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QUEENSGATE: What’s in store for 2017?


P E T E R B O R O U G H , O U N D L E A N D T H E


Have a fabulous February! FEBRUARY 2017 £1.50 02

9 771740 052017



Nene Living




ERE in the Nene region we’re blessed with an abundance of busy retail stores, and I’m sure that, like me, you will have favourites you return to time and again. National chains and individual independents thrive in our city centre and country towns – a fact that was reinforced as I met two very different but equally influential and interesting retail names in the course of creating this issue. Mark Broadhead is the Centre Director at Queensgate, our flagship shopping centre which celebrates its 35th birthday next month. Queensgate has always been a part of the Peterborough I know and love – I first moved here in 1984, two years after it opened – and it’s exciting to know that its owners are spending millions on making it a better-than-ever shopping destination for us all to enjoy. You can read more of what’s in store on p13. At the other end of the shopping scale, I had a very pleasant chat to Martin Charles, who owns an eponymous bridal gallery in the centre of Oundle. Elegant, understated and full of all things feminine, it’s a boutique where women’s dreams really do come true. See p23 for Martin’s story, and his tips for any brides-to-be about to set out on the quest for their perfect wedding gown. Elsewhere in this issue, there’s another nod to the month of romance on p5 and in our review of ‘sweet treat’ dessert restaurants which starts on p29. Together with other features on home décor, lush lawns, a world premiere arts event and diary dates for all to enjoy, there’s plenty of food for thought in Nene Living this February…

Gillian Bendall Editor INCORPORATING


5 Upfront

34 Wave goodbye to weedy lawns

Valentine’s gifts to show you care

An Outdoor Living special on how to get a lush lawn

7, 9, 10 News & Notes

Helping you make the most of Nene living

23 She said yes! 13 It’s all going on at Queensgate

Find out what’s in store as our flagship shopping centre prepares for a major facelift

Meet the man who’s a master at helping brides-to-be to find their dream dress

37 Nene People

Meet the new father-and-son owners of Olive Grove Oundle

26 Health & Beauty

The latest on looking good and feeling great

41 The Arts 18 New year, new look

Local experts offer their advice on how to update your home

29 Sweet treats

A diners’ guide to the city’s mouth-watering choice in dessert restaurants

Editor Gillian Bendall Write to Nene Living, PO Box 208, Stamford, PE9 9FY Advertisement Manager Bridget Steele 01733 707538 Head of Design Steven Handley Designer Sarah Compton Advertising Copy Rachel Beecroft 01780 765320 Publisher Nicholas Rudd-Jones 01780 765571 Published by Local Living Ltd, PO Box 208, Stamford, PE9 9FY Printed by Warners of Bourne



A world premiere comes to Peterborough Cathedral this month

45 Out & About

All you need for a fun-filled February

COVER: Winter sunshine by Tim Sandall.

Nene Living

Subscribe to Nene Living For £25 (UK only) you can subscribe to Nene Living for 12 issues. Please send your name, address and a cheque made out to Local Living Ltd to: NL Subscriptions, PO Box 208, Stamford, PE9 9FY Or you can subscribe online – go to NENE LIVING FEBRUARY 2017


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Valentine’s Day is approaching,and love is in the air… make the most of the mid-month chance to show you care with a well-chosen gift from one of our gorgeous local stores

Shaving set £64.95, Asha’s Male Room

Charbonnel et Walker mini champagne truffles 34g £4.50, John Lewis NARS candle in Jaipur £34.50, John Lewis Floral bra and brief £44, Next

Men’s watch £35, Asha’s Male Room

Yves Saint Laurent - Mon Paris Eau de Parfum from £47, The Perfume Shop

What’s Yours is Mine set £50, Hotel Chocolat

Heart-patterned socks £5.50 per pair, Asha’s Attire

John Lewis Petal heart photo frame (6 x 6cm) £8, John Lewis

Miel by Parlane dish £8.99, Romejo’s

Arabella luxe lace body £38, John Lewis

Rosie for Autograph cashmere robe £199, M&S

Heart decoration £7.25, Romejo’s

Pendant necklace £18.95, Asha’s Attire

Faux fur heart cushion £38.95, Romejo’s STOCKISTS Asha’s Attire and Asha’s Male Room, The Bazaar, West Street, Oundle PE8 4EJ. 01832 275605.; Romejo’s, 14 Market Place, Oundle PE8 4BQ. 01832 272165.; John Lewis, M&S, Next, Hotel Chocolat, The Perfume Shop all Queensgate Centre, Peterborough PE1 1NL.



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NEWS & NOTES Helping you make the most of Nene living

New clinic puts patients first Patient care and comfort are paramount at a new consultantled private group practice in Peterborough city centre


HE Avicenna Clinic has opened in a Grade II listed building on North Street, adjacent to the Westgate entrance of Queensgate Shopping Centre and Lead Consultant Dr Hany Elmadbouh says: “Being a consultant-owned practice helps the clinic to focus on providing patients with the very highest level of medical care. Avicenna clinic is a centre of excellence specialising in minimally-invasive surgery, imaging and image-guided intervention techniques. Combining stateof-the art facilities with the highest level of expertise, we offer personalised, responsive care within a serene and relaxing environment.” An ‘open’ MRI scanner – the region’s first, which will be particularly useful for patients who suffer from claustrophobia or obesity – is among the clinic’s cutting edge facilities. It will also have a top-of-the-range ultrasound machine and a digital X-ray machine so patients can view their results online. Patients can book their own consultations or ask their GP for a referral, and a same-day online booking and treatment management system creates a new experience in health care. Dr Elmadbouh says: “The open MRI scanner will be a very in-demand service as it is the first one of its kind in the region. However, the clinic offers a whole host of services that can be viewed online, with top specialisms including pain management and anaesthesia, plastic and general surgery, gynaecology and obstetrics, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, oral, maxillofacial and dental care and vascular surgery. “At Avicenna Clinic, patients will find a variety of conventional and complementary practitioners. The consultants are leaders in their fields and appear on the General Medical Council (GMC) Specialist Register.” • The clinic offers appointments Mondays 8am-8pm, Tuesdays and Fridays 2pm-8pm and Wednesdays and Thursdays 5pm-8pm. 0330 202 0597.

Young filmmakers raise awareness on mental health


IDEO production company Peterborough Films has just released a hard-hitting short film drama, Afire Mind, hoping to provide a valuable insight into what it can be like to suffer with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression. Afire Mind follows former firefighter Tom Harris as he tries to come to terms with the death of a young girl he failed to save at a house fire. Having suffered in silence and supressing his emotions through drink and drugs, he feels he only has one option left to defeat his inner demons. The film was the idea of Lincolnshire-based actor Callum Forman and was brought to life by up-andcoming director Alex Beehoo, who graduated from Peterborough Regional College last year. “I really wanted to write something that was going to be hard-hitting and make people pay attention,” says Callum. “Thanks to Alex, Peterborough Films and everyone involved in the project, I think we have achieved just that. After suffering from a form of depression myself for years I wanted Afire Mind to highlight that anyone could be suffering in silence, but all is not lost. We always have opportunities and people around us to help against our demons.” • View the film on YouTube. For more information on Peterborough Films, see

Wansford-based hypnotherapist Bernice Hardwick is launching a new weekly group for people who are feeling depressed, anxious, lonely and isolated. It’s free of charge, open to anybody who wants to come along, and starts on 1 February. Bernice says: “There will be tea and coffee with sociable, quiet activities available, but there is no pressure to do anything at all. It’s simply a chance to meet others.” • warmwelcome wansford




USINESSES are invited to join in a celebration of eco achievements at the annual national Investors in the Environment (iiE) Awards, held at Peterborough’s Kingsgate Conference Centre on Tuesday 21 February. Prior to the presentation of the awards, there will be a networking opportunity for businesses to promote their services, plus a showcase of green products and services to inspire attendees in environmental best practice. The not-for-profit iiE accreditation is unique because businesses must achieve a minimum two per cent improvement (where possible) in resource efficiency over an agreed baseline figure to secure green accreditation. Other criteria include having a recycling system in place, adopting a travel plan, calculating carbon footprint and setting targets for carbon reduction. • To register your place email by 10 February or book online at events/iieawards

Peterborough Photographic Society, now in its 130th year, is holding its annual exhibition this month. The society has around 50 members who produce a variety of work, much of which will be showcased at St Johns Church in Cathdral Square for a week from 21 February.


Cold-weather perils


ITH the cold weather continuing, many of us will be getting the anti-freeze out in the morning to defrost our cars – but are you aware just how toxic it can be for our pets? Anti-freeze contains the chemical Ethylene glycol which cats in particular find very palatable, as it tastes sweet. It is, in fact, extremely poisonous to them and can be lethal if ingested. Even a small amount can prove fatal, and it’s thought that walking through a spillage and then cleaning their paws could be enough to cause serious illness, or even death. When filling up your car or de-icing your windows, be sure to mop up any spillages, and store antifreeze in a sealed, labelled container, out of your pets’ reach. While it may be relatively easy to keep your car de-icer away from prying paws, there is another worrying trend putting pets’ lives at risk, as anti-freeze is now commonly used to stop garden water features from freezing in the colder months. Cats, dogs, other small animals and birds may be inclined to drink from these features, so if you have a water feature in your garden, please do not use anti-freeze to keep it defrosted. To stop the water from freezing, try floating a ping pong ball in it instead. If you suspect your pet could be a victim of anti-freeze poisoning it’s vital to seek veterinary help immediately. Signs to look out for include: • lethargic (very sleepy and may seem depressed) • uncoordinated (wobbly on its feet) • drinking and urinating to excess • seizures (fitting) • rapid, shallow breathing with a racing heartbeat • retching and/or vomiting • lack of appetite • For further information on keeping your pets happy and healthy this winter, please look on the Wood Green website Wood Green The Animals Charity offers a low-fee advice service for dogs and cats. If you would like behaviour or training advice for your pet call 01480 830014 ext 1281

Protect your property


NJOY peace of mind when you’re away from home by installing a CCTV system. Hampton-based Ace 4 CCTV says home systems are becoming increasingly popular as a cost-effective way of protecting homes, driveways and gardens against intrusion and other crimes, with the latest technology offering remote monitoring that can be viewed on smart phones and tablets. And, should the worst happen, CCTV systems can also be used to obtain images and recordings of suspects that could serve as important evidence in any criminal investigation. “CCTV systems have come a long way from being cumbersome, expensive and complex systems requiring expert help to simple, easy-to-use systems that are easy to configure, easy to maintain and reasonably priced,” says the company’s Chris Christophi. “At Ace 4 CCTV we are professional and affordable, with prices for a fully fitted CCTV camera and recorder system in full HD starting from just £495.” • 01733 552048

Historic truckers’ stop Kate’s Cabin is under new management and currently being renovated and updated. New manager Liam Levett, from Orton Goldhay, said: “We are planning to make muchneeded repairs to the parking area as well as installing new security measures for the protection of drivers.” Kate’s Cabin is located on the A1 northbound at Chesterton and seats up to 50 diners.



NEWS & NOTES New ‘sharing’platform exclusive to Peterborough businesses


N exciting new B2B initiative will enable Peterborough businesses to share their assets, talents and free time. Share Peterborough is an online platform that enables organisations in the city to share and exchange under-utilised or unwanted resources and create listings relating to resources that their business needs. Steve Bowyer, Chief Executive of Opportunity Peterborough, said: “The sharing and collaborative economy allows businesses to share what they have with others and reduce the amount of waste they produce. In Peterborough we don’t just focus on products but on people and places too. “We have already seen some great examples of companies working together,

classically illustrated through Masteroast’s unwanted coffee sacks being repurposed into shopping bags and flood defence by Peterborough Reuse. Not only was landfill reduced, but new skills and jobs were also created.” Taking inspiration from well-known sharing economy platforms such as Airbnb and Borrow my Doggy, Share Peterborough is a member-only, free online platform for Peterborough businesses. During the pre-launch testing phase, successful transactions included the city’s highway contractor Skanska offering vacant spaces on its employee training courses to other smaller construction companies in the city; Cross Keys Homes pledging to donate

unused planters that were originally part of an art installation at the Tate Modern; and Lindum sharing its meeting rooms with much larger neighbouring business Viridor. •

Could you help Headway?


rain injury charity Headway Cambridgeshire is appealing for volunteers to work at its Thorpe Hall hub in Peterborough. The charity offers specialist support for those affected by brain injury and their families and carers. Spokeswoman Madeleine Reiss explains: “Following their changed circumstances, people need rehabilitation to cope with problems as diverse as reduced mobility, memory issues, difficulties in planning and loss of confidence. “Volunteers play a vital part in helping us to run our centre at Thorpe Hall by supporting our staff in activity sessions. Sessions include life skills, cognitive activities, gardening, arts and crafts. All that’s needed is a little time, an ability to work as part of a team and a determination to treat people with respect.” Volunteering for Headway Cambridgeshire requires a regular commitment of time, ideally on a weekly basis, from 9.30am-3pm on a Monday or a Wednesday. • Call 01223 576 550 or email for more information.

Peterborough Cathedral is now offering free guided tours twice a day, at 11.30am and 2pm, from Monday to Saturday in a move that’s designed to encourage more people – both locals and visitors to the city – to find out about the magnificent architectural treasures of the building and hear its amazing stories. If you’re interested in taking the free tour, which is led by a trained volunteer guide, make sure you arrive five to ten minutes before the start time at the Cathedral Visitor Centre to the right of the main entrance. At the end of the tour donations will be invited to help with cathedral funds. •




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Queensgate As the flagship shopping centre prepares for a major facelift, Director Mark Broadhead tells Gillian Bendall what’s in store…

A new glass ceiling will create a lighter, brighter feel...

Centre Director Mark Broadhead promises ‘a more engaging experience’


OU’LL have seen the slogan numerous times: ‘It’s all going on at Queensgate Peterborough’. But never has it been more apt. For as the city’s flagship retail centre prepares to celebrate its 35th birthday next month, it’s also gearing up for a major facelift – an ambitious remodelling project The rooftop extension will be a new addition to the city skyline which, once complete, will reinforce Queensgate’s status as one of the country’s leading shopping destinations. The £30m development will add a rooftop extension housing an up to 13-screen cinema and a high-quality food plaza, result in a ‘realigned footprint’ for the John Lewis store, and create a refreshingly lighter, brighter feel with a new glass ceiling at the centre’s car park and bus station entrance along with more areas in which shoppers can rest and even recharge their mobile devices. “It’s all about creating a more engaging customer experience,” says Mark Broadhead, Centre Director. “Just short of 16 million people visit Queensgate each year and it’s still one of the top 30 shopping centres in the UK, but we need to give it back the ‘wow’ factor.”


Mark started work as a design draughtsman in his home town of Sheffield, during which time he had a weekend job in House of Fraser. “Looking at the Sheffield Star jobs pages, I could see that the jobs weren’t there in the steel industry, so I asked House of Fraser if there was a trainee opportunity. My first day of induction was spent wrapping parcels, of different shapes and sizes, in green paper tied

with string. If you couldn’t get through that day, you were off the course!” In-store posts with Debenhams and Matalan followed, before his move into shopping centre management – Mark was General Manager of The Mall in Luton, and prior to that had worked at The Mall in Barnsley, before his move in 2015 to Peterborough. “I’m a very proud Yorkshireman but I’ve always been proud of where I work,” he says. “Sadly, I don’t think that sense of pride is quite here in Peterborough yet. I suspect the majority of people don’t know what they’ve got on their doorstep. What’s been done here with infrastructure, street furniture and so on is amazing. Cathedral Square in the evening is engaging and aesthetically it’s beautiful. And there’s so much heritage here: Flag Fen, the museum… Vivacity, and the way they organise leisure and culture, is ground-breaking too. People don’t realise how lucky they are.” Enjoying family life in a village west of the city, Mark is certainly a great advocate for the area. “What has been achieved thus far by the council in respect of infrastructure is immense. Peterborough has so much to offer, and not many cities have what we have. “At Queensgate we’re working closely with the cathedral, the council, other businesses – the more that people promote not just their own business, but the whole offering here, the more the word will spread. We’re a great commuter city, but it’s not all one-way traffic – people are now looking in our direction and wondering whether their businesses will work here too.” NENE LIVING FEBRUARY 2017




Queensgate is owned by a fund managed by Invesco Real Estate (who bought it for £202 million from Hammerson and Aviva) and is managed by Lend Lease with Jones Lang LaSalle acting as property managers. Anchored by John Lewis and Primark, it’s home to over 90 retail outlets including Argos, HMV, The Body Shop, Tiger, Paperchase, Superdry, Fat Face, River Island, Monsoon, Next, M&S, H&M, Topshop, Topman, Boots, Schuh, Office, McDonalds and Carluccio’s. At the time of its acquisition of the centre, Simon Redman, Invesco’s Managing Director (client portfolio management, Europe) commented: “I think [the fact] that Queensgate is just one of a few centres across Europe that we would buy says a lot about its potential.” That’s a sentiment very much echoed by Mark Broadhead. “Just look at the changes last year – we welcomed Mac, Hotel Chocolat, Fraser Hart. They see the vision around what we’re going to do at Queensgate and also what’s going on in the city. Any shopping centre would love to have the likes of BGL, Amazon and Ikea on their doorstep – national brands and distribution centres are critical to the economy. Houses are being built, there’s huge investment locally… you wouldn’t spend money like we are unless you were confident that good things were happening.”

Mark Broadhead joined Queensgate just in time for the final throes of the Westgate Arcade refurb – a project which has given local independent retailers a new lease of life

Big-name brands have added to the retail offering, reinforcing Queensgate’s position as one of the UK’s leading shopping destinations


Opened on 9 March 1982 by Queen Beatrice of the Netherlands, Queensgate was, in its early years, one of Peterborough’s tourism hot-spots, with coachdrivers delivering hordes of savvy shoppers and daytrippers to the doorstep of its big-name stores. “Shopping centres were fresh, new, exciting and all those years ago there wasn’t the choice there is now,” says Mark. “This shopping centre, for its age, has seen retail change immensely – when Queensgate opened, remember, shoppers could smoke inside it! But now, we’re all changing our habits. Online shopping is here to stay, but so too are bricks and mortar. We have to find the best way for the two to work together and be astute to what our customers want. “My brief is to work closely with partners externally, get Queensgate ‘out there’ in the community, and look at how we manage the development and refurbishment of the mall. I came here in time for the final throes of the Westgate Arcade refurb – that’s given local independent retailers a new lease of life. And now, from early February, there will be a massive refresh of the rest of the mall. No more stained brown ceilings. Instead, there’ll be a lighter feel, and more customer focus.” It’s hoped that the initial changes to lighting and seating will be completed in time for 2017’s Christmas lights switch-on, with most of the work done overnight to reduce inconvenience for customers and retailers.



The larger development project, scheduled to start this summer, is expected to take up to two-and-a-half years. “Retail today is all about brand, food and leisure,” says Mark. “The more of the latter you have, the more the dwell time [the amount of time shoppers stay] increases. People come for food and leisure and that complements the retail offer. “Most Queensgate customers stay over 100 minutes, which is well above the national average – a lot of shopping centres would die for that! – but we hope to increase that even more once all the work is complete.”

• Mark Broadhead leads a 100-strong team which includes customer service, housekeeping, engineering and security staff. He’s particularly proud of the work Queensgate does within the local community, which includes staff volunteering with Sailability at the Nene Park Trust: “We did 400 hours there last year, and we all come back grateful for having done it,” he says. • Queensgate’s new easy-to-pay contactless car parking system, Q Go, was launched late last year. Similar to an Oyster Card, a Q Go card can be topped up with credits and is simply presented at the entrance and exit of Queensgate’s car parks. For more, visit customer-services/q-go


3rd February – Stargazing Evening 25th February – Gin Dinner


10th - 11th March – Monopoly Murder Mystery Weekend 24th March – Harry Potter Evening 26th March – Mother’s Day


1st April – Wine, Cheese & Chocolate 16th April – Easter Sunday Lunch 23rd April – ‘Best of British’ Lunch


26th May – Gin Dinner 28th May – Family Fun Day


18th June – Father’s Day


22nd July – Music Evening


20th October – Gin Dinner


11th November – Remembrance Day Afternoon Tea 18th November – Prosecco & Champagne


2nd December – Murder Mystery 9th December – Prelude to Christmas 25th December – Christmas Lunch



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NEW YEAR, NEW LOOK Are you ready to update your home but don’t know where to start? We take a look at the latest interiors trends with the help of some of the area’s best home experts

Go Green

Colour specialists Pantone have announced that ‘Greenery’ is their Colour of the Year for 2017 – a zesty, uplifting shade of bright green which is big news for interiors. “This is my favourite trend for 2017,” says Maggie Meigh of Oundle’s Romejo’s gift shop. “It’s all about exploration, nature and the natural world which means shimmering gossamers, bold prints and lots of green!” You can introduce this vivid green shade into your scheme with bright accessories such as vases, cushions and ceramics.


HE Christmas decorations have been packed away and everything’s looking a bit bare and unloved… what better time to take a fresh look at your interior scheme and shake things up a bit for 2017? Whether you’re planning to chuck everything out and start afresh or just make a few minor changes, we’ve got the lowdown on how to make the most of your home this winter...



Get the Scandi vibe

“All things Scandinavian will continue to be hugely popular this year,’” says Sam Harper of Oundle store The Rounded House. “Scandinavian home style is all about clean, practical living spaces which are warmed up with texture and mixed materials.” Think beautiful pale linens, natural wood finishes, open shelving and lots of candles.

Bring the outside in

The lines are being blurred between the garden and the home in 2017 so jump on this trend by bringing plants – real or fake – into your scheme. Cacti are the plant of choice, with other succulents such as the rosette-shaped echeveria also proving popular. Pot them up in colourful ceramic containers to create an on-trend centrepiece. Terrariums are also massive news in the interiors world at the moment. Mini hanging ones are a great way to add interest below a shelf.

Ask the experts

Here’s our pick of the best local retailers and interiors specialists who can help you update your home this winter Sally Longden Interiors Experienced interior designer specialising in bespoke cabinetry. Both residential and commercial projects considered. 18 Paynes Field, Stamford PE9 3BG The Rounded House Country-inspired gifts, home accessories and furniture. 10b West Street, Oundle PE8 4EF Hilly Horton Home A wide range of cushions, bunting, furniture and accessories are available in this charming shop. 36a, Goss Court, Thrapston NN14 4JH

Clean lines

In the world of kitchen design, it’s all about clean lines this year according to Guy Bolsover of Oundle’s Küchen Kraft. “While the traditional Shaker painted kitchen is still popular, without doubt the major shift has been to a modern Germanic contemporary look,” says Guy. “Clean lines with no visible handles is the look people want, with functional appliance banks and big islands to socialise around. Finishes are also changing, with tastes moving from high gloss towards matt finishes including the very popular concrete.”

J&S Interiors Curtains, blinds and soft furnishings with an emphasis on amazing customer service. 30 Phorpres Close, Hampton, Peterborough PE7 8FZ Delcor Bespoke sofas and chairs in a wide range of styles and fabrics. 30 Bath Row, Stamford PE9 2QX Romejo’s Gift shop stocking items such as home accessories, jewellery, handbags and faux fur. 14 Market Place, Oundle PE8 4BQ Lampshade Warehouse Lighting specialist with hundreds of products to choose from at competitive prices. 10 Saville Rd, Peterborough PE3 7PR

Brass is the new copper

John Lewis’ latest retail report reveals that while metallic finishes will continue to be popular throughout 2017, the move will now be towards brass instead of the ubiquitous copper. Think brass light fittings, coffee tables, bowls and even cutlery.

Aspect Fires Large showroom with a wide range of stoves and fireplaces on offer. Personal service with a 40-year pedigree. 37 Market Street, Whittlesey PE7 1BA Chapel Interiors Beautiful homewares and gifts. Also a stockist for Annie Sloan chalk paint. Chapel Interiors, The Bazaar, West Street Oundle PE8 4EJ Küchen Kraft Offers high quality bathrooms and kitchens with personal service and full project management. 81 West St, Oundle PE8 4EJ Intone Design Family-run kitchen design company offering bespoke cabinetry and exemplary customer service. Bridge House, Station Road, Oundle PE8 4DE

Continued on page 20 NENE LIVING FEBRUARY 2017



Heatsource Specialists in wood-burning stoves and cast iron radiators. Excellent customer service. 35 High Street East, Uppingham LE15 9PY


Oundle Architecture Full-service architecture and planning consultancy with more than 25 years’ experience. 4 Church Green, Barnwell, near Oundle PE8 5QH

Choose natural materials

The Danish concept of ‘Hygge’, which roughly translates as cosiness, is still at the forefront in interior design circles. “It’s all about creating a cosy haven with lots of candles and natural materials,” says Sam Harper of The Rounded House. “Use sheepskins and lambswool throws to make your home as comfortable and inviting as possible.” Other natural materials also prevalent this year include ‘70s favourites rattan, bamboo, cane and cork.

Use strong colours

“Using a very dark grey or blue on one wall can be a brilliant way to anchor a scheme,” says Sam Harper. “The Little Greene paints we stock at The Rounded House offer an amazing choice of colours.” Maggie Meigh of Romejo’s agrees: “Grey is still popular but is losing ground to warmer tones,” she says. “Do remember, though, that ultra trendy can become ultra passé in a blink, so go with what you love.”

Noakes & Flanagan Interior design and event consultants who can provide help, inspiration and design ideas for projects large and small; can also design and provide all you need to make a location eventready. Helena Flanagan, Oakdene, Lower Street, Twywell NN14 3AH Email: J&L Ball Interiors Specialists in curtains, blinds, shutters, awnings and soft furnishings. 16 North Street, Stamford PE9 1EH Hurford & Tebbutt Kitchen and bedroom fitter offering high quality products and reliable service. 17-18 Fenlake Business Centre, Peterborough PE1 5BQ Oundle Carpets & Curtains Independent carpet, flooring, curtains and blinds supplier with more than 40 years’ experience. Unit 5 Eastwood Road, Oundle PE8 4DF Tiger Danish design store offering quirky products at affordable prices. Unit 72, Queensgate Centre, Peterborough PE1 1NT QKS Kitchens Well-established kitchen company offering a range of contemporary and traditional bespoke kitchens. The Maltings, Barnack Road, Stamford PE9 2NA AGA Iconic cookers and accessories at a recentlyopened store at Oundle Wharf. 4/5 Oundle Wharf, Oundle PE8 4DE

Geometrics rule

The beauty of geometric patterns is that they work brilliantly with both contemporary and traditional schemes. The introduction of a chevron-patterned rug, for example, can provide an instant update to a scheme. Hexagons, in particular, are a hot trend right now. Black and white hexagonal tiles are a great way to refresh a bathroom or kitchen.



Coles For Fires Friendly heating specialist offering wood -burners, gas and electric fires. Unit 7, Orion Way, Kettering Business Park NN15 6NL John Lewis Wide choice of furniture and fabrics to cover all your homeware needs. Queensgate Centre, Peterborough PE1 1NL


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She said yes!

Now for the dress... Wedding gown shopping may be something of a mystery to most men, but Martin Charles is a master at helping women find their dream dress. He talks to Gillian Bendall about his work


T’S the month of romance, and nothing seals the deal on St Valentine’s Day more than a proposal of marriage. As far as relationship milestones go, it’s high on the life-changing list. But once the ‘big question’ has been asked and answered, there’s a whole host of other decisions to be made. And for many brides-to-be, finding ‘The One’ takes on a whole different meaning as the search for her dream dress begins. It’s a quest that’s been at the heart of many a TV and film script, and one that’s most-often off-limits to the male members of the wedding party. But in Oundle there is perhaps one man who (movie quote alert!) knows what women want… bridal gallery owner Martin Charles. Martin trained as a fashion designer – a four-year course in which he learned pattern cutting, illustration, garment manufacture and design – before specialising in womenswear when going on to accept one of only 12 prestigious places at the Royal College of Art in Kensington. After graduating with a Masters, he worked as a design assistant to Gianni Versace in Milan. “It was an amazing experience,” he says. “But Laura [who also studied fashion design and is now one of the heads of buying at M&S] and I were married, so living apart was not ideal. When my contract finished I came home and started my own fashion label.” The couple’s daughter Kitty was born in 1999 and Martin took a career break to become a stay-at-home-dad. “I loved it and am extremely grateful to Laura that I had that opportunity,” he says. Over the following 11 years Martin took on some commissions to make wedding dresses from home when he could, before opening

Martin prides himself on a passion for perfection

Lace and chiffon dress commissioned by Benjamin Adams wedding shoes for their 2014 brochure cover

his boutique on West Street in Oundle in 2011. Elegant, understated and exuding a sense of calm that must surely cast its spell over even the most stressed of brides-to-be, the Martin Charles Bridal Gallery is, like its owner, something of a oneoff. Gorgeous gowns, sparkly accessories, sumptuous fabrics and stylish footwear abound – no female could fail to feel girly here! A real sense of welcome exudes, too, from Martin, who prides himself on a passion for perfection whether he’s creating a gown to commission or selling ‘off the peg’ from one of the elite brands he stocks. With only one assistant, Rachel, working with him for two days a week, Martin is kept busy with alterations, orders, business administration and the bridal fayres at which he sources new fabrics and accessories – his lace comes from France, silks from the Far East. “I’m really happiest at my machine,” he says, “or with a piece of paper – drawing designs – or pinning a piece of fabric onto a dummy.” Meetings with brides-tobe, however, are what keep the business moving. Martin operates an appointments system, and it’s during those sessions that his peoplehandling skills come to the fore. “I could write a book about the dynamics of appointments… anyone who runs a bridal shop will know what I mean,” he says. “There is so much psychology involved in what we do when working with people at such an emotive time. “Brides put so much pressure on themselves, I often have to remind them that the dress is only part of the wedding, and the most important thing is that they are getting married. Some find the right dress first time, some will have tried on 100. NENE LIVING FEBRUARY 2017


“I’m happiest at my sewing machine,” says Martin

She said yes!

Now for the dress... Some girls have been to so many shops already, they’re frustrated and it’s simply not enjoyable any more.” Sensitivity is, clearly, an essential trait for a man in Martin’s position. So, too, is an ability to work among women without resorting to Gok Wan-style antics. “I suppose that being a male in the industry does raise a few eyebrows,” he says. “But I enjoy the technical challenges of constructing a gown, and working in the wedding industry is more relaxed than high fashion. Time can be taken to get things perfect, and I am very much a perfectionist. “Luckily I’m a good listener too, and I’ve learned how to handle the dynamics of the appointments – it’s so important to focus on the bride, but also to be aware of the comments and feelings of the people she’s brought along with her.” So what are today’s brides-to-be like? “They’ve usually done a lot of research, and have some idea of what they’re looking for and what will work on them. A lot of people assume that I can see someone walk into the shop and immediately know what dress they should wear. But girls today are so good at hiding what they don’t like, when they come into the shop they already know the bits they don’t want anyone to see. I ask them to make a selection of the dresses they like, but it’s not until the first one is on that I can really see what’s going to work and point them in the right direction of others they should try. “If the bride’s brought her mum, bridesmaids, friends with her, there are lots of female emotions flying around the room. It can be quite emotionally draining – there are lots of dynamics among the group. Some will be quick to offer their opinions before the girl has even got out of the dressing room properly and had a chance to look in the mirror. That’s not helpful – she needs to look and make up her own mind about what she does and doesn’t like, then I can help her.” I muse that I’m not sure I could cope with such emotional ups and downs, but everdiscreet, Martin smiles and says: “I have two sisters so was brought up knowing how to ‘speak woman’!” This beaded lace piece featured in a Benjamin Adams wedding shoes promotional shoot



Chantilly lace and silk chiffon patchwork slip, shot at Althorpe House by photographer Matt Edwards

Lace and crepe dress photographed at Kelmarsh Hall by Dottie Photography Photography

This fun silk mini was made for a photoshoot at Althorpe House

Martin’s tips:how to find the ‘dream dress’ • Do your research. Look online, at Pinterest, at local boutique websites… it may help you find the style you’re looking for. But keep an open mind when going to appointments – you may be surprised! • Be clear about your budget. There is no point in falling in love with a dress that is unreal. When booking appointments, ask at what price points are the dresses stocked. On average our order dresses are £2,000. We give the option to buy a dress off the rail, if it fits well, at a discounted price. We also have discontinued styles on our website sale page. • If you’re not an average size, check with the shop that they have enough samples your size for you to try. If they don’t, you’ll be left feeling frustrated and the shop will feel they have failed you. • Consider your venue. I tell brides to close their eyes and imagine what a dress will look like in their venue – it could be very different to how it is in the shop. • Choose very carefully the people that will accompany you when you’re shopping for your wedding dress. Bring a couple of people who know you well and who you know you can trust. And if you can, talk beforehand about what input you’d like from them.

A lace skirt, cropped lace top and feather jacket, photographed at Boughton House by Sarah Vivienne Photography

Beaded bodice, net skirt and flower crown shot at Kelmarsh Hall by Dottie Photography

Bridal trends 2017 “All the forecasters seem to be picking out the shoulder as the new focus, first in high street fashion and now in wedding gowns,” says Martin. “That means bare shoulders or off-the-shoulder gowns. I have also noted from New York Bridal Week that plunging deep V necklines are everywhere, from the mid bust to the navel. “Look, too, at ‘toppers’ as they’re called in the US – or capes to us. They come in all proportions. Think boleros, or even a lace bomber jacket. “I love a bow, and oversized bows are another big trend, either at the waist, front or back. There are beautiful organza bows on Caroline Herrera gowns, large structural bows on column dresses, and Oscar de la Renta dresses have them at the neckline. “Finally, from the last season, 3D florals are still showing, and the trouser trend is hanging on in there still. It’s not for everyone, but I would make it if a bride asked.”

One-off headpiece made for a photoshoot at Kelmarsh Hall with Sarah Vivienne Photography

In the gallery window over Christmas was a stunning feather-bodiced gown which Martin created specially for an upcoming issue of Brides magazine. “That sort of work pushes my boundaries and allows me to be most creative,” he explains. “It took about four weeks of working on that dress every day for a couple of hours – I had alterations and other work to do in between. The feathers came from a different piece of fabric; I took them off and appliqued them onto the bodice.” • Martin Charles Bridal Gallery, 13 West Street, Oundle PE8 4EJ. 01832 273448. NENE LIVING FEBRUARY 2017


HEALTH & BEAUTY Bridget Steele has the latest on looking good and feeling great

Dentistry and more at Townley House

Birthday celebrations and new beauty suite at Stilton salon Ten Hairdressing is celebrating its third birthday and owner Sharon Brown invited me along to her beautiful, contemporary and welcoming salon in the High Street, Stilton. Only a few miles south of Peterborough, the salon is conveniently situated, with plenty of parking. Sharon told me: “We have recently opened the Ten Beauty Therapy Suite where clients can experience the latest in Elemis Face and Body treatments as well as Crystal Clear Microdermabrasion, brow treatments including the popular Lola brows, lash treatments and Jessica Geleration and Natural manicure.” Shannon Smith looks after the beauty side of the business and I was able to experience an anti-ageing Elemis facial that included a relaxing head and shoulder massage, leaving my skin feeling fresh and hydrated. The salon also has a designated men’s section for traditional barbering, shaving treatments and Elemis men’s facials. • Ten Hairdressing and Beauty, 10 High Street, Stilton PE7 3RA. 01733 247138.

Open door hypnotherapy Julie Larrington has worked as a counsellor and coach in Peterborough for 13 years and has found that lack of confidence, anxiety, depression and low self-esteem is an issue for many people, often combined with weight, diet and stress issues. Through hypnotherapy Julie believes she can help clients to focus on what they really want in life, increasing confidence levels,

Achieve your goals New for 2017 and building on the advanced skin and body treatments currently offered, Elysia health and beauty salon can provide a complete and prescriptive non-surgical approach to face and body concerns. Whether it’s cellulite, skin tightening, fat removal, facial lifting or anti-ageing, you can be sure of expert, tailor-made advice using awardwinning technologies at this Tansor salon. Zo by Dr Obagi and Exilis Elite both won best product and treatment at recent awards



lowering stress and giving people more energy – the hypnotherapy process is quick and effective, usually involving just a few sessions, and allows people to take control of their lives and reach their full potential without in-depth counselling sessions and delving into the past. Hypnotherapy sessions are based at Julie’s Orton Wistow home in a discreet, safe and welcoming environment. • 01733 685249 or 07963 753717; email

and are offered here. Owner Lisa Claypole comments: “In addition, this year to provide you with even more results and long-term health benefits, we have teamed up with a highly experienced personal trainer. We can work with clients to help achieve body, fitness and nutritional goals. Make 2017 count – a healthier, happier you!” • Elysia Health and Beauty, Tansor, Oundle PE8 5HP. 01832 226328 or 07879 620196.

Townley House has a long tradition of providing quality dental treatments in Oundle. Martyn Hayward has a special interest in providing implant treatment – he has placed over 1500 implants since 2004 and can provide treatment for all cases, ranging from a single tooth implant to complex reconstruction with bone grafting. Martin told me: “We have the very latest 3D bone scanner on site to provide instant diagnosis and treatment planning, along with the latest implant and bone grafting equipment.” Patients can be referred by their own practitioner or selfrefer by contacting the practice direct. Martin is joined by dentists Nicola Marr and Harmeet Sethmi – patients interested in improving the appearance of their teeth can book in for a smile design consultation to discuss their concerns, treatments available and the realistic end results achievable. There’s a strong focus on function and achieving natural, beautiful smiles. Other treatments offered by Townley House are orthodontic services for all ages using everything from conventional braces to invisible braces and the Inman aligner. The practice has seen great success in treatments for teeth grinding, clenching and associated headaches and migraines. Aesthetic dentistry is also available, with the opportunity to offer anti-wrinkle treatments using Botox and dermal fillers. Martin sums up the practice saying: “We aim to make every visit a comfortable and pleasant experience. As a caring family practice, we take pride in providing quality up-to-date dentistry. Your satisfaction and care is of paramount importance to us.” • 01832 272515 email:

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Treats for my sweet In this month of love, Sue Dobson checks out Peterborough’s thriving dessert lounges


N the past year, a flurry of hugely popular dessert lounges has opened in Peterborough. It all started back in 2014 with a small café on Broadway called Tamu (meaning ‘sweet’ in Swahili) that served an array of desserts, cakes and shakes, which proved so popular that the owners, husband and wife team Salim Rehmatullah and Saima Shah, opened bigger premises on Cowgate in the city centre. Light and cheerful, with a touch of American retro in the red and grey décor that offers tables for two and family-sized booths with window views, Tamu specialises in sweet (and some savoury) crepes and waffles, sundaes, cookie dough, hot puddings, American-style pancakes and delicious Italian gelato that’s hand-made on the premises, as well as an interesting selection of smoothies and shakes, mocktails and posh pop. The kids’ menu invites young ones to design their own dessert. A melting mix of hot and cold textures, my Apple Cobbler (£5.95) – cinnamon spiced apple and crunchy crumble topped with Vanillionaire gelato and Belgian chocolate sauce – was a meal in itself. Prices are fair (from £3.50, the average is around £5.75), portion sizes range from large to epic, presentation is a treat for the eye and the service was friendly and welcoming. • Tamu, 11-13 Cowgate PE1 1LZ. 01733 566453. Open Monday to Thursday and Sunday, 11am-10pm; Friday, Saturday 11ammidnight. The original Tamu dessert house at 29 Broadway PE1 1SQ. 01733 311269, was still closed for refurbishment at the time of writing but is due to reopen soon.


The soft shades of the décor at Creations create a sense of calm from which to consider an appealing menu and to enjoy the classy presentation of the dishes. Freshly-baked chocolate chip cookie dough creations (£5.25), waffles and crepes (half £4.95, full £6.25) and some super sundaes are all popular here. Chocolate Nut Heaven (£6.50) and Strawberry Cloud (£6) live up to their descriptions, favourite puddings come with traditional hot custard (£3.50) while cheesecake flavours go beyond traditional to include peanut butter and toffee, cookies and cream and salted caramel brulée (£2.75 a slice). Chocolate fondue (£5.99 to include four toppings of choice) looks incredibly elegant. My warm chocolate brownies (gluten free) with a scoop of vanilla gelato and drizzle of chocolate sauce (£4) were delicious. • Creations Dessert Lounge, 2 Burghley Road PE1 2QB. 01733 761372. Open Wednesday to Sunday 1pm10pm; Monday 5pm-10pm. Closed Tuesday.



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Treats for my sweet Creams

Light and bright with mirrors, chrome, exposed brick and glitter black as the backdrop to pearlised purple and black upholstered seating, Creams makes a cool style statement. Whether it’s the giant American waffles, sundaes with ‘wow’ appeal, luscious gelato or fresh fruit sorbets, all come elegantly presented to the table. The choice is wide-ranging and with so many interestingly-named treats and their mouth-watering descriptions, reading the menu can take some time. Try a raspberry and white chocolate crepe or banoffee waffle with vanilla ice cream (£5.50), or invest in a Tropical Palm Paradise sundae that packs in banana, coconut and mango gelatos, fresh kiwi fruit and strawberry slices, fruit syrups and soft vanilla ice cream (£6.95). Demolishing one of these delicious monsters should keep all the family content, but if distraction is needed, American cartoons are screened for all to see (thankfully for me at least, with no sound). More US influence comes in the cookie dough and classic soda floats. Mirroring the downstairs décor and with Gelato spelled out in lights, the upstairs balcony seating is reached via a staircase lined with colourful classic posters revealing the delights of holidaying in Italy. • Creams, 17 Lincoln Road, cnr North Street PE1 2RA. 01733 686970. Open Monday to Thursday and Sunday 11am-11pm; Friday, Saturday 11am-midnight.


Kaspa’s is glitzy and buzzing in plush pink and purple, with tub chairs and banquettes around black tables under glamorous low lighting. Spreading over three levels with a long, eye-catching display counter fronting busy workstations, here the long menu is packed with temptation. The super-sized sundaes (from £5.95) range from traditional knickerbocker glories, giant tutti fruttis and classic screwballs to bubblelicious, mango mania and chocoholic. There are 17 varieties of waffles and 12 of crepes (£4 to £6.95) together with an immense selection of Italian-style gelato plus indulgent cakes and puddings, soda floats, shakes and smoothies. Thoughtfully, there are menus for people with food allergies. • Kaspa’s, 19-21 Bridge Street PE1 1HJ. 01733 565926, Open daily 11am-10pm.




Treats for my sweet


Cosy, friendly, quirky and fun, Chai stands out from the crowd. No gloss or glitz here but a triumph of upcycling, recycling and community involvement. Mismatched chairs surround tables formed from wooden shipping pallets, the walls are hung with memorabilia and work by local artists, there are books to read and space for patrons to write up favourite quotations. Ingredients for the menu, which includes savoury and sweet waffles, sundaes, gelatos, speciality teas and coffees, are organic, ethically-sourced and fairly-traded. In a small stand-alone building by Peterborough Regional College, Chai has been open for over a year and repeat custom keeps it busy. Owner Nabil Shabbir, psychologist and former Peterborough City Councillor who believes in giving back to the community, has a mission to ‘make people smile’ and through his philanthropic Chai Life Foundation has helped people both locally and across the world, including a poverty-stricken village in Madagascar and war orphans in Iraq. “Everything at Chai is unique to us,” he says, adding that it’s the only café in the world to serve chicken tikka waffles! (I can attest that they are very good and very filling.) Portion sizes here are generous and good value, with gelato scoops at £1.80, sweet waffles £3.99, savoury waffles and sundaes £4.99 and hot puddings £2.99 to £3.99. Gluten-free waffles and lactose-free ices are available. • Chai, 298 Eastfield Road PE1 4RA. 01733 686484. Open Monday to Thursday and Saturday 12 noon-10pm, Friday 2pm-10pm, Sunday 2pm9pm.

Double celebration for premiere Cantonese restaurant Peterborough’s popular Chinese restaurant, the Beijing Rendezvous, is celebrating its second anniversary as a buffet style ‘all you can eat’ venue after 25 years as a traditional eatery. Business Manager Mac and his wife Carol decided to make the transition after canvassing both their eat-in and take-out customers. He says: “I carried out a marketing survey with my clientele just over two years ago and realised that customers don’t have two or three hours to spend in a restaurant waiting patiently for each course. So it was then I decided that what was required was a dedicated all you can eat Chinese buffet-style restaurant, eat in or take out, and the whole concept has proved very successful.” Customers can serve themselves quickly with no waiting for meals to be prepared. Eat in, as much as you want, for less than £10, or take out a large box of your own choice for under a fiver. This month Mac will celebrate the Chinese New Year with his customers – the Year of the Rooster starts on 28 January – through to 15 February. All customers who eat in the restaurant on the Chinese New Year are given a lucky red envelope containing a small gift. • Beijing Rendezvous, 59 Napier Place, Orton Wistow, Peterborough PE2 6XN. 01733 234450.

Beef, beetroot & red wine casserole Serves 4 Preparation time 10 minutes, cook time 2 hours 45 minutes


There’s a wonderfully exotic feel about Ishtar, essentially a Turkish restaurant with conservatory-style rooms that create the Desserts Pala and Shisha Lounge. It’s a great place to relax with friends and indulge in sweet treats or share such Middle Eastern favourites as hummus or a meze. On offer are strawberry, banana, blueberry and Nutella waffles (half £4.25, full £5.50), crepes from traditional and Sicilian lemon zest (£4) to Belgian milk or white chocolate (£4.95), tempting gateaux including Black Forest and four-layer chocolate fudge cake (£2.95) and a choice of nine Movenpick gelatos. To drink: fresh fruit juices, smoothies, coffees, teas and mocktails. For shisha aficionados, there’s a whole menu of flavours. • Ishtar, 64 St John’s Street PE1 5DD. 01733 761618. Open for desserts and shisha Sunday to Thursday 12.30pm-midnight; Friday, Saturday 12.30pm-1am.





• Oil for frying • 800g stewing beef pieces • 4 rashers rindless smoked bacon, chopped into small pieces • 2tsp plain flour • 4 medium-large beetroot, peeled & cut into wedges • 4 red onions, peeled & cut into wedges with the root intact • 1/2 bottle good red wine • 1 pack Riverford chicken stock • 2 bay leaves • Small handful of thyme sprigs

• Preheat your oven to 160˚C/140˚C fan/ gas 3. • Heat 2tbsp oil in a flameproof casserole, then fry the beef on both sides to brown. Remove to a plate. • Fry the bacon until lightly browned, adding a splash more oil if needed. • Stir in the flour. • Put the beef back in the pan, with the beetroot, onions, wine, stock, bay leaves and thyme. • Season with salt and pepper. • Bring to a low boil, cover with a lid and cook in the oven for 21/2 hours.

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OUTDOOR LIVING Wave goodbye to weedy lawns With spring hopefully around the corner, now’s the time to start thinking about a lush and weed-free lawn for the year ahead…

Something to aspire to… who wouldn’t want a lawn as lovely as this?


ISTERS Sarah and Jo Parish, who run our local award-winning GreenThumb lawn treatment service, say that a little work now on a lawn will reap real rewards in the year to come. Five things to do now are: Sisters • Give your lawn a cut on a high setting – this helps the lawn to dry out better and will Sarah and avoid it getting ‘leggy’ and weak. It’s a myth that you shouldn’t mow your lawn over the Jo Parish winter months! are on hand • Sharpen or replace your mower blade – if your blade is blunt this chews at the grass, to help make can make it look unsightly and encourages disease. your lawn • Let in the light – cut back over-hanging bushes that deprive the grass plant from its best-ever this year essential sunlight and good air flow. Pick up rotting leaves and brush off worm casts. • Do any repairs – if you have any uneven patches now is a great time to sort them. Cut back the turf, fill the dip with soil then roll the turf back. Also, if you have any poor grass patches dig them out and replace with a new piece of turf. • Aerate and scarify your lawn – without doubt this is the secret to managing moss and achieving a healthy lawn. It’s energetic work but if you don’t want the hassle of doing it yourself call us at GreenThumb!

Book your free lawn analysis now Sarah and Jo have had long careers in horticulture, so why not book in now to get them on your lawn to find out how it can be transformed? They offer a free initial visit where they carry out a full analysis of the lawn and give advice. “The vast majority of lawns with the right treatments and care can soon look great and make the garden a real showpiece,” says Sarah. Treatments are based on lawn size and prices start from as little as £15 four times a year.



• Sarah and Jo and their team of lawn technicians look after around 2,000 lawns in our area. To find out more contact Sarah or Jo on 01733 755028 or email


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Jon and Andy Parrott

Sue Dobson talks to the father and son duo about their grand plans for Olive Grove Oundle

Father and son Andy and Jon are determined to keep their new business ‘distinctive and different’


ON Parrott’s enthusiasm is infectious, whether he’s talking about Olive Grove Oundle – which he and his father Andy bought last summer – the town of Oundle, the surrounding villages or the local people. He loves the area so much he’s moved here. Neither Jon nor Andy is new to the business of plants. Come March, it will be 27 years since Andy, then an engineer, took over a pea field to set in motion a grand plan. Since then the Parrott family has built up the vast and hugely successful Waterside Garden Centre at Baston. “We’d been looking to expand in a different area but nothing had come up that interested us,” Andy explains. “Then a good customer at Waterside told us about The Olive Grove at Polebrook. I’d never heard of it, so I drove over to take a look. It was mid-December and cold, the grounds were not in great shape, but I loved it and immediately phoned Jon to come and see.” “I was blown away,” Jon says. “It was so different from anything I’d ever seen, such a break from the norm, a fantastic destination. I could see how we could build on and enhance

what was already there.” Build on, not change, are the operative words. “We’re not changing the ethos. It’s important that we keep that Mediterranean feel in the plants, the food in the Bistro, in the Deli and in the décor,” Jon says. “We’re not a nursery and we’re not a garden centre,” Andy chips in. “We’re Olive Grove Oundle: distinctive, different and special.”

Olive trees Impatient to get started on their new project, they made copious plans and set off on buying trips to Spain for hardy olive trees and palms and to Italy “for everything else that’s big!” It was at Elche, near Alicante, that they found the olive tree that’s destined to be their star attraction. “It is seven metres tall, weighs over seven tonnes, the trunk has a circumference of four metres and it is certified to be between 800 and 1,000 years old,” Jon exclaims. “It will be the oldest and largest olive tree in the UK, by far!” Its arrival in Oundle is destined to be newsworthy.

At seven metres tall, this olive tree is destined to be the oldest and largest in the UK... NENE LIVING FEBRUARY 2017



Jon and Andy Parrott “We picked a number of showstoppers – and some very, very big pots – but also plenty of small trees for the average garden.” They’ll range in price from £9.99 up to a whopping £25,000 for the gigantic tree, “which will be craned into the buyer’s site and come with a personal care package.” They’ve reserved a 10m tall olive tree, too. “Nobody’s seen anything like it in the UK,” says Andy.

All-weather shopping There were structural changes to be made, too. Planning permission had already been granted for the building that has now become the entrance and houses the ever-expanding Deli, where Jon is keen to extend their stock of locally produced food and drinks. Turn left to walk across the courtyard to the Bistro; go right to seek out your plants. Here, in a huge open-air structure with a retractable canopy roof (“just like Wimbledon” says the irrepressible Andy) there’s a fantastic array of trees, from “every type of olive tree you can imagine” to giant Japanese bonsai, towering bamboos, tropical trachycarpus palms, splendid yews and yuccas, conifer spirals and topiary, interspersed by an array of hardy Mediterranean shrubs for gardens of all sizes. Then there’s the huge variety of attractive garden pots, stoneware, water features, sculptures and ornaments to choose from. An Italian Piaggio van will transport your purchases to your car. Thankfully, not only is the car park now much bigger, a separate entrance has been created for delivery lorries.

A taste of the Med Plans are afoot to extend the Bistro, which is popular for its flame-grilled pizzas, all day breakfasts, pastas, flatbreads, meze, gelato, salads and the daily specials. A cosy relaxation area with soft seating, lamps, log burners and a small library featuring the history of Oundle and surrounding villages is taking over the space previously occupied by the Deli. Coffee, tea and cakes feature there. Come summer, tables and chairs will spill out into the courtyard for eating al fresco in a truly Mediterranean-style setting. Lizzie Patton presides over the spacious home interiors and gifts shop housed in The Barn. Lizzie sources her desirable collection, which spans furniture, lighting, mirrors, table settings, pictures, prints, cushions, artefacts and ornaments, from all over the world. Her costume jewellery has proved so popular she’ll be adding more designs in the spring, as well as extending the ranges of wedding and baby gifts and keepsakes. I talked to Jon and Andy amid a whirl of building activity. Much of the new stock will be arriving from Spain and Italy in February, but March will see Olive Grove Oundle launch into its exciting new look. It’s likely to be one of the area’s most talked-about events. • Olive Grove Oundle, Oundle Road, Polebrook PE8 5LQ. 01832 275660.



There’s a fantastic choice of trees and topiary, plus Mediterranean shrubs for gardens of all sizes. The Deli will continue to expand, and for the home, an interiors and gift shop features a desirable selection sourced from all over the world

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From here, to the moon and back This month Peterborough Cathedral hosts the world premiere of a new work for choirs devised by artist Bettina Furnée, poet Lucy Sheerman and composer Cheryl Frances Hoad. We talked to Lucy and Bettina about what to expect and their inspiration for the project….

Lucy and Bettina based their new work on Evensong

Would you and your partner make it to the moon?

WHAT IS EVEN YOU SONG? It is a new choral work to the format of Evensong based on the candid responses from a series of interviews with 12 Peterborough couples about a potential trip to the moon. Lucy wrote the libretto and we commissioned composer Cheryl Frances Hoad to set it to music. It will be performed by Director of Music Steven Grahl with the Peterborough Cathedral Choir and Organ Scholar and 120 Peterborough schoolchildren – all against a background of digital projections created by Bettina.

media and some of our partners’ networks, asking couples to come forward. We interviewed 12 Peterborough couples of all ages. Some were really excited at the prospect of such a trip – seeing it as an opportunity to become closer and experience something new – while others worked out they might not make it. There were some incredibly personal and powerful statements shared by the people we interviewed. These voices are at the heart of the new libretto.

WHERE DID THE IDEA COME FROM? We met at an artist’s lab with arts organisation Metal which explored digital projects and we discovered we both had an interest in space and the moon. We visited Evensong at the cathedral and were really inspired. We see a strong connection between the uplifting architecture, the music of the cathedral and the contemporary preoccupation with the idea of travel into space. We thought a lot about a call-out by the Mars Foundation to mature couples – they invited them to apply to travel to Mars together. We used this idea to shape our call-out and interview questions. We were also struck by the fact that the moon landings happened when Peterborough expanded as a new town. Evensong is a service that goes back to the earliest days of the Church. It takes place at Peterborough Cathedral every day at 5.30pm. It’s an incredibly beautiful thing to listen to – especially in such a magnificent setting. Although primarily Evensong is a religious service, it is about coming to terms with the end of the day and maintaining hope for the next day to come. We realised this had real synergies with the discussions we were having with our interviewees, the way in which a longterm relationship asks you to learn from the past and to keep thinking about the future. WHERE DO YOU START CREATING SOMETHING LIKE THIS? We used the newspaper, magazines, social

IT SOUNDS LIKE QUITE A BIG PROJECT. YOU MUST HAVE HAD A TEAM WORKING WITH YOU? Yes, we have had a really special team of individuals and partners who have helped bring this together. Cheryl Frances Hoad is an international award-winning composer of instrumental and vocal works who has been composing to commission since she was 15. She has set the libretto to music. Steven Grahl is Director of Music at Peterborough Cathedral and has been rehearsing Even You Song with the cathedral choir, organist, and a choir of young people drawn from St Augustine’s C of E (VA) Junior School, Bishop Creighton Academy, West Town Primary Academy and William Law CE Primary School. Clare Edwards, our producer and a professional singer, has helped bring it all together. WHEN DOES IT TAKE PLACE AND HOW DO PEOPLE BOOK? Even Your Song is supported by the Ambache Charitable Trust, Arts Council England, Metal Peterborough, Peterborough Cathedral, Peterborough Presents, RVW Trust and The Seedbed Trust. It takes place on Thursday 16 February, 6.30pm at Peterborough Cathedral. You can book via the cathedral website www. or by calling Oundle Box office on 01832 274734. Tickets are £10 (£8 concession) for which you also get to take home a printed copy of this unique libretto.

Interviewees were excited at the idea of such a trip

MEET THE ARTISTS • Bettina Furnée has delivered many public realm projects commissioned by local government, architects, the Arts Council and Ministry of Justice. She has had solo exhibitions at firstsite, Colchester, and recently at the Ruskin Gallery, ARU, exhibiting two pieces produced during the research phase of this project. • Lucy Sheerman has a poetry collection with Oystercatcher Press and was included in Infinite Difference, the Shearsman Anthology of Innovative UK Women Writers. • Cheryl Frances Hoad trained as a cellist and pianist at the Menuhin School before going on to Cambridge and King’s College, London. • Clare Edwards is an independent producer and event organiser. She was a Juror for the Royal Philharmonic Society Awards 2012-2016.

QUESTIONS PUT TO THE 12 COUPLES INTERVIEWED ABOUT A POTENTIAL TRIP TO THE MOON INCLUDED: • Why do you want to go to the moon? • Do you think you could go with your partner? • If your partner said they wouldn’t go, would you go with someone else? • What is the most difficult thing you would have to face? • What might you disagree about? • What would make you angry on the mission? • How do you think you will manage conflict? • What do you think your partner will do well on the mission? • What will make you most happy on the mission? • What would be the most harmonious aspect of the journey? • Who would take the first steps on the moon? • How do you think your relationship might alter during the trip? • What one object would you take with you? • How would you react if the decision was taken to make it a one-way trip?



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OUT & ABOUT All you need for a fun-filled February Wednesday 1 February Royal Marines Band Oundle School hosts a visit from what is regarded as the world’s most versatile military music organisation. From playing for royalty and important political visitors to parading and performing on the world’s biggest stages as the public face of the Naval Service, the ‘white helmets’ are coming to Oundle specifically to help its CCF Marching Band. 2.45pm demonstration, 3.15pm collaborative performance. Limited free tickets from Music School. Concert at The Great Hall, Oundle School, New Street, Oundle.

Wednesday 1-Thursday 2 February Love and Money Written by the internationally-acclaimed Dennis Kelly, best known for writing the book for Matilda, this modern play centres around the ideas of debt, desire, the cost of living and what we buy to fill the void. David conducts an office romance by email. He has love at his fingertips. But a shocking admission unravels his relationship piece by piece. Jess loves David. She believes happiness can be bought – but it doesn’t come cheap in a world of easy credit. Jess and David’s ideal blend of love and money is killing them. 7.45pm. £6. The Stahl Theatre, West Street, Oundle. 01832 273930.

Thursday 2 February Feel good, do good A class of pilates, yoga, somatics and mindfulness with teacher Kerry Richardson, in aid of Sue Ryder at the Thorpe Hall Hospice. 6.15pm. Donations to Sue Ryder. Colonel Dane Memorial Hall, Church Street Alwalton Cambridgeshire PE7 3UU. 07753 136966. Friday 3 February Stargazing evening Jacobean Wadenhoe House is the perfect backdrop for an evening of stargazing with Paul Fellows of the Cambridge Astronomical Association. 6pm. £29.95 to include a fish and chip supper. 01832 720777. Saturday 4 February Hidden Heritage Tour Find out more about the history of Peterborough, from the foundation of the Saxon abbey to the modern city. Discover the secrets of the cathedral precincts, find out why the river is important as the heart of the city and hear about the personalities connected to our past. Learn why some of our earliest history is in the floors of the Queensgate shopping centre, who buried two Queens in the cathedral, and how

Dickens and Shakespeare have both immortalised people from the city, plus why we had a radio station called Hereward. A must for visitors to and local residents alike, this essential guide to Peterborough’s past runs every Saturday afternoon at 2pm, whatever the weather, starting from outside the Museum on Priestgate. Turn up and pay on the day or pre-book at Peterborough Museum, Priestgate, Peterborough PE1 1LF. 01733 864663. www. vivacity-peterborough. com/vivacity-venues/ peterborough-museum Saturday 4 February Meditation Retreat Workshop Drolma Buddhist Centre presents Building Confidence with Gen Kelsang Nyingpo. Learn how to construct a positive self-view and break free from your limitations, through essential meditations and practical understandings that give a grounded, genuine and stable selfconfidence. 10.30am. £20 including a light lunch. Drolma Buddhist Centre, 260 Dogsthorpe Road, Peterborough PE1 3PG. 01733 755444. www. meditateinpeterborough.

Monday 6-Tuesday 7 February Narvik Box of Tricks presents Narvik, a new play with songs by Lizzie Nunnery. Narvik tells the story of a Liverpudlian man and a Norwegian woman pulled together and torn apart by war as the events of one summer cause ripples across an ocean of time. Fusing live folk music and new writing to create a patchwork of memory and dream, Narvik is a bold new play set during the Second World War that brings to life a powerful story of love, guilt, heroism and betrayal. 7.45pm. Post-show discussion on 6 February. £12 adults £10 concessions. The Stahl Theatre, West Street, Oundle. 01832 273930.

Sunday 5 February Chocolate Workshop As one of the Stibbington Community Classes sessions for spring 2017, Becky Taylor will give an entertaining talk with tasting samples and a ganache truffle-making session to finish off. 2pm. £15. Stibbington Centre, Church Lane, Stibbington, Peterborough PE8 6LP. 01780 782386, email: Saturday 4 February The Sixteen: Bach Magnificat One of the world’s greatest ensembles, The Sixteen, with its period-instrument orchestra, stops off in the city as it takes JS Bach’s towering masterpiece Magnificat on tour to eight venues around the UK. Written in Leipzig for the 1723 Christmas Vespers, its splendour and jubilation anticipates the great choruses of his later Mass in B minor. Performed alongside this will be a selection of Bach’s Cantatas and his everpopular Brandenburg Concerto No 3. 7.30pm. £15-£30. Peterborough Cathedral. Tickets from Peterborough Information Centre 01733 452336 or



OUT & ABOUT All you need for a fun-filled February Wednesday 8 February Dancing with the Tudors See how people danced in the Tudor era with a performance by professional dancers in period costumes and join them as you learn the steps. You can also find out more about how people used to dress in Tudor times. Take pictures, dance and enjoy with music from the 16th century! 7pm. £10, £8 concessions. Peterborough Museum, Priestgate, Peterborough PE1 1LF. 01733 864663. www. vivacity-peterborough. com/vivacity-venues/ peterborough-museum

Friday 17 February ‘50s and ‘60s Spectacular Music icon Marty Wilde and his band The Wild Cats head a massive lineup of stars on stage at The Cresset. The ‘original rocker’, Marty started his career on the hit TV show Oh Boy! He was in the charts throughout the late ‘50s and ‘60s and to this day remains one of the most exciting acts on the theatre circuit. Joining him will be Billie Davies, who had hits with Tell Him and Angel of the Morning, plus Terry Rice Milton, lead singer with Cupids Inspiration and Eric Haydock, founder of The Hollies. If you like ‘60s music you will love this all-star show with hit after hit! 7.30pm. £26.50. The Cresset, Bretton Centre, Rightwell E, Peterborough PE3 8DX. 01733 265705.



Wednesday 15 February Henry V Innovative young theatre company Antic Disposition presents a new production of Shakespeare’s Henry V, set in France in 1915. Two groups of wounded soldiers, one French, one British, are evacuated to a military field hospital near the village of Azincourt. As they recover the soldiers raise their spirits by staging their own production of Shakespeare’s Henry V. 7.30pm. £20, £15 concessions. Peterborough Cathedral. Tickets from Peterborough Information Centre, 01733 452336 or

Saturday 18 February Money, Money, Money An evening of surprises and suspense as the Bull Hotel stages another of its popular murder mystery


nights. Three-course dinner, murder mystery and disco. £37. Bull Hotel, Westgate, Peterborough PE1 1RB.

ritish director and social campaigner Ken Loach celebrated his 80th birthday by making the film, I, Daniel Blake, a stirring portrait of a carpenter recovering from a heart attack in north-east England and his subsequent collision with the benefits system. A powerful portrayal of individuals trying to find a sense of self within a system that is curtailing both their support and the very threads of their existence, it swept the Evening Standard and British Independent Film Awards in December as well as the Palme d’Or at Cannes. I, Daniel Blake will be screened by Oundle Cinema at the Stahl Theatre on Sunday 12 February and will be followed, on Wednesday 15 February, with a screening of Versus: The Life and Films of Ken Loach at Oundle’s Fletton House, as part of the dOCs+ programme. Told though exclusive interviews and clips from his many films, Versus is a brilliant portrait of Loach, who has dedicated his life’s work to highlighting social issues and the difficulties faced by those living on the fringes of British society. The screening will be followed by a short informal audience discussion. Both films start at 7.45pm and doors open 30 minutes beforehand for the sale of tickets (if available) and refreshments. Tickets cost £5 for I, Daniel Blake, £8 for Versus (or £25 for a dOCs+ season ticket). Oundle Festival Box Office, 4 New Street, Oundle PE8 4EA. 01832 274734.

BOOK NOW FOR... Folk performer, Northumbrian piper and composer Kathryn Tickell returns to Oundle on Saturday 18 March with accordion player and clog dancer Amy Thatcher, to launch the Oundle International Festival’s Music in Special Places 2017 concert series. Held in St Peter’s Church, their programme includes evocative slow airs that could break your heart and upbeat jigs and reels to get your toes tapping. Amy’s clog steps provide a joyous percussive element. Kathryn’s last Oundle concert sold out, so book early (particularly if you want to sit at one of the cabaret tables near the stage) to avoid disappointment. Oundle Festival Box Office, 4 New Street, Oundle PE8 4EA. 01832 274734. Spend Sunday 19 March in a willow workshop and learn how to make an egret, heron, sandpiper or goose with local basketmaker Sue Kirk. Each bird sculpture has a 6mm/8mm metal frame over which you will weave, adding texture to complete your chosen bird. 10am. £60 to include steel frame. Stibbington Centre, Church Lane, Stibbington, Peterborough PE8 6LP. 01780 782386, email: Oundle’s Caprice Duo, Helen & Ben Smith, will play all kinds of café music including tangos, musette waltzes, folk dances and favourites from around the world in the glorious setting of The Old Barn at Thorpe Castle House in Thorpe Waterville on Friday 2 June. Enjoy an early summer glass of wine in beautiful surroundings while listening to music which will bring a smile to your face and a lift to your spirits. Oundle Festival Box Office, 4 New Street, Oundle PE8 4EA. 01832 274734. Oundle International Festival runs from 7-15 July and culminates in the ever-popular Party at the Wharf. Two of this year’s acts are the lively Lincolnshire-based rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll band The Houndogs, who’ll play some of their own songs along with classics by Elvis, Buddy Holly and The Stray Cats, and headliners Absolute Bowie – Europe’s finest Bowie tribute act – who will play a host of hits from the man himself. Oundle Festival Box Office, 4 New Street, Oundle PE8 4EA. 01832 274734.




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