Sunday Best

Happy Sunday! My weekend has been mainly spent finishing Christmas Shopping and watching Star Wars films. What have you been up to? 

For your clicking pleasure, here's my little round up of the best of the web this week...

// I laughed out loud watching the Instagram Husbands video. Poor Will can definitely sympathise.

// Carrie Fisher has been consistently awesome in interviews on The Force Awakens press tour.

// Jay Rayner wrote a glowing review of Bristol favourite pizza place Flour & Ash. Although I take issue with his use of the phrase "Clifton Chic".

// Wanna touch Shia LaBeouf's soul? Give him a phone call - #TouchMySoul

// I've only just caught up with Lena Dunham's amazing podcast Women of the Hour. It made me feel intense lady emotions and sisterhood feels.

// In other podcast news... Serial is back baby!

// Great list from Wriggle of 10 Gifts for under £15 from Bristol independents.

// On Saturday night I made Lamb Dhansak from scratch using this recipe and it was delicious.

// Turning to Pinterest for some gift wrapping inspiration.

Image LucasFilm.

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Shop Local Bristol // Christmas Steps Arts Quarter

I'm starting a new festive Shop Local Bristol series with the fittingly named Christmas Steps Arts Quarter. I work right next to it - making for super easy and enjoyable lunch time Christmas shopping, plus it's one of the very best areas in Bristol for independent shopping, especially if beautiful, handmade art, jewellery and trinkets is what you’re after (and frankly why wouldn't it be!)

Christmas Steps Arts Quarter 

As the name suggest Bristol’s self-styled arts quarter is brimming with galleries, and independent shops selling the wears of local artists and makers. The area, which consists of eight streets, is just a stone’s throw away from the city centre and popular Park Street so easy to find if you’re just visiting town for a shopping trip.

Best For

Original art and prints, handmade jewellery, ceramics, crafts of all kinds.

Don't Miss

Bare - This is a lovely pop-up situated on the Christmas Steps themselves. Showcasing sustainable clothing & homeware, Bare is open until December 24th.

Blaze – This wonderful local maker’s co-op is just full of lovely stuff which would make perfect presents. It’s also home to one of my favourite local artists Lina Löfstrand, whose quirky illustrations I love and has lots of at home.

Bristol Handmade Glass – AKA the most Christmassy shop in town! They stock the most wonderful selection of glass tree ornaments and decorations you will find.

Dig Haushizzle - Fabulous antique furniture and curios with a touch of the macabre. They sell really special pieces which are just waiting to fill my dream home!

Kasso – The newest uber-cool shop on the block specialising in print and design. Selling the sort of books, prints and stationary that make my heart happy!


Take A Break

Workhouse Cafe -The perfect spot to stop for a re-fuel mid-shop. They make a damn fine cup of coffee, have an amazing brunch menu and I'm passionately in love with their homemade sausage rolls!


Reward Yourself

The Christmas Steps pub -It's my favourite pub at anytime of year but a particularly cosy place for a festive pint.

This post only really scratches the surface of all the excellent shops in this area of Bristol - check out the Christmas Step Arts Quarter website for lots more info and be sure to pay the area a visit yourself!

/// This blog series is by no mean a definitive guide of lovely local shops in Bristol, just a few of my favs. If you think I’ve missed a gem let me know in the comments below or on Twitter or feel free to drop me a line if you'd like to tell me about your local business ///

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Sunday Best...

Happy Sunday. I hope you have had a lovely weekend? Here's a few of my favourite links and things from this week... 

// I need one of these Sriracha keyrings in my life.

// My brother has been offering free haircuts for the homeless in his spare time. Have a look at #DoSomethingForNothing to follow this amazing project.

// Have you watched the music video for David Bowie's new track Blackstar

// This would make a great Christmas present for a Marmite lover.

// I need some new boots for winter and I'm quite taken with these from Armistice.

// If Harry Potter characters looked like they did in the books.

// Missy Elliot is back!

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Lacock Village & Abby, Wiltshire : A Few Snapshots

The village of Lacock, owned by the National Trust, is the epitome of English quaintness, a fact which means it's served as the ideal filming location for many films and tv shows. You may well have spied the village and Lacock Abbey in the likes of Wolf Hall, Downton Abbey and Harry Potter - I was most excited by the later obviously!

We visited recently with the in-laws and had a lovely walk around the village and abbey and stopped for a delicious hearty lunch at The George Inn. I really recommend it for a nice day trip. The village is so pretty - although to really feel transported back in time I would love to see it without all the parked cars.

Here's a few snapshots of our day...

1 // This dog had David Bowie eyes... someone had name it Lily but I think it knows its name is really The Thin White Duke.
2 // Lacock has some dreamy doorways
3 // The Tithe Barn
4 // These meringues were amazing
5// ...truly amazing
6 // It can't be just me who wants to steal items from National Trust properties for my own home - especially kitchen wear.
7 //  The halls of Hogwarts!
8// Latticed window - In 1835 William Henry Fox Talbot captured this window in the very first photographic negative. Here it is captured my iPad 180 years later.
9 // We found these pumpkins for sale on the drive home and it pretty much made my month! 

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Buying A Vintage Wedding Dress On Etsy: My Tips

I always had a very clear picture in my head of what style dress I wanted for my wedding but I knew early on, after peaking in a few boutiques that I wasn't going to find what I was after on the high street. Another thing I was sure of is that I didn't want my wedding dress to come with a crazy price tag!

If you're looking for a wedding dress that's unique and doesn't cost the earth then going vintage is the way forward. One of the many beauties of using Etsy is that you are able to browse items from a multitude of different vintage boutiques at once, making finding your dream dress that much easier. I found that the best boutiques were based in the USA but that the vast majority delivery internationally. Price wise, in my experience at least, vintage dresses on Etsy seem to be a fraction of the cost of dresses in bridal boutiques. Mine was less than £200! So if, like me, you're keen on a genuine 1950's tea dress or whether your bridal style inspiration is anything from 20's glamour to 70's boho - there will be a vintage wedding dress on Etsy that could be perfect for you, not to mention one that comes with a whole history of its own.

My Tips for Buying a Vintage Wedding Dress on Etsy


Find Your Favourites

When browsing on Etsy you can click the heart to favourite any item you like the look of. Search for dresses in the style or era you're looking for then use the favourites tool to keep track of dresses on the 'maybe' list; saving them for looking at in more detail later. Etsy is also very clever at showing you lovely items related to your favourites so next time you log on your home page will be full of dresses that will be up your street.

Measure Up

First things first you need to know your vital stats when looking to buy a dress online. As well as the garment measurement, Etsy stores tend to include their models measurements too and often use the same model for all their listings. Study pictures of the model in other items and get a feel for how you'd compare. Obviously comparing yourself to a model is not normally sensible life advice but seeing how my dress looked on the lovely Consetta's Closet model and comparing her measurements to mine definitely helped me get an idea of how the dress might fit me - especially height wise.

 Make Amends

If you find a dress that is almost a perfect fit it may be possible to make alterations,
have a professional seamstress deal with anything major like letting out seams or adjusting hemlines.  You make be brave enough to attempt smaller modifications yourself, for example I unpicked bands which were at the edge of the sleeves with *extreme* care.

Follow, Follow, Follow

Sellers often post sneak peaks of items due to be listed on Instagram and other social media channels so if you see something that takes your fancy you can be poised to snap it up.

Ask Away

Etsy sellers tend to be lovely so don't be afraid to contact them with any questions you might have about the condition or details of a dress. Ultimately they can't make your mind up for you but I'm sure sellers would be happy to help if they can.

Duty Calls

You should expect to pay import duty if you're buying a dress from overseas. My dress actually managed to avoid it but many an item I've bought from The States has not. There's details on what you can expect to be charged here. The most annoying thing about being charged for imports isn't the tax itself but the £8 handling fee. Just remember if you do return the item you can claim the tax back.

Go For It!

Obviously with buying a vintage wedding dress online there's a risk that it won't be quite perfect for you when it arrives but the end of the day if it's not right you can always send it back or even sale it on. However if you do find something right for you, you'll have the pleasure of wearing something truly unique on your wedding day. Ultimately if you come across a dress you love the look of in your size don't agonise over it, go for it!

 A Few of My Favourite Etsy Stores:
Concettas's Closet - This is shop my lovely dress came from. Currently stocking beautiful vintage wedding dresses from as early as the 1900's! Not to mention their non-bridal selection is so dreamy!
Dear Golden - A large and stunning collection of vintage bridal wear.
Breanne Faouzi - Particularly unique styles from the 50s, 60s & 70s 
The Vintage Studio - Perfect dresses for your inner the Prom Queen!

You can follow me on Etsy and see the items I've favorited here and see my bridal inspiration board below - in taking a chance on a vintage wedding dress on Etsy I found just what I was looking for!

Follow NothingNewBlog's board .Wedding // The Bride on Pinterest.  

I hope my tips may encourage you to at least have a look at what Etsy has to offer - do you have any tips of your own? I'd love to hear them! Oh and any tips on removing a cranberry juice stain from a vintage wedding dress would be nice too! (Whoops!)

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Bristol Cocktail Week 2015, 19th - 25th October

The Milk Thistle cocktail bar is one of Bristol's hidden gems, and I mean hidden quite literally as without a sign outside to announce its presence you need to know where to look in central Bristol to find it. Since tracking it down a few years ago it has been one of my favourite places to go on special occasions. Having to ring a buzzer on their secret door, before being shown to your table in a fancy room filled with vintage curios certainly adds an air of excitement to the evening –and of course their cocktails are top notch too. It’s a great place to take guests who are visiting the city, an ideal date-night location and I have even been lucky enough to attend a very glamourous wedding reception at the venue.
As much as I love the Milk Thistle I can’t say I tend to find myself there on a Tuesday evening but this week I got to go along to enjoy a cocktail masterclass as a preview to Bristol Cocktail Week, which runs from October 19th - 25th. Now in its 5th year, Bristol Cocktail Week originated as a way for those in the industry to meet up with fellow local mixologists. Run entirely independently and not-for-profit, Bristol Cocktail Week has grown from strength to strength and this year boasts more events for Bristol's discerning drinkers than ever before.

Throughout the week-long celebrations, event highlights include, Edinburgh Fringe favourites, the Thinking Drinkers who perform a drink-along comedy show; A ‘Cocktail Safari’ along Whiteladies Road and ‘Cocktails Through the Ages’ at the Milk Thistle – which I plan on attending. The week’s celebrations will culminate in a Masquerade Cocktail Ball at St George's Hall. Unfortunately the event which sounds most up my street is sold out. The movie drink-along, to the film Cocktail, at 20th Century Flicks has understandably been a popular choice - how about a monthly event eh guys? Just think of all the films that have great drink-along potential!

With over 20 events taking place in 50 bars across the city there's bound to be a tipple related event that tickles your fancy! Check out the full list events here and purchase a wristband via Foozie for discounted prices and special offers.

Our host for the Milk Thistle cocktail masterclass was Danny Walker - chairman of Bristol Cocktail Week, part of the Milk Thistle / Hyde & Co. team, owner of Psychopomp Micro Gin Distillery and cocktail maker extraordinaire! Danny showed the group how to mix a range of cocktails according to the basics. No fancy, tricksy stuff here - the class was very much intended to teach us the tools and give us the confidence to make decent cocktails at home. We also learnt a lot about the history of the cocktail which I found fascinating.

Over the course of the evenng, as we tried a number of delicious drinks, Danny chatted away answering our questions and dishing out tips and tricks - apparently milk-based cocktails are very much passé, current cocktail trends include beer based cocktails and smoky flavours and a top tip for a bloody-good Bloody Mary is beetroot juice. I was particularly impressed with Danny’s punch (which bared no resemblance to the murky, sweet stuff I relate to punch), as with the other types of cocktails it's all about getting your basic components correct - find the right balance of sweet, sour, strong & spice and you're on to a winner!
What I really took away from the evening was how I could learn to treat cocktail making the way I do cooking. As an ardent foodie I’ll spend hours thinking about and planning meals but never put that sought of thought or effort into my drink making. Apart from the odd cocktail party - Hendricks, cucumber and tonic is about in-depth as it gets round here! The class has had me hankering to try out more drink mixing at home and certainly whet my appetite for the coming Bristol Cocktail Week!

Bristol Cocktail Week: www.bristolcocktailweek.barTwitter / Facebook / Instagram

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Our Wedding: The Legal Bit

As our lovely wedding venue in South Devon didn't have a wedding licence we decided to not worry about having a legal ceremony as part of our day and instead took care of that bit beforehand. This allowed us to have a very personal ceremony, exactly how we wanted it, in a beutiful setting at our Devon wedding. Although we were already officially married, that day was the real thing to us and we will celebrate our anniversarry on September 12th, but of course doing the legal bit beforehand seemed like a fine excuse for a little pre-celebration-celebration...

The "legal bit" took place in Bristol the Saturday before. Will and I got ready and arrived together and met a few close friends at the Bristol Register Office. We decided against inviting family in the end as they all live outside of Bristol and it felt like making too much of an event of it to invite them all along - the point was to keep it all low key and chilled out, which it was... and also quite a lot of fun. Oh and we also took the opportunity to walk down the aisle together to Father John Misty's 'Honey Bear' - we deemed the lyrics too risque for our proper wedding - so we loved that. 

The morning ceremony was short and sweet, we didn't have any readings or exchange rings as we saved all that for the following week. We did however have a ridiculously exciting suprise guest as my friend had just flown in from Australia. I felt bad as she was home to deal with an unhappy family situation but I couldn't help but be so pleased of the silver-lining that she go to be there for at least part of our wedding celebration. I didn't know she was going to be there so I was pretty suprised when I saw her as me and Will walked in together!

^^ super surprised ^^
^^ these guys ^^
After the ceremony our group of nine took a little walk around the harbourside before heading to our favourite pub - The Christmas Steps. We had a yummy lunch and spent the majority of the rest of the day sat in the pub drinking bubbly, chatting and laughing.

The rather drunken walk home was pretty funny with a stop at the always tasty Biblos, who gave me and Will free wraps (YAY!), bridesmaid Carrie took to telling everyone we passed that we 'JUST GOT MARRIED' and Will *almost* dropped me as he carried me into our flat. The evening ended with a whole lot of dancing in our  living room - which is pretty much my favourite way to end any night in Bristol.

Doing the our legal vows seperately from our main wedding day may seem rather untraditional but it really did allow us to have a very personalised ceremony the folllowing week in Devon. This included our own vows and our ceremony being written and led by a friend, which was incredibly special. I'll be writing more about all that and of course sharing photos very soon! But the day of 'the legal bit' turned our to be pretty special too and I also love that we sort of managed to get married in both a beutiful farm by the sea and our lovely Bristol - who says you can't have your (wedding cake) and eat it too?

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