Ballooning Marvelous at Bristol International Balloon Fiesta

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Every August, without fail, you can find us enthusiastically chasing hot air balloons at Bristol International Balloon Fiesta. Over the past few years we’ve really gone for it and wandered over to Ashton Court for several mass ascents across the weekend, including the amazing Night Glow. This year, especially as we are both expecting, we took it a little easier and chose to just pop over to the Sunday morning ascent. As luck would have it, it was the only morning ascent of the whole fiesta due to pesky windy conditions, so we definitely picked the right day to go along! We did also manage to watch the Saturday evening ascent with friends with a picnic in Clifton, and a great time was had by all. Nevertheless, there is something so magical about the morning ascents, they are definitely worth setting a 5am alarm for. Ballooning Marvelous! Thanks to the lovely folk at Red Letter Days, we were able to access the members enclosure (hello hot drinks and bacon sarnies) which gave us the perfect position for watching the balloons take to the skies.

We always think the colourful balloons make the prefect backdrop for a style post, so we took along a few of our favourite pieces from the new Boden collection to shoot. Although we did struggle to pick our favourite bits (it’s all just so good!), you probably won’t be surprised to learn that we both fell for the same cute combo of the Button Through Mini Skirt* in blue cord (Jo) and vintage denim (Victoria), teamed with The Classic Shirt* in multi autumn trees (Jo) and solstice blue spot (Victoria). The skirts are so versatile, that neither of us have taken these skirts off since, and we’re hoping that thanks to the stretchy material, will we be wearing them a few more months into our pregnancies! We also went for matching Sally coats* in delightful shades of pink and green. Forever twinning! They are going to be so fabulous once the weather gets a bit cooler!

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As we are such keen balloon enthusiasts, we are often asked if you can go for a balloon ride during the fiesta and we have been reliably informed that you can! If you fancy going up, up and away on a balloon ride and you can’t wait until next year’s fiesta, check out the Red Letter Day flights.

V&Jx

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta 2016 : Preview

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta 2016 : PreviewBristol International Balloon Fiesta 2016 : Preview Bristol International Balloon Fiesta 2016 : Preview

It’s nearly time for our most favourite event of the year, the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta! Running for four days from August 11th to the 14th, it’s truly one of the very best things about living in Bristol!

For the uninitiated, the Fiesta is Europe’s largest annual meeting of hot air balloons, with over 150 descending on our city (and then repeatedly ascending) from all around the world. From Thursday onwards, every morning and evening (weather very much permitting) the balloons grace our skies during mass ascents that are beautiful enough to make even the most burly Bristolian well up with pride. IT’S THE ACTUAL BEST. Plus, if that wasn’t already enough, there are some novelty shaped balloons to gawp at too.

There are plenty of excellent vantage points around the city to watch the mass ascents (our personal favourite is just up by the Clifton Suspension Bridge) but we always like to head down to Ashton Court at least once during the Fiesta to soak up the atmosphere and to support this free (FREE!) event. For the past couple of years we’ve even gone as far as setting our alarms for silly o’clock to go down for a morning launch. Although it might not be much fun getting out of bed at 6am, there’s no denying the magical feeling that comes with watching the balloons fill the skies over our sleepy city (whilst clutching a cup of tea and a bacon roll of course!). If you’re Bristolian and you’ve not made it to Ashton Court for a morning ascent before, make this your year! We will see you there!

On Thursday and Saturday evenings, huge crowds descend for the spectacular nightglow and fireworks. The nightglows, which are rather legendary, see a field full of tethered balloons light up in time to music. You haven’t really lived until you’ve watched a load of hot air balloons dance to Olly Murs.

Bristol International Balloon Fiesta 2016 : PreviewBristol International Balloon Fiesta 2016 : PreviewBristol International Balloon Fiesta 2016 : PreviewBristol International Balloon Fiesta 2016 : PreviewBristol International Balloon Fiesta 2016 : Preview Bristol International Balloon Fiesta 2016 : Preview Bristol International Balloon Fiesta 2016 : Preview Bristol International Balloon Fiesta 2016 : PreviewCheck out the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta website for a full guide to what’s on this year (there’s entertainment all day) plus information about parking and the night glow. You can also check out our highly professional vlog from last year which should give you an excellent flavour of the Fiesta…

J&V (balloon enthusiasts) x

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.

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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 2014 Part Two

She and Hem | Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2014

So, as promised, here we are back for our second day of Feista fun! In previous years, we have been all about finding a convenient hill to watch the early morning mass ascents from but a quick look at the fiesta program shed light on the prospect of bacon. Yep, we set our alarms for 5.20am all in the name of ‘breakfast and balloons’.  And glorious it was too.

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The atmosphere at the morning ascent was just wonderful and we had such a lovely time drinking tea, eating our bacon sandwiches and watching the balloon teams preparing for launch. We have already decided that we will be attempting at least one early morning next year too.

She and Hem | Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2014
Jo wears Brown Riviera Vintage Silky Top and Brown Riviera Bistro Short both from Boden* with Topshop sunglasses and Vedra shoes from Solillas* (pictured below)

She and Hem | Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2014She and Hem | Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2014She and Hem | Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2014

Victoria wears Festival Sweatshirt and Boho Shorts both from Boden* with a navy top from Blackspade*, sunglasses from Accessorize and shoes from New Look* (pictured below)
Victoria wears Festival Sweatshirt and Boho Shorts both from Boden* with a navy top from Blackspade*, sunglasses from Accessorize and shoes from New Look* (pictured below)

Incredibly, despite the insanely early start, we still managed to coordinate our co-ords, which are both from Boden*.

She and Hem | Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2014She and Hem | Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2014She and Hem | Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2014Look out for Part 3 (last one, honest!) coming soon!

J&V

Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2014 Part One

She and Hem |Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2014

Bristol is a city that blimmin’ loves its hot air balloons. It is certainly not unusual to see them gracefully floating over our beautiful city at any time of the year and, quite frankly, I’m not sure you can call yourself a true Bristolian until you’ve been woken up by the sound of a balloon that’s possibly about to land on your roof. It’s a novelty that never wears off, trust us.

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So, it’s no shock then that we are massive fans of the annual International Balloon Fiesta, held at Ashton Court. This free (FREE!) event is in it’s 36th year and without blowing too much hot air, is one of the greatest things in the world. Ever. Seeing over a hundred balloons fill the sky is one magical sight, you might even call it an uplifting experience.

She and Hem |Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2014She and Hem |Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2014She and Hem |Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2014She and Hem |Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2014She and Hem |Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2014We went down to Ashton Court on Thursday evening for the first mass ascent and, being the super  balloon fans that we are, dressed accordingly in hot air balloon print dresses from Modcloth and Nishe at ASOS (this dress is no longer available but keep your eyes peeled for a new balloon print dress by Nishe on Double Thumbs soon!). This was also our first glimpse at this year’s special shapes! Previous years have seen everything from fire extinguishers to the Bertie Basset man! Our favourite new shape this year has to be the Smurf but we were very pleased to see the Up balloon back for another year.

She and Hem |Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2014She and Hem |Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2014

We hope you have enjoyed our ballooning experience as we went back for more the next day! Look out for part two!

J&V

 

Above Bristol – A Hot Air Ballooning Exhibition

She and Hem | Above Bristol | Bristol Balloon Fiesta She and Hem | Above Bristol | Bristol Balloon Fiesta She and Hem | Above Bristol | Bristol Balloon Fiesta

On Friday evening I popped along to The Island in the centre of Bristol to view the Above Bristol exhibition, organised by Fiesta Fringe. The exhibition displays the resulting artwork of five lucky Bristolian artists who were sent up, up and away on a balloon flight over the city and asked to create a piece of art inspired by their journey. It was certainly uplifting! 

She and Hem | Above Bristol | Bristol Balloon Fiesta She and Hem | Above Bristol | Bristol Balloon Fiesta

Artists featured include Hannah Carding, Pete Dalby, Lindsay McBirnie, Carrie Pooler and Jenny Urquhart and there are additional balloon-inspired pieces by Andrew Bill, Emily Ketteringham and Cath Read. I’ve included some of my top picks in this post, but there is plenty more to see at the exhibition, including Fuller’s incredible Bristol map, which I could happily gaze at all day long.

She and Hem | Above Bristol | Bristol Balloon Fiesta She and Hem | Above Bristol | Bristol Balloon Fiesta She and Hem | Above Bristol | Bristol Balloon Fiesta She and Hem | Above Bristol | Bristol Balloon Fiesta

So don’t be a basket case, if you’re in the area head down to Above Bristol and catch the art before it’s too late! Admission is free and the exhibition runs until 13th August 2014.

Victoria

She and Home: Ship-Shape and Cath Kidston Fashion

1Regular readers will know of our deep, deep love for Bristol so when those floral folk at Cath Kidston got in touch to ask if we would represent our favourite city in their ‘Brighten Up Your Town’ competition, we were pretty darn excited. Bristol would totally lend itself to CK’s pretty, vintage aesthetic. But don’t just take our word for it, let’s examine the evidence.

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We’ve got one heck of a fine bridge, colourful houses ago-go and more balloons than you can shake a stick at. If those three things alone don’t scream Cath Kidston, we don’t know what does! Also, it makes us unequivocally sad that Cath Kidston have yet to bring out a hot air balloon print so what better opportunity to rectify that than with a Bristol print? Balloons grace our skies all year round floating their way across the city looking perfectly picturesque. Once a year the city goes completely ballooning bonkers with our very own International Balloon Fiesta at which over 150 balloons (including special funny shapes) take off en masse. It’s honestly one of the most spectacular sights you will ever see. Continue reading She and Home: Ship-Shape and Cath Kidston Fashion

She and Home: Bristol Balloon Fiesta 2013

This weekend almost 500,000 people from near and far headed to Ashton Court to enjoy over 100 hot air balloons at the 35th Bristol International Balloon Fiesta. After watching the balloons drift across Bristol from Clifton Suspension Bridge on Thursday evening, I was really keen to head over to Ashton Court to get closer to the action. Unfortunately for me, I choose the only evening that the balloons were unable to fly due to the strong wind at ground level. Nevertheless, I had a fantastic time enjoying the free entertainment, relaxing in the sunshine and catching a glimpse of the few balloons that managed to tether in the arena.

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Alongside the balloon ascents, nightglows, red arrows and other balloon related fun there was plenty of other things to keep visitors occupied over at the fiesta. There was an enormous fun fair, a busy band stand, the Wii U den, Noah’s Ark Farm and my personal favourite, the food village. With the amount of freebies I munched on during the day I was too full for a cheeky Grillstock .

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I found the perfect spot to watch the balloons tethering yesterday evening, a huge red deckchair in the Heart FM area. No sighting of Stuart the Minion, but I was lucky enough to see him in the air over the weekend, as seen above.

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I wore my Martha’s Air of Adorable Dress by Modcloth, seen here in the Modcloth style gallery, and my light blue sunglasses from Primark. So many people commented on how ‘appropriate’ the dress was, I think they thought I was some kind of genius. If only they knew the truth…

If you would like to visit the fiesta next year, it is due to run from Thursday 7th August to Sunday 10th August 2014. I will definitely be there, so in the meantime I’ll be searching for a new hot air balloon dress!

V x

Accessories to Murder #3

Welcome to the third installment of Accessories to Murder. We’ve got an eclectic bunch for you this week, so let’s crack on!

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Embroidered Kitty Flats, £16.39, Em and Sprout, via Etsy.

Paws for a minute! These are not your average mary janes. These Em and Sprout cat flats are cute and fun, without being too childish. Wearing a fun shoe (or two) is a mega easy way to add some personality to an outfit and leave you feline great. I could probably get away with these at work, whereas a cat dress would be a big no no… my boss would get really catty! They look super soft and I’m a big fan of the buckles. If you already own too many black shoes, they also come in red.

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Cat Face Socks, £10, Urban Outfitters.

So we wouldn’t recommend you wear these cat items together, but we’d certainly want to be your friend if you did. I imagine it’s quite hard to make enemies when you have a curious cat on each knee cap. These grey knee high socks from Urban Outfitters are pretty special, and are an affordable £10, or £9 if you have an NUS card. If you are adventurous enough to try patterned knee highs, I think these would be a good place to start.

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Personalised Instagram Camera Necklace, £11.80, Tyndall’s Polymerclay.
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Personalised Instagram Camera Necklace, £11.80, Tyndall’s Polymerclay.

Time to expose an awesome necklace. We are big fans of Instagram (check us out here), and love the idea of having one of our Instagram pictures incorporated into a necklace. If you’re feeling a little  negative and don’t fancy having a personalised version, they also make an Instagram necklace without a picture for £8.52. You have to love Etsy with their crazy pricing, great for snapping a bargain. I think this would make a thoughtful unique gift for a instagramming  friend, especially as it comes in a lovely gift box. You could always ask for a photo of a cat or Ryan Gosling instead…

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Animal Farm Earrings, £10.49, Designs By Annette

Designs By Annette make some fantastic earrings, and even though I don’t wear earrings and Animal Farm has caused me A LOT of stress over the years, I picked these to feature because they are pretty darn cool. Also, I love jewellery that’s different and you know that nobody else will be wearing. So much effort has gone into designing and creating every pair of earrings on Annette’s Etsy site, that it would be a crime not show you a few more. If you don’t like these, I promise you there will be something you do like.

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Cake and Tea Earrings, £13.11, Designs By Annette.
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Vintage Record Player Earrings, £11.14, Designs By Annette.

Perfect to wear to The Bristol Balloon Fiesta, this hot air balloon pendant below will have you floating on air. A friend wore this recently and I thought the balloon’s  pastel colours looked simple, yet summery. The ASOS necklace has an adjustable gold-tone chain, which is fantastic as you can change the length of the necklace depending on what you are wearing.

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Pieces Gania Balloon Pendant Necklace, £12, ASOS.
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Pieces Gania Balloon Pendant Necklace, £12, ASOS.

That’s all for now accessory fans,

V x