Horfield Common, in North Bristol, is just around the corner from my house and massage room. In January 2018 I decided that I would try to take a picture of the lovely horse chestnut tree in the park's bottom corner, as often as possible, throughout the year. My aim would be to capture the changing seasons in the park. I discovered it was a really popular tree and there were nearly always people chatting near it, children playing under it and dogs and their owners having fun around it. I often had to wait to get a picture without anyone in it. Unfortunately I missed a few summer months and the full glory of the trees flowers. I do remember at that time every time I went by the tree had company so I had to walk by without a picture but maybe I was busy too. Most of the pictures were taken late afternoon, after I had finished my massage, so the light is low in many. I particularly like the second picture where the stormy light captures the green moss covering the whole tree. The third last is also lovely because despite being a grey day the park is probably at its most colourful. I wonder what happened to the swing?
Early January - The depths of winter.
Late January - Stormy light, green moss and blossom buds forming in the background.
Early February - A positive blue sky.
Early March - Despite the snow, the leaf buds are there.
Mid April - Bright green leaves and beautiful blossom.
Early May - Flower buds are ready to open.
Mid September - Look closely for conkers. Are the leaves curling because of drought, autumn, or bleeding canker disease?
Early October - Grey autumn day.
Mid October - Leaves begin to fall.
Late October - Bright and colourful.
6th November - Stormy but the park is even more colourful.
9th November - Colourful Autumn day.
12th November - Most of the leaves fell from the tree with six days!
Early December - and then there were none, the old leaves that is, the new leaf buds are forming!
Local experiences make great presents
Giving an 'experience present' is a brilliant way to give someone a bit of relaxation or fun, both of which is great for their well-being and positivity. There are a few benefits for the person giving the gift as well, as they can be bought online from local business which means you don't have to battle the shopping crowds (great for your own well being but you can also know you are helping support local business. They also make great last minute gifts as they are often emailed or posted too you. Some appear in your in box instantaneously!
Bristol has lots of types of experience gifts which will be loved by the creative the musical, the energetic, and the lover of tasty things. I have compiled a list to help you with your pressie shopping. I have tried to provide experiences across the price ranges from under a tenner to a few hundred pounds.
The Gift of Creativity
1/ Creative Glass Guild, in St Phillips, Bristol, have lots of different courses glass techniques, mosaic, fused glass, copper foiling, stained glass and glass engraving, for example their
Fused Glass Taster Day, Stained Glass Taster Day and their Build your own terranium course (each at £99).
If you know a creative person but don't want to choose a course for them you can buy a gift voucher from their website so they can choose their own.
2/ Badger Upholstery is based in Montpelier, Bristol and offer 5 sessions each 2.5 hours where you can learn upholstery by either bringing your own project to reupholster or you can buy one of their foot stools to work on. If you would like an intensive upholstery weekend you can book a weekend for £260. You could also go for a one of session for £25. Gift vouchers can be ordered by phone or email.
3/ The Makershed in St Pauls, Bristol, offer a Batik and framing workshop for £50 plus other courses in woodwork, upcycling and upholstery. Gift vouchers can also be bought from them.
4/ Bristol Folk House, just off Park Street, is an amazing place for courses of every type and length - Art, Craft, Photography , Writing, Well-being, Pottery, Fitness, Languages and Dance. For example
Indigo dye workshop (1 day) £26.50
Clay Modelling the Figure (1 day) £40
Hypnotherapy for happiness (1 day) £27.50
Swing Dance workshop (1 day) £8.40
5/ Lucy Lyon Jewellery in Horfield, offers workshops to make:
3 Stacking Rings course for £60 (based on 4 people sharing)
Beginners silver jewelley course for £160
Make your own wedding rings for £300+
6/ Wotpots Pottery, in Westbury-On-Trym, provide half hour adults workshops for only £18.50 where you can make 2 pots on the potters wheel or £37.50 for an hour (4 pots). All the pots are fired and ready to collect 2 weeks later. They also offer many children's pottery activities.
7/ Flo-Jo Fabric and Haberdashery shop on the Gloucester Road, Bristol offer a range of sewing workshops for example
Cushion Making (40)
Sabina's Sewing Bee (£90 for 5 weeks) - for all abilities but a basic ability with the sewing machine is needed for these sessions.
8/ Room4 Studios, in Whitehall, are a recording studios which offer gift vouchers of 2 hours (£60), 4 hours (£100) or a whole day (£170) so the voucher recipient can come and use their facilities to record vocals or a complete track from a band. Please see their website for details of each time recording package.
9/ Where The Wall provide walking tours of Bristol's unique street art on Saturdays and Sundays leaving from college Green. The Bristol Street Art Tour cost £9.80 for adults. The also run The Banksy And Historical Harbour Walking Tour. Digital gift vouchers for the tours are available.
The gift of well-being, exercise or beauty
10/ Stop For A Massage based in Horfield, Bristol offers bespoke holistic massage for women's well-being (including massage tailored for pregnancy). Sessions of 30, 60 or 90 minutes are available. A free 15 minute consultation is provided for each new client so they can receive the best possible massage for them. A session can provide deep and superficial tissue massage. Gift vouchers are available to buy from the website and will be automatically emailed to the purchaser or recipient.
11/ Bristol Yoga Space just off the Gloucester Road provides a range of yoga workshops and classes for example
Yoga Essentials For Home Practise £32 - learn yoga postures and breathing techniques suitable for home practice routines.
Birth Preparation Full Day Workshop - please see the course description on their website. £75 for one or £130 with your partner
12/ YogaWest also just off the Gloucester road also provides a wide range of classes. If you are not sure which one would make a suitable present why not buy a Yoga card for 6 session for £60, for 12 sessions for £108 so the recipient can choose for themselves.
13/ This Mum Runs provides running programmes in parks/locations across Bristol eg, aimed at encouraging women to run. With their Run 30 programme (£40) they offer training to help women to build up to beginning able to run non stop for 30 mins in 8 weeks. They also offer Run 60 as a development programme. Gift vouchers can be bought from their website which can then be redeemed on line when recipients book onto a programme of their choice.
14/ Sup Bristol offer taster sessions on the docks for midweek evening sessions and sessions exploring the docks at weekends. Gift vouchers are also available from their website for adventures further afield. Their activities appear to be on hold over the winter but will hopefully recommence in the Spring as they look fun!
15/ Pedal Progression based at Ashton Court Golf Course Cycle Hire provide sessions in mountain biking skills including introduction to mountain biking, jumps and drops. They also provide guided 6 hour bike rides.
16/ The Nail Shed salon on the Gloucester Road provide manicures, pedicures, facials, waxing and CND Shellac. If you are not sure which would make the best present why not buy one of their gift vouchers which range from £5 to £50.
A gift of cooking, drinking or eating out
17/ My Thai Kitchen in Redland provide private lessons £155 and group lessons £55, where you are taught to make 3 Thai dishes. Gift vouchers are also available which are emailed to you.
18/ The Psychopomp Microdistillery on St Michael's Hill produces craft distilled gin in small batches. Their Unique Gin Cocktail Tasting event or Distill Your Own Gin event (where you design and make your own unique gin) would make great presents. They can be bought as gift vouchers. Event prices range from £30 - £130.
19/ The Bristol Cider Shop in Whapping Wharf hold cider tasting 1.5 hour events where you sample 10 different ciders with some bread and cheese. Currently these events are £20pp on Fridays at 7.30pm. You can buy gift vouchers for these events so the recipient can choose their own date.
20/ The Bristol Beer Factory, in Southville, run tours of their brewery for £15pp. During the tour you get to taste some beer, hear about the history of brewing in Bristol, see inside the brewery and get to take some beer away with you. You can book the tours on line.
21/ Clifton Cellars in Clifton offer a variety of wine tasting courses from £25 to £150 depending on the depth of knowledge you require.
22/ The Spicery, in St Phillips enables you to sign up to a 3, 6, 12 month subscriptions (starting at £24) where you receive different recipe cards and their relevant spices to help your discovery of cooking with spices. For example:
Sunday Roast Subscription, Meat Free Magic Subscription, Date Night Subscription and World Kitchen Explorer Subscription
You can also book to attend their Curry Legend Workshop for £45 or buy gift vouchers for their How to be a curry legend event £75. The Spicery has links with Refugee Action and Bristol Refugee Rights
23/ The Square Food Foundation in BS4, offer a wide range of cookery classes for adults and children including baking bread, using pulses, vegan cooking. If you not sure which one to buy as a gift you can purchase gift vouchers.
24/ The Little Kitchen in Brislington, provide a range of sweet and savoury cooking courses for adults and children. They also have a selection of eat in cooking workshops for exmple Taste The Heat, Thai Street Food Evening, A Taste of Marrakesh. These workshops range for £35 to £50. Email gift vouchers are also available.
25/ The Bristol Food Tour provide three hour walking tours (£40) around Bristol's vibrant streets stopping at amazing food establishments to sample their wares. For example:
Original Stokes Croft Tour
South Of The River Tour
Vegan Stokes Croft Tour
If your not sure which date or which tour to buy as a gift just buy them gift voucher and let them choose for themselves.
26/ The Bristol Pound has an incredible number of local businesses signed up to take the Bristol Pounds as payment so buying some of this local currency for someone is like buying a gift voucher for use city wide. Please see their website for how to buy the special pounds and see the map on the website for all the businesses involved. They also have a Virtual cash point on the website so you can order them from the comfort of your own home and they will delivered directly to you a few days later for you to spend or give as presents.
If you have found this list helpful and you would like to help people shop and experience things locally please share this post.
Our bodies are 60% water.
Our brains are 80% water.
Our blood is 92% water.
Our skeletal muscles are 70% water.
We know that it is important to keep the body and brain hydrated by drinking approximately 8 glasses of water 8 times a day (depending on body size) to keep our bodies in a wonderful state of hydration.
When we are hydrated we can think more effectively and be more creative. We all know that feeling of confusion and that headache that comes over us when we've not drunk enough. The days we make an effort to drink a big glass of water when we get up in the morning seem to start better and we function more effectively because we have begun the day by hydrating our brains and body.
So carry a water bottle and stay hydrated. I have discovered this brilliant website and app, refillbristol.org.uk, which shows you where you can get your water bottle refilled in Bristol so you don't need to buy single use plastic water bottles. Click on the map and it shows the businesses around you where you can get a refill.
There are lots of places on the Gloucester Road: Boston Tea Party, Yoga West, The Family Practice, Cafe Ronak, The Fish Shop, Grape and Grind, La Ruca, Harvest Bristol, Blue Lagoon, Gallimaufry, The Urban Standard and The Bishops. Many more refill spots can be found all over Bristol too.
If you haven't got your own personal bottle yet perhaps now is the time to get one. Gloucester Road Central has lots to choose from the insulated Corkcicle bottles and the Fire Extinguisher Design with built in straw in Romantica to the Colour Works flip top straw bottles from the Aladdin's cave Pearces Hardware.
I, to my shame got mine from the online store 'which should not be named'. I was impatient and lazy but I also wanted a metal one which was small enough to fit in my bag. The little bottle keeps the water cool and fresh tasting.
So stay hydrated. Help your body and the environment by using a reuseable bottle and the RefillBristol app.