Relaxation…Georgian style

This week I’ve got spas in my eyes after a blissful visit to the beautiful Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa in Bath.

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There are some tweets that just make your day sing and one of them chirped into my feed a few weeks ago. It was from the Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa in Bath, saying they had just refurbished their spa and asking if I’d like to come along and check it out. Does Elizabeth love Mr Darcy?! Bloody right!

The Spa interior

Set within the hotel’s stunning Georgian architecture, it really is a little gem in the heart of the city. The new spa boasts a fabulous heated pool, hot and cool tubs, a steam room and sauna. The building itself reminded me of an old church, made from Bath stone with huge windows and high ceilings. The spa interior is decked out with natural woods and bamboo, which gives it a really tranquil atmosphere – not to mention a lovely woody smell. We visited on a Saturday and were the only guests there, so we had the whole place to ourselves, which is exactly how I like it.

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The products they use are by ESPA and there were candles burning with a lovely sweet scent of Palmarosa, Sweet Orange and Lavender. The thing I loved the most was their shower gel and hair products, which smelled like bergamot. It’s much more natural smelling than what I would usually go for (I tend to prefer sweet, floral smells) but actually I think it might be the start of a new olfactory journey for me. It’s a much more grown up scent and uses all-natural ingredients.

The spa is currently offering membership packages, which include special discounts for the hotel and restaurant. Membership starts from £65 a month, which is pricey, but my goodness it’s really luxurious and such a treat! Visit http://www.royalcrescent.co.uk/spa/

Disclosure: I was treated to a free spa day, but I wasn’t paid for this piece and all views in this blog are definitely my own. So there.

Gina shoes: Made for me

Like many girls, I have a shoe obsession, but there’s one shoemaker in particular that floats my boat and, like me, it’s called Gina!

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Above: pastel and floral hues from the new Jemma range

What I love about Gina shoes (apart from the fact that each and every pair have my name printed inside them), is the fact that they’re glamorous, girly and super sexy. I don’t care that they’re quite loud and brash – in fact, that’s what I love about them. It’s also pretty cool that my style icon Kylie is a fan. The only thing I’m not so in love with is the price…the ones above RRP for about £650, which is way beyond my reach at the moment – what with all the mortgage, bills and cat food I need to pay for. One day though, they will be mine. Oh yes, they will be mine…

M&S leading ladies

I’m a bit late to the party, but just wanted to say how much I adore the leading ladies M&S has chosen to front their latest campaign…

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This season’s ladies are: Emma Thompson Actress, Screenwriter & Author, Annie Lennox OBE Singer/Songwriter & Human Rights Campaigner, Rita Ora Singer/Songwriter, Alek Wek Supermodel, Activist & Artist, Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon OBE Campaigner & Life Peer, Lulu Kennedy Designer & Fashion Guru, Rachel Khoo Chef, Writer and Broadcaster, Roma Agrawal Structural Engineer and Advocate for Technical Careers.

It’s brilliant that they’ve picked such a diverse bunch of women with different talents and looks – and also a variety of ages. We’re not all 21 anymore, so it’s great to see that reflected in their ads.

I’ve already written in the past about my immense style crush on Rachel Khoo – but I was also super excited to see Annie Lennox included. I’ve always thought she was fabulous – my mum had one of the Eurythmics albums back in the 80s and I was inspired by her super fly androgynous 80s look. I also remember being told off for ruining my mum’s feather duster whilst trying to recreate her Diva album cover. Here it is again, just as a reminder…

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Simply gorgeous, don’t you agree?

Bristol bucket list

New to Bristol? It’s beautiful place! Here are a few things to tick off while you’re here…

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We’ve had a few new starters at work recently who are new to Bristol, so to help them get to know their new city, I made a list of some of my favourite things to do here. I also roped in all my friends and colleagues to contribute theirs as well. Here’s what we came up with…

1. Walk over the Clifton Suspension Bridge
2. Have an Exhibition cider at the Cori Tap
3. Go to the Bristol Balloon Fiesta
4. Visit one of Bristol’s oldest pubs, The Hatchet (the door is said to be made of human skin)
5. Go to a gig and meet Big Jeff (there’s even a Big Jeff documentary!)
6. Get The Bristol Ferry around the harbour
7. Hop on board the SS Great Britain
8. Listen to some jazz at The Old Duke (also, go to the Jazz Festival there)
9. Have a cider at The Apple (Old Bristolian is recommended)
10. Eat a Pieminister
11. Visit St Nicks market and see the sausage man
12. Go to St Paul’s Carnival. Eat jerk chicken
13. Visit The Invisible Circus next time they’re in town
14. Follow the ‘Red Light’ and have a cocktail
15. Go to the Harbour Festival (and cruise all of the food stalls on Queens Square
16. Learn how to Eat, Drink Bristol Fashion…in a tipi
17. Milkshakes at Rocotillos...got to be done!
18. See or be part of the Bristol Zombie Walk
19. Go to a party on a boat (Thekla might be a good place to start)
20. Learn about the history of Bristol at the M Shed
21. Visit the cat pub (Bag O Nails, Hotwells)
22. At Christmas, go to the German Christmas market in Broadmead
23. Get some cheese at Arch House Deli in Clifton
24. Go food shopping on Gloucester Rd- don’t miss Licata & Sons Italian deli, just off Glos Rd
25. Visit Wai Yee Hong Chinese supermarket and Watersky restaurant above it
26. Have dinner at The Runcible Spoon
27. See a weird film at the Watershed
28. Have a curry at one of the Thali cafés
29. Go to the Lido for a swim
30. Go up Cabot Tower
31. Have breakfast at The White Lion (overlooking the Gorge)
32. Eat a Magic Roll - preferably after a night out (now called Taka Taka on the Triangle)
33. Have fish and chips on the Christmas Steps
34. See a play at the Old Vic or Tobacco Factory
35. Do the Bristol pirate walk with Pirate Pete
36. Do a course at the Folk House 
37. Drink a craft beer at every bar on King Street
38. Eat your weight in meat at Grillstock
39. Go to a Bristol Bad Film Club screening
40. Do the Bristol-Bath cycle track
41. See the Camera Obscura at the observatory, then walk through the caves underneath to reach a great view of the Gorge
42. See a band at the Tunnels
43. Enjoy a frozen cider at the Lock & Weir (best in summer)
44. Check out DJ Derek (when he comes out of retirement for the umpteenth time!)
45. Watch anything at St Georges on Park Street, best acoustics ever, according to our Paul (and find out why there’s a star shaped light above the stage)
46. Attend an open day at Goldney Hall grotto
47. Play on the bike trails in Ashton Court and Leigh Woods
48. Have a sundower on the balcony at Mud Dock (and pronounce it BALL-CONY)
49. As soon as the sun comes out, run to the Arnofini to sit outside with some beers
50. Check out the line up at the Cube cinema
51. Go to a gig at the Louisiana
52. Go to the Bump roller-disco at Motion
53. Have a sunday lunch at the Bird in Hand in Long Ashton
54. Join in a summer Tai Chi group in Queens square
55. Keep up to date with Mi Casa’s pop up restaurants and events
56. If you’re feeling flush, have a meal at one of these fly places: Casa Mia/ Pony and Trap/ The Ethicurean/ Manna/ Flinty Red / Poco/ Bravas/ The Old Bookshop
57. Have a cocktail at The Milk Thistle or Hyde & co
58. Go to see Sheelanagig for a proper knees up
59. Have tea and cake in the treehouse at St Werburgs Farm whilst visiting the piglets
60. Visit Bristol Zoo
61. Eat in Zaza Bazaar and then moan about it to your friends
62. Dance and get sweaty at Mr Wolfs
63. Go bowling, retro style at The Lanes
64. Join the dots at Dot to Dot festival (if you can get those gold dust tickets!)
65. See some live jazz at The Chelsea in Easton on Tuesday evenings… it’s quite an experience, says Greta!
66. Take a trip up the tower at Wills Memorial Building
67. A visit to the Cathedral and the little squashed church at the bottom of Park Street is a must
68. The open top bus tour – it’s the only way to find out where the PG Tips Chimps used to live and come face to face with the evil Penguin from Wallace and Gromit. It’s a great way to learn some stuff about the awesome city we live in.
69. Go on a Banksy hunt, there’s a street art walking tour you can take, or failing that go for a wander around Nelson street and North street and check out the art
70. Buy a “I Love Numpnett Thrubnell” T-shirt, just cos you can and frankly there is no better named village on the planet! (Says Esther!) If you can’t find one of those, try Beast Clothing, for a wide selection of Bristol themed apparel
71. Go to the Clifton Sausage for food – if you don’t like sausages, the mussels are also amazing there, says Jenna
72. Visit Beese’s Riverside Bar and Tea Gardens – take a boat from the harbour
73. Have dinner at Cherry Duck restaurant on Welsh Back – it’s the only place our Emily will go without a voucher!
74. Go to the Riverstation and sit out on the terrace in the sunshine with a nice chilled glass of wine counting the swans….bliss, if you like swans
75. Do the Clifton Rocks Railway Tour
76. Visit Hausbar in Clifton for cocktails
77. Have a cheesy night of dancing at La Rocca nightclub – a bit dirty but great fun!
78. Take walk down North Street to check out the world-famous graffiti
79. Learn how to rock climb in St Weburghs - our Amy and Emma have already tried this and said it was great
80. Have a pint in the Llandoger Trow – the pub where Daniel Defoe found inspiration to write Robinson Crusoe, apparently
81. Go wild swimming at Claverton Weir, on the River Avon
82. Learn to understand the accent – click here
83. Go to one of our many festivals – click here for a full list

I think my friends made a good effort, but I’m pretty sure we’ve missed lots of things! What would you add to this list if you could?

 

Bristol slide

I’ve always thought Bristol was the most fun city in the UK but now we have proof – the Bristol Slide turned Park Street into fun street for one day only!

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The project was brought to life by artist Luke Jerram, who said his ambition was to  encourage people to “take a fresh look at the potential of their city and the possibilities for transformation”. It was certainly a big change! There were 96,000 requests for tickets (including two from me!) but only 360 lucky souls got the chance to ride the slide of their life.  I’m a bit gutted that I wasn’t one of them, but fingers crossed we’ll get another chance one day…

Eurovision: Flying the fashion flag

Eurovision is one of my favourite nights of the year and I usually host a little cocktail soirée to honour the occasion and get dressed up. The rule is that is has to be bright, bold and British! Here’s my dream outfit for this year…

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While I’m not a Brit by birth, I am very patriotic when it comes to Eurovision, so anything with Union Jack flags is in and I encourage all my friends to support their countries by bringing dishes from their homelands. In recent years we’ve had German pretzels, Finnish potato soup, French cheeses, Irish stew, Japanese wine… ok, that’s not in Europe but we allowed it because, frankly, we were all quite drunk by then.

Outfit details:

  1. Union Jack box clutch with skull clasp, £30, The Vestry
  2. Nail Rock Union Jack nail wraps, £3.99, Amazon
  3. Bespoke British Mini Union Jack 1950s 40s Vintage Retro Swing Circle Dress – Made To Measure Bridesmaid, £75, Etsy.com
  4. Drew shoes were £875, now £375, Gina (no relation, but would love to have a pair with my name in them!)
  5. Union Jack lip tattoo, Violent Lips
  6. Union Jack Charm Bracelet, £14, Etsy.com

Our entry this year is Molly Smitten-Downes, singing ‘Children of the Universe’. In her honour, I’ll be making two cocktails – I’m calling them the Smitten Kitten and Power to the People. I haven’t yet decided exactly what will go into them, but one will involve English Apple Gin, which my boss gave me ages ago and I have been dying to use in something.

When I first heard this year’s UK entry, I wasn’t bowled over, but it’s really grown on me and now I think it’s probably my favourite UK entry of the last few years. We’ll be flying the flag for Molly on the night! Power to the people uh-oh-oh! Here she is…

Bath in Fashion Blogger Day

To celebrate the launch of Bath in Fashion 2014, we hosted a special fashion scavenger hunt around the city for a selection of style bloggers.

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The Bath in Fashion wagon gets ready for action

We started the day at the famous Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa, where we gave bloggers a sneak peek at this year’s style-packed Bath in Fashion schedule (more on this at the bottom).

Our bloggettes were split into teams and challenged to find and Instagram as many of this season’s trends as they could within 2 hours, stopping at as many of Bath’s fabulous boutiques and shops as possible – and let me tell you, they took their task very seriously! To log their trends, the teams had post their pics on Instagram and use the #bathinfashion hashtag, as well as tagging the store they found it in.

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We then gathered at the Fashion Museum, where the girls toured their latest exhibition, Georgians: Dress for Polite Society and some got right into the spirit of things by trying on a few of the outfits…

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Thanks to She and Hem for sharing this fabulous photo! Looking good, girls…

They then had the opportunity to be among the first to see the Dress of the Year 2014, as selected by style blogger Susie Lau of Style Bubble. This year’s choice was a fabulous sugar pink silk organza dress from leading British designer Christopher Kane’s Spring/Summer 2013 collection…

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Finally, we totted up the scores and announced the winners of our challenge, Team Fashion Vultures, who took home an exclusive little green beauty box from Souk Souk - the lucky devils!

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Team Fashion Vultures celebrate their win: JessHayleyLilySophie and Amie

We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who made the bloggers day possible, including our sponsors, The Fashion Museum – as well as The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa, Bath BID and Visit Bath – as well as all the lovely retailers of Bath who welcomed our bloggers on the day.

A huge shout out also has to go to our generous goodie bag sponsors, Fabulous, BiOrganics, Weleda, Anthropologie and Liz Cox.

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What’s on at Bath in Fashion…

Bath in Fashion 2014 promises an exciting week-long programme that showcases Summer ’14 fashions on the catwalk, brings fashion celebrities and authors to share their style and stimulate debate, and stages hands-on workshops, exhibitions and installations.

Events run from 3 – 11 May and tickets are disappearing fast! Tickets are on sale now. Get yours at bathinfashion.co.uk.

Highlights include:

On NOW

  • Dress of the Year, as selected by fashion blogger Susie Lau of Style Bubble (The Fashion Museum)
  • Georgians: Dress in Polite Society (The Fashion Museum)

Sun 4 May

  • Vintage Sunday: Bath VA Fashion Fair (Green Park Station)

Tue 6 May

  • Interior design masterclass with Nina Campbell, The Octagon, Milson Place)

Wed 7 May

  • BIBA’s Barbara Hulanicki in conversation with Hilary Alexander, former Fashion Director of The Telegraph (The Octagon, Milson Place)
  • Mary Homer, MD of Topshop and Paolo Gabrielli of Clarks talk about Fashion As A Business (The Octagon, Milson Place)

Thu 8 May

  • An interview with Meadham Kirchoff: Hosted by US Vogue’s Sarah Mower (The Octagon, Milson Place)
  • Bath Life’s Fashion’s Night Out (Southgate)
  • Vintage BIBA on the catwalk (Assembly Rooms)

Sat 10 May

  • Fashion Your Future – an insight into careers in fashion (Komedia)

For a full list of events, see bathinfashion.co.uk/whats-on