Wednesday, 25 August 2010

A rosy day in Bath, and a craving for some Toast

You don't usually expect to see lions on a day trip to Bath. However on a sunny Tuesday visit this week the city was full of them. These patriotic and colourful animals are part of the 2010 'Pride in our City' project, in which 100 decorated lions have been placed around the city of Bath. Each 6 foot lion is sponsored by a local business and is raising money for charity. The lion project was inspired by 2008's King Bladud's Pig event, which saw brightly decorated pigs making homes of famous spots throughout Bath.

Wandering throughout the beautiful city these lions make for an unusual flash of colour brightening up the streets. The lions will be roaming the city until mid September, however to catch the whole pride in their rainbow-coloured, fabulous, feline glory, head to the Royal Crescent on the weekend of the 9th and 10th of October where the lions will all be roaring goodbye.
This pink lion was standing guard outside Bath's fashion museum, where I had come to see the 'Diana Dresses' exhibition, a showcase of 10 famous dresses worn by Princess Diana. The lion was called 'Manely in the Pink', painted by Louette Eagles and sponsored by the Shepperton Group.

The 'Diana Dresses' exhibition is well worth a visit. Showcasing a limited range of 10 dresses it is small enough to really take everything in, and to provide a much more intimate museum experience. Although the exhibition was small each dress was displayed beautifully and accompanied by fascinating information, as well as a film roll showing clips of the late princess.

Not only was it interesting, but I found it a very moving experience. On one wall a pin board had been assembled for people to attach their memories of Diana. Reading through the loving and kind words of everyone from 7o year old ladies to young children who were babies when she died yet who remember her legacy with fondness, was an apt and moving tribute. Next to this wall were children's drawings of their favourite 'Diana' dresses, many accompanied by carefully written phrases such as "I love fashion", or "When I'm grown up I want to be a fashion designer". This hint towards future and the innocence of children made a heartwarming and hopeful contrast to the tragic memories of death on the adjacent wall.

No trip to Bath would be complete without a bit of shopping. This time, however, it was not so much the fail-safe usuals that drew me (Jolly's, mainly for it's beautiful make-up department, Waterstone's and Vinegar Hill) but a shop I had never seen before.

I love the exquisitely styled photographs in Toast's catalogue, but had never seen one of their stores before. Therefore stumbling across a gorgeous window display, full of paint splattered accessories, brushes and colourfully dressed mannequins, and seeing TOAST emblazoned above the door, came as a pleasant surprised.

Inside, the store embodied the Toast aesthetic just as much as the catalogue, however in the flesh the clothes themselves appeared suddenly far more appealing. In the bright, breezy shop the rich, rusty colours stood out and wooed the eye, whilst the fabrics cried to be stroked. Everything from the friendly and stylishly dressed shop assistants to the quirkily decorated interior made me view Toast in a refreshing new light, and left me desperate to buy. I could have quite easily parted with my cash in exchange for some burnt red patent pumps, or a bright orange mac, however seeing as I'm starting university in a few weeks I decided (sadly) that books might be a more sensible investment.

Nontheless I left very much craving some Toast, and I'm sure I will be back.


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