A Little Announcement

A little announcementWell, that last post was a little cryptic wasn’t it? The thing is, I’ve got a little announcement to make. If you read my most recent post or follow me on Twitter you may already have found out, but here’s my little secret…

Ship-Shape and Bristol Fashion is going Stateside! We’re swapping the South West for the West Coast and moving to San Francisco, California. I’ve been wanting to share this with you for such a long time but I was waiting for the right moment.

We’re moving for Mr Ship-Shape’s work next month *gulp* and are both thrilled, scared, excited and nervous in equal measures to be starting this new adventure together.

Ship-Shape and Bristol Fashion will be coming along for the ride and I’m excited about sharing our San Fran escapades on here. I’ll be writing more about this rather epic life decision over the next few weeks, but for now, all that remains is to say thank you for reading and I hope you stick with us for this journey across the pond.

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Dear Bristol…

Uni yearsDear Bristol,

You are my adopted home. I’ve lived here for a whopping ten years now, after moving from the south coast for university back in September 2004. I remember the outfit I wore the first time I met my new flatmates in halls (denim culottes and a grey Gap vest top with a horizontal rainbow print) and the outfit I wore when I met the future love of my life (a black t-shirt and ripped jeans – standard uniform at the music venue we worked behind the bar in).

I remember being pushed out of my comfort zone in my second year of university, living in house of ten, with six of the other occupants being fashion students, all encouraging me to try new styles. Spending a little bit of student loan in Motel and BS8 on Park Street at the start of each term was mandatory, and I stepped foot in Primark for the first time.

Fast forward to graduation when I picked a 100% Primark outfit to wear to my graduation because student loans were a distant memory. I’d had my fringe cut in a few months previously (best. decision. EVER) and walked away with a first class degree and my first proper job.

Various style dalliances followed, with notable mentions going to wide, waist-chinching belts, the Lily Allen-inspired strapless girly dresses with trainers look, and, of course, lots of charity shop and vintage fair finds.

Not long afterwards, I took up running and began to see your hills and harbour in yet another light, dressed in black running tights and colourful vests for 10k races and even a couple of half marathons.

Post uni yearsOn a Friday afternoon in early September 2009 I wore a black strapless dress from H&M which would unwittingly become the dress I would be proposed to in, in carefully planned scenario next to the Welshback. I wore black to our engagement party at a long deceased venue on Gloucester Road where the cocktails were served in teapots.

Our engagement shoot took place on Brandon Hill and around the Harbourside, and I picked a floral dress from New Look and my Macys leather jacket for the occasion. Eighteen months later we said ‘I do’ on the outskirts of Bristol, and the dress of choice was perfect in every way.

Over the last three and a half years I’ve explored nearly every part of you, from Clifton Village and Cotham, to Stokes Croft, Southville and even Brislington. There have been the day trips to Bath, the Sunday afternoon bike rides and countless outfit shoots on the Downs, St Nicks Market and my current stomping ground, Montpelier.

But Bristol, while I’ve had a blast, it’s time to close this chapter and start writing a new one in a new city. Somewhere far away but with all the makings of a very exciting adventure.

Don’t think of this as ‘goodbye’, just ‘see you again soon’.


SJ x

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A Girly City Break in Bath

Chilling next to the Roman BathsDespite only being a short drive or train ride away, I don’t make it to Bath as often as I’d like. For various reasons I’ve been trying to visit more recently and I did make it there and back on two wheels last weekend, ticking off a bucket list dream.

Although I’ve visited the city for vintage fairs at Green Park, new exhibitions at the Fashion Museum and taken part in the Bath Half Marathon a few years ago, I’d never contemplated staying overnight.

With Mr Ship-Shape being away on a two week business trip in the States, it seemed like perfect timing when the lovely folks at the Francis Hotel offered me the chance to stay in one of their beautiful rooms, taking a girlfriend along with me for the weekend.

Enjoying the Roman BathsHidden streets in BathTaking photos of the wallpaperbreakfast at the FrancisS of Beautiful Plumage and I trundled off to Bath on a couple of Fridays ago and as we approached Queen Square we spotted the Francis. After a long week of work, seeing this grand building was exactly the ticket and we couldn’t wait to get inside. The interior was very colourful and contemporary and S and I both loved the cameo wallpaper, no doubt a nod to the Jane Austin Museum that sits just a few hundred meters up the road.

After a night of dinner and cocktails followed by sitting in our pyjamas reading magazines and watching Sex & The City (is it possible to get more stereotypical girly weekend? I think not…) we hit the hay, eager to get up for a day of exploring Bath.

Regular readers will know that breakfast is a big deal for me – it’s arguably my favourite meal of the day and I especially have a thing for hotel breakfasts (continental and full english? Don’t mind if I do). The breakfast the next morning was delicious and I made sure I had a couple of several mini danishes along with a short stack of scotch pancakes, bacon and maple syrup.

After stuffing ourselves silly and taking a few snaps of our outfits, S and I played tourist for the day and went to see the GEORGIANS: Dress for polite society exhibition at the Fashion Museum, and the Roman Baths, which despite being ridiculously central, I’d never visited before. As well as taking in the history of the venue, we also made sure we had a few tourist photos with the roman actors and actresses!

One of my favourite things about this city is just is it is to get around on foot – everything is relatively close by and although I did get a little confused wandering through all the tiny adjoining streets in a bid to show S The Makery and find Ben’s Cookies. By the time we’d done a spot of window shopping and had a wander around Milsom Place, it was time to head back to Bristol. I’ll definitely be heading back to Bath before long – do you have any recommendations for my next trip?

A big thank you to the staff at the Francis – ever member we encountered was extremely helpful and polite, even parking S’s car so she didn’t have to navigate the car park. Although our stay was arranged for us, all opinions are genuine – we had a lovely weekend and I’d definitely stay at the Francis again!

Enjoying the Roman BathsRoman Baths, BathRoman Baths, BathDressing up at the Fashion MuseumFire juggler in BathBreakfast at the Francis HotelGeorgian cameo wallpaperGeorgian exhibition at Fashion Museum

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A Belated Blog Birthday & Dr Martens Giveaway

Ship-Shape turns fiveFive years. That’s how long this little blog has been running for. It seems baffling to me that I’ve kept writing, photographing and editing the posts you’ve been reading for half a decade, and how Ship-Shape and Bristol Fashion has been there through career changes, house moves and serving as documentation of my ever evolving style choices.

I’ve met some wonderful people through blogging, had some exciting experiences and been lucky enough to enjoy the occasional perk that comes my way. Blogging has changed so much since I started, hidden away in my bedroom and not even interacting with the blogging community for the first year of Ship-Shape’s existence. Now it seems like every other person I meet has a blog about one topic or another. That in itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing (I’ve encouraged many of my friends to start their own), but sometimes it can be hard to feel heard in the throng of Twitter chats, Bloglovin feeds and other internet noises.

It’s also hard to fit in blogging around a full time job, and I want to high five everyone else like me who finds themselves writing posts on their commute to work or working till the wee hours of the morning editing photos. It takes hard work and commitment to blog, and I know that that’s poured into the blogs I love reading by the bucketload.

Dr Martens birthday giveawayShip-Shape actually turned five back in August, but I was in Africa so this is a bit of a belated celebration. Nevertheless, a birthday wouldn’t be the same without some gifts, and fortunately Dr Martens have stepped up to the plate to offer you lovely lot a chance to win a pair of shoes (or boots) from their Rugged and Casual collections, worth £150!

Regular readers might know that I collaborated with DM on their #STANDFORSOMETHING campaign this summer, and when it comes to blogging, I definitely stand for passion and determination – without these qualities it would be impossible to have kept Ship-Shape going for all these years.

Now the tables are turning and I want to know what you stand for. Let me know in the comments and don’t forget to visit the Dr Martens website and tell me which pair of shoes from the Rugged and Casual collections is your favourite! Simply fill out the Rafflecopter form to be in with a chance of winning, you know the drill!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

P.S. For all you Bristol-based readers, your nearest Dr Martens store is 16 Broadmead, Bristol BS1 3HH.

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Give us a Whistle

Autumn leavesCheesiest post title ever? Probably, but how could I not make a pun when wearing this beautiful Whistles skirt?

At the weekend one of my favourite ladies and I went on a city break to Bath. Despite the weather forecast predicting rainclouds, we spent a gloriously sunny afternoon pottering around the city. I packed several outfits for our girly weekend away, this floral skirt and casual grey t-shirt combo being one of them.

I’m currently going through a serious wardrobe edit and this Whistles number is one I’m stilling ‘umming and ahhing’ over, as Mama Ship-Shape would say. I bought it in the sale a few years ago because it was pretty, made of silk and covered in flowers, but once I found a home for it in my wardrobe, it never really saw the light of day again.

Too pretty for everyday wear, a little too tight around the middle to wear on a date night (becuase any date with me involves eating a lot of food), it’s a skirt I’m on the fence about. Do you think it’s a keeper?

Floral skirt – Whistles / Grey marl t-shirt – Zara / Black bag and pearl necklace – clothes swap / Shoes – Topshop

Thanks to the lovely Beautiful Plumage for taking these photos.

An OOTD in BathNeedle in Queens Square BathFrom where I standWhistles skirt and grey tshirtTrees in Queens SquareWhistles skirt and Topshop shoes

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