The Mercure Holland House Hotel and Spa in Bristol have recently launched a range of new rooms as part of their Accor My Room Project, and they very kindly invited us to pack our overnight bags and try out the rooms for ourselves. The hook? Well, all the new rooms have a bit of a twist! Not only that but we were treated to some much needed rest and relaxation in the spa and dinner in their restaurant, The Urban Bar & Kitchen! I (Victoria) stayed in the The Psychic Sanctuary designed by Sian, which she based around her love of all things psychic, and it left me spellbound! She probably saw that coming. I had a lot of fun pretending to be Mystic Meg with the crystal ball whilst getting ready for our trip to the spa.
Jo stayed in the The Sardinian Escape, a slightly larger room with added jacuzzi bath, designed by Marcella. It has a wonderful beach vibe with lots of lovely touches that make the room feel extra special. We especially loved all the shells dotted around the room and were left feeling quite desperate to jet off to a warmer climate.
Our trip to the Mercure was pretty perfectly timed as it was the day before our joint baby shower (post to come soon!). So after our wonderful ‘mum to be’ facials in the Wellness Spa, we really embraced the opportunity to wind down by grabbing a cup of tea and proceeded to get very excited about all the cake we’d be eating and friends and family we’d be seeing the next day. We actually skipped the pool, as we’ve previously spent quite a bit of time splashing about in there (post here), and in true She and Hem form, it wasn’t too long before we were feeling peckish. As it turns out that all that chilling out really helps you work up quite the appetite! We (over)indulged in a feast with all the trimmings, including beef brisket, pulled pork and some glorious sticky toffee pudding. I still feel full!
After dinner we went up to Jo’s room for it’s super comfy blue chairs, more tea and several hours of Children in Need. Catching up over breakfast we were both pleasantly surprised with how peaceful the hotel was considering how close it is to the centre of Bristol. I was slightly concerned that the busy road would keep me awake, but I slept through the night, only to be awoken by my alarm the next morning. Excellent. We were also both impressed with our room’s facilities, which were clean, comfortable (Egyptian cotton sheets are my new jam), and included my personal favourite hotel feature, a power shower. Thanks so much for spoiling us Mercure! We’d certainly recommend the new rooms to friends visiting Bristol.
Like all good bloggers, when we get together to shoot a post, we like to shape our entire schedule around food. When shooting a maternity style post recently, we decided to make a day of it, after being invited to try out one of the lunchtime offers on the Wriggle App. Launched in Bristol in 2014, Wriggle provides an easy way to get hold of deals from the best local businesses, from street food to fine dining. Using the app is so simple – you just scroll through the many appealing deals, pick your favourite, purchase, and scoff.
Our chosen deal was the £19 afternoon tea at beautiful Chin! Chin! in Kingsdown, Bristol. It was a tough choice between all of the local eateries, but we both fancied going back to Chin! Chin!, as we’ve previously only been there for Sunday lunch. As we are currently both expecting, there were a few bits of the afternoon tea that we’re not allowed to eat (boo!), but thankfully this was no bother for the staff at Chin! Chin! who kindly made everything pregnancy friendly. Not only that, but both of us have gone completely off hot drinks, a key part of any afternoon tea! It’s a credit to the staff at Chin! Chin! that our waiter knocked up two tasty iced coffees, with beans from the excellent Clifton Coffee Roasters. They were blooming marvelous. In fact, we enjoyed the whole experience so much that we’re going back again today with our BFF Ellie. Thank you Chin! Chin! for looking after us so well. We are now hooked on your incredible double chocolate brownies!
If you do purchase a Wriggle deal, make sure you upload a photo to Instagram and use the hashtag #wrigglemoment for a chance to win dinner for two!
We were invited by Wriggle to come and review their service in exchange for this review, but all words and opinions are our own.
Last weekend, we were invited out of She & Hem towers to sample the new afternoon tea at Hotel Du Vin in the heart of Bristol. We’re happy to announce that it was, in the words of Mary Berry, absolutely scrumptious. Served daily from 12pm to 6pm, Hotel Du Vin have added their own spin to the traditional afternoon tea, by combining standard savories such as salmon sandwiches and sumptuous scones, with more unusual treats in the form of chocolate tea cakes and candy floss. Yes, you heard correctly, sugary sweet candy floss as part of an afternoon tea. What a treat! We had a lovely few hours devouring the two courses, admiring the gorgeous hotel and even making new blogger friends (Hi New Mum Online, Purple Ella and Forget Me Knit!). What a perfect Sunday!
Jo and I (Victoria) have both previously had the pleasure of staying at Hotel Du Vin, and after attending this event, we are both lusting after a return visit. A former Sugar House with contemporary loft style bedrooms and exposed brickwork, it’s definitely one of the most luxurious hotels in Bristol. In fact, the hotel’s restaurant is so inviting that when my husband and I stayed over recently for my birthday, we decided to eat in the hotel, something we rarely ever do.
Unfortunately, neither myself nor Jo were able to partake in the cocktail tasting this time around (damn babies!), so we’re itching to go back in a few months time to try the new drinks menu, all created especially for the hotel by the Bristol staff. Don’t feel too sorry for us though, as the ever accommodating Hotel Du Vin were more than happy to whizz up some iced coffee’s just for us! Turns out this pregnancy thing does have it’s perks.
Thank you for having us Hotel Du Vin, we hope to see you again very soon!
Every September, The Mall in Bristol is the place to head to if you are looking to gaze upon a catwalk of high street trends to suit every age, style and budget. TV stylist Mark Heyes is joined by a different celebrity co-host every season, and this year we were both particularly excited to hear that it was going to be Henry Holland. We are big fans of Henry’s hip label House of Holland, and are always terribly sad not to be invited to his London Fashion Week shows (hint hint Henry), as they are consistently colourful, expressive and fun, which is what fashion is all about to us. Because of our passion for the (ever so) slightly flamboyant, some of the trends seen at Bristol Fashion Week, such as Military and Gothic, are a tad chic and sophisticated for us colour lovers.
Nevertheless, we were really pleased to see She and Hem favourites Cath Kidston feature for the first time in the Mismatch trend, starring many items we already own. Lovely stuff! Also, the pink and yellow combo, seen above, as part of the Animal trend from John Lewis really floats our boat. Although Bristol Fashion Week is now finished for this season, we picked up a few tips from Mark and Henry that will hopefully see us all through until next September. For instance, if you can’t wait to try out the military trend, be subtle, as you don’t want to look like you’re actually marching into battle. You could also soften the trend with romantic frilled blouses, which we spotted in the Opulence section of the show from Marks and Spencer. Thanks for having us BFW. See you next year!
Did you attend a BFW show? If so, what was your favourite trend?
You all know how much we love Cath Kidston, so we were super excited to be asked to style up a couple of their delightful new prints for AW16. It didn’t take us long to decide as the Pencils and Story Books prints are a clear match made in heaven! We LOVE how super colourful and playful they both are. Everything in this collection is so cute and quirky.
Victoria is wearing the super flattering Pencils Cotton Button Through dress* which features a multitude of colourful crayons. It’s so super fun and between us and our friends we own at least four of these dresses! Oops. You might even say we were all drawn to it! (boom boom). The button up shirt dress style is a nice change for CK (if you’re anything like us, you’ve got many a sleeveless dress in varying prints from Cath hanging up in your wardrobe!) and it’s a lovely light fabric too. Looking sharp!
I followed the pencils theme with the Pencils Wool Blend Fairisle Jumper* which, as I’ve discovered, looks great thrown on with just about anything! I sized up as I like my jumpers a bit baggy but I think this fit really works and I’m totally going to be living in this later on in the year! I teamed it with one of my favourite ever CK dresses (it’s the librarian in me), the Story Books Cotton Slub Sleeveless Dress*. It’s perfect and like all Cath Kidston dresses in this style, the fit is bang on. I also really like the thicker fabric, which makes it perfect for teaming with chunky tights in the winter but the fact it’s not lined means it’s cool enough to wear in the warmer months too. Just like any bestseller, this one is going to be hard to put down.
It would be wrong not to finish an outfit this creative without featuring the Pencils Embroidered shoes, which are spectacularly comfy. In fact, they do resemble slippers! Our top tip would be to size up at least one size as they do come on the snug side but by golly if they aren’t the most fun shoes ever.
If you’re a teacher heading back to school this September, then you need at least one of these Cath Kidston pieces in your wardrobe!
When we spotted these gorgeous pink and blue dresses from Oasis via House of Fraser*, we thought it was about time that fabulous florals frocks made a very welcome return to She and Hem. They compliment each other so well, we just knew we had to style them, and boy did we pick the right day to do it! On the hottest day of the year so far, we took a very short stroll to a dreamy road in Bristol full of pastel coloured houses, cute doors and vintage cars. So, when can we move in?
I (Victoria) am planning on wearing my pretty organza skater dress to a family wedding on Friday. That’s if I can still fit into it with my ever growing bump! Keep your fingers crossed for me, as I don’t have a plan B! I’m a huge fan of the digital print flowers, the super stripes and the flattering sleeves. I felt it didn’t need any accessories other than these glorious gold heels (old, similar here), my trusty Boden* sunglasses and my BFF in matching colours! Jo’s maxi dress screams summer garden party with it’s long length, flattering slit and classic floral print. It’s just so easy to wear. She swapped the blue belt which comes with the dress for a yellow bow waist belt from Boden*, and kept the colourful vibe going with block heels from Kaleidoscope*. Jolly good.
Big thanks to House of Fraser for these fabulous summer frocks!
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!
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.
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.
Check 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…
Festival season is upon us once again and although we are no strangers to the festival scene, we aren’t off to any this year (boo hoo indeed!). Nevertheless, we couldn’t resist waving our kaleidoscopic She and Hem wand over some of the awesome pieces from the Boohoo festival collection and styling them up a storm. If you’ve read our About page, you may know that we actually met at a festival in Oxford over 10 years ago (!!) and have been firm friends ever since, even though we were certainly not as well dressed. Festival fashion is a lot more exciting now. If only Boohoo were around back then!
For us, festival fashion is less about neon and feathers and more about being relaxed and comfortable come rain or shine, because if you are at a British festival, you are probably going to get quite a bit of the former! Denim hotpants are not really for us. We went for easy to wear smocks with billowing sleeves, with Jo choosing the beautiful Ari Embroidered Blousen Sleeve Dress, while I (Victoria) styled the cute Laura Embroidered Demin Smock. Worried about feeling chilly? Fret not, for layers are your friend. A colourful bomber like the Rebecca Printed Bomber, seen above, is an excellent option.
Don’t forget about accessories! Sungasses are great for tired (hungover) eyes, whereas flimsy footwear is a definite no. We find boots are great for walking around the festival site and are a stylish alternative to wellies. My blue beauties are from Boden and Jo’s tan lace up boots are from New Look. As twinning luck would have it, we also both chose rucksacks as our festival bags of choice. I picked up this white wonder from Accessorize last year and it’s proven to be a staple in my wardrobe, especially to take on weekends away. Jo’s gorgeous brown version from Aldo has unfortunately sold out, but there is a similar one here. Our glorious floral crowns are from Crown and Glory. Bubbles, fizzy pop and mega lolz are models own.
Over to you readers. What’s your festival fashion essential?
How gorgeous is the Yumi by Lilah SS16 capsule collection? We’ve been swooning over those beautiful lace details since it appeared back in March. All the pieces are heavily influenced by 1960’s Paris which has, naturally, proved to be a bit of a winner on the chic front! Tres bien! We think Lilah (Parsons, of modelling and TV fame) has totally nailed the French girl vibe with her first go in the designers chair, with a collection full of pretty feminine silhouettes, denim details, rosy florals and major pops of red. There’s also a nice nod to a more Victorian vibe with a fair share of high collars and long sleeves to be found. As Lilah said herself, “think Paris meets Little House on the Prairie!”. We love it!
As a red lover, I desperately wanted to style the Embroidered Midi Shirt Dress*! It’s so delightfully retro and is giving me serious Orla Kiely vibes. Thankfully it’s just as stunning IRL and I am obsessed with the embroidery. I was a bit worried that the long sleeves (which are sheer and totally beautiful) would mean it wouldn’t really see much action until much later in the year but I should never have doubted the British weather. Turns out this is the perfect between season frock! I’ve been rocking it with a bare leg and flats for weeks. I teamed it with a pink belt (I’m all about the pink and red atm) and my GIANT red bow ballet shoes.
Victoria plumped for the rather lovely Broderie Anglaise Short Sleeve Shirt* which has the sweetest detailing. The 60’s shape with those little short sleeves and neat collar make it marvelously flattering and makes it the perfect ‘goes with anything’ shirt. She teamed it with the Denim A-Line Midi skirt which was a bit of a revelation for us both. We aren’t typical A-Line rockers but it looks such a surprisingly easy style to wear, plus it’s a key SS16 trend and we do like to be trendy. We also love the rose gold details! After much debate, Victoria decided to run with the 60’s theme and wore her Swixities Ball shoes from the V&A for Clarks collection.
Basically we don’t have enough superlatives to use when describing this collection, just a whole lot of love for Yumi for inviting us to style these glorious pieces.