The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta 2015 (In Photos)


Last weekend I went along to the annual Bristol International Balloon Fiesta – it’s an extended weekend full of ballooning and fun and yesterday was exceptional. The fiesta, which is now in 37th year reached Ashton Court’s capacity and for the first time they had to turn people away at the gates. It has to be said it’s not hard to see why – the best weather and conditions, the best balloons and the best fun.

This is the Bristol Internal Ballon Fiesta 2015!


Not my kind of thing but the fiesta plays host to a wide range of rides suitable for all tastes and thrill seekers. From merry go rounds, tea cups and dodgems to the likes of Air and Joker for those adventurous types who want to experience a splash of danger.




If food is more your thing there’s more than enough to keep hunger at bay from the traditional burger, pizza and chips to full roasts, currys, ice creams, sweets, fudge, drinks…


Oh and this apple and cinnamon crepe was lovely… 🙂

Apple and Cinnamon crepe

Just be prepared as with all these kinds of things it’s not exactly cheap!


Okay, okay – not really what the fiesta is but. But. But.

They were everywhere, on virtually every game stand there this year, one of the prizes on offer was a minion so couldn’t really miss them out could I?

Win a Minion


You’ll see more about this later, but Shaun in City was of course present at the Ashton Court estate, here’s a sneak peak of one of them!


Plane Aerobics

This year we had lots of activities in the sky including this incredible plane demonstration…


Where they…






Plane walking

The Hot Air Balloon Mass Ascent

Okay – so the fiesta isn’t really about any of those things – it’s a celebration of hot air balloons, the opportunity to witness and be part of a mass ascent of hot air balloons at one of the biggest balloon fiesta’s in Europe. Going up in one of those things must be pretty awesome ordinarily but going up as part of a mass ascent at the fiesta has to be pretty spectacular.

The fiesta was trying out a new way of letting everyone know whether the balloons would take to the skies this year. A chimney would erupt smoke and the colour of this smoke would be the outcome. Red would mean no go, amber meant the balloons would inflate but would not be allowed to take off. And Green would mean we’re good to go.

Given the wind but warm weather I was half expecting it to go amber but….

The smoke, it went green! As it did at all 7 launches this year – good weather at all launches for the fiesta is unheard of!

Anyhoo, We were good to go and this is what happened next!

Getting the balloon’s ready
Setting up the ascent

Cold Inflation
Cold Inflation

Almost there

Almost there

We have lift off…
We have lift off


Off goes another

And we’re off








Uni Bristol Balloon


Balloon Burner

Some of these balloons can carry up to 14 passengers





Peekabo Penguin!
One of the two penguin balloons exhibiting at this years fiesta…
Peekabo Penguin - Hot Air Balloon

And here’s the other one – oh what a pair! 🙂

Penguin Balloon


And as the light started to fade to a soft glow the ascent came to an end…


The Night Glow…

But the day hasn’t come to an end just yet – on the Thursday and Saturday nights – the balloon fiesta has a unique feature. A feature that is one of the fiesta’s biggest draws and it’s called the Night Glow.

The Night Glow is in a word beautiful, a combination of music and balloons – after inflating the balloon teams use their burners to light up their balloons in time to the music – it’s something that’s really hard to show you with pictures…

Night Glow

Night Glow

Night Glow

So how about a clip instead (no copyright infringement intended!) 🙂


And the night still hasn’t quite ended, next up is the fireworks…

Night Glow Fireworks

Night Glow Fireworks

Night Glow Fireworks

Night Glow Fireworks

Night Glow Fireworks

I hope I’ve given you a taste of what the Bristol Balloon Fiesta is like, maybe you might like to come next year. It’s not the kind of thing I could go to every year as it is one of those things that doesn’t really change much from year to year, but on a day with goo weather it provides an exceptional day out for a very modest amount – did I not mention if you walk to the fiesta it’s completely free of charge. They do however charge for parking – so walk if you can!

The Bristol Shaun In The City Sheep Roundup #2

The Shaun in the City Bristol trail is now in full swing and the sheeps are looking Baa-rilliant (hehe).

Welcome to my second sheep spotting round up – this is going to be a little shorter than my last one, as this only covers one week (*ahem* one day *ahem*) of rounding up these beauties – so is a little more manageable 🙂

This week I picked up the remaining straddlers on the harbourside trail and completed two of the harder trails – the Heritage and Downs trails.

So lets get down to it and round up those sheep…

Completing the Harbourside Trail

Life Aquatic by Martin Kiszko & Nick Park, located at Bristol Aquarium
Life Aquatic by Martin Kiszko & Nick Park

A little pitstop… huh? Well, at the moment very near Life Aquatic is the Bristol Whale project – an art installation made up of plastic bottles – it’s too good to let pass without a photo 🙂

Bristol Whale Art Installation

Okay, focus Jesse, focus…

Onto one of my favourite Shauns…

Dolly by Julie Vernon, located at Anchor Road (outside Hargreaves Lansdown)
Dolly by Julie Vernon

I mean look at that detail!

Dolly by Julie Vernon

Well, that’s it for the Harbourside Trail – so lets move onto something a little more taxing – the Heritage Trail. To start this trail we have to walk back on ourselves a bit towards the Bristol Hippodrome.

Heritage Trail

Baa-wulf by Peter Lord, located at the Bristol Hippodrome
Baa-wulf by Peter Lord

Another little diversion before the next Shaun, I mean a building such as Bristol Cathedral can’t be passed without showing you what it looks like… before it started to rain!!!

Bristol Catherderal

This of course was on our way to bow down to…

King Arthur of Lambelot & Excalibaaar by Huncan Daskell, located at College Green
King Arthur of Lambelot & Excalibaaar by Huncan Daskell

Wow, another diversion but come on, shame about the clouds but the view from *erm* nearby Cabot Tower can’t be turned down.

Cabot Tower View

Back on ground level we come across…

From Dusk ’til Shaun by Sneaky Raccoon, located at Brandon Hill Nature Park
From Dusk 'til Shaun by Sneaky Raccoon

Up the brutal hill known as park street we must now go – heading to Bristol museum, where we’ll find two Shauns, the first of which is all lit up like…

Arabian Lights by Nigel Leach, located at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery
Arabian Lights by Nigel Leach

Baaack to the Drawing Board by Nick Park, located at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery
Baaack to the Drawing Board by Nick Park

And then there were dinosaurs, I mean come on – I HAD TO LOOK, I haven’t been here in ages! 🙂


Soooo… after 3 visits back and forth into the museum because 1) I didn’t realise there was two Shaun’s there and 2) I forgot to check one of them off on the app I got moving onwards and upwards towards…

Thunderbirds Are Go by Thunderbirds, located at Bristol Grammar School
Thunderbirds Are Go by Thunderbirds

Rex by Beth Waters, located at the Royal West of England Academy
Rex by Beth Waters

Flock ‘n Roll by Carys-ink, located at the Victoria Rooms
Flock 'n Roll by Carys-ink

And with that we come to the end of the Heritage trail. But the day was still *kind of* young and I wanted more – I headed up another hill of death otherwise known as Whiteladies Road, past BBC Bristol until I came to the start of the Downs trail.

The Downs Trail

This trail takes you onto the Downs (surprise!) and into Westbury-on-Trym – there’s quite a lot more walking involved than on the other trails (and a steep hill or two) and far less interesting landmarks along the way but none the less – here we go, starting with…

Tutti Frutti by Laura Fearn, located at 167 Whiteladies Road

Tutti Frutti by Laura Fearn

Ram-ble by Bett Norris, located on The Downs
Ram-ble by Bett Norris

Shaun of the Jungle by Martyna Zoltaszek, located at the University of Bristol Botanic Garden
Shaun of the Jungle by Martyna Zoltaszek

Bumble by Marie Simpson, located at The Downs
Bumble by Marie Simpson

Bristol Beauty by Cassie Derby, located at 25 Canford Lane
Bristol Beauty by Cassie Derby

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, located at 156 Henleaze Road
The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

Groovy Baby by Emily Ketteringham, located at 110 Coldharbour Road

Groovy Baby by Emily Ketteringham

Groovy Baby brings us to the end of the Downs Trail and funnily enough to the end of this post bringing the total sheep found to 48 of 70.

If you want to catch the first 31 Shauns in my sheep round up check out the roundup part 1. And don’t forget this art trail is raising funds for the Wallace and Gromit Grand Appeal, the charity which supports sick babies and children from Bristol, across the region and further afield.

You can find out more about Shaun in the City on their website.

Cartoon Jazz At The Colston Hall

Cartoon Jazz At The Colston Hall

While all the excitement was going down in London yesterday I was closer to home for something a little bit different, something a little bit fun and a little bit completely awesome.

I’m talking about Cartoon Jazz at The Colston Hall, Bristol.

It was the first time I’d stepped inside this well known Bristol building and I wasn’t really sure what to expect – essentially the Colston Hall is a big hall (makes sense really), it’s not quite as grand and comfortable as a theatre but from the moment you see the stage you can see why it was the perfect venue.

Seats raked up showcasing the choir who were made up from various smaller choirs (including my Mum), most from Bristol and some further afield from a whole range of ages and in a dazzling array of cartoon bright colours.

The show itself was made up of cartoon songs (many of them Disney) rejigged to give them a jazz edge – some of them were pretty special – Under The Sea from The Little Mermaid and a couple from The Jungle Book. Some didn’t work quite as well – Let it Go from Frozen lacked the power it has in its original form in a jazz arrangement.

I have to give a nod to the band as well, who were awesome! I mean whats not to love – saxophone, trumpets, clarinet, flute, piano and more 🙂

But overall Cartoon Jazz was a fun hour or so, putting a very different twist on some favourite cartoon tunes.

Cartoon Jazz was part of Bristol International Jazz and Blues Festival.