Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Bristol 04 / Lullaby


Lullaby by Luke Jerram

Lullaby

At dusk, a child is woken by strange and ethereal music surrounding their home. Running to the front door with their parents, the music can be heard coming from down the end of the street. A shoal of twinkling lights is seen in the distance getting closer. Only as the mass of illuminated bikes pass their house will they realise that the music is coming from speakers attached to dozens of decorated bikes producing the most ambient and serene music.
Lullaby is a gift to a city. A surround sound illuminated artwork delivered to the public's door at dusk.
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Last night, this happened. As darkness fell, A was drifting off to sleep with the window open, and Ben and I sat in the living room, working. Suddenly we heard the sound of birdsong and music coming from the top of the street, and raced to the window to watch. Twenty or so bikes, covered in lights, meandered by in the dusky evening, the music getting louder and then quieter again as they passed the house. Ben, outside with his camera, looked up to the bedroom window to see A, a look of wonder on his face, pressed up against the glass. 
Bristol: you're so very good at this sort of thing.
Lullaby by Luke Jerram with Sustrans took place on Monday 26 August 2013. 

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Tuesday, 20 August 2013

A weekend of magic





























Midnight feasts and pillow fights. Giant sandcastle competitions and stories round the campfire. Fairy houses in the trees and acrobats in the branches. Lantern parades and a wild rumpus. Pirate training and lasso lessons. Sing-a-long Jungle Book and a 70s disco. Gruffalos in the forest and a dancing dragon.

Oh my goodness me, it sounds like something from an Enid Blyton book, doesn't it? (Well, maybe not the 70s disco.) But I'm just describing our weekend at Just So festival. And what a weekend it was. I hope you can see from the photographs just what an incredibly thoughtful and well-put-together event this was; every single tiny detail was just perfect, just so.

The organisers of the festival are dreamers of dreams, able to imagine their way into the head of a child and to create a combination of everything that's magical about being a kid. Six tribes roamed the site, and festival-goers were invited to choose from frogs, lions, fish, foxes, owls, and stags (the best-costumed earning points for their tribe). We hung out with friends old (my bezzie and her sweet daughter) and new (Kat and Heather), and fell in love with a brass band (Perhaps Contraption) and a dazzling dance show (Shiny).

Arthur and Ted had the times of their little lives, loving every second of the fun, the music, the dancing, the stories, the camping, the laughing, the exploring, the eating, the hay fights and the sheer joy of it all. They will not stop talking about it, and already they're asking when we can go back. Real life feels very dull in comparison.
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We were kindly invited to the festival by the organisers of Just So, and we're incredibly grateful. Thank you Rowan and Sarah - you are AMAZING!

Likewise, we were each sent a pair of beautiful Hunter boots to take with us - we love them (Hunter was one of the festival sponsors). I chose Original Shorts in aubergine, Ben went for Original Adjustables in navy, Arthur opted for the Glow in the Dark Original Kids' (how cool are they?!), and Ted looked fetching in red Original Kids' Gloss. Thank you Hunter.
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Thursday, 15 August 2013

Bristol 03 / Food and Theatre Company

The beautiful Elvis Aaron Presley - image from here

You might remember that I went to the Raven and the Writing Desk back in early summer, an 'immersive dining experience' based on Alice in Wonderland. Well, the same clever artists and performers behind this show have come up with another extraordinary event - Jack Rabbit's Derby - which promises an evening of gourmet diner food, '50s dancing, music and theatre at a mystery location in Bristol.

This is just the sort of thing Bristol is brilliant at: interesting, innovative creatives putting on thrilling events. It's the stuff of dreams and just one reason why I love this city.

It's this weekend, and tickets for Saturday and Sunday are still available from the website, and cost £25 which includes all entertainment, a cocktail on arrival and a two-course meal devised by the excellent pop-up, Mi Casa.

To get you in the mood, I've put together a Fifties board full of glorious images from the decade of diners and dancing.
I have a life-long love of Elvis Presley and need no encouragement to 'research' images such as the one above. Such beauty! Sigh...



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Monday, 12 August 2013

This is Your Kingdom, Somerset





What happens when you invite a load of bloggers to a farm, and ply them with yoghurt and handsome chefs? This ^^^^^

This is Your Kingdom, one of my regular writing haunts, invited its south west contributors for a day out at Yeo Valley. I confess I'd been thinking it'd be all wellies and cow pats, but Yeo Valley is one of the loveliest places I've seen in a very long time; more boutique hotel than barn.

After a demo from head chef, Jaime (we saw butter churned from cream, and a fragrant, basil ice cream being made), we took a tour of their beautiful building before returning to the cafe area for lunch and silly amounts of chat. Then, we headed down to the tea room and garden, both of which are open to the public (go!). As you can imagine from a bloggy meet-up, the sound of camera shutters was loud in the air.

That was on Friday, since when I've eaten a LOT of yoghurt (we were given a very generous goodie bag and recipe book). Yeo've convinced me, Yeo Valley (sorry). When can I come back?

My fellow This is Your Kingdom contributors:
Littlegreenshed // Bristol Parenting Cafe // Circle of Pine Trees // Abigail and the Future // Decorator's Notebook // Rachel Drewer // Katherine Davies Photography // Little Miss Married // Donna Amey
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Saturday, 10 August 2013

32/52


a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013

A: One hundred balloons
T: Three going on thirteen

My kids have always been up with the lark. Most of the time it's a drag, but there are a few occasions when it's actually useful. Like today.

6.10am said my clock when I heard those familiar heavy footsteps stomping around in the bedroom next to ours. My usual routine is to have a quick few minutes of email/social media while the kids are happily occupied, and this morning I checked my Twitter account. Bristol Balloon Fiesta takes place this weekend, and at the top of my feed was a tweet saying the mass ascent would be going ahead with a hundred balloons taking to the sky, any minute.

I threw clothes on us all, grabbed a few snacks and a blanket, and hopped in the car to the nearest hilly point. We ate a picnic breakfast while watching the beautiful balloons take to the sky. You always know it's going to be a good day in Bristol when you hear the furry hum of a hot air balloon floating overhead, and we are clearly very spoilt this weekend (as I write these words I can hear the same sound - there's a 6pm mass ascent as well as a 6am red-eye job). I proper loves Bristol.


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Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Tor in a storm



We were more than a little bit heartbroken to miss our friends' micro-festival last weekend. Ted got sick, then it spread through the house. But by Saturday, we all felt well enough for a day trip, so we headed to Glastonbury.

After a potter about in the magic shops of the town itself and a very lentil-y lunch, we donned wellies and waterproofs and headed up the hill to the Tor. It's a steep old climb to the top, but such an adventure.

As we climbed, the clouds darkened and rumbles of thunder echoed across the valley. The wind picked up and flashes of lightning blazed through the sky but, miraculously, we stayed dry. The children were thrilled by everything, emerging at the top triumphant.

Among the crowds, we found a patch of grass to sit and break open the Fruit Pastilles. We people-watched, our favourite Tor-ist being the goth reading aloud and applying copious amounts of factor 50 to her neck. And we told tales of Avalon; when you're six  years old and your name is Arthur, legends of ancient kings are about the most exciting stories in the world.
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