All posts by Lucy

Dinner with your parents in Bristol

You know all the best takeaways’ numbers by heart and the perfect place for a kebab on the way home, but somewhere appropriate to eat when your parents come to visit? Hmm. Whether it’s for that first trip down to see your halls or a graduation dinner, there is a restaurant in Bristol to suit every family.

The all-English family
If your parents are homely, traditional English types who love nothing more than good old-fashioned pub grub, they might well like Goldbrick House. The menu features old-time favourites such as  fish and chip, rabbit stew, steak and lamb wellington – just a little bit posher. Those on a tighter budget might prefer the rough-and-ready but incredibly tasty Pieminister on Stokes Croft, where you can get a pie, mash, peas and gravy for £5.95.

The ‘special dietary requirements’ family

If you have vegetarian or vegan family members to cater for, Café Kino at the top of Stokes Croft is a good place to start. Everything on the menu is free from meat, dairy, eggs and honey, and if you’re allergic to something the catering staff are happy to adjust your meal. Otherwise Café Maitreya is another, more adventurous vegetarian café with good reviews.

The fashionable family
Those who like to ‘be seen’ ought to head up to Clifton to find the more fashionable eateries. The Avon Gorge Hotel looks out over the Suspension Bridge and the Avon Gorge, frequented by many Clifton socialites for after-work drinks or a high-class evening meal.

The hippy family
Parents with a penchant for lentils, tofu and vegetables will find plenty to eat in Bristol. Number one has to be the One-Stop Thali Café, which has various restaurants around the city. If they’ve been to India (highly likely) they’ll probably have sampled a thali before – a combination of vegetable subji, basmati rice, tarka dahl, keralan salad and homemade chutney, served in a special dish. You can also get chapattis, beer, chai and a whole host of other bits and bobs to go with it. Oh, and non-veggies need not worry – there’s now a chicken curry option as well. Alternatively you could wander down the road to the Canteen for some tasty food and laid-back Bristolian atmosphere… Just make sure you get there early if you want a table.

The millionaire family
Ok, ‘millionaire’ might be a bit of an exaggeration, but there are places in Bristol for the wealthy to dine. San Carlo on Corn Street does absolutely delicious Italian food that is well worth the price tag. I recommend the tomato pasta with clams, king prawns and sunblush tomatoes. MMM! Riverstation is also up there with the most expensive dining Bristol has to offer, or for some nouvelle cuisine try Bell’s Diner down in Montpelier.

The hungry family
Whether you have several teenage siblings who need a lot of calories or are just downright greedy, all-you-can-eat places are dotted around the city. Flavourz lets you sample food from all over the world, and you can go back for as many helpings as you like. Cosmo operates on the same principal, but is limited to Pan-Asian dishes.  

Written by Lucy, Bristol.

A Bristolian Halloween

You’re getting a bit old for trick or treating now, but Halloween doesn’t have to be exclusive to the under-12s. As always Bristol has a plethora of spooktacular (ahem) themed events on offer – read on for a selection of the very best

1. The Zombie Walk
Saturday 29th October/free

Now in its fifth year, the Zombie Walk returns to Bristol with a new, as-yet-undisclosed route. Dig out your grey face paint, fake blood and torn clothes, and join the hundreds of other zombies shuffling through Bristol moaning for “braaains”. If ‘living dead’ isn’t really your style, you can still join in: don combats and a plastic gun and you can join the Zombie Defence Squad, to take down the zombies and save the city! More information on the Zombie Walk here; join the Zombie Defence Squad here.

2.Halloween Champion Sound @ Warehouse
Saturday 29th October/£6-8 (£5 for zombies)

Not deterred by the temporary closure of Lakota, Champion Sound is back with a new venue. The Halloween edition is billed as the Zombie Walk’s unofficial afterparty, and will take place at the Warehouse (near the Thekla), open to both zombies and non-zombies with a taste for drum and bass, dubstep and hip hop.
More information

3. Monsterpiece Halloween Party @ Big Chill Bar
Saturday 29th October/free

This year Big Chill Bar is hosting ‘Monsterpiece’, a huge Halloween party featuring live music fromBristol’s top DJs, fancy dress, face painting and tarot card-reading. Prizes are on offer for the best fancy dress costumes, or you can wait and get made up on the night for charity. All the acts are performing for free, and all proceeds from the night will go to Bristol-based charity Temwa, which does work in Malawi.
More information

4. Shadows Follow
Friday 28th October/£10

Not for the faint-hearted, Shadows Follow is a terrifying ‘psychological thriller game’ which takes place out on the streets of Bristol. Walk, sneak and run through secret scary locations around the city as you try to complete the mission with your team.
More information

5. Just Jack Halloween Freak Boutique @ Motion
Saturday 29th October/£12-15

House music, cabaret, magic and fancy dress are combined this Halloween when Just Jack takes over Motion. The dress code is ‘Victorian freak and circus chic’, and ten per cent of proceeds go to charity War Child.
More information

6. Disturbance @ Syndicate

Monday 31st October/£3-6

The gunge tank alone meant Disturbance had to make this list! The Halloween special at Syndicate also includes a freak show, hot tub, giveaways and themed drinks such as ‘cocktail cauldrons’. The best costume wins 50 pounds!
More information 

Money-saving tips for Bristol and beyond

It’s the start of a new year, which inevitably brings an enormous outlay for books, stationary, paper, furniture, clothes, bus passes… the list goes on. If you’re feeling the pinch before term has even begun, here are some easy money-savers.

1)     Collect loyalty cards

Amass as many as you can (providing you have space in your wallet). They tend to vary hugely in terms of rewards, but most are worth having. Every little helps, right? Make especially sure you have a Boots card, even if you’re male! Everyone needs toiletries, and with 4p back on every pound you spend it you’d be daft not to take advantage.

2)     Get the train

In Bristol buses tend to be quite expensive (besides one- or two-stop journeys around the centre). Local trains, however, are a steal. When the conductor takes the time to come round and collect fares, which is almost never, singles are about 50p with a railcard, and the line connects useful stations such as Clifton, Redland and Temple Meads Station.

3)     Use Freecycle

Freecycle pages all over the country are thriving, especiallyBristol’s. This is a particularly good one if you’re moving out of halls and into an unfurnished house or flat – you can save a fortune on sofas, chairs, tables, small appliances and even bigger, more expensive bits like fridges and mattresses.

4)     Buy your textbooks online

The campus bookshop might be cheap, but not as cheap as Amazon! Competitive pricing between sellers means you can get books for incredibly low prices – especially novels, which are often pennies (plus p&p).

5)     Sell your stuff

If you’re having to blow heaps of money on books at the beginning of term, it might be worth selling off some of last term’s. It’s dead easy to open a seller’s account with Amazon, and depending on how much they’re worth you can make a killing selling off old books. Plus, for some textbooks, the site is now running a buyback scheme, where Amazon will pay for the postage and credit you with a gift voucher to be used on the site.

6) Borrow DVDs from the university library

You’d be surprised how many great films they have in stock! And rental is free, so long as you return them on time.

7) Be ruthless when food shopping

I have a friend who has a great technique for cutting down spending when she’s at the supermarket – when you get to the check-out, re-evaluate everything in your trolley. Take out anything that you don’t absolutely need or can’t afford and leave it behind. Be brutal!

Written by Lucy, Bristol.

Meeting people and making friends at university


The pressure during the first couple of weeks of uni to instantly make loads of friends can be intense. Freshers’ may be over, but that doesn’t mean your window for meeting people is closed. Think about it – how many people can make friends for life in a week? But if you’re struggling and not sure how to go about connecting with people, here are a few pointers from somebody who’s been there.

1)    Join a society

Even if you don’t have a hobby and even if you can’t see a society that you particularly want to be a part of! It’s free (usually) and a really easy way to meet new people. If you’re having trouble getting on with your flatmates or meeting people on your course, why not join several? You can always leave later, and still hang on to your new-found friends.

2)    Talk to people

Wherever and whenever possible, find a reason to strike up a conversation. A simple “hello” when passing someone you recognise in halls, “have you done the reading?” to the person next to you in a seminar, “what are you making?” to someone in your flat or shared kitchen… the possibilities are endless. Don’t wait for other people to come to you – if you seek out opportunities yourself you’ll make friends so much more easily. Or why not take advantage of Dutch courage and introduce yourself to the person next to you at the bar? In the first couple of weeks everyone is very open and friendly – the chances of embarrassment really are minimal.

3)    Keep your bedroom door open

It may seem obvious but wedging your door open during the first few days is the perfect zero-effort way to meet people. The super-confident types who are wandering around meeting people are bound to put their head round an open door – you’re essentially inviting people to come in and talk to you.

4)    Fake it ‘til you make it

It’s a well-known theory, and completely applicable here. If you’re naturally quite shy and reserved meeting people can seem like an uphill struggle. But university is a fresh start – no-one here knows that you’re not chatty, outgoing and oozing with confidence! So why not pretend? It might seem scary at first, but your fake confidence will help you make connections with people, which will boost your confidence, which will help you make even more connections, and hey presto! you’ve got yourself a nice group of mates.

5)    Use props

Taking along fun, interesting items is a great idea. Think shot glasses, shisha pipes, games, packs of cards, or even just a Frisbee. If you can propose activities that people want to be a part of, you’re already getting a headstart.

6)    Facebook

Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting that you add people you don’t know (although that would work too!). You can, however, use Facebook to your advantage. Met someone new and caught their name? Add them on Facebook. Noticed your flatmate is now friends with that girl you met in your first lecture? Add her as a friend too. It’s called social networking for a reason – it’s a great way of expanding your network of acquaintances and cultivating new relationships. If you’re really struggling to pluck up the courage to talk to people, why not reach out from behind the safety of your computer screen? Add a coursemate and message them about this week’s assignment. Comment on group photos with you in. Find out which events the people you know are going to, and go along with them. And all without leaving your bedroom.

7)    Eat with people

This is a really easy way to get talking to your flatmates or the other people on your corridor. Try to time your meals so that there are other people around cooking too, and eat at the table rather than taking your food back to your room. The same thing goes for catered halls – try to arrange to go down to dinner together instead of alone.

But most importantly of all, relax! Seriously. It might seem like you’re the last person on campus not to have made friends yet, or you might feel you’re stuck with a group of people you don’t feel very strongly about, but you’d be surprised how much things continue to change over the first couple of months or even the whole year. It’s not too late to reach out to people – remember that everybody is in the same boat, and other people are just as keen to meet you as you are them. How many times in your life will you be in a situation where thousands of people are actively trying to be your friend? Make the most of it.

Written by Lucy, Bristol.

bristol freshers

Freshers’ Week in Bristol

The beginning of university is an exciting time: no work to do, lots of parties and plenty of new people to meet. But with so much going on, how are we supposed to work out what’s worth going to, and what isn’t? The Bristolian branch of the Student Channel has sifted through all the listings – both university-organised and otherwise – to bring you the very best that your Freshers’ Week has to offer.


University of Bristol

According to the University of Bristol Facebook page, the two biggest and most popular freshers’ events are the Freshers’ Party (4 October) and the Freshers’ Ball (13 October). They are £7 and £22 respectively, but you can buy tickets for both for the discounted price of £26. The ball is at Motion, one of Bristol’s biggest, coolest and most popular nightclubs, so expect it to sell out! But these are just the tip of the iceberg: more information on freshers’ events organised by the students union can be found here, and each individual residence also organises its own parties.

 

Motion, Bristol

UWE

The biggest event of UWE’s freshers’ week calendar is the Allstars Party, taking place on the Frenchay campus on Saturday 24th September. The line up is impressive: Chase and Status, the View and Kissy Sell Out are headlining. Tickets are £30 a pop, but if that seems a little on the expensive side there’s plenty more going on at a fraction of the price, including comedy nights and mock-full moon beach parties. Click here for full listings.

 

Bristol events

Freshers’ week may be organised by your union, but that doesn’t mean you’re confined to the official events! Local clubs are putting on a huge variety of freshers’ themed events; read on for a selection of the very best Bristol has to offer.

 

The Thekla

With term starting again the Thekla is reviving its well-established and hugely popular student night Zoology: the official club night of UWE’s Hub Radio. The connection doesn’t make it exclusive to UWE students, though – University of Bristol freshers are just as welcome. Every Monday you can expect to hear indie, pop and hip hop, plus the Hub Radio DJs themselves on the top deck (the Thekla is a boat, doncha know). Get down before 10 to escape the door charge. Facebook group

That’s not all – the Thekla is also debuting its newest student night Wobble, which will be bringing you the best in dubstep, drum and bass and “generally wobbly beats” every Tuesday night. Facebook group

 

For more information on freshers’ week at the Thelka, click here

 

BrisFest

Between 23rd and 25th SeptemberBristol’s newest and most up-and-coming festival, ‘BrisFest’, will be transforming the centre with a mixture of music, comedy, street theatre, circus and art. Tickets are a bargain: entry to the festival starts at £8 and the boat parties is as little as £6, so if you’re new to the city there’s no excuse not to get down there and experience some local culture! You can read the Student Channel’s preview of the festival here for more information.

 Propaganda @ Syndicate

You’ve probably heard of Propaganda before – massively popular in almost every student city, it’s the UK’s number one Indie night. Already a fan? Well “Props” was born in Bristol, and it’s easily the city’s biggest club night. You’d be a fool to miss the first one of term, on Wednesday 21st September. Get there early to avoid missing out. Facebook group


 Smash the Lanes @ The Lanes

 

Intriguingly described as “cheap drinks, good music and cheap bowling for all”, Smash the Lanes is possibly the first ever student night to feature a bowling alley. Entry is free and drinks deals abound, so if a blend of funk, hip hop, dubstep, drum and bass, house and disco sounds appealing this might just be for you.

 

Written by Lucy, Bristol

 

Bristol’s nightlife… by genre

Coming to a new city as a fresher, it can be easy to get sucked into a never-ending series of cheese nights… and hey, if the Spice Girls and Westlife are your thing, that’s ok. But if you’ve got a love for another, less mainstream kind of music, don’t give up!Bristol has plenty to offer: you just need to know where to look. Read on for an overview of the nightlife in your new city, conveniently arranged by genre…

Pop Confessional


Pop/chart/cheese

What with being a student city and all, pop and cheese are two genres you’re definitely not going to be short on. Pretty much every major club has at a student night where they play chart music or golden oldies, along with all the associated drinks deals. These nights are so widespread that you really don’t need help finding them, but a few of the most popular are Pop Confessional (the Thekla), Phat Friday (Panache) and Hanky Panky (Syndicate).

             

                                     

                                                                 

Indie

There are several good, regular Indie nights on, including the incredibly popular Propaganda (at Syndicate), which unites young locals and students every Wednesday. Similar and similarly successful regulars include Ramshackle (o2 Academy) and Pressure (the Thekla). If live bands are more your bag, you’re in luck: there’s heaps going on Indie-wise almost every night in various venues. Check out Headfirst Bristol for what’s coming up in the next few weeks.

Hip-hop

In all honesty, Bristol is surprisingly quiet on the hip-hop front. There aren’t any particularly hip-hop focused clubs and the city is seriously lacking in dedicated nights. With the introduction of the new In:Motion nights at Motion, however, there are some reasonably well-known artists coming to Bristol soon: check out their website for line-ups and prices.

Motion Nightclub

Drum and Bass and Jungle

Fed rather than diminished by the rise of dubstep, drum and bass is still hugely popular in Bristol. There aren’t many solely “drum and bass” nights, though – instead most clubs seem to mix it up with similar genres (such as breaks, dubstep and jungle) a couple of nights a week. Having said that, Native hosts Run every Tuesday (discounts for NUS holders) and Hospitality – the nationwide drum and bass night – comes to Bristol every month for a huge blowout: see here for up-to-date listings.

Jungle is harder to find on a weekly basis, instead offered closer to monthly (if that) at various clubs by certain specialist promoters. Champion Sound (Lakota) and Jungle Syndicate are well-established in the city, and often host big names such as Congo Natty, Top Cat, Aphrodite and Nicky Blackmarket.

Champion Sound at Lakota
The Croft

Dubstep

Dubstep is everywhere in Bristol, which can make it hard to separate the very good from the truly awful. The Croft, Thekla, Dojo’s and Basement 45 (amongst others) run semi-regular dubstep nights including the hugely popular Dubloaded, and bigger clubs Motion and Lakota host the biggest names in the genre (especially those from Bristol such as Pinch, Joker and Peverelist), though on a less regular basis.
 

 

House and techno

Bristol isn’t particularly known for its house or techno scene, but things have taken off a bit recently. Fruity Antics is a long-standing favourite amongst locals, with Timbuk2 and Dojo’s also hosting the occasional dedicated night. Once again, the new In:Motion nights are the place to look: if you’re not sure where to begin check out the Futureboogie one with Bristol-born Julio Bashmore in November.

Futureboogie

Written by Lucy, Bristol.

Preview: BrisFest 2011

There is life after Ashton Court Festival!

Click the image to see what's on this year

 

… and with over 500 bands, DJs, comedians, cabaret acts and circus performers, her replacement is not to be sniffed at. From 23rd – 25th September Bristol is host to the third BrisFest, which will be transforming the centre into a colourful mish-mash of music, comedy, street theatre, circus and art.

 

When the Ashton Court Festival closed down in 2007, after more than 30 years trading, Bristol was bereft. Attracting around 60,000 people each year, the locally-minded event was one of the largest free festivals in the UK and the highlight of Bristol’s summer calendar.

Fortunately a group of dedicated volunteers stepped up to create an “accessible, affordable festival” which they hoped would be “an asset to the city”. BrisFest also gives back to the community in a big way, feeding Bristol’s rich music scene: industry talks and demo panels are available to which aspiring bands and DJs can bring CDs to get feedback and network. The team is even putting up the organisers of nearby festivals such as Boomtown Fair and Shambala in hotels and setting up a VIP meet-and-greet service, allowing local acts to showcase their talent and gain slots at summer festivals.

 

This year’s performers are a diverse bunch, including representatives for hip-hop, jungle, drum & bass, punk, dub and reggae: big names include Nicky Blackmarket, Congo Natty, Rodney P and Skitz, Laid Blak and First Degree Burns. If the music doesn’t grab you there’s plenty more to see and do: a wander through the festival will throw up stilt walkers, jugglers, fire shows, a silent rave and even boat parties. What’s more, the entire site has been painted head-to-toe by internationally recognised street artists and will be brought to life after dark by interactive light projections.

 

 

Tickets start from just £8 (and the boat parties from £6!), so if you’re in the area there really is no excuse not to go down and explore. If you’ve just moved here to start at University of Bristol or UWE you can consider this an induction to your new city. Welcome to Bristol.

 

For tickets and further information visit www.brisfest.co.uk.

Written by Lucy, Bristol.

The Banksy Tour of Bristol

Banksy Tour Route

Possibly Bristol’s coolest export (along with Massive Attack and Portishead), Banksy’s darkly political stencils have catapulted  him to a level of stardom previously unheard of for a graffiti artist. His art is peppered all over Bristol, from Clifton all the way down to Eastville, conveniently spread out in what is more or less a straight line. Thus the Banksy Tour was born.

Different websites offer different routes, some stretching all the way out to the most faded, little-known sketches on the outskirts of the city. However, being students, the majority of us don’t have access to a car. With this in mind I’ve drawn up a more compact version, showcasing the most central (and most famous) of Banksy’s work.

 

 

 

 

 

1. We start with the ‘Mild Mild West’ piece on Stokes Croft, a fitting place to begin a tour of Bristolian culture. The mural features a teddy bear throwing a Molotov cocktail at the police, and has probably been here for around nine or ten years. In 2009 it was restored after being vandalised with red paint.

2. Next, head down Jamaica Street to the BRI and children’s hospital. Standing uphill and looking back in the direction you came from, you can see the stencil: a sniper preparing to fire, with a boy standing behind him about to pop a paper bag.

3. We’re getting into student territory now, so chances are you’ll be seeing this one on a regular basis. On the side of a sexual health clinic on Frogmore Street(at the bottom of Park Street) is a picture of a man hanging naked from a window, while his lover’s husband looks out.

4. Moving down to Bristol harbour, this stencil is best viewed from the other side of the water. The image of the grim reaper in a boat, painted onto the side of The Thekla, is said to be based on a 19th century drawing named ‘The Silent Highway Man’.

 

If this tiny snippet of Banksy’s work has captured your interest, why not tackle the full tour? You can find a handy map of every single piece of Banksy graffiti in Bristol here.

Written by Lucy, Bristol.

Bristol’s Voucher Round-up: August

The best money-saving vouchers for your new city, all handily organised in one place. Check back next month for the September edition!

 Eating out

25% off your food bill at Café Rouge

25% off your food bill at Strada

Pieminister: 2 pies, mash and gravy meals for £9.50

 

Food to go

2 for 1 on milkshakes at Shake King (Bristol’s answer to Shakeaway!)

10% off your order + free delivery at the Bristol Raj

Freebies and upgrades at Ciao Burger (arguably one of Bristol’s best takeaways)


 Days out

2 for 1 tickets on Bristol’s sightseeing bus

Adult tickets for children’s prices at the Orpheus cinema

2 for 1 tickets on the Bristol Ferry Boat – another great sightseeing trip!

Written by Lucy, Bristol

What (and what not) to take to uni

Moving to university is a scary time and a brief Google search will throw up a huge amount of conflicting advice on what you ought to take with you. With this in mind, rather than an exhaustive list of absolutely everything you will need (and definitely won’t), this article aims to point out a few things that you might not have thought of when packing your bag.

The top 5 things I wish I had brought to uni:

1. Posters, photos and knick-knacks.

Anything that will personalise your room and make it feel more homely is a must! The more settled you feel in your own space, the more quickly you’ll settle into your new life. There’s no need to panic if your room is looking a little bare, though: most universities run a poster sale in freshers’ week.

2. Fancy dress.

Like it or not, you can bet that within your first ten days at uni you’ll need at least two different costumes! There’s no need to go overboard, but anything you have lying around which could make a good army, school disco, or cowboys and Indians costume is definitely worth throwing in your bag.

3. One of: a bottle opener, a tin opener, and a cheese grater.

These three are often overlooked in the pre-uni Ikea frenzy, and it’s not uncommon to arrive in halls and find that your kitchen has 25 plates, 10 saucepans, 2 toastie makers and no corkscrew.

4. Playing cards.

Essential for drinking games. If you can get waterproof ones, even better!

5. Tea towels.

With a good 6-10 people sharing a kitchen, you can never have too many tea towels – especially since no-one will ever volunteer to wash them.

And now, the things you really don’t need:

1. Everything you own.

Rooms in halls are generally very small, and there won’t be space for you to store all your childhood teddies/40 pairs of shoes/GCSE coursework. Remember that a term is only 10-12 weeks long – how much stuff do you really need?

2. Extra furniture.

Your room will have furniture in that is designed to make the best possible use of the limited space. Anything extra will only get in the way!

3. Your own kettle/toaster/fridge.

All of these are provided as standard by the university if you’re in self-catered halls (and sometimes even if you aren’t) – not only will they take up precious space in your room but they’ll waste energy too. Also, do you really want to be the flatmate who hides all their food in their room?

4. In the same vein, you really don’t need an egg poacher/deep fat fryer/blender/apple corer.

Chances are you only occasionally use these things at home, and they’ll just sit in a drawer gathering dust.

5. Your hamster/rabbit/fish.

Not only because pets are against the rules, but also because halls just aren’t a good place for animals to live – they’re cramped, noisy and dirty.

Whilst it’s important to be prepared in order to get the best out of your first weeks at uni, there’s no need to get overly stressed about it. Forgetting to bring a frying pan or your favourite poster is not going to have much of an effect on how well you settle in. So think carefully about what you want to pack, but most importantly relax and enjoy yourself – you’re about to embark on the best years of your life!

Written by Lucy, Bristol