Hey! It’s been a bit quiet around here of late but if you follow us on Instagram you will know we are still very much alive and kicking. The content may have changed a bit (*cough* kids *cough*) but there are still colourful dresses to be found, we promise.
Anyway, as we get a lot of messages asking for recommendations for places to take kids in Bristol, we thought we would start #sheandhembristolkids as a way to keep all our favourite places together and easily accessible! We want to feature everything from cafes to playgroups to parks and will include Bristol and the surrounding area. We know that not everyone is on Instagram so we thought people might find it useful if we popped them on here too…….
Cabot Circus Feeding Room
We really wanted to feature the amazing family room at Cabot Circus as we had a feeling a lot of people didn’t know it existed. Turns out, we were right! Here’s what we wrote about it on the ‘gram…
The Cabot Circus Family Room is such a well thought out space and the perfect place to escape to for a feed or change. It’s located at the end of the corridor where the toilets are and you have to press a button on the wall to access it. It’s a sliding door so no crashing the pram into anything as you enter. Inside you’ll find a very clean area that has, we kid you not, the relaxing sound of bird song being pumped into it. You are suddenly transported a million miles away from the Zara sale! Anyone with little ones is welcome to use the space. There’s a toilet for the big ones and a changing area for the little ones, with a little vending machine containing the essentials you might have run out of. There are private feeding areas that have a comfy chair, a little table and a plug socket (see, well thought out). There’s also WiFi 😉 There’s a little kitchen area that has a microwave plus one of those genius taps that does instant boiled water. Perfect for bottles! There’s also a nice corner area full of books and seating for older kids. It’s great if you’ve got an older one who has to sit around whilst you feed a baby. You can sit comfortably and feed/change whilst the older one has a safe space to play. Speaking of safe, there are also little alarm systems dotted around the space that you can use should, for some reason, you not feel comfortable. The last time we visited, a security guard also popped in to make sure everyone was happy.
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.
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!
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.
In 2014 The Guardian stated ‘Dungarees are not something you’re going to wear every day‘. HOW WRONG THEY WERE! I (Victoria) am a long time dungarees fan (evidence) (more evidence). I feel so comfortable in them, much more so than jeans. They are my happy place and if I didn’t think people would call me odd, I would wear them everyday. I know that Jo loves them too and we’ve often unintentionally (and intentionally – here) worn them at the same time. See, we genuinely love them, so on this occasion, sorry Guardian, but you’ve got it wrong.
My pair of choice at the moment are these Bleecker Indigo Stretch Denim Dugarees* from She and Hem go to gals, Joanie Clothing. On first wear, I felt like I’d stepped back in time to the 1970’s thanks to their retro fit and wide leg. Groovy. Although I do find dungarees quite flattering for my body shape anyway, I have to say I think these looked particularly good due to the hint of stretch around the waist. I am SO here for that.
The Breton Strip Knit
I couldn’t resist getting my hands on the Brittany Breton Stripe Jumper in black. I’ll admit, I do have a few similar stripy jumpers, but I get so much wear out of them thanks to their versatility. The style and colours of this jumper go with almost anything, which I think is the reason why I find myself leaning away from ordering the more novelty jumpers that I used to be all over. Maybe I’m finally growing up.
The Denim Dress
Doesn’t Jo look blooming marvellous in the this Berlin Belted Denim Shirt Dress*, also from Joanie? In an ingenious move, she swapped up the retro buckle belt for a cute thin red one to break up the denim and styled it with her trusty pink Vans*. She’s 100% a style icon for any pregnant ladies out there. If you are a Mama to be, Jo has featured lots of great looks on our Instagram too. This denim dress will never go out of style, so I’ll expect she’ll be wearing it for many months to come thanks to it’s button down top – perfect for breastfeeding her new arrival.
Thank so much to Joanie for hooking us up with these key items for our transitional wardrobe, to see us into Autumn. Keep your eyes peeled over on our Instagram for possibly THE best dinosaur dress ever that Jo will be styling up soon and a pair of fantastic Kareema Classic dungarees in PINK! See, we told you we just can’t get enough!
Items kindly gifted from Joanie Clothing but all words and opinions are our own
Yes chaps, it’s that time again. After the success of #MerryBristmas, thanks to the lovely team at Visit Bristol, we have been able to visit a ton of local family attractions over the last few weeks as part of their #SummerInBristol campaign. If you follow us on Instagram, you will know exactly what we are talking about as we’ve certainly squeezed A LOT in this time around. It seriously is our idea of heaven. We just love keeping the girls busy! Here are our top Summer picks but check out our Instagram story highlight here to find an extended version of what we’ve been up to…
Avon Valley Country Park
We both love Avon Valley Adventure Park because it has so much to offer, including animals, several parks and the most amazing soft play. It even has it’s own miniature railway! This year they are celebrating their 30th birthday, so they have lots of excellent special events coming up so it’s worth checking out their website. They are also offering a special ‘Summer Pass’ which gives you unlimited access until the 1st of September for £30pp. See you there?
Avon Valley Railway
Just down the road from the adventure park is the rather charming Avon Valley Railway, which was such a big hit with our two train obsessed toddlers. They loved riding and waving to the steam trains on Bitton station, pretending they were Thomas the Tank, of course! Top Tip, if you’re flexible with dates, you can save over 50% on tickets over at Groupon right now. They are valid for use on August 7, 11, 14, 18, 21 & 28 September 8, 11, 25 & 29 October 13 & 20
Bristol Zoo Gardens is always a fabulous place to hang out but it really comes into its own in the Summer months. There a plenty of animals, naturally, but the gardens themselves are absolutely stunning! It also has a good amount of stuff inside to either hide from the heat or the rain (who knows, eh?) and if you take some swimming gear, the splash water-play area will keep any little ones entertained for hours.
The Zoo kindly gifted both girls an animal adoption pack and they are so cute! Each pack came with a certificate, cuddly toy of the animal and two adult ticket admissions. It’s really sparked an interest in those animals for both girls and would make a lovely gift.
On a budget? Lots of the museums and galleries have got great summer activities on offer. M Shed is always a hit with our two and Bristol Museum has a good little play area. Our pick of the bunch though is the ‘Fluffy Library’ at Arnolfini which will be there until the 11th of August. Created by artist Antigoni Tsagkaropoulou, it’s an absolutely wonderful space filled with a giant soft creature, with a fantastic collection of inclusive children’s books dotted around for you to sit and share. They are running a drop-in workshop on July 28th for 5-11 year olds.
We were also lucky enough to sample some of Bristol’s delicious foodie offerings. We stuffed ourselves to the brim with a meal and cocktail, kindly gifted by ZaZa Bazaar, who rather surprisingly have possibly the best floor tiles in Bristol. Just look at those beauties! It’s the perfect place for picky kids and if anyone throws a tantrum, you can hide behind the chocolate fountain.
Even after all that food, we still had room for an impromptu date at our favourite gelato place in Bristol (and boy are there so many now!), Swoon Gelato. Yum!
We were recently invited by Bedminster BID to come and spend some quality shopping time in good ol’ Bemmie as part of their #Head2Toe challenge, which celebrates all things thrifty. As a couple of potential future Bargain Hunt contestants, we are always very happy to rummage for hidden treasures which is fortunate as Bedminster is a haven of quirky second hand shops, cool vintage shops, and of course, your humble charity shops. We jumped at the chance to spend some time in an area of Bristol that we don’t often get to explore, especially when set the challenge of pulling together an outfit each.
We waved farewell to our toddlers at Windmill City Farm (we didn’t leave them to their own devices, the Dads were there too) and set off with our money bags to North St, West St and East St.
As vintage lovers, we headed straight to two favourites on North St, Rhubard Jumble and Patina Vintage (conveniently they are pretty much opposite each other). They are both such lovely shops and we spent a very long time admiring their wares and trying on all sorts of wonderful things. We even spotted some Able Mabel headbands in Rhubarb Jumble, a place where we both found success! Victoria left with with an exceptionally jazzy animal print shirt, whereas I found the perfect pink jumpsuit!
We then hit A LOT of charity shops which was excellent fun. We naturally got sidetracked by all the fun toys and books for the girls but we also had a lot of success in the clothes department too. We both hit the jackpot in St Peter’s Hospice where Victoria found the perfect pair of M&S trousers, to go with her funky shirt, for the princely sum of £5.99! I (Jo) was on a complete roll and managed to bag an entire second outfit for £5.98. The poppy print dress and red belt go perfectly together and yes I am aware how smug I look about it! I must say, as a pregnant lady, I find charity & vintage shopping especially rewarding. It’s really hard when most of your wardrobe doesn’t fit anymore but nobody wants to spend a fortune on clothes that they might not want to wear post baby!
So, what do you think? Did we do well with our outfits?
This post was written in collaboration with Bedminster BID, who kindly paid for our new outfits.
If you are not local to Bristol, you may not have heard of Able Mabel, also known as Emily. We first met way back in 2014 when we did this awesome shoot at Heartfelt Vintage, and then again, when she was my (Victoria) hair stylist for my wedding in 2015! I wish she could style my hair everyday. Emily is one of those annoyingly clever people who can do everything. Not only does she do bridal hair and make up and runs kids and hen parties, but she also creates incredible bespoke headpieces including hats and headbands! When we first saw a glimpse of her gorgeous handbands on Instagram, we both thought how ‘She and Hem’ they were, as they are so quirky and colourful. So we were thrilled when Emily got in touch to ask if we’d like to pick some to style. Heck yes.
Aren’t they lovely? Our little ladies also got in on the action and don’t they look adorable? They are two seriously stylish toddlers. Neither of the girls have ever kept a headband on for as long as these. Ok, so we may have bribed them a teeny bit with some chocolate treats, but they both seemed to forget they were wearing them after a little while. Hair play girls, hair play.
Able Mable announced yesterday that her Liberty print children’s headbands, like the ones the girls are wearing, are going to be available on Bob and Blossom very soon – so keep your eyes peeled for that! If you’re in Bristol, you can pick up a headband at either Heartfelt Vintage or Rhubarb Jumble.
We were recently contacted by Simply Be about putting together a couple of looks. I think it’s fair to say that both of us are going through a slight style transformation at the moment, so we were both quite excited to put new outfits together!
Victoria is currently channeling her inner Sporty Spice on the daily and is fully embracing what we like to call, soft play chic. She’s all about the comfy but fashionable attire and jersey bottoms have very much become the order of the day! After years of only really wearing dresses, this feels like quite the sartorial revolution. Her Side Piped Jersey Trousers* fit the bill just perfectly and look just dandy teamed with black Black Lace Up Pumps* and a colourful striped boyfriend tee*.
If you haven’t been following us on Instagram then you may not know that Jo is expecting baby number two in September. Therefore, a whole new wardrobe (and a whole new shape to dress) is very much on the cards! She plumped for this eye popping Blue Leopard Print Midi Shirt Dress*,which does a fantastic job of covering a multitude of sins. It’s also button-up so, looking to the future, will be just the job for breastfeeding post pregnancy. Win! She teamed it with a baby blue Circle Bag* and some seriously dreamy peach Vans Filmore Deacon Trainers*.
Having two very active toddlers, outdoor adventures are an absolute must. Of course, with the great British weather being what it is, we often find ourselves in need of appropriate outdoor clothing in a pinch. So last week we took a long afternoon stroll around Jo’s local area to road test some fine items that have been kindly been gifted to us and the girls from a new brand we have recently discovered, Lighthouse. Lighthouse pride themselves on making season-proof yet stylish clothing, and we think they’ve nailed it!
These items are from their SS19 collection, but we’ve also been lucky enough to get a sneak peek at their upcoming AW19 collection. Let us tell you, it’s rather She and Hem. Denim frocks and multi coloured bretons, you say? Stop right there and take my money!
On Wednesday night, I was very kindly invited along to The Bristol Hippodrome to watch the UK tour of super popular musical, Kinky Boots. Not only that, but I was lucky enough to be welcomed backstage before the show started to have a tour of the Hippodrome and all of the kit needed to put on such a spectacular production. As a Theatre Studies graduate (no really, I am), I was as happy as Larry, as the Hippodrome is such a beautiful space, a real curtain raiser of a building! It may not surprise you to learn that, during my time studying theatre, I once did a performance about puns. Well, really it was just a play on words…
Inspired by true events, Kinky Boots takes the audience from a gentlemen’s shoe factory in Northampton to the glamorous catwalks of Milan. Charlie Price is struggling to live up to his father’s expectations and continue the family business of Price & Son. With the factory’s future hanging in the balance, help arrives in the unlikely but spectacular form of Lola, a performer in need of some sturdy new stilettos. I feel compelled to give a shout out Joshua St Clair who played the lead role on Wednesday night. I was so impressed I didn’t even realise he was the understudy! A solid performance with top vocals. Encore!
Kinky Boots will be at The Bristol Hippodrome from Mon 25 Feb – Sat 09 Mar 2019 with performances on Friday’s at both 5pm and 8.30pm, Saturday’s at both 2.30pm and 7.30pm and every other evening at 7.30pm. Ticket prices: from £19.50 depending on which seats are available. If you’ve not heard of Kinky Boots before, I’d definitely recommend checking it out – I had a blast! And don’t worry parents, even thought the two main characters are called Charlie and Lola, I can promise you this show is a world away from it’s namesake book/tv show!
Between all the working, blogging, and regular bouts of soft play, us Mums unfortunately have to turn down quite a few event invites nowadays. However, every so often, an email arrives in our inbox that we simply can’t resist. This was certainly one of them! We were very kindly invited along to try the Sri Lanken Street Food and fiery cocktails on offer at The Coconut Tree on Clifton Triangle in Bristol*. We could even bring our BFF along, the wonderful Ellie, from Better Bristol and Beyond.
With three small children between us, it can be difficult for us to get together on a regular basis, but we’re making sure we have a girls dinner date scheduled in once a month to catch up, usually over cocktails. We visited Coconut Tree on a weeknight, and although it was fully booked, it wasn’t noisy and the atmosphere was pretty much perfect for us to eat, chat and eat some more.
There were highlights a-plenty. Our personal favourites were the Coconut Tree’s famous Egg Hoppers (famous for a reason!), the mixed Kotthu (finely chopped rotti cooked with egg and veg and/or meat… SO GOOD!) and the spicy cuttlefish (nothing fishy going on there!), and Ellie was particularly impressed with their huge selection of both veggie and vegan options.
Thank you so much for inviting us along Coconut Tree, we’ve been raving about it ever since! We’ll be back!
*We were invited for a meal at The Coconut Tree during the Visit Bristol event. The food and drink were complimentary but we left them a nice tip to say Thank You for the super tasty food and friendly service.