Saturday, 20 May 2017

What’s New In Bath This Weekend?

There’s always something new going on in Bath, and this weekend is no exception. Here’s a quick round-up of the latest goings on…

Friday saw the massive Party In The City, which was the big opening event for this year’s Bath
Festival. Some of the highlights were live performances at the Roman Baths (the atmosphere at the Baths when evening comes is something really special) and Bath’s new Theatre Bus, which had an amazing range of musical genres gracing its stage. Wherever you went in Bath yesterday there was music and joy.

Coming to the here and now though. While it’s sad that this party is over, it does mean that we now have the rest of the festival to look forward to. Not only that, but BathFringe Festival is hot on its heels too. The end of May and the beginning of June in Bath really is all about culture and having fun. 

However, putting music and literature events aside for a moment, this weekend also has a sporting highlight coming to Bath.

This evening Bath will be hosting the first ever Saturday night stage of The Tour Series, which is an important date on the calendar for cyclists from across the country. The Tour Series 2017 was launched in Wembley, and sees nine other locations across the country (including Bath) welcoming Britain’s top professional cyclists to its roads as they race to be crowned Tour Series champions.

Both yesterday and today we’ve been watching the ground crew set up, as the main race starts and ends right out Dukes Hotel door on Great Pulteney Street! But it’s been lovely to see as well the family–friendly cycling events which have been taking place before the main race today. A rare opportunity to cycle on empty roads in the centre of Bath!

Finally to the new event coming to Bath on Sunday.

On most Sundays Bath’s Green Park Station holds either a vintage and antiques market. Sadly the market is not on this Sunday. Happily there is a new one taking place.  

The Independent Bath Market will take place on the third Sunday of each month from May-October, and will feature local artisans, makers, growers and producers. The wares at the market will reflect their local and regional provenance, and will also be incredibly varied! There will be ironwork, textiles, preserves, glassware, stationary, bits for the garden, and bits for the stomach (we always like a market that has cheeses and freshly baked goodies to sample!). The market takes place from 10am – 4pm at Abbey Green.  

So, all in all, we’ve got a busy weekend ahead of us!  

Saturday, 13 May 2017

The Thermae Spa isn’t the Only Spa in Town

Yes Thermae Bath Spa is without a doubt the most well-known (modern (we’re not counting the Roman Baths here)) spa in Bath. But there are plenty of other lesser-known spas in Bath that can give you an amazing hour, day, or even weekend, of rest and relaxation!

Lush began life as a company making natural bath and beauty products. Founded in 1995, the company grew and expanded so that some stores now offer in-house spas, in addition to the shop selling their popular 100% vegetarian ethical products.

The Lush shop in Bath is one of the flagship Lush spa/stores and is a secret gem. The spa offers
luxurious, sensory treatments for couples and individuals in a setting that’s a cross between a sensual spa and a country manor. Peaceful, relaxed and with a huge range of packages you could choose, this is a spa with passion and bags of character. If you haven’t visited it then you really must try it. It’s not the cheapest; prices range from £50 to £285 (for their deluxe three-hour pamper session with palm readings, massage, facial and more), but we feel it’s definitely worth it.

Green Street House day spa is to be found on one of the oldest streets in Bath. The building was originally constructed in 1716, but was restored and transformed in 2003 to make a calming haven of a spa. It has six different treatment rooms, a relaxation space, showers, and an apothecary-style shop area and offers manicures, pedicures, waxing, reflexology, and, of course, massages.  

Green Street House is a good choice for anyone who wants to get a lot of pampering but doesn’t want to break the bank doing it. A spa manicure, pedicure and eyebrow wax package lasting an hour is
£60, while a manicure on its own can cost as little as £20.

Neal’s Yard is another spa which offers an incredibly wide range of treatments. Some of their more unusual treatments are; pregnancy aromatherapy massages, ear candling, Rolfing (a soft-tissue manipulation technique used to structurally realign the body), and homeopathy consultations.

Not all treatments are available every day, but Neal’s Yard has a useful timetable which lets you check not only on prices and treatments, but also times and days which they can be booked and who would be treating you. A brief profile of each practitioner is also on the Neal’s Yard website so you have the opportunity to see who you would be with on the day.

Out final pick is The Orangery – a laser and beauty clinic which won the 2015 Bath Magazine’s award for The Best Little Hair and Beauty Salon in Bath. The Orangery can be found on Kingsmead Square and is another spa which offers some more unusual treatments, though their focus is more on beauty treatments rather than alternative therapies like Neal’s Yard. Semi-permanent make-up, Ultratone, and Hydra Peel Infusion (air pressure jet streams vitamins into the skin to improve the appearance of texture, fine lines and remove blackheads) are some, but there are plenty to choose from!    

Monday, 8 May 2017

The Birth of Bath’s Henrietta Park

Victoria Park is probably the park most people think of when they think of Bath, but it’s not the only city centre idyll that Bath has to offer. 

This week we’ve been thinking quite a bit about Henrietta Park. Last year a local friends group was set up in the community to help maintain, protect, and also enhance, Henrietta Park. This Sunday (7th May) we took part in the Fun and Forage fundraising day at Henrietta Park (we spent Saturday baking – pictures of our labours below (and the results were delicious even if we do say so ourselves)). Our day in the park got us thinking though - the history of the park isn’t that well known. So this week we thought we’d share a little bit about the park with you.

Henrietta Park is a lovely seven acre park a couple of minutes walk from Bath city centre and, like Bath’s Victoria Park, is another park which was dedicated to the Queen Victoria. However while Victoria Park was named after Victoria when she was a princess, Henrietta park was opened on the 22nd of June 1897 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. The land having been donated by Captain Forrester of 3rd Kings Own Hussars, on the condition that the land should remain a green space and never be built on.   

So why call it Henrietta?

Henrietta Laura Pulteney became the first, and only as the title became extinct following her death, Countess of Bath in 1803 aged 26. Henrietta was the only daughter of Sir William Johnstone Pulteney, whose investment in Bath saw the building of Pulteney Bridge and many other fine buildings (at one time Sir William was reportedly the wealthiest man in Great Britain). On his death Henrietta owned a great deal of the land around Bath in the form of the vast Pulteney estate. The park
is named in her honour, which might seem a bit odd given that when it was begun in 1896 Henrietta had been long dead (1808) and it was Captain Forrester who donated the land. Forrester Park maybe didn’t have the same ring to it.

As per Captain Forrester’s wishes, the park remains to this day an oasis of tranquillity with places to sit and reflect and paths to stroll along to enjoy the flowers and trees – some of which exist from the Old Bathwick Park and so are between 150 and 200 years old!

The park is also a big hit with architectural historians, as it’s a wonderful example of the original level of the Bathwick estate, before architects such as Thomas Baldwin came along and changed the contours of the land.  

We have to say, Henrietta Park is a hidden gem in Bath and well-worth a visit. If you do decide to take a stroll to this beautiful park, make sure you don’t miss the King George V Memorial Garden, which has lovely planting all around it and a real sense of peace and solitude. 

(And in case you were curious, here are some of the goodies we baked for the event on Sunday.) 

Raspberry vanilla macaroons and mini teacakes.

Lemon drizzle cupcakes.

Chocolate muffins.


Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Visit Bath and See Queen Charlotte’s Last Surviving Dress

Coco Chanel once said that, “fashion fades, only style remains the same”. Well, it may not be the modern fashion she was used to (or that we’re used to!), but we think she’d have approved of this particular dress…

Queen Charlotte, the oft-wronged wife of English king George III, is one person that we think Coco
Chanel would have honoured with the epithet ‘stylish’, and now for the first time Bath Fashion Museum will be displaying the exquisite lace dress that is her only known surviving dress.

Charlotte wasn’t seen as a leader of fashion, but instead held onto the styles which had always flattered her (hooped skirts being one favourite), but the slender cream empire-line dress which is on display was the epitome of fashion when it was made in the early 1800s when Charlotte was in her 60s.

It has never been on display before as it is so delicate – it is made of hundreds of strips of the highest quality imported bobbin lace carefully pieced together, but now it forms a key part of the Fashion Museum’s latest exhibition; “Lace in Fashion”, which runs until 1st January 2018. The dress was gifted to the museum in the 1960s by a family whose ancestor had been given it by the queen herself.

Other items on display in the exhibition include a Norman Hartnell dress worn by the Queen Mother, a Karl Lagerfield dress, and a lace-trimmed smock surviving from 1580!

If you haven’t visited the Fashion Museum before, or even if you have, it’s well-worth a visit. The museum is located below the famous Assembly Rooms next to the Circus and two minutes from the Royal Crescent – so it’s nice and easy to combine a visit to the museum with a trip to see some of Bath’s most well-known landmarks.

(Top tip: the tea room in the Assembly Rooms is also a must-try when you need some light refreshment!)