Bristol Life: The Downs Festival 2017

I might not be a festival goer in the traditional sense of the world. It’s a long time since I packed up my tent and headed away for a weekend- mostly due to cost more than anything else, but I love music and a good gathering so I decided that this year would be the year I head to Bristols very own festival- Downs Festival, taking place on Saturday 2nd September from 13:00 – 23:00. Having missed out on a cracking line up last year, I was keen not to be feeling left out this year.
These images are from last years event at which Massive Attack headlined. This year the all day event has Elbow as it’s headline act (the selling point for me!) as well as Seasick Steve (also a big fan), Soul II Soul, The Districts and De La Soul joining them on the main stage.

The second stage will play host to Groove Armada with a show-stopping DJ set that I can’t wait to experience.

Last year’s festival was the first major music event hosted on Bristols Downs for 27 years and proved that Bristol has what it takes (of course) to host something on this scale. This year it returns with more live music, more bars and more independent food stalls.

‘The Information’ stage will also return, offering a dedicated area for guest speakers, question and answer sessions, film screenings, photography and charity representatives. More information on this will follow shortly.

Tickets are on sale now priced at £45. Last year the event sold out incredibly quick so you’ll want to be acting fast.

All online ticket sales will be subject to a £1 donation with funds going directly to the upkeep and maintenance of The Downs, for all of Bristol to enjoy.

There will be a limited number of reduced price tickets at £25 available to anyone unemployed or on income support. These tickets are only available in person from Bristol Ticket Shop and supporting documentation and ID will be required. Children under 4 are free (though must be wearing adequate hearing protection) and a limited number of tickets for children aged 4- 12 years will be available at all outlets for £10 per ticket. All under 16’s need accompanying by an adult.

Tickets are restricted to six tickets per person/per billing address. Please note that in order to protect our audience from ticket touts we are putting in measures to help eliminate them. The lead booker will need to attend the event (or nominate a 3rd party at the point of purchase) with their guests and will need to show photo ID in order to enter the concert arena.

Tickets are available from the following outlets: The Downs Bristol, Bristol Ticket Shop, Songkick, Seetickets and Gigantic

Have you been to any festivals this year? Who would be your dream headline act?

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Bristol Life: Grandaddy at The Colston Hall

It feels like ages since I last went to a gig- it’s something I fell out of love with as I found it more stressful than pleasurable. Social anxiety means crowds can be a nightmare so often it’s easier to just miss out, however when I was given the opportunity to go and see one of my favourite bands at The Colston Hall last Friday I knew I needed to push myself and go.

The band in question was Grandaddy, an indie rock band from Modesto, California who formed way back in 1992. I was introduced to them four years ago and I’ve been a fan ever since my first listen- fronted by Jason Lytle (who has also released some excellent solo work) I find the combination of clever lyrics and eclectic beats strangely soothing/ an. They push boundaries which lifts their sound to the next level- I’d love to be inside the mind of the band, creative genius in my opinion. They split as a group in 2006 but re-formed in 2012 and it’s their later releases that have impressed me the most, their new album “Last Place” especially.

I’d heard they were good live and had high hopes for the gig. I find can be a double edged sword- going in to something unknown with high expectations can often be a set up for disappointment but I’m delighted to report that this wasn’t the case and the band (despite a last minute crisis) exceeded expectations.

Their set lasted just over an hour and was a mix of their latest work and some old favourites. Lytle has a somewhat aloof stage presence and yet still manages to work the room. His voice, live, somehow manages to sound exactly like it does on the records (and this is often where I find live performances fall short) and the band clearly have good chemistry as the banter flowed between songs. They have an almost mesmerising manner about them and the set passed by in the blink of an eye leaving me wanting more and more- I could have watched them perform for hours on end.

If you’re a fan of the band and have yet to see them live then please, do, I can promise you’ll love it. I really hope that Grandaddy continue as a band and bring us albums for years to come. Like good wine they really do get better with age and I would jump at the chance to see them again.
A big thank you to The Colston Hall for making this possible, Bristol may not have any big music arenas but when you have a venue like this you really don’t mind that much! I’ll leave you with one of my favourite tracks from the band- let me know if you’re a fan and what your favourite track is.

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Re-discovering Debenhams*

During a shopping trip in to Broadmead with my mum recently we were musing over how before Cabot Circus was opened nine years ago the highlight of any retail therapy spree was undoubtedly Debenhams. Back then it was this huge, glamorous department store that we could spend hours in. We often did actually, starting with the beauty counters at the bottom and working our way up to the children’s department at the top, along with a pit stop in the restaurant. These days we often neglect to pay it a visit, tending to stick to the Cabot Circus end of the shopping area but every now and again we venture in- lured by a window display or special offer and wonder why we don’t make our visits more regular.

Not only does Debenhams stock it’s own in house brands (Red Herring was a frequent label seen in my adolescent wardrobe) there are also concessions galore- the likes of Oasis, Topshop and Dorothy Perkins. Add in to this the many designer collaborations such as H! by Henry Holland and the well stocked beauty hall with all of our favourite brands under one roof as well as the extensive range of homewares (again in-house brands, designers and well known brands alike) and you realise you really do have it all in one place.

Of course then there are the promotions, regular discount events in store and online (and often discount codes on top of that such as those found at https://www.discountpromocodes.co.uk/debenhams). I really do need to stop neglecting the shop so much and make a conscious effort to give it more custom. It’s one of the longer surviving shops on the Great British High Street, so with it fresh in my mind I’ve popped together a wish list or two to remind myself- and my readers what there is on offer.

Beauty wise I could have gone on forever as there are so many amazing looking products out there at the moment. The Urban Decay Moondust palette is a long standing fixture on my wish list, joined now by these two sets from the KVD x Toofaced sets that I’ve seen popping up on beauty blogs lately and am totally smitten with. It’s been a while since I fancied a new perfume and whilst I have no idea what it smells like (a reason to visit Debenhams next time I’m passing) I love the bottle for Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream Kiss- he always produces the most beautiful packaging.
Fashion wise I am diggin’ the embroidery trend right now so this dress by Red Herring and the trainers from the Nine by Savannah Miller collection were both immediate additions to my wish list. I’m also having a backpack revival right now and this H! By Henry Holland metallic number caught my eye instantly. Lastly I’ve already made mention of my desire for a leather jacket and whilst my budget definitely doesn’t stretch to the real deal this Miss Selfridge biker style jacket is currently 30% off and a steal at just £34.30.
Whilst I was browsing I couldn’t resist putting together a little homewares wish list too (I’m seeing it as a mood board of sorts for when I move out again). It’s unashamedly girly and had to feature my dream kitchen gadget on there even if I might not get to own one for a good few years- or decades yet.
I’m feeling some serious love and a sense of nostalgia for Debenhams right now, do any shops provoke that kind of reaction for you?

Dear Debenhams, humble department store and icon of my youth, I do promise to stop neglecting you from here on out…am I forgiven?

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Monki See, Monki Do

A couple of weeks ago, having cashed in the contents of our piggy bank (saving up all of your silver coins pays off, trust me!) Mum and I headed in to Bristol for a bit of self-indulgent retail therapy. I already knew exactly where I wanted to spend my cash and made a beeline for Monki as soon as we were off of the bus- well, after a coffee stop of course.
I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or not that Monki opened their second UK store in the fair city of Bristol. Already borderline obsessed with the brand the arrival of an actual store has ramped that up a notch and my wish list is out of control. Thankfully I managed to exercise some self restraint and left with just a couple of the many items I have my eye on- the rest I have earmarked for a Christmas money spend up!

Dress & Jumper both Monki | Boots: Long Tall Sally

I almost didn’t try this dress on. On the hanger it just looked a bit shapeless to me but I loved the print and with a bit of convincing I added it to my bundle for the changing room (and oh what changing rooms, nice job Monki!). The second I slipped this on I knew it was coming home with me, far from being the shapeless sack I had envisaged this dress drapes beautifully and I loved the midi length as well.

I also picked up this jumper which was an absolute bargain at £20. I intended both pieces to be separates but it turns out they also look pretty awesome layered up which means I’ve essentially bought three outfits for £45 as both the dress and jumper work well alone too.

I predict living in this outfit over the festive period, it’s warm and cosy and the dress has plenty of room for the inevitable festive food babies that will be occurring…the first of which is likely to be today as it’s Mum’s birthday and we’re off to an epic farm shop/restaurant for a celebratory lunch. Happy Birthday Mum!

Are there any shops that you’re currently obsessed with? I’m afraid you’re going to be seeing a lot more Monki on the blog in 2017!

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Bristol Life- Vintage Kilo Sale with Bristol Textile Recyclers

It’s been a while since I last going involved in anything happening in my home city of Bristol. I could throw out dozens of excuses about being busy with life and such but actually I’ve been struggling a lot with anxiety and doing anything outside of my social comfort zone has just been too much. Still, with a renewed motivation for life when an invite came in to attend a vintage kilo sale run by Bristol Textile Recyclers I was determined to attend, and I did. A couple of weekends ago with Mum at my side I headed in to the city to see what it was all about.
For a bit of background Bristol Textile Recyclers is a massive warehouse that diverts 20 tonnes of unwanted textiles from landfill sites each day (that’s a LOT of clothes!) They pick out the best pieces of vintage and high street garments to put to one side and once a month they open up to the public in one of their vintage kilo sales. What does a vintage kilo sale look like I hear you ask! Well, much like this…
The clothes and accessories are placed in large containers around the factory. Guests are encouraged to roll up their sleeves and get digging through, placing their finds in to a bag ready to be weighed up at the end- with scales dotted around so you can weigh as you go too. There is a £1 entry fee to get in which is nothing really- especially as you could easily spend half a day there going through the goods!

Clothing is priced at £6 per kilo (cash only) which drops down to £5 per kilo if you get 10kg or more. For a rough guide you could pretty much get a skirt, top and a scarf within one kilo so it really is excellent value. Mum and I had such a good time rummaging through and came away with quite a haul at the end of the two hours we spent there. I’ve photographed a couple of my favourite finds to show you but stay tuned for more popping up on the blog soon.

I’ve pretty much lived in the quilted jacket and vintage jumper since I got them home. I did grab some dressier pieces too which I’m hoping to wear over the party season as well as some great denim. It’s worth paying close attention as there are plenty of brands around if you can find your size…lots of Levis for example and I did grab a fabulous pair only to find I’d slightly underestimated just how small they were when I got home!

This was one of the best Saturdays I’ve had in a long while and I’m planning to go to at least one more sale this side of Christmas and plenty in the new year! Bristol people check out the website and facebook to find out more about upcoming events and let me know if you plan to attend, I’m all for broadening my social horizons and actually interacting with people for once- the next sale is on Saturday 5th November.

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*Disclosure- Mum and I were guests of BTR and received free entry and a 5kg allowance each. 5kg is a LOT of clothes, we didn’t even manage it between us and came away with so much stuff! Opinions are honest and I will be attending future sales as a paying guest as it was just brilliant and an excellent chance to try something new and add something extra to my wardrobe- I’ve always loved vintage and this is such a bargainous and fun way to build up a collection.*