People / My Bristol Favourites

My Bristol Favourites: Jessica Paul and Sam Taylor

By martin booth, Saturday Nov 14, 2020

Jessica Paul and Sam Taylor are the co-owners of Max Minerva’s bookshop in Westbury Park.

During the second national lockdown, the shop remains open for click and collect orders from Monday to Saturday, as well as being able to deliver books bought via their website.

Jessica founded a small online bookstore in Australia before helping to develop collections for the Singapore National Library. Sam has worked as a songwriter, radio producer and advertising manager.

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These are Jessica and Sam’s top-five Bristol favourites:

The Pipe & Slippers and the Plough

The Plough Inn is at the heart of the Easton community – photo: Martin Booth

“Two pubs which pretty perfectly sum up what makes Bristol great: a little scruffy around the edges, overflowing with music and character, and committed to improving the community. They, like the entire hospitality industry, have taken a kicking this year, yet rather than moan about it they’ve teamed up to launch Community Care Package, a free food delivery service for those who need it most. Truly wonderful people.”

Badock’s Wood

Badocks Wood 009

“Less than a mile from my house, we’d somehow failed to find this idyll during the first three years of living in Henleaze. But then came lockdown and an endless need to find new ways of entertaining our kids. Since April we’ve spent countless afternoons in Badock’s Wood climbing trees, exploring the trails and, in the case of our two-year-old, standing waist-deep in the river, throwing rocks at other rocks.”


An illustration of Napolita by Hannah Burn

Napolita on Mina Road in St Werburgh’s is an unsung hero of Bristol’s food scene. When we moved from Sydney to St Werburgh’s eight years ago it was a tiny takeaway serving fantastic pizzas. Now it’s a 40-seater restaurant that’s added delicious pasta to its pizzas. Shad, the owner, has literally built it from the ground up and made it the heart of the community. He knows all the locals by name and it’s our kids favourite. There are a lot of places that get more headlines but Napolita is the epitome of the great neighbourhood restaurant.”

Oldbury Court Estate

Jessica and Sam spend a lot of time with their children at the Oldbury Court Estate – photo: Oldbury Court Estate friends group.

“I love how you can walk from the noise and bustle of Fishponds high street to the fairytale magic of Snuff Mills in minutes. But, while I could spend hours getting lost in the woods and fields of Oldbury Court Estate, we spend most of my time in the playground, catching our kids as they jump, slide and fall off the pirate ship.”

Empire Fighting Chance

“Last year, we held a launch event at Empire Fighting Chance for Derek A Bardowell’s book No Win Race. Derek arrived in Bristol early just so he could meet Martin’s team and learn about the work they do with at-risk youth. It’s an incredible place full of caring, committed people making a huge difference. It shouldn’t be up to organisations like them to plug the holes left by government cuts but Bristol’s very lucky that they are.”

Main photo: Max Minerva’s

Read more: You can support two of Bristol’s bookshops from home

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