Why You Need to Book a Ticket to a Foodies Festival Near You

Josh Eggleton

This weekend, I had the absolute pleasure of attending the Bristol Foodies Festival. One of 10 Foodies Festivals across the UK this summer, the Bristol special took place on Durdham Downs. Three days of deliciousness against a backdrop of whispering park land and good grooves included everything from a cake theatre to demonstrations from top chefs. I had family in town for the weekend and all being enthusiastic foodies themselves, the universe really had aligned perfectly and so of course we spent Sunday scoffing our way round.

The weather could not have been better and we could smell the BBQs all fired up from across The Downs. Upon arrival we headed straight to the Chefs Theatre to sign up for Josh Eggleton’s afternoon slot. This local lad is a Michel Star Chef at The Pony & Trap down in Chew Magna. Having heard nothing but good things about said gastropub, I simply had to see what he would be wowing us with. The theatre tickets are free, but on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you attend one of these festivals, I recommend checking out the timetable ahead of time and getting your tickets upon arrival so you don’t miss out. The four areas worth paying a visit are: The Chefs Theatre, The Cakes & Desserts Theatre, The Drinks Theatre and Kids Cookery Theatre. See what appeals to you before you go so you don’t miss out. *Vegan readers: Sarah Sibley will be demonstrating a vegan chocolate & raspberry bundt at all of the festivals, so be sure to get a ticket for that one (swoon)!*

Until our 2pm Egglton-extraordinaire event came round, we were free to roam, tummy-first. The first port of call was melt-in-the-mouth liquid nitrogen sorbet from Whipsmiths. I opted for lemon & elderflower. It was fascinating to watch them create the treat right there on the spot and even better to taste. Post-ice, we did a recce of the site. This took us past coconut water, specialist liquors, a sexy cocktail bar playing an excellent selection of lounge music, stall-after-stall of street food and a yoga tent! Who knew this would be included?!

As I’m on the subject, I’ll mention that one of the things that rather quickly jumped out at me is how well-balanced this festival felt. I’m a plant-based eater and always feel quite put off when food festivals are all about the meat and not much else. I feel like it’s a cop out of getting creative with your cuisine. If you’re in the same boat as me, you need not worry at all. The Foodie Festivals do things right. There is plenty on offer that you can and will want to eat. Plus I really appreciated the yoga ‘wellness’ element thrown in here in Bristol. It was just one of the ways that this festival was able to add in something unexpected and wonderfully wholesome for you and your family to enjoy.

After a chillax in the sunshine, we headed into the cool of the Chef’s Theatre where Eggleton mesmerised us with his years of knowledge and expertise. I loved how he bigged up vegetables and emphasised the importance of eating local and natural foods. He’s opening up another Salt & Malt in Wapping Wharf soon and it sounds like he’s got great plans to give back to RNLI via specialist Monday-night menus. One more reason to love the guy, if his cooking doesn’t already blow you away.

With 8 Foodie Festivals left across the UK, I recommend planning a visit to one near you this summer. London kicks off on the Bank Holiday weekend (May 27th-29th) followed by Newcastle, Birmingham, Blackheath, Tatton Park, Edinburgh, Alexandra Palace and finally Oxford from September 1st-3rd.

Bristol Foodies Festival

Exotic Tagine Wiltshire ChilliWhipsmithsJosh EggletonBristol Foodies FestivalBristol City Yoga

Bristol Foodies Festival

Bristol Foodies Music

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Bristol International Balloon Fiesta: Colour in the Sky

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A lot goes on in Bristol all day every day, but perhaps one of the most anticipated visual events of the year is the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta and it’s epic mass ascents. At roughly 6am and 6pm for 3 days each year in August, over 100 hot air balloons take to the sky in a dazzling flight of colour.

My favourite place to sit and take them all in is from the Observatory atop the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Two iconic sights melted together is a photographer’s dream.

The wind had been blowing strong and much to the disappointment of the masses, the ascents had been called off as obviously pilot safety is the first priority. But finally, last night around 7pm they took to the air in style and blew everyone away, as per usual.

Aside from Albuquerque, New Mexico, this is the only other place on earth that you can see so many balloons take to the sky at once. It’s a truly surreal sight that captures for me the magic in life.

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With love, from Bristol

For street art fans across the world, here are some of my local pieces:

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A particular shade of horizon

This Christmas was spent amongst the boxes, but was enjoyable nonetheless. Each member of my immediate family has moved or will be moving in the space of 3 months. It’s funny how it worked out, but I guess one person’s move triggered another’s and before we knew it we all decided towards the end of 2015 that we were going to go after what we wanted.

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Something I’ve come to realise this year is that you can’t welcome in new, better people, circumstances, surroundings etc. unless you’re open and willing to let things go. Now, before you get overwhelmed with sadness at this idea, desperately clutching at everything in your life and wailing that you can’t understand why you can’t have it all, stop and think about it.

We are constantly changing our desires and goals. You may have your mind set on getting a particular new car, let’s say. It may be an all-consuming desire to save every penny and research every feature to one day go and buy that car. That’s fine; nothing is wrong with that. However, once you’ve got that car, you’ll find that that isn’t the end. You’ll find yourself longing for something else; perhaps you thought you wanted a car but really what you craved was freedom – something which a car represents. You have your new car, but you realise that actually now you resent that you have to spend all your time sat at a desk in work, unable to use your car for anything other than the daily commute and short trips on the weekends. Your desires may then shift to, ‘I want a new job’ or ‘I want to take a sabbatical’.

In the example above, getting the car wasn’t a waste of time or money. If you hadn’t saved and focused your mind and purchased the vehicle, you wouldn’t have bridged that gap between having no idea what it is you were searching for, and it suddenly appearing on the horizon. That’s all life is; a series of longing and learning. Some things we enjoy, others we don’t.

So this Christmas as I sat amongst the boxes, saddened that I’d never return to my family home again, I reminded myself that it was time to move on and face the unknown head-on. If you don’t let go, you don’t allow the better things to find you. I moved house last month, out of what I thought was the best location in the city to something I initially hadn’t even considered because I didn’t think it possible. That is, until I approached house-hunting with the mentality of ‘bugger it, why not?’ If you keep your mind’s eye on what you really want and allow yourself to want it, it is surprising how the universe will align itself to bring you that thing. Don’t ask how, you’re not meant to know everything; just have faith.

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Why so serious?

Yesterday I had the absolute pleasure of exploring one of Bristol’s finest features amongst the world of biology nerds, physics geeks and space-hungry eccentrics. I am, of course, referring to the magical place that is @Bristol.

For those of you who aren’t aware, @Bristol is an interactive science centre where one can go and learn about everything from how the human body works, to what lies in the night sky at that particular time of year. It is an interactive place where you can’t help but succumb to your curiosities and revel in the mysteries of everything in our universe.

I have wanted to visit since I first moved to Bristol, to satiate my inner nerdy desires and interact with the many exhibits. In particular I was eager to visit the UK’s only 3D planetarium, so I could forget about the outside world and my minuscule problems and feel tiny and at awe at how insignificant I am amongst our galaxy.

In truth, I had put off going for the sheer dread of being surrounded by so many small and excitable children. Plus, feeling guilty for playing with everything, only to look down at their deprived little faces, questioning why the big, scary lady was hogging their toys.

My prayers were answered when a friend bought me a ticket for an adult only night at the venue and I eagerly counted down the days until it was my time to see what it was all about. We were met with the smoothest of DJ’s bumping old school hip hop and several bars serving winter berry cocktails.

We began our visit at the 7pm planetarium show, which highlighted constellations you can see in the night sky at this time of year, including the ever-popular Orion and the questionable mass beneath his belt (which I found out is actually a nebula). After this we played with magnets, played battleships, built a fort, whispered to each other from across the room and gained respect for pregnant women and how much weight they have to carry around with them at 9 months. We got to see our facial expressions in slow-mo when made to ‘jump’ at a scary image; we learned how the eyes work and ran on a hamster wheel, all the while sipping cocktails and getting our groove on.

I had to stop and look around me at all the fully-grown adults playing and realise how happy it made me feel. When we enter into adulthood, we lose that innocence and playfulness that we are born with and embrace as children and I stopped and thanked @Bristol in that moment for letting me be a ‘big kid’, even if I didn’t quite fit on all the interactive bits because I’m a couple feet too tall.

Remember to play. Life is so much better that way.

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