How to make the most out of a visit to an art gallery

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‘Impressionist Exhibition’ etching by my grandmother, Jennifer Beales (nee Caplan)

I’ve written an article about how to make the most out of a visit to an art gallery for Art UK’s new website. It includes eleven tips and also offers a fun challenge to readers, helping people to feel more comfortable with being in an art gallery environment and looking at art.

 

It is primarily aimed at people who may find the experience overwhelming, but can hopefully also give more regular gallery goers some fresh ideas for engaging with art.

A link to the article on Art UK is here.

If you fancy getting involved and sharing your recent experiences of being in an art gallery or your thoughts on particular artworks you see there, please let me and Art UK know by tweeting with the hashtag #visit_art

 

 

 

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Behind the scenes at a bridal boutique

This interview is published on Wedding Ideas Magazine

I interviewed Jessica Letheren at ‘Allison Jayne’ bridal boutique in Clifton, Bristol. Besides running ‘Allison Jayne’, Jessica is studying business in Swansea.

P1020426How did you get into this business?

Allison Jayne is my family business, which was started forty years ago in Swansea. We are all from Swansea. Twenty years later they opened another shop in Cardiff. Then we opened on the triangle eighteen months ago.

What are the best bits of being in this business?

The selling is the best bit without a doubt. In this business you are always dealing with happy brides. Developing the customer’s trust is also hugely rewarding.

What are the hardest bits?

What is hard is having to chase things up under time pressure. Some clients only come in a few weeks before the wedding and leave things until the last minute. So dealing with close deadlines is stressful. It is a lot of responsibility.

P1020407How many dresses would you advise a bride-to-be to try on?

On average people try on about ten dresses, although for some people it can be the first one or go up a lot higher. The most someone has tried on is 25! Occasionally people try this number on over a period of a few visits.  Continue reading

Five top tips to control your wedding day nerves

This article is published on Wedding Ideas Magazine

The pressure of wanting things to be just right can produce lots of nerves and anxiety leading up to your wedding as well as on the actual day itself. Here are some suggestions for helping to reduce these (natural) feelings, and to relax and make the most of your day!

1 Think positive

Instead of reading into others’ reactions to your ideas and preparations for the wedding, try the ultimate positive thinking technique and assume support. Everyone wants you to have a beautiful day, so remember you are all working towards the same goal. This will take the pressure off others as well as yourself. It will also create more time for you and your wedding helpers to concentrate on your fabulous plans. Remember, a ‘can-do’ attitude is infectious, so thinking and acting positive will make those around you more inclined to help sort any planning problems and make your dream day a reality.  Continue reading

Gromit Unleashed, RWA Bristol

Published in Trebuchet Magazine

From the 18th to 22nd September a sensational exhibition entitled ‘The Greatest Dog Show on Earth’, will sweep into Bristol.

Inside the building that used to be Habitat on Queens Road, eighty larger than life Gromit statues will be displayed. They have been designed and decorated by artists, designers or companies (such as Peter Blake, The Beano, Pixar, and even Nick Park himself).

These Gromits were originally installed at various iconic landmarks as well as in more hidden places across Bristol. This was in a similar vein to the apes that were put up round the city last summer; the pig sculptures that appeared in Bath several years ago; and the original cows which punctuated various European cities during the 90s.

The Gromits are clearly more fun and accessible than the apes (which even managed to look sinister and slightly threatening).

But why have the Gromits been such a success? There are many possibilities. Gromit is a character we can all immediately recognize regardless of our generation. He could arguably be called a British icon. Specifically, Gromit also has roots in Bristol, as he was created by Nick Park at the Bristol Aardman Animation Studios.

Unlike the apes, the Gromits appeared to reflect certain characteristics, landmarks or areas of Bristol through the way they have been decorated. For example, there was an Elvis Gromit (The King) near the Bristol Old Vic, and a pirate Gromit (Salty Sea Dog) at The Cascade Steps by the Harbourside. In Millennium Square, an astronout Gromit (called Astro Gromit) reflected the stark modern design of the space and the ‘At Bristol’ centre, which focuses on science.  Continue reading

What to do with The Parents

Published in The Boar 16th July 2013

Helen Cobby shares her tips on how to entertain your family on a quick Warwick university visit.

When ‘The Parents’ say they are coming to visit does that send you into a panic? How to keep them occupied all day? What to do with them? How to get them out of your hair? Well here is my guide on how to survive and ensure you all have a good and harmonious time in Leamington, whether you are going to be entertaining the family as a Fresher in October or during Graduation this summer.

There are many unique and unusual independent cafes in Leamington with the right ambience and high quality boosts of caffeine or sugar to put everyone in a good mood. If the weather behaves, Bar Angeli is my number one recommendation with its outdoor seating in the cobbled courtyard of Regent Court. Their hot chocolate is the best in town, and their pastries and muffins would be perfect for a morning snack or a late, indulgent breakfast. Bar Angeli is Italian run, making for a vibrant yet chilled atmosphere, complete with unique rustic décor. Keeping with the Italian theme, Café Corleone also does amazing hot chocolate and superb coffee, and is of the same high standard as Bar Angeli, being owned by the same people. Alternatively, Gusto Ricco can make for a fun experience. It has several higgledy-piggledy floors with odd furniture. Watch out for their delicious carrot cake. Lastly, Blueberry Hill Patisserie on Chandos Street is a cutesy option with a fresh feel to it due to the simple, open décor. I’ve yet to try any of their cakes, but they all look invitingly homemade.  Continue reading