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…
One of the things we love most about blogging is discovering exciting new brands so we were delighted when Carousel, an independent clothing store in Dublin, got in touch with us to see if we were familiar with their clothing line, Circus. We knew we were onto a winner when we opened up the website to be greeted with an abundance of vintage inspired prints and shapes! A new She and Hem favourite was immediately crowned.
We were quite overwhelmed with the amount of fun prints on offer so decided it would be nice to style some separates. Being the proven hot air balloon enthusiasts that we are, we were both drawn to blouses* which bore balloons! Aren’t they cute? As they always say, you can never have too many balloons in your wardrobe. They both have pretty smashing bows too and they fit delightfully. Skirt-wise, Victoria plumped for the hot pink anchor print skirt* which has a lovely, and flattering, retro shape. The shades of pink work so nicely together and really make for a rather special outfit. My eyes were immediately drawn to the Peggy Sunnies Skirt*. Due to my tendency to sport red heart sunglasses on a daily basis, it seemed meant to be! It’s such an excellent print and despite being slightly fearful of the below the knee length, I actually found it to be a rather nice change and it will no doubt be the perfect hem line come the (even) colder weather.
We are so happy to have discovered Circus and absolutely adore their love for nostalgia inspired fashion! If you are in Dublin you should definitely go and check out their shop as it looks like a real treasure trove of modern vintage mixed with the genuine article. We’ll see the rest of you on the website!
Victoria wears The Marlene Balloon Blouse* and The Anita Anchor Skirt* both from Circus | Jo wears the The Anna Blouse* and The Peggy Sunnies Skirt* both from Circus
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?”
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!
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.
We’ve spent the weekend in a hot air balloon frenzy as we visited the 37th Bristol International Balloon Fiesta. Have a watch of our new vlog to see just why we love this time of year so much as well as getting a sneaky peak at the photos we have taken for our next Emily and Fin collaboration.
We are still very much getting to grips with vlogging so please do let us know what you think!
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.
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.
Incredibly, despite the insanely early start, we still managed to coordinate our co-ords, which are both from Boden*.
Look out for Part 3 (last one, honest!) coming soon!
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.
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.
We 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.
We hope you have enjoyed our ballooning experience as we went back for more the next day! Look out for part two!