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AFFINITY LUXURY LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE
www.affinitymag.co.uk April 2018
Escape the ordinary to Carpe Diem, a Santorini hideaway
APRIL 2018 ISSUE 83
Lack of exercise may be causing cognitive decline
Delicious Dim Sum at Ping Pong, Covent Garden
Fashion trends you so need this spring
bring the outside in, with floral interiors
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Weddings Shows Sunday 22nd April 2018 The Swan Hotel, Bedford
2nd September 2018 The Swan Hotel, Bedford
Sunday 7th October Woughton House Woughton on The Green Milton keynes MK6 3LR
Everything you need for the perfect wedding all under one roof firstname.lastname@example.org
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I’m Welcome... loving...
2 4 It’s April and officially spring, (although I think someone needs to remind the weather about this), days are longer, nights are lighter, we start to spend more time outdoors and we just seem to feel more upbeat - The winter clothes are packed away and we start thinking about updating our wardrobe, this season’s trends are so feminine and delicate you’ll truly be spoilt for choice – We particularly love the Spots and Stripes trends that are around, a definite must have for this season, we’ve picked some of our favourites (page 27). Thinking of a short break, summer holiday, trip to London? Then our travel pages (page 61) should inspire you and get you booking that much needed trip away. Are you already planning your next task, whilst still working on the first? Do you flit from emails to Facebook, to phone calls never quite finishing one? You need to STOP, take stock and slow down – In fact you need to ‘slow down to go faster’, silly as it sounds it’s true turn to page 12 to find out more.
1. Flamingo Cosmetic Bag, £8, Next 2. True Love Shoes, £99, Dune London 3. Rose Gold Bunny Necklace, £33, www.hurleyburley.com 4. The Handmade Soap Company £10.50 - £17.50 wwwthehandmadesoapcompany.com
We love this month’s beauty products so much (page 13), we’ve added them to our bathroom cabinet already. We have added another event to our charity fundraising this year, our Affinity Summer Soul Charity Ball at Tre Fratelli Venue in Wootton – with music from the fabulous Sophia Soul, turn to page 9 to find out more. Until Next Month
Editor: Jane Fry email@example.com 01234 962106 - 07507 602401 Advertising: Jane Fry firstname.lastname@example.org 01234 962106 - 07507 602401 Graphic Design and Photography: David Zita email@example.com www.affinitymag.co.uk
All adverts are printed in good faith. Affinity cannot take responsibility for the content of adverts. Advertisements are accepted on the understanding that descriptions of goods and services are accurate. Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly prohibited.
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CONTENTS 28 16 20 29 33 36 40 43 45 50 53 56 66 70 72
Break the Sleep Cycle Make-up Removal All White Feeling Blue Foodie News Time to Cook Wines of the Month Flower Power What Inspires Us Bags of Style Pomp & Patriotism Timeless Elegance Cotswolds Retreat Stars
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Quality and price in perfect harmony since 1974
A FAMILY run company instal ing high quality, affordable kitchens, bedrooms and home offices
NEVER UNDERSOLD POLICY
We will not be beaten on price for a true ‘like for like’ kitchen
Bedford Showroom: Anglia House, Wolseley Business Park 7 Raiton Road, Woburn Road Ind Est, Kempston, Bedford MK42 7PN 01234 843000
Huntigndon Showroom: Anglia House, Unit 2, Stone Hill, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire PE29 6ED 01480 398017/8
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Slowing Down to Go Faster
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think no one would deny that we live in a fast paced world and many people would say their lives are too busy. Not only do some people work long hours and manage the demands of family, but understandably we want to fit in time to do other things, see friends, read, listen to music, maybe study or fit in other hobbies. I feel exhausted just writing it all! The problem with busy lives is that sometime we get into a sort of autopilot and can become a bit like a hamster in a wheel, endlessly active but not really getting anywhere. Unless we take time for reflection we can end up becoming less productive and sometimes even going backwards. The following tips will show you how slowing down can actually help you speed up, not only being more productive but enjoying life more in the process.
Start right For many people the rush to get through the day begins when they first wake up - checking emails or social media. Nothing wrong with that in itself, but it can mean that the whole day is spent reacting to things. This can mean that you never actually work to your own agenda. In fact the day sort of runs you rather than the other way round. But by taking time at the beginning of the day to decide on your own priorities and make sure that your body and mind are prepared for the day, for example with a healthy breakfast and maybe a few moments to contemplate what you want to achieve, you will often find that you can not only be more productive but enjoy the day more. It means you are actively making decisions and doing things you have decided to do rather than being pulled in lots of different directions as you react to things.
Avoid multi-tasking It seems one of the myths of the moment is that multitasking is the answer to busy lives. Now it can be useful when doing certain things BUT research has shown that it can actually make us less productive. You can read more here https://hubpages.com/education/-Reasons-to-STOPMultitasking-Right-Now. Put simply if there is something you want to do then it is usually done better and more
quickly when we focus solely on that. Even if you are relaxing, then to get the benefit make sure you do actually relax not have one eye on your work phone - or you simply won’t get the benefit.
Create Head Space This is probably one of the most effective ways of adding a bit more order and purpose to life, yet so many people say they haven’t time. It does take time to mediate, or be mindful or even to go for a walk or take part in exercise, but creating some time when your brain has space can be really important to your efficiency and calmness. Also in terms of creativity and good ideas these often happen when you have had time to slow down and give yourself a bit of head space. It’s not surprising really as our subconscious often helps us along the way but, without creating that space we are not likely to hear those ‘whispers’. Have a read about how you can harness the power of your subconscious and determine to give yourself some time to tune into it. www.personalgrowth.com/how-to-use-the-power-ofyour-subconcious-mind/ Decide what is important to YOU However busy we are we always find time to fit in what is important to us. The problem for many is that we haven’t made clear decisions about what our priorities are, so we end up being drawn into things and finding that we haven’t then done the things we really wanted to. The fact is we know how much time we have and it is the same for each of us; there are only 24 hours in a day but each day we get the chance to choose how we spend them. It often comes down to planning and if we haven’t got a clear idea of what is important it is easy to fritter that time away on things that we would say don’t matter that much. If you feel you are short of time then take stock of the week that has just gone and look at where you spent your precious time. Were you doing the things you wanted to or did you find yourself being drawn into things that aren’t that important. The good news is you can change and next week can be different. Change your mind-set As with lots of other areas of life the way you think about time will determine what happens. If your mind-set is that you have too much to do and you will always be busy then, to put it simply, you will. But if you change your mind-set and instead start to take responsibility for the choices you make, then you will probably find that you can fit in more of the things that you want and that will make for a happier and more fulfilled life. In fact rather than thinking ‘I haven’t the time to do…...whatever,’ think ‘I am choosing not to spend my time doing......’ it somehow can change your whole perspective and puts you in a control rather than passively accepting that you can’t do certain things. attunedsuccess.co.uk/2017/07/10/finding-time-formore-of-what-matters/ Giving yourself time to take stock will not be a waste of time, rather it may help you be happier, more productive and make faster progress towards your goals. www.attunedsuccess.co.uk
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A Healthy Glow
The multi-award winning health and beauty product Tan Cream is dominating the suncare and tanning market in spectacular fashion. The luxury brand has won a host of awards and been nominated for many more. Quickly amassing a huge following, and gaining numerous celebrity recommendations. The product is a unique face and body premium skin care and sun protection lotion, offering SPF50, five star UVA, gradual self tan plus instant bronzing - all in one elegant bottle. Priced at £39.95 and available from over 45 stockists, ranging from department stores to spas and online retailers.
The Ultimate Travel Essentials
Spring Is well and truly upon us, which means many of us look at booking our summer holiday, or a weekend away, and when it comes to haircare, Philip Kingsley has the ultimate go-to summer haircare essentials to keep your hair looking fabulous, with travel sized options ideal for packing in your luggage. Products include Daily Damage Defence Conditioning Spray, Weatherproof Hairspray, One More Day Dry Shampoo, After Sun Scalp Mask and much more, with prices ranging between £7 and £19 and available from www.philipkingsley.co.uk
JO LOVES Orange Butterflies Fragrance
JO LOVES has announced the launch of its Orange Butterflies fragrance. Inspired by the South of France, notes comprise orange blossom, petitgrain, mandarin and neroli. Available from www.joloves.com for a RRP £70/50ml and £115/100ml.
Tangle with Disney
Haircare brand Tangle Teezer has announced a collaboration with Disney. The Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse travel-friendly Compact Stylers are perfect for detangling on-the-go, leaving your hair soft, shiny and tangle-free. Available online as well as Lookfantastic and Topshop.
Kathleen Natural has launched at luxury skincare retailer, Effortless Skin. Kathleen Natural is a premium skincare brand with a passion for all things natural and organic. The entire range is formulated using a blend of precious plants, marine extracts and essential oils, sourced from all corners of the world – from Europe to Africa, America to Asia – without the inclusion of any harmful artificial chemicals or parabens. Products include The Silk Miracle Essence (£58.80) and Glamour Ageless Anti-Aging Serum (£62.40) and are available from www.effortlessskin.com
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with a copy of Affinity Expires the end of May 2018
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Break the bad sleep cycle in just one week with Pukka Herbs 7 day Night Time kit Sleep (and lack of it) is a hot topic, particularly with around half of UK adults surviving on six hours or less sleep a night and as many as four out of five people say they have disturbed or poor sleep*. With the ‘ideal’ amount being closer to eight hours of sound slumber, it’s clear we’re falling short.
“Getting a good night’s sleep is just as important for our health as eating well and getting enough exercise,” says Medical Herbalist, Katie Pande. “But it’s much more often neglected. And as well as killing our energy, poor sleep is linked to more serious health complaints, such as weight gain, depression and even increased risk of dementia.”
Pukka Herbs have just launched a NEW Night Time 7 Day Kit - made up of a week's worth of Pukka's Night Time tea and Night Time wellbeing supplements, both of which have been expertly blended using medicinal-grade organic herbs to help break a bad sleep cycle naturally.
“Luckily, there’s plenty we can do to help ourselves,” says Katie. “Together with the right sleeping environment and some simple lifestyle changes, natural plants and herbs can be fantastic for helping us get a good night’s sleep. Whether you’re suffering with insomnia, trying to adapt to a new
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sleep pattern, or just need to get a good night’s rest when away from home, herbs can give you a helping hand.” Introducing Pukka Herbs’ Night Time 7-Day Wellbeing Kit
Formulated by Medical Herbalist and Ayurvedic practitioner Sebastian Pole, Pukka’s new Night Time 7 Day Kit is the perfect support to a peaceful night’s sleep. The Kit includes seven days of soothing Night Time herbal tea together with Pukka’s Night Time herbal supplements, both of which have been expertly blended using organic, medicinal-grade and sustainably sourced herbs. Each wellbeing kit also contains a wellbeing guide written by Pukka’s team of qualified herbal and health experts, with key diet and lifestyle tips to help you ease into a restful slumber.
Key ingredients in Pukka’s 7-Day Night Time Kit: Valerian:
A popular sleep-supporting herb with sedative and
anxiety-relieving properties. Valerian can help us to drop off to sleep and encourage undisturbed sleep.
Ashwagandha: This herb has natural calming activity too, and can be particularly helpful when stress or anxiety are interfering with our sleep. Its’ Latin name – Withania somnifera – reflects its somniferous (sleep-inducing) properties. Oatstraw: Oats are an excellent ‘nervine’ – helping to calm and soothe frazzled nerves.
Chamomile: Everyone’s favourite night-time herb. Chamomile also helps to calm and soothe the digestive system. Lavender: Helps promote a more restful sleep and prevent frequent waking.
Pukka’s Night Time 7 Day Kit is priced at £9.99 and is available from independent health food stores nationwide and www.pukkaherbs.com
TIPS FOR A GOOD NIGHT’ SLEEP
1. Invest in a good mattress and blackout blinds A comfortable and dark sleeping environment is number one when it comes to getting a great night’s slumber. Go for the best quality you can afford when it comes to the mattress – you’ll be glad you made the investment. 2. Turn down the lights Bright and blue-spectrum light tells our brain that it’s daytime – not that it’s time to sleep. At least two hours before bed, turn off bright overhead lights and switch to ambient lighting (you can buy ambient light bulbs). Use the night-time brightness settings on your phone or computer if you have them, and wear blue-light blocking amber glasses if you’re using your devices or watching TV in the late evening. 3. Set up a good wind-down routine At least one hour before bed, turn off all your devices or leave them in another room – and keep them out of the bedroom at night. Get everything ready for the next day, so you’re not worrying about the morning
rush. And for the last half an hour or so, do something you find really relaxing, such as having a warm bath, or reading a book. Brew a cup of your Night Time tea and take your Night Time supplement.
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Midlife Madness Should I stay or should I go With all this talk of Brexit - and don’t worry I am not going to get all political on you, but it’s got to the stage where almost whatever you think about the ‘should we stay or should we go now’ debate, I bet you are simply sick of hearing about it. In many ways we’ve been having our own Brexit summit as we’ve always quite fancied moving full time to our place in Portugal, and we are fast approaching the age when we have to ask if not now, when? It’s surely better to do it when the brain is young enough to improve on our meagre language skills and our bodies can generally get about unassisted! But that has meant we’ve had a lot of conversations about some of the eccentricities of we Brits. Most of these seem to centre on our extreme linguistic politeness. We’ll say sorry for all sorts of things when there really is no need and we never, ever, seem to say sorry once - if we knock someone inadvertently or heaven forbid have to squeeze past someone in a theatre of cinema, we’re likely to say it at least three times and then check they are okay. Or the way we will politely enquire of the person who has, rather selfishly in my view, left their bag on the empty seat next to them on a train, ‘Excuse me is anyone sitting there?’ Clearly they are not unless some evil underworld witch or wizard has put a ‘bag’ spell on them? Then there is the issue of queuing, we are always very correct about it and simply can’t bear people pushing in but we are also very quick to demand that there are more cashiers, or whatever, because there’s a part of us that feels queueing for fairly everyday service is not really acceptable. In Portugal I notice that people seem to accept queueing
and wait patiently. I’ve never heard anyone complaining that the queue shouldn’t have happened, they simply seem to accept it. When they are in a supermarket or office of some sort, also in council offices, you even wait while the office closes and everyone goes to lunch you just disappear sit and have a drink in a café and then get back to the queue, but I must say ‘on the road’ is a whole different story!!! Then there is the whole issue of ‘thank you’. My goodness how many ways do we have of saying thank you - thanks, ta, cheers, much appreciated, much obliged, great, brilliant, and many others besides. Of course we all have our favourites, but we are a nation a bit obsessed with thanks. Not that it’s a bad thing - a bit of politeness can go a long way in oiling the cogs of interaction in a busy society. Add that to the ‘sorry’ and ‘excuse me’ and that’s a significant amount of our speech each day accounted for. Well not if you are me because I do talk a lot!! But weirdly that is the kind of thing that makes me very fond of England, along with a bit of an obsession with tea as the cure for all ills, village pubs with roaring fires and scampi and chips, English seaside towns where you have to wrap up to get anywhere near the seas, then shiver as you eat food served in newspapers! But there are also the lovely green parks and, of course, picnics, to name just a few of my favourite things. The things I find a lot harder are the incessant grey days, complete collapse of the transport (and almost every other system) when it snows, the fact that you can almost certainly guarantee rain if you plan a barbecue or indeed forget your umbrella! So, excuse me but sorry, as I am currently in my own Brexit dilemma I really don’t want to hear any more about it on the news, thank you very much.
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Reasons you Should Always Remove your Makeup
We’ve all been there – you’ve just got into bed, you’re feeling all cosy and warm, until you realise you’ve still got a full-face of makeup on. Deciding whether to take it off or just go to sleep is a dilemma most ladies have faced at some point in their lives. At the time, it may seem like the easy option to leave it on, but we can’t see the damage we’re doing to our skin. Dr Ejikeme – Medical Director at Adonia Medical Clinic– shares the top 5 reasons why it’s so important to take your makeup off before going to sleep.
1. Makeup contains chemicals - as much as you take the time choosing products suited to sensitive skin or made from organic ingredients, makeup still contains chemicals that can be harmful, especially if they’re left on for a whole day and night. These chemicals penetrate the delicate skin, blocking the natural secretion of sebum – the lubricant and moisturiser your skin makes.
2. It could cause spots - the skin on your face is made up of pores, tiny little holes where sebum is produced, and toxins are removed. If you go to sleep with your makeup on, particularly if you wear a lot, your skin can’t breathe. When your pores become blocked, it causes spots and blackheads to develop.
3. It may cause eye infections - our eyes are sensitive at the best of times, especially the delicate skin around them. Eye makeup left on overnight is just asking for trouble. As we sleep bits of product can get into our eyes, causing irritation and eventually, infection. Even if you get away without one, your eyelashes may become brittle and fall out. 4. Contributes to ageing - as we sleep, our skin goes through a renewal process, regenerating cells and repairing itself. When your skin has makeup on, it can’t breathe, which interferes with the natural repair mechanism. Throughout the day, environmental pollutants stick to your face, which increase oxidative stress if not removed. 5. Your pores will enlarge - makeup left on overnight causes your pores to become clogged, preventing them from producing all-important collagen. Over time, they become more visible and are famously tricky to remove.
Adonia Medical Clinic is a medical and aesthetic clinic based in Maida Vale that prides itself on offering the most advanced treatments in skincare and skin renewal in the world. www.adoniamedicalclinic.co.uk
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Advertise here for as little as ÂŁ75 a month firstname.lastname@example.org 07507 602 401
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Lack of Exercise may be causing Cognitive Decline
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New research may be a persuading factor in getting you hitting that treadmill even harder, as a new study from UT Southwestern’s O’Donnell Brain Institute suggests that the lower the fitness levels, the faster the deterioration of vital nerve fibres in the brain. This deterioration results in cognitive decline, including memory issues that are characteristic of dementia patients. “Exercise improves circulation to the brain and helps with blood sugar control too. So, it stands to reason that lack of exercise could speed up brain ageing,” explains Nutritionist and Fitness Instructor, Cassandra Barns. Heading to a group exercise class is a great way to socialise and boost your endorphins. Cassandra adds, “Getting the balance right is important when it comes to exercise. Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins, which makes us feel happy and relaxed afterwards. Getting enough exercise can also help us sleep better, which then helps us to cope with stress.” Apart from getting your heart rate up to deter memory loss, what are other brain saviours?
Find the rhythm There is a range of techniques to keep your brain alert that doesn’t have to be paper-based cognitive tasks. Dr Marilyn Glenville, the U.K’s leading Nutritionist and author of Natural Solutions for Dementia and Alzheimer’s (www.marilynglenville.com) says “Walking in a new park or taking up line dancing fires up new neural pathways that keep your brain in touch. Needing to remember the steps in a dance is also a wonderful workout for your brain – learning the flow and rhythm of the music stimulates cognitive activity, while learning and performing the steps is great for both your memory and your physical fitness. Active learning is the perfect complement for doing jigsaws, Sudoku and crosswords.” Think about Type 2 Diabetes Rates of long-term mental decline are steeper in those with
Type 2 diabetes than those with normal blood sugar control, according to a study. The research highlights that efforts to delay the onset of diabetes and controlling blood sugar levels could prevent subsequent progression of brain function decline. If you have Type-2 Diabetes it’s essential to try and control your blood sugar levels, which CuraLin diabetic supplement can help with. “CuraLin [RRP £59, www.curalife.co] is a specially formulated dietary supplement containing ten herbs and plant extracts traditionally used to support insulin sensitivity and help keep blood glucose under control. A word of caution, however: if you’re being treated for Type 2 Diabetes, consult your doctor before changing your diet or exercise or starting a supplement,” explains Cassandra.
Sleep your way to better brain health “Too little sleep increases your risk for Alzheimer’s because beta-amyloid protein is cleared away during sleep when your cerebrospinal fluid washes out toxins from your body,” This basically means that the shorter you sleep, the less time your body has to get rid of beta-amyloid plaque buildup, which is toxic to neurons in the brain and can eventually cause Alzheimer’s.
B vitamins to boost brain health B vitamins play an important role in fighting against agerelated cognitive decline, according to research. Most B vitamins can be found in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, meat and fish. Vitamin B12 however, is found only in animal foods, so if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you may be lacking in this vitamin. Try Natures Plus Source of Life Garden Vitamin B12 (£17.50, www.naturesplus.co.uk). “It provides an effective dose of B12 in the active form of methylcobalamin, meaning it can be easily used by the body. It also provides a range of other B vitamins, which work together with vitamin B12 to give us energy,” explains Cassandra.
Your sleeping position matters “When you sleep on your side, your body seems more able to remove the build-up of so-called ‘brain waste’ chemicals, such as beta-amyloid proteins, that are thought to contribute to dementia and other neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s,” explains Dr Glenville. Soak up the sunshine “Vitamin D receptors have been found in the hippocampus and cerebellum of the brain. These areas are involved in forming new memories and processing information. Try and expose yourself to direct sunlight for at least thirty minutes a day to optimise your vitamin D levels, and to make sure you’re keeping your levels topped up daily try Quest Nutra Pharma’s Once A Day Sunshine D (£5.22, qnutrapharma.com). Small challeneges can make all the difference Dr Glenville suggests the following simple games to give your brain a workout, “Counting backwards from 100 in 2s, 3s or 4s is a good one, and you can make it harder by doing something else at the same time, such as tapping your foot. Or try the ‘tip-of-the-tongue’ game – think of a theme, such as ‘food’, and name as many items relevant to the theme as you can in one minute.”
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AA Helping Hands Gift Set, £13.50, www.aaskincare.co.uk
Old Tom Gin, £30, Liberty London
AFFINITY HOT PICKS
Big Ideas Notebook, £5, Next
Andy Warhol Scented Candle, £45, Amara
Cath Kidston Metallic Bag, £90, www.cathkidston.com
Carluccio's Jar of Eggs, £14.95, www.carluccios.com
This month’s must have gifts and accessories
Ted Baker Brenda Bunny Ring, £29, www.jewellery4.co.uk
Flamingo Straw Bag, £10, Primark
Unicorn Backpack, £22.50, www.cubbies.co
Hugo Boss Classic Sport Watch, £249, www.watchshop.com
Ted Baker Fuchsia Drop Necklace, £99, www.jewellery4.co.uk
Tassel Pointed Mules, £35, Very
Rainbow Stripe Dress, £48, Oasis
Happy Daisy Fragrance, £19.99, Accessorize
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Spot On Big, small, black or bright, this spring sees the return of the polka dot, be sure you’re spot on with your choice of style.
Blouse, £6, Primark
Spot Dress, £49, Sosander
Knot Dress, £65, Elvi
Tea Dress, £30, Miss Selfridge
Ruﬄe Sleeve Blouse, £32, Very
Frill Trousers, POA, River Island Bag, £8, Primark
Makonde Heels, £650, Manolo Blahnik
Blouse, £35, Marks & Spencer
Pom Pom Sweater, £30, Next
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Fresh, crisp and on trend, wear on its own or add a dash of colour, either way you’ll look all white!
T-shirt, £15, Dorothy Perkins Cold Shoulder Dress, £45, Very
Lace Up Top, £6, Primark Skater Dress, £90, House of Fraser
Candle, £3, Primark
Cropped Jacket, £80, House of Fraser
Michael Kors Skirt, £14, Pretty Little Thing
Trousers, £42, River Island
Biba Box Bag, £80, House of Fraser
Necklace, POA, Accessorize
Block Heels, £32, Dorothy Perkins
Denim Skirt, £19.99, New Look
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Earn your Stripes Vertical stripes are not only flattering, they also look striking, the more vibrant the better
High Neck Dress, £22, New Look
Shirt, £30, Dorothy Perkins Crop Trousers, £49, House of Fraser
Tie Blouse, POA, River Island
Trousers, £28, Very
Stripe Jacket, £42, Very Linea Dress, £70, House of Fraser
Shoes, £39, Faith Bag, POA, River Island
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In the Trenches If you only purchase one item of outerwear this season, it has to be the trench coat. Stylish, simple and adaptable, here’s a round up of our favourites.
Stone Trench Coat, £49, Dorothy Perkins
Blue Trench, £45, Marks & Spencer
Checked Trench Coat, £125, Long Tall Sally
Checked Trench, £89, Marks & Spencer
Khaki Trench Coat, £60, www.littlewoods.com
Red Trench, £49, Dorothy Perkins bon-prix
Michael Kors Trench, POA
Pink Trench Coat, £28, George at ASDA Denim Trench Coat, £49, JD Williams
Studio by Preen Trench, £130, Debenhams
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Add powdery blues, one of this season’s favourite shades to your fashion style this springtime
Dress, £45, Marks & Spencer Cold Shoulder Top, £24, Dorothy Perkins
Frill Dress, £35, Miss Selfridge
Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream Fragrance, £58, John Lewis
Ruﬄe Dress, £60, www.littlewoods.com
Shirt Dress, £39, Glamorous
Therapy Frame Bag, £29, House of Fraser
Trousers, £35, Miss Selfridge
Vest, £4, Primark
Wrap Skirt, £28, Very
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Food & Drink
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Gin-tastic The Hayman family have unveiled a stylish and contemporary new look for its range of True English Gins. The new bottles each feature vibrant filigree patterns intricately produced by a woodcut artist, reflecting the handcrafted nature of Hayman’s gin. Beautifully blending old and new, with timeless text layered over contemporary colour, the designs reveal the story of the gin each bottle contains; the signature London Dry, for example, tells the tale of traditional Victorian gas lamps, dating back to 19th Century London and the origins of the renowned recipe. The new look packaging coincides with the launch of their beautiful new distillery, housed within a period brick warehouse in the heart of South London’s vibrant Balham. The gins are available nationwide in Waitrose with an RRP of £26. To find out more about the new distillery in Balham or to book a tour or masterclass, please visit www.haymansgin.com Tour tickets are available from £20.
Healthy Avocado Choc Pot, Healthy Treat
The Healthy Avocado Choc Pot from Onist Food is a small pot of delicious, silky chocolate dessert. Made using a nutritious blend of just avocados, cashews, dates, cocoa and water. The Healthy Avocado Choc Pot makes a healthy treat, perfect on it’s own or as a tasty spread. With every pot you buy you are buying a healthy breakfast for a child in need in Gambia. Available in four indulgent flavours including Dark Chocolate, Salted Caramel, Chocolate Orange and Chocolate Mint. Each pot retails for £3.50 and can be purchased from Abel & Cole, Planet Organic & Yumbles, soon to be on the shelves of Ocado.
In her new book ‘The Natural Baker’, Henrietta Inman combines her core ingredients of wholegrain flours, less-refined sweeteners and good fats with what she calls her magic ingredients – those extra, natural, wholesome ingredients which transform her recipes and make them shine. Using incredible fresh fruits and vegetables, herbs, spices, flower waters, nuts and seeds, she creates delicious, unique bakes that will make you smile, published by Jacqui Small, an imprint of The Quarto Group for a RRP of £20.
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Anyone for Dim Sum? In the middle of all the hustle and bustle of Covent Garden and the buzz of theatre goers, we’ve found the perfect place for some pre theatre food, mid shopping snack or post cocktail indulgence - Ping Pong, Covent Garden, where the concept is Dim Sum and other mouth watering small dishes, designed for sharing and share we certainly did. The restaurant is set over three floors with a lively atmosphere, chic surroundings and an exuberant bar to greet guests on arrival. Shown to a table for two, our waitress preceded to explain the food concept, which is in the form of a shopping list, broken down into categories such as Nibbles & Sides, Crispy & Baked, Dumplings, Noodles, Rice and Soups – You tick off what you want on your list, give it to your waitress and the food comes out freshly cooked as and when it’s ready. The menu looked a real treat and we began with mixed spring rolls and potato and edamame cake, from the fried section, both were full of flavour with the spring rolls having a slight kick, then came the spicy vegetable dumplings, seafood dumplings and chicken and cashew nut dumplings all were succulent and mouth wateringly delicious. The honeyed chili chicken rice pot, was a real favourite of mine, tender chicken, honeyed rice and just the right amount of spice to tease the taste buds left me debating whether to order another serving of this. The Crispy chilly squid coated with chili and Sichuan salt was equally as tasty. It was very tempting when the waitress asked us if we wanted to order more dishes, but we really didn’t have any room, so we settled on washing the whole food experience down with a refreshing flowering tea - Hand tied flowers and buds, are placed in your cup - the boiling water is poured over them and before your eyes they unfurl to create a show-stopping display –with flavors that are light and full of soft, sweet flavors on a base of green tea– it was like having your very own garden unfold in front of you. The perfect way to end a scrumptious dining experience that can have you linger as little or as long as you like. Ping Pong Covent Garden 24 Maiden Lane London, WC2E www.pingpongdimsum.com
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Roasted Carrot Dal
“A dal is a delicious way to enjoy a large dose of veggies for dinner” Ingredients
1 pack mixed Chantenay carrots 1.5 tsp Poudre de Columbo (Contains Mustard) 1 Echalion Shallot 2 cloves garlic 1 bunch coriander 1 tsp Cumin seeds 150 grams red split lentils ½ of a vegetable stock pot 4 Wholemeal tortilla wraps 1 bag baby spinach ½ pot Greek yoghurt 400ml water 2 tbsp olive oil
Method Preheat oven to 200C/180 Fan/Gas 6. Remove the ends from the carrots (no need to peel) and halve lengthways (if there are any bigger carrots, cut them into quarters!). Pop the carrots onto a baking tray. Drizzle over some olive oil and season with a good pinch of salt. Sprinkle on two-thirds of the poudre de colombo, mix well, then roast on the top shelf of your oven until soft, 25-30 mins. Turn halfway to make sure they cook evenly. Meanwhile, halve, peel and thinly slice the shallot into half moons. Peel and grate the garlic (or use a garlic press). Roughly chop the coriander (stalks and all). Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add a splash of oil. Add the shallot and a pinch of salt. Cook until soft, approx 3 minutes, then add half the garlic and half the cumin seeds. Cook for 1 minute more, then stir in the remaining poudre de colombo and the red lentils. Add the water, bring to the boil, then stir in the stock pot. Make sure it is dissolved, reduce the heat and simmer gently for around 20 minutes. Tip: If the mixture starts to look a little dry, just add a splash more water. Heat a frying pan over medium heat and add the remaining cumin seeds. Cook for 1 minute, then add the olive oil. Stir in the rest of the garlic, cook for 2 minutes, then pour the flavoured oil into a small bowl. Wipe your frying pan with some kitchen paper, then pop it back on high heat. When the pan is hot, dry-fry the tortillas for 30 seconds on each side. You want the tortillas to char slightly, so keep an eye on them. Transfer each tortilla to a plate making a chapati pile and drizzle some of the flavoured oil over each one as you go. Cover with some foil to keep warm. When the lentils are cooked, add the baby spinach to the pan and stir it through to wilt it. Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed. Spoon the dal into bowls and top with the roasted carrots. Finish with a dollop of greek yoghurt, a sprinkling of coriander and serve with the chapatis on the side. www.hellofresh.co.uk
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Quinoa, Fennel & Sweet Potato Salad “With spring finally here, this delicious and nutritious salad will get you starting the season just right”
4 tbsp olive oil 1 large sweet potato, diced 2 medium fennel bulbs, cut lengthways into ¼ inch thick slices Malden sea salt Freshly ground black pepper 20ml fresh lemon juice 1½ tsp ground cumin 1 tsp sugar 200g quinoa, rinsed 1 lemon 1 red chilli, chopped and deseeded 10g fresh coriander, chopped 10g fresh mint, chopped 15g fresh dill, chopped Seeds from ½ a small pomegranate
Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a large skillet over a medium heat. Add the fennel and season with salt and pepper. Cook for around 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the fennel is just tender and lightly golden. Add the lemon juice and sugar. Stir through and cook for a further 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper and set to one side. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Drizzle the sweet potato with olive oil, sea salt and cumin. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes, and then set aside. Meanwhile, bring the quinoa and 700ml water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cover and reduce to a low simmer for around 10 minutes until the quinoa is cooked. Drain and return to the pan. Let the quinoa sit in the pan covered for 15 minutes, before fluffing with a fork and transferring to a large bowl. Remove the peel and white pith from the lemon. Cut between the membranes to release the segments. Discard the membranes and roughly chop. Add the chopped lemon with its’ juices to the cooked quinoa along with the remaining 1 tbsp of oil and stir. Add the fennel mixture, sweet potato, chilli, and herbs. Gently incorporate and season with salt and pepper. Transfer salad to a bowl or platter and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds. Recipe from Executive Head Chef at Sopwell House, Gopi Chandran www.sopwellhouse.co.uk/gourmet-encounter
Stephanie Harper (@home.with.harper)
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Rhubarb and Ginger Cheesecake
â€œThis delicious cheesecake makes a wonderful dessert your guests will loveâ€? Ingredients
For The Base: 150g Duchy Original Stem Ginger biscuits or Ginger Nuts, finely crushed 60g butter, melted
For The Filling: 400g forced rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 2.5cm (1in) lengths 1tbsp stem ginger syrup from the jar 100g caster sugar 300g cream cheese, at room temperature 2 eggs 1 egg yolk 1 tbsp cornflour Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated 150ml (1/4 pt) sour cream 2 pieces stem ginger, finely chopped
Method For the base, place the biscuits and butter in a bowl, stir well then press into the base of a 20cm (8in) spring form tin, lined with greaseproof paper. Chill whilst you make the filling. Put 50g of the caster sugar, stem ginger syrup and 1 tbsp water in a wide shallow pan and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the rhubarb and poach gently for 10 minutes or until the rhubarb is just cooked when tested with the point of a knife. Do not allow the rhubarb to go mushy. Place a sieve over a bowl and drain the rhubarb well. Reserve the juice. Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4. Place the remaining 50g (2oz) caster sugar in a mixing bowl with the cream cheese, eggs, egg yolk, cornflour, lemon zest and sour cream. Beat until the mixture is thick and smooth. Scatter the stem ginger over the biscuit base and then evenly cover the base with the drained rhubarb. Pour the cream cheese mixture on top and smooth the surface. Give the tin a couple of sharp taps on the worktop to remove any air pockets. Place on a baking tray and cook on the middle shelf for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 150C, 130C fan, 300F, gas 2 and cook for a further 25-30 minutes. The outside of the cheesecake should be firm and the centre should still be wobbly. Remove from the oven, run a round bladed knife around the outside and leave to cool, then chill in the fridge for 6 hours or overnight. Whilst the cheesecake is cooking, place the reserved rhubarb juices in a small pan and cook over a gentle heat reduced to a thick syrup. Leave to cool. To serve, remove the cheesecake from the tin, slice and spoon a little rhubarb syrup over each slice. Recipe from www.womanandhome.com
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Quiz and Curry
1st Monday of every Month £50 Voucher prize, 7pm Arrival £10 entry to quiz includes Curry with accompaniments
These wines are perfect for lighter spring days, full of spring aromatics and fruity flavours, your palette will love Jean-Luc Colombo Collines de Laure Blanc 2016
This is a lovely fusion of regions where the Provençal grape Rolle (aka Vermentino) joins three Rhône varieties in a textured, weighty yet elegant white. Fresh and rounded, this wine has hints of fennel, white peach and pear, and is an excellent match for a spring spread with grilled white meats.
April 6th - Burger Night
Starter PlatterHomemade Burger Cooked in front of you & A Beer - £22.50
April 20th – Caribbean Night
Taste of 10 authentic dishes only £25 per person
April 27th - Pudding Night
£14.20, The Solent Cellar
7.30pm Arrival - £16 per person Main Course and all you can eat desserts
May 4th - Tapas Night
Taste of 13 different homemade dishes - £25
May 11th - Pudding Night
7.30pm Arrival - £16 per person Main Course and all you can eat desserts
June 1st - Mediterranean Night Taste of 14 authentic dishes - £25
June 8th - Chinese Night
Taste of 11 classic takeaway dishes but in restaurant quality - £25
Left Field Albarino 2017 This wine encompasses spring with gorgeous little citrus flowers linking arms with melon and peach to dance in the sunshine, always maintaining an air of class. Meanwhile lime lingers in the shadows vying for attention. £14.55, Cambridge Wine Merchants
Half Price Drinks from 4-6.30pm Free Nibbles
Hancock & Hancock Fiano 2017
01234 781 678
email@example.com www.millhouse-riverside.co.uk millhouse_hotel Millhouse Hotel and Riverside Restaurant Mill Road, Sharnbrook, Bedford MK44 1NP
This Fiano carries tropical aromas of nectarine and preserved lemon with a dry and fresh palate. It is great as an aperitif on a spring evening or accompaniment to Asian cuisine, spicy dishes or seafood. £14.80, Wine Utopia
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Flower Power Inspiring us this month is florals,,bold and bright or soft and romantic you can use them in every room in the house to accessorise or dominate the choice is yours, turn the page to shop the look with some of our favourite pieces
Marks & Spencer
Aruba Floral Mug, £7.50, Beaumonde
Duvet Set, £11.99, www.sueryder.org
Cushion, £16.99, Homesense
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Gaudi Rug, POA, Rug Society
El Corte Inglés
Momington Bowl, £8, Cath Kidston Floral Rug, £199, Amara Vase, £25, Debenhams
Thistles Cushion, £59.95, Annabel James www.pignut.co.uk
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Time for Tea
Why does tea always taste better poured from a teapot? Especially one of these stylish ones.
Cath Kidston London Teapot, £28, Daisy Park
Burleigh Hibiscus Teapot, £69, www.sohohome.com
Hibiscus Teapot, £178, www.wedgewood.co.uk
Pug Teapot, £38 , Fenella Smith
Dazed and Dazzles Teapot, £45, John Lewis
Alice Teapot £40, www.whittard.co.uk Yvonne Ellen Cockatoo & Zebra Teapot, £45, John Lewis
Pip Studio Teapot, £65, Daisy Park
Sara Miller Chelsea Teapot, £55, Debenhams
Emma Bridgewater Summer Cherries Teapot, £59.95, www.emmabridgewater.co.uk
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Saturday by appointment only
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Fry’s Footie Corner
The World Cup in Russia is just around the corner and while I do not want to get into the political discussion surrounding the host county, it is fair to say that I am not looking forward to this particular competition as much as I have in previous years. That may also be down to the fortunes of the national side. A lot of pundits have described this England squad or the potential England squad, as one of the worst for decades and I certainly have my concerns too. While Harry Kane is arguably the best striker in Europe, we are very much a side that will rely heavily on his goals. In the latest squad for the games against Holland and Italy, we selected four goalkeepers, which is hugely excessive. Joe Hart, despite not being a regular for his club, was one of those four shot-stoppers, which suggests to me that manager Gareth Southgate is unsure on who his number one will be in Russia and wants to see everyone at close quarters. One of my biggest concerns surrounds the centre of our defence. John Stones, Gary Cahill and Phil Jones have all been in and out of their club sides and Chris Smalling is not in great form either. We seem to have a dearth of central midfielders coming through in this country as well.
Eric Dier is probably the best holding midfield player we have at our disposal but when you compare the other players in the middle of the park to the recent past, you do worry. There are no Gerrard’s or Lampard’s driving on from central midfield and I would be concerned with Dele Alli if he had the shackles put on him. Marcus Rashford and Jamie Vardy are certainly exciting attacking players, but could we be brave and play both of them alongside Kane? Why not try and outscore the opposition? Or even Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford and Kane with Vardy as a second half replacement? When you have concerns about a squad defensively and in midfield, sometimes you might as well just try and play bold attacking football. I would much rather England lose 3-2 than 2-0. Of course at the time of writing, there is also the opportunity of a player coming out of nowhere like Theo Walcott did all those years ago, but Gareth seems to have his squad set in stone. Let’s see what happens!
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Bags of Style Look sleek and stylish with one of these weekend bags, all you need to do is add the destination.
Ted Baker Holdall, £90, Northern Threads
Barbour International Holdall, £119, John Lewis Debenhams
Flocked Holdall, £79, Marks & Spencerpng
Grey Holdall, £55, Next Red Herring Bag, £35, Debenhams
Waxed Holdall, £50, Next
Grey Bag, £32, TK Maxx
John Rocha Bag, £55, Debenhams
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Rolls Royce Motor Cars Announces
The “Silver Ghost Collection” One motor car changed the course of automotive history, and now the legend is re-told as Rolls-Royce Motor Cars proudly release a collection of 35 model year 2018 RollsRoyce Ghosts, created in homage to the original Silver Ghost’s achievement. In 1904, a pioneering motorist, a brilliant entrepreneur and an intrepid engineer were united by a desire to succeed. Three years later, this success was recognised by the world’s media. An unfathomable challenge unprecedented of its time and legendary to this day, was completed by The Hon. Charles Rolls and Claude Johnson in Sir Henry Royce’s ‘Silver Ghost’. The car achieved a non-stop long distance endurance record of 14,371 miles. This challenge was to shape automotive and luxury history, creating a worldrenowned benchmark for excellence in the process. It was the twelfth 40/50hp chassis, completed with a Barker & Co 4/5 seater touring body, commissioned by Claude Johnson, then Managing Director of Rolls-Royce Limited that was quickly recognised for its ability to demonstrate the marque’s prowess. The ethereally quiet
running of this extraordinary automobile and the silver paint with silver fittings, led Johnson to select this very car for high-profile competitive trials, bestowing the name, ‘Silver Ghost’ upon it. In celebration of this extraordinary feat of engineering excellence, a special collection of model year 2018 Bespoke Ghosts will be created at the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, West Sussex. Thirty-five patrons of the marque will delight in a contemporary masterpiece of automotive history, as the Bespoke Collective of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars envisions the ‘Silver Ghost Collection’. Today, a Rolls-Royce motor car is the ultimate luxury, steeped in narrative, veiled in rarity. A Rolls-Royce Collection Car showcases the extraordinary talents of the Rolls-Royce Bespoke Design team; they are born collectables. These are future classics, destined for the lawns of the great international Concours d’Élégance. Careful consideration has been paid to the defining features of this collection. References extoling the past are skilfully
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hand-crafted into Ghost’s interior and exterior, creating a contemporary homage which speaks as much of today’s great brand as the ‘Silver Ghost’ does of its day. A solid sterling-silver Spirit of Ecstasy, the muse that has guided motor cars created by the marque since 1911, will hint at the pioneering heritage of this motor car’s forebear. A specially created Hallmark of AX201, the registration plate of the original ‘Silver Ghost’, will be marked on the base of each muse by the British Assay office, an honour reserved for few. Alongside these marks, a second unique ‘RR’ Hallmark, the eponymous badge of the marque, will act as the Sponsor’s Mark and authenticate its heritage. A black-gold-plated collar enshrouds the base of the Spirit of Ecstasy, itself bearing the unique identity of this collection. An insert is crafted from hammered copper, in tribute to the copper extensively used in the engine bay of the original ‘Silver Ghost’. The copper, shaped, beaten and textured is engraved with the newly designed AX201 Hallmark. Cassiopeia Silver, a complex Bespoke silver paint that incorporates both warm and cool tones, bathes the exterior of Ghost in a hue that echoes the silver paint of the original motor car. A Bespoke hand-painted coachline, is imbued with fine particles of 100% pure silver, adding to the provenance of this collection. The face of the Model Year 2018 motor car is instantly recognisable as one of 35 in this collection. Black painted grille veins mimic the distinctive black grille of the ‘Silver Ghost’, while the fully-polished wheel centres encircled with ‘SILVER GHOST – SINCE 1907’ engraved on a Cassiopeia Silver backing, echo the fine details of the original car. On opening the doors, accents of a specially created ‘Forest Green’ leather provide a nod to the original interior colour scheme. A newly designed silver tipped leather makes its Rolls-Royce debut, being incorporated onto the front and rear door panniers. Additionally, a silver onlay has been set into the open pore wood of the fascia and door cappings, flanking a solid silver ingot, hallmarked to allow reflection of this motor car’s great lineage. Further reference to the ‘Silver Ghost’ is made via the collection’s clock, styled as an ingot of silver, engraved with ‘Silver Ghost Since 1907’ and once again marked with the distinguishing hallmarks of this collection. The tread plates proudly authenticate each motor car, engraved with the words ‘Silver Ghost Collection – One of Thirty-Five’, while the Rolls-Royce umbrellas, stowed in the doors of each motor car, are edged in a silver-coloured binding and have an open-pore Tudor Oak handle, with the end of the handle engraved to demonstrate its unique origins. A Bespoke central console allows the patron to convey personal accoutrements, accommodating contemporary touring. A timepiece, sunglasses and accessories case is presented alongside a ‘Silver Ghost’ pen, shaped as the speedform of the car; clean, modern and streamlined. As a finishing touch and to complete the collection, a rare and collectable Silver Ghost Hamper will continue Rolls-Royce’s romantic notion of the pinnacle in al fresco dining, proudly displaying a fusion of Bespoke Design with the finest craftsmanship.
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Pomp and Patriotism
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Bedford Park Proms is back and takes place on Sunday 5th August in Bedford Park. The soloist this year will be none other than English soprano Lesley Garrett, known for her cross-over repertoire that stretches from Mozart to Meat Loaf via West End Musicals; reaching places that other opera stars can only dream of. A fantastic leading lady for this years proms.
is a key part of Bedford’s event calendar, welcoming thousands of concert fans with elaborate picnics – some even featuring formal dining tables with candelabra – chairs and blankets for an unforgettable evening.
Joining Lesley will be tenor Jeff Stewart, who enjoys a busy world-wide career and his dramatic tenor voice is much in demand, both in opera and on the concert platform.
VIP Tickets are priced at £105 (adult), £38 (child), and under 5’s go free and include: • Concert Ticket • Fast Track Entry into Bedford Park • Access into ‘The Park Lounge’ hospitality marquee and garden • A glass of chilled Prosecco on arrival (soft drinks for children) • Includes all house beers, wines and soft drinks • Luxury Summer barbecue and gourmet salad bar • Prime Viewing Position • Furniture inside and outside • Access to the Park Lounge Bar • Souvenir VIP event lanyard • Signed programme per couple • Luxury Toilet Facilities
With over 120 performers on stage this will be a magnificent performance as the guest soloists, a 70 piece choir and the London Gala orchestra, conducted by Stephen Bell take to the stage for performances including Handel’s Zadok The Priest, Bizet’s Habanera, Verdi’s Grand March (Aida) and Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King. The musical celebration will culminate with rousing favourites for flag-waving and singing along, including Rule Britannia and Land of Hope & Glory, as thousands of lasers and fireworks light up the sky. Come to Bedford Park for an evening of pomp and patriotism that the whole family can enjoy. You are welcome to bring picnics and your own drink to this event and there will also be a VIP option as Bedford Park Proms
Tickets are priced at £33.50 (adult) £5.00 (child 5-17), under 5’s go free
For further information or to book tickets visit www.bedfordparkconcerts.co.uk
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Brenda Edwards is
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he smash hit musical comedy Hairspray is coming to Milton Keynes this month, and we caught up with Brenda Edwards who plays Motormouth Maybelle.
Tell us about Motormouth Maybelle and what attracted you to the role? I remember watching the original film and then I went to see the Musical in 2007 on Broadway and 2008 in the West End, I really enjoyed the whole show, but was particularly excited by the Motormouth character. Having a son and daughter of my own I could relate to her nurturing, strong, protective side where she has to be in charge and then there is the entertaining side, where she plays her music and has fun with everyone, whilst having that serious side lending an ear or a shoulder if needed, but she does have her own opinion on things and doesn’t mind voicing it. Owning her own record shop I think she is the central hub where all the kids in the neighbourhood can come and hang out – and the songs she sings are just fabulous! She has a big personality just like me, so I think it’s a perfect role. You did the previous tour of Hairspray, what drew you back? I wanted to come back on this tour production for the second time because it really helped to get me through, what I was going through as, when after the first half of the tour, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. The songs in the show are uplifting in so many different ways and performing in the show helped me not to focus on the chemotherapy. One of the songs that I sang and especially drew strength from was, I Know Where I Have Been, the words already had so much meaning to me, and throughout the rest of the tour helped me to stay positive and kept me thinking of brighter days! So I guess to me it was very therapeutic and just what I needed.
How has it been being back in rehearsals? Does it feel different to the last tour? Oh my God, yes! It’s amazing! I thought Drew McOnie’s choreography was a lot the first-time round, (well, it was a lot the first-time round). But, this time round, it’s almost like choreography wise we are doing what we had the first time round and then adding the same amount on again, but all in the same period of time. I also think, as I obviously haven’t been doing much exercise over the last year, I’m finding it a bit harder to get up to speed, but the more we run it the easier it’s becoming - best ‘all singing all dancing’ workout ever!! I absolutely love it, it’s so much fun and the energy levels are so high from the start, all the way through . What can audiences expect from Hairspray? If anyone is not familiar with the show, how would you describe it in three words? Bigger, brighter and beautifuller! I love it! Audiences can expect energy, a lot of laughs some fantastic songs played by a phenomenal band, while at the same time listening to the message which I think is so current - I know, I am sounding like I am a 1960s hippy, but I just wish everyone would just spread the love and get on with one another, put your differences aside, ‘cos there will always be differences of opinion, that’s what makes us individuals no matter what race, size, etc., in the end it’s all about coming together and showing a
united front. Hopefully people will come out of the show thinking, “OK, that’s given me food for thought at the same time as a great nights entertainment. What’s your favourite moment or song in the show and why? I just love You Can’t Stop the Beat because it goes through so many different gear changes – in rehearsals it’s known as Beat 1 Beat 2 and Beat 3 and, as I said, I like the way it just brings us all together, that’s the point where everybody is together and I think its brilliant!
Hairspray is set in the 1960s, but if you could be born in any other decade which one would it be, and why? I love period dramas, especially the style and fashion of tassels and beads etc. I am such a magpie because I love all the shiny things, sequins, beads and diamantes – that’s just me! So, that is the era I would love to be in. Fabulous costumes! Fabulous dresses! Fabulous headdresses!
What’s your all-time favourite musical? Gosh…it’s all the ones I’ve been in of course, but aside from those I did enjoy Motown, The Bodyguard, Les Misérable, and I cried watching Memphis and I absolutely loved Jersey Boys! There were songs in there that I didn’t realise originated from the Jersey Boys. I was singing the whole way through.
What inspired you to go into musical theatre? What was the first musical you saw? I was born and raised in the church. There were a lot of times when we never had microphones, so we had to project, and so I grew up singing in a lot of big spaces - I think in some way I’m drawn to them, but it was Sharon who told me that she was approached by the Producers of Chicago the Musical when I was on X Factor in 2005 to come for an audition, so that was how I landed my first role in musical theatre. It’s such a pleasure, I feel so lucky to be able to perform in all these beautiful theatres. The first musical I saw was Thriller Live, my friend and fellow X Factor teammate Maria was in the show. What do you consider your greatest achievement or highlight of your career away from the stage? I will always say my greatest achievement in life are my children, they are a real blessing. The highlight of my career would have to be recording my debut album Bring It Back, I’m very proud of the songs I wrote and I feel it shows all sides of my personality. If you could dance on any TV show, apart from The Corny Collins Show, which one would it be? And what would be your signature dance move? Strictly Come Dancing with the Jitterbug. Hairspray was originally based on the 1988 film by John Waters, if you could adapt any other film from the 1980’s into a musical which one would it be? Coming to America that’s a very funny film Hairspray runs from Monday 9th - Saturday 14th April 2018 Tickets are available from www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes
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A Winter Wonderland Finland in
Dashing through the snow on a one horse open sleigh, not quite, I WAS dashing through the snow, but it wasn’t on a sleigh, it was, in fact, a snowmobile dashing through the picturesque, Narnia like landscape in Finnish Lapland, an exhilarating, slightly scary experience, but one that is so worth it. It is magical and almost surreal as you zoom through forests glistening with pristine white snow, glide swiftly over frozen lakes, all the while trying to follow your guide and keep in the especially ploughed paths. The views at the half way point are absolutely breathtaking, and if you’re lucky you may just see a stunning sunset over the Russian/Swiss border and this was all part of an amazing four day trip with Inghams in Finnish Lapland. We were staying at the recently opened Star Artic Hotel, located on top of the Kaunispää mountain offering spectacular views over Saariselkä and the Finnish landscape.
With forty Nordic cabins in total, (thirty scenic view suites, eight glass cabins and two scenic view suites with a private sauna), all of which have two storeys and are decorated comfortably and elegantly, with tones of neutrals and greys, underfloor heating, comfy beds and stunning views of either the Artic landscape or the Northern lights. Each has its own private balcony, and the experience of opening the door to a glistening white landscape, minus degrees and your hands wrapped around a steaming hot drink is truly amazing. A great retreat to return to after a busy day enjoying the many memorable experiences on offer. Enjoy a buffet style dinner in the large open plan restaurant, with hot and cold dishes made from fresh local ingredients, that set you up perfectly for an evening of snowshoeing through the forest. A little more advanced than the tennis racket snow shoes of the past, but still they took a little getting used to – legs apart as you walk
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trying not to trip, but trip I did into soft fluffy snow in a forest full of snow-laden trees that look like giant twig men as though reaching out to help you up, as you gaze above them hoping you might just spot the Northern lights overhead. There are plenty of opportunities for seeing the Northern Lights including an overnight stay in an aurora glass roof cabin at the Northern Lights Village in Saariselka, an enchanting way to enjoy the wintery starfilled sky, and if you’re lucky enough the Northern Lights will put in an appearance. Snuggling up on your warm comfy bed, looking out of the heated glass domed roof above, the only thing that separates you and the cold twinkling sky outside, a real magical moment, one you’ll want to cherish, I dare you to shut your eyes and go to sleep! The Northern Lights Village is also home to the Ice Bar and Restaurant, a truly unique dining experience, built fresh each year entirely of ice at a cost of €100,000 , with 20cm thick walls and ranging from -5° to -13° inside. The ice tables are lit with blue lights and chairs are tree trunks with reindeer skins on them, all rather cosy despite the minus temperature. Food is delicious, be sure to try the salmon soup with toasted rye bread, and of course when in Finland no meal would be complete without reindeer, either as a steak or in a stew. Then there’s the drink, you would think a nice warm hot chocolate, but no the drink is a gin and tonic (Napue Gin) with lingonberries, whether you love a gin and tonic or not this is a definite hit and after dinner if you decide it’s too early to go to bed, why not embark on a private aurora hunt, where your own personal guide will drive you to various locations where the conditions are most optimal for the Northern lights to appear – Did we see them? We certainly did – slightly faint but spectacular none the less. The search for the Northern lights is constant whilst you’re here and another fabulous way is to play Bear Gryls and survive in the wilderness for the evening, not as cold and scary as it sounds. Your Northern Lights Wilderness experience has you being driven out to the edge of a frozen lake, where your personal guide is waiting for you, he helps you search for the Northern Lights. Once you start to feel chilly, you can head inside to a cosy cabin on the edge of the lake where a delicious three course meal is freshly prepared for you, serving such delights as fresh salmon cooked over the open roaring fire. In between courses you can pop outside to see if the Northern lights have decided to make an appearance, another bewitching experience on this amazing trip. There are plenty of places to taste true authentic Finnish food, but Laanilan Kievari restaurant has to be amongst the best. A wood panelled cabin with a roaring fire in the middle that you cannot only sit around, you can also watch your dinner being cooked over. Built in 1904 and originally a guest house, Laanilan Kievari is a restaurant that prides itself on ingredients harvested from their own yard and surrounding forests and it’s here you can enjoy dishes such as bear, salmon and of course reindeer – This time shoulder of reindeer that just falls away from the bone and melts in your mouth!
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It’s not only on your dinner plate that you’ll find reindeers, they are all over Finland, roaming free in the forests as well as in working reindeer farms. and it’s here you can enjoy a reindeer sleigh ride within a working farm that’s run by Sami people ( since prehistoric time, the Sami people have occupied the northern parts of Finland, Sweden, Norway and Russia) – after your sleigh ride you can feed the reindeer some lichen, and enjoy some refreshments whilst learning all about the reindeer, their habits, personalities, etc. Tip: DO NOT ask a Sami person how many reindeer they have, it’s an insult and like asking someone how much money they earn. With the minus degrees, over 5 layers of clothing and at least 4 pairs of socks it was slightly daunting when we headed to Kakslauttanen Glass Igloo Village for a smoke sauna and ice swimming – the smoke sauna sounded perfect but ice swimming, had they gone mad? You book a private smoke sauna for you and your friends with your own exclusive dressing room complete with roaring fire (perfect for warming your socks) don’t forget to add the beer and your fire and ice experience begins – warm yourself up in the smoke sauna, then take a run down the path that leads from the sauna to the lake (with your heated woolly socks) and literally take a dip through a hole in the ice into the refreshingly cold spring water – Madness? I’ll let you decide for yourself! The whole trip is like going through a bucket list and ticking off each experience as you complete it, each one seeming your favourite as you do it – but at the end of the trip, you really can’t make up your mind what one really was! BOOK IT
We visited Lapland after in February, when daylight hours are longer and the temperatures are generally warmer. Inghams offers seven nights on half board (including hot buffet breakfasts and three-course buffet-style evening meals) in a standard suite at the brand new four-star Star Arctic Hotel in Saariselkä, Lapland, from £1,519 per person based on two sharing in February or March 2019. Price includes return direct flights from Bristol, Manchester and London Gatwick with airport transfers. For more information and to book, visit www.inghams.co.uk/Lapland or call 01483 791114. The following excursions can be pre-booked through Inghams: · Snowshoeing from £39 per person · ‘Learn to Cross-Country Ski’ package from £110 per adult (including three days’ tuition and seven days’ equipment hire) · Snowmobile safari from £59 per person based on two riders sharing · Sámi museum and Inari Village visit from £59 per person · Overnight stay in an Aurora Cabin at the Northern Lights Village from £199 per person · Reindeer safari and farm visit from £49 per person · For groups of eight or more, ice swimming and a smoke sauna at Kakslauttanen can be organised in resort via the Inghams Representative We flew Finnair on the on the new route from London Gatwick to Ivalo (www.finnair.com).
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Royal Lancaster London at
uilt in the swinging sixties and having seen many an iconic moment pass through its doors including the filming of “The Italian Job” and the premier party of “The Yellow Submarine” by the Beatles, The Royal Lancaster London really is a must on your bucket list of hotels to visit in the Capital. Having undergone an £80 million renovation last year this luxurious hotel holds an envious position close to the bustling shopping districts of Oxford and Bond Street, internationally famed West End theatres, museums and tourist attractions and with Hyde Park just on its doorstep, you’ll be in your element. The lobby is the epitome of elegance, a vast light space with marble floors, luxurious dark wood walls, gold shelves, plush velvet chairs and gorgeous bold flower displays, first impressions are everything and the Royal Lancaster London certainly get this right. Boasting 411 rooms from classic to suites, all designed with luxury and style in mind, offering guests’ unfettered views across London’s open space and skyline. We were lucky enough to stay in a spacious Executive Double room (it was more like a small suite) on the 18th floor (Executive rooms are housed on the upper four floors of the hotel) with of course the most breath-taking panoramic views. Dark wood walls, a peacock blue velvet sofa, neutral soft furnishings, sumptuous crisp white bed linen, quirky accessories including a paper Mache dog made from Beano comics, along with a Nespresso coffee machine, electronic blinds, and a feature mirrored wall behind the bed, giving the sense of even more space. The marbled bathroom was just as opulent with its large walk in shower, and complimentary White Company toiletries, you almost feel you are entering your own personal spa sanctuary.
After spending the afternoon shopping (when in London it has to be done!), we headed back to the hotel to relax in the lounge bar for a couple of cocktails before having dinner in the hotel’s award winning Thai restaurant ‘Nipa Thai’ an oriental gem in the heart of the capital, combining outstanding traditional cuisine and subtle authentic décor with a warm, welcoming ambience – bringing the soul of Thailand to London. The restaurant showcases original Thai artifacts within a beautifully paneled teak interior. Like all the staff within the hotel, the staff at Nipa were no exception and were friendly and helpful. Studying the menu over a glass of cold champagne and some Thai prawn crackers, we decided on the Ruam Mitr (a selection of Thai starters to share), these included spring rolls, Thai fishcakes, chicken and beef satay, deep fried prawn dumplings and steamed dumplings with rice wrappers, accompanied with a variety of dipping sauces simply delicious. The mains were just as flavorsome and authentic and included Kai Phad (chicken and mushrooms with cashew nuts in a light soy and oyster sauce), Phad Kiew Warn Ta Lay (mixed seafood, Thai aubergine and basil poached in a spicy and rich green coconut curry). With intense flavours using only the freshest ingredients, Head Chef, Mrs Nongyao Thoopchoi’s cooking reflects a rich mix of the traditional dishes of Thailand’s central region whilst blending in a variety of regional specialties making dining here a truly divine experience. Then came dessert, a refreshing platter of carved Thai fruits and a white chocolate roulade with lychee sorbet, the fresh sorbet complimented the creamy chocolate
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roulade impeccably – The perfect end to a meal that was faultless in taste, presentation and service. Retiring to our room, the magnificent view of the London skyline at night greeted us; with all its shiny glittering lights it seemed a crime to shut the blinds on such a sight. Breakfast the next morning takes place in the Park restaurant, offering a choice of Continental and English dishes and situated strategically in a corner of the building, giving you the best views of the pedestrian entrance to Hyde Park, just by the Italian Gardens, perfect for people watching over your morning coffee. The Royal Lancaster London is opulent and elegant, with a slight retro twist, a real jewel in the crown of the city of London, with its vast renovation this regal hotel can now live up to its glamorous past. BOOK IT
Prices start from £339 per room in April in an Executive Double room, based on 2 people sharing. Prices start from £2,000 per room in April in a Park Suite, based on 2 people sharing. *Prices may vary from those quoted www.royallancaster.com
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Escape the Ordinary
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Carpe Diem is so much more than a stunning hotel in Santorini. It is a luxury experience like no other. Ultimate exclusivity, unparalleled privacy of Carpe Diem’s 10 suites and its unique location in Pyrgos are what set it apart. Its butler service is designed for a true VIP experience and exemplifies the meaning of superior luxury. Discover how the ultra-luxe boutique spa resort ensures maximum privacy and exclusivity. Away from Santorini’s hustle and bustle but close to all the renowned sights, Carpe Diem is ideally located in the island’s highest village, Pyrgos. Perched on the edge of Pyrgos Hill, the hotel features incredible views. Each suite boasts stunning 270-degree views, with sunset and sunrise visibility from its private pool and terrace. This exclusive boutique resort won “World’s Best Honeymoon Hideaway” and “Europe’s Best Honeymoon Hideaway” in the 2017 Boutique Hotel Awards. It's easy to see why since the hotel was created with true passion, care and expertise. Carpe Diem is also a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World since its opening. The resort’s secluded location ensures you get the most privacy in all of Santorini. The ideal location of each suite's pool also ensures maximum privacy. Carpe Diem’s signature exclusivity doesn’t end there. The hotel’s fine dining restaurant, Gaia, serves fresh, local and authentic cuisine crafted by Santorini’s most influential chef, Vasilis Zaharakis. It is completely exclusive to hotel guests! Meanwhile, the beautiful Althea boutique spa, has been specifically designed for couples seeking seclusion and romantic relaxation. Carpe Diem’s butler service, where guests don’t lift a finger, takes luxury to the next level. Even the manager is called Head Butler. With a staffto-guest ratio of 1-1, the hotel will make you feel like royalty. As well as having just ten uniquely crafted suites, Carpe Diem also has the largest suites in Santorini. This outstanding luxury and unparalleled privacy is what makes it a top destination for CEOs, famous politicians, honeymooners and even Royal families. BOOK IT
Prices start from £297 per night per suite in May in a Alba Suite with Private Pool, including breakfast and transfers. *Prices may vary to those quoted. www.carpediemsantorini.com
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Costwolds to the
Church Cottage in Kelmscott is the latest addition to Luxury Cotswold Rentals, offering much more than meets the eye, cleverly combining honey-hued stone with glass and light to create a beautiful family home.
With five bedrooms and five bathrooms, this rural Cotswold home â€“ close to Kelmscott Manor, William Morrisâ€™ summer residence, has been renovated with care, style and impeccable taste. Transformed with a beautiful kitchen and dining room extension into a light, airy and sophisticated space, the historic cottage is perfect for cosy weekends away, but with the space to house a large family or group. Church Cottage Kelmscott is now exclusively available
to rent through Luxury Cotswold Rentals for the first time. The living spaces flow from snug Cotswold sitting rooms, to a dramatic dining room and kitchen, with views out over the private, enclosed garden, heated swimming pool and selfcontained two-bedroom, twobathroom annexe. Its owner, a passionate art collector and interior designer, has filled the house with mixed contemporary and mid-century artworks purchased from the Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions. Stand-out pieces include works by Elizabeth Wallace, Tess Jaray RA and Anthony Green RA, with midcentury pieces by Scottish painter and
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printmaker Horne Shepherd, Anthony Benjamin – who is exhibited at The Tate Gallery – and Australian artist Franklin White. For those with a passion for interiors, just close by is 17th century Kelmscott Manor, inspirational home and summer retreat of William Morris. One of the Founders of the Arts & Crafts movement, Morris leased Kelmscott with his friend and Pre-Raphaelite artist, Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Once described as ‘this loveliest haunts of ancient peace’, visitors today can still experience the beauty and seclusion that inspired many of Morris’ most important designs and writings, and enjoy and anoutstanding collection of his works as well as of his associates (Benson, Burne-Jones, Rossetti and Webb) including furniture, original textiles, pictures and paintings, carpets, ceramics and metal work. Also on the doorstep is The Plough, an excellent dining pub just a five minute walk away, and The River Thames for Thames Path walks or messing about in a boat rented from Cotswold Boat Hire. Church Cottage (sleeps 12) is available for 3 night weekends from £2,000. For more information or to book visit www.luxurycostwoldrentals.co.uk *Luxury Cotswold Rentals offers over 50 properties, from one bedroom cottages to 12 bedroom mansions. Prices start from £551 for 3 nights or £735 for 7 nights.
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STARS Manish Kumar Arora (K.P. Astrologer, Numerologist, Tarot Card Reader & Vastu Consultant) reveals whatâ€™s in store for you this month
Aries (21 March â€“ 19 April) You might become more intellectually curious now, and academic pursuits are likely to benefit you and run smoothly during this cycle. Business dealings, particularly long-distance ones and those involving publicity and promotion, are likely to be profitable now. You are more attracted to relationships in which you share a common goal or vision, and some of you could find dating or love opportunities through group activities. Favourable Dates: April 2, 3, 11, 20, 21, 30 Favourable Colours: White & Yellow
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Taurus (20 April – 20 May) Your creative abilities are reflected in your outlook on life. Love and romance are life experiences you strongly identify with. Feelings of love, a desire for beauty, and the urge to be creative are strong. You beautify your surroundings and pay particular attention to your appearance. Sharing and comparing your spiritual, religious, or philosophical interests with a friend or loved one may open up a whole new dimension of your relationship. Favourable Dates: April 7, 9, 16, 27, 25, 28 Favorable Colours: Grey & Yellow
Gemini (21 May – 20 June) This is a great time to network and make personal contact with people in positions of authority, as it can contribute good things to your career and image. This transit stimulates a craving for new experiences and diversity in your life. It’s a period ripe with opportunity for attracting others, for turning on the charm, and receiving positive feedback love interests. Love seems to come to you without the need for your pursuing it. Favourable Dates: April 3, 8, 12, 17, 21, 28 Favourable Colours: Red & Yellow
Cancer (21 June – 22 July) This is an excellent time to work on financial planning and strategy. This month brings a responsibility to mind and you’re anxious to take care of business. It’s also an important day for exchanging ideas with others, particularly related to improving home or family life. Warm conversations are likely. Relationships with colleagues would be fairly a good affair while some hitches in the relations with authorities or those above you cannot be ruled out. Favourable Dates: April 1, 9, 10, 18, 19, 27 Favourable Colours: Red & Blue Leo (23 July – 22 August) This is not a time to push yourself or to be involved in activities that require intense competition or a great expenditure of energy. Cooperative, harmonious personal and professional relationships are more important to you at this time. A pleasant, affectionate, relaxed, or courteous attitude eases your interactions now, and may open doors or help lighten troubled situations that you’ve been working with lately. Relationships get a new meaning this month. Favourable Dates: April 1, 9, 10, 18, 19, 27 Favourable Colours: Red & Blue
Virgo (23 August – 22 September) This a quest to develop your inner strength. You want to be productive now. Learning something useful or hearing relieving news can figure strongly now. You might find some conflict involving your pursuit of pleasure this month. Your own values or way of expressing love and affection may differ from someone you encounter now, but because you are willing to please and smooth over differences, all is likely to turn out well. Favourable Dates: April 2, 6, 11, 15, 20, 24 Favourable Colours: Green & White
Libra (23 September – 22 October) This is a time to settle down and think about your own desires and needs. This calmer period will awaken you to the value of the simple pleasures in your life. This is a very positive time in your marriage or closest one-to-one
relationships. Your need to be together and to share loving feelings is very strong. You want to give to your loved ones and may spend generously in order to make them happy Favourable Dates: April 1, 9, 10, 18, 19, 27 Favourable Colours: Blue & Green
Scorpio (23 October – 21 November) This month may not be the ideal time to make long-term commitments, but it has all the potential to be a spiritfeeding, pleasurable time in your life. A romance begun now might be characterized by sensitivity, concern, and care on the positive side, but it could also be a moody, clinging one. You feel quite loving and warm, with a desire to give and receive affection also, your desire for beauty stimulates your creativity. Favourable Dates: April 3, 5, 12, 14, 21, 23 Favourable Colours: Purple & Red
Sagittarius (22 November - 21 December) Your desires are loud, and you’re ready to pursue them directly. You exude even more strength, dynamism, and dominance than usual. You’re growing and improving your relationships, love life, and creative life. You seek meaningfulness now, and you’re proud of what you’re producing and sharing. This could also be a time of purging yourself of literal or psychic “junk”, as there is a sense that de-cluttering your life will be beneficial to your emotional well-being. Favourable Dates: April 4, 7, 13, 16, 22, 25 Favourable Colours: White & Red Capricorn (22 December – 19 January) Your desire for pleasure, ease, and affection is brought to the fore and may interfere with work or complicated situations in which you need to be acting assertively and on your own behalf. Your mood and attitude is conciliatory, and your need for love and approval heightened. Social works and charity deeds shall keep you engaged keeping you off from the main stream of profession. Favourable Dates: April 2, 3, 11, 12, 20, 21 Favourable Colours: White & Yellow
Aquarius (20 January – 18 February) This month brings a newfound identity and a realistic understanding of your own limitations, and your capabilities as well. In terms of career and projects, outward signs of progress may not be as forthcoming, yet the work that you do during this transit will lay a foundation for future success and progress! This phase nudges you along a new path towards a more organized, settled, and secure way of living. Favorable Dates: April 3, 7, 12, 16, 21, 26 Favorable Colors: Purple & Yellow
Pisces ( 19 February – 20 March ) There is a need to nourish both the inner and outer life now, and you tend to see people as the means to feed your well.You may be giving generously of yourself or your services, and this boosts your reputation and appeal. People are receiving you well, and possibly speaking highly of you as well. Drama in romance can be lovely, but too much of it will only leave you yearning and perhaps even heartbroken. Favorable Dates: April 2, 6, 11, 15, 20, 24 Favorable Colors: Red & Purple
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A quiet night in... The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth
The small suburb of Pleasant Court lives up to its name. It's the kind of place where everyone knows their neighbours, and children play in the street. Isabelle Heatherington doesn't fit into this picture of family paradise. Husbandless and childless, she soon catches the attention of three Pleasant Court mothers. But Ange, Fran and Essie have their own secrets to hide. Like the reason behind Ange's compulsion to control every aspect of her life. Or why Fran won't let her sweet, gentle husband near her new baby. Or why, three years ago, Essie took her daughter to the park - and returned home without her. As their obsession with their new neighbour grows, the secrets of these three women begin to spread - and they'll soon find out that when you look at something too closely, you see things you never wanted to see.
Taraji P. Henson is Mary, a hit woman working for an organized crime family in Boston, whose life is completely turned around when she meets a young boy whose path she crosses when a professional hit goes bad. Release Date: 23rd March
Based on the New York Times bestseller, WONDER tells the incredibly inspiring and heart-warming story of August Pullman. Born with facial differences that, up until now, have prevented him from going to a mainstream school, Auggie becomes the most unlikely of heroes when he enters the local fifth grade. As his family, his new classmates, and the larger community all struggle to discover their compassion and acceptance, Auggie's extraordinary journey will unite them all and prove you can't blend in when you were born to stand out. Release Date: 26th March
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Weddings Shows Sunday 22nd April 2018 The Swan Hotel, Bedford
2nd September 2018 The Swan Hotel, Bedford
Sunday 7th October Woughton House Woughton on The Green Milton keynes MK6 3LR
Everything you need for the perfect wedding all under one roof firstname.lastname@example.org
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AFFINITY LUXURY LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE
www.affinitymag.co.uk April 2018
Escape the ordinary to Carpe Diem, a Santorini hideaway
APRIL 2018 ISSUE 83
Lack of exercise may be causing cognitive decline
Delicious Dim Sum at Ping Pong, Covent Garden
Fashion trends you so need this spring
bring the outside in, with floral interiors
Published on Mar 27, 2018
Affinity is a premium quality luxury lifestyle monthly magazine. Targeting men and women who aspire to a luxury way of life.