The Mercure Grange Hotel, Bristol.

The Mercure Grange Hotel in Bristol | She and Hem The Mercure Grange Hotel in Bristol | She and Hem The Mercure Grange Hotel in Bristol | She and Hem The Mercure Grange Hotel in Bristol | She and Hem The Mercure Grange Hotel in Bristol | She and Hem

During the summer I spent a long time deciding where I wanted to spend the night before my wedding. I knew that I wanted my three lovely bridesmaids to stay with me, so that we could do all of those last minute preparations (eating McDonald’s, gossiping about boys and watching Don’t Tell The Bride) together, and I felt that my flat would just be too small to do this in ultimate comfort. I looked into various local hotels and also renting an apartment for the four of us, but most just didn’t cut the mustard and didn’t seem quite special enough. Unfortunately, the odd few that looked tempting were waaay out of my budget!

Luckily, I didn’t need to fret for too long, as the lovely folks from Mercure offered me a little pre-wedding present in the form of a discount for The Grange Hotel, near Winterbourne in Bristol. Eeeeeek! After having a look at their webpage, I could not have been happier. With 18 acres of gorgeous grounds, and a bevy of charming, quirkily decorated and beautiful rooms, it really did tick every box! After booking the rooms, I was so excited about telling my bridesmaids, and I think they were equally as thrilled as I was to be having a night of luxury. What a delight! We all agreed that one major highlight of the stay was the incredible breakfast. Now, the photo above may make it look like we were quite tame, but alas, the fruit and pastries were just our first course. Well, it would have been pretty rude not to try it all, right?

The Mercure Grange Hotel in Bristol | She and Hem The Mercure Grange Hotel in Bristol | She and Hem The Mercure Grange Hotel in Bristol | She and Hem The Mercure Grange Hotel in Bristol | She and Hem The Mercure Grange Hotel in Bristol | She and Hem

I had a such a peaceful night’s sleep and woke up feeling refreshed and ready to face the Best Day Ever. Luckily, my bridesmaids managed to persuade me to change out of my incredible cat pyjamas. Thank you for the wonderful stay Mercure!

Vx

Bristol Fashion Week AW15

she and Hem | Bristol Fashion Week AW15 she and Hem | Bristol Fashion Week AW15she and Hem | Bristol Fashion Week AW15

On Thursday I popped down to The Mall at Cribbs Causeway with my friend, fashion icon and fellow M&S appreciator Kelly to catch one of the runway shows of Bristol Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 15. This was my third BFW and it was definitely the best so far thanks to the brilliant movie theme that was embraced from start to finish! It was such a nice touch to be welcomed with popcorn and Kelly and I had a great time admiring the movie posters as we drank our delicious fruity drinks.

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The first thing to catch our eye on the catwalk was the ‘High Shine’ collection from John Lewis! You can’t beat a bit of glitz and glamour and I suddenly became all about sparkles, faux fur and sunglasses! What a combination! Plus, how much do I want to be the sort of girl to rock up at the work Christmas party wearing an actual crown?? I also loved the 70s injection courtesy of M&S during the ‘Nomadic’ segment. I can totally see myself trying this look out come the colder weather and couldn’t help but notice the similarities between that pink hat and the one from Accessorize I fell in love with in our last post! I may have made a sneaky purchase after the show!

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As someone who likes to dress in as many bright colours as possible, the large amount of grey and black on the catwalk (the grey coat appears to be this seasons staple) didn’t really do it for me although, once again, I was really feeling the faux fur accessories! I’m going to be a big fan of this trend I can see! Both Kelly and I also enjoyed the liberal use of colourful tights which gave everything a bit of a Gossip Girl vibe and is certainly something I will be happy to embrace!

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The two stand out pieces for us were the black sequin jacket (which was spectacularly hard to photograph) from M&S, naturally. It’s absolutely stunning and a brilliant take on the biker jacket. Imagine throwing that on top of your dresses come party season! We did several laps of the store after the show but sadly couldn’t find it (probably just as well as it’s £89) but it is available online should you be feeling flush. The other was the gold and purple fringe dress of dreams from Phase Eight at John Lewis which had Kelly shouting “MAKE SURE YOU TAKE PHOTOS OF THAT!” at me as it came sashaying down the catwalk, fringe all over the shop. What a stunner.

Did you go to Bristol Fashion Week? What was your favourite piece? And how are we all feeling about crimped hair??

Jx

Jo wears – Floral Print Ruffle Dress from Topshop, bag and tights both past season from M&S, Pointed Loafers from Boden* and heart sunglasses from TkMaxx

Kelly wears – Dress from Primark (available in store), bag from Joy, a scrabble necklace (similar available from Not on the High Street) and a watch from Urban Outfitters

GANT

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It’s time for something you hardly ever see here on She and Hem. That’s right, not one, but BOTH of us wearing trousers. Shocking behaviour for a Wednesday I know. You may not have noticed the trousers though, due to those flipping excellent stripy shirts. We ordered these on the GANT website using the Click and Collect service, then made our merry way down to the Bristol store in Quakers Friars. Whilst we were there we caught up with the lovely team who took us through their current ladies collection, and you won’t be surprised to learn we are now both smitten with the gorgeous 70’s inspired Pansy Shift Dress seen above. I (Victoria) also love the magical monochrome Braid Print Shirt Dress!

We spent far longer in the store than planned after we discovered that you can help yourself to tea, coffee or wine whilst browsing. So we poured ourselves a drink, unwrapped our boxes of joy and popped them straight on. Jo loved her Striped Silk Shirt* so much, she went out for dinner in it that evening. Who can blame her, it’s slickly silky! I am weirdly precious over new things and have packed my Striped Boyfriend Shirt* away to wear on my honeymoon next month. I’m pretty excited about recreating that Scarlett Johansson scene at the Park Hyatt. Keep an eye on our Instagram to see how I get on!

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V&J

Painted City Circus

She and Hem | Emily and Fin | Painted City CircusShe and Hem | Emily and Fin | Painted City CircusShe and Hem | Emily and Fin | Painted City Circus

We’ve already blogged (and vlogged!) about our time at the beautiful Bristol Balloon Fiesta but with a back drop like that it would have been unacceptable blogger behavior not to have taken some outfit photos whilst we were there! As luck would have it, the lovely Emily and Fin kindly sent us a few pieces from their stunning new Autumn Winter collection to style and we couldn’t resist taking them for a spin.

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The new collection features so many beautiful new prints and shapes but we were both equally blown away by the vibrant colours of the Painted City Circus print. It’s so much fun with skyscrapers, bridges, Big Ben and the Statue of Liberty all jostling for position! I (Jo) went for the print in the Ruby dress* which is a longer style and features a scooped neckline, fitted waist and a super flattering box pleated full skirt. I accessorised with a simple yellow belt, yellow Orla Kiely for Clarks shoes (have you seen the new collection? our bank balances are already terrified) and my go-to red heart sunglasses.

Victoria opted for the Florence skirt* which has an incredibly lovely curved waistband which really makes it sit nicely. As a couple of dress fans, it has totally converted us! She teamed it with the yellow polka-dot Edna top*, which is the perfect match for this print, nude sandals from New Look and round ASOS sunglasses. One of our favourite things about Emily and Fin is that they always do a good pocket and the new collection is no exception! We can also confirm that both styles are perfect for twirling in.

She and Hem | Emily and Fin | Painted City CircusShe and Hem | Emily and Fin | Painted City CircusShe and Hem | Emily and Fin | Painted City Circus

A big thank you to Emily and Fin for sending us these stunning outfits. We really can’t decide if we prefer the dress or the skirt! What do you think?

J&V xx

Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2015

She and Hem | Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2015

Ah, hot air balloons! How we love you. We never take this unique part of our city for granted but it was a special reminder recently when we went to meet with the fabulous Charlotte from Betty magazine (OMG, we know) when, as we sat outside in the glorious sunshine on the top deck of a boat, cocktail in hand, three should suddenly float over our heads – much to Charlotte’s surprise and delight! “This is Bristol” we said, “isn’t it the best?”

She and Hem | Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2015She and Hem | Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2015She and Hem | Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2015She and Hem | Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2015She and Hem | Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2015She and Hem | Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2015She and Hem | Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2015She and Hem | Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2015

The Bristol Balloon Fiesta, then, is the highlight of any local balloon enthusiasts diary and we always try and go to, or at least sit and watch from a distance, as many mass ascents as possible over the four days the Fiesta runs for. This year was no different and between us we watched them all! GO TEAM. It’s fair to say that whether you are down at the Fiesta itself, or perched up on a hill, or even just sitting looking out of your window with a cup of tea, there’s no better sight!

She and Hem | Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2015She and Hem | Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2015She and Hem | Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2015She and Hem | Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2015

On Thursday evening we ventured down to the Fiesta site at Ashton Court for the first balloon launch and the night glow. We always like to dress for the occasion and this year was no different as once again we broke out the balloon print dresses. Victoria wore a handmade dress (Mumma V is a talented lady!) which was made using a Christine Haynes pattern and yellow heart sunglasses from Primark (fancier but similar version here). I (Jo) wore a Rosalita McGee balloon print dress and a hot air balloon bag which are both from Modcloth and teamed them with brown heart sunglasses from Topshop. Will we ever get bored of heart sunglasses? Probably not!

As much fun as it is to visit the Fiesta for the night glow, we particularly love going down to Ashton Court for the morning ascents (even if it does mean getting up at silly-AM) as there really is something truly magical about watching so many balloons go up when the rest of the city is still sleeping. We’ll be blogging about our time at the Saturday morning ascent later in the week (as well as some very special outfits from Emily and Fin) but if you can’t wait until then (or you just love balloons as much as we do) then have a watch of our Bristol Balloon Fiesta vlog to get a sneaky look at what we got up to as well as the rest of our time at the Fiesta.

J&V x

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Wahaca, Bristol.

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At long last, the people of Bristol can enjoy the delicious taste of Mexico in style at the brand new Wahaca restaurant in Clifton. Located on Queens Road, Wahaca has won numerous awards for it’s flavoursome street food, so we popped along to try it for ourselves. As luck would have it, super glam former Masterchef winner and Wahaca co-founder Thomasina “Tommi” Miers was in town to see how the things were going, so we took full advantage of her insider knowledge and asked for her top picks. What a lovely lady. She really is juan in a million…

But enough waffle, let’s taco ’bout how awesome the food was. I (Victoria) am always annoyingly indecisive when it comes to ordering, because I genuinely love most food. So somewhere like Wahaca is perfect for dawdlers like me as it has a bountiful Street Food section from which you are encouraged (although no encouragement is really needed for me!) to order 2-3 dishes per person. On Tommi’s recommendation I chose the salmon sashimi tostada, sweet potato and feta taquito, and the scrummy spicy crab special, whilst Jo opted for the grilled British steak taco, the chilli quesadillas, and another salmon sashimi tostada (great minds etc.). It would have been guac-ward (ha!) to leave without trying the desserts, and as they all sounded so appetising, we decided to share the churros y chocolate and the salted caramel ice-cream! I’ve already booked to go back, as I’m desperate to try the buñuelo with Tommi’s tomatillo jam. I’ll be in sweet fried pastry heaven!

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V&J

On set with Fix Up Look Sharp by Clic Sargent

Fix Up Look Sharp | Clic Sargent | She and Hem | BristolFix Up Look Sharp | Clic Sargent | She and Hem | Bristol Fix Up Look Sharp | Clic Sargent | She and Hem | BristolFix Up Look Sharp | Clic Sargent | She and Hem | Bristol

On a sunny day at the start of the month we had the pleasure of visiting the lovely team behind Fix Up Look Sharp, the super trendy clothing line raising money for Clic Sargent. In fact, ALL of their proceeds go towards supporting children and young people living with cancer. Blooming legends! We met up with designers Ruth and Hayley whilst they were shooting the fab new SS15 collection. We took a sneaky peek behind the scenes, admiring the model’s ability to pose without looking awkward (something which we are yet to grasp) and wondering how we could get our mitts on one of the wind machines. We also chose our favourite pieces, which you can find over on the Fix Up Look Sharp blog.

The SS15 collection launched at the beginning of spring, and it really is quite brilliant. Just look at those floral dungarees. We would wear them every daisy! As Fix Up Look Sharp is all about upcycling and recycling fashion, creating new pieces from material kindly donated to Clic Sargent charity shops, everything they produce is a unique, one of a kind item. So, if you are having a wardrobe clear out anytime soon, pop it all down to your local Clic Sargent. Not only are you helping a worthy cause, but your old, unwanted item could end up as part of next season’s collection!

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If you want to make an online donation to Clic Sargent, or find out about other ways to help out, head to their donation page.

V&J

Moomin Mania

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We’ve said it before (here and here) and we will definitely say it again; we really love hanging out at The Watershed. Want to know what we also love? Hanging out with a bunch of jolly old eccentrics of course! Last week, those came in the form of a family of cuddly Moomins, blooming lovely children’s author/huge Moomin fan/epic tie wearer Philip Ardagh, and our BFF Ellie who, along with lots of other Moomin enthusiasts, gathered to watch a special one-off screening of the beautiful ‘Moominland Tales: The Life Of Tove Jansson’. As you might expect, it was Moomin marvellous!

In 1945 Tove Jansson wrote The Moomins and the Great Flood, the first book featuring Moomintroll, Moominmamma (and her rather fetching handbag) and the rest of the Moomin family, including She and Hem icon Little My. Last month, a mere 70 years later, Moomins on the Riviera was released, continuing the story of the much loved family and very much in the spirit of their revered author. Indeed, dedicated Moomin fans should not fret, as during a Q&A session Phillip expanded on how the film captures the charm and wit of Tove’s books perfectly. We will definitely be grabbing some popcorn and checking it out, as we have fallen in love with the Moomins all over again.

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Many thanks to The Watershed for inviting us along. We definitely recommend keeping an eye on their What’s On page for future events!

“I only want to live in peace and plant potatoes and dream!”

V&J

Into the bluebell woods

Into the bluebell woods
Sunglasses by Moschino at TKMaxx | T-shirt (old) by Marks and Spencers | Skirt by Boden* | Bag by Boden*

I hope you all had a joyous long weekend! I spent most of my time eating, drinking and indulging in total Eurovision madness but somehow I also managed to find some time for a little bit of nature when I took a trip to nearby Prior’s Wood! You might say I’m combating the post bank holiday blues with some post bank holiday bluebells! That totally works, right?

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Oh gosh, it’s so pretty isn’t it? I do love this time of year and it’s always wonderful to find a hidden gem on your doorstop. Prior’s Wood is only a 20 minute drive away from Clifton in Bristol and even when the bluebells aren’t in season there’s still so much to admire whilst taking a stroll around this ancient woodland. I’m particularly excited about their Autumn ‘fungus foray’. A date for the diary indeed.

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I’ll admit that I wasn’t  planning on being in front of the camera when I left for this particular field trip so I didn’t put any makeup on! THE HORROR! However once I saw all the gorgeous bluebells I couldn’t help but get my pose on! On a completely unrelated note, you”ll notice that most of these pictures involve a lot of soft focus and/or no trace of my face. What are the chances?

How did you spend your bank holiday?

Jx

Crafts & Laughs with Laura Ashley

Crafts & Laughs with Laura Ashley | She and Hem | Bristol

A few weeks ago we we spent a (sort of) sunny Sunday channeling our very best crafting abilities at a Laura Ashley blogger event at @Bristol, thanks to the team at Joe Bloggers and The Crafty Hen! Despite having previously failed to grasp even the simplest of make, do, and mend related instructions, we couldn’t resist an opportunity to spend an afternoon nattering with our favourite local bloggers and fawning over beautiful Laura Ashley prints.

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Thankfully for us, The Crafty Hen caters for all abilities and we felt on rather safe ground after being set the fairly straight forward task of covering a notebook with Laura Ashley fabrics and wallpaper from their Spring/Summer collection. We both went down the rather simplistic route but with a lovely range of buttons, ribbons, and accessories on offer our fellow bloggers were able to add a little extra flair and flourish to their designs. It was excellent fun and the hardest part was definitely choosing which print to use! We even managed to use a glue gun without needing a trip to A&E as a result. Success!

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After lunch (and important nattering) we were set the slightly harder task of creating a Suffolk puff, which we had originally hope was some sort of regional cocktail. As it turns out, a Suffolk puff is a circle of material gathered in on itself to form a smaller circle which is thicker and puffier. After a lot of re-reading of the instructions and PG swearing as our thread refused to cooperate with the needle, we mastered the art! We were then invited to turn our puffs into prizes by creating an accessory so brilliant it would win a prize.

Crafts & Laughs with Laura Ashley | She and Hem | Bristol Crafts & Laughs with Laura Ashley | She and Hem | Bristol

Unfortunately our hair clips failed to dazzle the judges but we were very proud of our newly discovered crafting abilities! It was one small step for crafty bloggers and one giant leap for She and Hem.

Thanks for having us Laura Ashley, The Crafty Hen and Joe Bloggers!

J&V x