Bristol vs the world

A travel (and sometimes fashion) blog about exploring Bristol and the rest of the world, one post at a time.

Category: Shopping

Walking Copenhagen

Copenhagen harbour

Copenhagen is best seen from the pavement. It’s a city where your journey could take you down a street pock-marked with foosball tables. Where a riverside walk leads you past moored boats painted with happy murals and bursting with flowers on their decks. Where the suddenly slow-moving traffic you pass by is the result of a sausage cart vendor dragging his stand to work.


Assistens Cemtery, Copenhagen
Assistens Cemetery Copenhagen

We wandered through Assistens Kierkegard, final resting place of Hans Christian Anderson and exactly the lively sort of place you don’t imagine when you think of cemeteries. A sunny afternoon, locals (families, friends, couples) were scattered among the graves – reading, talking, kissing, sleeping – with their bikes at their feet.

Frederiksberg Gardens

We strolled through Frederiksberg Gardens, whose grass stretches for miles, past post-work runners. We climbed its hill and looked down over the city we for which we fell, instantly, head-over-heels in love.

Tante T, Viktoriagade, Copenhangen
Tante T tea
We were typical Brits; in a city known for coffee, we sheltered from the rain in Tante T on Victoriagade, a tea shop filled with chintzy chairs and black and white photographs on the wall. (John, to be fair, did then order a coffee.) They provided an egg timer with different strengths marked at different points, to make sure my coconut-flavoured tea would be just right.

Illums Bolighaus

We discovered the beautiful Illums Bolighaus, which feels more art gallery than designer furniture shop. We spent an hour drooling and planning which sofas and chairs and lights we’ll buy when we make our first few million.

Lego Nyhavn

We found ourselves in the Lego shop a few streets later, marvelling at their models of Nyhavn and other landmarks and making plastic versions of ourselves. We even managed to represent the almost-a-foot height difference. By giving me a Lego child’s legs.

Copenhagen Latin Quarter by
Latin Quarter by Ania Krasniewska

We took right turns and left turns at random in the Latin Quarter’s bright backstreets full of vintage clothes shops and studenty bars. One of the city’s many cyclists passed us, eating an ice cream.

Copenhagen botanic garden

We slowly circled the lake in the (free) botanic gardens and found ourselves in one of the greenhouses, surrounded by cacti and other spiky, wonky, jutting, alien-like plants.



We resisted eating everything in the Torvehallerne, glass-walled markets with stalls selling coffee and spices and vegetables and larger meals from around the world.

Karriere cocktail bar, Kodbyens

We explored Kodbyens, the meat-packing district, come nightfall. We passed al fresco diners making the most of free blankets (they – the blankets – are a common site in Copenhagen), neon lights flashing from dimly-lit bars and a bonfire outside Karriere cocktail bar. We walked through its plastic flaps, left over from its former life as a butcher’s shop, and sipped a rum cocktail.

We meandered past the large ponds behind the planetarium. Down side-streets full of independent shops. Past small artists’ galleries, prints tempting us from the windows.


We breathed in the coffee and the hot dogs. We sat on benches and the sides of harbours, not because we were tired, but because we wanted to watch the city go by.

We walked slowly (Copenhagen does not rush). Hand-in-hand. Happy.

Summer graffiti Copenhagen

Copenhagen botanic garden

Photo Credits
Assistens Kierkegard (x2): Open City Project
Tante T: Tante T website
Latin Quarter Photo One: Euroshop
Latin Quarter Photo Two: The New Diplomat’s Wife
Torveshallerne: Heather Spalling via Flickr
All others my own, please credit if using.

Sunday style: Just keep swimmin’

The last few weeks I’ve found myself drawn to summer clothes. Much as I enjoy curling up with tea, books and a chunky jumper occasionally, the rubbish British weather means that, at the moment, those occasions are all-too-frequent. As a distraction I find myself fantasising about and pinteresting (and occasionally buying) floaty floral dresses, yellow sandals and light, bright cardigans. Sigh. I mean, I’m not expecting to be able to go tightless just yet, but being able to wear not-100%-rainproof shoes sometimes would be nice.

As a result today’s post is about clothes for a different kind of water – summer swimsuits (and bikinis). So whether you’re just daydreaming of your holidays, were sensible and booked a winter sun getaway or just want something fancy for your trips to the council pool, here are 10 of my favourites of the year so far.

(NB. Unless stated otherwise I’ve not actually road-tested any of these costumes so can’t comment on durability or how they hold up when actually doing some swimming.)

Baku St Martin boyleg

£88 from Asos

Thigh-flattering boyshort design! A waist-cinching belt! Boob-flattering neckline! In slimming black without being boring! Yes it’s expensive, but think of how good it would make you feel.

Spot print bikini

£8 for top, £4 for bottoms from George @ Asda

This polka dot number’s not going to be the most eye-catching on the beach, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s simple and classic without being plain. What’s more, it’s just £12 for the set. And you can buy it as separates. Well played, Asda.

South Beach Sonic Bloom bikini

Top £14-16, bottoms £11-13.50 from Asos

Super-pretty without being too sweet, girly or underwear-esque and not a bad price either. This longline top has detachable straps, and you can mix-and-match with briefs and/or a bandeau top to create your perfect look.

Seafolly summer garden boyleg

£105 from Asos

Every year I want to buy half of Seafolly’s collection. 2014 is no different. Another floral number that manages to be pretty without being saccharine, and you can’t go wrong with a bit of ruching. Another design well done.

Motel marshmallow twist front bikini

£39 from Motel

As enticing as its yummy namesake and I reckon you’d look pretty tasty in it too. Sadly you can’t buy tops and bottoms individually from Motel’s website, but Asos has separates in the same pattern but slightly different styles if (like me) you need different sizes for top and bottom. But its fab green colour – a nice change from the many other floral cossies out there – almost makes up for that slight frustration.

Gossard Floral Bikini

£49 for top, £22 for bottoms from Very

I know, I know, more florals. But this number from Gossard is different; it’s the grown-up version of the flowery numbers out there. Lovely.

Retro swimsuit by Esther Williams

£65 from For Luna

I actually own the black version of this costume and love it as much today as when I first took it out of its pretty, protective cloth bag about five years ago. Designed by ex-swimmer Esther Williams, this range is made for ladies who want to swim properly and look good doing it. So, even with the halterneck tie, this cossie stays secure when jumping into pools, front-crawling in the sea or being swept down a waterslide. As well as being practical its super-flattering, holding you in and boosting you up in all the right places. At £65 it’s not cheap, but a worthwhile investment. Take your pick from a range of colours that also includes dark green, red and gingham. I can also highly recommend the bikini bottoms in the same style.

We Are Handsome Skyline Print

£216, Asos

My jaw dropped twice when I saw this swimming costume. Firstly because of how awesome it is (the 50’s-style shape! You’d be wearing a painting!). And secondly, when I noticed the price. This is definitely an ‘If I won the lottery’ costume (and even then I think I’d feel guilty about dropping  that much money on so little material) but we can admire its beauty from afar and dream.

Cutwork frill bandeau bikini 

£14.99 for top, £7.99 for bottoms, from New Look
New Look have come up trumps with this cute little number. Personally I’d prefer something a little more substantial on the bottom half, but if you don’t mind baring your thighs then this a great value set. And as it comes in separates, I’m quite tempted to buy the top in black and team it with my trusty boyshorts. Also comes in lilac.

M&S spotted bandeau bikini

Top £17.50, bottoms (or ‘skirtini’) £16 from Marks & Spencer

‘Skirtini’ sounds like a name JD from Scrubs made up, and nautical and polka dots aren’t the most original of swimswear styles. But I’m willing to overlook all of that for this number from M&S. I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is I love about this set, but I just know I want it. Now. Isn’t that how all the best relationships start?

My favourite things

It turns out introductory posts are hard. Do you ease readers in slowly with a bit about the idea behind the blog, which will probably change as we go on? Or do you dive straight into a ‘proper’ post?

Because I don’t like decisions (and hey, isn’t compromising always the best option?) I’ve gone for something in-between. Although I love exploring new places, the truth is that – as with most people – most of my time is spent in my home city, Bristol. (Not a complaint – Bristol is amazing.) The result of this, though, is that most new blogposts will probably be set in and around the area. So I’ve decided to start as I will likely go on, with a post on some of my favourite Bristol places from the first 18 months I’ve lived here. And hopefully it’ll also tell you a bit more about me, too – mainly that I spend quite a lot of my time eating…

Photo by Adam Gasson /
Thali Cafes
The Thali Café in Totterdown was the first restaurant we tried after moving here in 2012*, and we’ve collected many a loyalty card stamp since. Made up of five venues in various Bristol suburbs, this local chain of Indian restaurants serves up some of the best value, tastiest food the city has to offer. The main attraction are their five ‘thalis’ – fresh curries that are full of flavour and also, somehow, seem to feel quite healthy. I can also highly recommend their starters, especially the poppadoms and selection of dips.

They also do takeaways and their Tiffin tins are definitely a worthwhile investment, especially if you live within walking distance of one of the restaurants. The first takeaway will set you back about £20, as you have to buy the Tiffin tupperware. But after that each refill is £8.95 – £10.50 (depending on the thali you choose), and that includes rice and two vegetable side dishes – all of which is more than enough for two people. Perfect!

*Restaurants tried during visits as ‘tourists’ not included!

birdcage bristol bites 2
Anywhere that combines tea, Chesterfield sofas and mismatched crockery, and vintage clothes is always A Good Thing in my book. It’s not just good looking – the drinks are good quality, too: they offer a good selection of loose leaf teas (my personal favourite being the Russian Caravan, whose unusual smokey flavour really does remind you of the smell of bonfires) and my friend and I agree that their hot chocolate is some of the best in Bristol. I’m not much of a coffee drinker, but apparently those are pretty tasty too. Music lovers should check out some of the bands that play there, most of which are free entry. Birdcage isn’t just an ideal place to stop off mid-shopping trip though; open until 10 or 11pm (except Sundays), it offers a more relaxed late-night alternative than many of the nearby bars.

Watershed Bristol 247
Located on the harbourside (I guess the name is a giveaway!), Watershed is an arts venue, probably most well-known for its great restaurant/bar and its cinema. The latter shows a mixture of your more ‘highbrow’ ‘big’ new releases (for example Long Walk To Freedom is currently playing, as is Gravity 3D, and we saw Alpha Papa here last summer) and the smaller films that you might not find playing at the bigger chain cinemas. The bar is a great place to relax with a pint before the showing, and the cinemas themselves are lovely and comfy. If that hasn’t convinced you, tickets tend to be cheaper than the nearby chain cinemas. They also do a lot for the arts, both in Bristol and elsewhere – so lots of reasons to support them.

arnos-vale_1743956c Telegraph
Arnos Vale Cemetery 
With some notable exceptions (Highgate in London, Père Lachaise in Paris, etc), cemeteries aren’t usually very high up on the ‘visit for leisure’ list.  But Arnos Vale has something special about it; it fast became one of our favourite spots, an ideal escape for when we feel like we want to get away from the hustle of being in a city without actually leaving its confines. We mainly visit for the walking routes, some of which go through woodland and others on paved paths for when you want to avoid the mud! If you want to learn more about the history of the site, there’s a small area dedicated to the old furnace and crematorium. Oh, and there’s also a great on-site café, ideal for post-walk lunch or cake (are you sensing a theme?!).

St Nicholas Market a place to shop and snack.

St Nicholas Market
Forget Cabot Circus – if you want all your shopping under one roof then head to St Nicholas Market. Whether you’re looking for hot sauce or vinyls, second hand books piled to the ceiling or South African food supplies, you’ll find it in the maze of shops and stalls that make up the Arcades, Exchange and Covered Market. It’s also the best place to grab lunch in the city; Grillstock and Pieminister both have stalls in the Glass Arcade, where you’ll also find stands selling Caribbean food, falafel, sausages, Moroccan and much more. On Saturdays there’s also an outdoor market on Corn Street.

tobacco factory bristol post
Tobacco Factory Theatre
I’m not usually one for signing up to mailing lists, but it’s worth making an exception for the Tobacco Factory’s. They play host to diverse shows aimed at a wide range of people, but particularly seem to specialise in Shakespeare/classical theatre, comedy and family-orientated productions. Being relatively small (with the even smaller Brewery Theatre accross the road), it’s also an intimate but friendly-feeling venue that I just really enjoy visiting. Although their full price tickets aren’t expensive (generally around £12-£15 for full price, though shows such as Shakespeare can creep up to around £20 at weekends), it’s still worth looking out for their £6 ‘opening night’ ticket deals – ideal for when you’re interested in giving something a bit different a try (it was thanks to this that we discovered the brilliant Molly Naylor, for example – because for £12 for a date night, you can’t say no. Thanks Tobacco Factory!).

But there’s lot more to the Tobacco Factory than the theatre, including a Thali Café, bar and Sunday Market, all of which are worth a visit in their own right.

I’ve realised writing this that there’s lots more places that could count as ‘favourites’ of mine, so I could see this becoming a bit of a regular feature. So I hope you’ve enjoyed it!

Image Credits (in order of appearance)
Adam Gasson; Emily Knight (Bristol Bites) (x2); Bristol 247; The Telegraph; Geoff Paine (Canal Scene); Bristol Post

All photos should link to original source or photographer’s website

Wearin’ the world

I don’t know whether it’s coincidence, a result of the Carven map dress, or down to something more political, I’ve been coming across a lot of globe-inspired clothes and accessories recently. Even better, a lot of them can be personalised to show off locations of your choice, so they’re both unique and could have a story behind them.

I’ve included some of my favourite items below – just don’t be insulted if someone tells you that it looks like you’ve got the weight of the world on your shoulders (ba-dum-tsch). I’ve also been adding more map-themed items over on Pinterest.

(And if someone’s come across a high street dress inspired by the Carven one below, please do point me in the right direction!)

From L-R (prices do not include P&P):
Personalised Location Bracelet bracelet £85, Sally Clay Jewellery Design @ Not on The High Street

Carven Map Dress, £455,
Paper map bracelet, £25.67 ($40), Tanith @ Etsy
Wallet, £34.99, The Little Boy’s Room @ Not on the High Street
Personalised destinations tote, £30, Not on the High Street

Overnight bag £59 Paper Plane @ Aspire Style
Personalised necklace, £18.50, Bookity @ Folksy
Personalised cufflinks £26.50, Bookity @ Folksy
London road map ring, £135, Bronagh Kennedy Jewellery @ Not On The High Street

Alternatively, if you’re a proud Londoner (or have a proud Londoner boyfriend), how about these beauties? A bargain at just £8.99 from the London Transport Museum shop.

Hammamet, Tunisia

An intense MA (me) and year of working (John) meant that by July last year all we wanted to do was lie on a beach for a week. Taking advantage of cheap package prices due to the earlier revolution, we ended up in Hammamet, Tunisia. Incidentally, for anybody concerned about whether the area is safe – please don’t be. In Hammamet, the only way you could tell that a revolution had taken place was through the almost-unreal stories of locals working in the hotel and running shops in the medina.

Although we went with little intention of leaving our sun loungers (something I probably shouldn’t admit on a travel blog…), we did see a little bit more of the country than our hotel. Although Hammamet is predominantly a tourist resort full of all-inclusive hotels, you will find Tunisians enjoying the beach in the town centre. Dating from the 15th century, the medina is also worth a visit – you could of course buy everything in here in your hotel, but where’s the fun in that when you could be haggling – though to be hassled by shop owners wanting to get you into their shops (also, heck out the prices of items in your hotel or online before visiting – the shop owners will start very high!). Our trip was rewarded with two ceramic bowls and two wooden pestles and mortars which now take pride of place in my kitchen.

See the photos on Flickr