showcasing the best of the south west

Lottie's Lowdown: The Best of Bristol

Pictured above Giffords Circus

Guest blogger and committed Bristolite Lottie Storey lines up her favourite West Country happenings for Spring

Clifton Hill Costume and Textiles

Tucked away down a little side street in Clifton, Bristol, is Clifton Hill Costume and Textiles. For many years, it was run by Gillian Hodder but has been closed since her death in 2011. Now, vintage clothing and antique fans are in for a treat. The shop is re-opening, newly refurbished and with the very best selection of vintage gems from Gillian’s 30-year collection available to view and buy once more. To celebrate the shop’s re-opening, Clifton Hill Costume and Textiles are holding a launch party at Clifton Hill House. Think The Great Gatsby meets Midnight in Paris, the party promises to be an evening of glamour, fashion and fun, with live tableaux, music, stalls, a catwalk show, and vintage hair and make-up artists on hand to give you a retro do.

Thursday 18 April, 7-10pm

Tickets: £3/£4 The Raven and the Writing Desk The Mad Hatter ‘hadn’t a clue’ about the difference between the two, but perhaps this thrilling event will solve the riddle. The Raven and the Writing Desk is an immersive dining experience, held over three consecutive Sundays at the Milk Thistle in Bristol. Top chef, Tom Green, has designed an Alice in Wonderland-inspired menu for this intimate evening. Lucky diners are invited to dress up for the occasion, and will also enjoy entertainment from white rabbits and Cheshire cats, performing throughout the evening their own particular blend of dark humour meets slapstick, topped off with amazing costumes and clever set design. Sundays: 21 and 28 April, 5 May Tickets: £35-45 Bristol: Ambitious City Is Bristol an Empowered City? A Healthy City? A Connected City? An Enterprise City? A Destination City? Bristol: Ambitious City presents big ideas for the city’s future – from street level initiatives to grand civic visions. Find out about how the city could become greener, healthier and more connected – and have your say on the large-scale city map. This thought-provoking show has been developed in collaboration with the Mayor of Bristol,and it’s bound to broaden your mind. 24 April – 28 July FREE Drawn at the RWA Drawing is the most fundamental tool of any artist’s practice, the basic foundation on which art depends for its very existence. Drawing is a process, a journey; the artist taking thought as the hand moves across the paper. Drawings can be complex or simple, large or small, elaborately finished or no more than a few hasty lines. Above all they are personal; artists at various stages in their careers and in history have hired assistants to help with their paintings, their sculptures and their graphic works, but no artist ever hired someone else to make their drawings. Earlier this year, the RWA invited artists to submit work to this show, and the resulting exhibition features huge variety, with 150 works from 200 artists. Don’t miss it. Until 2 June Tickets: £4.50/£3 Giffords Circus Roll up, roll up, it’s that time of year again! Giffords – the most magical circus on the planet – is dusting off the wagons, fattening up the geese, and oiling the trapeze, ready for another summer season touring market towns in the west, this year with their show Lucky 13. An enchanting mix of traditional circus, gentle humour, unbelievable daring, and exotic costumes, Giffords is an annual tradition you’d be mad to miss. And the Circus Sauce restaurant offers post-performance dining, allowing true fans to sit alongside performers such as Tweedy the Clown chowing down and chilling out after hours. 16 May – 22 September, various venues Tickets: £21 (adults) £14 (children) Film nights at Bristol Zoo Fancy watching the Lion King with a real lion in the audience? This summer Bristol Zoo will play host to 3 nights of open air cinema as they show 3 cult classics and 3 family films over 3 nights. Films include The Lion King, Ghostbusters, A bugs life, The Goonies, Happy feet , and Anchorman. Saturdays: 20 July, 3 August, 17 August Tickets: £5-£8 Summer, here we come! For those planning a beach holiday this year, there is but one question. Will it be bikini or burkhini? The countdown has begun, and there’s still time to get in shape for summer. Bristol Bootcamp Company runs 4-week early morning courses across Bristol and the West, promising a money-back guarantee if you aren’t happy with the results. These intensive, outdoor, 45-minute sessions feature circuit training, boxing, and running, which should ensure you’re bikini-ready come summer. £60 for 12 sessions, plus a free nutrition plan.   Lottie Storey writes the brilliant lifestyle blog Oyster Pearl blog

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