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JUNE - JULY 2021

Tom Hanks


Quality Door to Door Coach Holidays WITH ELLEN SMITH







Part of

Self-drive & coach inclusive breaks



£229 from

per person

When it comes to inviting, relaxing breaks, we have the ideal holiday for you.. Whether you’re looking for a romantic break for two, a family holiday or getting away with friends, Robinsons’s Holidays offers 12 hotels in 10 of the most popular UK destinations. Our fleet of 26 luxury Mercedes coaches provide return travel in comfort and style from your pick up point and will take you directly to your hotel, aiming to arrive between 3 – 5pm. If you’d like to get out and about to explore the local area on your holiday, then all of our breaks can also be booked on a self-drive basis so you’ve got the freedom of having your own car.

Request your brochure now!

Every break includes: Return coach travel (self-drive option available)

Comfy en suite accommodation

Breakfast & 3-course evening meal

Live nightly entertainment*

Trip Advisor’s Travellers’ Choice We are proud to announce that six of our group – Barrowfield, Daish’s, Devonshire, Bournemouth Sands, Claremont, Hotel Prince Regent – have been awarded the coveted TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice award for 2020.

Isle of Wight






Lake District




Don’t miss these coach inclusive breaks! Local pick up points from make it easy to get away. Price includes return coach travel from:

G2 Pick-up: Rochdale, Royton, Oldham, Ashton-under-Lyme, Hyde, Stockport, Cheadle, Lymm Services. All offers are subject to availability and standard terms and conditions (see brochure or website for T&C’s). DATE











Somerset Hotel – Llandudno




Russell Hotel – Weymouth




Daish’s Blackpool Hotel - Blackpool




Abbey Lawn Hotel – Torquay




Daish’s Hotel – Isle of Wight




Imperial Hotel – Eastbourne




Sands Hotel – Bournemouth




Hotel Prince Regent – Weymouth




Esplanade Hotel – Scarborough




Devonshire Hotel – Torquay




Sands Hotel – Bournemouth




Daish’s Blackpool Hotel - Blackpool




Daish’s Hotel – Isle of Wight




Somerset Hotel – Llandudno




Hotel Prince Regent – Weymouth




Devonshire Hotel – Torquay






Imperial Hotel – Eastbourne




County Hotel – Lake District




Prices shown are per person based on two people sharing a Standard Room. Supplements apply on twin/double rooms with sole occupancy. Optional local excursions can be booked at the hotel. Many more coach or self-drive holiday dates available in 2021. If you would prefer to self-drive, deduct £20 per person from prices shown.



Abbey Lawn Hotel – Torquay

Call - 0800 083 9900 Quote - 50PlusRG2 or visit

10 fabulous locations, 12 great hotels. Bournemouth






Bournemouth Sands

Somerset Hotel

Barrowfield Hotel

Hotel Prince Regent

Russell Hotel

Imperial Hotel

Isle of Wight





Lake District

Daish’s Hotel

Esplanade Hotel

Devonshire Hotel

Abbey Lawn Hotel

Daish’s Blackpool Hotel

County Hotel

Call 0800 083 9900 or visit







IN THIS ISSUE OF 50 PLUS MAGAZINE 2-3 TRAVEL Robinsons Holidays self-drive and coach inclusive breaks 14-15

TOM HANKS An actor for all seasons

16-17 TRAVEL USA Road Trip with Avis by Silver Travel Advisor 19-20


GREAT HOLIDAYS IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS Clamping, glamping and touring holidays

22-23 GARDENING Covid-19 has transformed the gardening industry 25-27 HOME Make your home more lifestyle friendly 31-33

FOOD AND DRINK Recipes for Great British Chef, Paul Foster

36-37 MOTORS Steve Howarth test drives the Raptor and the Passat Estate


44-45 HEALTH Advice for mature women


Bridgeman House 77 Bridgeman Street | Bolton | BL3 6BY. Sales Enquiries : T: (01204) 238180 E:



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And so many were crazily accurate. “Set in retrospect, in 2015, not a single person got the answer right to ‘Where do you see yourself five years from now?’” We even found our own occasional desperation worth a smile. “Where is far far away and how do I get there?” was a post offering a bitter tinge. Then there was: “I’m looking for a moisturiser that hides the fact that I’ve been tired since 2010” which hit home. Then there were the clever ones: “I told my suitcases that there will be no vacation this year. Now I’m dealing with emotional baggage.” LOCKDOWN HUMOUR – TRADEMARK OF STOIC BRITS IT may be a particularly British trait but when it comes to ongoing disaster and major concern we tend to turn to humour. I’m sure it was the same in wartime and in other countries. When something enduringly scary threatens, we discover the funny side of it and use it as a form of defence against the awfulness. That has certainly been true of the pandemic. While it’s too difficult and too raw to actually laugh at Covid-19 itself, we have been turning instead to the sideeffects and restriction of lockdown to cheer ourselves up. In fact, I think we are at our most inventive here. Humour surfaced early in the first lockdown and mainly online. One of the first things that made me laugh – a surprise, really, given the seriousness and overwhelming worry of the threat then – was a short video of a good-looking shirtless man in a hat dancing. The before lockdown and after lockdown footage showed the tight torso changing to a wobbly belly. We laughed at the change, soon learning the irony as many of us munched our way through the months ahead.


We’ve laughed at the possible results of lockdown. One of my favourite Facebook postings was: “Do you ever get up in the morning, look in the mirror and think ‘that can’t be accurate!’” We’ve become happy to laugh at ourselves. We smiled at jokes about over-zealous hand-washing, mask-wearing and taking precautions. “Pretty wild how we used to eat cake after someone had blown on it. Good times ….” went one popular post.

Add those to the many cartoons, videos, memes and observational humour and you discover a funny underside to what is plainly an international disaster that could scarcely have been predicted. Personally, I feel it says something fine and stoic about our individual make-up that allows us to react to very dark times by sometimes laughing out loud. Little has been innately funny about this global pandemic and its terrible effects on people. But, our ability to find the humour in it, to share that with others and to laugh together has proved to be a brilliant way

of diluting some of our darkest days, It has helped us move naturally towards future light. FANCY A PAIR OF OUR BET’S BEST EARRINGS? WHEN actress Julie Goodyear became an unusual sort of national icon as Coronation Street’s brassy landlady Bet Lynch her wardrobe was not the envy of women everywhere. The too-short skirts, too-tight tops, heavy make-up and upfront behaviour behind the bar of the Rovers Return brought out the prude in most of us. Tutting at Bet became a national habit – when we weren’t laughing at her antics and lines, that is.

The jewellery was sold in an online auction as part of Coronation Street’s 60th birthday in December, resulting no doubt on a major donation for Willow Wood and some delighted purchasers.

New series of either of the latter are eagerly awaited – that’s not to take away anything from The Bill, its plot lines and acting. But with Line of Duty and Unforgotten, we’re actually hungry to see it – we can’t wait.

Who today, though, would really wear Bet’s finest horrors? Well, me for one. Bring on those earrings like a birdcage – they’re great!

Writer Jed Mercurio certainly knows how to tell a riveting tale in LoD.You’re frightened to miss a second as you might skip a vital clue or move towards identifying who “H” might be or whether the OCG (Organised Crime Group) has more police in its pocket.

COP SHOWS THAT BECOME PART OF OUR LIVES IF there’s one thing the past year or so has taught us to appreciate it’s the TV. Pre-lockdown, we might have been a bit reticent to list telly-watching among our hobbies but now we’re happy to admit its importance in our lives.

Fast forward from 1966 to 2003 when she was in The Street to last year and Julie Goodyear MBE impressing the nation in a different way. The Manchester actress donated a large amount of Bet’s jewellery and her own to help local hospice Willow Wood.

It’s also been interesting to see how our habits have changed. More of us have come to appreciate Netflix and iPlayer and become binge-watchers of series.

“When I heard that they had been forced to cancel almost all of their fundraising events in this their 21st year, I wanted to do something to help,” compassionate Julie explained.

If you’ve watched daily doses of old police programmes The Bill and then back-to-backs of Line of Duty or Unforgotten you can see how far cop series have come.

One thing we’ve also perhaps noticed is how some types of programmes have altered.

Yes, they’re big on acronyms in Line of Duty. The three main characters – played by Vicky McClure, Martin Compston and Adrian Dunbar - have their own little nuances so that everything feels familiar.Yet, things are happening all the time that take us into new territory. Unforgotten is a marvellous showcase for the talents of writer Chris Lang and the acting of Sanjeev Bhaskar and Nicola Walker. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an actress with such talent for showing emotions in her face. The whole plotline is there sometimes. How lucky we are in this country to have such fine writers and performers. And, oddly, lockdown gave us the time to appreciate them anew.

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Book online on our website and save £10 per person

If you’ve not tried coach holidays before why not let Ellen Smith’s take you on your first coach experience. We’ve been established for over 120 years – so we know a bit about coaching holidays! We do things a bit differently than our rivals

How does it work? On the morning of travel we pick you up at a prearranged time and take you to our waiting coach at Birch Services.

All our tours include our ‘Door to Door’ service. That means that you are picked up by a taxi or small minibus right from your front door. No feeders, no interchanges, no changing coaches, no changing drivers and definitely no hassle! Within 30 minutes We normally have everyone on board and we’re on our way. We often have a second pickup at Stockport, but again this is timed for minimal delay. We are fully Financially Bonded And use some excellent privately-owned hotels. All visits and excursions are included in the price. We use modern coaches and mature friendly drivers.

We’re off on holiday then! The same happens on the way back too, taxi back to your front door! We never discount We charge the correct price in the first place – therefore everybody on board pays the same price. Finally If you can find the same or similar holiday for sale cheaper in the UK we’ll refund the difference to the whole coach!

‘Door to Door’ Coach Tours 2021 Brochure OUT NOW, telephone us on:

MAY 021 - M DOODR O O2R A 2022 O OOT O RCDH O C OT A CD R OR A & DAHY T O UCO R S C2H TOUR E X CURSIO 0 2 1 S www.e llensmith NS .co.u

01706 648126 for your free copy.


ww w ww w.e .elllleenn smit sm ithh.c .coo.u .ukk

Once you’ve gone the Ellen Smith way you’ll never go back! See the next two pages for a selection of our 2021 coach tours!

Membe rship No: 10228



2021 BROC



Membersh No: 1022 ip 8







Overview: Wiltshire with its rolling green downs, ancient woodlands and bustling market towns is a beautiful county in the south west of England. Tour Highlights: ‘Steam’ – Great Western Railway Museum, Swindon, Devizes and Caen Hill ‘Staircase Locks’, Historic Village of Lacock, Bradford-uponAvon and Chippenham, McArthur Glen Outlet, Swindon, Cathedral City of Salisbury.

Overview: This beautiful island, 32 miles long and 14 miles wide, lies in the Irish sea, approximately equidistant from Britain and Ireland. Tour Highlights: Manx Electric Railway, Snaefell Mountain Railway, Isle of Man Steam, Train, Douglas to Port Erin, Cregneash Folk Village.

Best Western Plus Angel Hotel

The Chesterhouse Hotel

01 July | 5 Days | £439

09 July | 6 Days | £559


Overview: The largest bay in the British Isles, stretching at approximately 50 miles, Cardigan Bay is one to remember. Tour Highlights: 1-Hour New Quay Boat Trip, 50-Minute Guided Tour of Picton Castle, Free Time to Explore Picton Castle Gardens, Light Lunch of Soup & Sandwiches at Picton Castle, Seaside Village of Aberystwyth.

12 July | 5 Days | £429




Overview: A themed tour for 2021 staying in Bray, Co. Wicklow which brings you an exciting look at Ireland’s seaside, city & countryside. Tour Highlights: A guided coastal railway journey and a scenic river cruise are also included, a lovely way to see this part of Ireland.

Tour Highlights: In-House Entertainment on 2 Nights, Cruise on the Clyde on the Vintage Paddle Steamer – The Waverley, Hop on-board the Jacobite Steam Train from Ft. William to Mallaig (return journey) Marvel at The Falkirk Wheel, Enjoy a relaxing cruise on the SS Sir Walter Scott as she meanders along Loch Katrine.

18 July | 5 Days | £499

22 July | 5 Days | £499


Overview: The natural beauty of the Pembrokeshire coast and the Gower peninsula are famed all over the world. Glorious sandy beaches and seemingly endless rugged coastline give way to the Preseli Hills, historic towns and little villages. For these tours we stay in Carmarthen, ideal for visiting this delightful corner of Wales.

01 August | 5 Days | £399

NORFOLK ~ SEALS, COAST & CITY Best Western Brook Hotel

Overview: For this tour we have chosen a nice mix of excursions, ranging from a delightful boat trip to see the seals; a unique paddle steamer cruise; the city of Norwich and a visit to the popular seaside resort of Great Yarmouth. Tour Highlights: Blakeney & The Seal Colonies Boat Trip, Norfolk Broads Paddle Steamer Cruise, Great Yarmouth, City of Norwich, Holt and Wells-next-theSea, Little Walsingham.

02 August | 5 Days | £439


Overview: Explore the much-loved Norfolk country retreat of Her Majesty The Queen along with one of the Treasure Houses of England. Tour Highlights: We also enjoy a nostalgic steam train journey to the heart of the Norfolk Broads to discover this magical waterland on a memorable scenic river cruise.

25 July | 5 Days | £459


Overview: A tour delving into Scotland’s past taking in some fine places including the 13th century Glamis Castle, the new Victoria and Albert Museum and a visit to see “the finest regiment in the world”. Tour Highlights: Brechin & Arbroath, The “Granite” city of Aberdeen, 5* Attraction - Gordon Highlanders Museum, Glamis Castle & Gardens, Dundee & The V&A Museum.

09 August | 5 Days | £399

INTERESTED? Call our reservations office on 01706 648126 and request a copy of our 2021 brochure. You’ll be surprised at the variations of tours we operate. 10

Call for free 2021 brochure

MAY DOODR O O20 R21 T- M 2022 OARCH C O TO DO A C DO R COAC OR H TOO & DA U R S H TO Y EXCU 2 0 2 URS www.e llensmithRSIONS 1 www. ww w.ell ellen ensm smith .co.u .ukk

Membership No: 10228





Members hip No: 10228



1 10:53


Overview: London is a city for all seasons and full of so much life, bursting with so much to see and do. For this short break we are including a visit to Buckingham Palace – which serves as both the office and London residence of Her Majesty the Queen and is one of the few working palaces remaining in the world today. The rest of the time is for you to explore London at your own pace.

13 August | 3 Days | £349


Overview: A spectacular scenic tour for summer staying on the lovely Isle of Bute and including visits to the Victorian Gothic mansion that is Mount Stuart as well as a visit to the Duke of Argyll’s home ~ Inveraray Castle.

23 August | 5 Days | £389


Overview: A lovely sightseeing tour with many things of interest, based in Great Malvern with the beautiful Malvern Hills overlooking the town. We feature some of the delightful Black & White villages in Herefordshire as well as visits to Leominster & The Cotswolds. We also take time to visit the Museum of Royal Worcester.

16 August | 5 Days | £389

BATH, BRISTOL & WEST SOMERSET RAILWAY Doubletree by Hilton Bristol City Hotel

Overview: A delightful tour for the summer as we enjoy a visit to the beautiful Georgian city of Bath, relax with a steam train ride on the West Somerset Railway, explore Bristol’s harbour-side with a Harbour Cruise as well as discovering the city.

26 August | 5 Days | £539



Overview: Llandudno is Wales’s largest resort, uniquely situated between the Great and Little Ormes with two wonderful beaches. Tour Highlights: We enjoy the short journey to Conwy, a delightful small town. We also include a visit to Portmeirion, situated on a private peninsula overlooking stunning coastal scenery with its cluster of colour-washed buildings around a central piazza.

Overview: Torquay, with its iconic palm trees, busy harbour, international marina, sandy beach and wonderful array of continental style cafes, restaurants and cocktail bars. Tour Highlights: Exmouth and Sidmouth. We head into Cornwall to visit the quaint towns of Looe & Polperro and also enjoy an excursion over Dartmoor National Park to the pleasant market town of Tavistock.

The Tynedale Hotel

02 September | 5 Days | £409

Visit our website at

The Derwent Hotel

05 September | 6 Days | £399


Buckatree Hall Hotel

Overview: Along the upper reaches of the River Severn and the borders between England & Wales, the countryside of Shropshire shelters some of the most beautiful landscapes and unspoilt towns that you can imagine.

23 August | 5 Days | £439


Overview: For this great little tour, we feature a journey on a miniature railway, a preserved main line railway as well as a boat trip and a visit to Royal Sandringham, something to suit all tastes.

02 September | 5 Days | £419


Overview: Located in the far west of Great Britain on a peninsula tumbling into the vast Atlantic ocean, almost completely surrounded by the sea, Cornwall is loved for its dramatic coastline, captivating fishing harbours, spectacular beaches and of course its pasties and cream teas! Tour Highlights: Admission to The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Mevagissey, Polperro & Fowey, St. Ives & Marazion, Port Isaac & Padstow.

06 September | 6 Days | £489

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Membership No: 10228




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knowledgeable leaders with accommodation on a full-board basis. Spring and winter walkers may find a pub lunch or afternoon tea replacing the usual al fresco picnic, a popular comfort break in case of inclement weather. In March however, just a week after the Siberian snows sent temperatures plummeting across Britain, I was blessed with blue skies and a light sea breeze. Stunning doesn’t even come close.

GUIDED WALKING AT LULWORTH COVE WITH HF HOLIDAYS By Gillian Thornton for Silver Travel Advisor Standing respectfully back from the cliff edge beside Old Harry Rocks, I’m thrilled to get a clear view across the water to The Needles off the Isle of Wight. For someone who always loved physical geography lessons at school, it’s very special to be standing at the eastern end of one of the world’s most unique coastlines. In millennia gone by, the Old Harry Rocks and The Needles were part of a continuous land mass, gradually eroded by the sea to leave two groups of chalk stacks. Today Old Harry marks the east Dorset end of the UNESCO-listed Jurassic Coast which runs westward for 95 miles to Exmouth in Devon.

My base for four nights was West Lulworth House a short walk from the iconic horseshoe bay that is Lulworth Cove. Built in 1881 and brought bang up to date with all modern facilities and stylish decor, the property is open most of the year, but if you want to stay here, you’ll need to book ahead. The 22 well-appointed rooms with views over the village to sea and hills are very popular. But you’ll find similar facilities and an equally warm welcome at all of HF’s 18 country houses. West Lulworth House follows the company’s tried-and-tested formula - a choice of guided walks each day with qualified,

My three days of walking involved two pub lunches – food choices selected the night before – and one of HF’s fabulous picnics. Dinners are all home-cooked and eaten companionably around large tables in the pretty dining room with panoramic windows over the village. And if you are one of the many people suffering from food intolerances, be reassured – many of their home-cooked dishes are marked Gluten Free and managers Mark and Lisa bent over backwards to accommodate my travel companion’s additional allergies. Just as menu choices are made each evening for the day ahead, so too are the walks. In spring we had a choice of two each day, Easier and Harder. Summer clients generally have a third option. Our routes were all between 4 and 8 miles, one starting direct from West Lulworth House, the other two involving a short journey by coach to the start with pick-up afterwards. This section of the Jurassic Coast does not involve the rugged ascents of mountain landscapes, but there are some long, steady climbs. It is not however beyond the capabilities of any regular rambler, and stops for drinks, snacks or photo moments

Any outdoor person will tell you that walking is good for both body and soul, but I’d go one further. Group walking trips should be available on the NHS, the perfect antidote to lethargy, loneliness and any fit of the blues. There’s nothing quite like following a footpath in good company to boost the mood. So a spring break with HF Holidays along Dorset’s Jurassic Coast ticked all my boxes. Spectacular coastal scenery, like-minded company and the promise of HF’s plentiful home-cooked food. Old Harry Rocks 12

ensured that nobody felt overstretched. Along the way, our excellent local guides Kai and Jo added to my rusty school knowledge of this unique coastline.   It’s one thing to read about chalk and greensand, Purbeck Beds and Portland Stone, but quite another to see the coloured rock layers jutting out into the sea. The horseshoe shape of Lulworth Cove and the natural arch of Durdle Door still pull visitors by the thousands, but in spring, we were almost alone, and every step brought new views, both coastal and inland. We walked across protected heathland with views of Poole harbour; headed over chalk downs to the song of skylarks; and stood on shingle beaches to the soothing sound of the sea. After three days on the trail, I’d walked around 22 miles, eaten some great food, and met some really lovely people. I felt energised but mentally relaxed and my bathroom scales proved that walking in the fresh air does a great job of burning off calories. So what’s not to like? Honestly nothing. So if you’ve ever fancied a walking holiday but hesitated, don’t. An HF holidays short break is the perfect option with its daily choice of routes. All you have to do is turn up and put one sturdy walking boot in front of the other

Durdle Door – everything else is done for you. And if you fancy a day off the trail, that’s fine too. One lady who had damaged her knee since booking still came with her sister-in-law and simply drove herself to local attractions such as Corfe Castle and Swanage. Another woman let her husband do the walking one

day whilst she sat in the sun at Lulworth Cove. And the company can be invigorating too. I walked with a lovely young French girl living in Oxford and a lady from Bergen in Norway, together putting Europe to rights as we tramped the undulations of Dorset. Just three days on the trail, but an immeasurable boost to both wellbeing and fitness!

For more information about HF Holidays call 0203 974 8878 or visit HF Holidays offer a Book and Travel with Confidence policy which includes flexible booking and full financial protection for all holidays. Their country houses are Covidcompliant; they only work with handpicked partners who are ‘Covid-compliant’ ; and they only operate and travel to locations that are deemed ‘Covid safe’ by the FCDO.



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AN ACTOR FOR ALL SEASONS ... A consummate professional who has played goodies, baddies and romantic leads in equal measure. He’s now 64 and with as much experience behind the camera as in front of it and if you mention his name to most people, they will have an opinion about his best role. And whether that’s as a businessman who falls in love with a mermaid, a widower whose son is determined to find him a wife or a plane crash survivor marooned on a desert island, Hanks never disappoints. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he had no acting experience in college. He was born in California and grew up in a fractured family, moving around a great deal after his parents’ divorce and making his home with a succession of step-families. He auditioned for a community theatre play and kickstarted his acting career in Cleveland. After a one-shot guest appearance on popular TV series Happy Days in 1974, he impressed fellow actor 14

Ron Howard so much that when Howard – by then a producer - was casting the film Splash in 1983, he asked Hanks to read for the role of the main character’s wisecracking brother. This role eventually went to John Candy. Hanks, however, was offered the lead role instead and this unlikely tale of romance between a mermaid and a human subsequently became a box-office smash. It wasn’t all plain-sailing after this, however, as he had several flops before enjoying moderate success with comedy Dragnet in 1987. It was fantasy-comedy Big in 1988, though, which really established him as a major Hollywood talent, earning him his first Academy Award nomination as Best Actor and a Golden Globe. Hanks has never been afraid to challenge himself or to play flawed characters. The

1992 film A League of Their Own saw him as a washed-up baseball legend managing women’s baseball team. Always self-effacing, he has been the major critic of his own performances. In an interview with magazine Vanity Fair, he observed that his work “has become less pretentiously fake and over the top.” The more “modern era” of his work began first with Sleepless in Seattle in 1993 and then moved on with Philadelphia the same year - two very different roles. In the latter, Hanks played against type in one of the first mainstream Hollywood films to acknowledge HIV/AIDS, homosexuality and homophobia. For this moving performance, he won the Academy award for Best Actor.

The following year, he followed Philadelphia with one of the most successful films of his career, Forrest Gump. This grossed more than $600 million at the box-office worldwide.

About the rise and fall of a 1960s pop group where he also played a music producer.

impressive films which have won praise like Cold War thriller Bridge of Spies, The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons. Perhaps less well-known is Hanks’ enviable track record as a producer for film and TV. Film-wise, he was producer on My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Mamma Mia Here We Go Again among many and his TV work goes across a broad section of successful miniseries, documentaries and music videos. He has also produced stage plays. Universally seen as a likable, mild-mannered and good-natured personality, Hanks has been married to actress Rita Wilson since 1988 and they have two children. He also has two children with ex-wife Samantha Lewes and two grand-daughters.

He won his second Best actor Academy Award for Forrest Gump, becoming only the second actor to win consecutive Best Actor awards. Hanks himself remarked: “When I read the script for Gump, I saw it as one of those kind of grand, hopeful movies that the audience can go to and feel some hope for their lot and their position in life. I got that from the movies a hundred million times when I was a kid. I still do.”

Even more memorable – and very different – film roles followed. In 1999 he won an Academy Award nomination for Saving Private Ryan and an Oscar nomination in 2001 for Cast Away, for which he first gained weight and then lost 55 lbs for the role. In 2002, he joined Leonardo di Caprio for Catch Me If You Can and in 2004 another change of direction saw him star as a refugee in The Terminal In 2008, there were more plaudits and a Golden Globe nomination for Charlie Wilson’s War and another in 2014 for Captain Phillips. During 2020, he was again Oscarnominated for Best Actor in a Supporting role for A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood in which he plays a television icon. Interspersed among Hanks’ award-winning nominations have been many other

Odd facts you might not know about him include being a huge fan of Doctor Who and enjoying collecting typewriters. He has more than 80 and his interest generated the idea for a successful iPad app called Hanx Writer which simulates the sound and feel of antique typewriters. Hanks is certainly an honest man. He once said: “I do not want to admit to the world that I can be a bad person. It is just that I don’t want anyone to have false expectations. “Movie-making is a harsh, volatile business and unless you can be ruthless too, there’s a good chance that you are going to disappear off the scene pretty quickly. So appearances can be deceptive, particularly in Hollywood.” But, as long as Tom Hanks keeps making films with his Midas touch, his fans will just keep on loving him.

His next acting role could not have been more different when he became astronaut and commander Jim Lovell in the docudrama Apollo 13 in 1995, reuniting with producer Ron Howard. The movie earned nine Academy Award nominations but, never resting on his laurels, the following year came another departure for Hanks – as the voice of Sheriff Woody in Disney/Pixar’s computeranimated film Toy Story. A year later, Hanks made his directing debut with the musical comedy That Thing You Do!





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By Steve Aldridge for Silver Travel Advisor

Our road trip began in Nevada, as we overcame our jet lag with a few days in Las Vegas. Sing along now, “...give ‘em the old razzle dazzle, razzle dazzle ‘em, give ‘em an act with lots of flash in it...”. Whilst the words might come from the musical Chicago, the description pretty much defines Sin City (as Las Vegas is often known). Yes, it’s brash and sometimes outrageous, but there’s plenty to admire and so much that is exceptionally well done. Caesars Palace has much to marvel at and we took our time to take in its treasures, particularly 16

its Roman Forum streetscape (with a magnificent sky ceiling which mimics the sky outside), the great hall, spiral escalator, aquarium, and the animatronic Fall of Atlantis show. The Bellagio Hotel treated us to a show of 1,200 dancing fountains, whilst the Mirage hosts an erupting volcano each evening. There are an astonishing number of shows to entertain visitors and we took in KA by Cirque de Soleil at the MGM Grand. It was a marvellous combination of acrobatics, special effects and stage manipulation that is all alleged to have cost $165 million to stage. Worth every penny in our opinion and hats off to the skill and strength of the performers. No human creation can match nature’s own though and our helicopter ride and landing in the Grand Canyon was wow moments heaped upon wow moments. It’s an extraordinary experience to get up close and personal with even a relatively small section of a canyon that is 277 river miles long and measures a staggering 18 miles at its widest point.

AVIS conveniently delivered our hire car to the MGM Grand hotel (to save us travelling out to the airport pick up depot) and whilst it didn’t quite have the power of the helicopter the previous day, the Chrysler 300 packs a decent punch. Its 3.6 litre V6 would give us plenty of pulling power for the mountainous roads ahead, whilst the boot (I know they call it a trunk) could accommodate our 3 medium/large holdalls. Inside we were cosseted in leather seated luxury, with a built-in satnav to help guide our way. We’d gone for the full package, zero excess insurance, breakdown cover etc. Preferring to know that whatever happened AVIS had us covered and no unexpected bills awaited us on return. , the road trip began and where better to test out the efficiency of the car’s air conditioning than the driest desert and hottest place in the world, Death Valley. This truly had to be one of the best drives of our life. From the heights of Dante’s View at 5475ft we could see Mt Whitney & Badwater with spectacular views over the whole basin. This location was used in Star Wars, Episode IV, A New Hope for the view looking down on Mos Eisley (may the force be with you). Driving down to the basin, we marvelled at the moonscape scenery of the devil’s golf course. Here we could literally hear the salt crystals popping in the heat (bit like a bowl of Rice Krispies - snap crackle pop). At the salt flats of Badwater (the lowest point in North America at 282ft below sea level) it is eerily beautiful, but a hike out into the basin at 43.4C/110F to see the salt formations (which take the shape of large polygons), left me gasping to get back to the car’s air-conditioned coolness. Perhaps the best aspect of the valley (from a driver’s perspective) is Artists Drive, a one way scenic route which shows off some of the best geological aspects of the park and had us gawping around every turn. We spent the night at Stovepipe Wells, within the boundary of the Death Valley National Park, relishing our day. Our accommodation was close to the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes (also used in Star Wars as the sand dunes of Tatooine) but otherwise

in the middle of absolutely nowhere! Could our next stop have been a greater contrast? I think not! We stayed alongside June Lake, which has a scenic loop we drove around. Along the way we saw cascading waterfalls and stopped at some some truly tranquil spots alongside the various lakes (Silver, Grants) where fishermen bob about the lakes in small boats hoping to catch one THIS BIG! From there an interesting and scenic drive (with views of snow-capped mountains) took us to the south side of Mono Lake. Here the underground streams have bubbled up from below the surface for centuries and created calcium deposits called Tufas. These deposits create strange other worldly towers, some in the water and some on land due to the reducing level of the lake. It’s quite a site to behold and well worth the trip out here. Some quick driving tips for USA At crossroads (without lights) you proceed in the strict order of arrival. Takes a little getting used to but locals are very disciplined, so it works well. Petrol (gas) stations mostly require pre-payment prior to filling. Double check that they will give you change/refund if the car takes less than you think, particularly if you use a credit card. Gas prices vary greatly, the more remote your fill up, the higher (rule of thumb). Google Maps often gives you gas prices in the reviews section of the app.

For more information visit or call 0808 284 5566. Silver Travellers receive a 10% discount. Avis offer a Safety Pledge to ensure minimal contact with Covid-safe procedures at every stage. Their all-inclusive car-hire packages ensure that there are no hidden extras and fully transparent pricing.

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The High Peak The Lake D istrict Anglesey The Cotswolds

house, Battle Normanhurst Court Caravan and Motorhome Club Campsite offers great facilities including a lovely dog walk route. The area is rich with scenic delights for walkers, nature lovers and those who simply crave a quiet escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. The attractive seaside towns of Eastbourne, Hastings and Rye are close by and Battle itself is well worth the visit for its rich history.

Brecon Beacons


Camping, glamping and touring holidays are more popular than ever, and it isn’t hard to see why Whether looking for a weekend away near home or a road trip around the country, the options are endless when travelling in your own campervan, caravan or motorhome. Alternatively, glamping enables you to travel light but still enjoy plenty of creature comforts. As for where to go, the options are endless! The Caravan and Motorhome Club is a great champion of the great outdoors and it has been helping its members have exciting adventures across the UK and beyond since 1907. Membership is just £54 per year, which gives you access to 2700 quality sites in the UK and overseas. For those looking for a glamping getaway, Experience Freedom from the Caravan and Motorhome Club offers many options for members and non-members alike across the UK. From camping pods and yurts to safari tents, glamping pods and glamping cabins, there are options to suit every taste and budget all year round.

Yurt, Alstead Heath

Cool Campsites From the Scottish Highlands to the Cornish coast, the Caravan and Motorhome Club’s campsites are located all across the UK. Here are some of our favourites: Alderstead Heath, Surrey Alderstead Heath Caravan and Motorhome Club Campsite has a peaceful and picturesque setting, but also offers convenient access to the M25. The campsite is surrounded by rolling wooded countryside and situated near the Pilgrims Way, so there are many lovely walking trails to explore, especially across the North Downs. There’s an abundance of day trip options to choose from, including National Trust property Chartwell, RHS Wisley, and Denbies Wine Estate in Dorking. Golfing enthusiasts will be delighted as there are several golf courses in the immediate area. Battle Normanhurst Court, East Sussex Located close to the 1066 Trail and set within what was the garden of a manor

Battle Normanhurst Court

Buxton, Derbyshire Nestled peacefully in an idyllic valley, Buxton Caravan and Motorhome Club Campsite is conveniently located for easy access to the beautiful Peak District and its extensive network of cycle ways and walking routes. The small, pretty town of Buxton is within walking distance of the campsite and so are some splendid stately homes. Hikers will relish in reaching the summit of Grin Hill, where they can witness Solomon’s Temple and spectacular views of Buxton and High Peak. Brecon Beacons, Wales Brecon Beacons Caravan and Motorhome Club Campsite is situated near the foothills of the glorious Welsh countryside. With dramatic views of Pen-y-Fan, Cribyn and Corn Dufeatures, it can lay claim to some of the best views of the central Beacons. The campsite’s circular dog walk leads to a quaint stream and woodland area, where you’ll find an adventure course. Its centrality provides the ideal base for touring the towns of Brecon and Talgarth, and the countryside of mid and south Wales as well as the Brecon Beacons National Park. Plus, there’s a great pub just a 10-minute walk from the site. Portscatho, Cornwall Merrose Farm Caravan and Motorhome Club Campsite near Portscatho, Cornwall is in an immaculately kept, well-landscaped parkland location with a great feeling of open space and good views of the surrounding countryside. The campsite is also close to a scenic coastal path that’s a delight to explore. The charming towns of St Mawes, Portscatho, Portloe and Mevagissey are all nearby, as is the ever-popular Eden Project. Quite simply, this campsite puts nature’s bounty on your doorstep. Yellowcraig, East Lothian Yellowcraig Caravan and Motorhome Club Campsite is a splendid choice for nature lovers. The nearby Scottish Seabird Centre at North Berwick offers a spectacular Gannet Experience sound and light show.


The campsite offers convenient access to the John Muir Way, a coast-to-coast long distance walking path that stretches right across Scotland. There are also loads of sporting activities available in the area such as waterskiing, sailing, windsurfing, plus nineteen golf courses. Glorious Glamping Sites Accommodation options: Experience Freedom offers a range of glamping accommodation, all of which accommodate at least up to two adults and two children: Camping pods are well-insulated wooden huts that come equipped with simple home comforts such as beds, lighting, electric sockets and seating. Safari tents are opening later this year at Experience Freedom’s Southlands site on the Isle of Wight. Designed for families, they sleep up to five adults in two separate bedrooms and offer flexible living areas with a kitchen and dining area, plus a spacious covered verandah. Glamping pods offer very comfortable accommodation, featuring a double bed, small sofa bed (and a child’s bunk-style bed) with bedding, en-suite bathroom facilities, simple cooking equipment, utensils & tableware, a wardrobe and hangers, foldaway


table, WIFI, TV and DVD player with Bluetooth speakers. Each pod also comes with an outside table with four chairs and a parasol, plus a BBQ station (disposable BBQs are available) and a box for muddy shoes. Glamping Cabins offer all the amenities of the glamping pods and more, plus a lot more space to relax for a longer break. Yurts feature a rustic king-size bed, two single beds, soft lighting and blankets to snuggle under. They are waterproof, well-insulated and include basic cooking equipment and a BBQ station outside. Camping – Experience Freedom also offers tent camping on its sites. Where to stay: Experience Freedom has sites across the country – here are just some of the options: Brighton, East Sussex Nestled within the South Downs, the Brighton site is ideally located just two miles east of the city and a 15-minute walk from the Marina. The site offers camping pods and glamping pods. Brighton offers a wealth of attractions including its famous pier and beach, the impressive British Airways i360 viewing tower and a 300-metere zip line, Brighton Zip.

Daleacres, Kent Located on a ‘patchwork quilt’ of farmers’ fields in Kent, the Dalecares site is nice and relaxed, and the yurt accommodation offers proper camping, but with proper beds! The site is tantalisingly close to soft, sandy beaches and Port Lympne Wildlife Park, and a little further afield are the sand dunes of Camber Sands, making it a particularly great spot for the summer. Troutbeck Head, Cumbria Situated below the Great Mell Fell and with spectacular views of Blencathra to the west, the Troutbeck Head site offers access to some of the prettiest walks in the country. It is also just four miles from the restaurants and shops of Ullswater. The site offers camping pods, glamping pods and the larger glamping cabins, so there is something for everyone.

Find out more For further information about becoming a member of the Caravan and Motorhome Club, please visit or call 01342 318 813.  To find out more about glamping with Experience Freedom, visit




COVID-19 HAS TRANSFORMED THE GARDENING INDUSTRY – SO WHAT ARE THE NEW TRENDS? By Craig Sams, Co-founder of Carbon Gold this, so I’m confident these new growers aren’t just a flash in the pan - they’re here to stay. GROWERS ARE SPENDING MORE Not only does the gardening industry have more customers, but growers as a whole are spending more as they stock up their horticultural armoury. The HTA Garden Retail Monitor found that sales of gardening products were up 34%, 17% and 19% in June, July and August respectively in UK garden centres, compared to the same time last year. On average, individual customers were spending 35% more on gardening products. For all the negative consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic - and there have been many - there have been some positives. Namely, the huge boom in home gardening and grow-your-own. As the world entered lockdown, many millions of us were furloughed or forced to isolate at home, leaving growers with plenty more time to spend in their gardens and allotments. Little did we know though that while coronavirus would endanger many industries, the gardening sector would explode due to budding horticulturalists seeking a connection to nature and more food security. In fact, the industry has been positively transformed in a matter of months - and many trends appear to be here to stay. So, what does the post-Covid gardening industry look like today?

IT’S BIGGER, AND YOUNGER I’ve been heartened by the millions of new British growers who have sprung up this year - almost three million, according to research from The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA). Nearly half of these new gardeners are aged under 45.

According to Garden Trade News UK, outdoor plants were the country’s most popular purchase, followed closely by compost.

As you might expect, many of these new growers said that the lockdown gave them more time and energy to immerse themselves in a new passion for growing.


The National Allotment Society also reported a rise in the number of people joining their local council’s waiting lists for plots during the lockdown, proving that this is an urban as a well as a rural trend.

Walk into nearly any supermarket and you’d see swathes of shelves that were either severely depleted, or stripped bare. Meanwhile, food delivery slots had weekslong waiting times.

Whether garden or allotment, such wonderful patches of nature have become crucial sources of green space in urban areas, and key to keeping good mental health in these trying times.

For fruit and veg lovers, the lack of fresh produce was particularly grim. So individuals and those sharing community gardens decided that growing and harvesting their own fresh food would be a no-brainer. In fact, seed producers reported a massive rise in sales during lockdown. And in March,

It’s said that it takes 66 days to form a new habit. Lockdown lasted much longer than 22

Sales also surged in bedding plants (29%), seeds (59%) and gardening equipment (51%), while garden leisure categories were higher than in August 2019.

When Coronavirus reached our shores, panic buying swept across the UK.

the Royal Horticultural Society said visits to their web pages with advice on growing vegetables had more than doubled compared with the same time last year. Growers will know that homegrown veg not only tastes better than shop-bought food, but you also have the satisfaction of knowing you’ve grown it yourself, and, with no plastic or drive to the supermarket, have cut your carbon footprint to boot. With potentially millions more of us growing some of our own food, we have become less reliant on shop-bought fruit and veg, which is often imported from abroad. This will ultimately help to make the UK’s food chain more resilient. WE’RE GOING GREEN – AND ORGANIC The world has gradually been waking up to the unavoidable threat of the climate crisis. However, although the lockdown led to a decrease in pollution, the immediacy of the pandemic has made it difficult to give our environment the attention it deserves. I’m hopeful that the influx of new gardeners - who will surely deepen their love of the environment - will add to those forces fighting to protect it. But their activities and buying choices will be crucial.

Thankfully, many chemical inputs once relied upon by growers and gardeners for fertility and disease control are now avoided due to fears about their impact on human and environmental health. In fact, some 67% of UK gardeners say they’re eco-conscious and 46% of this group already use organic fertilisers. This is also a growing trend. The 2020 Organic Market Report revealed that the organic market had seen an eighth year of strong growth. It grew 4.5% in 2019 to reach a record £2.45bn. However, David Ware, head of eco garden centre Edibleculture in Kent has warned consumers to be wary of ‘greenwashing’ from brands who sell faux-eco products, “The real problems for the environment from horticulture come from this kind of greenwashing, peat and peat-based compost where its production destroys a fragile ecosystem”, he added. The use of peat-based composts is something that resonates with me in particular. After learning that they destroy natural, CO2absorbing habitats and fuel the climate crisis, I realised how important biochar (a type of charcoal) is in providing a more sustainable and effective solution. Biochar delivers comparable benefits to chemical and peat products, yet lasts far

longer in the soil and locks away CO2. I ended up founding Carbon Gold to make sure that organic biochar products were available to UK growers. Dr David Bek is a reader of sustainable economics at Coventry University who studies how the horticulture industry can increase sustainability in the supply chain. He told Horticulture Week that Covid-19 has “emphasised the need for all businesses to review their resilience and sustainability”. He added: “There is a sense that the pandemic is a warning sign about humans’ relationship with the planet - a real wake-up call.” Stronger still are David Attenborough’s wise words that “Covid will be a footnote in human history - climate change will change everything.” I truly hope that all who care about the natural world do not lose sight of this. I am, however, heartened that growers will be a key force in fighting climate change. Against all odds, a global pandemic transformed the gardening industry, making it bigger, stronger and more resilient. Having rewarded us greatly in these dark times, I now hope that all of us who make up the world of growing will help to protect the environment that we love.


Moss Sawmills, Katherine St, Ashton-under-Lyne OL7 0AG tel: 0161 330 1634


95x195mm 2.4m

£24.50 EACH+VAT


Spax 8x200mm Screw Washer Head ideal for fixing sleepers

OPENING TIMES: Mon-Thurs 7am-5pm Friday 7am-4pm Saturday 8am-12noon Sunday Closed TRADE & PUBLIC WELCOME






have recently been relaxed and so you may not need planning permission. It’s important, though, to ensure it’s all done properly so one way is to look for a design and build company that comes highly recommended by someone you know, preferably with work you can see. The National Association of Building Contractors (NABC) is a good place to start so go to or try other places like Rated People at which gives you recommendations from other customers.


HAVING gone through 2020 as The Year of the Pandemic we now face 2021 as The Year of Change. So many people have had to stay home for so long during large parts of last year and this year that we are now viewing our lives very differently. Relationships, hobbies and health have all come under close scrutiny. Forced to confront home vs lifestyle, we’ve discovered that some are not fit for purpose and we may have made the decision that the way forward is to move house.

For some people, there is the realisation that their home is too small for their needs and only a move to a larger property will do. For others, the plan is to make the current property bigger and more lifestyle-friendly. This may mean an EXTENSION to your home, either just covering the ground floor or creating two floors with more rooms. The permitted development rules

Individual extensions like ORANGERIES and CONSERVATORIES can also involve a wide choice of local suppliers and installers. Again, try to go on recommendation and see their work first before getting them along for an initial discussion about possibilities. As well as the cost of building, you will also be looking at a new area to furnish so having in mind exactly what you want to do with this is helpful. It may offer an opportunity to RE-DECORATE and to re-think FURNISHINGS in adjacent areas or even throughout your home. It may be that your property is too large for you and you want to DOWNSIZE or go to something smaller with a garden or nearby green space.

Covid has thrown several other curveballs our way during the year, too, so many may have had to change jobs, pursue a totally different career or become self-employed. For some, covid has been the catalyst to reevalue lives and recognise that things need to change dramatically. Whatever the pandemic has brought your way, it’s very likely that this year will represent a chance to move forward and do things differently.



alter physically to better enhance it and be realistic about what is possible, especially within your budget. For some couples, grown-up children have moved back home and suddenly home seems a lot smaller! If this arrangement is going to continue for some time, get the advice of a builder on how you can re-configure your home to suit you all.

There are plenty of options open here.You may be considering RETIREMENT LIVING in a pretty rural area or somewhere more central and convenient. Before you start looking, go to Age UK’s site at as they have plenty of advice on what suits you and what to look for as well as the range of options available. If you’re staying put but changing your surroundings, take an objective look at your LIFESTYLE first. Decide what needs to

INTERNAL CHANGES rather than building extensions might be the answer. Walls could be knocked down, areas re-purposed and fitted units used to free up extra space. We can get so used to our current lifestyle that it takes an objective view to challenge our usual ideas and come up with innovative ones. Now that so many people have had to work from home, it may be that you need a designated OFFICE in your home. That objective view might well throw up some useful thoughts on turning dead space into somewhere you can happily work. HOME ENTERTAINMENT has had a huge boost during lockdown months and it has never been more diverse or accessible. It’s also fairly bewildering for the novice so a quick visit to charity the Consumers’ Association website will help you sort your sound bar from your home cinema system and select the right upgrade for you. Again, consider first what you want from an office. As well as somewhere for a desk and your equipment (computer, printer, files etc). You probably need good light and you might prefer a view. Fitted units could well turn a small boxroom into just the place or even part of a larger room into a dedicated workspace. There’s plenty of initial advice online including smallbusiness. which shows how other small companies have set up home offices effectively. The KITCHEN may have come into its own as the heart of the home over the last year. It’s already a place families naturally gravitate to so if you’ve spent much of your time here, identify what you need to improve it. You may need a dedicated TV here, a more comfortable or bigger table and chairs or invest in a large central unit Today’s fitted kitchens boast user-friendly fitments like hot water taps and specialist appliances amid the streamlined units and clever storage.


Local kitchen stores are a great place to start but don’t forget to have a wish-list of what you want in your new, ideal kitchen and be realistic about what’s possible and what you can afford. Your BATHROOM may also seem past its best and need improving. If you’re thinking of a new bathroom, the size of it will influence the cost along with the structural changes and the quality of the materials you want used. If you have a particular look in mind, this can influence the final bill and there may be other costs like re-wiring and new pipework. Check out individual costs like a new toilet, shower, bath, panels and tiles yourself to discover a basic guide even before labour costs are involved. And we have all definitely come to appreciate open space outside so give your GARDEN a chance to shine in 2021 - whether it’s by buying a hot tub or having a complete re-design.

If you’re looking for garden ideas, try the Royal Horticultural Society’s website at They explain how to make the best of small gardens and all gardens, garden designs and styles and how to use plants well plus everything from garden furniture to hedges and boundaries.

For more tips on how to spruce up your home visit our website

Enjoy the comforts of a new home in a safe and sociable environment WIT H R ICHM O ND V I L L AGE S AS TON -ON -TR E N T Stylish well appointed retirement properties available to buy or rent Try our Village Suites – perfect for a stress-free lifestyle whilst retaining your independence Wellness spa for your health and wellbeing including pool and gym Fantastic facilities including restaurant and bar, relaxing lounges, hair and beauty salon, sunny terraces and countryside walks The benefit of 24-hour on-site care and support, if or when you need it within the comforts of an independent, stylish, friendly and sociable environment

Call the Village Advisers today for more information or to book an appointment on 01332 899 438 or visit:



Richmond Villages, Richmond Drive, Aston-on-Trent, Derbyshire DE72 2EA


with outlets in Heywood, Bury, Buxton and Leeds

Helping to Create Beautiful Homes A message from Karen Simpson… Click + Collect Now Available from all Outlets! Hello there! Well, we are already into Spring and although it’s not perfect, things are beginning to look much brighter. With spring in full bloom, here at Simpsons, we’ve been working hard to grow our business by having something new to offer all our customers. We’ve sourced some new and exciting products and have even more coming through in the months ahead. We have also brought in some new suppliers for suites and chairs so lots to check out in store. These will be on display in our Heywood showroom as they arrive. Our outlet in Bury will remain focused on Lift & Tilt chairs and suites with new arrivals on a weekly basis.

Our outlet within the Springs Shopping Centre in Buxton remains open, and we are still going ahead with our plans for expansion with a permanent location in the town while our new outlet in Leeds Kirkgate Market has been exceptionally well received. We are thrilled to see how these grow once people are out and about again.

We have a range of fantastic products available online. Visit our website at:

Showroom 7 Church Place, Heywood OL10 1LT

With all NEW product ranges! 28

We believe you can’t beat the traditional shopping experience where you walk into a shop and see a myriad of things you just never knew existed; where you’re welcomed and greeted with a smile; where you can have a chat and a browse without feeling pressured – and that’s the experience we aim to provide within all our outlets. Even better, pop in and see us at one of our outlets… come in as a stranger and leave as a friend!

NEW Chairs, Suites & Accessories.

We’ve also invested significantly in developing our Online and Social Media presence during the past year and we are thrilled to say that this is now a significant part of our business. Click & Collect has proved a winner for us. Shopping online is convenient and is an essential element of any successful business in this day and age, and we would like to invite you to have a look at the next time you are browsing the web. It’s our fantastic team here at Simpsons, and our amazing customers old and new, who have enabled us to plot the course we are on and I will never get tired of thanking you all. You are amazing and we couldn’t do it without you. Your comments and reviews are amazing and genuinely keep our confidence up. For us, reviews are less about ‘rankings’. They are the feel-good factor that warms our hearts and tell us we are doing a good job, and when the chips are down, these help so much to boost morale. So, for all those who have taken the time to say how much you appreciate the service you’ve received, we thank you. It means a lot. I’m sure that 2021 will continue to have its challenges but here at Simpsons we are as primed and ready as we can be… so bring it on! Look forward to seeing you soon. Best wishes from me and all the team.

The Springs, Buxton, SK17 6DF


01706 368628

Vicar Street, Leeds, LS2 7JG


Simpson Furniture LTD

1 Murray Road, Bury, BL9 0BJ


@simpsonfurnitureltd 29

Fitting a conservatory is a popular option, as it’s an effective way of increasing the space within your home and creating a statement. Ensure the finish of the conservatory flows with style of your home with perfectly styled doors. French doors are beautifully suited to conservatories and can create an impressive entrance to your garden or a seamless transition through your living space.

HOW TO CREATE YOUR HAVEN AT HOME The UK has spent more time at home than normal, and with uncertainty around moving to a new house, Brits have decided to improve rather than move, with many undergoing home improvement projects. In fact, the 2020 Renovation Nation Report stated that spending more time at home inspired 65 per cent of homeowners to invest in renovations to their properties.

Making our home more comfortable, creating a space which we can enjoy all year round has become more important than ever. The 2020 Renovation Nation Report also suggested that the trend for investing in our home is set to continue, as 73 per cent of UK homeowners admit they’ll continue to spend more time at home. With the home improvement trend set to continue, Eurocell Home, the UK’s leading manufacturer, distributer and recycler of UPVC window and door systems looks at how you can create a stunning living space at home, you won’t want to leave! Creating an open space Many homeowners aspire to create a seamless link between the indoor and outdoor space of their homes. Bi-fold doors have become increasingly popular in recent years, they can create a stunning finish to a range of home styles including new builds, modern extensions or period properties. And, with a wide selection of colours and frame sizes to choose from, bi-fold doors


can bring your home to life and create a wow-factor! Bi-folds are perfect for letting natural light flood into the inside living space and can often make smaller homes feel larger, providing you with low-maintenance luxury of modern living. Increase the floor space For many, increasing the floor space of your home is highly desirable, whether it be attached to the house, or as a separate space in the garden, there are many different ways to create extra floor space to your home.

A same level extension or lean to is also a good option for increasing floor space, either extended on a kitchen or living room with a large glass frontage, a lean-to extension can create more of an open plan living space. Home office A space at home which you can call ‘my office’ is now more important than ever. With many people now working from home, creating a home office can help to separate work and home life. A desirable home office would include lots of natural light, whether that be from a skylight, patio doors or a big window, natural light can make a huge difference to the working environment. It’s also important to add personal touches to your home office, decorate it to be a style you like, install good lighting and find a way of separating your office from your home life.





GREAT BRITISH CHEFS. Paul Foster is the owner and Head Chef at Salt in Stratford-upon-Avon.

From the industrial reaches of Coventry to sunny California, Paul Foster has made a name for himself cooking well-executed food with a focus on taste. His signature style of taking humble ingredients and giving them a gastronomic twist has seen him well placed as head chef at restaurants across the UK.

VEGAN CHICKPEA AND TOMATO BHUNA A quick, flavourful vegan curry that’s delicious either on its own or as part of a larger spread, this recipe from Paul Foster takes top quality tomatoes and chickpeas and cooks them in a spice-tempered oil with plenty of lime juice for freshness and acidity.

Ingredients • 3 large onions, chopped • 200ml of sunflower oil • 1 star anise • 5 cardamom pods • 1 tsp cumin seeds • 1 stick of lemongrass, bashed • 1 knob of ginger, 2 inches long, half chopped, half grated • 4 garlic cloves, chopped • 2 limes, zested and juiced • 1 tbsp of curry powder • 400g of Mutti Polpa chopped tomatoes, (1 tin) • 2 tbsp of Mutti Concentrato tomato purée • 300g of chickpeas, drained from a tin • salt • 1 handful of coriander, finely sliced • basmati rice, and/or flatbreads, to serve

Method • Pour the oil into a large heavy-bottomed saucepan and place over a medium heat. Add the star anise, cardamom, cumin seeds, lemongrass, garlic and the chopped ginger. Fry for a few minutes until very fragrant and the ingredients turn golden, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly •

Pass the oil through a fine sieve into a clean pan, discarding the solids. Place the pan back over a medium heat and fry the onions for 5 minutes until soft but not coloured. Pour in enough water to just cover the onions,

then leave to simmer until the water has evaporated and the onions start to release the absorbed oil, stirring regularly •

Add the curry powder and cook out for 2 minutes, then stir in the tomato purée and cook for a further minute. Pour in the tomatoes and chickpeas, give everything a good stir, then leave to simmer gently for 30 minutes

When ready to serve, stir in the grated ginger along with the lime zest and juice. Season with salt, garnish with the coriander and serve with rice and/or flatbreads 31

LAMB SAUSAGES IN TOMATO SAUCE WITH BACON SAUERKRAUT This simple stew is brought to life with a sweet, mildly spiced tomato sauce and rich lamb sausages. With a very tasty bowl of bacon-studded sauerkraut on the side, this is a fantastic winter warmer that takes just an hour to knock together.!) Ingredients • 12 lamb sausages • 500g of Mutti passata • sunflower oil, for frying • 2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped • 1 small onion, finely chopped • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped • 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika • 250ml of white wine • salt • 400g of sauerkraut • 8 smoked streaky bacon slices, finely chopped • 50g of unsalted butter • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped • 1 chicken stock cube

Method • To make the tomato sauce, add a dash of oil to a saucepan and cook the onion and garlic until softened and beginning to colour. Add the smoked paprika and rosemary leaves, cook for a further minute, then pour in the white wine. Bring to a simmer and reduce by half • Add the passata, bring to the boil, then season, turn down to simmer and cook gently for 20 minutes. Preheat an oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 • Meanwhile, make the sauerkraut. Sauté the chopped bacon in the butter over a medium heat until crisp. Turn the heat down, then add the garlic and cook for a minute or 2 until fragrant. Pick the thyme leaves, then add these to the pan too • Add the sauerkraut and crumble in the chicken stock cube along with 100ml water. Cover the pan and leave to simmer gently for 30 minutes, stirring regularly •

Add a dash of oil to a frying pan and sear the sausages so they’re a nice golden brown all over. Pour over the tomato sauce so it is around halfway up the sausages, then cover with a lid or tinfoil. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, until the sausages are piping hot in the centre

• Serve the sausages in the sauce with the sauerkraut on the side 32

TOMATO, PANCETTA AND TRUFFLE JAM WITH PARMESAN PUFF PASTRY STICKS Crispy, buttery pastry sticks flavoured with Parmesan are the perfect dippers for this seriously luxurious tomato jam, bolstered with rich pancetta and a generous dollop of black truffle paste. An incredible make-ahead snack when you’re entertaining (or just fancy treating yourself before dinner

Ingredients • 50g of sunflower oil • 100g of pancetta, finely chopped • 1 banana shallot, finely diced • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked • 400g of Mutti Pelati peeled tomatoes, (1 tin) • 100g of light brown sugar • 1 bay leaf • 20g of black truffle paste • 100g of puff pastry • 30g of Parmesan • 1 egg, beaten • salt

Method • Place a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium heat and add the sunflower oil. Fry the pancetta for a few minutes until just beginning to crisp, then turn the heat down to low • Add the shallot, garlic and thyme, then cook gently for 5 minutes until softened but not coloured. Drain the tomatoes from the juice (reserving the liquid) and cut into quarters. Add the tomatoes to the pan along with the juice, bay leaf and sugar • Cook gently for around 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens to a jam-like consistency • While the jam cooks, prepare the pastry sticks. Preheat an oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Roll out the puff pastry to the thickness of a £1 coin, then brush liberally with the egg and grate over the Parmesan • Cut the pastry into 1cm-wide strips and twist from both ends. Place the sticks on a non-stick baking tray (or a baking tray lined with baking paper) and bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden. Leave to cool, then store in an airtight container until needed • Once the jam has reduced and thickened, remove from the heat and stir in the truffle paste. Season, then leave to cool before serving with the pastry sticks






EQUITY RELEASE? THESE days we have to look at a variety of ways to raise cash and ensure that our future will be secure and one popular way for anyone over 55 to do just that is via equity release, which offers the chance to access the cash – the equity – tied up in your home. It can be as a lump sum or in several small amounts, or a combination of both. There are two equity release options: lifetime mortgage and home reversion. The Money Advice Service explains that a LIFETIME MORTGAGE means that you take out a mortgage secured on your property, provided it is your main residence, while retaining ownership. You can choose to ring-fence some of the value of your property as an inheritance for your family or you can choose to make repayments or let the interest roll-up. The loan amount and any accrued interest is paid back when you die or when you move into long-term care.


Most people who take out equity release use a lifetime mortgage. Usually you don’t have to make any repayments while you’re alive and interest “rolls up” (unpaid interest is added to the loan), meaning the debt can increase quite quickly over a period of time. However, some lifetime mortgages do now offer the option to pay all or some of the interest. Some will let you pay off the interest and the capital. In the same way ordinary mortgages vary from lender to lender, so do lifetime mortgages, and if you’re looking at this option it’s worth knowing that the minimum age for this is usually 55. As we’re now all living longer, the earlier you start the more this is likely to cost in the long run. The average borrower in their late 60s can usually borrow around 35% of the value of their home, but how much can be released is dependent on your age and the value of your property. The percentage typically increases according to your age when you take out

the lifetime mortgage, while some providers might offer larger sums to those with certain past or present medical conditions. Many lenders offer interest rates which are fixed or, if they are variable, have a “cap” or upper limit which is fixed for the loan’s duration. Check whether the product has a “no negative equity guarantee” This means that, when your property is sold and agents’ and solicitors’ fees have been paid, even if the amount left is not enough to repay the outstanding loan to your provider neither you nor your estate will be liable to pay any more. Consider whether you can pay none, some or all of the interest. If you can make repayments, the mortgage will be less costly. However, with a lifetime mortgage where you can make monthly payments, the amount you can repay might be based on your income. Providers will have to check you can afford these regular payments.

Look at whether you can withdraw the equity you’re releasing in small amounts, as and when you need it, or whether you have to take it as one lump sum. The advantage of being able to take money out in smaller amounts is you only pay the interest on the amount you’ve withdrawn. If you can take smaller lump sums, check if there is a minimum amount. It’s also worth finding out if you have the right to move to another property, subject to the new property being acceptable to your product provider as continuing security for your equity release loan, as different lifetime mortgage providers might have slightly different thresholds. A HOME REVERSION involves you selling part or all of your home to a home reversion provider in return for a lump sum or regular payments.You have the right to continue living in the property until you die, rent-free, but you have to agree to maintain and insure it. You can ring-fence a percentage of your property for later use, possibly for

inheritance - the percentage you retain will always remain the same, regardless of the change in property values, unless you decide to take further cash releases. At the end of the plan, your property is sold and the sale proceeds are shared according to the remaining proportions of ownership. You will get a lump sum or regular payments – normally between 20 per cent and 60 per cent of the market value of your home, or the part you sell. With home reversions, it’s worth checking whether or not you can release equity in several payments or in one lump sum and the minimum age at which you can take out a home reversion plan. Some providers insist you’re at least 60 or 65 before you can apply. Keep in mind the percentage of the market value you will receive. This will increase the older you are when you take out the plan but might vary from provider to provider. Also check whether you have the right to remain in your property for life or until you need to move to long-term care, provided the property remains your main residence

and you abide by the terms and conditions of your contract. Again, check whether you have the right to move to another property, subject to the new property being acceptable to your product provider as continuing security for your equity release loan and whether the product has a “no negative equity guarantee”.You will also need to know what level of maintenance you’ll be expected to carry out and how often your property will be inspected – this could be every few years. Overall, equity release might seem like a good option if you want some extra money and don’t want to move house, but it’s worth bearing in mind that equity release can be more expensive in comparison to an ordinary mortgage. It’s also worth considering any additional changes taking out equity release could make to existing arrangements, with the potential to lose means-tested benefits being key among them. It’s also worth considering involving your family throughout the process, as any equity taken out of the home will impact their inheritance later down the line.

Unlock tax-free cash from your home



with the UK’s No.1 equity release advisor*

Tax-free cash to spend as you wish

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Speak to one of our advisors for your free, no obligation quotation and to find out how much tax-free cash you can access to spend as you wish. They will explain how equity release could affect the amount of inheritance you can leave and if your entitlement to means-tested benefits could be affected now or in the future. Equity release may involve a home reversion plan or a lifetime mortgage which is secured against your property. To understand the features and risks ask for your personalised illustration. Equity release requires paying off any existing mortgage. Any money released, plus accrued interest, would be repaid upon death or moving into long-term care. Only if your case completes would a typical fee of 2.25% of the amount released be payable (minimum £1,695). 1 You only continue to own your own home with a lifetime mortgage. *UK’s No1, based on volume of plans, source: Touchstone data 2018 - Q2 2020.

To find out how much money you could release and to request your FREE guide call

Freephone 0800 141 3628 Age Partnership Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. FCA registered number 425432. Company registered in England and Wales No. 5265969. Company address: Age Partnership Limited, 2200 Century Way, Thorpe Park, Leeds, LS15 8ZB. VAT registration number 162 9355 92.

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to 31 mpg, has room for five adults in the double cab and boasts a large load deck – although because of its raised suspension set up and extra weight the carrying capacity and towing limits are lower than the standard truck. Clearly ground clearance is good for those who want to go off road as is the impressive 850mm wade depth and those chunky all-terrain tyres - which are surprisingly quiet on road. That 2.0-litre diesel is also surprisingly quiet unless pushed very hard and drives through a 10-speed automatic gearbox. There are settings for on road two-wheel drive then 4x4 high and low ratios.


RAPTOR THERE are some situations in life where size matters and that is certainly the case when it comes to pickup trucks.

But it is the Raptor’s extras that really get you noticed. Big chunky off road tyres, raised ride height, flared wheel arches and brash Raptor decals on the side… subtle this ain’t. Even the name is evocative… Raptor conjures up visions of those killer dinosaurs in Jurassic Park and tells everyone that you mean business behind the wheel of one of these.


On the outside in addition to those Raptor signature features there are 17” Dyno Grey alloy wheels, a lockable load bed cover with moveable rails for long loads. So what was this ‘monster’ like to live with? Well surprisingly civilised and very easy to find on the supermarket car park – although slightly less so to park up in the first place.

So if the already large Ford Ranger 4x4 is not truck enough for you then there is now an alternative… the Ranger Raptor - which we got to try out for a week. The first thing to say is you won’t get missed in this giant Tonka toy – it stands as tall as a Range Rover and is considerably longer.

Step up into the Raptor’s cabin and you will find it feels fitting for a premium price vehicle with full leather upholstery, heated electric front seats, climate control, phone mirroring, touch screen sat nav, heated front and rear screens, privacy glass and reversing camera.

Having said that there was one thing about the Raptor that was not oversized and that was the engine, as our test 2.0L Eco-blue auto had the 2-litre twin-turbocharged diesel. This still copped well with the vast bulk of the Raptor and, while you would not win many traffic light grand-prix, it was capable of getting down the road at a fair lick and cruising on the motorway no problem – 0 to 60 comes up in a reasonable 10.5 seconds and top speed is 106mph. Also, thanks to that moderately-sized 210bhp engine, the Raptor can return up

I also got the chance to try out those off road features on a mildly challenging muddy field and, as a long standing Land Rover fan and owner I have to say it definitely does what it says on the tin. But it is on road where the most fun is to be had with people noticing your ride wherever you go and no one gets in your way as you loom large in their rear view mirror – as a bold statement vehicle the Raptor is a roaring success. The only down side, providing you are not a shrinking violet, is the price… at a shade over £51,000 this truck is not cheap, but then it is a stand out motor and compares well with the cost of competitors like VW’s Amarok and the Mercedes X-Class.

across the range) means the Passat can drive at up to 130 mph in a partially automated mode thanks to the evolution and amalgamation of Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Assist. Our test car had a number of extras which pushed the on the road price up to £44,880 (the Passat range starts from £27,085 and GTE Advance hybrid from £42,450) which included an impressive 360-degree camera system, head up display, panoramic glass roof and an ambient lighting pack which gives a choice of snazzy colours for the LED strips on doors, footwells and dashboard. On the road the Passat GTE Estate has a smooth ride with plenty of power and that legendary VW build quality means everything feels built to last.

PASSAT ESTATE WHEN you are producing the world’s bestselling mid-range car making upgrades and improvements is something to be done with the utmost care.

four Passats sold in the UK are predicted to be GTE variants, compared with 1 in 10 previously. Also in the UK estate versions outsell saloons by 2 to 1.

The Passat has sold more than 30 million units since its introduction in 1973 so when VW wanted to upgrade the Mk 8 it was a case of evolution not revolution with subtle styling revisions alongside significant technological improvements.

The UK range has a choice of three petrol engines, four diesels and our petrol-electric plug-in hybrid which boasts a 1.4 power plant alongside a 100bhp-plus electric motor meaning progress is very brisk – 0 to 60mph comes up in just 7.6 seconds and the top speed is 138. A super-slick 6-speed DSG auto gearbox adds to the driving experience.

The result is a good-looking and well put together vehicle with the very latest technology, better connectivity and an improved engine range – including a significantly more capable GTE plug-in hybrid model, which was our test car. The Passat range has been simplified with eight variants in the UK: SE, SE Nav, SEL, R-Line and limited-run, Estate-only R-Line Edition, alongside the Alltrack, GTE and GTE Advance. Our range-topping plug-in hybrid GTE Advance estate is enhanced in many ways and as an extra bonus is approximately £2,300 cheaper than the previous GTE model. Also the electric-only range has increased by almost 40 per cent to around 33 miles with an overall MPG prediction of over 50, which is why VW say one in

At this range topping price the car is up against some strong opposition from the likes of Mercedes, BMW and Volvo but if you are prepared to look past premium badges the Passat has a lot more equipment on offer for the money. These improvements across the Passat range look certain to keep it at the top of the sales charts, although I suspect the vast majority we see on our roads will be lower spec variants.

More information at

Not for the faint hearted (and those who want to hang onto their driving licence) is a feature which Volkswagen are claiming as a first. Their new Travel Assist system (standard

For all the latest car tests see the motoring section of our website at 37



People often refer to locations or spaces as their “happy place”. Places can hold special memories and certain surroundings can make us feel good, even if we’re not entirely sure why. In fact, there is a lot more to the connection between physical environment and wellbeing than you might expect. Our physical environment has a significant impact on our mood. It is increasingly accepted that wellbeing can be improved by incorporating nature in our direct environment where possible. Where it was not possible to have a building surrounded by woods, water, meadows etc. then bringing elements of nature inside is the next best thing. Over the last few decades, more attention has been paid to how health and wellbeing could be improved in homes, the workplace and care settings. Following the principles of design for wellbeing can help us to feel more open, optimistic and resilient.


I wanted to create spaces which would promote wellbeing and resilience, and which would be welcoming and comforting. In our spaces we are also very mindful that using some of the principles of design for wellbeing might be helpful for people who have been bereaved, or face other challenges in their lives. Here is a brief guide to some of the key principles of design for wellbeing and how to create a sense of connection for yourself at home and work. Biophilia I recently read an excellent book entitled “Biophilia:You + Nature + Home” by Sally Coulthard. The term Biophilia was first used in 1960s by Erich Fromm. He used it to articulate the idea that humans have an innate affinity with living things and natural surroundings. Since then, this principle has been embraced by many schools of thought within psychiatry, architecture and neuroscience. It is widely accepted that

there is a direct link between contact with nature and our wellbeing. Nature makes us feel good. What I learnt from Sally Coulthard is that science has actually shown that spending time in nature reduces stress levels, reduces anxiety and depression and that nature can help us heal. Patients who can look out over green spaces have quicker recoveries and need less painkillers! There are many ways that we can create nature inspired spaces and harness the positive effects that this can have on our health and wellbeing.You might want to bring some nature into your home, work or community spaces – small changes can have a meaningful impact. Materials “Natural” means something which is as close to its natural form as possible. Pebbles and People often refer to locations or spaces as their “happy place”. Places can hold special memories and certain surroundings

can make us feel good, even if we’re not entirely sure why. In fact, there is a lot more to the connection between physical environment and wellbeing than you might expect. Our physical environment has a significant impact on our mood. It is increasingly accepted that wellbeing can be improved by incorporating nature in our direct environment where possible. Where it was not possible to have a building surrounded by woods, water, meadows etc. then bringing elements of nature inside is the next best thing. Over the last few decades, more attention has been paid to how health and wellbeing could be improved in homes, the workplace and care settings. Following the principles of design for wellbeing can help us to feel more open, optimistic and resilient. I wanted to create spaces which would promote wellbeing and resilience, and which would be welcoming and comforting. In our spaces we are also very mindful that using some of the principles of design for wellbeing might be helpful for people who have been bereaved, or face other challenges in their lives. Here is a brief guide to some of the key principles of design for wellbeing and how to create a sense of connection for yourself at home and work. Biophilia I recently read an excellent book entitled “Biophilia:You + Nature + Home” by Sally Coulthard. The term Biophilia was first used in 1960s by Erich Fromm. He used it to articulate the idea that humans have an innate affinity with living things and natural surroundings. Since then, this principle has been embraced by many schools of thought within psychiatry, architecture and neuroscience. It is widely accepted that there is a direct link between contact with nature and our wellbeing.

Materials “Natural” means something which is as close to its natural form as possible. Pebbles and plants are easy examples, but it also includes using wood is its most natural form, rather than painting it and altering it to the point that its natural origins can barely be seen. Wood is an amazing material and several studies in different countries have shown that the presence of nature can have a stress-reducing effect. Fresh flowers have also been shown to have a notable positive impact on wellbeing and mood and adding flowers to indoor spaces has been shown to reduce feelings of anxiety. At Full Circle we have wooden floors, use natural pine furniture as much as possible and we use tactile displays of driftwood, pinecones, chestnuts, dried flowers, and wall wreaths made from all kinds of natural products. Our blinds and rugs are natural tones and made from natural materials such as linen and cotton. Some of this can be included in any space and even small changes can have a meaningful impact on the sense of nature, and on how we feel. Patterns There is so much choice if we want to include natural patterns and textures inside. For example, we have wallpaper with large birch trees and you can find an abundance of flowers, animals, foliage, and shell patterns in all the elements required to decorate an indoor space. When you are next choosing a lampshade, rug, blanket or even a notebook – choosing a pattern inspired by nature could have a small but meaningful positive impact on connection with nature.

Colours The colours that we choose for our indoor spaces can also be inspired by nature. There is no clear evidence about which colour has the most positive impact on mood and varies with age, life experience and many other factors. However, choosing colours which are common in the sky, sea, in plants and in the earth seem intuitively like a good place to start. Blues, greens, greys, browns and a tendency towards softer tints (rather than bright and vivid) are more likely to simulate our experience of being in nature. Plants Spending time in places which are full of plants can be very positive. In a recent study, residents with paved front gardens were given two planters with ornamental plants and Over a period of one year, we found that having plants in previously bare front gardens resulted in a 6% drop in residents’ perceived stress levels. The number of people of people with healthy Cortisol (stress hormone) levels also increased from 24 – 53% over the course of the study. Small steps, big impacts I would highly recommend reading “Biophilia:You + Nature + Home” by Sally Coultard if any of this has resonated with you. She has many good suggestions and really emphasises that small changes can have a big impact. We are more mindful of the importance of our mental and physical health and wellbeing than ever before so let us let natural light into our homes and workplaces, choose nature inspired patterns and buy that houseplant or small bunch of flowers!

Nature makes us feel good. What I learnt from Sally Coulthard is that science has actually shown that spending time in nature reduces stress levels, reduces anxiety and depression and that nature can help us heal. Patients who can look out over green spaces have quicker recoveries and need less painkillers! There are many ways that we can create nature inspired spaces and harness the positive effects that this can have on our health and wellbeing.You might want to bring some nature into your home, work or community spaces – small changes can have a meaningful impact. 39

WHY HOLIDAYS ARE IMPORTANT FOR OUR HEALTH and memories from the day which improves our mental functioning, problem solving, memory and creativity. Studies show that people with depression often have less than six hours sleep per night, meaning they do not have enough deep sleep and REM sleep, which is when the brain is restored. In fact, prolonged time awake can actually result in the loss of a certain type of brain cell known as the locus ceruleus which regulates norepinephrine. The more norepinephrine the less likely we can achieve REM sleep.

The past year has been incredibly tough and unpredictable, and the uncertainty and constant changes have increased our stress and anxiety levels. Many of us are hoping to take a holiday this summer, whether that is in this country or perhaps abroad. Here is why taking a holiday is so important to our physical and mental health. Holidays improve our physical health… Working without breaks creates an imbalance in hormone levels and increases inflammatory processes which weakens the immune system, making you more susceptible to colds, viruses and other illnesses. Giving your body frequent periods of rest prevents poor health and can reduce the chances of serious medical conditions like heart disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes. Holidays help our mental health… Overworking and overstimulating our brains makes our neurons more excitable and alert which leads to trouble sleeping, mood swings, short temperedness, and poor memory, focus and confusion. More serious mental health problems can also occur like depression and anxiety. Holidays do the reverse and help us take time to find solutions to problems and to be relaxed in the moment. Holidays help consolidate and process memories… and make happy ones…During periods of rest our brains take time to process and sort memories so that we are more prepared for work and normal home life when we get back.


Holidays strengthen bonds… Quality time with partners, children, other family members and friends strengthens social bonds. This last year has shown how unpredictable and tough life can be and as pack animals, and how we rely on a strong social infrastructure for support. Spending time with your children also boosts their self-esteem, sense of security and family values. Holidays decrease burnout… Burnout can influence every aspect of your life from relationships to physical and mental health. One of the main ways to tackle burnout is taking time off to relax. Time off helps to ease feelings of stress and anxiety, alleviating pressure and feelings of burnout. Holidays help us catch up on sleep… Holidays allow us to catch up on sleep which is essential for brain function. Whilst we are asleep our brains consolidate information

By Dr Lynda Shaw, neuroscientist, business psychologist and change specialist.

Holidays sharpen your mind… Giving your brain a break from the daily activities you undertake at work and at home by doing something new helps establish stronger connections between brain cells which improves the learning process and concentration. Spending more time resting boosts creativity, problem solving skills and also makes us more efficient. Information is also transmitted from one part of the brain to another more effectively, improving recall. Holidays boost your creativity… Research has found that the brain gradually stops registering sense stimuli such as sight, sound or feeling if that stimulus remains consistent for long periods. This may cause us to lose focus and diminish performance and creativity. Taking regular breaks and time off helps to prevent this, leaving us more motivated and creative. Holidays make us more active especially outdoors… Most of us spend more time outside on our holidays which is hugely beneficial to our health. For example, studies have found that going for a walk outside lowers blood pressure, stress levels, improves focus, helps us heel quicker, slows ageing and simply make us happier! Exercise helps to boost your creativity even more by increasing oxygen flow to the brain. In addition to enjoying it on holidays, incorporate time outdoors into your daily routine, especially if you have a desk job. Holidays encourage us to try something new… like open water swimming, a segway, a new type of food, footgolf, a barge trip, an open air cinema or learning about a new culture. Trying new things allows us to expand our minds, learn and step out of our comfort zone which expands our horizons and increases productivity, inspiration and knowledge.





What Is Chiropractic Care?

Chiropractors use a range of techniques to reduce pain, improve function and increase mobility, including hands-on manipulation of the spine. As well as manual treatment, chiropractors are able to offer a package of care which includes advice on self-help, therapeutic exercises and lifestyle changes.

When we talk about chiropractic care, it’s important to understand that the nervous system and spine are integral to your long-term health. The spine should move in a certain way and continuously during the day. As humans, we sit too much and don’t move enough. It starts to affect the function of the spine and can impair brain function. And since the brain is the master system of the body it can begin to have a negative effect on those areas.

Chiropractic treatment involves safe, often gentle, specific spinal manipulation to free joints in the spine or other areas of the body that are not moving properly. Apart from manipulation, chiropractors may use a variety of techniques including ice, heat, ultrasound, exercise and acupuncture as well as advice about posture and lifestyle.

“I’m in pain” “Can Chiropractic help me?” Your initial visit will include: • A private consultation with chiropractor • X rays if necessary (normally £70) • Spinal examination, orthopaedic and neurological tests • A confidential report of our findings • An explanation of our treatments procedure if we determine Chiropractic can help you

BACK PAIN Back pain is very common. Most people will suffer one or more episodes of back pain during their lives. In many cases, it starts suddenly and gets better quickly, without the need for any treatment. However, back pain can be painful, debilitating and persistent, and some people suffer repeated episodes. It can also be associated with other symptoms, such as leg pain or sciatica. It may start following a specific incident, such as bending awkwardly or lifting a heavy weight. Or it can develop gradually, perhaps as a result of poor posture, an uncomfortable work position or repetitive strain. NECK PAIN Neck pain is very common. Most people will suffer one or more episodes of neck pain during their lives. In many cases, it starts suddenly and gets better quickly, without the need for any treatment. However, neck pain can be painful, debilitating and persistent, and some people suffer repeated episodes. It can also be associated with other symptoms, such as arm pain or headaches. Neck pain may start following a traumatic incident, such as a road traffic collision, or it may start gradually, perhaps as a result of poor posture or an uncomfortable work position.

OFFER PRICE £35 Expiry date 31st August 2021

For a limited period we will complete a full consultation, examination, X ray (if necessary) and a full report of findings all for

£35.00 (Normally £135.00) Offer open to new patients only. *please quote 50plus offer*

We treat these conditions • Headaches, back pain, neck pain • Prevention of migraines • Muscle spasms, joint pain • Tired all the time, tension

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms please call our clinic today for an appointment

Marple Chiropractic Clinic 8-10 Derby Way, Marple SK6 7AH 0161 449 5006 Stockport Chiropractic Clinic 466 Didsbury Road, Heaton Mersey, SK4 3BS 0161 432 6708




50 PLUS MAGAZINE quality home care and support services that franchisees provide to each of their customers every day. The Franchise Support Centre has been ranked 16th on the prestigious Elite Franchise Top 100 for 2020. Naeem continues “When I first opened my doors at Bluebird Care I had the passion to deliver the highest quality care as I would for my own family members, it didn’t take long for me to learn that I am only as good as the people I employ. It still gives me great pleasure in knowing that the services we provide 10 years on continues to make a huge difference to people lives, the core fuel of my passion.

The Bluebird Care Team

BLUEBIRD CARE CELEBRATE 10 YEARS IN COMMUNITY CARE In 2010 Naeem Ahmed, the managing director decided that he could make a positive impact on the care services provided in Stockport and Manchester.

Here Naeem looks back and says: “It feels like it was only last week when I was traveling up and down the M6 to Lytham St Annes working with a developer to build Health Care Centres for the NHS. Looking back that was actually 10 years ago at the time when the policy for Equity and excellence: Liberating the NHS was issued. The things that made me think from the policy were “The NHS is a great national institution. The future of the NHS - rooted in the coalition’s core beliefs of freedom, fairness and responsibility. Patients will be at the heart of everything we do. So they will have more choice and control, helped by easy access to the information they need about the best GPs and hospitals. Patients will be in charge of making decisions about their care.


My Company ethos? Do not compromise quality over quantity. Pay employees well, reward them, provide them with all the training they need to carry out their duties and more, support them in achieving their professional and personal goals. I believe when you have a happy workforce you have positive outcomes for customers”.

We will empower health professionals. We will support this by giving front¬line staff more control. Healthcare will be run from the bottom up, with ownership and decision-making in the hands of professionals and patients. I couldn’t agree more that we have to be more accountable from ground level up as it is those key members that make a difference every day for those in need. It was at this point I decided to search for an opportunity in Healthcare Services and that’s how my new Journey began with Bluebird Care”. Bluebird Care started as a small family business in 2004 and through franchising since 2006, are proud to be the largest private homecare provider in the UK, having grown from one business to over 220, delivering over 900,000 hours of care every month. The story of Bluebird Cares success is a testimony to the high-

Someone once asked Naeem: “what is the best thing you have done in business”, he replied “well, I employed the right person to do the right job. Asked “what is the worst thing you have done in business” he replied “I employed the wrong person to do the right job”. “A mentor once said success is when you are not afraid of making decisions, don’t be scared whether you are making right decisions all the time its about learning from the wrong ones”.

So many stories to share in the 10 years at Bluebird Care “We once provided care for a lady as her only daughter needed respite as she was the only one looking after her mother at home. After a few years had passed, sadly the mother died peacefully at home due to old age. It was at this point the daughter approached Bluebird Care and applied for a position as a Carer. She said she had witnessed how respectful the carers were and how happy they made her mum feel when they visited her which made her want to get involved in care. I can say that this employee has embraced all the training and learning Bluebird Care has provided her and with her passion for care has become an excellent mentor to other employees. One of customers used to house the Busby Babes with her aunty years ago, she still has the original picture taken of her aunty standing in the kitchen with the Busby Babes. One of her wishes was to watch Manchester United play at home, So we wrote to Manchester United who graciously responded with generous gifts, including two Matchday tickets against Arsenal at Old Trafford. Our customer was so elated and thoroughly enjoyed our carer taking her to the match, creating memories which would last her a lifetime. Its things like this that make us turn up for work everyday and remind us why we work in Care.

What makes me proud, its knowing that I have helped develop employees to achieve their professional goals. It is important to include your employees in decision making as this increases productivity and gets results. I am always learning ways to constantly improve our services and I believe this comes from developing the workforce from a Carer right the way up to Registered Care Manager. I have a clear understanding that it is essential to offer a Career Pathway to all employees assisting them to attain their career goals. Through developed workforce you can

provide experienced services for our customers”. Over 10 years Bluebird Care (Stockport & Manchester South) have helped and been involved with so many local charities, such as the Alzheimer’s Society, Stroke Association, Children in Need, Dementia Awareness, Parkinsons UK, Breast Cancer Now, Macmillan Cancer Support. Their business plan for 2020 was to actively provide free First Aid training into the community and for the Local Authority due to COVID this has now unfortunately been postponed till 2021.

Bluebird Care team presenting a fund raising cheque to the Alzheimers Society.

Bluebird Care provide care for people living at home, they believe there is no safer place than home and their customers have the right to choose who they receive care from. If you live in the following area and are looking for help for yourself or for a family member then please contact them so that we can help in setting up a person centred care plan, providing care just the way you want it.

Call for a friendly chat about care at home. 0161 477 0200 email: Bluebird Care Stockport:

For Heaton Mersey, Heaton Norris, Reddish, Bredbury, Marple, Romiley, Hazel Grove, Bramhall, Cheadle Hulme, Heald Green, Cheadle, Gatley.

H me is where the heart is

Let’s keep it there

0161 998 4060 email:

Bluebird Care Manchester South:

For Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Brooklands, Wythenshawe, Northenden, Didsbury, Withington, Burnage, Levenshulme.

Current rating


CQC Rating in all areas


Helping you to enjoy life - Our home is YOUR

10/10/2019 10:35

Bankfield House is an independent, privately owned care home. Situated in a quiet corner of Woodley.


ankfield House is an independent privately owned care home situated in a quiet corner of Woodley, in the tranquillity of its own attractive landscape gardens consisting of a pond, barbecue and pergola.

We also hold our annual barbecue, together with bring & buys and raffles to raise money for our resident’s fund, to help purchase theatre tickets and entrance fees on their outings.

Our ethos is to assist our Residents in continuing to live their lives as independently as their specific needs determine by providing holistic care and support conductive to those needs.

High Dependency Residential Care

Permanent, Short Term, Respite and Day Care

We offer dedicated care, providing each individual resident with security, dignity and peace of mind in a homely family environment. Our extensive person-centred activities itinerary is coordinated by our full-time member of staff five days per week. Activities take place within the care home and in the community through Start Point Coffee Shop, Communiversity, local Churches, Nursery Schools and allotments. You will also find us on our Facebook page ‘Bankfield Bellbows’ which has been invaluable during COVID-19 for families and friends to connect with their loved ones and interact remotely in their individual activity. During the summer months Bankfield House Residents are able to enjoy our gardens, planting herbs and tomatoes etc, in the raised garden beds.

● ●

Organised activities by our full time Activities Coordinator Minibus Outings, Theatre, Canal Boat Trips etc. Links to the local community through Start Point Coffee Shop, Communiversity and Churches

CCTV within the home and grounds

Accommodates 30 residents

Located in private grounds with landscape gardens, pergola, stone barbecue and pond Hairdresser, Chiropodist, Ophthalmic and Dental Services, Church Services Resident Relative Meetings


Bankfield House Care Home, Bankfield Road, Woodley, Stockport, Cheshire SK16 1RQ. Tel: 0161 406 6468




HEALTH ADVICE FOR MATURE WOMEN Staying healthy becomes even more important as we get older. When we’re young, we can easily overcome illnesses, falls, and other issues, but as we age these things become more difficult. However, if we take care of our health in the long term, we can ensure that we feel and perform well no matter how old we get. Below, you’ll find the essential health advice mature women should follow in 2021: Stay Up To Date With Your Healthcare Provider Start by staying up to date with your healthcare provider. Don’t ignore letters asking you to book an appointment, and don’t ‘worry about making a big deal’ out of any health concerns. Booking a private covid test could be the best thing to give you peace of mind. Eat A Balanced Diet  A balanced diet should include plenty of color, so fruits and vegetables should be a regular purchase at the supermarket. Balance also means eating a little of what you fancy, however deprivation is not the key to happiness, and happiness is a must for health, too! Try to make smart choices, but don’t go to extremes. You should enjoy your food.  Stay Active Exercising can help you to strengthen your muscles and bones, and improve your flexibility and stamina. This can help you to go about your day to day life with ease, as well as reduce your risk of trips and falls. Just find a form of exercise that you really enjoy and you should have no trouble sticking to it. Do something you enjoy, and start slow if you need to. There is plenty of time to build up your sessions and increase intensity if and when you feel ready to do

so. Don’t feel under pressure. A gentle yoga session can be just as good for your health as a more intense resistance workout. Enjoy A Rich Social Life  There is a risk of loneliness as we age and lose touch with our loved ones. This is why it’s so important to put effort into cultivating a rich social life. Join clubs and meet like minded people, and call your friends and family to catch up every so often, even if only for 10 minutes.  Don’t Neglect Sleep We tend to need less sleep as we age, but this totally depends on how much we naturally need, as well as how active we are. 8 hours usually allows us to perform out best, but it’s up to you to pay attention to how much sleep helps you to feel great. Remember that less than 6 hours is just as bad as none at all, and it can even mean a shorter lifespan. Keep Your Brain Active Keeping your brain active is one of the most important things you can do later in life, too. Doing puzzles, reading, and learning new things can all help you to keep your brain and body healthy.You’re never too old to learn something new, and keeping your brain sharp will ensure you stay healthier for longer.


How to clear your brain fog Many of us have been talking about brain fog of late, whether that is because of ageing, feeling burnout, recovering from illness, or juggling too many balls in the air during this incredibly difficult last year. So what is brain fog and how does it relate to memory and what exactly can we do about it? What is brain fog? Brain fog can range from mild to severe and is associated with poor memory, not being able to focus clearly, not being able to retrieve information and a lack of clear thinking and can negatively affect all aspects of our lives. Brain fog can be most apparent when we struggle with our memory and our ability to acquire, store, maintain and reclaim information that we have previously experienced or learned. A review by Theoharides et al (2015) discusses evidence that suggests stress, exposure to certain toxins and medical health problems causes inflammation of certain molecules in the brain which can contribute to brain fog. Even lack of sleep and nutritional deficiencies can add to the problem. So, what can we do to help ourselves? How to clear brain fog, sharpen our thinking & improve our memory Make sleep your top priority. On average, a person goes through 3-5 REM (rapid eye movement) cycles per night which is when we dream and is vital for mental and emotional regulation. It is important to maintain a regular and healthy sleeping pattern in order to prevent or clear brain fog and to be at your sharpest and allow your brain to do all its sorting and coding. Exercise to get the oxygen flowing. Exercising increases oxygen and blood flow, so incorporate 30 mins of exercise into your daily routine to help clear out the cobwebs especially if you can get outside. Don’t overload. Take time to properly focus on activities and avoid trying to do too many things at once. The misguided notion of multitasking has been linked to poorer episodic memory, along with a reduction in efficiency, performance and focus. Slow down and do one thing at a time. Brain fog could be hormonal. Low levels of hormones, particularly oestrogen, have been linked to changes in memory and difficulties thinking or processing information. These disturbances most frequently occur during the menopause.


Check medications. Some over the counter medications can cause brain fog so check the label for side effects. Chemotherapy can prevent the production of oestrogen which may explain changes in memory otherwise known as ‘chemo brain’, which is another type of brain fog. Consult a medical professional if you think depression, sleep disorders, anxiety or medication you are taking could be contributing to the brain fog. Reduce stress. Most importantly if you are feeling overwhelmed, remember to be kind to yourself. Have downtime, work out what you need to feel better that can be realistically achieved and surround yourself with positive people. ONCE THE FOG HAS CLEARED, IMPROVE YOUR MEMORY BY:Activating as many senses as you can. Sensory memories are fleeting, and we are not often aware of them. But stimulating the senses can help us feel better which encourages us to continue that activity thus bringing it into our conscious awareness, enjoying the process and develop long term memories. Using mnemonic tools such as using as a phrase, acronym, song, rhyme or image to help remember a list of facts in a certain order. Learning something new that you enjoy. Novelty is a sure fire way to get our attention. So think of something you haven’t done before, try it and if you enjoy it keep going. The neural plasticity of the brain is incredible and you will lay down new connections and pathways and have fun at the same time. Attaching meaning to what you want to remember. If you are bad with names or dates attach a meaning by associating it with something familiar.This link provides a stronger association in your brain, increasing the likelihood of you remembering it next time. Repetition. Intentionally repeating something that you would like to recall in the future is one of the oldest tricks in the book – but it works. Repetition will encode information beyond your sensory and short-term memory, into your long-term memory. MANAGING ANXIETY COMING OUT OF LOCKDOWN During the pandemic we have all coped in different ways; some of us have adjusted more easily whilst others have had to deal with pain and hardship, or with feelings of burnout or isolation. Whilst people who have had to shield may understandably need time to adjust to coming out of lockdown, many of us may be

feeling anxiety for a variety of reasons. Now as we are slowly opening up the world again it is important to ensure that we are best equipped for what may still be a series of uncertainties and ups and downs. Here are some tips that may help:Take your time – Before getting up each day perhaps listen to the birds or practise gratitude for a few minutes and make happiness and health a daily choice. Going forwards in the weeks ahead, try to avoid rushing big decisions, prioritise what needs to be acted upon first, take your time to get it right, avoid comparing yourself with others. Positive thinking - Facing challenges head on and realistically whilst thinking positively helps to move forwards and build resilience. Research shows that those who face adversity with a positive mindset deal with stress and problems better and have a better health outcome long term. Avoid the traps of negative thinking and swap in more positive language. Re-examine negative situations from a different angle and try to find a workable solution. Ensure you live a healthy lifestyle including regular physical exercise, a good sleeping pattern, low stress and a healthy diet. Focus on things you can control. Be safely social and inclusive - Follow the rules but remain sociable where possible, even if that means keeping events virtual. Through brain imaging, scientists have found that when people experience social exclusion and social distress some areas of the brain are similarly activated as if they were experiencing physical pain. Work out your new priorities – The pandemic has made many revaluate their priorities, leading people to ask themselves what truly makes them happy. Are you happy at work and in your relationship? Are you happy in your own skin? Set some goals for yourself which you feel will make you happier and revisit them once a month to track your progress. They could be anything from exercising, to getting in touch with old friends to getting a promotion. Be careful of burnout - Identify the signs early. Signs of burnout include fatigue, irritability, sleepless nights despite feelings of exhaustion, anxiety and physiological changes in your body like raised blood pressure. Ensure you aren’t consumed by your old life once restrictions lift and that you use what you learnt in lockdown including perhaps slowing down.


Includes: £1999

low cost funeral specialists

Hearse, Limousine or Includes: theHearse, servicesLimousine, of a Funeral Minister/Humanist Coffin, All fees, All Fees AllCoffin, Disbursements. All AnyDisbursements Crematorium Any Crematorium No Hidden Extras* No Hidden Extras

Prepayment Prepayment Plans Plans

are available available starting starting are from less less than than £1 £1 per per day day from or interest interest free free or for £9824 per month over month over 24 month

The passing of a loved one is a challenging and difficult time.

Please call us for low cost burial pricing

We believe these challenges should remain emotional, not financial It’s a call we hope you never have to make but in the sad event of a loved ones passing we are here to help you at anytime We cover any North West Crematorium * Private Crematorium surchages apply

343 8505 7230 0161 371

768 7230 0767 (24hrs) 0161 343

Office Tel: Email: 227 Droylsden Road, Audenshaw, Manchester M34 5ZT



Our Sanctuary developments are exclusive, gated communities offering a collection of stunning 2 & 3 bedroom homes set in enviable locations in Cheshire and Lancashire. This innovative concept from Jones Homes offers bespoke mature living for those looking for something special that will last a lifetime. At Sanctuary, our low maintenance, high specification homes have all been built with your lifestyle, security and independence in mind.

Come and visit our Show Homes and see the Jones Homes difference.

Sanctuary Wilmslow

Sanctuary Last Drop Village

2 & 3 bedroom homes and apartments from £320,000

3 & 4 bedroom homes from £369,950

Sanctuary, Off Coppice Way, Handforth, Wilmslow SK9 3PB

Bromley Cross, Bolton BL7 9PZ

01625 253107

01204 859003

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