Plus, winter warmer recipes and an Academy Award-nominated film View in browser

A specially curated guide to help you enjoy the next 48 hours in Bristol


Furoshiki: the Japanese art of wrapping

While it's one of those traditions that's hard to give up, it is pretty unanimous – wrapping paper is a complete waste... not only is it expensive, and often not reusable, it also causes a collective mountain of packaging and a huge headache for the city's recycling teams. The low-grade paper is often mixed with plastic and glitter and is therefore best burned rather than pulped. That's why, this Christmas, Bristol council like many other local authorities has decided to no longer collect wrapping paper for recycling.

So, if Christmas is as they say 'a little different this year', then maybe it's high time we ring in the changes and look at some alternatives. Enter furoshiki.

Furoshiki is a type of Japanese wrapping cloth traditionally used to transport clothes, gifts, or other goods. In recent years, the tradition has evolved into a popular practice in cultures around the world as an environmentally friendly way to carry bottles, food, and everyday necessities – as well as a modern alternative to gift-wrapping.

As many of us have more time on our hands, wrapping paper is no longer being collected and sustainable alternatives are fortunately becoming more widely available, why not take advantage of this opportunity to put a little spin on the typical presentation of your festive gifts?

Main images: Furoshiki wrapping cloths from £15; Anthropologie

We've compiled a list of alternative wrapping solutions and how to perfect the art of furoshiki – enjoy a three minute read here


We remember Dame Barbara Windsor

Following the sad news of Dame Barbara Windsor's passing, we remember her radiant joy with an interview from our magazine from December 2010 where she shares her memories and favourite tunes with Mick Ringham ahead of her panto season at the Bristol Hippodrome. She will be sorely missed.

Remembering Babs...


Happy Christmas Jumper Day

To celebrate this modern addition to the festive calendar, we're getting in to the festive spirit with this fabulous jumper from Joules. Framed with a simple round neckline, this long-sleeved garment is not only a nice winter warmer but its cute hound is bound to raise spirits.

Joules Festive Dog Print Jumper, Navy; £49.95;


Looking for sustainable gift ideas?

Finisterre prides itself on being a pioneering and sustainable outdoor brand, a company that supports communities and gives back to its customers. Last month, it raised just over £13,000 in donations for FareShare, which has resulted in 50 meals for those who need it most this winter – one step closer to reaching FareShare's goal of providing ONE MILLION meals to people in need this winter!

Why not keep it local and eco-friendly this Christmas?

Shown here: 

Left: Bewick Scarf; a chunky fisherman rib scarf in a wool blend, £50

Top right: Submariner Roll Neck Fisherman's Jumper; a modern submariner jumper made with British wool, £150

Bottom right: Hill Jumper; a warm fisherman's jumper with a high neck and rib stitching, £110


Homemade mincemeat (vg)

In a large bowl, mix 1 peeled, grated Bramley apple, 150g currants, 75g chopped mixed peel, 125g muscovado sugar, 150g cold butter (grated) and 1tsp ground mixed spice with 3tbs brandy and the juice and zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon. Cover with cling film and leave in a cool place for 24 hours, stirring occasionally. Variations: use rum, sherry, apple or orange juice instead of brandy. Add warming, spicy ginger, nutmeg and/or cinnamon to the mix. Swap the mixed peel for dried cranberries or finely chopped ready-to-eat dried apricots. Add 50g finely chopped pecan or pistachio nuts. Blend with 125g white marzipan, grated.

Sweet pastry (vg)

By hand: rub 175g cold, cubed, unsalted butter into 350g plain flour and 50g sifted icing sugar until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add 2 egg yolks and 2-3tbsp water and squeeze together gently to create a soft ball of pastry. In a food processor: pulse the flour, icing sugar and butter together until you reach the breadcrumb stage. With the blender running, slowly add the egg yolks and water, then pulse until the pastry comes together in a ball. Whichever way you do it, wrap your pastry in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before rolling. Assemble your pies in a lightly greased 12-hole cake/muffin tin, glaze with beaten egg, sprinkle with a little sugar and bake in a preheated oven (180c/gas mark 4) for 20-25 minutes.

Once you've mastered the basic (very simple!) art of the mince pie, it's time to get creative...

Mince pie meringues

Line the prepared 12-hole cake/muffin tin with pastry, add the mince pie filling and bake without lids for 12 minutes, or until the pastry is just crisping up. Meanwhile, whisk 2 large egg whites (saved from making the sweet pastry, perhaps?) with 125g caster sugar and a pinch of salt until stiff and glossy. Top each mince pie with a dollop of meringue mixture and continue to bake for 3-5 minutes until the snow white piles are lightly golden on the peaks.

Puffy mince pie pinwheels

Spread a quantity of mincemeat mixture over a shop-bought puff pastry sheet. With the longest side of the sheet towards you, roll up Swiss Roll style to create a long log. Using a sharp knife, cut the log into 18/20 slices and place cut-side down on a greased baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Bake for 15-20 minutes until puffy and golden.

Crispy filo mince pie bites

Use 12 sheets of shop-bought filo pastry to create 24 bitesize mincemeat 'parcels.' Bake until crispy and dust with a little icing sugar before serving.

Cheesy mince pies (yes, really!)

Splodge 1-2 tsp full-fat cream cheese or finely diced strong Cheddar on top of the mincemeat before topping with the pastry lid – perfect served after dinner, with Port.


Purple power & accessible shopping

With Christmas shopping season underway, how have those living with disabilities – for whom lockdown has “turned back the clock” according to campaigners – found the purchase process during the pandemic? Journalist, illustrator, speaker and sportswoman Chloe Ball-Hopkins shares how she navigates shopping on ‘Inaccessible Avenue’ in our latest issue.

Enjoy a four minute read here



As always, there are so many great reads by our team of wonderful writers and contributors as well as beautifully presented advertising by Bristol's best businesses.  We hope you'll enjoy the read.

Every month 15,000 copies are delivered door to door in selected residential areas,  and you can pick up a copy at many places around town including our floor stands at John Lewis (Cribbs Causeway), House of Fraser, Harvey Nichols and at Waitrose stores where we top up regularly.

Alternatively, you can read it online here


Hannah Brown

These stunning decorative pieces are all handmade by Hannah. The preservation process uses natural, non toxic products and the preserved plants are 100% biodegradable – the natural sap of the plant is replaced with a preservative similar to sugar, to maintain the plants flexibility and organic dyes are used. To see more visit where you can view the collections and buy online.

Shown here: Felci Fern 35cm x 20cm; £150

Clifton Ceramics

Moorcroft leads the world of art pottery with its own distinctive design style. With added value coming from the skills and craftsmanship of a dedicated workforce, Moorcroft is selling more of its magnificent ware all over the world today, than it did even in its previous heyday in the mid-1920s. Clifton Ceramics being a leading stockist of contemporary Moorcroft Pottery carries all the latest designs and new releases, including many discontinued pieces. 2020 collection Moorcroft mirror with a William de Morgan design pottery tile, £310;


Stephanie Geyl works from her garden studio, at home in central Bristol. Each piece of Stephanie Geyl's pottery is beautifully hand thrown and her work can be found in various shops and gallery spaces around Bristol, as well as available to buy directly from her website. Shown here: beautiful, functional hand thrown table pot; £40;

Rainmaker Art Gallery

Unique feather earrings from a selection created by Pat Pruitt, exclusively for Rainmaker Gallery, during the Covid-19 pandemic. The markings reference eagle feathers and the glorious colours are reminiscent of parrot plumage. Both eagle and parrot play pivotal roles in the emergence stories of the Southwest tribes. These magnificent feathers are crafted from titanium and individually anodised to create the unique colour combinations of each pair. This superb blue pair measures 54mm in length (excluding the titanium ear-wire). £95 - £120;


Beef and butternut squash curry

Curry doesn't have to be complicated – and this dish proves the point.

This comforting dish of spicy satisfaction can be as hot or mellow as you choose. Because you're letting a decent curry powder do the hard work for you, you can choose to turn the heat up or down accordingly, and while the coriander and cumin further enhances the flavour, the fresh ginger adds warmth without fire – and the fresh red chilli is there if you want it.

During cooking, the butternut squash breaks down into a velvety sauce that binds the dish together, while the chutney elevates this dish to stellar heights, bringing depth and a unique sweet/sour personality to the party – either a fruity, complex aubergine pickle or milder mango chutney work really well. Meanwhile, if you like your curries creamy, the coconut milk does the trick.

This is a classic low'n'slow dish, happy to wait for when you're ready to eat it rather than the other way around. It also benefits from being made 24 hours before you plan to tuck in, which allows the sauce to thicken while the meat relaxes and the spices get to know each other. As with all curries/casseroles, it also freezes well.

Ingredients (serves 6)

1.5kg stewing beef (shin is good), cut into approx. 3cm cubes
750g peeled, diced butternut squash
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
2 onions, roughly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
5cm knob of ginger, grated
Finely sliced fresh red chilli to taste (optional)
3–5 tsp curry powder (choose your strength)
500g good chutney/Indian pickle
Approx 800ml beef stock
400ml tin coconut milk (optional)
Oil for frying
To serve: plain boiled rice (pref. Basmati); roti


  1. Preheat the oven to 150˚C or set the slow cooker to low.
  2. Season the beef with the cumin and coriander.
  3. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof casserole dish and brown the beef in batches, putting each batch aside as soon as the chunks have caramelised around the edges.
  4. Add more oil to the pan if necessary and sauté the onion, butternut squash, garlic, ginger, fresh chilli (if using) and curry powder for 4–5 minutes, until soft and fragrant. Tip the browned beef back into the casserole dish with the chutney, stock and coconut milk (if you're not using coconut milk, add an extra 400ml of water or stock) and stir well.
  5. Cover the pot and cook in the oven for around 4 hours (stirring occasionally and adding more water/stock if necessary) or in the slow cooker for up to 8 hours, until the meat is very tender. Serve with rice and roti.


Chablis Premier Cru at Harvey Nichols

This venerable Chablis, made from old vines by master of the appellation Alain Geoffroy, is classic, dry and fabulously well balanced.

The perfect partner to platters of fruits de mer, white meat and crisp salads. Established in 1850, this family-run estate tends around 45 hectares of vines and is one of our absolute favourites. This unoaked style is made exclusively from Chardonnay grapes and is vinified in stainless steel to accentuate the wine's regional characteristics.

Restrained yet complex, eponymous wine displays hallmark aromas suggestive of apples, citrus fruit and honeyed toast with an accompanying hint of minerality. Crisp and refreshing on the palate, this white offers great balance and depth. £132.00 for a case of six.


The Henning Koppel pitcher for Georg Jensen

Georg Jensen's stylish vases, pitchers and bowls are a contemporary observation of the flowing lines of the Art Nouveau movement – even the most practical everyday item is transformed into an objet d'art.

This pitcher was first designed by artist Henning Koppel in 2012, and has very quickly become an iconic piece of art in Danish design. Sculpted from stainless steel, measuring 24.8cm high and holding 75cl, it's finished with a mirror-like polish to reflect the light at the dinner table.

Its eye-catching simplicity will be admired from every angle and by every diner. A joy for years to come. £195.


Bristol Beacon sends the joy of music to city-dwellers this winter

This holiday season, Bristol Beacon is inviting us all to give the gift of music and 'mail a musician' to family, loved ones or community members in need of a lift. Chosen through a special nomination process, recipients will receive the truly unique gift of a personalised music performance this winter. Individuals can submit nominations expressing why an individual, a household or a place such as a care home or a doctor's surgery, should receive this special experience.

Throughout December, Bristol Beacon will pick out two nominations per week to receive special live performances via video chat, phone or at the recipient's doorstep where COVID-secure procedures can be followed.

Nominations can be made via Bristol Beacon's website and cost nothing to submit. However, donations are welcome to further support the musicians participating and ongoing community initiatives.


Actor Bill Ward takes us behind the scenes

Award-winning actor and photographer Bill Ward is set to launch a new book, #TheatresInDanger, to help support the UK's theatres at Christmas time.

Bill Ward, best known for his work on Coronation Street (Charlie Stubbs 2003-2007) and Emmerdale (James Barton 2013-2017), has put together a book of his own theatre photography to support the theatre industry during the pandemic. All proceeds from the sale of the 40-page book, released in time for Christmas, will go direct to the Theatres Trust, the theatrical charity that is doing such vital work in helping theatres all over the UK survive the pandemic.

The book is packed full of photographs that Bill has taken while working in theatres up and down the country over the last 10 years. Although well known for his television work, Bill works extensively in the theatre, and over the last few years has starred in many shows in the West End (Everybody's Talking About JamieViva Forever, Million Dollar Quartet and Spamalot) as well as national tours of The Glee Club, Shakespeare in Love, Legally Blonde, Look Back in Anger, and Not Dead Enough.

Alongside the book, Bill is also selling limited edition prints of over 50 additional theatre photographs, making just under 100 photographs in the project in total. All proceeds from the sale of both the book and the prints will go direct to the Theatres Trust.

Publishing on 16 December; available now to pre-order;

Image: The Kissing Wall at Theatre Royal Nottingham – photo taken by Bill Ward


The first swanfall at Slimbridge

The beginning of December has brought about the first 'swanfall' after a steady start at WWT Slimbridge.

Overnight on 30 November, 26 majestic Bewick's swans arrived at Slimbridge, after completing the final leg of their autumn migration. Encouraged by the onset of winter conditions to their breeding grounds in Arctic Russia, the Bewick's swans began their journey back in September and have since been enjoying the comforts and plentiful feeding opportunities at wetlands across Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Hence the slow start to the Bewick's swan season at Slimbridge.

The 'swanfall' saw the exciting arrival of Slimbridge regular – Maisie, named after Slimbridge's reserve warden Martin McGill's daughter. Maisie arrived this year with her partner Mayfeld and their first two cygnets. At just three months old, these cygnets have completed their first 2,500km migration. Maisie first wintered at Slimbridge in 2014-15 where she was fitted with a GPS collar, therefore for a few years WWT were able to track her movements. Unfortunately during migration Maisie somehow lost the tracking collar. Maisie has been with Mayfeld since the winter of 2016-17 but this is the first time they have brought cygnets to Slimbridge.

Sir Peter Scott, the founder of WWT, dedicated much of his time to watching and studying Bewick's swans. He was the first person to recognise the value of bill pattern identification as a research tool. The WWT conservation team who are based at Slimbridge have been using this technique to identify and record individual Bewick's swans for more than 50 years – one of the largest conservation studies for a single species. Over that time, the comings and goings of individuals and family dynasties has led to over 10,000 swans being recorded – also one of the longest-running studies on a single species in the world.


Closer to Home

A new collection by Elaine Jones continues through December at the Clifton Contemporary Art Gallery. The exhibition features work inspired by time spent close to home in the West Country. They're also showing a selection of new pieces by gallery artists, including Bristol sculptor Rosie Musgrave. Rosie works stone laid down hundreds of millions of years ago, and through the process of her carving breathes new life into the impossibly old.

Image shown: Kindred Florentine Alabaster with slate base; £2,950


Review by John McLay of Events of Wonder
The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates by Jenny Pearson

We need funny books in our lives right now and The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates, a middle grade adventure by Jenny Pearson, is as funny as they come. Fact-loving Freddie Yates sets off on a secret adventure, with his two best mates, that ends up being not so secret. He’s looking for his biological dad but the trio get side-tracked by an onion-eating competition, bus rides, loo-exploding pear-and-potato turnovers, and an antique jewellery theft. The joy of this touching, hilarious novel about three boys, one summer holiday, and a few miracles along the way, is that nothing goes to plan. We laugh, we cry and we enjoy this dazzling debut for what it is – a book that could be read more than once.


Review by John McLay of Events of Wonder
Code Name Bananas by David Walliams

There’s a reason why David Walliams is the bestselling children’s author in the UK – his books are brilliant for children. And I think adults secretly like reading them, too; making the voices come to life and telling fart jokes to their kids. Legitimately! Code Name Bananas goes back in time for a whizz-bang epic adventure of action, laughter and secret plots – and tells of the extraordinary friendship between a little boy and a huge gorilla. It’s 1940. Britain is at war with Nazi Germany. Eleven-year-old Eric spends his days at the place that makes him most happy: London Zoo. And there’s one animal in particular he loves: Gertrude the gorilla. But with bombs falling all over London, Eric must save Gertrude! Together with his Uncle Sid, a keeper at the zoo, the three go on the run. But while hiding out at the seaside they uncover a top-secret Nazi plot… It’s another winning story with cracking illustrations from the genius Tony Ross.


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Little Women

A deftly smart adaptation of the American classic from Greta Gerwig, her second solo directorial film after the brilliant Lady Bird. Saoirse Ronan leads a glittering ensemble that includes Meryl Streep, Laura Dern and Emma Watson.

Little Women picked up a whole host of nominations at both the Academy Awards and the BAFTAs and is not one to miss this weekend.

Watch it today on Sky Cinema

Look out for...

The SS Great Britain

Brunel's SS Great Britain is open for outdoor business! The ship's dockyard, cafe, shop and square will be open to the public (and, for the first time, their dogs!) to visit, have a mulled wine or hot chocolate, mince pies, warm food and have a wander around the ship and gift shop while meeting Mr Brunel himself.

The SSGB is open Thursday – Sunday from 10am to 4pm;


The experts have spoken...

Colour experts, Pantone, have announced the Colour of the Year 2021 and this year, it's a double whammy! The bright 'Illuminating' (yellow) is paired with neutral 'Ultimate Grey' for a two-tone combo to suit many schemes and spaces.

Check out Loaf's suggestions on bringing the two new hues into the home...

Shown here: Slim Jim Sofa; £1295


Lansdown Place, Clifton

Occupying a wonderful location on the edge of Clifton Village this is a beautiful Grade II listed family home overlooks Victoria Square and benefits from elegant well-proportioned rooms, a self-contained apartment and gated off-street parking.

Arranged over four floors and with a wealth of period features throughout, the property consists of: a beautiful entrance hall with the most glamorous stone staircase, there’s a spacious full-width sitting room with a balcony to the front, a separate dining room and well-fitted family kitchen. The main bedroom is again full-width and has a large dressing room, there are 3 further bedrooms and two bath / shower rooms. 

Independent from the main house, the lower ground floor offers a self contained one-bedroom apartment. Outside there’s gated off-street parking and a courtyard garden.

This splendid family property has a guide price of £1,895,000 and is new to the market. Full particulars are only available from Bristol estate agency Rupert Oliver.

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