1 2
BRISTOL, WE HAVE A PROBLEM… 1 Welcome to Planet Pothole
and pics
Colin Moody 30 I BRISTOL LIFE I


In this special report from Bristol’s streets, the spacecraft and astronauts are brought to you by AI. The potholes, however, are only too real…


Our first attempt to land a rocket on the surface of this strange world were unsuccessful. We saw huge tracks of what appeared to be smooth asphalt; however, as Lander 1 was about to touch down the sensors went haywire.

We... lost the mission.

Two weeks later, the probe we’d sent took this picture.

Potholes. Everywhere. The rocket has attempted a landing and then tipped into this huge hole.

We are going to have to rethink our landings here.

2DAY 2

We finally committed to manned missions, and Steve was the first to get down there. Some of these potholes’, as we affectionately like to call them, were so wide that the tarmac of the road-type structures they were formed from appeared to be completely washed away.

It rains here a lot, and after months of rain all that was left of the Rover 2 site was this rock field. Two metres down there appeared to be another flat surface. How are we going to get the explorer to drive over it without falling into these vast trenches?

Geologists are gonna have so much to discover here…

3DAY 3

Our geologist has become completely stuck in the biggest hole so far while carrying a solar array out of camp.

This is the deepest hole we have found so far. They were so embarrassed when we finally got there and pulled them out.

What is making these holes There does not appear to be any active geology at all?

4DAY 4

Another rover fell into a pothole. This is getting crazy, it’s gonna cost a fortune to replace all these vehicles. If this was Earth and these were roads it would be insanity to leave these highways so full of holes, breaking all the suspensions, falling in here, there and everywhere, costing more in the long run. Unthinkable. We don’t have the equipment at base camp to do anything about all this. Steve has found Rover 2 outside the base and has decided to take a swim.

The air is breathable but is saturated with dirt and dust and sticky residues down the holes.

Oh my, the holes!

They are everywhere.

We are beginning to fray at the edges here. Every journey, we lose more and more valuable kit and tech down the holes.

There is talk of leaving this place.

The holes are everywhere

They are getting to us.

Hole after hole after hole

… this is no place for a drive.

We are spending more time at camp.

Why did we come here?



When will that be?

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, ’Til the last shovel full of asphalt left in recorded time is patted down. Life is but a road full of holes,

And I am a lonely astronaut.

A poor player.

Who hops and frets his hour upon this planet.

And then is heard no more.

It is a tale told by an idiot down a hole, Full of sound and fury.

Signifying ah , did they leave without me ” I BRISTOL LIFE I 31
2 4


“If this was Earth, and these were roads, it would be insanity to leave these highways so full of holes”


To fill in all those damn holes.


We have to leave. This is the last image of the Pothole Planet’ as Steve calls it, as we were in orbit ready to return to Bristol.

We have heard there are some who are sceptical that we even went to this place Someone said that even this last image could easily have been taken by, say holding an iPhone down as low as it would go in one of the many potholes in Bristol.

They continue Claiming that the broken tarmac round the edge of the potholes would look exactly like a crater rim. All you’d have to do is ask AI to add the space and the spacecraft.

Steve is upset.

The next mission has been scrubbed until something can be done with these damn holes.

End mission log.

PS Colin here, the space photographer on this mission. I can reveal that of these photographs are real. Taken in actual potholes all over our city. From Knowle to Harbour, our city is riddled with them. This last image here is so spacey, it’s uncanny. Everything in the lower half of the shot, apart from the rusty probe, is pure 100 Bristol pothole. This one is outside the Tobacco Factory.

If you have a pothole near you which is particularly out of this world in its depth and car-damaging potential, do let me know and I’ll add it to the next mission.

Colin Moody: content creation, online images Twitter @moodycolin; Instagram @colinmoodyphotography

7 5 6


In praise of all authors

and publishers who just say ‘yes’

We were in the fortunate position of going for a drink with a notable author after an event the other week, someone we admire greatly and have been fans of for many years.

Contrary to what you might think about the freewheeling, romantic, dimly-lit life of a bookseller, this doesn’t happen very often – trains must be caught, publicists must safely duck their authors’ heads into the taxi once the ink on the signed books has dried etc, so it was a treat to hear them in convivial surroundings, pint in hand, expounding on their attitude towards doing author events and promotional activity in general. The gist was: it’s not worth doing anything you’re not

hugely interested in, that passion projects shouldn’t be sidelined from one’s ‘normal’ life andwhere possible – you should say ‘no’ to anything you don’t want to be associated with.

This philosophy is one that, we hope, guides our bookshop in the items we decide to stock and enthuse about, and with that in mind we present to you very recent examples of authors and publishers who say ‘no’ to anything that doesn’t interest them. It’s an attitude we can get behind.

Travels Over Feeling (Arthur Russell: A Life) – Richard King It’s hard to overstate just how lush this landmark new book from Richard King is in the flesh. His new and unprecedentedly detailed book on the esoteric yet

enchanting composer Arthur Russell is absolutely essential for any Russell-heads out there (we include ourselves), not least so you can enjoy the fruits of King’s jaw-dropping archive access, in-depth interviews with figures from Russell’s life, and the fulsome commentary beyond those raw materials. It’s a stunner, and a perfect example of a passion project brought into tactile, tangible life with high production value and publishing flair to spare.

The LongWinded Lady –Maeve Brennan Originally published in The New Yorker, these microessays detail the quotidian life of 1950s and 1960s New York City, and come in a beautifully reissued edition from one of our most beloved small publishers, Peninsula Press.

American-translated books in English, Edinburgh-based Charco Press have carved out an exceptionally fine niche for themselves and become a shop favourite. That’s not least because of books like Not A River, which, at the time of writing, is shortlisted for the International Booker Prize (it may have already triumphed as you read this, and it would be heartily deserved).

“It’s a exampleperfect of a passionintobroughtproject tactile, tangible life”

From the sidelines, Maeve Brennan oversees and overhears the city’s denizens. She scrutinises particular individuals, brilliantly (and often critically) detailing their character with a painterly precision. Beyond these intricate observations, Brennan begins to paint a larger picture, verging on almost philosophical musings.

It’s joyous to experience this slice of an almost-forgotten world, and joyous that it was even published in the first place. Where was the focus group and market research that demanded it be released? Never happened: Peninsula just said ‘yes’.

Not A River – Selva Almada (trans. Annie McDermott) Publishing exclusively Latin

When three men return to a remote island community for a commemorative fishing trip, they soon find themselves transgressing the unspoken rules of the locals, and consequently in danger. Basically everything Charco publishes is superb: they have a knack for foregrounding as-yet untranslated works of genius from across the Spanishspeaking world, and Almada’s slim but devastating masterpiece is a perfect distillation of that incredible work.

We know we’re privileged to be able to curate our stock according to even our silliest whims, but looking around the shop at the things we love the most, we might not be alone in embracing that approach.

Stopping to ask yourself “do I actually want to do this?” is always a good thing to do. Unless the question is “should I pop into this bookshop for a bit?”, in which case we hope you already know the answer…

Visit Storysmith at 36 North Street, Bedminster BS3 1JD 0117 953 7961



Things ain’t what they used to be at fine-dining country house hotels. Fortunately.

Not so many years ago, the prospect of visiting a restaurant within a country house hotel would have filled us with muted enthusiasm. We knew we’d have to brace ourselves for a lot of ceremonious fussing about, trying to keep a straight face while the waiter solemnly shook out our napkins and placed them with a flourish on our laps. If we decided to pop to the loo, somebody would sprint over to pull our chairs out, then in again, in case we were too feeble to shift them ourselves. Whenever a miniature pan and brush materialised between courses to sweep offensive crumbs off the table we’d (a) feel guilty for causing a mess and (b) be tempted to say, honestly, guys, it’s fine; you should see how we eat at home, we let the cat sit on the table and feed her scraps and everything.

It’s a lot more fun now, though. Most hotel staff have embraced the zeitgeist, replacing old-school servility with a relaxed friendliness, and one place which has effortlessly made this transition is the 14th-century Manor House in Castle Combe.

In the wrong hands, tasting menus can be tedious; I can think of several which had me longing for chips after twenty minutes of miniscule portions which took far longer to describe than they did to eat. But Rob Potter’s is a delight, full of unexpected treats, fresh ideas and global influences, all explained succinctly by staff who are willing and able to go into more far detail if and when, but only if and when, you ask.

There are no predictable thimblefuls of savoury froth for the amuse bouche; instead, we’re served balls of sweet and salty Colston Basset, a less pungent cheese than some of its fellow blues. It’s so prettily encased in ruby-red beetroot gel, with a jaunty topping of candied walnut, that I can’t decide whether I want to eat it or wear it as a brooch.

Next comes a bread course – not any old bread, either, but a lighterthan-air laminated brioche, served with butter – not any old butter, but a cultivated butter from the dairy of former Noma chef Grant Harrington.


Bybrook, The Manor House, Castle Combe 01249 782206;

As you motor up the drive, the mellow stone facade presents a box-checking array of architectural delights: mullions, balustrades and gables, all curtained by wisteria. The parklike grounds are dotted with gazebos, and there’s an Alice-in-Wonderland-style chess board with pieces the size of a toddler. Inside, the panelled rooms still have that country house smell, all polish and log fires, but there’s a smiley welcome at reception and dog treats on the bar. Near the front door a regimented rack of wellies stands to attention for guests staying over in the elegant main-house suites, or the cottage-style accommodation in the nearby mews; the hotel appears to own half the village, including the Castle Inn pub.

Opening hours Wed-Sun: 6-8.30pm

Prices Tasting menu, £145 pp

Drinks Optional wine flight £90

Veggie? Yes, there’s an alternative menu

Service Friendly yet supremely professional

Atmsophere Smart but relaxed

But the clearest sign that The Manor House has got down with the groove is found in its Michelin-starred restaurant, Bybrook. The decor is simple, the ambience relaxed, and the maître d’h won’t turn you away if you’re not wearing a tie. There are no linen tablecloths, just simple wooden tables, pretty botanical wallpaper and some deeply comfy velvet chairs. Oh, and some truly exceptional contemporary cooking, courtsey of head chef Rob Potter.

Rob previously worked for Hywel Jones at Lucknam Spa; he must have been an attentive sous, because he earned Bybrook a Michelin star in 2017 and retained it ever since. Keeping everything seasonal and local is a doddle, with endless pickings from The Manor House’s kitchen garden and the livestock in the grounds. From this bounty Rob’s created a menu which celebrates the best in modern English-European cooking, which was beautifully showcased in the tasting menu we’d turned up to sample.

“Keep some bread back, if you can, for the fish,” suggests our waiter; advice Your Main signally fails to heed; he scoffs his down in a trice, meaning that when the fish course comes around I am obliged to give him half of mine. Unwillingly.

Other highlights include a rich crab bisque with the hidden surprise of kohl rabi discs, topped with flakes of delicate white crabmeat. In a meal full of interest, we’re enchanted by the finger limes – tiny, tangy little pearl-like flavour pops resembling caviar. Even more memorable is a sushi-like ChalkStream trout with oyster mayo, wasabi and roe, wrapped in a crisp nori squid croustade. The Cornish turbot in creamy dulse sauce is indeed crying out for bread for the mopping, so it’s just as well one of us listened to the waiter. Tender Lyons Hill pork is served three ways, while umami-rich Dexter beef comes in a consommé that’s been simmered for two days.

There’s a fabulous inter-course, if you’ll pardon my French, of creamy Beauvale cheese, served with an apple tarte tatin caramelised to toffeelike perfection. All three desserts are wonderful, from a canalé (so very, very 2024) to something dense and chocolatey, but the standout is a fresh, airy yet custardy, confection of mango, passion fruit and coconut.

Service at every point is unimpeachable. You’d struggle to find anyone more passionate about their chosen field than a sommelier, and Andre from Italy does nothing to buck this trend, choosing us a crisp Tramari rosé from San Marzano which tastes like summer in a glass. I tell Andre I can’t see the bottle on the wine list; he shrugs. He has a few new ones in, he says, which have yet to make it onto the menu, but which he’s keen to share with us.

And that, m’lud, is how you make guests feel special and cosseted at a fine-dining restaurant in 2024; absolutely no napkin origami required.

Reach the best in the west A uent, active and influential and just a call away Bristol Life team 01225 475800 AUTHENTIC JAMAICAN DISHES EXCELLENT CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE 07904 285618 | Trinity Centre, Trinity Rd, St Jude’s, Bristol BS2 0NW Open: Tuesday to Saturday 3pm – 10pm | Sunday 12 –5pm


From Parties to Product launches and everything in between. We’ve got you covered, with five unique spaces on five levels. Come take the tour. Visit us at 69 PARK ST, BRISTOL BS1 5PB HELLO@GOLDBRICK.HOUSE




Meanwhile, over in Shepton Mallet, this year’s Royal Bath & West Show will open its doors (tents, fields, stalls, etc) between 30 May-1 June with an extra-tasty food-and-drink offering.

The chefs giving free demonstrations in The Great British Kitchen will be Clodagh McKenna (left) from This Morning, Rosemary Shrager from Soapstar Superchef, Andy Clarke from Saturday Kitchen Live and T presenter Rachel Khoo.

Away from the kitchen, the British Cider Championships – the biggest of its kind in the UK –will be judged during the show. isitors will also be able to get expert advice on making cider, apple juice, and, if you’re lucky enough to have one, orchardmanagement. The food and drink marquee has also been expanded to include the cheese trade stands, from Barbers to Bath Soft Cheese; also look out for Black Cow odka, evon Rum Co, Bridge Farm Cider, Cherry Tree Preserves and more. To book tickets, visit


Let’s start by accentuating the positive. Poco Tapas in Stokes Croft will not be closing after all New owners are set to take over from Tom, Ben and Jen, but many of the staff will remain.

“A few of you have been asking for an update, and we’re delighted to let you all know that we won’t be closing after all, rather we’ll be passing on the reigns to new management” said the team on Facebook.

“We’re super-excited that the Poco we have built up over the years will live on and continue to be a part of the community we’ve cherished for so many years.

“Many of our existing team are staying on so there’ll be familiar faces aplenty. As we previously announced, Jen and Ben will be off on new adventures – Jen on her farm in evon and Ben building his new food-and-event photography business.

“We’re working towards a mid-May handover date, so if you want to wish those two good luck then swing by before then.”

Which is admittedly a little late for these purposes – but hey, do call in anyway to help the new team off to a flying start.

Bad news, though, for Bristol’s burger fans, as the excellent Alex Hayes announces he’s selling his award-winning Squeezed burger restaurant in Wapping Wharf in order to train as a biology teacher. Alex already holds a degree in zoology from Bristol Uni, and has prior experience as a teacher, though in hospitality rather than science.

Squeezed began as a tiny counter-service burger joint in one of Cargo 2’s smallest units; always punching above its weight, it went on to win the National Burger Award before moving to a slightly larger site – the former Bristol Cider Shop units in Cargo 1.

Cue massive outpourings of love and dismay, along with heart-felt words of encouragement from Squeezed’s many fans on the restaurant’s


A tiny new opening in Cargo from the excellent Hyde Co team, who already have the popular izakaya bar Seven Lucky Gods on the rooftop terrace of Cargo 2. Shop & Sushi does exactly what the name suggests, selling takeaway sushi, Japanese groceries, tableware and 7LG’s branded clothing; find them at unit in Cargo 1 at the old Corks site

Bristol Beer Factory are on the move; in a significant milestone in their brewing journey, they’re about to transition from their ictorian building on North Street to innovative, futurefocused 2 million premises on Ashton ale Road, with the aim of elevating its operations to new heights in a modern and sustainable production facility. The taproom will remain on the present site. @bristolbeerfactory

After much anticipatory build-up on Instagram, Cappadocia has opened on Baldwin Street, serving “the authentic taste of Turkish cuisine crafted by our talented Turkish chefs. As Bristol’s only Turkish eatery it’s not, though it does look lovely] we take pride in showcasing our rich culinary heritage and welcoming hospitality.” @cappadocia_bristol

instagram page. “Too many people to thank, so much love and so many lessons on the way,” wrote Alex. “Bristol, I’m so grateful we did this and I’m so grateful you shared in the ride.” @bristolsqueezed I BRISTOL LIFE I 43
Alex surveys his domain at his original Squeezed site


Fresh from their recent collaborations, Bank head chef Jack Briggs-Horan and Root’s Joe Fowler share a pair of veggie recipes to impress this BBQ season


Serves 4

You will need:

16 thick asparagus spears, trimmed of any woody bits

2 green tomatoes, sliced thinly (Camone tomatoes work well)

20 leaves of red veined sorrel

I batch of gribiche (see below)

For the gribiche:

2 large eggs (hard boiled)

6 cornichons (sliced)

1 tbsp capers

1/2 bunch parsley (chopped)

1/2 bunch dill (chopped)

1/2 bunch tarragon (chopped)

3 large green tomatoes (seeds removed, then diced)

1tbsp Dijon mustard

1 smoked garlic clove (minced)

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

200ml light olive oil

Salt Pepper


1 Remove yolks from eggs, and purée in a food processor with the Dijon mustard, smoked garlic and white wine vinegar. Slowly trickle

the oil into the mix to emulsify, like making a mayonnaise.

2 Dice the egg whites and add to a bowl with the herbs, cornichons, capers and tomatoes. Fold in the emulsified dressing; season and refrigerate.

3 Oil and season the asparagus, and barbecue until cooked through with a little char on each side. Lay four pieces on each plate, slightly off centre, then add a large dollop of gribiche next to them. Decorate with the green tomato and sorrel leaves and drizzle with either good quality olive oil or melted butter. Serve!



Serves 4

You will need:

2 bunches purple sprouting broccoli

1 portion burnt celeriac purée (next column)

2 tablespoons crispy chilli oil (see below)

For the crispy chilli oil:

500ml rapeseed oil

4 tbsp crushed chilli flakes

2 tbsp cracked Sichuan peppercorns

4 tbsp mixed sesame seeds

2 star anise

1 cinnamon stick

3 green cardamom pods

3 bay leaves

2 inches ginger in matchsticks

2 thinly sliced and washed shallots

Half a bulb of garlic, thinly sliced

White sugar


For the celeriac purée:

1 large celeriac, peeled and sliced into 1cm-thick pieces

300ml hot water

tbsp dark soy sauce

3 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp dark brown sugar

Celery salt


1 Barbecue or grill the celeriac slices until black (really black; burnt in fact). Add to a saucepan with the water, soy and sugar and simmer until very soft (about 10-1 minutes).

2 Transfer to a blender with the olive oil and purée until very smooth; season with celery salt. The purée should be creamy, slightly bitter and very umami. Put to one side.

Make the crispy chilli oil. Place the chilli flakes, Sichuan peppercorns and sesame in a

large pan and place on a heatproof surface. In a separate pan, heat the oil to 1 0 C. Add the star anise, cinnamon, cardamom, bay, ginger, shallot and garlic; fry until golden brown and crispy. Pour hot oil through a sieve into the pan with the chilli flakes in, being careful not to spill. The oil will froth and may spit. When cool enough to handle, pick the bay and spices from the sieve.

4 Combine the shallot mix with the cooled chilli oil and season with sugar and salt. It should be spicy, numbing and aromatic.

5 To put the dish together, oil and season the broccoli and grill or barbecue until cooked through. Place a blob of the celeriac purée on a plate and arrange the cooked broccoli over the top. ress with the crispy chilli oil and serve.

Bank,107 Wells Road; Root, Unit 9, Cargo;


Ruby Huesday

In which Stan stumbles across a Willy Wonka wonderland

grandkids, and they were getting to that grumpy stage of the stroll where sugary snacks were needed to bring back the smiles.

If you are ever in town, up at Castle Park, enjoying the view, I can thoroughly recommend crossing the snaky bridge that takes you over the river, past Left Handed Giant. If you take a tiptoe down the narrow alley beyond, you will come across this issue’s coffee shop of choice.

Ruby Hue was new to me, but since then the Café Society crew have already been back twice to sample more of their stuff.

To be honest, we might have walked right past it if it hadn’t been for the modest sign outside. Which would have been a shame, as it was just what the coffee doctor ordered. You see, the Café Granny and I were out with a couple of teenage

Bla k o ee and alit ho olate are a marriage made in heaven, consummated on your lips, with a honeymoon on the palate”

Which is where this place came up trumps. It’s part café, part chocolate-makers. We wandered in, sniffed the air and realised that a swift round of hot chocolates were called for. Since this family-run business makes some serious chocolate, there was a cornucopia of sophisticated hot choc flavours to choose from.

Our teens quickly perked up and filled their boots, taking advantage of all the trimmings on offer, including a marshmallow topper made on the premises which looked for all the world like an enormous, elephant-sized Anadin until the lovely lady behind the counter pulled out a blowtorch and gave it a damned good toasting. According to our teen tasters, it was a whole lot better than the usual marshmallow bits and bobs one finds in your bogstandard-café hot choc.

Both girls gave their hot drinks top marks, while my modest Americano was a winner too. A nice touch was the amuse bouche, a tiny nibble of handmade chocolate which came with each and every drink: a timely reminder that black coffee and quality chocolate are a marriage made in heaven,

consummated on your lips, with a honeymoon on the palate. Mmm.

Talking of marriages made in heaven, this place has a bit of that going on too. One end of the space is the usual (dog friendly), café-counter-withtables malarkey, whilst the other end is more of a Willy Wonka wonderland.

We sat at our table, happily sipping and nibbling, all the time being kept delightfully entertained by a selection of shiny machines, mysteriously spinning round, beeping, or just squirting streams of chocolate down into half-hidden steel bowls. No idea what was going on, exactly, or why, but it looked great and smelled divine.

If all of that wasn’t enough to keep you grinning like a badger, they also have an old-school record player with a fine selection of vinyl on offer. All in all, it’s a mighty fine establishment with lots to recommend it.

Turns out, it’s not just the Rolling Stones who get overexcited about the thought of their very own Ruby Hue’s day… n

Former The Housemartins guitarist Stan is now a journalist and travel writer; @stancullimore on instagram Google up Stan’s daily substack blog: Diary of an Urban Grandad I BRISTOL LIFE I 47


From cabins to yurts and eco-glamping pods we showcase some of the best places around to go glamping this summer




TEL: 07867 675884





Looking for a unique holiday experience and a break from the screens and solid four walls? Campden Yurts is a small, awardwinning glamping site on the outskirts of Chipping Campden in the North Cotswolds. With just two yurts it never gets crowded, so you can fully relax and enjoy being close to nature. The dogfriendly yurt sits in an enclosed paddock so your dog/s can roam freely while you relax; book both yurts and you’ll have the whole site to yourselves.

• Family, couples and dog-friendly glamping • Private bathrooms

• Hammocks and firepits • Pizza parties for all ages

• Walking distance to pubs, tearooms and shops


On the edge of the Forest of Dean, just a mile and a half from the Symonds Yat viewpoint, Badger Barn is an intimate glamping retreat that truly offers peace and tranquillity.

There are currently just two spaces, the hand-built cabin and the Peppermint Tent, both with sheepskins, feather duvets, hot water bottles and well-equipped kitchens, so you’ll be well set up for whatever the British summer throws at us.

So treat yourself to a well-earned break. Replace the bustle of the city with the rustle of leaves, and return home rejuvenated, and with a head full of birdsong.



TEL: 07807 484326


Cathedral View is located on a 500-acre family-run farm in Somerset. The farm itself has the best of both worlds: one side is beautiful Somerset countryside and the other side is the historic cathedral city of Wells; a perfect base for Glastonbury Festival.

We have three identical pods at Cathedral View Glamping, all named after areas of the beautiful Wells Cathedral. These are Chapterhouse, The Nave and The West Front. They are all ecoglamping pods with luxury furnishings, a private wood-fired hot tub, decadent interior design and a breathtaking view of Wells Cathedral. All this combined makes our pods extra-special and the perfect romantic getaway.

Each pod has its own individual firepit – perfect for a romantic night spent stargazing while roasting marshmallows over the fire. Whether you’re chilling in the wood-fired hot tub with a glass of something bubbly, snuggling up on the sofa watching a movie on the wall-mounted TV or waking up in the comfy double bed after a lie-in, Wells Cathedral will always be in view.

We are running a free shuttle bus to Glastonbury Festival for all our guests, so why not stay in luxury while enjoying the best of the festival?



They say April, we say, any month at all when you need a hit of colour and joy. From our current sunglass crush, Jimmy F From Jimmy Fairley, 90 Park Street


Bright colours can improve your mood; it’s called the dopamine effect. And after what feels like 00 grey rainy days, who doesn t need a bit of that?

HANKY PANKY RETRO PLUNGE CHEMISE, £49.50 (REDUCED FROM £99) on’t let the bright colours stop with the outerwear. This chemise is positively juicy From Grace & Mabel, 32 The Mall


ONA BAG, £55

Frankly sells brightly coloured, handmade bags made from recycled leather which would have otherwise ended up in landfill. ouble feelgood hit! From Frankly, Unit 5, Cargo;


Flats and pumps are huge news for SS24. While we may not have Carrie Bradshaw’s ba ingly boundless budget, a girl can dream From Harvey Nicholls, 27 Philadelphia Street;


Small but chunkily impactful, in hot pink

From Mon Pote, 217a North Street;

URBAN CHAIR, £POA Contemporary, eyecatching stacking chair made from light aluminium. Because your patio deserves it From Oskar Furniture 47 Whiteladies Road



Wear as a pair, wear them separately, either way you’re guaranteed to sizzle

From Mint Velvet, 44 Regent Street


If summer was a shoe… From Grace & Mabel 32 The Mall



Beautifully bright, glitzy statement earrings with light-reflecting gems, made from super-lightweight materials: just made for dancing! From That Thing, 45-47 Stokes Croft;

A mini-tote, but plenty of room for your daily needs, with TOTE written on the side in case you forget what you bought it for From Harvey Nicholls, 27 Philadelphia Street


Mix and match from this range of bright, timelessly elegant range of enamelware –it’s virtually indestructible, too, so fit for al-frescoing purpose

From Maze Clothing 26-28 The Mall


We’re obviously thinking ‘festival’, but you’ll turn everywhere you go into a field of dreams with these delightful daisy trousers From Fox + Feather, 41 Gloucester Road I BRISTOL LIFE I 51
SOLAR ENERGY FOR YOUR HOME OR BUSINESS OUR SERVICES Solar PV Battery Storage EV Hybrid Solar Heat Pump & Air Source Call for a free quotation: Ryan: 07542 841632 or Danny: 07873 419 521 100% PROTECTED from heat and lightening 15 YEAR WARRANTY for panel performance 10 YEAR WARRANTY for inverter FULLY INSTALLED FOR ONLY BASED ON A 3KW SYSTEM £3995 drenergy_1 Pond Problems? Can’t get your pond water clear? Is your pond overgrown and in need of a good tidy up? Or are you looking to a ract more wildlife into your garden and want to chat about creating a wildlife pond? Elements is a female run, Bristol-based aquatic landscaping and pond maintenance company. With a strong ecological background, Elements offers a tailored service focusing on a racting wildlife into your garden. Whether you are looking for an intimate garden pond or a majestic lake, we provide a bespoke service from pond design, construction to ongoing maintenance including pond cleaning. We pride ourselves on high customer satisfaction and affordability. Design | Build | Maintain For further details please call Kate on 07956 010 680 01749 677440 / 07921 074602 Wood Burners & Multi Fuel Stoves Flexible S/S Liners Twin Walled Flues Fireplace Renovation & Base Hearths Supplied and Made to Measure Replacement of Chimney Pots, Cowlings CCTV Surveys Accredited Installers


You’ll find Sparks Bristol in Broadmead – at number 78, where the old Marks & Spencer’s store used to be. But apart from sharing an address, that’s where the similarity ends…

It’s ever so Bristol, isn’t it, to take over the former site of a massive fashion-andfood chain store and turn it into a hub supporting a host of small independent traders, with a strong ethical, collaborative and planet-conscious focus, and an arts space to boot. That’s what Sparks Bristol did – and nobody is better placed to tell us all about it than co-director Jenny Foster.

“Sparks brings a unique breath of fresh air into the high street,” says Jenny, explaining that it was the brainchild of two small Bristol charities: Global Goals Centre, which aims to excite folk (especially kids and young people) about sustainable development goals and achieving a greener, fairer future, and Artspace Lifespace, which collaborates with many local partners.

“We came up with the idea of a reimagined department store to pilot a new way to do retail, challenging the usual over-consumption and massmarket model that’s so damaging to people and planet. We wanted to bring climate and social impact into our city centre, by offering affordable incubator space for independent ethical traders and creatives.

“After our plans for a physical hub were put on hold during Covid, finally in 2022 an opportunity to secure the empty M&S building emerged thanks to the City Centre regeneration team at Bristol City Council.

“Then we heard that local arts charity Artspace Lifespace – experts in creatively using spaces in the city –also wanted to take over the building. We nervously met up to share plans and discovered that while we wanted the ground floor to run a public-facing sustainability hub, they only wanted the upper floors for creatives, but with a focus on sustainability.

“Our ambitions for the project were so clearly aligned: to create a space to promote creativity, sustainability, I BRISTOL LIFE I 55 SHOPPING
Sparks Bristol opened last May with a little help from Invisible Circus; over 8000 visitors came along to check it out

social justice and education in the heart of Bristol, bringing positive solutions to the challenges we face.

“It took six months from signing the lease to opening the doors on 13 May 2023 – a massive collaborative effort between dozens of local charities, organisations and supporters. We cut the opening ribbon together to demonstrate what a partnership project Sparks is.

“We aim to inspire people to be part of a movement of change towards a greener, fairer world. We all know we’re in a climate crisis, but the narrative around this is often negative and scary. Sparks is a vibrant welcoming place which offers ways for people to make a difference and learn a bit more, through ethical shopping, events and education workshops.

“We are also supporting Bristol’s creative community with much-needed affordable artist spaces, and educating young people on real-life issues such as the climate crisis and inequality.”

So what can we expect from a visit to the store?

The ground floor offers a vibrant shopping experience in departments you’d expect, such as food, gifts and fashion, as well as a huge range of repurposed and upcycled goods in our reuse department. We also have interactive advice areas such as energy, nature and travel, with part of a bus to drive and explore in our travel agency. There are also a number of artworks and exhibitions to engage you and get you thinking about the world and how we look after it.

ABOVE: Giving old broken stuff a new lease of life at the Repair Cafe; BELOW Meg at Clothemod; OPPOSITEPAGE, CLOCKWISE: Dawn from Rlvd Designs; Lydia from Flaming Moth Vintage; Rosie from Rose & Mary Cosmetics; Winifred from Ann Win

“Sparks has been visited by 12 other towns to see if they replicatecan the model. Bristol is theleading way!”

Which parts are open to the public?

The ground floor is open to the public from Wednesday to Sunday, and the first floor is open for events – you can check out what’s happening on the website.

How do the various departments help us to take easy actions on climate, equality and wellbeing?

Our fashion department and repair café breathe new life into much-loved items through repair services, enabling you to reduce waste. Within our nature department is a wellbeing space where you can sit under a tree and take a quiet moment out from busy Broadmead. Our energy kitchen shows you that by washing at 30 degrees rather than 40, you save 16p per wash as well as saving energy and reducing your carbon footprint – a win-win!

The gift shop enables people to support local makers committed to ethical and sustainable practices. We actively provide trading opportunities for those from under-represented communities, including refugees, those with disabilities and LGBTQ+ creatives.

Free craft workshops, using recycled materials, for children and adults in the school holidays offer a welcome respite for families from all economic backgrounds – and craftivism is a mindful activity.

How does Sparks fit into Bristol’s citywide improvement initiatives?

Bristol has an aim to achieve net zero by 20 0; to reach this we have to make massive changes in how much we recycle, travel, use energy and more. By providing positive solutions in such a high-profile space, Sparks is helping to kickstart a shift towards more sustainable lifestyles.

What specific benefit does it bring to Broadmead? We are part of the conversation about the purpose of high streets, amid the closure of many major retailers,


We are a family run business located in Bristol covering the south west of England & Wales.

We have a male and female team and have over 35 years experience. We pride ourselves on a first class quality finish, and our testimonials speak for themselves.

We are trusted members of Dulux select decorators, Trust mark & the Guild of master craftsmen. All our work comes with a Dulux Guarantee. We can remove any draught proof system for painting.

We specialise in the following:

• Sash Window Renovation

• Sash Window Draught proofing

• Sash Window Repairs

• Sash Window Painting

• Casement Windows

• Interior & Exterior Decorating

Please contact John or Bec to discuss your requirements and arrange a FREE no obligation quote.

45 St. Francis Drive, Winterbourne, Bristol BS36 1PZ. Phone: 07976 784336 / 01454 773873 Email: | Do your sash windows need some TLC? If so, Quality Finish are the company for you!

and how these empty spaces can be used for positive social purposes. As well as contributing to the regeneration of Broadmead, Sparks has been visited by 12 other cities and towns to see if they can replicate the model in their own high streets. Bristol really is leading the way!

How sustainable was the build?

Sparks was created from 100 repurposed film and theatre sets and o ce clearances, saving hundreds of items from landfill. We’re grateful to an incredible design team from Bristol legends Invisible Circus who were able to do so much with a tiny budget in an enormous space.

How long will Sparks be open?

We have a lease until ecember 202 , but all the tenants live with the jeopardy of one month’s notice if the building is sold or repurposed. So we make the most of every month we are here.

Other than visiting and, hopefully, shopping, how can people get involved?

Come to events and workshops, join our diverse volunteer team, bring your school or youth group for an education workshop – we hope there’s something for everyone.

Tell us about a few specific stalls, creatives and exhibitions we can find at Sparks

We have some great stories of how this incubator space has been a catalyst for changing lives. For example, Meg, owner of Clothemod , set up her first business in Sparks, a styling service using vintage and upstyled clothing, with support from a Prince’s Trust grant.

And Winny, owner of African arts and clothing brand Ann Win, says she has found a home in Sparks for the first time since arriving in the UK from Sierra Leone.

FROMTOP: There’s interest and inspiration around every corner, from the Litter Globe installation to energy saving advice and the Wishing Well
“Sparks is always evolving, and we aim to deliver even more impact in our second year”

I love all our artworks, but my favourite is coming down the stairs to see children hanging over the edge of our wishing well and hearing the nature sounds and nuggets of good news that play when they press the buttons.

I’m delighted we’ve been able to give space to Bristol’s Community Champions, for diverse communities to meet and share their stories with the wider public, as well as desk spaces to the Bristol Refugee Artists Collective who had nowhere else to create their art.

And, on a busy day, I’m always grateful for a tenminute seated massage from Lauren in our nature department, or a vegan cake from Lorna at Busy V Bakery. Perks of the job!

Anything else we should know?

We’ve just celebrated our first birthday and, while it’s great to celebrate success, there’s so much more we hope to do to meet the needs of local people. Sparks is always evolving and changing, and we aim to deliver even more social and environmental impacts in our second year. n

Visit Sparks Bristol at 78 Broadmead; I BRISTOL LIFE I 59 SHOPPING


Get the design and décor right, and your bathroom can rival anything you might find in a boutique hotel. Welcome to the spathroom . . .

If the kitchen is the sociable heart of the home where family and friends gather to chat, eat and cook, the bathroom is its diametric opposite: a private escape and sanctuary –after all, there’s a reason most bathrooms have doors you can lock. Just add fluffy towels and scented candles and you have your own spa; the family can cope without you for an hour.

However, there’s nothing spa-like about cracked tiles, lime-encrusted taps or dirty grout, so if your bathroom is looking a little tired you may want to give it a facelift. But where to start? What’s in and what’s out? We asked a few local experts to give us 10 top tips to inspire us.


We’ve spent the last few decades ripping out 1970s-style avocado bathroom suites and replacing them with white. But hang on, because now the trend pendulum has swung back to colour – yes, even green (though possibly not avocado).

“Bathrooms are increasing in perceived importance within the home, and with that comes a desire to make more of a statement,” says Chris Payne at Ripples Bristol. “There’s a real move away from the ‘safe’ soft greys and taupe finishes. As manufacturers present more exciting options for bold colourways, people are becoming braver: we’ve seen a popularity of dusty pinks and brushed brass, which may be moving to a more bold primary colour with a vibrant pattern.”

However, warns Chris, you need to be in for the long haul. “A high-quality bathroom will last for decades, so there is still a wariness of the ‘avocado syndrome’”

James Sirett at Fired Earth is seeing “evocative, earthy colours dominating interiors, injecting a calming energy, and personality. Whether it be your choice of tile or paint, exciting combinations are redefining spaces; for example, our Jaipur collection includes patterns and plain

“There is still a wariness of ‘avocado syndrome’”

glazed tiles, and was inspired by our love of block-printed patterns. When used in combination they add depth and visual interest to a bathroom.”

“Green with gold brassware is very on trend,” says Gabriela Trindade of Angel Interiors. “Not an avocado shade, as that’s taking it too far back, but Studio Green has been winning over our more daring clients. However, on the other side of the spectrum we have neutrals with the bone colours and subtle finishes to give the ‘spathroom’ feel to unwind in after a long working day.”

At Red og esigns, Sally Coulden fuses art with practicality to create unique glass splashbacks and panels. She’s recently back from attending the Salone Milano –the global benchmark event for the furnishing and design sector. “There’s still room for white sink or baths,” she says, “but there’s a definite surge towards softer pastels, dusky pink being touted as one of the colours for 2024. Milan also showcased some very strong oranges and greens – both gloss and matt.”


“I saw firsthand some of the key themes for bathrooms in 2024”, says Sally. “Bathtubs were prevalent – hero pieces to anchor your bathroom. Many were sculptural pieces; just stunning.”

Meanwhile, Gabriela Trindade is seeing the popularity of “Arches, curves, natural materials, micro-cement (no grout at all) and large format tiles (less grout).


The days when bathrooms were simply a handy place to splash and go are long gone; today we’re all hankering after something you’d find in a boutique hotel. So how do we up the luxe levels?

“Using reclaimed wood as feature-wall cladding in bathrooms can create a sought-after spa aesthetic, giving

It’s hard to think of anything further than an avocado suite than this hamman-like bathroom by Fired Earth; the floor tiles are from its Naples range Nothing whispers luxury more than a wet-room style shower. Fired Earth’s Jaipur tiles are inspired by block-print patterns

the space a sense of calm and laid-back luxury,” says Tim Huffadine of Chauncey. “Our Warehouse Roof Pine was used throughout House Nine Design’s project at Gara Rock Hotel, including its suites and spa.”

“Seamlessly incorporate the shower area within the rest of your bathroom; replace the shower tray with a beautifully tiled floor to mimic the look and feel of a luxurious spa,” says James Sirett.

“Underfloor heating is brilliant, e cient and inexpensive, but also feels luxurious,” says Chris Payne. “If space allows, introduce some areas to linger in; seating with underfloor’ heating offers the next level in luxury. It helps to cement the feeling of bathrooms being places to be’ rather than just practical spaces.

And one further luxury suggested by James “A television What could be more decadent than soaking in a bath with a glass of champagne and watching your favourite movie?”

“Illuminated mirrors and mirror cabinets also make beautiful additions to any bathroom,” he says. “Use heat pads to stop them fogging up, introduce colour temperature lighting, concealed shaver sockets as well as USB ports and Bluetooth speakers... the possibilities are almost endless.”


“Mood lighting is the secret to a luxurious bathroom,” says Gabriela Trindade. “Low warm lighting is calming; there’s proven research that lighting can change your mood. Chromotherapy can have a hugely positive impact on your wellbeing.”


If you’re not quite daring enough to switch up your white sanitaryware for something bolder, tiles are the obvious


: Whatever the room size, marble is always a good idea: Onyx by Fired Earth; BELOW: Ripples were early adopters of the pastel ceramicware trend

way to introduce colour and design into the room.

“Enveloping a bathroom space in a patterned tile such as esigners Guild’s Shibori Cobalt, or a pastel stone like Aegean Pink Marble, can create a scheme which feels exciting and uplifting,” says James Sirett.

“The earthy tones of our handmade terracotta will always stand the test of time, helping to create an enduring warm impression in a home.”

“As the technology in porcelain production develops, more and more beautiful options for tile finishes become available,” says Chris Payne. “There are no wrong answers when it come to your bathroom; follow your heart, there’s never been so much choice!”


“I believe Zellige has never left since the ancient Moroccans”

ellige – those wonky handmade-looking tiles that are everywhere at the moment – should we invest in them or are they liable to date?

“ ellige tiles have been around for a long time and are like to remain popular, as they’re a versatile choice and add a touch of texture as the light bounces off them,” says Chris Payne.

“I believe ellige has never left since the ancient Moroccans,” agrees Gabriela Trindade. “We have this idea in England of large format being relatively new, but back when I was living in Brazil in 2017 it was old news to me. In the UK there’s no way we can stay away from the small squares or brick subway tiles, as it’s part of the I BRISTOL LIFE I 63 BATHROOMS


history. We have so many period properties we can’t just fit those large formats into. We have to appreciate the character of each home and complement the design with the style. ellige has definitely made the old, small format more interesting, with its size variation along with the correct lighting to add texture, making the bathroom more unique.”


Manufacturers of grouting paste, look away now.

“Replacing tiling with toughened glass panels offers a fabulous opportunity to reduce the time for cleaning the stubborn grouting.,” says Sally Coulden. “What’s more, you can introduce art into your bathroom space which is not just functional but beautiful, and creates a unique statement – totally bespoke


Stone floors obviously look wonderful and are easy to clean, but many prefer the warmth of wood.

“High-quality engineered oak flooring is a popular choice for bathrooms,” says Tim Huffadine of Chauncey. “The options are wide-ranging so it’s hard to pinpoint a trend, but what’s most important is that the flooring complements the property’s character and the client’s personal style. That said, our heavy-brushed aged oak flooring is a favourite in bathrooms at the moment, along with light tones, herringbone patterns, and rustic sawn and brushed textures.”


How about metalware – is shiny chrome out

“Certainly special finishes’ such as brushed brass or black chrome, are very popular,” says Chris Payne. “This does present something of a challenge in bringing all aspects of the bathroom together. Realistically, the best you can achieve is a complementary finish. One manufacturer’s representation of brushed brass will vary from another.

“Chrome remains the universal standard, but as demand for special finishes increases, price points will come down and uptake will grow. Living finish brassware is also growing in popularity; this is unlacquered and so develops its own patina over time, offering a unique finish which will continue to change over the years.

“Gunmetal and brass are the new chrome, for sure,” says Gabriela Trindade. “I believe out of 10 bathrooms 0 are brass or gunmetal.”


Obviously, the dream is a 2 ft bathroom with a separate walk-in shower, freestanding bath and double sinks – with a small chaise longue, perhaps – but the reality is often far more modest. So what do we do if we’re stuck with a small space

“ on’t be afraid to add colour and texture,” says James Sirett. “Our marble ranges have a classic, ageless charm; they look wonderful in any environment and create a feeling of luxury in even the smallest space.”

“Simplicity is key,” says Chris Payne. “Minimalism is overused and not for everyone, but clean lines and an absence of dirt harbours’ will make the space feel bigger.

“Clever and considered allocation of lighting can create the illusion that the space is larger than it is.

Washing the floor or a wall with concealed lighting is very effective. And don’t be afraid to incorporate mirrors into areas such as bath panels, plinths or to the rear on niches.

Red Dog’s beautiful glass panels: not just practical, but pieces of abstract art
“Contrary to belief, you can go dark and moody in small rooms”

They will bounce light around and give the illusion of depth. And float Wall mounting a WC or basin doesn’t necessarily bring more space, but it does feel like it.”

“Freestanding and wall-mounted bathroom accessories are also brilliant for creating a sense of space and airiness, while bringing a simplicity and lightness to the space, enhancing your room to the next level,” says Sally Coulden of Red og.

“Planning the layout is the most important element in small bathrooms; they can be much harder to configure, and you really want to get as much as you can out of the space available without making it look overcrowded,” says Gabriela Trindade“There’s no right or wrong with colours or tile sizes.”

And as the only rule in interiors is that there are no rules “You can go dark and moody and use super-large tiles. I usually tell my clients to embrace whatever they have. If it’s a small, dark room with no windows, embrace the darkness and go for it; again if you have the correct lighting, not having windows won’t be a problem.” n


Angel Interiors

211-213 North Street

Chauncey Unit 1 St Philip’s Trade Park, Albert Road

Fired Earth 65A Whiteladies Road

Red Dog Designs

Ripples Bristol 88 Whiteladies Road

Exquisitely Designed Kitchens, Bathrooms and Home Interiors 01275 595359 New Showroom Now Open! 211-213 North Street, Bedminster BS3 1JH Angel Interiors
Home Renovation Project Management That WORKS Every Time Call us today on: 01454 506108 FAMILY-RUN MULTI-AWARD-WINNING BUILDING SERVICES COMPANY WHO SPECIALISE IN HOME RENOVATION “We are so proud to be winners of the Bristol Life Awards, Bristol Property Awards and EntreConf Awards” - Andrew Sperring, CEO WINNER WINNER


Here in Bristol we’re not quite at more-bathrooms-than-bedrooms madness just yet, but we may well get there. These most practical of sanctuaries are fast becoming the most desired room in the house

THE BIG TIP What’s the best bathroom gadget? For my money, it’s a towel radiator. Warm, dry towels might seem a minor luxury, but they’ll bring you a quantum of pleasure each day. And if your heated rail or towel radiator is duel fuel, it can be enjoyed all year round too. TASTEMAKER The bath sits in the middle of the room against a free-standing wall, behind which sit the shower on one side and the loo on the other. See panel opposite for how to get the look 1 4 2 5 3 6


A few ideas to help refresh your bathroom without the worry of it feeling dated by the time the year is out

Demister mirrors

These are a dream: a costeffective way to make your bathroom more usable, as they eliminate the pain of the mirror fogging up. They should be wired with the main lights, so they work during periods of showering.

Raised floor levels

Particularly suits a tallceilinged Georgian house, as you won’t notice the loss of height and the raised floor level (just 20cm or so should do it) will accommodate all unsightly pipework, and maybe underfloor heating too, allowing you to keep your bathroom scheme beautifully simple.

Clever electrics

One simple addition –courtesy lighting on a PIR motion sensor – allows you to use the loo in the night without having to make that most unwelcome of decisions: turn on the main light, which will wake you up properly, or fumble about hopefully in the dark.

Playful tiling

There are so many amazing options these days there’s little excuse for picking something ugly or (almost as bad!) dull. A playful hand with these cold, hard surfaces goes a long way, with mixing gloss and matt textures a sure-fire hit, as is carefully combining tiles in a range of shapes and sizes.

Ambient lighting

You want your bathroom to be one of the most relaxing places in the house, so the lighting is at least as important here as anywhere. Wall lights can create the right soothing ambience for relaxing in the bath, while spots allow you to see yourself in the mirror properly.

Watch the fancier American property shows – Selling Sunset, Million Dollar Listing – and you can hardly help but notice a somewhat deranged trend becoming increasingly prominent: houses with more bathrooms than bedrooms. (I don’t think I dreamt one beachfront monster with four beds but nine baths.) Certainly, a two-to-one bathroom to bedroom ratio has marched from the bizarre to the unusual to the unremarkable in lickety-split time.

Though this trend is most common in Los Angeles –Harry and Meghan’s Montecito pad reportedly has nine bedrooms and 16 bathrooms – it’s spreading to the rest of us too. Certainly, most luxury developments today have a minimum one-to-one bed-to-bath ratio, and some rock two full bathrooms as part of each master suite.

An extreme love of the bathroom isn’t new, of course, but it’s getting wilder – and weirder. Until the 1960s, one bathroom was considered enough for virtually any home; by the ’70s, two was the dream; and this century two-plus has become standard.

As much about privacy, isolation and territory as cleanliness, your own bathroom has become a muchcoveted escape from partners and family – indeed, the ideal home has gone from his-and-hers sinks to his-andhers bathrooms, and (ideally) his-and-hers dressing rooms too, as part of the main suite. And that’s not all: beyond this, you’ll need further en-suites, a family bathroom for the rest of the house, and anywhere people get wet or sweaty (a gym, a sauna, a pool) will need its own bathroom too. Ludicrous though it sounds, it becomes quite easy to see where those 16 bathrooms came from.

All this is well outside the realms of 99.9% of us, of course, and comes not without in-built problems – and they’re rarely just plumbing-related (though this can be, of course, a major issue). Bathrooms cost a lot, so incorporating more adds plenty to the bottom line of a refurb, and they can seem samey; nobody wants to feel like they’re living in a showroom, after all. Imagination is needed to make sure you’re not just plopping identical hotel-style cubes hither and thither across the house.

Not that we’re totally sniffy about the hotel feel. Indeed, the demand for more and more bathrooms actually seems to come from the luxury hotel experience as much as anything – we’ve become spoiled by the idea of having an always-clean, always-tidy, absolutelyyours space for your ablutions. Spend enough time in such places and you’ll start to realise, hey, maybe I don’t want to waste my life waiting my turn at the sink each morning And so the slippery slope towards infinite bathrooms begins…


The Grade-II Victorian villa bathroom you see opposite, part of a local project we completed last year, revolves around two things: making the most of the bath itself – not always an essential in these days of extra-wide showers and wet rooms, but something the clients loved –and providing enough floor space for other bits and bobs of furniture. Putting a chair next to the tub – somewhere to temporarily hold clothes, perhaps, or relax upon while drawing a bath – was another dream of theirs, and as well as being practical added to the overall sense of tranquility, somehow.

Many bathrooms are smallish rectangles, but not this one; it had some size, having once been a bedroom, but was an awkward space, with three different floor levels and a large wall running right through the centre of it, creating awkward pockets and enclosed areas. Removing this wall increased the usable floor space dramatically, but came with assorted new problems. As so often, the biggest challenge revolved around the existing soil pipe location – right in the middle of the room, which dictated the loo position and the need for some sort of internal wall, though not necessarily the one we’d started with.

To get around this, we tucked away a small cubicle on one side of the room for the WC, the sides of which also enclosed the shower and provided a backdrop to the bespoke painted bath.

That this was a listed building added to the complications, of course, but we leaned into that fact hard, retaining existing features like the shallow period cupboard and fireplace, while taking the floor down to just two levels and even adding additional panelling to enhance the traditional feel. Of course, contrasting the new with the old is a tried-and-tested winner in the interior design game, so we complemented the retained features with a contemporary bespoke floating vanity, complete with concealed drawers and walnut dowel details. The warm tones this introduced worked beautifully with fittings in a nickel finish (from Samuel Heath’s Classic Forme collection) and the dominant paint colour, Farrow and Ball’s silvery Light Blue No.22.

Kirsty Lake is Creative Director at The Curator’s House; 01225 696996


Accessible items from our Victorian villa’s bathroom

1. North Haven basketweave niche tiles by Fired Earth, £199.20 per sq metre;

2. Aliseo marble honed finish large format tiles by Artisans of Devizes, £127.50 per sq metre (610x 610mm);

3. Cuba Porcelain Iberia feature tiles by Artisans of Devizes, £73.50 per sq metre;

4. Bonheur ceramic white shower tiles by Artisans of Devizes, £75.20 per sq metre;

5. Toulouse 1500 bath by Victoria + Albert, bespoke colour from £3,800;

6. Dover large tail sconce wall light in burnished silver leaf with linen shade by Visual Comfort & Co, £409; I BRISTOL LIFE I 69
2 4 5 1



Unique social business occasion: live interview with Evelyn Welch, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol, with 50 Bristol businesses.

JOIN US Thursday 6 June from 12pm

BE PART OF THE CONVERSATION If you would like to get involved, email
Sponsored by: Scan here for tickets






MediaClash’s latest Property Symposium explored how to build a sustainable legacy for future generations – starting right now

Social history museum M Shed was an apt setting for the latest Property Symposium on 16 April, which focused on sustainability. Once a dockside transit shed, M Shed’s evolution and reuse of purpose was one of the core issues explored by many of the keynote speakers, along with climate change, resource depletion, and the changing social values driving changes within the property industry. Challenges and responsibilities were also discussed, as well as opportunities and innovative solutions. Here are just a few of the highlights.



“We need to go further than box- ticking, and not just look at the bare requirements”


Nick Spicer, CEO of solar energy contractor Your Eco emphasised the urgency of addressing energy consumption right now, citing its tangible impact on global carbon emissions. With buildings alone responsible for 40 per cent of these emissions, the need for immediate action is clear.

Nick spoke of major global initiatives such as piping solar energy from Morocco, showcasing the potential for large-scale sustainable solutions. But, given that we have just had the hottest decade on record, it is evident we need to speed up what we are doing threefold. “We need to go further than box-ticking, and not just look at the bare requirements.”

He noted that one of the most economic

Ann Cousins, associate director at Arup, shed light on the global megatrends shaping sustainable development. With a focus on population growth, resource consumption and climate breakdown, alongside less obvious factors such as digital innovation, uncertain governance, wars and a growing middle class, the interconnectedness of the long term and short term sustainability challenge was made clear. Design strategy solutions include the circular economy approach, a system where materials never become waste and nature is regenerated, so materials and products are continuously cycled at their highest value for as long as possible. “With a multi-stakeholder model, the circular economy seeks to unite parties within the value chain to design out waste and avoid emissions,” she said.


Third key note speaker was Allison Bradbury, head of HM Land Registry, who informed the 140-strong audience of a new system for local land charges to overhaul the current outmoded, unreliable and inconsistent register. The project, now in its third year and due to continue for another four, is pulling together the records of 1 local authorities, and creating an online register for a consistent and more e cient service. Everyone accessing this data will be able to know the planning conditions in a region almost immediately, and could therefore help reduce costs – and prevent mortgages falling through at the last minute.


We then had perspectives from Savills head of planning Craig O’Brien, and the company’s sustainable design director Dan Jestico, who cited Bristol as now the 1 th most expensive city in the world to build in. This is partly due to competition for labour and supply chain resources in the city, given Bristol’s proximity with Hinkley Point, Europe’s single largest

development, and how to weigh up whether it is more sustainable to refit, refurbish, or rebuild an old building. The fate of the Premier Inn Bristol City Centre (Haymarket) hotel, site of the former Avon County H , was decided by measuring tangible carbon factors, such as materials, transportation, and water consumption, alongside the improved public realm and better internal design quality. The building was then deemed more appropriate for a refit and is now 442 purpose-built student accommodations and 1 2 co-living units.


Peter Smith, head of change and sustainability with Bristol Sport, based at Ashton Gate, shared insights to its Project Whitebeam, which is named after a tree only found around Avon Gorge. He spoke passionately and informatively about the work his communitybased business is involved in to help reduce carbon emissions and promote sustainability within sport. He conceded that while there might be a cynicism, when the amount of carbon emissions top level football generates is considered, for example, there was also hope in that, historically, sport is often at the forefront of pioneering for positive change.


Before the networking lunch, a closing panel of Emma Sueref, director of sustainability and growth at Coreus Group; Nick James, a sustainability professional with 20 years of experience working with property investment, development, design and construction organisations; Tina Radka, the co-founder and managing director at Airsat Real Estate; and Your Eco’s Nick Spicer, discussed a range of topics, including how to connect and highlight the issue of sustainability with those who are ambivalent, as well as the power there is in refusing to work with those who won’t accept that change is important. n

FROMLEFT: Speakers, Nick Spicer; Ann Cousins; Peter Smith


MediaClash has launched a new Network series of business roundtables. As a forerunner to this event, the company held a discussion hosted by ALMEDA FACILITIES, focusing on how we can all build a brighter Bristol

Bringing together the region’s leading businesspeople for a discussion which would touch on politics and transport was always going to be interesting. The key themes to come out of the discussion concerned making Bristol a better-connected city – with Copenhagen and Amsterdam cited as ambitious benchmarks.


The discussion started by broadly discussing confidence and mood among businesses.

“Through our network we hear lots of positive business stories, and the way the city comes together for our Bristol Life Awards shows the spirit in the region,” said Steph odd, MediaClash’s managing director.

“There are challenges though, particularly in the property and development sector, which has slowed

down. There is also some concern about what Bristol will look like without a mayor, and what this will mean for development in the region.”

Brady George is the managing director of Almeda, a - strong facilities management business which works with many of the city’s most iconic buildings.

“Bristol is a fantastic place to start a business,” said Brady, “and we’re proud to be born and raised here, but I do keep hearing about many companies struggling to access funding that is right for them. Around 0 per cent of all private equity and venture capital funding is still flowing through London, and the regions are sharing the rest of the blood supply among themselves.”


When asked which challenge was most acute for her business, Hazel Geary, CEO of The Wave, said it was about people – both finding them and keeping them.

“We go from 70 members of staff in the winter to over 220 in the summer, and trying to find people, and get them out to Easter Compton with no bus network, is a challenge,” said Hazel. “We pay above the minimum wage for entry roles, but we’re also finding that keeping great people can be hard, due to them not being able to find affordable housing.”

Some have said that Bristol has a problem with scale, with not enough companies growing to the size of a business such as Hargreaves Lansdown. So, what has been this financial company’s secret sauce

“It’s really been about culture and putting our customer first,” said anny Cox, head of communications at the firm. “Bristol has also been good to us, and this discussion is about challenges and building a brighter city. We’ve always tried to be part of the solution and drive change. We’ve adapted too, and most recently that has been about hybrid working.”


B agrees that culture is vital to being successful in times of boom and bust “Everything from the economy to pandemics can be swirling around your business, and not all of it is in your control, but you can control your culture, and we feel this is important to ensuring your employees want to come into the o ce and learn from each other and push forward.”


Not so long ago, Bristol was the Green Capital of Europe, and its then-mayor, George Ferguson was resolutely banging the sustainability

Helen Bartlett, design at Paramount

drum. But is the subject getting enough attention from Bristol businesses, in a context of challenging economic conditions?

Theresa Jordan is the founder of Hummingbird Events. “More and more clients are asking about green credentials and making this central to what they want, which is great,” she says. “On the flip side though, to go to meetings you can’t always be sustainable because you can’t get to everywhere via public transport.”

Ian Fernandes Johnson, managing director of Independent esign House, says that things are much more brutal in the construction sector.

“Five years ago people used to ask us about our green credentials, and they would place a value on social value and ESG,” he says, “but now it’s much more about bottom line. We have gone back ten years as an industry, as when it comes to the end of private or public sector tender, it’s all about how much can you take off the price.”

“The issues around transport are perennial,” said Paul Williams, a director at Avison Young. “They seep into sustainability because we have the stick of congestion charges but not the carrot of good public transport options. I am seeing requirements for o ces of good size to be EPC and BREEAM highly rated though, so sustainability is driving decisionmaking in this space.”


Nationally, Bristol is ‘competing’ against other city regions – and one which seems to have a clear story is Manchester. Is there much we can learn from the UK’s third-biggest city?

Richard Lowe, the founder of Tech West England Advocates, says he questions what Bristol’s vision actually is.

“Remember Bristol 2050 – what happened to that? We need to be clear on what type of city we want to be and what we’re working towards.

There needs to be more of a focus on scaling companies and support beyond just start-ups.”

Ed Rowberry, founding chief executive at Bristol and Bath Regional Capital, says he has “observed that there has been a vision for Bristol through the One City Plan, which has been well-publicised, and about reducing inequality and focusing on decarbonisation, supported via funding mechanisms like City Funds.

“This model could be taken to the next level via a regionally based sovereign wealth fund or similar, underpinned by a clear long term regional strategy – this could be to further support businesses and infrastructure. Such a decentralised funding structure could deliver good outcomes for the region in a joinedup way.”

Regarding the Manchester point specifically, says Ed, “It’s not as straightforward to say that Manchester does it better, because our geography

is complex to navigate in the South West, given the varied political makeup of the region. This is partly driven by the mix of major urban conurbations, towns, and rural areas. Each area has different motivations and requirements, and it’s harder to operate in this varied environment.”

Karl Brown is a commercial property solicitor at Clarke Willmott. Regarding the vision for the region, he says he would urge our leaders to do more about creating a clearer vision and solving issues around transport, so people can easily get from central Bristol to The Wave.

So, is Bristol’s future bright?

Despite the challenges it seems so, and just by the very nature of so many successful businesses being around the table, you can safely conclude it is – albeit with embedded obstacles around transport and sustainability.

For more:

BACKROW: Steph Dodd, Brady George, Ed Rowberry, Hazel Geary, Helen Bartlett, Karl Brown, Richard Lowe, Ian Fernandes-Johnson, Danny Cox, Ollie Ballard, Alice Gardner; FRONTROW: Paul Williams, Moataz Gad, Theresa Jordan
PRIVATE CLIENT - FAMILY - PROPERTY - COMMERCIAL Offices in: Henleaze, Whiteladies Road Clifton Village, Shirehampton 0117 962 1205




Look at us now! Bristol Life held a 20th anniversary party for colleagues and friends at the Wiper and True Brewery & Taproom in Old Market.

The estimable Jon Craig took the photos – just as he has done for the past 20 years...

LaToyah McAllister-Jones Emma Frayling Jess Powell, Tristan Hogg, Sarah Bailey, Jon Simon and Romany Simon
Photos by @joncraig_photos Kevin Holland and guests Guest, Abigail Horsey and George Mann Dave Dixon, Rebecca Sheehy and Mike Hill Sumit and Puja Chadha Emma Harvey, Jemma Holden and LaToyah McAllister-Jones Sarah Thorp, Samaya Ling, Safaa Ayyoub, Emma Catherine and Sally Couldon Michael Wiper and Abby Burland Guest, Nick Roberts and John Birties Neil Snow, Claire Ladkin, Bob Irwin and Jamie Butt Lizzie O’Neill, Robin Knibb, Gemma Wright and Matthew Edis Amanda Adams, Deri Robins and Natalie Johnson


Two new confs and yet more awards . . .

EntreConf, the region’s leading event for entrepreneurs, is expanding, with two new conferences, more awards, a doubling of its main activity and the appointment of a key new advisor.

The new conferences are for young entrepreneurs in Bristol and Bath. Called EntreConf Go, the aim is to inspire early-stage entrepreneurs with relatable case studies, advice on starting up and some useful introductions.

The events will be free to attend for 16-25 year olds from all educational backgrounds.

“It’s important to support and encourage young entrepreneurs, particularly because they have been the most affected by the pandemic,” said EntreConf’s founder, Greg Ingham. “It’s about entrepreneurialism as a career choice, seeing employment through a different lens.

“It’ll help generate new business in the city and provide a powerful channel for companies keen to be associated with the next generation.”

EntreConf Go in Bristol will be held this autumn.

EntreConf itself is doubling up to two days this year, following last year’s sold-out success. It will run on 19 and 20 June at Watershed, with keynotes, speakers and sessions ranging from food entrepreneur Charlie Bigham to former PlayStation, Xbox and Google SVP Phil Harrison on pitching for funds, along with the remarkable inside story of EnsiliTech.Tickets are now available.

EntreConf has also appointed a special advisor in David Maher Roberts. David has had many years experience with tech and creative entrepreneurs, and was most recently chief executive of Dialect. He also founded TechSPARK and advises Bristol Innovations among several others.

Meantime the EntreConf Awards are returning. Nominations have just opened and include two new categories: Advisor and Pre-Revenue Businesses. Finalists will be revealed at EntreConf in June, with the Awards running in September at the Aerospace Museum in September.

“Entrepreneurialism is so strong in this region,” said Greg Ingham. “Multiple great successes plus


extraordinary universities backed by an appetite for both innovation and risk have created a wonderful ecosystem of new businesses and scale-ups.”

Companies currently involved in EntreConf include Cazenove Capital, Ambitious, Burges Salmon, Lombard Odier, Link Stone Advisory, London Stock Exchange, Mostly Media, Bristol Creative Industries, Modular, University of Bath, Thrive, Babbassa, Bath Spa Uni, Storm Consultancy and Optimising IT.

To be part of EntreConf, please contact

All info:


CHARLIE BIGHAM Bigham’s: £120m sales foodie business. How?

EMMA MILLINGTON CEO and Co-owner, Modular Digital

ANDY SALMON Bath Spa Uni: Next gen thinking –all change

NICK HOUNSFIELD What next for The Wave’s Founder?



EVELYN WELCH VC, University of Bristol. Reveal of transformative, ambitious Temple Quarter strategy

ASEL SARTBAEVA Next Big Thing: Ensilitech

PAUL DUGGAN Partner at Blake Morgan

JOYANN BOYCE Founder and CEO of Inclued AI

MARGARET HEFFERNAN Professor in Practice, University of Bath School of Management

CHERIE-ANNE BAXTER-BLYTH Marketing director, Unividual

PHIL HARRISON Former EVP PlayStation, Google & Xbox on pitching

LAURA AIKEN Founder & management consultant, Thrive Leadership

NATASHA MCKENZIE Chief Executive of Talisman Sparro

RICHARD SPILSBURY Founder, Link Stone Advisory

STUART SMITH Owner and managing director, Mostly Media

DAVID GOODALL Fund Manager at FW Capital

LAUREN CRAWLEYMOORE Regional lead for London Stock Exchange

NICHOLAS STUBBS Director, Arc Global

YASIN ROFCANIN Director of the Future of Work Research Centre, University of Bath School of Management

WELCOME TO THE MINDSPA 19-20 June 2024. Watershed, Bristol KEYNOTES MORE SPEAKERS ANNOUNCED: WWW.ENTRECONF.COM TICKETS PANEL PARTNERS INSIGHTS PARTNER CONTENT PARTNERS ASSOCIATE PARTNERS CURRENT SPEAKERS #EntreConf For partnerships: For event details: For nominations: Entrepreneurialism celebrated AWARDS HEADLINE PARTNER 26 September 2024. Aerospace Bristol CATEGORY FEATURE Scan here for more Finalists revealed: EntreConf, June 19-20 EntreConf Awards: September 26 NOMINATIONS CLOSE JUNE 5
Current sponsors: Headline sponsor: BRISTOL PROPERTY AWARDS | 29 NOVEMBER 2024 | ASHTON GATE STADIUM | @BRISPROPERTYAWD BIGGEST PROPERTY EVENT IN THE CITY: BE PART OF IT… Talk with us about sponsorship: • Connect with leading Bristol property businesses, across all sectors • Bene t from a multiple channel marketing campaign, reaching thousands • Stand out amongst your peers at this prestigious, unique event For details: BENEFIT FROM THE AWARDS: PARTNERSHIPS AVAILABLE

The Traditional Timber Window Co.

Providing a range of window services in Bristol, Bath and surrounding areas.

We supply and install Hardwood Windows and doors and specialise in transforming single glazed sash windows into double glazed heat efficient ones while retaining all traditional features. Proudly serving Bristol and Bath for more than 35 years. Our products are lovingly handmade in the UK.

Unit 4 Midsomer Enterprise Park, Midsomer Norton, Bath BA3 2BB 01179 000 061 |



THRINGS corporate partner Elaine Meyrick meets Emma Downer, creator of home improvement advice platform DIY WITH EMMA

Elaine Meyrick: What is DIY with Emma and how did it get started?

Emma Downer: I’m a Bristolbased content-creator focused on making home DIY and maintenance more accessible to everyone, creating videos that talk people through everyday tasks to the challenging stuff that people might not think they can do.

The catalyst was a burst pipe at my parents’ house. Feeling scared and with no idea what to do, I called an emergency plumber, who charged me £120 simply to turn off the stop tap. I definitely could have done that if I’d known how and it made me determined to learn what I needed to know to look after my home.

I took a sabbatical from work to do up the house I’d just moved into. A year later, we were all in lockdown and everyone was trying their hand at DIY, with many getting stuck trying to fix things themselves.

I started posting videos on TikTok about what I was doing to the house, and would get messages asking how I did something or what tool I’d used, which inspired me to make more videos that answered these kinds of questions.

I’d started out just posting to help people out but, with the engagement I was getting, it wasn’t long before I realised there was an opportunity to make something more of it and it has just gone from there. I now have a DIY community of nearly one million people and have made over 2000 videos that have been watched over 250 million times. I’ve worked with some amazing partners

including BBC Studios, Pinterest, Wickes, B&Q and even Disney!

EM: How did it feel to be named this year’s best new business at the Bristol Life Awards?

ED: It was genuinely such a surprise to be named the winner. There were some incredible businesses in my category that I really respect so it was very humbling. I remember flicking through Bristol Life while I was contemplating what to do with my life after graduation, so to see myself with this award does feel like life has come full circle.

EM: Why in your view is it important for people to learn these kinds of skills?

ED: Having a sense of autonomy, that you are capable and have control of your own life, is a basic human need. This applies nowhere more to us than in our own homes. Teaching yourself DIY doesn’t just improve the house but can have a positive impact on health and wellbeing. What I really like about creating content is that it gives people the metaphorical tools to do something they couldn’t before, whether that’s simply putting up a shelf or renovating their whole house. I’ve had people message me to say thanks for helping them do something, but the reality is that they’ve done it themselves!

EM: What advice would you give to a first-time DIY-er?

ED: Start with something you feel comfortable doing and take it from there, making it a little more challenging each time.

Discovering that you can do something you didn’t think you could is exhilarating, it really spurs you on to try harder things. There was a time I’d never put up a shelf and I still make mistakes, it’s a normal part of learning – I remember vividly every tin of paint I’ve ever dropped!

EM: What’s next for DIY with Emma?

GT: I’m currently working on three massive projects. The first being to consolidate all of my content onto my website, making it much easier for people to access the videos most relevant to their projects.

Secondly, I am about to launch a DIY home-maintenance course for the complete beginner.

Finally, I’m in the process of setting up a female-focused workwear company. There are few practical options available for women. Historically workwear companies design for men, “pink it and shrink it” and think it will satisfy the female market. I want to create something that is practical and fashionable. I’m fortunate to have a formal education in clothing, with experience working for the MoD in PPE and I’m currently exploring some exciting opportunities to bring forward a line that is planet-first and size inclusive, watch this space!

To find out more about DIY with Emma, visit or follow @diywithemma on Youtube, Instagram and TikTok. n

The Paragon, Counterslip, Redcliffe, Bristol BS1 6BX tel: 01225 340000


Spacious, characterful, a prime location: welcome to the perfect Bristol family home

Words by Ursula Cole

Pembroke Road needs no introduction from us. One of Bristol’s most swellegant thoroughfares – really, it should be called an avenue – running almost parallel and equidistant from Whiteladies Road and the Avon Gorge, it’s famous for two things: the elegant, typically Georgian and Victorian mansions that line each side of the street, and the fact that if you were to place it at the centre of a three-mile radius, the circle you’d described would take in the absolute best of the city. Clifton Village, of course, is even closer, a mere hop, while the Downs are virtually on your doorstep.

Over the years we’ve featured numerous lovely homes here in our Showcase section, and now joining the list is Number 7, located near the ‘city’ end of the street.

At a casual glance you might pin the Grade-II semidetached house as being late-Georgian; in fact it’s a little newer, having been built by Victorians still in thrall to the graceful proportions of the earlier era.

It’s exceptionally spacious – the kind of home which effortlessly accommodates five or six bedrooms on the top floors, large receptions on the raised ground floor and still has an entire lower floor left to play with, along with plenty of smaller rooms and nooks for studies, a dressing room, stores, gym and laundry; those little spaces which, in absorbing all the clutter and less glamorous elements of domestic life, allow the hero rooms to shine.

The house is screened from the road by a mature hedge and shallow wall; stone pillars frame the entrance to a large expanse of off-street parking for five or six cars, along with a Tesla charge point.

Pulling up with a satisfying crunch on the gravel, you need to take a moment to admire the handsome golden facade with its deep, columned side porch, its dentil detail replicated above the bay window at the front, beneath a pretty stone balustrade.


From the inner hallway you can explore the ground floor, where a refreshed and refurbished style blends seamlessly with the original features. Stripped-back and distressed wooden floorboards run throughout the house, and there’s plenty of period plasterwork, fireplaces and shuttered sash windows to enjoy.

An arch leads into an open-plan kitchen-diner and sitting room – L-shaped and sociable, it’s the perfect space for families. The newly fitted e ol kitchen with its Bert May tiled splashback overlooks the garden through a pair of huge multipaned sash windows; this room really couldn’t be much lighter if you took the roof off. There’s an Everhot range cooker, a large central island and space for a large dining table.

In addition to the living room at the front, made cosy during colder days by a woodburner set into the fireplace, is a smaller room with a charming Art eco ceramic fireplace and original plasterwork. It’s currently used as a family room, but if you’re given to throwing formal dinner parties this sweet 12x12 ft space would be ideal.

A stone staircase that really can only be described as sweeping leads to a light and airy first-floor landing. With so much space to play with, who can blame the current owners for giving over the whole floor to an indulgent suite, made up of a master bedroom, sitting room with a woodburning stove, dressing room, home o ce and their own private bathroom


It’s a charmer of a bathroom, too, with its freestanding bath, bow-fronted double basin and Delft-tiled oversized walk-in shower. Three more double bedrooms, a study and shower room lie above.

And there’s more. With both a separate entrance and inner access to the main house, the large self-contained three-bedroom flat at lower-ground level is handy for stashing independent kids, grannies or guests – or, we guess if you have them, staff. It’s equally ideal for rental or AirBnb.

At the back of the house, the parklike south-facing walled garden has pleached holly trees for privacy and shade, and a mature apple tree; there’s a treehouse and climbing frame along with a wooden summer house which is currently fitted as a gym, complete with power and light.

Bags of character, room for even the largest tribe to spread out and grow, and ‘that’ location; another Pembroke Road classic.


Guide price


Receptions 2 in main house; large kitchen/diner; 1/2 studies

Bedrooms 5/6

What else? Three-bed lowerground floor apartment

Outside Large back garden, front drive for up to six cars

Call my agent: Rupert Oliver 14 Waterloo Street, Clifton 0117 452 3555 I BRISTOL LIFE I 87 PROPERTY



Hidden Banksys, d’n’b

and a boat-load of history: Thekla turns 40 this month, but how much do you really know about it?

After arriving in Bristol’s Floating Harbour in 1 , Thekla, then called the Old Profanity Showboat, quickly anchored itself within the cultural heart of Bristol, hosting hundreds of theatre, cabaret, comedy and live music events.

After the Old Profanity closed its doors in August 1 , the newly named Thekla emerged from the late ’ 0s punk scene; later it embraced musical genres inspired by homegrown bands Massive Attack, Roni Size and Portishead.

“To be celebrating 40 years in Bristol is incredible,” says Thekla manager Alex Black. “It comes at a pivotal time for independent music venues, acting as a space for emerging artists to grow, and inspiration for grassroots venues faced with rising operational costs.

“Celebrating four decades of Thekla signifies the power of culture and arts, and how important it is to the city, and for the city.”

Here are 10 thing you may not know about the boat.


As a merchant vessel initially built in 1 , Thekla shipped timber around the Baltic Sea, including in and out of the former Soviet Union.


Thekla had three sister ships, including the Ray of Hope, which ended its days as a shipwreck in the Bahamas.


After opening in 1 4 as The Old Profanity Showboat, the venue partnered with Bristol Old ic to showcase small plays from local students and playwrights.


One of the venue’s earliest flagship plays was the comic opera Stinkfoot by iv Stanshall, who then lived on board with his family. The play was designed to be performed at Thekla in 1 ; it later transferred to London’s Bloomsbury Theatre, partly funded by Stephen Fry.


Before their international breakthrough, Pulp were among the first to headline Thekla in the mid-1 0s.


In the late 1990s, Thekla hosted an event called Phillie Nights, run by members of The Ladies Posse – one of the first all-female J collectives in the country.

7Banksy’s Grim Reaper was originally painted on the hull in the early ’noughties, but it was painted over by theharbour master without the permission of the Thekla’s owners –who were, understandably, pretty furious. Banksy returned soon after to repaint the mural, which has now been removed to protect it from damage; it’s currently on longterm loan to M Shed. Banksy is rumoured to have tagged the inside of Thekla a further three times, though these works have all since been lost.


Now the internationally known frontman of Idles, Joe Talbot first gained recognition in Bristol from working aboard Thekla and becoming its resident Saturday-night J.


Bring Me the Horizon filmed a live music video here in 201 , using footage taken entirely from the crowd’s phone cameras, just a few days after releasing their album Sempiternal

10The boat’s Thursday night, Pressure, has been running for almost 1 years; that spans almost 12 sets of students who’ve started and graduated since the night it launched. For more

CLOCKWISE: Yep, that’s the boat; Joe Talbot of Idles on the decks; inside Thekla, in case you’ve never been; Banksy’s Grim Reaper; Stinkfoot; a Comic Opera

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.