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CONTRIBUTORS Emma Dance Editor T: 01225 322224

Ann Oddy Advertising Director T: 01749 832303 ann.johnston

Joanne Reynolds Advertising Manager South Somerset T: 01935 709707 joanne.reynolds

Flora Thompson Senior Writer T: 01935 709742 flora.thompson

Christina Sim Fashion Editor


ello and welcome to the final County of 2013! Although it seems like the build-up to Christmas has been going for months already I’m a firm believer that it’s not until the first door of the advent calendar is open that the festive season is really here. But now December has arrived I’m ready to get into the Christmas spirit and this issue of County is dedicated to all things Christmassy! The pages are filled with top tips for helping you create the best Christmas ever, so if you need any inspiration to help you prepare for the big day then this issue is for you. If you haven’t started your Christmas shopping yet, then it’s time to get going and hit the high streets. Our gift guide will give you some ideas for the perfect presents, and we also take a look at Bath’s Christmas Market. If you need help wrapping your gifts, then we have advice for that too, so that your parcels will look lovely under the tree.

Lesley Taylor Interiors Editor

While you’re out shopping, why not treat yourself to a new outfit for the party season – we look at some of the latest fashions. Cooking the Christmas dinner can put even the most accomplished cooks under pressure, but our handy guide will make sure you get your turkey to the table on time with the minimum of stress. We also have some ideas for some delicious Christmas cocktails, which are sure to help get the party started. If you’re expecting guests then you’ll want to make sure that your home is looking simply stunning, from the tree decorations to the table settings.

Kim Beer Business Support Manager T: 01749 832317

Our star interview this month is Bath songbird Gabrielle Aplin who shot to fame last year after her version of The Power of Love was featured in the John Lewis advert. Over the past 12 months she has performed at some of the country’s biggest festivals, including Glastonbury, and has just completed her English Rain tour, during which she returned to the South West to play at Bristol’s O2 Academy. She talks to us about her life in the limelight. Christmas is always a busy time of year, but I hope you find some time to sit back, relax, enjoy the company of friends and family – and of course your latest copy of The County Magazine. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Mtth Lhujl EDITOR




Becky Feather Lead Designer



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Pick out the perfect party dress for Christmas









Christina Sim finds her favourite Litte Black Dresses

How to perfect the sexy, smoky eye, plus fun products to inject some festive cheer into your beauty rituals

Be inspired with our gift guides for him and her

Follow our foolproof guide to getting your turkey to the table on time, plus toast the festive season with these Christmas cocktails





Wow your guests with this goat’s cheese Christmas canape

Get festive in Finland





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We talk to Bath songbird Gabrielle Aplin about life in the limelight

The advantages of buying a new build

Give your home a seasonal spruce-up

Win a Highgrove rose champagne gift set

Don’t forget the outside of your home when you’re putting up the Christmas decorations

We talk to Santa Claus as he prepares for the big day

Get in the Christmas spirit with carol services and the Bath Christmas Market





We go out and about to capture the action at some of the area’s most glamorous events

Get your car ready for winter













■ Blue sequin shift dress £160, Untold, available at House of Fraser





■ Rainbow jewel statement necklace, £29, Accessorize

■ Ben De Lisi red clutch bag, £45, Debenhams

■ Christmas pudding sweater, £28, Next

■ Amba shoes in red, £89, Dune


hristmas is coming, and with it the party season. So what better excuse to go shopping and treat yourself to a new outfit or two? Just call it an early Christmas present to yourself.

Here are some tips to ensure that you are looking fabulous throughout the festive season:

■ Asymmetric maxi dress, £85, Debenhams

colour. Oversize necklaces, statement cuffs and dramatic chandelier earrings are other ways to Accessories can also be a good way to inject a bit give this piece a completely new look at every of colour too if you’re worried about looking a occasion you wear it to. bit drab. It wouldn’t be Christmas without a bit of sparkle, You can change up your style with a vibrant scarf, but to ensure you’re oozing glamour, rather than killer heels or even a cute clutch bag in a bold looking like you fell in a pot of glitter, choose

■ Robin motif knitted jumper, £35, M&S

pearls, studs, sequins, mirrors, spikes, beads and jewels. If you're a little worried about looking over the top, add the sparkle with your jewellery, shoes or accessories. If you really want to make an entrance, choose a shimmery dress, just make sure you accessorise with something a little less shiny.


The Little Black Dress is a timeless classic that can be worn again and again. Simply changing your accessories can give a LBD a whole new look, which is perfect if you’ve got several events and don’t want to be seen in the same outfit twice. Our fashion columnist Christina Sim picks out some of her favourite LBDs on page 12.




■ Fairy princess dresses, £60, Next

Christmas fashions aren’t just for adults either, there are plenty of options for the little-ones too. Junior fashionistas will love this season’s sparkles, and there are plenty of pretty party dresses out there to ensure that she looks just as glam as the grown-ups. And the young gents can look just as dapper, with stylish suits in smaller sizes. For something more casual there are adorable onesies, perfect for curling up by the fire, or classic Christmas jumpers which are sure to keep the kids cosy. If the children really want to go all out then there’s always the option of festive fancy dress, but for something a bit more subtle, but just as fun, try novelty accessories like hats, scarves and gloves. And it’s not just the kids who can have fun with festive fashions. There was a time when no self-respecting fashionista would be seen dead in a seasonal sweater adorned with snowflakes, Christmas trees or reindeers. ■ Bluezoo reindeer onesie, £15, Debenhams




■ George 3-piece set, £46, Monsoon

But now kitsch novelty knitwear is a must-have for winter and the high street is bursting with Christmas jumpers guaranteed to raise a smile.


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1 Mason Cash Reindeer Bowl £25 2 Salter Retro Scales £20 3 Assorted Cookie Cutters from £3 4 Kilner Cliptop Jars from £3 5 Kitchen Craft Measuring Cups Set £11.50 6 Wooden Rolling Pins from £2.50


2 2 3

1 4 3 4

1 Chefmate Bakeware from £4 2 Stellar Roast & Rack was £30 NOW £20 3 Sabichi Roasting Tray & Carving Set was £22 NOW £15 4 Cooksmart Diamante Ovenglove was £7.50 NOW £5

1 Whitakers Finest Glasses Box of Four was £30 NOW £15 2 Whitakers Finest Imperial Bone China Dinnerware from £4.20 3 Red Charger Plate was £4.50 NOW £3 4 Peggy Wilkins Gretel Table Runner was £25 NOW £17.50

PREPARE FOR GUESTS Get ready for visits from friends & family over this Christmas season with our great range of home accessories & gifts.

Hotel Monroe Natural Check Double Bedlinen Set was £110 NOW


Fogarty Supatherm Luxury Fibre 10.5 Tog Duvet Double was £85 NOW



Whitakers Finest Papillon Butterfly Cushion was £22 NOW


Mrs Bridges Christmas Collection £12

Handmade Chrismoose Crackers was £16 NOW £11.20


*Up to 30% off selected lines, while stocks last. Some products only available in selected stores. Please check with your local store to avoid disappointment. Information correct at time of going to press.

YEOVIL 01935 444444 | High Street, BA20 1RU





Stylist Candice Fotheringham goes shopping with County editor Emma Dance


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t’s a situation that every woman knows only too well. For weeks or even months you’ve been browsing the shops, delighted by the new season’s collections, making purchases here and there.

But then an invitation drops into your mailbox, you need a new outfit, and your weekend trip into town completely changes. It now has a purpose but suddenly you can’t find anything you like, sales people are bombarding you with suggestions and instead of being fun, shopping turns into a high pressure task akin to Challenge Anneka.

You’ve brought your other half with you for a second opinion, but after three shops he’s getting fed up and it becomes apparent that his comments are geared towards making sure he’s home in time to watch the football rather than ensuring that you get the perfect dress. This is when employing the services of a personal stylist can really help. I needed something to wear to black tie occasion and, filled with dread at the thought of hunting for the perfect dress I decided to call on Candice Fotheringham, CEO of Fotheringham Styling, to help me in my search. Candice splits her time between London and Bath and has experience of styling men and women of all ages and with all budgets. I had never been shopping with a professional before, and I was slightly nervous, unsure what to expect.


■ Biba dress, £199, House of Fraser

■ M&S Collection Teardrop Diamante Necklace and Earrings Set, £17.50

Style is a very personal thing and I was worried that Candice might try to put me in clothes that were far from my comfort zone. I need not have worried though. Candice is warm and friendly, and before we even went near a shop she spent time getting to know me, asking questions about my tastes and my lifestyle. She explained that for her, this is a very important part of the process, as no matter how wonderful the outfit, no one will look their best if they don’t feel comfortable and confident, so choosing the right clothing is as much about personality as colouring and body type. As we shopped she explained to me the styles that she thought would suit me best and I pointed out colours and styles that I was drawn to. Candice was always honest with me, but never rude, and it was lovely having someone to help make my selections and offer genuine advice and comments, and to help out fetching different sizes and scouring the stores for other options while I tried things on. One of the best things about having Candice along was her ability to deal with the sales people. She knew exactly what she was looking for, and was able to field their suggestions acting as a ■ Autograph Sparkle Diamante buffer between me and them so I never felt Bracelet, £17.50, M&S pressured to buy.

It turned into one of the most enjoyable shopping experiences I have ever had and I came away with an outfit that I love and I can’t wait to wear. Next time I need something special to wear I

won’t be facing the task on my own, I’ll definitely be calling on Candice. Four hours’ personal shopping costs from around £280. For full details on pricing and all the services offered by Fotheringham Styling visit


Having found the right dress Candice helped me to pick out accessories to perfectly complement it, and within just a couple of hours I had a complete outfit, all within my budget.


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Wellness FOR YOUR SKIN Semi-Permanent Make up Wake up to a fresh look everyday with smudge proof make-up that can last for many months even years!

Using precise techniques your specialist, Pamela Rastall, can create or improve the shape and balance of your eyebrows; enhance the shape and definition of your eyes; improve the colour and contour of your lips. All treatments provide a smudge free solution for your make-up needs. We offer you a full consultation and assist you in choosing the shape, colour and style you require. Once, you are happy the treatment will commence. Using state-of-the art equipment your make-up will be tattooed to your specification, creating a natural look that stays in place 24/7. The results will last for months, slowly fading with time. An annual colour boost is recommended to keep the look fresh and realistic.

Medical Micropigmentation

This incredible technique can help to reduce the appearance of scars, stretch marks and help with reducing breast surgery scars and introduce pigment for Aerola reconstruction.


Using MCA dry needling technique scar tissue can be flattened and reduced. In some cases the scar repigments naturally and seems much less of a concern as it blends in with the surrounding skin. Camouflage skin coloured pigments can be implanted to help disguise unsightly areas.

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Vagg Park, Yeovil, Somerset, BA21 3PR | Visit our website for further details on the procedures and beauty treatments we can offer, including special seasonal offers

STYLE GIFT WRAPPED Buy the perfect Christmas gift for a loved one or friend. A Wardrobe Style Analysis or Colour Analysis with a £100 voucher. • • •

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Book a consultation today for yourself or a friend and discover just how good you can look… Here are just some of the ways we can help: • • • •

Style Analysis - For a look that fits Wardrobe styling Colour Analysis - The secret to outstanding style Personal shopping - discover a new you.

Contact Candice on 07564 218061 or Candice@fotheringhamstyling Visit


■ Embroidered satin dress, £79.99, Zara

■ Scuba Bodycon dress by Oh My Love, £39, Topshop

■ Leather look skater dress, £35, Asos

■ Embellished open back velvet dress by Rare, £55, Topshop



South West fashion blogger Christina Sim, from Just So Fashion, shares her favourite Little Black Dresses.


he black dress is a girl’s best friend and a must-have for any occasion. It is such a versatile item in our wardrobes and saves us from many a wardrobe dilemma. The party season is here for the little black dress and there are a lot to choose from out there. It is all about texture this winter so make sure your little black dress has that extra something; look for detailing such as leather, jacquard, velvet, lace or sequins.

There are so many different styles to choose from so I wanted to share with you my favourites on the high street. Look out for the high neck dresses, I personally love them at the moment, they are really chic and sophisticated, but sexy too. Go lacy for that vintage feel, choose sequins for the perfect party dress or be rock chic in leather. Be creative with your texture and style and keep accessories simple so not to take the emphasis away from the dress. If your black dress doesn’t make you feel great then it is not the one for you. Happy Shopping!

For more fashion ideas visit Follow Christina on twitter @justsofashion

■ Sequin and velvet dress, £68, Topshop



■ Lichen Jacquard Floral Dress, £79.99, Asos







s Christmas draws ever closer, we all want to look gorgeous for the end-of-year parties, and regardless of your make-up mantra, finding the perfect update for your cosmetics bag can make you look and feel fabulous.

eyes and polish your overall look. Then, use grey over the eye socket and finish by blending the black in the crease and making a thin statement line around the eye. The black shadow can also be reused every day as eyeliner. To achieve a better application, invest in a high quality eye shadow brush.

A classic smokey eye never goes out of fashion. Many brands offer a trio compact of white, grey For a more show-stopping look try applying some and black shadows, which removes the hassle and false eyelashes. As well as styles that will simply cost of purchasing three individual shades. make your lashes look thicker and longer, there First apply the base of white shading to the whole are also more outlandish designs with sparkles and feathers to really make a statement. eye, up to the brow to highlight a well-defined eyebrow shape. During the colder months your skin can A strong brow will frame your face, widen your




sometimes appear red and dry so it is important

to choose the best colour for your natural skin tone, by first deciding whether you fit into the warm or cool category. Warm girls consist of those with red or dark hair, who tan easily with brown or green eyes. Bold copper and rich red shades will suit you best and catch attention. If you are in the cool colour group, you may have medium brown or blonde hair, with pink pigments to the skin. Delicate pearl and rose tints in lipsticks will bring a sparkle to your eyes. Sleep remains the best healer for your skin and avoid alcohol and caffeine, there will be plenty of time for indulgences at those Christmas parties!

We are delighted to welcome Katie Groves to our Aveda colour and cutting team at Artizan George Street, Bath. I’m excited to be joining George Street because it gives me “ the opportunity to offer my clients that little bit extra. I love

the relaxing environment and believe my clients will too. lImIteD cHrIstmas offer b k ihK i d J d iv £10 di Q d : Ka20 ki .

8a george street Bath www.


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It’s all about you

HaIr treatments wItH an aVeDa ‘wellbeIng’ experIence


e all lead busy lives and at some point you may have noticed that this affects your wellbeing. There are lots of ways you can try to increase, improve or maintain this - from eating healthily, exercising or doing something relaxing after a hectic schedule. A trip to the hair salon is something most of us do on a fairly regular basis and it should be an event that we all consider to be ‘me time’. Primarily you want the outcome to be great looking hair - but what if you could get this and a whole lot more?

Matthew Carr, Director of Artizan Hair Salon on George Street in Bath, wants to give you that extra little bit of service. Matthew says:-“We are an Aveda hair salon and the Aveda ethos is all about beautiful hair and wellbeing. Over the course of the last few months we have refurbished our salon and provided additional training for our staff to help enrich the experiences of our clients.”

A visit to the Artizan George Street salon provides a focus on a nurturing and wellbeing experience - not only for your hair but for you - and now includes a complimentary stress-relieving neck and shoulder or hand massage for all clients, using mood-lifting flower and plant essences, as part of the Aveda Sensory Ritual. It’s the little things that go a long way to showing how valued you are. By adding these treats, as part of the service, Artizan creates a relaxing, nurturing environment, as well as offering excellent hair services by well-trained stylists.

Artizan 8a George Street Bath BA1 2EH To make an appointment: 01225 447087






he bathroom is the one room of the house that often gets neglected at Christmas. After all, it’s not very often you see towel rails adorned with tinsel, or baubles hanging over the bath tub. But just because you might not be decorating your bathroom, that doesn’t mean that you can’t inject a bit of festive fun into your beauty rituals.

1. Have a cracker of a Christmas with the This Works Cosmic Cracker filled with deep sleep dream cream (£9, Space NK). Specifically designed to give you a good night’s sleep, this indulgent cream targets weary hands and bodies, deeply hydrating and moisturising but also induces the peacefulness necessary to drop off after a long day. 2. Relaxing in a long, hot bath surrounded by candles can be the perfect way to unwind after a day spent Christmas shopping. Molton Brown has released a Frankincense and AllSpice Collection especially for the festive season. Scented with top notes of allspice, caraway and ginger, a heart of frankincense, guaiac wood and cypriol with a base of santal amyris, patchouli and vetiver this scented candle (£36) will fill the air with the aromas of Christmas.

1 found on Philips Island in Australia which are the smallest in the world. Crumble under running water to create bubbly glaciers and release the bubble crumble to drift over the foam. Orange flower absolute and Sicilian mandarin oil will refresh and uplift, while cornflour will soften the water.


4. Fortunately this snowman won’t melt when it gets warm. He might look like a Christmas decoration, but this little chap actually contains bath and shower gel. Whether you’ve got kids, or you’re just a kid at heart he’s sure to bring a smile at bath time. £4 from Marks & Spencer.

5. A toasty treat for you, from nose to toes. Philosophy’ old-fashioned eggnog shampoo, shower gel and bubble bath (£14) is a holiday 3. We love these gorgeous Christmas Penguin classic that brings out the spirit of the season in bubbles bars from Lush (£2.95 each) which look everyone. the rich, foaming lather gently cleanses super-cute on the bathroom shelf. and conditions, leaving skin and hair feeling ultra The penguins are modelled on the Little Penguins soft.






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The closer we get to Christmas the busier the high street will become, so if you still have things to buy, get out there before the crowds get too big and the shops start selling out. Finding the perfect gift can be a bit of a headache, but to make your life easier we’ve come up with some ideas for some special gifts.

■ All men are boys at heart and he’s sure to love this ultimate toy – the XBoxone. Prices from around £429 ■ This gift pack from Bath Ales is sure to be a hit. £10.99 from

■ Treat him to a 30minute ride in a Tiger Moth biplane. Aviation was once about freedom and adventure, and this flying experience truly recreates that nostalgic sensation. £250 from




■ He’ll be cosy and warm in this Collezione cardigan. £79, Marks & Spencer

■ This Molton Brown Explorer Set, £40, will ensure that he stays fresh on his travels


■ Show her you love her with this Diamonfire heart locket set, £194, Fabulous

■ This gorgeous cashmere jumper from Tu by Sainsbury’s is ideal for those cold winter days, £45

...AND FOR HER ■ The perfect combination: Hot Chocolate Vodka, £13.99, Marks & Spencer

■ This Jo Malone Christmas Tree Ornament is proof that the best things come in small packages, £20, Jo Malone

■ Every girl loves a new handbag and this stunning Mariella bag in hot pink from Frome-based handbag designers Peony & Moore is sure to get her smiling. £205,





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t’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of Christmas; the wrapping and unwrapping of presents, decorating the tree and the big Christmas dinner.

It can be all to easy to forget that many people might not be so lucky, and charities often struggle during the festive season as people spend money on celebrations rather than donations.


If you’re buying a gift for somebody who has it all, or just want to do something different, virtual charity gifts are a great alternative.


beans? If you know a chocoholic who has everything, then this alternative from Oxfam could be the ideal gift. £19 will help a budding cocoa grower to success. They will get everything from cocoa seeds to tools, training to marketing advice, even help to establish a cocoa-growers’ co-operative.

1. While we might enjoy tucking into a turkey on Christmas Day, turkey rearing is a specialised and profitable activity for farmers in Uganda. For just £20 you can pay for family to get training in animal care and farming from the charity Send a Cow. Then, when they are ready, they can scale up into other projects. With turkeys surprisingly popular in Africa, they make good business sense! Income from the sale of these birds allows families to pay for things like school costs. 2. Chocolate is popular at any time of the year, but especially at Christmas. But how often do you give a thought to the people growing the




3. Why not plant a tree for someone this Christmas? South West Lakes Trust has come up with a novel idea for an ethical Christmas present – ideal when you’re scratching your head to think of something for friends or family who may be difficult to buy for but who love the environment. For a minimum donation of £20 people can choose from a list of native trees and receive a


certificate in the name of their nominated person. Trees will be planted at either Roadford Lake or Wimbleball celebration woodlands and the gift gets recorded in a dedication book that is on display on site. 4. Polar bears depend on Arctic ice to hunt and raise their young. But the ice is shrinking. You can help protect them and their habitat by adopting a polar bear with the WWF. From £3 a month you can help conserve the Arctic region’s rich biodiversity, maintaining a healthy Arctic environment with undisturbed ecosystems and healthy wildlife populations and raise awarenss of the threats of climate change. Adopters will receive a cuddly toy (optional), a magazine three times a year, a factbook, certificate, bookmarks, stickers and more. 5. While millions of children will be unwrapping mountains of presents this Christmas, many children growing up in poverty in the UK don’t have the toys and books they need to learn and develop. Save the Children has a scheme where for £10 you can buy books and toys for a child to help parents stimulate and support their children so they can reach their full potential.



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hen it comes to Christmas presents, it’s the thought that counts and nothing shows your care and attention to gift giving quite like a beautiful wrapping job.

why not continue that theme to your wrapping? Delicate twigs and foliage spray painted and arranged into miniature wreaths and Christmas designs look beautiful and inviting on a brown paper background and are bound to impress your The number one wrapping theme this year has to family and friends. be the revival of brown paper. Suitable for any Interesting gift tags are a great way to liven up a occasion, this is perfect for Christmas as well as present. Get creative and use vintage any other event throughout the year, and gives photographs or maps, different textiles or you a fantastic blank canvas to add your own style typography to produce something really special. It and flair to. Plus it’s cheap, yet always looks bang may be time consuming, but it’ll be worth it. on trend. Remember to think outside the box, and perhaps

Christmas offers the perfect time to bring the outside in, and collect pine cones, holly and berries to decorate the mantelpiece. This year,




save the ribbons for another year. Try twine instead, cloth, buttons, paper doilies and even wax stamps for real impact.

Choose the right paper for the job. Select a medium-weight gift wrap and try to avoid thin inexpensive rolls that can crumple and tear easily. Be aware of the expensive stuff too though; though beautiful it can be difficult to work with as it’s often a heavier weigh and can be resistant to sticky tape. Put the gift in a box, if it isn’t in one already. This optional step will make the gift easier to wrap and it makes it harder for the recipient to guess what it is. If the box has a loose fitting lid then use a small bit of tape to secure it to ensure that it doesn’t fall off as the present is being unwrapped. Measure the paper properly. It’ll make the wrapping easier and ensures neatly folded ends, which give your gifts an elegant look. Plus there will be less wastage. If you mark along your cut lines using a straight edge Sharpen your scissors. If they’re are sharp enough, you can hold the paper and glide the scissors forward for a long, smooth cut with no jagged ‘cutting’ marks, ensuring a professional finish. To make sure that the wrapping is as neat as possible mark along the cut lines before you take the scissors to the paper. Use a straight edge (like a ruler) or you can fold neatly along the line you will need to cut along, unfold, and cut along the fold. For even more tailored wrapping, first tape the paper to the box itself, pull the paper taut, then tape the other side over it. This will help to give you neatly folded ends.

[{lw5i€ 5z{lw FOOD & DRINK



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We’ve put together this handy guide to make sure that not only will your Christmas roast taste amazing, but you’ll arrive at the table happy and smiling too.



hristmas lunch might be the most important meal of the year. So if you’re the one cooking for the family this year, there’s a good chance you’re going to be feeling the pressure.

Even experienced cooks, who happily produce a Sunday roast week in, week out, can be daunted by the challenge of preparing a mountain of mouth-watering festive food. Here’s our guide to helping you keep your cool in the kitchen.. CHRISTMAS EVE

Make stock for tomorrow’s gravy by placing the turkey neck and giblets in a saucepan with a chopped carrot, onion and celery stick, two bay leaves, a few sprigs of fresh thyme and 600ml cold 9.30AM water. Bring up to a simmer, cover and cook for Now is the time to put a 6kg (13lb) turkey (about 30 minutes. Strain, and put in the fridge. 12 servings) in the oven. Adjust timings Make bread sauce and cranberry sauce if you are accordingly for a bigger or smaller bird, bearing in doing your own. Cover tightly with cling film and mind you will need to let it stand for half an hour store in the fridge. before serving. Resting the meat is important as it will make sure it’s tender and succulent. Cover Set the table, leaving flowers until the morning. the turkey with foil until the last half an hour or Put any sauces, mustard and condiments on the so of cooking to prevent over-browning. Sitting table too. the bird on a bed of root veg (such as carrots and Wash and prepare the vegetables. Peel the parsnips), popping some onion, thyme and a potatoes and put them in a pan of salted water couple of cloves of garlic in the cavity and pouring overnight. Peel and prepare the carrots and over a couple of glasses of red or white wine will sprouts and store them in a bag in the fridge. help keep the meat as moist as possible. Take frozen turkeys out of the freezer to ensure 10AM they’re fully defrosted before tomorrow. For Prepare the pigs in blankets (chipolatas with defrosting times allow the following: In a fridge, streaky bacon rashers wrapped around them). about 10 to 12 hours per kg. In a cool room, three to four hours per kg, longer if the room is 10.15AM particularly cold. And at normal room temperature (about 20C, 68F) two hours per kg. Baste the turkey.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has the following advice for cooking turkeys: as a general guide, for a turkey under 4.5kg, allow 45 minutes per kg, plus 20 minutes; for one weighing between 4.5kg and 6.5kg, 40 minutes per kg, and for those over 6.5kg, 35 minutes per kg at 180ºC, 350ºF, Gas Mark 4 (after the oven has preheated). These times are for an un-stuffed bird. It is safer to cook stuffing separately in a roasting tin, but if you decide to cook your turkey with the stuffing inside, allow extra time for the amount of stuffing and the fact the bird cooks more slowly. Remember, some ovens, such as fan-assisted ovens, might cook the turkey more quickly so always check your oven’s handbook.


Baste the turkey one final time, then take off the foil so that the turkey skin can brown. Pour excess juices from the turkey into a jug, leave to cool and pop it in the fridge to de-fat (the hardened fat will form a layer on top). You don’t need to bother with this if you are using cheat gravy. 1PM If you are serving red wine open it now to allow it time to breathe.


Put your plates and vegetable dishes in to warm.

Preheat the oven to 180C/ gas mark 4.


Take the turkey out of the oven. Check it is cooked by inserting a meat thermometer into the inner thigh area near the breast but not touching the bone. It should reach around 82C. If you don’t have a thermometer, poke a fork in this area and check the juices run clear. If the To prepare, take the potatoes and parsnips you thermometer doesn’t read hot enough, or the peeled last night and parboil them for 10 minutes juices are still pink, pop it back in the oven for in salted water. Drain and give them a shake to another 15 minutes. If you’ve put the stuffing get that crinkly edge in the potatoes when they're inside the bird the stuffing temperature must roasted. reach 73C to be safe. Once the turkey is cooked, Carefully tip them in to a roasting tin with oil take it out, cover with foil and a clean tea towel (you can add crushed garlic for flavour if you on top of that. This keeps the turkey warm for 30 like). Put them in the oven for 40 minutes. -45 minutes. If your turkey is going to take up all the space in your oven, roast your potatoes and parsnips for 40 minutes now and finish them off later when the turkey is out the oven and resting.

1.40PM Put the potatoes and parsnips back in the oven to finish roasting and put the water for veg on to boil. Cook the prepared veg to the following timings: finely-sliced carrots and Brussels sprouts - six to eight minutes; broccoli five minutes; frozen peas two to three minutes. 1.50PM Make the gravy, with granules, or by pouring three tablespoons of fatty juices from the turkey roasting tin into a pan and stirring in three tablespoons of flour. Cook, stirring, for about one to two minutes until lightly browned. Stir in the turkey stock you made yesterday, along with 150ml of de-fatted turkey juices, and a splash of red wine. Bring to the boil, stirring. Add a little gravy browning, season to taste and simmer, uncovered, for five minutes.

Baste again. This is also the time to check you 2PM have your white wine or champagne chilling. At this time of year it’s so cold you can put it in the Everything should be ready! Get one person to garden, rather than the fridge, if there isn’t room. carve the turkey on to warmed plates while someone else puts all the veg into warmed NOON dishes. Reheat the bread sauce in the microwave Baste the turkey. while you are doing this. 12.45PM Bon Appetit!



Time to put in your wrapped sausages and stuffings to cook.

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Turkey Jar of cranberry sauce or the ingredients to make fresh Ingredients for bread sauce, or a cheat's microwave version Ready-made fresh stuffings in oven trays Brussels sprouts Carrots Broccoli Frozen peas King Edward potatoes for roasting Parsnips Onion Celery, bay leaves, gravy browning (for fresh gravy) or gravy granules if you don't want to make fresh Fresh thyme sprigs Garlic Cocktail sausages Streaky bacon Wine for the meal


Finally check the stuffed weight of the turkey to work out how long the bird will take to cook.




FOOD & DRINK These are quick and easy to put together and are sure to be a big hit with visitors. Get the festivities off to a glamorous start with this delicious party drink recipe from Waitrose. A Negroni is traditionally served as an aperitif but no need to stick to the rules with this festive tipple. Ingredients 1 large navel orange 8 whole cloves 200ml Plymouth Gin 200ml Martini Rosso 160ml Campari Method Using a vegetable peeler, carefully remove 8 pieces of zest from the orange and set aside. Squeeze the juice of the orange into a large jug and add the cloves. Pour the gin, Martini and Campari into the jug and add plenty of ice. Stir well, then strain in to chilled, ice-filled tumblers or Martini glasses as quickly as possible. Serve immediately, with a piece of orange zest curled into a twist in each glass.

â&#x2013; Negroni is a delicious party drink


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FOOD & DRINK Festive Spiced Coffee Cardamom is a natural partner for coffee and also works deliciously with orange flower, making this delicately spiced coffee cocktail, created by DeLonghi, perfect for Christmas. Ingredients 3 cloves 4 cardamom pods Half stick/4cm cinnamon 1 shot espresso 30ml dark rum 25ml single cream 4 drops Valencia orange flower essence Ice Method Bash the cloves, cardamom pods and cinnamon stick lightly in a pestle and mortar. Add them to the shot of espresso and leave to steep for 10 minutes. Add to a cocktail shaker with a cup of cubed ice and all the other ingredients. Shake and fine strain (using a fine sieve or tea strainer to catch the spices) into a coupe or cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange peel twist.

Move over mulled wine, it’s all about warming beer cocktails as the winter nights draw in.

Braconnier is reminiscent of old ale flips which traditionally combined spiced Cognac with sugar and ale warmed with a hot poker from a fireplace. We’re not suggesting using a poker to warm your beer, but the flavours found in Badger’s Poacher’s Choice +++of liquorice and damson, when added to Cognac and mulled wine spices, create a contemporary twist on an old favourite. Ingredients 25ml Cognac 2 heaped tsp brown sugar 1 tsp ground mulled wine spices ½ bottle of Badger’s Poacher’s Choice Method Put all the ingredients into a pan and gently warm on a stove. Strain into pre-warmed half-pint glasses. Garnish with a clove-studded orange wedge.

Enjoy Egg Nog, a sweet and creamy Christmas tipple laced with brandy, to keep out the winter cold Ingredients 1140ml/2 pints whole milk 6 free-range eggs 50g/2oz caster sugar 1 vanilla pod, split 20 fresh cherries, stones removed and halved 200ml/7fl oz brandy Cocoa powder, for dusting Method Place the milk, eggs, sugar and vanilla pod in a medium pan and heat gently, without boiling, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. The egg nog can be chilled at this stage or served hot. Scatter the cherries in the bottom of each serving glass. Divide the brandy between the glasses and pour the egg nog over. Dust with cocoa powder and serve.


Braconnier is a winter cocktails created by mixology legend Nick Strangeway for Badger Ales.




RESTAURANT WITH ROOMS Nestled in the heart of Somerset, one of the UK’s most beautiful counties, the Crossways Inn offers sumptuous comfort, excellent service and extensive facilities. This is all within easy reach of the country’s most stunning scenery, popular landmarks and ‘must visit’ destinations.


ith an AA 4 star rating and newly awarded rosette, The Crossways offers a touch of affordable luxury, great customer service and easy access to some of the UK’s most popular landmarks, local attractions and destinations.

Following a refurbishment programme costing more than one million pounds, the Crossways has been sympathetically transformed into a stylish venue with rooms that are crisp and modern in style with fantastic views across the Somerset hills. The inn blends traditional features with contemporary design, creating a country inn feel with a friendly, stylish and lively atmosphere. Today, the Crossways caters for a wide range of individuals and occasions. From friends enjoying a quiet drink, families celebrating a birthday, wedding parties and corporate events, through to providing a well-earned rest for ramblers. As well as the stylish bar area, extensive dining facilities and multiple function suites the Crossways provides 13 en-suite rooms with HD flat screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, a beautifully appointed roof terrace and ample parking facilities. With three functions rooms, the Crossways offers the ideal venue to hold parties for family celebrations, anniversaries or corporate events. With a wealth of experience in planning, decorating and hosting these occasions the team provides a great range of buffet style food prepared from the very best ingredients. The Crossways use only the freshest, locally sourced ingredients from Somerset suppliers to create a range of contemporary and classic dishes. Menus feature well priced, high quality dishes celebrating the best of the season with a wide range of starters, main courses and desserts. The head chef places as much importance on the preparation of a bar snack as he does for a full à la carte meal so traditional pub classics are served with the same attention to detail. A children’s menu is provided as well as a full Sunday Carvery. Guests can enjoy a wide choice of wines and spirits as well as a variety of popular beers and local ciders. Great importance is placed on helping diners select the appropriate drink to complement their menu choices. Crossways are now taking bookings for Christmas parties and New Year’s Eve banquets. Weddings and corporate event bookings are welcome throughout the year. The Crossways offers great service, with modern accommodation and facilities coupled with high quality food and wines which can be enjoyed in an area of outstanding natural beauty.




The Heart


Special offerS New menu: 2 courses from £14.75 per head Sunday Carvery: From £7.95 per head Christmas party: From £16.95 to £22.95 per head New Years Eve banquet 6 - courses at £35 per head Accommodation: £35 per person per night

The Crossways, Stocks Lane, North Wootton, Nr Wells, Somerset, BA4 4EU Tel: (01749) 899000 Fax: (01749) 890476

FOOD & DRINK GOAT’S CHEESE CANAPES INGREDIENTS 250g goat’s curd – you could use a decent soft goat’s cheese instead 4 small cooked and peeled beetroot – not pickled A small chunk of honeycomb (recipe below) Granary bread – sliced, cut into 20 discs about 4cm in diameter 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon honey Honeycomb 250g sugar 3 tbsp honey 2 tbsp glucose 3 tsp bicarbonate of soda Splash of water

METHOD To make the honeycomb: • Place the sugar, glucose, honey and the water into a large saucepan – this is important because your honeycomb will puff up and swell as it cooks. • Place a sugar thermometer into the pan and slowly bring the contents of the pan to 150 degrees. • Turn the heat off and add the bicarbonate of soda and whisk briefly just until the mixture begins to puff up – it will start to look like honeycomb at this stage. It will quadruple in size. • Tip the very hot mixture very gently and carefully onto a tray lined with silicon paper and leave to cool. • Store the honeycomb in an airtight container in a cool dry place until required.



hether you love making canapés for entertaining, or usually provide your guests with a dry roasted peanut (or an olive if they’re lucky!), on Christmas Day a nibble with a pre-lunch drink is the perfect idea.

The honeycomb may seem a little ‘scientific’ but it can be done well in advance of the big day. You could buy the honeycomb of course but I suggest you give making it a go and then spend all of Christmas Day bragging about your talents!

This recipe will make more than you need, This recipe, crested by Paul Merrett for Cono Sur Vineyards and Winery, is simple so dip the remainder in melted dark chocolate for an after lunch treat. to put together and tastes amazing.

WINE MATCH Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier This fresh and peachy white wine is packed with stone fruit flavours to ideally complement the sweet, salty stickiness of these delicious canapés. Tasty and with a full character, this wine is also great with sweet and sour dishes. Stockists: £6 in Morrisons until January 6 £5.50 in Asda from December 5 to January 1 £7.49 from Ocado



To assemble the canapé • Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan and gently fry the granary bread discs so that they are golden brown and lightly crunchy. • Dice the cold, cooked beetroot – about ½ cm cubes. • Spoon a generous dollop of goat’s curd onto each disc so that it covers about 2/3 of the disc. • Place a small dollop of the diced beetroot on top of the goat’s curd. • Smash some honeycomb to the size of coarse breadcrumbs and sprinkle over the canapés. • Drizzle over some honey and serve.





FINLAND Emma Dance heads off on an Arctic adventure




■ Go Christmas shopping at a Finnish market


■ Senate Square in Helsinki


t’s the perfect festive image - waking up on Christmas morning to a blanket of snow. But while we might be dreaming of a white Christmas, the big day is more likely to be grey and drizzling then crisp and cold.

Take a winter break to Finland, however, and you’re guaranteed to be at least knee deep in the white stuff. Helsinki is a great place to start a Finnish adventure, whether you choose to stay for a few days, or just a quick 24-hour stopover before venturing even further north. If you are visiting close to Christmas, a wonderful way to get into the festive spirit is to visit one of the city’s many Christmas markets.

There are regular shuttle buses from the airport into the city centre too so the sights are easily accessible. While Helsinki has plenty to offer, travel north and you’ll find plenty more fun. Finnair has flights going all over Finland from Helsinki so it’s easy to get wherever you need to go. On the edge of the Arctic Circle, and the official home of Santa Claus, the city of Rovaniemi is great for a family trip. It might have city status but actually it’s very small and is easily walkable. The city itself has little in terms of sightseeing, although there’s an amusing Angry Birds theme playpark and the Arktikum museum has some fascinating displays about Finland’s Arctic regions. There’s also a section especially for kids, and the chance to see a Northern Lights show in case


The St Thomas Christmas Market in Senate Square has around 120 stalls selling traditional Finnish crafts and foods which make wonderful gifts and souvenirs and you can keep yourself warm by sampling the Gloggi - the Finnish version ■ Kakslauttanen Hotel and Igloo Village of mulled wine. difficult so don’t plan to get anywhere too Senate Square is also a good place to start quickly, or plan to use public transport to get sightseeing too as the square and its surroundings around. Buses and trains are very reliable, even in make up the oldest part of Helsinki. the very worst weather, and are relatively cheap. Surrounding the square is Helsinki Cathedral, the Glo hotels have a few hotels in the Finnish Government Palace, the main building of the capital. Housed in an Art Nouveau chateau, the University of Helsinki, and Sederholm House, Glo Art has lots of character and is well situated central Helsinki’s oldest building, dating from in the heart of the design district so there’s 1757. plenty to see and do on the doorstep, and the The average temperature in Helsinki during hotel also has interesting art on display inside. December is around -4C, but it’s not uncommon If you’re only staying in Helsinki for a short time, for it to drop much lower, and the wind can however, or your flights arrive very late or leave make it feel even colder, so if you are planning on very early, you might like to consider the Glo being outside for any length of time, make sure airport hotel. Situated inside the terminal and you wear plenty of layers and have shoes with a only a few minutes from the gates, the location is good grip for negotiating the slippery pavements. incredibly convenient, and you can hop from The snow and ice can make walking around plane to hotel without having to brave the cold.




■ Marvel at real-life Christmas card scenes

you’re not lucky enough to catch the real thing.

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Trying to catch the real life light show, however, is a must if you’re in Rovaniemi. There are numerous companies that offer excursions, with guides who will take you to the best possible places to spot the natural phenomena.

Finnair flies from Heathrow and Manchester to Lapland via Helsinki.

You’ll be kitted out in snowsuits, boots and hats (all included in the price) but nonetheless be prepared for some extreme temperatures.

For more information visit For more information about Rovaniemi visit

It’s worth the effort though as the aurora borealis is genuinely breathtaking and in the moment when they first appear, I can guarantee you will forget about your numb fingers and toes.

To find out more about Lapland visit More information about Finland can be found at

There are plenty of other trips on offer too - like meeting huskies, then having the chance to drive a sled through the forest, or outings on snowmobiles.

Rooms at Kakslauttanen Hotel and Igloo Village start from around £200 a night. Visit

Whether you’ve got kids, or you’re just a kid at heart, you can’t visit the official home of Santa Claus without paying a visit to the man himself.

For more information about Glo Hotels go to

A short drive from the city, and just inside the Arctic Circle is Santa Claus Village where you can meet Father Christmas and visit the elves in the post where all the incoming mail is sorted. If you want to experience a real winter wonderland, go and stay at the Kakslauttanen Hotel and Igloo Village which is a real winter wonderland. When you arrive, you load your bags onto sledges and are given a map to your accommodation - either a log cabin with a sauna and log fire, or one of the igloos where, if you are lucky, you can lie in bed and watch the Northern Lights. There are plenty of excursions running from the hotel, and there’s a bus stop outside which will take you to the nearest town of Saariselka if you want to touch base with civilisation, but the real appeal of Kakslauttanen is the peace and quiet, and feeling as if you’ve just stepped straight into a scene from a Christmas card. Interview with Santa, page 58-59




■ The Northern Lights








BOXING DAY RACING Tickets from just £8.00

Fantastic restaurant & ticket packages available from just £55 Gates Open: 10.30am Fantastic fun for the whole family at Christmas For full package details please visit our website

WWW.WINCANTONRACECOURSE.CO.UK Ticket hotline 08445 793014

Holidays ARE COMING!

Are you ready?

The festive season is upon us already and with so much to do it’s time to get planning to ensure everything goes the way you want, with the least amount of stress possible. Our Christmas guide will help you to focus on the most important things this Christmas, get the home looking it’s best and ensure fun is had by the whole family. Firstly, why not set a Christmas budget. We all know how buying presents, food and decorations can add up and sometimes costs can spiral out of control. If you know exactly how much you plan to spend on each area, you’ll be more careful when you hit the shops.

This year why not start a few family traditions, or focus on keeping up old ones. Traditions during the holidays make us feel connected to one another and to something larger than ourselves. They offer a sense of certainty and comfort. Whether it’s baking some cookies for Santa and leaving them with a glass on milk or opening a present on Christmas Eve, the whole family will love creating these special moments.

Finally, relax and enjoy the festivities. With the buying and wrapping of presents, the planning and cooking of the family dinner and making sure everyone’s having a good time, it’s easy to forget to sit back and take in the wonder that is Christmas. Listen to your favourite festive songs, take a walk through the winter wonderland and treat yourself to a few treats; whether that’s a glass of mulled wine or a tin of chocolates.

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Top tips for wrapping the perfect present

When it comes to Christmas presents, it’s the thought that counts and nothing shows your care and attention to gift giving quite like a beautiful wrapping job. But with so many colours, designs and patterns out there, how do you ensure a wrapping theme that will look attractive under your tree as well as appealing to your loved one?

This year, why not continue that theme to your wrapping? Delicate twigs and foliage spray painted and arranged into miniature wreaths and Christmas designs looks truly beautiful and inviting on a brown paper background and is bound to impress your family and friends as the presents are passed round.

Choose the right paper for the job. Select a medium-weight gift wrap and try to avoid thin inexpensive rolls that can crumple and tear easily. Be aware of the expensive stuff too though; though beautiful it can be difficult to work with as it’s often a heavier weigh and can be resistant to sticky tape.

The number one wrapping theme this year has got to be the revival of brown paper. Suitable for any occasion, this is perfect for Christmas as well as any other event throughout the year, and gives you a fantastic blank canvas to add your own style and flair to. Plus it’s cheap, yet always looks bang on trend.

Interesting gift tags are a great way to liven up a present. Get creative and use vintage photographs or maps, different textiles and textures or typography to produce something really special. It may be time consuming, but it’ll be worth it.

Measure the paper properly. It’ll make the wrapping easier and ensures neatly folded ends, which give your gifts an elegant look. Plus they’ll be less wastage.

Remember to think outside the box, and save the ribbons for another year. Try twine instead, cloth, buttons, paper doilies and even wax stamps for wrappings with real impact.

Sharpen your scissors. If they’re are sharp enough, you can hold the paper and glide the scissors forward for a long, smooth cut with no jagged ‘cutting’ marks, ensuring a professional finish.

Christmas offers the perfect time to bring the outside in, and many of collect pine cones, holly and berries to decorate the mantlepiece.

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Coach Hire Holidays Day Trips Events

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As we enter the Christmas season, thoughts turn to what we’ll be wearing this winter and how our beauty regimes will change. We’ve gathered our top tips for looking great this year. If you’re feeling the need for a new hair style this season why not consider the long bob, one of the hottest looks with celebrities right now. It’s a style that suits all face shapes and can be styled to be straight or wavy, giving you plenty of options. And if you’re thinking about changing your hair colour too, why not consider going red. Warming up all skin tones, it’s a favourite choice in the winter and with A-Listers like Scarlet Johansson and Drew Barrymore.




If you’ve spent the summer with beach ready tousled hair, now is the time for a polished new look. Invest in a good straitening treatment for that perfect sleek finish. This is also the perfect time to invest in a new brush to ensure your hair’s looking its best as we get ready for Christmas. The trend for fuller brows continues into the winter so don’t get tweezer happy. Simply pluck stray hairs when you need to and fill in your browns with a pencil one shade lighter than your

natural colour for a softer, more natural effect. Finally, when it comes to nails this season, you don’t need to look any further than green. From military shades to olive green and apple, it’s the colour that will keep you looking bang on trend and will pop against fashionable colours like plum and navy.

Be inspired this Christmas at Otter Nurseries

Good Enough to Fool Santa! Artificial Christmas Trees Now Available

Visit us to revel in the magic of Christmas with inspirational gift ideas & decorations for all the family. At our garden centres we have everything you need to make your Christmas magical and to help you relax and enjoy this time of year. With our passion for celebrating the Christmas season & creating magical displays, we guarantee all the family will enjoy a visit to Otter Nurseries. Indulge in the Christmas spirit and start your festive season with us.

Opening Times: Monday to Saturday 9am to 5:30pm Sunday 10:30am to 4:30pm (Closed Christmas Day & Boxing Day) Open until 9pm at Ottery St. Mary & Plymouth each Wednesday for late night shopping from the 14th November until the 19th of December Open New Years Day from 9am to 5:30pm

Otter Nurseries Garden Centre, Bruton Road,Wincanton, Somerset BA9 8HA Tel: 01963 33134 - Email:

STAR INTERVIEW Emma Dance caught up with Gabrielle Aplin who shot to fame last Christmas with her haunting version of Frankie Goes to Hollywoodâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s The Power of Love. Pictures by Chad & Paul




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year ago you probably hadn’t heard of Gabrielle Aplin. But last Christmas the songstress from Bath was thrust into the limelight when her version of The Power of Love was used in John Lewis’ Christmas advertising campaign, beaming her angelic voice into homes all over the country. Last December the song topped the singles charts, but Gabrielle’s success didn’t stop there. Her debut album, English Rain, reached number two on the album charts and she can also count to her credit seven UK sell-out tours, performances at some of the UK’s biggest festivals and more than 20 million views on YouTube. “The last year has been pretty mental,” said Gabrielle. “But it has been great. I’m so happy with everything I have achieved.” And so she should be - she’s come a long way from the girl who taught herself to play piano and guitar and started out by recording songs in her bedroom. She might be a rising star on the music scene but Gabrielle has kept her feet firmly on the ground and her humility makes her even more charming and likeable. “I don’t think of myself as being famous at all,” she says. “My life is very normal. Nothing has really changed if I’m honest. I still see my friends and my family all the time. “I have the perfect balance of everything.” Gabrielle recently celebrated her 21st birthday, but while other starlets in her shoes might have hit a swanky London club for a night of

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champagne-fuelled debauchery, she opted for something more low key. “I actually had a day off,” she laughs. “It was really nice.”

Last month Gabrielle took to the road for her English Rain tour, which was a culmination of a year of hard work for the former City of Bath College student and saw her returning to the South West to perform at Bristol’s O2.

“It was great,” she said. “I love my band, we’re all friends, so it’s like going on a little holiday. “I love playing in Bath and Bristol, the crowds there are always really good.”

And while it might have been a cover version that put her in the public eye, she is a talented

■ Gabrielle taught herself to play the piano and guitar


There’s a disarming honesty about Gabrielle. Despite the media attention she has gained over the past 12 months, when she speaks, nothing feels rehearsed or contrived, and this honesty is reflected in her songwriting.




■ Picture: EMI/Richard Skidmore

songwriter and English Rain is almost entirely her own work. “I just write about what I know and people my age can relate to it,” she says. “The older the get, the more I will have to write about. I think I’m improving all the time. “The John Lewis advert was great though because it enabled me to get out to an audience I wouldn’t have been able to reach otherwise.” Although from the outside it may appear as if Gabrielle has had a meteoric rise to fame, in fact her success is the result of years of writing and gigging and posting her songs on YouTube. At age 17, she quit sixth form, left Bath and moved to London to pursue her dream. She started her own record label and continued posting online, gathering fans along the way, until signing to Parlophone last year. “It’s all been very gradual,” she says. “It has never felt like hard work because it has happened over a long period of time. Now I just feel like I’m doing what I should be doing.”




■ Gabrielle Aplin’s new album, English Rain; says the 21-year-old: ‘I just write about what I know and people my age can relate to it’


\ol ul~ APPROACH


uying a new-build property can be a smart way of creating a ready-made home. They can offer many advantages over their older counterparts, such as being more energy efficient and including the latest fixtures and fittings.

Myra Butterworth, web editor at talks about the advantages of buying new build.

• NHBC membership: When looking for a new-build house, check that any builders you come across are members of the National House-Building Council (NHBC) to ensure the

to negotiate with builders for retentions and they can advise you about delaying completion until problems or snags are sorted out by the builder. If possible, try to use an independently selected

property is built to a high quality. The NHBC will solicitor or perhaps one that family or friends inspect the property to check that standards are have used. being maintained during construction. And the purchase of the property may also • Snagging: The term ‘snagging’ is used to describe include financial incentives from the developer. minor errors or defects in the property that will • Negotiate with the house builder or agent need to be corrected by the builder. Before the But there are other things to consider as well, to handling the sale: You may be able to negotiate legal completion date, make sure you – or a the price if there are homes that have remained ensure your purchase goes smoothly. These professional snagging company – conduct a include choosing a property developer that meets unsold for longer than expected on the thorough snag inspection of the property to developer’s site. If the builder has targets to your requirements and conducting sufficient identify any problems that need addressing. These achieve and the properties need to be sold property inspections. sooner rather than later, you may just be able to might include doors not opening and closing Buyers can search for new builds on the Zoopla properly, fixtures not being installed correctly, or negotiate a better price. In addition, see if you website by using the ‘new homes’ tab on the faulty water pressure. can negotiate extras into the deal, such as home page. flooring, having the garden and curtains. • Re-inspect your property: After the first six Here are some important points to remember months of living there, conduct another • Choose a solicitor that has experience of when buying a new build: new-build homes: They will have the experience inspection, or note down any problems since




you’ve been living there and notify the developer in writing. Your builders are obliged to fix problems identified within the first two years of completion, otherwise the NHBC will.


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â&#x2013; Take inspiration from Scandinavia and opt for traditional decorations with a contemporary edge -


48 48



Interior designer and member of the BIID Lesley Taylor is the Design Director of Taylor’s Etc.

Follow Lesley Taylor’s guide to turning your home into a festive den of loveliness.


f you’ve been experiencing a warm, fuzzy feeling lately, it’s probably because Christmas is on its way and it will be a result of sheer panic or uncontrollable excitement.

The adverts are on the TV, the biscuits and chocolates are on offer in the supermarket and it won’t be long before the decorations are up.

I absolutely love this magical time of year; cosy nights in by the fire drinking mulled wine, indulging in home-made mince pies, and department stores full to the brim with sparkly decorations. Most of all, however, I look forward to spending time with friends and family who, due to hectic schedules, I haven’t seen as much of as I’d have liked throughout the year. It’s the perfect opportunity to forget about work for a moment or two and enjoy the company of loved ones. This column is dedicated to those of you who have been chosen to host the most important meal of the year – Christmas lunch. First of all, well done for putting yourself forward; I know only too well how stressful it can be.

■ Holiday cheer in the kitchen, and what better way to cook the Christmas dinner than in an authentic range cooker like this one from Rangemaster

Let’s start with the essential ingredients: table and chairs. December is generally the dining table’s busiest time of year, so it’s important that it looks fresh and inviting. If ever there was a good time to replace a shabby, worn-out dining set for a lovely new one, it’s now. There are so many options available to you, depending on the style of your home, be it classic, contemporary or traditional. From antique shops to High Street chains, there’s an option out there for every taste and every budget. In fact, you can pick up a brand new table and chairs for under £300 on the high street if you like in the right places.

Or if your dining table is still in tip-top condition Secondly, if you’re worried about how you’re but the chairs are looking a little weathered, why going to create the perfect setting for your guests not put your creative skills to the test and – fear not, I’m going to talk you through it reupholster them with a beautiful fabric. This is step-by-step. the perfect way to customise your dining set and inject a sense of personality, without breaking the bank.

Undoubtedly the most creative part of this process will be dressing the table. It’s a very special meal, so put as much effort into making a wow-factor setting as possible.

■ Candles help set the mood

Before you make any purchases, decide upon a theme. Make sure it’s consistent throughout and in keeping with your existing decor. For a traditional look and feel, get the children or grandchildren involved? Help them to bake and decorate gingerbread men, make edible napkin rings and prepare clove-studded oranges finished with pretty red bows.

■ Beautiful, rich fabric creates a festive interior – Maybeck Vintage drape fromWarwick’s The Red House collection

These little touches are fun to make, look great and will give the day a truly special, personal feel. It will also keep the little ones occupied for a few hours, which is a hard task when they are counting down the days for when Father Christmas will arrive. Another fun and creative exercise the kids can get involved with is making scrolls for the table. Simply photocopy old sheets of music, dab with used tea bags, burn the sides with a candle and roll up and ribbon – easy-peasy and you can be rest assured your guests will be overwhelmed with all the effort that’s gone into these hand-made extras. If, however, you’re home follows a strictly


To ensure the bottoms of your guests are as comfortable as can be, why not treat them to a cushion each. The cushions must, of course, complement the chosen colour scheme of your dining area, but we’ll come to that a bit later on.



INTERIORS ■ A beautiful silver and white theme

modern theme, decorate the tree and table with clear glass baubles. Place a long vase in the centre of the table and simply fill with an array of glass baubles; it’s a quick and easy way to make an impact. Whatever theme you decide to go with, make sure it runs consistently throughout the home, from the wreath tied to the front door, into the hallway and then the lounge and dining room. Next to think about is colour. Gold, silver and red are always popular options at Christmas but if you want to shake things up a little this year, why not make a bold gesture and choose a more contemporary colour such as a dark petrol blue or deep mulberry. Black table and glassware would look incredibly en-vogue upon a crisp white tablecloth. Then, to add the finishing touches, opt for a black, ornately styled table runner and a silver candlestick for the centrepiece. If you want your guests to ooh and aah, really go to town by investing in the following items: a plain but pretty table cloth, decorative table runner, cotton napkins and napkin rings, charger plates, a classic tableware set, new cutlery, a candle or two for the centre of the table and last but certainly not least, Champagne flutes and wine glasses. Don’t worry if your wine glasses don’t match, it only becomes noticeable when there is just one odd one out. If you’re planning to carve the turkey on the table, it might also be nice to have a large, wooden block for it to sit on. Here’s a little tip if you struggle to find the




perfect tablecloth to tie in with your chosen theme. A single or double bed sheet will work just as well and you’ll be able to select almost any colour under the sun.

like wine and champagne glasses that will bring a unique and personal feel to the occasion.

If you’re lucky enough to have a limitless budget, you could try a designer department store, or if you’re trying to save the pennies, some of the larger supermarket chains will cater.

chocolates, it would be ideal if you could dim the lights to create a more relaxing mood. A simple dimmer switch from your local DIY store will make this possible.

The ambience of the room is of paramount importance too. Lighting is key. A dramatic pendant light or chandelier hung centrally above Like most areas of interior design, it’s the little things that will have the biggest impact and with the dining table will help to provide visual aid as Christmas décor, the more detail the better. You well as act as a striking focal piece. won’t have to look far and wide for these key Then, when the meal is finished and your guests pieces. want to relax and unwind with coffee and

The fantastic aroma of the turkey will surely be enough to entice your guests to their seats but when dinners finished and you’re all sitting around chatting, a scented candle would really You’ll be surprised how many people hoard help to set the mood. Try orange and clove for decorations and Christmassy tableware year after an invigorating punch. year so they’ll probably be grateful for you to take them off their hands. Car boot sales are also Good luck with the preparations and give your guests a dinner to remember! an ideal place to pick up quirky bits and pieces If you can’t afford to go out and buy brand new pieces, ask your friends what they’ve got lying around.


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morning and afternoon shopping sessions, each with complimentary Highgrove champagne served on arrival, as well as Shopping with Lunch packages which include a two-course lunch.

f you want to add a touch of royal style to your Christmas celebrations, then look no further than the Highgrove shop in Bath. Packed with selection of food, hampers, gifts and accessories for your home and garden, it has everything to ensure that you can create a stylish and elegant Christmas at your home, and find the perfect gifts for your friends and family.

There will also be a chance to visit Highgrove next year with special garden tours. Profits from the sale of Highgrove products are donated to The Prince of Wales’ Charitable Foundation, a grant-making charity which supports a wide range of causes and projects.

Home to Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, it doesn’t get any more quintessentially British than Highgrove. Part of the range has been inspired by the exclusive Duke of Rothesay Tartan; one of the HRH The Prince of Wales’ Scottish titles. Pheasants and foxes are key characters in this collection, with country life portrayed on traditionally made stationery sets and beautifully handmade tweed cushions with applique pheasants and partridges.

Highgrove has teamed up with The County Magazine to give one lucky reader the chance to toast in the new year in a royal fashion with a Highgrove rose champagne gift set, including a bottle of rose champagne and two champagne flutes engraved with the Highgrove feathers. ■ We have a Highgrove rose champagne gift set to give away

The traditional Toybox Collection of handmade decorations features a new Vintage Car, Deep reds and greens complement this collection embroidered with delicate gold thread on red of wonderfully crafted gifts. Choose from English and white velvet. Each year, a limited edition leather accessories, soft mohair throws and decoration is produced, which this year is a ornate silver pieces that partner perfectly with beautiful ivory colour with detailed gold the Duke of Rothesay hand-cut crystal collection. embroidery, a wonderful addition to any New, unique feather brooches are handmade Christmas tree. with real feathers from British game birds with There are sumptuous velvet stockings in green or recycled cartridge and rifle shells and antler tips red, hand embroidered with ornate gold from roe and red deer from the Scottish decorations and Highgrove Feathers - perfect to Highlands. hang on the mantelpiece this Christmas Eve.

Fill your home with the Highgrove Christmas fragrance of cinnamon and spice. Golden glass votives finished with 18 carat gold Highgrove feathers come in single wick or triple wick candles, as well as a room diffuser, pillar candles and tea lights to bring festive charm to your home.




■ Highgrove, home to Prince Charles

You can add a royal flavour to your Christmas dining too, including a Christmas pudding which boasts that it is the same as those consumed by the royal household on Christmas Day.

you have to do to be in with a chance of winning this fabulous prize is answer the following question: Highgrove House is the private residence of which royal couple? Email your answer along with your name, address and telephone number to with Highgrove Competition in the subject line. Entries must be received by 5pm on Friday December 20, and must include all contact details to be eligible. The draw will be made on December 23 with the prize to be collected from the Highgrove shop in Bath. To view terms and conditions visit

Until December 15 there’s also a chance to go See page 80 for County Magazine competition Christmas shopping at Highgrove itself. There are terms and conditions.




COME AND MEET Frederick Augustus the


14-17 Walcot Buildings, London Road, Bath Tel. 01225 338813 The largest antiques retailer in Bath & voted in the top 50 antiques shops in Britain, by the Independent on Sunday

Maybe even find time to look at some antiques... we’ve got everything from 17th century furniture to 1970s retro and kitchenalia, spread through lots of showrooms. We’re on the A4, London Road, near Morrisons. About 15 minutes walk from the bottom of Walcot Street. We’re open 10-6 Monday to Saturday. 11-5 on Sunday. We have our own parking at the rear, accessed via Bedford Street.





rom twinkly lights in the trees, to an illuminated Father Christmas on the roof; bringing the festive spirit to the outside of your home is just important as the decorations inside. Of course the array of decorations vary as much for the outside of your property as they do for the inside, so choose something that will compliment the style you choose for your Christmas tree and living space.

the hook on, glue some ribbon around it for a decorative finish. Choosing your decorations Traditional: If your Christmas style is traditional, stick to a green, red and gold colour scheme and using a lightweight floral wire or hot glue attach pine cones, baubles and greenery to the wreath base before finishing with a red bow. Glitter: If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re after something a little more glitzy, choose a gold wreath. Rows of decorative beads and shimmering ribbons are easy to wrap around your wreath base and will look neater than if stuck on individually.

If the idea of outdoor lighting and decorations is a little overwhelming, why not try something classic and elegant and hang a beautiful wreath on your door. With plenty of styles, sizes and colours to Natural: For something more earthy, choose from, there's one to suit every choose berries and fruit. Thread a piece front door. of cotton or floral wire through an Making your wreath assortment of fruits and wrap around 1. Bend a coat hanger into a rough your wreath base. Choose a colour and circular shame and either leave the hook repeat in various shades to build up a attached for easy hanging or snip it off. vibrant piece that will stand out from the others. 2. Get an old newspaper and crumple a couple of double pages into sausage Floral: Buy a floral arrangement and shapes, then wrap them around your take it apart, attaching it stem by stem circle, securing with sticky tape. to your wreath base. Mistletoe, pine


cones and shimmery leaves look particularly beautiful.




3. Start adorning your wreath base with your chosen materials and if youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve left




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Ull{pun [hu{h IN WONDERLAND

Emma Dance is enchanted in Lapland


f you’ve ever doubted the existence of Santa Claus, let me set you straight. He is definitely real. How do I know? I’ve met him, that’s how.

And not just at a Santa’s grotto in a toy store or shopping centre either. I came face to face with the most well-loved man in the world at his office just inside the Arctic Circle in Finnish Lapland.




and elves work away busily in the post office where all the letters sent to Santa from around the world arrive and are sorted before being passed to the man himself. And once the festive rush is over, he even finds time to respond to those who have written a proper letter and not just sent a list of wants.

Most people don’t realise that Santa is Finnish, but his official home is Rovaniemi – a city just on the edge of the Arctic Circle in Northern Finland and his office is just outside the city in Santa Claus Village.

On the way to his office we pass the magic clock which allows Santa to visit the whole world in just one night and see pictures of many of the celebrities who have come to visit – proving that you are never too old, or important, to believe in Santa Claus.

It is here that he greets people 365 days a year,

Since the village opened around 50 years ago,


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visitors from many different places and it is important that I can talk to them.

“My office is here and I am here every day meeting people and getting ready for Christmas. My elves help me and the other Santas that you will meet in other places are my helpers.” According to the saying, behind every successful man is a great woman, and Santa Claus is no exception. “Mrs Claus doesn’t live in Rovaniemi,

“She is a very good cook. We usually eat meat cooked in the oven with vegetables like carrots and potatoes. “It is important to eat well and be healthy because Santa cannot have a day off sick. The food I eat most of is porridge though. I have porridge every day.”

Spending most of his working day indoors, Santa enjoys getting back to nature when he has some

rare time off. “I enjoy the nature because the nature here is something very unique.” And Santa also had a special message for readers of The County Magazine. “I hope all the readers have a very peaceful and nice family Christmas,” he said. “Some families only meet at Christmas so it is important that when they get together they leave all the arguments behind and come together with peace and love.”


Santa has greeted people from all over the world. our home is in the countryside, but she helps me a lot,” said Santa. “I speak many languages,” he said. “I have many



Christmas shopping at

Cott Farm Furniture

* Oak and pine furniture in standard or custom sizes, plus bespoke designs * Farm shop, coffee and cake * Homeware and decorative gifts

Cott Farm is a family-run furniture and farm shop. They offer a made-to-measure service on much of their furniture, as well as bespoke furniture design and build services. You can take home any item on the showroom floor right away and they offer a delivery service for larger/heavier furniture.

Broad Lane, East Chinnock, BA22 9ES On the A30 between Yeovil & Crewkerne Open Monday - Saturday 10am to 5pm

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■ The Bath Chronicle carol service will be held in Bath Abbey on December 10


here’s nothing like Christmas carols to help get you in the festive spirit. Two of The County Magazine’ssister titles, the Mid Somerset Series and The Bath Chronicle, each organise a carol service every year at the start of the festive season.

The Bath Chronicle carol service will be held in Bath Abbey on December 10 and the Mid Somerset Series carol service will be held in Wells Cathedral on December 12. Tickets are free, but are snapped up quickly so anyone wishing to attend is advised to get their tickets as soon as possible. It will be the 17th consecutive year that the Mid Somerset Series has organised the festive event in the wonderful setting of Wells Cathedral. Four children’s choirs will be singing carols and seven-year-old Alexander Kavvadias will be reading a Christmas poem. Tickets for A Christmas Carol are free and are available to readers in three ways: By collection in person from Mid Somerset News ■ The wonderful setting of Wells Cathedral & Media’s reception in Southover, Wells BA5 1UH, Monday-Friday, 8.30am-5pm. & Media. By sending a stamped addressed envelope to A “And I suspect it will be exactly the same in 2013. Christmas Carol, Mid Somerset News & Media, Sponsors of the carol service programme this Southover, Wells BA5 1UH, with a note saying year are Tincknells and the Swan Hotel in Wells. how many tickets you would like. We appreciate their support.” By collection in person from the Wells Cathedral Lesson readers include Melissa Potter, chief shop. executive of Clarks International; Paul James, No more than four tickets can be given in each headteacher of Crispin School in Street, the High application by post or in person. Sheriff of Somerset Maureen Whitmore, and Somerton & Frome MP David Heath. “In previous years all 1,200 tickets have been

snapped up within days,” said Philip Welch, who organises the event for Mid Somerset News




Musical director is Jill Edmonds, head of music at Wells Cathedral Junior School.

The Bath Chronicle carol service is organised in conjunction with Bath Rotary Club and will feature schoolchildren from across the Bath area. People come from throughout the region and for many it is a highlight of the season. In addition to the families of children singing and workers attending at the end of a busy working day, there will be many disabled and elderly people who are brought to the church by Rotary members. Tickets are available from The Bath Chronicle offices at Westpoint, James Street West, Bath, BA1 2DA or from the Bath Abbey shop.


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■ The Bath Christmas Market is an 18-day event


rink will be in the city from November 22 to January 5 and will be beautifully lit up after dark making it an ideal choice for a fantastic, family festive activity.

et against the magical backdrop of Bath’s majestic Abbey and among the city’s quaint Georgian streets, the Bath Christmas Market is a very British take on the usual German Christmas market and showcases the best produce of Bath and the South West.

Christmas is a special time at the American Museum and a great time for families to visit. Unique handmade decorations can be found throughout the museum, festive decorations and gift ideas in the museum shops, and winter warmer treats served in the café.

The beautiful market is the biggest Christmas shopping event in the South West region, consisting of more than 150 beautifully decorated wooden chalets, each selling a variety of high-quality products such as Christmas decorations, gifts, toys, clothes, household and festive food.

Rooms at the museum will be decorated in traditional design with the jewel in the crown a magnificent 17ft Nordman Fir tree. Dominating the Central Hall, the tree will be covered with more than 1,000 lights and ornaments that have been handmade by museum staff members and volunteers.

The 18-day event, which runs from November 28 to December 15, has a wonderful romantic atmosphere, with tempting fare and gentle entertainment befitting the time of year, helping to build the anticipation of the celebrations to come. While the official Christmas Market takes place, shopping fever will reach across the city with smaller markets joining in the festive cheer. The Guildhall Market – the oldest shopping venue in the city – will be hosting a Christmas Market held ■ Christmas at the American Museum under three large, heated marquees. Shoppers will discover a wide selection of stalls with gifts, of Bath’s premier shopping zone. craft items, food, wine and much more. Milsom Place will also have a Christmas Market with festive stalls in the beautiful Octagon, formerly a Georgian chapel, located between Milsom Street and Broad Street, right at the heart




But the Christmas Market is not the only festive fun in Bath. For the second year in a row, Bath will have a real, open-air ice rink in the stunning setting beneath the iconic Royal Crescent. The

Following major building work to re-join No 1 Royal Crescent’s servants’ quarter with the original house, the museum has created a wonderfully vital picture of life in 18th-century Bath, with each room an exquisite example of Georgian interior design. Until December 15, guests will be able to enjoy a festive and spectacular display of beautiful floral arrangements and marvel at the visual richness of Georgian dining at Christmas, from sumptuous sweets and jellies to wholesome pies, meats and fish. Entry also includes a free Christmas trail for children.


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■ Crowds turn out for the ceremony and to see Mary Berry


ights, tinsel, music and a generous helping of celebrity helped Bath celebrate the arrival of Christmas. The Queen of Cakes Mary Berry turned on the city’s Christmas lights in front of hundreds of fans who filled Milsom Street to get a glimpse of the star of TV show the Great British Bake Off.

■ Mary Berry with the Mayor of Bath Cllr Malcolm Lees ■ Mary switches on the city’s Christmas lights

During the event it was announced that Mrs Berry would be given the freedom of the city. She said that being asked to be a freeman, only the second woman to be honoured, had been a surprise but something she was very proud to receive. “I’m immensely honoured, overcome. Am I allowed to drive my sheep down the main high street and can I have free parking?” As well as an appearance by Mrs Berry, this year’s Christmas lights switch-on included performances by the Vocal Works Gospel Choir and Bath-based band Too Much Lipstick. Bath Rugby Players Matt Banahan, Leroy Houston, Nathan Catt, Tom Biggs, Carl Fearns and Will Spencer also took part collecting money for the RUH Cancer Care Campaign. After the switch-on, Mrs Berry was guest of honour at a special reception hosted by The Bath Chronicle at the Roman Baths, where she gave a short speech sharing her memories of her childhood in the city. She also posed for photographs with councillors, and members of the Bath business community. Manager of the Bath Business Improvement District, Andrew Cooper, said the night had been a success and signalled the start to Bath’s busiest time.

■ A delighted Mary learns she is being given the freedom of the city




■ Members of the Bath Natural Theatre Company got dressed up for the occasion

“It has been fantastic. There were so many people in Milsom Street and the atmosphere was great. Mary was like a rock star. She had time for everyone and was obviously very passionate about the city.”

SOCIETY ■ Imogen Sellers compered the lights ceremony

■ The Vocal Works Gospel Choir

■ Mary is presented with some Sally Lunn buns

■ Gemma Harwood and Grace Hill with Mary

■ Big Ted with Bath Rugby players were raising money for the RUH

■ Mary’s husband Roger with Bath Rugby’s Matt Banahan

■ Mary Berry with Sarah Pullen, MD of Local World’s West Country titles ■ Mary Berry meets the band Too Much Lipstick THE







he Warehouse Theatre in Ilminster, held a big celebration to inaugurate the refurbishment of the foyer.

way possible, either by becoming members or patrons, treading the boards, or volunteering for front of house duties.

The Deputy Mayor of Ilminster, Councillor Linda Vijeh, switched on the lights, which were a very impressive pair of wrought iron chandeliers made by local blacksmith Mike Judd.

She was very appreciative of the work of the Youth Group and was looking forward to the festive production of A Christmas Carol.

■ Jean Mussell, Scott-Waldie and Viv Fletcher

■ Irene & Mick Glynn and Val Schofield

Scott Waldie, chairman of Ilminster Entertainments Society, said: “We are very Linda praised the theatre, which she described fortunate to have received a number of grants and donations which has made it possible for as Ilminster’s “hidden gem”. She pointed out us to undertake this refurbishment and we that the theatre was run entirely by volunteers and encouraged people to support hope it will make coming to the theatre an this tremendous community asset in whatever even more pleasurable experience.

■ Linda Vijeh

■ Guests in the foyer





■ The award-winners on stage at the Octagon Theatre

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he seventh annual Gold Star Awards ceremony was held last month to celebrate amazing local young people. For the first time, the awards were held in partnership between the Western Gazette and South Somerset District Council.

The ceremony at the Octagon Theatre in Yeovil recognised winners across 11 categories, including Community Champion, Contribution to the Arts and Sports Coach of the Year. Western Gazette editor Emma Slee said: “The event was a huge success and a wonderful way to celebrate the enormous amount of talented and dedicated youngsters and individuals who work with children, across south Somerset and west Dorset.”

■ District councillors Mike Best and Sylvia Seal, left, Western Gazette editor Emma Slee, right, and Jane Huntingdon, of sponsor The Park School, present Connor Swain with the Young Carer award

■ Yeovil Town manager Gary Johnson entertains the audience

■ Richard Singleton, of sponsor Carshop, presents a trophy to Tina Boyce, winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award for her commitment to youth clubs in Martock; also pictured are councillors Mike Best and Sylvia Seal and Western Gazette editor Emma Slee THE















Maisie Williams




Please contact Ann Oddy on 01749 832303 or Jo Reynolds on 01935 709707.



This is the season needing most care and preparation if you’re to stay safe and avoid a breakdown.

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lanning a shopping expedition? Visiting relatives and friends over the festive season? Make sure you don’t forget the most important thing: is your car and your driving up to surviving the winter weather? In the cold and wet it’s even more important than ever to give your car a thorough checkover - for safety as well as peace of mind. Of course, if you belong to a breakdown organisation, it’s comforting to know that if the worst happens and your vehicle does let you down, help will quickly be on its way. However, the frustrating thing for many members stranded by the roadside is that the breakdown could easily have been avoided.

better than cure. Tyres should always be carefully checked as worn treads can be lethal - for you and innocent bystanders, as well as other road users. Tyre pressure, too, should be regularly monitored. Up until recently UK motorists hadn’t adopted the Continental practice of swapping tyres in the autumn for winter ones - then swapping back in the spring to summer ones. As a result of recent very cold winters, attitudes are changing, with many garages now offering a winter tyre fitting service where they will sell you a set of winter tyres and store your summer ones for free.

One of the most common causes of breakdown is battery failure. Sluggish starting is a sure sign Ensuring that your car is serviced regularly is one your battery is getting old. As soon as starting way to avoid all the hassle of a breakdown - not becomes slow, think about buying a new battery, especially after a long winter. foolproof, of course, but prevention is always




If you’re venturing to the Continent, make sure you read up on the traffic laws in the countries you’re visiting. You could be liable for hefty on-the-spot fines or even time in jail if you don’t. In bad weather it is only common sense to drive more carefully. This means lower speeds, allowing yourself greater distances to brake and bring the car to a halt and most importantly of all, giving fellow road users more time and space to complete their manoeuvres. Getting angry and uptight will only exacerbate a situation. Before setting off on a winter journey, assess the weather and if in doubt, stay at home. If you do set off, take time to run through the basic checks outlined above. Keep a few essentials in the car, too (see above). They could be a lifesaver.

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We want a MFA Bowl Christmas MFA Bowl can cater for adult, children, and family Christmas parties this year. We have a deal for you and your colleagues or friends, a deal for your children, and a deal for your family! Adult options One game Two games Bowl & drink £7pp £10pp Bowl & bite £9pp £12pp Bowl, drink & bite £12pp £14pp Child option Bowl, bite & gift £6.99pp £8.99pp Family option [priced based on 4ppl including at least 2 children] Bowl, 1 soft drink per person, & a sharing platter £36.95 £45.95

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\ol mpuhs zh€666 What attracted you to this profession/business in the first place? When I was at the Birmingham Royal Ballet company, I became fascinated in costume design and how costumes would help to portray the characteristics of the roles played. When I left the ballet company to became a dance teacher, I was always drawn to the pupils who lacked in confidence, loved bringing them out of their shells as dancers and as individuals. After, I moved to London to become a stylist for a life coaching company. There I could combine my passion for the beauty of clothing and bringing out confidence in individuals. From that, Candice the personal stylist was born. My main reason for starting my own company was because of my father, whom I sadly lost in January. He told me the sky’s the limit and it became more important to me to carry on my father’s name, Fotheringham.

Candice Fotheringham, CEO of Fotheringham Styling

How long have you been established? I have been a personal stylist for three years and my company Fotheringham Styling is almost a year old. What are you most proud of in your business life? So far, I am most proud of the designs I created and made 80 per cent by hand for girl group Monroe for the Malta music awards and the Isle Of Wight Festival, as well as the complete transformation of a few clients. If you weren’t following this career, what would be your dream job? I can honestly say that this job is my dream job and will keep striving to do the best for my clients and potential clients. What do you love about living in Somerset? I flit between London and Somerset but Somerset me angry but an irritation of mine is when people is my home. I enjoy being surrounded by my buy such beautiful clothing which after a few loving family and seeing friends. weeks ends up on the floor or uncared for. Oh – and how can I forget, public transport when If you could be Prime Minister for a day you’re in a rush! what law would you pass? Not sure about a law that I would pass but I’d love to help with the What star sign are you and would you say NHS system, getting people faster treatment and you’re typical of this sign? Capricorn. I have the tests most beneficial to the individual. many of the traits – ambitious and disciplined for sure. If you could be a super hero what power would you like to possess? To be able to What is your favourite film and why? Singing travel through time and see lost loved ones and in the Rain and Carousel. I was brought up by a relive great memories. I’d also like to have to very musical family and I watch them every year. ability to read minds. And of course, the power What is your favourite piece of music and of healing. why? I enjoy most genres but Frank Sinatra What makes you angry? It takes a lot to make makes me happy and my all-time favourite is a




classical piece Meditation de Thais. My Nan asked me to dance to this piece and it really is the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard. If you were washed ashore on a desert island and could have one companion, who would it be and why? My boyfriend Robert, we can spend 24/7 together and get on so well. What would be your last meal? Fish fingers, waffles and baked beans. This meal brings back all my childhood memories. What would you like to be your epitaph? Known for my ambition and thirst for life, enthusiastic and happy, always motivates others to see the positive side of everything. An inspiration I hope!

APPLY ONLINE TODAY! If you’re a school leaver interested in a course at Bridgwater College then don’t miss out, get your application in today using our new online application process. With the January application deadline looming beat the crowds and secure an early interview date - the sooner you apply, the sooner you can confirm your College place!

If you’re not sure what you want to do then there are plenty of opportunities to find out more. Come to our Open Evening on Wednesday 15 January from 6.30pm – 8.30pm or book on to our Half Term Taster Day on Thursday 20 February from 9.30am – 2pm (places must be booked in advance). For more information or to apply online visit our website. Taster Days can also be booked online via the event pages on our website, alternatively you can call 01278 441216.

...PLUS new student bus links now from Yeovil.








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The County Magazine | December 2013  
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