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The Bristol Hotel Review…

April 10, 2019
Disclosure.  My stay at The Bristol Hotel was complimentary, but all opnions are my own and under no obligation.
Picture of the outside of hte hotel and the brutalist architecture.
Picture of the main lobby with a huge bouquet of flowers and red berry drink bowl with glasses for guest to try.

I love to travel and visit new places, I mean who doesn’t?!  Typically, when it comes to accommodation, I research Airbnb’s for their affordability and knowledge of the local area.  Whilst hosts can be a wealth of information my recent experience at The Bristol Hotel, with Supal, opened my eyes to impeccable, family run, boutique accommodations.  The Bristol Hotel is located a short 10-minute walk from Temple Meads station and is a fine example of Brutalist architecture.  The easy stroll takes you through Queen Square, a beautiful example of a Georgian park, with cobbled streets and magnificent town houses.

Picture of the room with a beautiful bed, matching red coverlet and bedside lamps.
Picture of Bristol magazine and hotel hotepad and pencil.
Picture of room and bed from a different angle.

Arriving and check in was incredibly quick and whilst Supal dealt with the paperwork I sampled the flavoured water!  This was changed regularly throughout our weekend stay with my favourite being the redberry.  Hearing we were there to explore Bristol we had a fantastic conversation with Jane about the history of Bristol, current attractions and restaurant tips.  Bristol is a destination for business during the week, supporting the banking and defence industry, and corporate workers seeking a quick city weekend break like Supal and I. 

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Once we had checked into our room we headed outside to walk around the immediate area.  The Bristol Hotel’s location is central and on the harbour. It is easy to access the Clifton and Stokes Croft areas as well as the old town area.  Upon our return we had dinner in The River Grille and I haven’t enjoyed a meal like that for a long time!  Wanting to taste more than one dish we choose differently for each course.  Spiced pumpkin soup and seared scallops were delicious for our starters.  It had been a bit chilly as we walked and the soup warmed me up perfectly! 

Picture of the The River Grille showing off the large glass windows looking out to the harbour.

Another picture of The River Grille showing the tables decked out ready for dinner.
PIcture of starters and drinks.

For mains there was duck leg confit, and spinach and ricotta gnocchi.  Both divine and we added some green beans and roasted cauliflower for added vegie sides.  Feeling extremely full we chose to share a chocolate fondant that we couldn’t finish!  I would have loved to also try the oreo cheesecake. But it would have been wasteful and allows me to go again!  Unlike other hotel restaurants I have patroned, The River Grille’s clientele was mainly locals. Everyone was enjoying the fine dining experience with views of the harbour.  I was secretly hoping to witness a proposal but no such luck!

Pictures of mains and sides.
Picture of dessert.

Our room had fantastic views of canal boats dotted along the harbour leading across Bristol to the distant green hills of the Ashton Court Estate.  The room had ameneties from Temple Spa and a desk area for corporate travellers.  Falling into the plush red arm chair was delightful. Perfect to plan our venture outside from. 

Picture of view of harbour from room.

In the morning we had breakfast in bed.  My preferred option as I truly dislike getting ready, going downstairs and then returning to the room again.  I would rather lounge in the towelling robe as I eat from my preferred food selection!

Picture of me on the bed with my breakfast on a large tray!
Picture of close up of breakfast with all the trimmings.

Bristol is such a fantastic west country city that I have returned three times in six months. I have a Bristol locals food guide here and a 48 hours in Clifton guide here.  Let me know if you go and stay at The Bristol Hotel.  I’d love to hear about your trip!  PF xo

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Travel

Things To Do In Clifton, Bristol – An Itinerary…

March 27, 2019
Picture of tower in clifton, bristol.  48 hours in clifton itinerary.

Bristol is fast becoming one of my favourite destinations in the UK. I have been there three times in the past six months, and each time I discover something else to do. If you are looking to spend some time there, I recommend basing yourself in Clifton. Full of Georgian houses from the 18th century, Clifton was and remains a well to do area. This is also evident by the wider streets, myriad of trees and how often there is only one door bell on the home. Very few are carved into flats! You can easily spend a relaxing 48 hours in Clifton, whether it be for a family weekend away, girls catch up or a more romantic itinerary. There are plenty of things to do in Clifton that I hope you enjoy!

Picture of me in front of colourful houses of clifton, bristol.  48 hours in clifton itinerary.
PIcture of hot air balloon tiles in clifton.  48 hours in clifton itinerary.
Picture of colourful house street in clifton.  48 hours in clifton itinerary.

Getting To Clifton.

Bristol is on one of the most expensive train lines in the UK so heads up, book your ticket as early as possible. Waiting until the last minute can see the fare become £80+ return with Great Western Rail! I have found booking my fares separately and not as a return ticket helps to reduce the price. The quickest train journey is an hour and thirty-five minutes from London.

An easy city to navigate with a car there are residents parking restrictions to navigate. The bus system is simple to use and the schedule is reflected accurately on google maps. Locals use an app to pay but you can also use apple pay and your bank card with the tap function. From the main station, Temple Meads, it’s just thirty minutes by bus.

Picture of house in clifton.  48 hours in clifton itinerary.

Staying In Clifton.

With plenty of large, Georgian houses there are many Airbnbs available for your stay. I have found Bristol to be quite popular and would encourage you to book early. Once or twice a month there are festivals and conferences filling up the accommodation options. Looking to splurge and make it a luxury 48 hours? Stay in The Berkeley Square Hotel or upgrade to their self-contained suites. Technically just out of Clifton it is only a few minutes extra walk.

Shopping In Clifton.

Clifton Village is the main shopping area filled with independent traders of flowers, art and homewares. Start in Clifton Arcade where a mix on antique stores, homewares and jewellery can be browsed and purchased. Within the same block on the adjoining corner is Papersmiths. The well-known, Bristol stationary supplier selects their products based on their design led appeal. Annie’s is a popular cake shop rounding out the stores of interest in this street.

Picture of stationary in pinkmans.  They set everthing out so it is laying on a wooden table and very design like.  For example three pens the same together and then 3 erasers together.

Cross the road to Princess Victoria Street and head to Waterloo Street. Here you can purchase flowers at Lisa Elliot Floral Design or a punnet of daffodils. Peruse art and books at Sky, where everything that is colourful resides. If you are looking for a birthday or special occasion card this is the place! Round the block to The Mall where all the high end stores are. Handbags, clothing and bespoke jewellery can be found here.

Picture of Sky shop in Clifton Village.  48 hours in clifton itinerary.
Closer image of sky shop in clifton village.  48 hours in clifton itinerary.
PIcture of flower shop in clifton village.  48 hours in clifton itinerary.
Picture of closer shot of flowers in store.  48 hours in clifton itinerary.
Picture of reg the veg shop in clifton village.  48 hours in clifton itinerary.
closer picture of vegetables and apples and pears.  48 hours in clifton itinerary.
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Things To Do In Clifton.

The Clifton Lido was restored in 2008 having originally been built in the 1840’s. A secret place of sanctuary for locals the heated pool and hot tubs are in frequent use. Weekends are restricted to members however you can jump the queue with a food package or massage bookings. A lovely way to spend half a day unwinding and stretching out your muscles. The food is absolutely delicious!

Picture of outside of Lido in Clifton.  48 hours in clifton itinerary.
Picture of renovation pictures of clifton lido.  It was in a very sorry state!  48 hours in clifton itinerary.
Picture of the changing rooms at the clifton lido.  48 hours in clifton itinerary.
Picture of the restaturant at the lido clifton.  48 hours in clifton itinerary.

The Grade 1 listed, Clifton Suspension Bridge spans the Avon Gorge and is a masterpiece of British engineering. Take a walk and visit the lookout points at Observatory Hill, or join locals for a tour of the bridge every weekend. Excitedly in the past couple of years vaults were found underneath the bridge and tours now operate to explore this space. Venture across the bridge is you dare! Suspension bridges are made to move and this one is known to swing in the winds!

Picture of the suspension bridge clifton.  48 hours in clifton itinerary.

Venturing Outside The Clifton Bubble.

Looking to do a little more in your 48 hours? Head north to the University of Bristol Botanic Gardens where there is a magnificent Arts and Crafts style house called ‘The Holmes’. Open all year round the glass houses are large and the tropical plants helped warm our bones.

Picture of The Holmes House.  48 hours in clifton itinerary.
Picture of me in the greenhouse.  48 hours in clifton itinerary.
Picture of the catus in the greenhouse.  48 hours in clifton itinerary.

Picture of the ferns in the greenhouse.  48 hours in clifton itinerary.
PIcture of me in the greenhoues holding my camera and smiling at hte camera.

Go south of Clifton to Pinkmans for delicious donuts and sourdough pizzas! On the same road are many high street stores for you to browse in. Stokes Croft is a bus ride away and has plenty of graffiti artworks, vintage stores and artist cafes. If you really want to stretch the legs get a train to Bath and add another location to your itinerary.

Picture of the Pinkmans sign.  48 hours in clifton itinerary.

Picture of inside Pinkmans bakery.  48 hours in clifton itinerary.
Picture of a pinkmans donut against a grafitti wall.  48 hours in clifton itinerary.

I’d love to head about your trip to Clifton. Let me know about it in the comments. PF xo

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Travel

Cosy Indoor Outdoor Places in London…

March 4, 2019

London can be a fantastic place to visit but at this time of year the weather can be against you. Looking for lovely, cosy indoor places that still have access to outdoor light and a sense of space? I’ve often found rainy days in London make me want to hibernate but with a renewed sense of energy I discovered these places to share with you. Many of these locations have multiple rooms or stores to visit so you spend your entire day rainy day here.

Perfect for a group get together.

Picture of the entrance to the Victoria Market Halls with people walking back and forth past it.
Picture of the sandwich board outside the Marks.et Hall Victoria saying now open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and drink
Picture of the inside of the Victoria Market Halls with glass roof and lots of people eating and drinking.

Victoria Market Halls. Perfect for a group catch up with friends the Victoria Market Halls stretch across two floors with a glass roof over the main stairwell. I’ve been here a couple of times with friends and it’s the perfect spot for a gathering of friends with different budgets. Once you secure a table everyone can pop to their preferred street food joint and order what they like. There is no pressure to have a drink and you can mix and match your food. Whilst it is quite busy after work during the day this is a great place to bring the laptop and work on your business or catch up with your friend who’s just become a parent!

A location that no one knows about.

Picture of the Wallace Museam glass roof and beautiful pastal pink brick walls with white trim.
Picture of the restaurant set up at the Wallace Museam.  Set as a fine dining area.
Picture of resturant at the Wallace Museam with the gold bar area and people having coffee.

The Wallace Collection. One of the Wallace families’ homes, Hertford House, displays the art collection that was brought together by four generations. Free to enter, each room has bright flocked wallpaper covered in a significant number of artworks. Some of the rooms have two or three of the same painting with slight variation by the artist. An old version of art prints! In the middle of the building is the glamourous, glass roofed restaurant. There are full size trees and the ceiling is over three stories high. I visited with a friend on a rainy day. We dropped our things into the cloak room to wander around all the rooms. Once we were peckish we had some lunch under the roof as we listened to the rain. The best bit was The Wallace Collection isn’t well known and a little bit of a walk from Baker Street Station which means it is quite empty and it is likely you will have the place to yourself.

Art for everybody.

Picture of the interior of the V&A museam gallary with glass roof.
Another V&A gallary filled with art work and statues and a glass roof.

Victoria and Albert Museam. My absolute favourite museum in London with over 140 rooms to explore. As you weave through the large Victorian building light streams in from various large windows and glass roofs. I have yet to see every room in the museum despite visiting regularly and you could easily lose a day here! There are also two cafes offering warm drinks, scones and cakes and more substantial foods. If you choose to become a member there is another cafe just for you under a glass top. The best bit about the museum is that you can access it from a tunnel connected to the underground so any bad weather can be avoided!

What are you favourite places to visit on a rainy day in London or your home town? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. PF xo

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Life Travel

3 Locally Recommended Places to Eat, Bristol…

November 12, 2018

Bristol.  One of the most creative spaces I have visited in Britain, is full of university students, artists and Londoners escaping the city.  An hour and a half out of London, over the past few years it has become the place for creatives migrating from pricey London.  Interestingly, my friends who live in Bristol have told me that rents are going up that many are now moving to Bath!  The spa town that was considered posh and out of reach.  But I digress!

This year I have visited two friends a couple of times and roamed Bristol.  The first visit had us staying in the heart of the city which is like any typical high street.  This area comes to life on the weekend with lots of pop up stalls selling handmade soaps, cakes and puppets!  Stokes Croft is the artier end of town with graffiti walls by prominent artists, independent craft stores and plenty of vintage.  Clifton, the posh area, has a steep main street peppered with university lecture halls and high end retail.  I stayed in Clifton with a friend the second trip and would thoroughly recommend basing yourself here.  Whilst being central the first trip was nice and gave us a lay of the land, however Clifton is a magical English village with magnificent sandstone houses, tree lined streets and wood fires burning.  It reminded me of my childhood and how I kicked the leaves in the little village on my walks to school.

Bristol Lido

The Lido Bristol

Bristol Lido

It pays to know a local and ask for recommendations. The Bristol Lido opened in the 1850’s falling into disrepair closing in the 1990’s.  Restored by a local restaurant group The Lido is now a secret local destination.  We had our brunch inside the glass house that runs the length of the heated Lido.  At times we admitted it felt like we were spying on the swimmers!  I had delicious Turkish eggs, in a spicy tomato sauce with yogurt and added bacon.  I highly recommend that you book as we only just got a table Saturday morning and there was a line of people waiting for lunch.  The lovely staff told us that leading up to Christmas they hang fairy lights and when the sun goes down it looks like a dream land.  Due to high membership numbers The Lido is restricted to being opened to the public during the week, but you can get around this by booking a Spa Package with massage!

Soukitchen Bristol

SouKitchen is a Mediterranean, tapas style restaurant with two locations in Bristol.  We visited the Clifton kitchen tucked off the main street.  First up the entrance is a glass conservatory which makes a perfect place for summer lunches and great to keep out the cold for winter dinners.  We stuck with the sharing plates and got five between two which was plenty.  They have a fantastic cocktail selection and I recommend the Bloody Mary.  The spice and thickness of the drink made it feel like I was drinking my dinner.  It was delicious!

The Florist Bristol  The Florist Bristol

The Florist BristolThe Florist.  Recommended by many an Instagram follower and when we arrived for Sunday brunch we could see why.  Like a Tardis, this restaurant has lots of different rooms, all with bars, and filled to the brim with flower walls.  We were told Saturday is the busiest and Sunday was just us for the first hour.  I had the Nutella and Biscoff pancakes that had a caramelised banana, snapping perfectly when eating!  To drink I had the Juniper Garden, a mocktail with my favourite elderflower syrup and it is the best drink I have had this year.  My friend had granola with peaches and yoghurt which came to the table deconstructed.  Fun!  Her drink was the Rhubarb and Custard which had a real version of the sweet hanging off the side!

Bristol Pinkmans

Bristol Good Egg

Bristol Harts BakeryI visited Pinkmans as I had heard about their donuts and The Crafty Egg for a hearty second breakfast on Sunday.  Both did not disappoint!  Also go early to Harts Bakery under the railway arches of Temple Mead for delicious savoury pastries and a tasty rhubarb and sour cream crumble slices.

Do you have any food recommendations for Bristol?  I have now fallen in love with this city so will be going back in 2019 for sure.  Happy eating.  PF xo.

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Travel

Good Grief, Charlie Brown! Exhibition at Somerset House…

October 31, 2018

The Good Grief, Charlie Brown! Celebrating Snoopy and the enduring Power of Peanuts exhibition, at Somerset House, is awesome! I booked a ticket last minute, to break my cabin fever, and it is hands down the best exhibition I have been to.  Honouring Charles M. Schulz’s creation of the Peanut comic strip, the display includes a selection of work from the 50’s until his last piece in 2000.  Schulz started drawing from a young age when he realised he could draw better then others.  Inspired by American cartoonists, Milton Caniff and Bill Mauldin, Schulz’s drawings portray the ups and downs of everyday life impacted by politics, racism, sexism, war and faith.  Often miserable, Charlie Brown is joined by his dog Snoopy and a host of characters including Lucy, Peppermint Patty and Linus who form his gang.  Woodstock, the bird and my favourite character, came later as one of the migratory birds that made a permanent residence of Snoopy’s home.

There is a particular poignant part of the exhibition I urge you to look for and spend time at. On the second floor, in a glass case, are letters to Schulz from the Black American community urging him to add a representative character, after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.  What stood out to me were the requests of ‘representation’ and ‘racial diversity’, terms that we use now, that were already being use and often dismissed then.  Schulz was honest in his reply, with concerns portraying a community he had no associations with, but after time, with guidance,  he developed Franklin.  Despite strong objections from publishers, and readers, Schulz refused to stop including Franklin ensuring he had a voice and key role in the gang’s activities.  The typed letters between Schulz and key supporters on display will make you stop and think about the current racial climate.

I spent over three hours in the exhibition reading comic strips and understanding their place in history and the everyday influence of the time. There is a table full of comic books where you can sit and read as many of the stories as you want!  Upstairs, a room full of bean bags invites you to lounge, whilst the TV cartoon plays across a massive screen. They even have a physiatrist booth set up with a qualified physiatrist attending twice a week!  Real advice, not the empty thoughts Lucy used to provide!  The fun bit, where you will have to stand your ground, are the lightboxes that are covered in Charlie Brown characters.  Plenty of paper is provided with felt tip pens to make you own cartoon by redrawing your favourite characters and Peanuts scenery.

The exhibition has just opened and finishes 3rd March 2019. Tickets range from £11 to £14 and under 12’s go free.

Are you going to go? What is the best exhibition you have been to this year?  PF xo

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Travel

24 Hours in Brighton and Hove…

September 2, 2018

In July I went on The Nature Sessions retreat at Elmley Nature Reserve and met a lovely, inspiring group of women. Some of these ladies I now consider good friends and we chat away on various social platforms.  Lucy from @lucylucraft lives in Hove and a couple of weeks ago I ventured to Brighton to meet her for lunch.  Well known for its pride parade, I mean this year Britney went, and the pier, Brighton is also heavily hit with weekend revellers celebrating impending weddings.  Stag and Hen fun galore!  With this in mind as Lucy showed me around Brighton and Hove I came up with a few tips for your next visit.

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