So here it is, #MerryBristmas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, also known as #merrybristmas. We are, once again, very fortunate indeed to partake in this brilliant annual campaign by Visit Bristol, which aims to promote the festive offerings in our fair city. Over the past couple of weeks we have been all over the place, throwing the girls into the festive season head first, to see where’s good to go with little ones this December.

Santa Steam Special at Avon Valley Railway

First up, it’s Santa on a Steam Train! What on earth could be better?! We wrapped up warm and headed to Avon Valley Railway in Bitton for a delightful trip in one of their beautiful vintage carriages. The atmosphere on the platform was lovely, with the Christmas tunes blaring out, tinsel agogo and even some little donkeys wearing festive attire. The dream.

We were treated to an hour long trip during which Santa came to visit us in our carriage. He was great with the kids and thankfully wasn’t phased when Poppy requested a helicopter for Christmas! I’m not sure how that’s going to fit down the chimney. There was also an opportunity to get off the train and have a photo with Santa but we decided it was a little too cold for Hattie – next year!

It’s not the cheapest of options when it comes to meeting Santa (although some dates are cheaper than others) but it was a real family experience and perfect for the train enthusiastic toddler! You’ll need to be quick if you want to book tickets as they are selling out fast. Book here!

Santa’s Grotto at Bristol Zoo

We always love a trip to Bristol Zoo so we were keen to take the girls to try out their Grotto experience. This is the first year they’ve really been able to partake in this sort of thing and it was a joy to see how excited they were by it all. We were greeted by some very cheerful Elves who invited us to do some festive arts & crafts, followed by writing and posting off our letters to Santa. The rooms were decorated beautifully and really added to the magic.

We were then led through to meet the main man himself who was so lovely and really engaged with the girls, asking them lots of questions and having a real giggle. The presents were great too, a cuddly lemur for P and a cuddly penguin for A. Perfectly on theme and meant we could go find the corresponding animals after! We also liked, as the eco-conscious Santa explained, that the presents were wrapped using brown paper as it can be recycled after. Good work, Bristol Zoo!

You can book your own Grotto experience here! All money raised from the Santa’s Grotto events will contribute to BCWEZSL’s charitable objectives and it’s running until December 23rd.

Winter Wonderland at Wookey Hole

Uhoh, Rudolph has taken a wrong turn and ended up down in the caves at Wookey Hole! Time to grab your glow sticks and go on a Christmas trip that’s a little different.

We loved exploring the caves and encountering touches of Christmas at every turn was pretty darn cool. There was even a chance to dance to some Christmas music in one of the chambers! We were slightly apprehensive about taking a toddler and newborn on a 45 minute tour in the dark but they both loved it (well Poppy did, Hattie slept through the whole thing – win). It’s worth noting that the caves, unsuprisingly aren’t buggy friendly so you will need a sling, and if you want to buy a glow stick you will need £2 in cash.

If you visit on the weekend, there’s also a Christmas circus show, 4D cinema experience and the opportunity to visit their own Santa’s Grotto. If, like us, you visit in the week there’s still plenty to see and do! Poppy loved the soft play, animatronic dinosaurs and the vintage penny arcades.

See what’s on offer at Wookey Hole here!

Christmas at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm

Christmas at Noah’s Ark is a very green affair, with all their decorations made from recycled materials, the lights are eco-friendly and there’s even a Christmas scene created from unwanted items. What a wonderful way to spread Christmas cheer.

We visited on a very quiet day and the girls had an absolutely fabulous time running riot in their ginormous soft play and play barn. If you haven’t been, it’s fantastic and I think the parents had just as much fun as the kids!

We also really enjoyed strolling round meeting the animals, with the elephants and giraffes proving the most popular with the toddlers. They were amazed!

If you fancy visiting Noah’s Ark this festive season, they are allowing visitors to feed the Reindeer for free on Saturdays at 3pm. Check out the website for more details and to see their other Christmas events.

So, those are our highlights for this year but there’s so much on offer in Bristol this Christmas! Let us know your highlights in the comments as it’s only the beginning of December and we’ve already set the bar pretty high for the girls!

J&V x


We were kindly gifted entry to all the above attractions as part of a campaign with Visit Bristol but all words and opinions are our own.

Festive Forest at SouthGate, Bath

Festive Forest at SouthGate
Festive Forest at SouthGate
Festive Forest at SouthGate
Festive Forest at SouthGate
Festive Forest at SouthGate

We were kindly invited by SouthGate Bath to come and check out their Festive Forest Christmas installation. Now If you’ve been reading our blog for a while, you will know how much we love a little visit to Bath. It’s the most beautiful city at all times of the year but it really comes into its own at Christmas.

If you aren’t familiar with Bath at all, the SouthGate is a relatively new addition (it has been open since 2010 which makes me feel super old, I can tell you) and a lot of hard work went into making sure this newcomer blended perfectly with the Georgian architecture that makes Bath so beautiful. They totally nailed it and now, as you walk around, you’d honestly think it had always been there. As someone that grew up here, I know how much life SouthGate has injected into what was once a very tired area of Bath. There’s just so much to do with so many great restaurants and shops. Plus, there’s a fabulous brand new boutique cinema, Tivoli, that we can’t wait to visit!

Festive Forest at SouthGate
Festive Forest at SouthGate
Festive Forest at SouthGate
Festive Forest at SouthGate

So what of the Festive Forest, I hear you cry! Well, it’s really rather magical and you can see that a lot of thought has gone into making your time in SouthGate feel that little bit more special. They have gone for a Narnia inspired vibe, complete with a ‘magical wardrobe’ to walk through. Guests are greeted by a veritable winter woodland playground, with life-sized animals, twinkly trees and a giant snow globe in which to frolic. It’s rather lovely and it even snows every half an hour! We saw a lot of stunned children (and adults) who weren’t expecting a flurry.

In a complete stroke of genius, they have dotted heated cosy cabins around the plaza, complete with cushions and blankets. You don’t have to pay to use them, you can simply plonk yourself down in one, should you need a break from all that Christmas shopping! Or, if you fancy, you can do what we did and grab a hot chocolate form the Nordic Delights bar, then snuggle on down! They have proved to be really popular with a nice mix of families, students, and workers taking full advantage of the warmth!

Festive Forest at SouthGate
Festive Forest at SouthGate
Festive Forest at SouthGate
Festive Forest at SouthGate

After all that frivolity, we were spoiled for choice as to where to eat! We plumped for Thaikhun, a thai streetfood restuarant that has incredible decor. The food was excellent and we will definitely be heading back to sample some more of their dishes.

The Festive Forest is on until January 7th, let us know if you go!


This post was written in collaboration with SouthGate Bath. All opinions are our own.

Festive Prints with Emily and Fin

Festive Prints with Emily and FinFestive Prints with Emily and FinFestive Prints with Emily and FinFestive Prints with Emily and FinFestive Prints with Emily and FinDing Dong Merrily on High! The festive season is truly well upon us and, here at She and Hem, we strongly believe Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a novelty print or two to swan around in! Thankfully for us, we’ve teamed up once again with our faves Emily and Fin to style a couple of their seasonal showstoppers! Merry Christmas indeed!

Victoria is wearing the totally gorgeous Swiss Chalets Print* which features a sumptuous ski scene set in the mountains of Switzerland. The perfect retro winter wonderland! It looks super cute and the lovely blue and green shades really make it pop. The dress is available in two styles, with Victoria opting for the sleeveless ‘Penny’ which has a flattering fitted bodice and semi-full mid-calf length skirt. She teamed it with as many glittery accessories as possible, including a gold belt from Dorothy Perkins, sparkly polka dot tights from Topshop and glittery black pom pom pumps from Kaleidoscope*. Not a salopette in sight!

I had been eyeing up the beautiful Ornamental Lights Print* since I first spied it back in the Summer! I knew it was going to be the perfect Christmas print and oh boy was it worth the wait! Who doesn’t want to be festooned with festoon lights during the festive period?! It’s such a fabulous print and the colours of those delightfully decorative lights really work nicely against the cool grey colour of the dress. Again, this dress is available in two different styles (plus a top and some incredible pyjamas!) with this being the ‘Lucy’. I always love the ‘Lucy’ shape as the A-line shape is just so easy to wear and lends itself nicely to twirling. I styled my dress with some super duper shimmery tights from UKTights* and some gold flats from ASOS (similar here)

I should also add that we both sized up at least once for these dresses as we are now, drum roll please, 38 and 32 weeks pregnant! Can you believe it? I think these frocks do quite the excellent job of disguising the massive bumps! If you’re not epicly pregnant then these dresses do run true to size.


Loving your work as always, Emily and Fin!


Chevron Stripes and Snow Scenes

Chevron Stripes and Snow Scenes | She and Hem | Aspire StyleChevron Stripes and Snow Scenes | She and Hem | Aspire Style

Chevron Stripes and Snow Scenes | She and Hem | Aspire Style

Chevron Stripes and Snow Scenes | She and Hem | Aspire Style

When Aspire Style got in touch to ask if we’d like to style a few pieces from their ‘New In‘ section, we were a little nervous. Not because we didn’t think there would be anything that we liked, but because we were concerned we wouldn’t be able to fit into anything! These bumps are getting out of hand! How wrong we were though, as our favourite maternity fashion hack (sizing up) worked a treat.

Jo’s chevron stripe shift dress* by Closet is so striking, it’s a must for any chevron fan. Keen readers may have also spotted that it fits all of She and Hem’s dream dress requirements; it’s a good lentgh, has cute sleeves and most importantly…pockets! Dreamy. Jo kept her styling simple with black Boden boots* and spotty grey tights* from UK Tights. I picked the adorable Julita snow dress* by Louche in the hope that I’ll be able to squeeze into it a few more times over the festive period. With its Christmas trees, deer and snowflakes, it could just be the perfect Christmas print! I would say it hits the right balance between twee and subtle, but then again, during they festive period, I think anything goes. Next time Louche, plonk some candy canes on it will ya?

Whilst browsing Aspire, I spotted that fabulous pink fluffy jumper* by Yumi. Now, while I’m not usually a huge fan of pink (it doesn’t really get my party started), I felt like it had to be mine. Thanks to the loose fit, I’ve recently been layering it over a maternity top and teaming it with jeans and boots, and boy oh boy it’s like a big, warm hug. As we shot this on quite a chilly day, I wore some thick maternity tights* from UK Tights and blue Boden boots* (similar here).

Chevron Stripes and Snow Scenes | She and Hem | Aspire StyleChevron Stripes and Snow Scenes | She and Hem | Aspire Style Chevron Stripes and Snow Scenes | She and Hem | Aspire StyleChevron Stripes and Snow Scenes | She and Hem | Aspire StyleChevron Stripes and Snow Scenes | She and Hem | Aspire Style Chevron Stripes and Snow Scenes | She and Hem | Aspire Style Chevron Stripes and Snow Scenes | She and Hem | Aspire Style

Have you spotted any festive pieces that take your fancy?


It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Boden Christmas Partywear

It’s time to crack out the party poppers and dust off those dancing shoes as the festive period is upon us (OK, it’s nearly upon us) and we flippin’ love any excuse to dress up all fancy! Despite having absolutely no friends (pictured), that didn’t stop us from popping to one of our favourite local haunts, Cox and Baloney, to hang out in their party room. With an abundance of vintage crockery and more sequins than you can shake a stick made of sequins at, we were truly in our element.

But what of the clothes we hear you cry! Well, no surprises here but we are rocking partywear from our faves Boden, who somehow manage to just keep getting better and better.

I (Jo) have embraced a blue Christmas with the stunning Blue Floral Vintage Party Dress* that I fell in love with at the AW15 Press Day earlier in the year. It’s everything I love, with a classic fifties cut, a wool and silk mix that makes it all shiny, a pretty print and, the cherry on the cake dress, a bow! So pretty! I teamed it with the Jewelled Clutch in Navy Fur which somehow manages to be sparkly AND strokeable! It’s sort of like carrying around a particularly bling cat but one you can store your phone and lipstick in and more. Seriously, it’s pretty roomy. Shoe wise, I couldn’t resist the Embellished Mary Jane’s in Vintage Blue Velvet*. They are the perfect party shoe and their vintage charm perfectly complements the dress. They are also, like all Boden shoes I have ever worn, insanely comfy and easy to walk in.

Victoria also pumped for the dress she fell in love with earlier in the year (we are dress loyal) with the oh-so-stunning Gold Metallic Luxe Lace Dress*. This is a proper showstopper of a vintage princess party dress with the most beautiful lace detailing. The full skirt had Victoria in a constant state of twirling and those sleeves are something else! The shoes, oh the shoes, are the Audbrey Bow Flats in Pewter Glitter* and they are so sparkly it’s a miracle a magpie didn’t fly in to try and steal them. The pointed front makes them ever so flattering (and party appropriate!) and just in case you hadn’t spotted, there is a massive bronze bow on the front for good measure.

What a pair of absolute party animals!


A big thank you to Cox and Baloney for letting us use their stunning party room (fellow Bristolians, please visit them! Eat their cake! Drink their tea! Have your parties there!) and also to Boden, who this post is in collaboration with, for providing us with the most beautiful clothes, shoes and bags two girls could wish for of a Christmas. 

Swindon Designer Outlet Part 2

Swindon Designer Outlet | McArthurGlen | Christmas Shopping

If you have read Swindon Designer Outlet Part 1, you will know that a couple of Saturday’s ago, myself and Jo went wild in the aisles and shopped until we dropped at McArthurGlen Swindon. And by dropped I mean, we both spent far too much money and promptly fell asleep on the train home. Our mission as part of The Gift Hunter Challenge was to find Christmas presents for three of our nearest and dearest. With the promise of The Cadbury Store, blogger (and personal!) favourite Yankee Candle and Ed’s Diner, and an eggnog latte or two, it sounded less like a challenge, and more like the perfectly indulgent girly afternoon out!

To fully embrace the Christmas spirit, I wore my snowflake jumper from Matalan* and subtly festive beret from Gallic Rooster*.

Swindon Designer Outlet | McArthurGlen | Christmas ShoppingSwindon Designer Outlet | McArthurGlen | Christmas ShoppingSwindon Designer Outlet | McArthurGlen | Christmas Shopping

After a few hours browsing and admiring all of the lovely things, we made the difficult executive decision to head to Wagamama to have an in-depth discussion about Strictly Come Dancing what we wanted to purchase. Here are the items that are now patiently waiting under the tree.

Swindon Designer Outlet | McArthurGlen | Christmas Shopping

The store I spent the most time and money in, and I’m not ashamed to say this, was Hornby. I am so ridiculously pleased with what I bought from the store and also, with the incredible customer service I received whilst there. Following advice from the very knowledgeable manager, James, I decided on what I wanted to buy for my dad, a life long model train fan. He often gets somewhat forgotten about at Christmas, his annual gift of a box of Liquorice Allsorts from every member of the family being hilarious to everyone but him, so I wanted to give the old boy something special this year. As soppy as it sounds, being able to give my dad the above gifts will be the highlight of my Christmas Day, especially as I am back to work on Boxing Day! I did blow over half of my budget in Hornby, but I don’t think any of the other recipients will mind.

Swindon Designer Outlet | McArthurGlen | Christmas ShoppingSwindon Designer Outlet | McArthurGlen | Christmas Shopping

My favourite auntie really loves Christmas and makes the whole family a small stocking every year full to the brim with small but uniquely personal gifts, which we open just before our Christmas dinner. It’s probably my favourite of our family traditions. To say thank you, I decided to put together a rather special stocking of treats just for her, including a gorgeous Bobbi Brown set from Cosmetic Company Store.

Swindon Designer Outlet | McArthurGlen | Christmas Shopping Swindon Designer Outlet | McArthurGlen | Christmas Shopping

These two gifts are for one of my BFF’s. Although there are several specialist bag shops at the outlet, including Osprey London, Antler, Radley and Fiorelli, it was this gorgeous blue French Connection bag that caught my eye. I think it will make a perfectly casual but fun day bag. My friend has been super supportive this year, and as she is a fellow Yankee Candle obsessive, I couldn’t leave without popping in to purchase my last perfect present! I spent far too long choosing the most festive Yankee Candle from their vast selection, and I really hope I made the right choice. Just another 23 days to find out!

If all these goodies have got you in the mood for a little festive shopping, as a little Christmas gift from me to you, to get an extra 10% off during your trip to McArthurGlen, just click here!


Cath Kidston AW14 Collection

Cath Kidston AW14 Press Day by She and Hem
Jo wears Cath Kidston Horse Print Dress and Victoria wears Cath Kidston Button Spot Dress*

Cath Kidston AW14 Press Show via She and Hem Cath Kidston AW14 Press Show via She and Hem En route home from the Company awards last week, we popped along to the launch of the Cath Kidston AW14 and Christmas ranges and gee-whiz was it spectacular! Regular readers and followers of our Instagram will know we are both obsessed with Cath’s quirky prints, so having a sneaky peek at the new items had us squawking with excitement! So much so that the lovely CK ladies had to keep us quiet with tea and brownies. Begrudgingly, we obliged them.

With the introduction of cute watches and on-the-go tote bags, alongside CK classics such as lively yet wearable dresses, pretty china, and numerous gifts and cosy homeware items, we really fell head over heels for the new collection. Despite the great selection on offer, we found it super easy to decide on a favourite piece, which we awarded to the delightfully colourful Townhouse Raglan cap sleeve dress, as seen in the pictures below, which will retail at £70.

Cath Kidston AW14 Press Show via She and Hem Cath Kidston AW14 Press Show via She and Hem Cath Kidston AW14 Press Show via She and HemCath Kidston AW14 Press Day by She and HemCath Kidston AW14 Press Day by She and Hem

Cath Kidston AW14 Press Show via She and Hem Cath Kidston AW14 Press Show via She and Hem Cath Kidston AW14 Press Show via She and Hem Cath Kidston AW14 Press Show via She and Hem Cath Kidston AW14 Press Show via She and Hem Thank you for whetting our appetite (and feeding it too…), Cath!


Accessories to Murder #10 Christmas Special

There are only 3 sleeps until Christmas, so it’s the perfect time to have a brand spanking new Accessories to Murder. We’ve only gone and made it a Christmas Special! An early gift to our fabulous Hemsters and maybe some inspiration for any last minute gifts you need!  If you are anything like me you will be SO ready for a few days off to relax and indulge in mince pies, toffee pennies and my new favourite tipple, mulled cider. Joyeux Noël!

Flashing Light Necklace, £6, Claire’s.

Now, I know it’s a bit of a faff wearing batteries as part of your outfit (don’t ask how!), but stay with me here, as this necklace exemplifies Christmas. This fully functioning flashing light necklace won’t be hard to accessorize with your Christmas outfit as it has not one but three settings.

Gingerbread Man Earrings, £16.02, Etsy.

Just how cute are these little fellas from Pixie Hearts via Etsy? These ginger guys will certainly brighten up these chilly December evenings. They are made to order, so if you have a bit of a sweet tooth (or ear…), get your orders in asap! If it’s too late to order for this year, why not be super organised and grab some for 2014?

red hat
Pom Pom Beanie, £10, Next

I’ve been looking for a cute beanie to wear over winter for a while now and I think I found the perfect knitted wonder in Next while I was Christmas shopping this weekend, and thought I should share it with you! It is Christmassy, but unlike the light necklace, you won’t look a little bonkers wearing it come January. Continue reading Accessories to Murder #10 Christmas Special

Whisky Business: Stir-up Sunday Christmas Pudding


Today is Stir-up Sunday, the traditional day to make your Christmas pudding! For many, this wooden spooned affair marks the beginning of the festive season and, as we sure do like an excuse to get festive, we decided we would don our Christmas jumpers and get mixing.


Having scoured the internet for the perfect pudding recipe, we didn’t find one that exactly worked for us, despite the fact that they are all essentially the same.  Awkward, us? Eventually we decided to adapt Delia Smith’s tried and tested recipe (which can be found here). We had a lot of the ingredients, such as the flour, sugar and spices already and we substituted some of Delia’s items for things we had to hand rather than spend the extra money. A quick trip to Sainsbury’s to stock up on the extras and we were ready to go!


Ingredients Continue reading Whisky Business: Stir-up Sunday Christmas Pudding