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Nene LIVING May 2018 ÂŁ1.50

Make the most of May! The new micropubs Bee keeping Top farm shops Street art

Covering Peterborough, Oundle and the Nene Valley





Welcome to the May issue of Nene Living M

Contents Nene May 2018 May 2018 £1.50


AY is a very busy month in the region, and we’ve got a bumper issue for you. I think everyone has been waiting for better weather after such a dismal start to spring and now’s the time to get out there and enjoy it. We have details about the new micropubs that are springing up in the region on page 13, and our favourite farm shops and cafes are on page 19. It certainly beats supermarket shopping! If you fancy something completely different, why not try an urban ramble? Our publisher Nicholas Rudd-Jones shares details of his new book on page 48.

5 Six good things in May

Just in: • As part of Peterborough STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Festival 2018, Digital People in Peterborough, in collaboration with The Institute of Engineering and Technology and Allia Future Business Centre, are holding the FIRST LEGO League Junior Expo in Peterborough on Saturday May 19. Aimed at 6 -9 year olds, any group of children can form a team (maximum of six children), whether they’re from a local primary school, scouting group, code club or just friends looking for a fun challenge. This year’s theme is Aqua Adventure with teams researching the topic, constructing a motorised LEGO model and then presenting their ideas on a Show Me poster. Registration is now open for local teams to enrol, learn and compete but most important of all – have fun. More details at www.peterboroughstemfestival.co.uk

23 A Beekeeper Writes…

Have a great month.

Ideas and activities for children

Fiona Editor

Incorporating Nene Valley Living www.neneliving.co.uk @neneliving @neneliving Nene Living

Make the most of May! The new micropubs Bee keeping Top farm shops Street art

Gorgeous stationery and gardening

6 Nene News

The latest from local businesses and charities

13 The Art of Craft and Cask

A new breed of micropubs and craft ale bars

15 Food and Drink News

The Cross Keys, King’s Cliffe, reviewed

19 Top Farm Shops

Covering Peterborough, Oundle and the Nene Valley 1 NL COVER MAY.indd 2

17/04/2018 11:28

Cover photo: Thanks to The National Trust. Flatford Summer House, from £4,799 www.nationaltrust.org.uk/shop

Fresh foods and great cafes!

Kelly Castelete shares her beekeeping diary

27 Outdoor Living

Time to get that garden sorted

28 Elegant by Design A luxury kitchen makeover

31 All About Eyes

Keep your eyes in great shape

34 Wellbeing Notes

News from health and beauty businesses

36 Green Up Your Diet!

Delicious recipes for National Veggie Week

38 Down by the River

Editor Fiona Cumberpatch fiona@bestlocalliving.co.uk Write to Nene Living, PO Box 208, Stamford, PE9 9FY www.neneliving.co.uk Advertisement Manager Bridget Steele 01733 707538 bridget.neneliving@ntlworld.com Advertising Copy Rachel Beecroft 01780 765320 rachel@locallivingdesign.co.uk Head of Design Steven Handley steve@locallivingdesign.co.uk Designer (Editorial) Calum Handley Designer (Advertising) Sarah Patterson inkdesign@virginmedia.com Published by Local Living Ltd, PO Box 208, Stamford, PE9 9FY www.locallivingltd.co.uk Printed by Warners of Bourne Subscriptions; annual rate £25 (UK only). Please write to the Publisher at Local Living Ltd, with £25 cheque payable to Local Living, or go online to www.bestlocalliving.co.uk

Yarwell Country Park’s open weekend

41 Little Living

42 A Day Out at Stanwick Lakes

An ideal destination for families

45 How to Get a ShowStopping Lawn! Top tips for a big occasion

46 Off the Wall

Street artist Nyces is transforming Peterborough!

48 Urban Rambles Explore nearby cities on foot

51 A Garden to Inspire The grounds of Elton Hall

57 Out & About

What to do and where to go in May

61 Nene People

The artist behind Magpie and the Tambourine NENE LIVING MAY 2018



Oliver Townend GBR - Winner 2017 J O I N U S AT

L O O M E S C H A M P I O N S H I P R O C K I N G H A M I N T E R N AT I O N A L H O R S E T R I A L S O N 18 T H - 2 0 T H M AY 2 018


PROUDLY MADE IN STAMFORD, ENGLAND www.loomeswatches.com - 01780 481319

Six good things in



Peterborough Cathedral: A Moment in Time” is the theme of a photographic competition launched by the Cathedral. It is open to amateur photographers of all ages to encourage them to capture some exciting moments during the Cathedral’s 900th year. Closing date is Friday 2nd November. The public will be invited to see an exhibition of the images, and vote for their favourite to win a cash prize. The shortlisted photographs will be at the Cathedral Visitor Centre from December 2018 - January 2019, and voting will be open during this time. Full details on the Cathedral’s website www.peterboroughcathedral.org.uk/photocomp.aspx or call 01733 355315.

Good enough to frame, this wrapping paper from Cambridge Imprint is a treat for the eyes. From a selection at Priddy Essentials, 22 High Street, Uppingham LE15 9PY.


Versatile enough to bridge the springsummer fashion gap, this Kayla Bali floral top costs £40 from FatFace, the Queensgate Centre, Peterborough.


Choose an on-trend slogan cushion from a selection at Next. £16 from the Queensgate Centre, Peterborough.


Selina Lake’s beautiful new book, Garden Style, published by Ryland, Peters & Small shows you how to make the most of your garden, even if you’re not green fingered. Use accessories to refresh your space, group pots, set up a seating area and create atmosphere to make your garden more inviting. Available to order from Oundle Bookshop. Tel: 01832 273523


Frilly, theatrical peonies are an asset to any garden to create drama in the borders. Use a plant support around the stems to stop the flowers from flopping over. NENE LIVING MAY 2018


Nene News People, places, businesses

New era for The Montagu Arms

A candlelight concert

AN Simmons has returned to the Montagu Arms at Barnwell with new plans for the 16th century inn. A progressive refurbishment programme is taking place both inside and out after Ian took over in September 2016, and a new chef has joined the team. “I ran the pub for ten years, between 1996 and 2006, and I’ve often been asked to come back,” says Ian. “This time, I could not resist.” Ian is refurbishing the interior, and has installed a brand new kitchen. He is also landscaping the gardens, creating a new play area for children which will be ready for the summer. Head chef Sam Sharman is on board, with guest appearances from chef Justin Capp and Keith Mickleburgh of catering company Beetroot. “We’re offering traditional English food done well, using local produce with plenty of preparation time,” explains Ian. “Trade has been very brisk so far and we’re very much looking forward to the future.” The Montagu Arms, Barnwell, Peterborough PE8 5PH Tel: 01832 273726

UNTINGDONSHIRE Philharmonic Choir (without its full orchestra) presents a Candlelight Concert on Saturday May 5 in St Mary’s Church, Godmanchester at 7.30pm, conducted by choirmaster Lee Dunleavy. The programme features three different ‘takes’ on music dealing with Death, Resurrection and Eternal Life, with Requiem by John Rutter, Svyati by John Tavener and in paradisum by Dan Forrest (accompanied by a single violoncello). Rutter and Tavener are direct contemporaries and have composed some of the best known works of the 20th Century, while Forrest is emerging as one of the most popular composers of this 21st Century. Tickets from www.huntsphil.org.uk £14/12 (£7/6 students), and on the door.



Pop into the pottery market

in its eighth year, the Stamford WIN! WIN! WIN! Tickets to see Shalamar NOW Pottery market is becoming an event in the ceramic calendar at The Broadway Theatre, Peterborough established and will include the work of over 20 local


S Soul legends Shalamar are playing the Broadway Theatre on May 13. It’s set to be a great show, with classic hits such as I Can Make You Feel Good and Friends. Tickets are on sale now priced £32.50 or £24.50 but we have two pairs to give away! You need to be quick to nab a prize though. Just tell us the name of one of the band’s top 20 hits from the 80s and send your answer to: competition@shalamarconcerts.co.uk Mark your entry ‘Nene Living Competition.’ Entries must be in by 4pm on May 9. Winners will collect on the door.

Country pursuits on show


N May 27 and 28, the Burghley Game and Country Fair returns, with a mix of country pursuits and pastimes to enjoy. The Fair will feature three main arenas, with a host of attractions to entertain the family. These include Shetland Racing, Scurry Trials and Driving and the Parade of Hounds. One of the highlights will be the special displays organised by the Shire Horse Society. Or make a visit to the Shire Horse Public Viewing area to meet these gentle giants. There will be a series of demonstrations throughout the day, these will include grooming, harnessing and also a working farrier showing his craft. The Falconry displays are another must-see. Watch these stunning birds of prey as they swoop and soar above the Countryside Arena. There are a whole new set of displays for 2018 under the management of Ben Long Falconry. You can also meet the birds afterwards in the designated Falconry Marquee. World of Dogs is always a massive draw, here you can see the Shadowquest Dog Display Team demonstrating the brilliant talents and skills of Police, Service and Protection dogs. Trainer and handler Paul Makepeace will also be revealing the skilled process of how to train a gun dog. For a full overview of events, visit www.burghleygameandcountryfair.co.uk. Burghley House, Stamford, Lincs PE9 3JY. The show is open 10am – 6pm daily. Admission Adults £14, Over 65’s £13, Children £4.



potters. There will be a wide variety of ceramics displayed and for sale, with pottery demonstrations. Plus, there’s a tombola of plant pots in aid of charity. The Stamford Pottery Market at The Arts Centre. May 6 and 7 2018, 10am to 4.30pm. Free Admission.

Little feet


OHN Lewis Peterborough is inviting new parents to its store on May 14 between 9.30am and 11am to find out more about the importance of looking after children’s feet. The talk will be led by Start-Rite Shoes Brand Trainer, Val Barbour. The session will cover foot development, the features and benefits of Start-Rite Shoes (focusing on pre-walkers and first steps) and learning about the craft that goes into creating every Start-Rite shoe. Experts in little feet for 226 years, StartRite Shoes recently revealed its new brand identity and ranges after 18 months of research. Designed around the latest thinking in children’s health, developmental and social needs, the brand work with an expert team of biomechanics, physios and podiatrists to create comfortable, appropriate shoes. The talk is free. There will also be an opportunity to have your little one’s feet measured. For more info, call Caroline O’Donovan on 01733 294174 or visit the Children’s Wear Department at John Lewis Peterborough.

Nene News The Magic of Motown


HE Magic of Motown is one of the biggest success stories in British theatre history. So, what better way to experience a night of pure entertainment than at Burghley House, one of the most beautiful outdoor venues that the UK has to offer? Prepare yourself for 40 back-toback classic Motown hits, glittering costume changes, dazzling dance moves and outstanding musicianship. The timeless music of Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, The Supremes, The Four Tops, Martha Reeves, Jackson 5, Smokey Robinson and more, are sensationally recreated by the cast and band. This concert spectacular takes you on a musical journey through favourite songs such as Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, Signed Sealed Delivered, Grapevine, Get Ready, Dancing In The Streets, My Girl, Blame It On The Boogie, Uptight, Endless Love, My Cherie Amor, All Night Long, Heatwave and many, many more. Reach Out for The Magic of Motown on Saturday 9th June at Burghley House. Tickets available online from www.livepromotionsconcerts.co.uk


S a past President of the Arab Horse Society, and a current Council member, Anne Brown of the Gadebrook Arabian Stud near Oundle, has helped the Society celebrate its 100th anniversary this year by compiling “Centenary”, a comprehensive account of the Arabian horse in Britain over the past 100 years and its impact on many other breeds. Anne will sign copies, price £40, in The Oundle Bookshop on Saturday May 12, 10.30 - 12.30.


Nature notes


Celebrating the horse

UCKOOS are in steep decline but I never fail to hear the distinctive, plaintive call across the fields in May, often in the early morning. I don’t need any encouragement to be outside this month. I’ll often return from my walks with a pocketful of outdoor treasure – a discarded empty birds egg shell, a small posy of wildflowers or some leaves to press. Overhanging the limestone wall at the local churchyard, there’s a lilac bush which is thick with fragrant pale purple flowers at this time of year. I planted one of my own in the garden, but have never managed to match this mass of fragrance. It’s just one of the delights of a May morning.

Don’t miss! Longthorpe Bowls Club Plant Sale on Saturday May 19 from 8.30am at Longthorpe Village Hall. Coffee, tea and biscuits, and a cake stall. For further information, call Ray Ames 01733 265928.


HRAPSTON Veterinary Surgery is sending head nurse Anne Swarbrick to Africa to work on a volunteer project with the Worldwide Veterinary Service (WVS), a charity which provides veterinary support and education all over the world. Anne is travelling to Malawi, which has the highest number of child rabies deaths in Africa. WVS together with its sister project, Mission Rabies, has been working to reduce this figure. Through annual neutering and vaccination programmes they are beginning to create a healthy and stable local dog population, vastly improving the safety of the human population. Thrapston Veterinary Surgery proudly supports the WVS, with directors Nick Park and Natalie Sampson having witnessed the results which can be achieved through the charities’ volunteer programmes. To find out more, or to donate visit wvs.org. uk. Donations may be made at Thrapston Veterinary Surgery.

Celebrate spring through art


Congratulations to Shaws of Maxey


HAWS of Maxey are excited to announce that they are once again winners at the British Coach Tourism Awards! Tory Griffiths and Jane Duffelen are pictured here accepting the award for Day Excursion Programme of the Year from Angela Rippon and Martin Stagg (of Warner Holidays). They were also finalists for Holiday Programme of the Year but were pipped at the post by some highly respected competition. “We’re absolutely thrilled to be third time winners in this category and want to thank all of our customers for their ongoing support,” says Jane.

ELLAND Valley Art Society’s popular Spring Exhibition opens on Monday April 30 in the main gallery at Stamford Arts Centre and runs until Saturday May 12. The theme is ‘Renewal’ and on show will be a variety of paintings, prints and 3-d works, most of which are for sale. “We think of spring as a time for new beginnings,” explains Teresa Sands, the Society’s President. “Our members have enthusiastically embraced the theme. We have a real breadth of talent within the Society with painters who work in all media (oils, acrylics, watercolours and pastels) and some who produce prints and ‘mixed media’ work, occasionally in collage. A good number of our members are sculptors too, making three dimensional works such as fine figurative pieces for the home and stylish metalwork sculptures for the garden! There is work Joanna Crawford here to suit all tastes and budgets.” One artist whose enthusiasm for WVAS exhibitions is undiminished is long-standing member Joanna Crawford, who first exhibited with the Society 38 years ago. She moved to Stamford in 1974 and got involved in the re-building of the Arts Centre theatre. In 1990, she started the Thursday morning life drawing class, which she still tutors. Joanna paints in oils and pastels and her subject matter follows the seasons. “I enjoy painting landscapes in the summer months when the weather is warmer and in the winter work indoors on still life subjects.” For more information, visit www.wellandvalleyartsociety.co.uk NENE LIVING MAY 2018

➧ 9

Nene News Run Titchmarsh!


Classic bike rally


Oundle International Festival Highlights


OOK now for events in this year’s Oundle International Festival which runs between July 4 - 14. There’s a packed programme to tempt music lovers, a David Walliams play for the whole family and the famous Party at the Wharf headlined by Toploader. Tickets are selling well, so book ahead for your favourites. Here are some highlights, but there are many more events listed at www.oundlefestival.org.uk, plus all ticket prices and times: 1. Saturday July 7 Oundle on Show The town will be buzzing with a classic bike rally, featuring 100 cyclists dressed according to their era. Barnwell Country Park hosts Music in the Park, featuring six brass bands, including those from Stamford, Yarwell & Nassington and Thrapston. In the evening, check out King for a Day, the Nat King Cole Story at the Stahl Theatre. It features many of Nat King Cole’s most loved songs, such as Unforgettable, When I Fall in Love, and stars jazz vocalist Atila, who is making a name for himself nationwide. 2. Sunday July 8 Hidden Spaces – take the chance to explore some places that are not usually open to the public, such as classic car restorers The Splined Hub in Oundle Marina, and Parson Latham’s Hospital, a grade 1 listed building (booking essential for guided tours). See stained glass windows in Oundle School Chapel created by artists Hugh Easton, John Piper and Mark Angus. Round off with Oundle’s Big Afternoon Tea at Oundle School Common Room between 5.15 and 6.30pm. 3. Monday July 9 Catch Kabantu, a five piece band from Manchester playing world music, inspired by African rhythms, and encompassing everything from Celtic reels to Brazilian Samba. 4. Tuesday July 10 The Bach Walk, sponsored by Nene Living, sees a gentle stroll from Oundle to Cotterstock for a concert in St Andrews Church featuring great British tenor John Mark Ainsley and organist William Whitehead. After a walk back, and supper at Dexters, there’s a late night candlelit concert in Oundle School Chapel at 10pm. It should be a magical evening. 5. Wednesday July 11 Talented cellist and former Prince William School pupil Ellen Porter returns to her home town to perform with three of her contemporaries from the Royal Northern College of Music as the Cuerda Quartet at a lunchtime concert. 6. Thursday July 12 Kabantu The European Union Chamber Orchestra, returning from last year to put on a lively programme including Greig’s Holberg Suite, and a new work, A Light Exists, for which EUCO will be joined by The Rusty Players of Oundle. Hungarian soloist Daniel Lebhardt will be playing the piano. 7. Friday July 13 The Midnight Gang, adapted from the best-selling novel by David Walliams, is the perfect family entertainment, staged in Barnwell Country Park in the open air. Bring low backed chairs and a picnic for a night of fun and laughter! At 7.30 in the Stahl Theatre, catch Alexander Scriabin’s Ragtime Band which has been praised by jazz critics across the world. 8. Saturday July 14 The Party at The Wharf is headlined by Toploader, and Peterborough band Austin Gold. Set up a gazebo, bring a picnic and get ready to dance to Dancing in the Moonlight, the band’s best known hit! To book tickets for any of these performances, Toploader call Oundle Box Office on 01832 274734 10


ACK for its 22nd year, the popular Titchmarsh 3km Fun Run and 10km Road Race takes place on Sunday May 13. With an out-and-back course on closed roads through the East Northamptonshire countryside, the Run Britain Licensed event with a UK Athletics-certified course has something for everyone, from fun runners to more serious competitors. Profits will go to the Playing Fields Association’s Play Area Redevelopment project. Starting at 10am, the 3km Fun Run is suitable for all the family (children aged 8 and over can run unaccompanied). The 10km Road Race starts at 11am and has a minimum entry age of 15. Registration is open now or is possible on the day. Race registration will take place at the Clubroom on the High Street, near the Start and Finish line (alongside The Wheatsheaf Pub). Register now for either event at: http:// www.titchmarshplayingfield.org.uk/10kroad-race/race-registration/

Stibbington Residential Centre is 30!


HE Stibbington Centre, near Wansford is well known by families and schools across Cambridgeshire and neighbouring counties. School visits started even before the current Centre was built 30 years ago and the Centre has welcomed more than 500,000 children since then. On the 12th May 2018, it is celebrating a milestone by encouraging families to be part of a fun-filled open day. A wide range of activities will be on offer including pond dipping, environmental art and craft, lessons in the period classroom and a village treasure trail. There is also chance to take part in a world record challenge for folding Origami butterflies! Entry: adults, £2, under 16s, £1. Stibbington Centre, Church Lane, Peterborough, PE8 6LP.



E The Art of

Craft and Cask The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has always had huge support among the discerning beer drinking community but the rise of micropubs and craft ale bars has brought a variety of flavours to a broader customer base. Large breweries have had a monopoly on the industry for a long time, and some punters had grown tired of the bland taste, preferring to spend their hardearned cash on a different kind of product. Rebecca Downey meets some newcomers to the scene.

Nene Valley Brewery

NVB is a small, independent, privately-owned brewery based at Oundle Wharf which was set up in July 2012 and currently brews about 600,000 pints of beer a year. It offers cask and kegged beers around a core range with the trend towards higher sensory value beers based on American and new world hops supplemented by fresh fruit and interesting botanicals. Director Dick Simpson says, “We regularly brew one-off special products to extend our own experience and provide interest and variety for our customers. Many of these specials prove too popular and have to be brewed again later due to rising demand.” NVB sells bottles, casks and kegs to village pubs, small distributors and

direct to the public from the on-site shop and the neighbouring Tap & Kitchen bar restaurant. It supplied beer to more than 240 clients in 2017 and has a presence at around 20 festivals including Craft Beer Rising in London, and the CAMRA Great British Beer Festival, where it was a finalist for Champion Beer of Great Britain. NVB hosts its own festival each July; ‘Party at the Wharf’ is a night of live music supporting the Oundle International Festival. Enthusiasts can discover more on NVB’s bi-monthly brewery tour, which takes you through the process. www.nenevalleybrewery.com Oundle Wharf, Station Rd, Oundle PE8 4DE

The Bumble Inn

Launched as Peterborough’s first micropub, Tom and Michelle Beran opened The Bumble Inn in June 2016. Having managed the Coalheaver’s Arms for 10 years, Tom knew the business well but was keen to set up a less risky investment without any tie to a brewery or company chain. The move proved a resounding success as it has just won CAMRA pub of the year 2018, receiving over 70% of the votes. Essentially a traditional real ale pub, The Bumble Inn has no recorded music and no TV. It tends to attract people who are most interested in the quality of what they are drinking. The Bumble Inn sells a unique mix of bar snacks and homemade pies and hosts popup evenings with local food traders such as Pie & Mash, Hog Roasts and Goan Curry nights. Though the aficionados consider cask beer the best, the micropub offers a huge selection of craft cans and bottles with over 45 world and craft beers. Tom’s approach to microbrewery is magnanimous; monthly tap takeovers highlight beers from favoured breweries and he is keen to work with other city pubs running joint events. He is in the final stages of creating a ‘Real Ale Bus Trail’. Visiting five great pubs along the no.1 bus route gets you a metal pin badge! www.facebook/Bumble Inn 46 Westgate, Peterborough PE1 1RE

Though the aficionados consider cask beer the best, the micropub offers a huge selection of craft cans and bottles with over 45 world and craft beers. ➧ NENE LIVING MAY 2018


The Art of

Craft and Cask The Ostrich Inn

The Ostrich could be described as a classic boutique boozer but looks can be deceiving. Though a pub has been on the site since 1837, owners Simon and Amy Benton have kept it relevant by providing patrons with a variety of cask ales and craft beers as well as artisan gins and cocktails. “People are tired of large corporations peddling cheap beer at premium prices. I’m a firm believer in pubs being at the heart of their community, and as such I allow the space to be used in a communal way,” says Simon. One customer describes the loyal clientele as a diverse crowd “covering everything from freaks to suits.” Simon runs events such as Resist! Pop Up Vegan Kitchen, Retro Computer Game tournaments, and supports the local art community by running Battle Lines whereby artists have 90 minutes to execute a piece on a 4ft-square board. Artworks for sale adorn the walls, which also has a dartboard, board games and an outside courtyard. Live gigs cover everything from blue grass to folk to reggae punk. The bar hosts a free tapas buffet on Tuesday nights with the purchase of two drinks, while snacks are served Wednesday to Sunday and include delicious Scotch eggs and Yorkshire pudding wraps. The Bentons will be holding a party in May to mark The Ostrich’s 180th year. www.facebook/theostrichinn 17 North Street, Peterborough PE1 2RA

King’s Cliffe Brewery

Jeremy O’Neil made his first home brew at the tender age of 14 but his passion for the business was re-ignited when a friend told him about a micro-brewing course he had attended. Snatching up the last unit available at King’s Cliffe’s Kingsmead, Jeremy set up KCB in 2014 and now supplies house beers to several pubs and shops in the region including the village pub The Cross Keys, The Crown at Elton and The Old White Hart in Lyddington. Jeremy’s core beers include 5C (named after the five counties surrounding King’s Cliffe), No 10, 66 Degrees and P51 – a porter including toasted and chocolate malts named after the American Mustangs which flew from RAF King’s Cliffe during the Second World War. “People don’t want mass produced brands anymore, there is such a vast difference between beer varieties and flavours,” says Jeremy, “A couple of years ago I decided to grow hops on my allotment and I’m really looking forward to brewing a beer with real local provenance.” www.kcbales.co.uk

The Stoneworks

The stylishly minimalist bar adjacent to the Cathedral Square was established in 2016 by Steve Saldaña and business partner Sean Page and describes itself as “Peterborough’s only bar dedicated to all things craft.” The bar carries 22 lines of craft beer as well as quality ciders, spirits aged in oak barrels and a variety of sodas. Kegged beers are kept fresh at 4°C and are sold in thirds of a pint for inquisitive customers wishing to sample the variety on offer. The bar frequently holds tap takeovers from vetted breweries and creates a lively vibe with stand-up comedy nights and events such as Beer & Cheese Matching evenings. Staff are knowledgeable and happy to advise on the tipple to suit your taste. www.thestoneworks.co.uk 8A Church St, Peterborough PE1 1XB



The Frothblowers

As the name would suggest, The Frothblowers are all about the real deal. Steve Williams and business partner John Lawrence had been involved in local CAMRA for years and were concerned that local pubs weren’t interested in keeping good quality real ale. In what Steve describes as a moment of madness, they bought a derelict ex-tanning studio and created a micropub that has become a thriving hub for the Werrington community. The Frothblowers also supports the local economy by stocking beers from local breweries including Digfield, Mile Tree, Castor and Hopshackle as well as a limited range of trappist beers from monasteries across Europe, plus an array of real ciders (no fizzy draught drinks here). Steve cites the pub’s popularity since its launch in February 2017 as being down to providing excellent products in an environment free from the distractions of wifi, TV, fruit machines and music. “Micropubs benefit from low overheads such as cheap rent and most don’t have to pay business rates,” explains Steve. “Mainstream pub operators complain that micropubs have an unfair advantage, but competition is good. Our business model could be seen as more viable than traditional pubs which have been closing for years.” The pub works symbiotically with the neighbouring takeaways and launderette and helps drive footfall. Customers are predominantly local but occasional acoustic music acts, food nights and festivals are drawing patrons from much further afield. www.facebook/Frotherblowers Micro Pub 78 Storrington Way, Peterborough PE4 6QP

Oakham Ales in Peterborough at the Brewery Tap & Charters Not a newcomer or a ‘micro’ in scale any longer, Oakham Ales is nevertheless the Daddy of the local scene, and celebrates 25 years of brewing beer in 2018. Founded in Oakham in 1993, it has been based in Peterborough since 2006. This year’s core range includes the ever-popular Jeffrey Hudson Bitter, named after one of Oakham’s famous 17th century characters. The popular Citra is also included, and it continues to pick up national and regional awards. First brewed in 2009, this single hop beer showcases this great American hop. Bishops Farewell is an easy drinking premium bitter and has been a firm favourite since 1996. American Pale completes the 2018 range. Inferno is a popular blonde beer and Scarlet Macaw showcases two great American hops – Summit and Amarillo. Oakham’s brewing team continue to create modern, innovative beers and are looking forward to brewing great beers for the next 25 years. Its headquarters is the largest brewpub in Europe, The Brewery Tap, which opened in 1998 and is located in the old labour exchange in Westgate. Despite many threats of closure due to the re-development of Westgate, it is still very much alive and kicking. Oakham Ales can also be found at its sister establishment, The Charters Bar on the river. Charters offers a unique experience, coupling Pan Asian cuisine with 12 Real Ales. In April, Charters Bar was presented a Gold Award from the Peterborough Branch of CAMRA. The award was presented to Warren Allett by Mick Slaughter and Matt Mace in recognition of a muchimproved selection of quality guest beers of all styles for drinkers to enjoy in this friendly vibrant city centre venue. The Brewery Tap, 80 Westgate, Peterborough PE1 2AA www.thebrewery-tap.com Charters Bar, Town Bridge, Peterborough PE1 1FP www.charters-bar.com




Under New Management

Ian and the team look forward to welcoming you to The Cross Keys Inn. • Full Bar Menu and A La Carte Restaurant Menu. • Lunch and Dinner, Monday - Saturday 12-230pm & 6-9pm. • Steak Night on Wednesday: Two steaks and bottle of wine £30. • Curry Banquet Night: Monday 6-9pm • Real Ales alternating each week. • Bottomless Breakfast/Brunch with Prosecco served Friday, Saturday & Sunday from 11am-1 pm

2 West Street, Kings Cliffe, Peterborough, PE8 6XA Tel 01780 470276 to book a table Like us for news and events



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Meet Nene Living’s blogger and allotmenteer, Annie, who gardens in the Cambridgeshire Fens

Fenland Lottie M

AY is a beautiful month! Nothing can rival the spritz of lime green as buds unfurl into their full glory or the soft pink and white confetti-like blossom of the apple trees. The allotment is at its prettiest, too. Fresh young growth abounds, full of the promise of harvests to come. That is if I can get there before the slugs and birds or bugs do! There are tiny fruits developing on the blackcurrant and gooseberry bushes and embryo plums on the fruit tree. But the rhubarb is already in full swing. As early as January, the big fat pink buds were pushing through the ground, to be followed by the unfurling of large umbrella like leaves and blushing pink stems. I grow a variety called Raspberry Red which produces stalks of deliciously sweet rhubarb from April through to midsummer. On a visit to the allotment to water some seeds, I harvest several stalks of rhubarb, gently twisting and pulling from the base of the plant. The leaves, which are poisonous if eaten, are cut off and thrown onto the compost heap. Returning home, I contemplate what to make with my harvest. Crumble is a favourite; the soft fruit tucked away under a knubbly topping of flour, oats, butter and sugar with maybe a sprinkling of ground ginger, baked until the topping is golden and crunchy. Today though, I decide to experiment. When lovely daughters were young, pineapple upside down cake was a favourite treat for pudding on a Sunday. I decide to try out a variation of this theme and make a rhubarb and ginger upside down cake. I spread 25g butter and 25g brown sugar onto the base of an 18cm sponge tin and lay thin batons of rhubarb in a fan shape on top. Into a mixing bowl goes 100g soft butter, 100g self raising flour, 50g brown sugar, 2 eggs, 1 level teaspoon of baking powder and the same of ground ginger which I beat together before spooning into the tin and spreading level. About 30 minutes in an oven preheated to 170c is enough for it to rise and turn golden in colour. After a few minutes cooling in the tin, I turn it out onto a plate. The result is better than expected! And because the sun is shining, I take a cup of tea and a piece of cake outside and sit a while on the garden bench. Read more about Annie’s life on her plot every month in Nene Living

Nene Living visits… The Cross Keys, King’s Cliffe


AN Cartmell only took over this pretty old village pub a month before we visited, but already he is making changes which are clearly going down well as there was quite a buzz on a mid-week lunch time and a distinctly friendly atmosphere. Locals were chatting at the bar, someone was working on a laptop in a quiet corner, and a couple of large family parties were in the restaurant and the snug. After 13 years working in local government, Ian wanted a change, and he decided to fulfil his dream of running a pub with rooms. The new menu is appetizing - rustic and hearty rather than fine dining, and it is overseen by chef Jimmy Attila. I ordered fish and chips from the bar menu, tempted by the description of the homemade beer batter (£11.95). I was not disappointed as the haddock was juicy inside a crispy, golden jacket, and was all the better for Jimmy’s homemade tartare sauce on the side. From the same menu, and popular with the family opposite, was the Fat Abbot Burger with crispy bacon, Stilton or Smoked Applewood cheese and chunky chips, £12.95 – perfect rib-sticking fare after a walk around this prettiest of villages. The a la carte menu offers dishes such as pan-fried calves liver and bacon with mashed potato and caramelized red onion chutney, or roast pork belly with savoy cabbage, mash and apple cider gravy, all priced between £12.95 -£14.95. There are several good vegetarian options such as mushroom and spinach linguine, stuffed peppers or mushroom risotto. Popular with real ale drinkers, The Cross Keys is a free house. Always on offer is a Cross Keys beer, brewed in the village by the King’s Cliffe Brewery, and also a Cross Keys Pilsner, again especially made for the pub. The interior is soon to get a revamp, and Ian plans to improve the garden area for summer, with rattan furniture, blankets and patio heaters to enable customers to enjoy the lighter evenings. He has ideas for special events, including a Glen Miller tribute band, and his new brunches on Saturdays and Sundays, 10am-12.45pm are already a success. Customers can opt for a ‘soft option,’ with fruit juices and coffee or tea to accompany the two course menu of pastries and yoghurt, followed by a full English or Eggs Benedict, or they can try the Bottomless Brunch, with unlimited Prosecco served by the glass. I wouldn’t recommend clambering over any stiles after that, but it certainly sounds like fun! 2 West St, King’s Cliffe, PE8 6XA. To book, call 01780 470276 www.crosskeyskingscliffe.uk Fiona Cumberpatch NENE LIVING MAY 2018


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New Lodge Farm, Bulwick




EEKENDS at our house often feature a visit to our local New Lodge Farm Shop and Eatery, whether it’s a quick stop off for a pint of milk or a full-on family meal. The welcome at this well-established business is always warm and the sunny restaurant area is a tempting place to spend an hour or two over the weekend papers. New Lodge Farm, run by husband and wife team Sarah and Simon Singlehurst, has been in the Singlehurst family for nearly a century. It focuses on Aberdeen Angus cattle and sheep, is run using traditional organic methods, and sells the meat it rears on site. The Farm Shop, Butchery and Eatery, now award-winning, opened 16 years ago, providing customers with fruit and vegetables, meat and dairy produce and other speciality food items. The Eatery menu includes favourites such as homemade Chilli Con Carne and roast dinners, as well as soups and sandwiches, or you can indulge in a full English Breakfast to start the weekend in style. With a hugely successful events catering team, offering mouth-watering hog roasts and barbecue options, the business is kept very busy. A more recent addition has been the highly rated campsite, which opened in 2014. “We really value our loyal local following,” says Sarah, “as well as welcoming new faces from further afield. We’re always very happy to answer any enquiries people have for parties or weddings, so do come along and see us, or give us a ring!”

Top Farm Shops Produce that’s fresh from the farm tastes better, uses less packaging and makes food shopping fun! Sarah Chase finds farm shops that are thriving in the region.

Dovecote Buttery and Farm Shop, Geddington www.dovecotefarm.co.uk


HE pairing of entrepreneurial talent with a solid knowledge of farming has been a winning combination for Dovecote Farm’s owners, the Bye family. Four generations have built up this thriving business, and all the signs suggest it will continue to succeed. Originally an arable farm, the traditional crops of wheat and oilseeds are still grown, but in 1987 the family branched out, setting up a pick your own (PYO) fruit service. In 2004 a tea room, ‘The Buttery’, was opened to serve refreshments to the PYO customers and it proved so popular that two years later, a garden room extension was added. This now forms the main restaurant seating area and also provides a lovely private function space, with seating for up to 45 people. In the warmer months, the doors to the pretty enclosed garden can be opened, and additional seating provided. The family-friendly restaurant offers traditional, wholesome and home-cooked food: I’m still dreaming about my Brie, Bacon and Mango Chutney sandwich, served on thick, granary bread. Also available are larger plates such as Lamb Shanks, or Pie of the Day, as well as salads, cakes and high teas. A children’s menu is offered, and the outside play area is a great way to keep the kids happy while they wait. A wide range of artisan and speciality food products are ready to buy in the adjoining farm shop, not to mention the farm’s own fruit, which is available to buy seasonally. There is also a gift shop. Manager James Bye is justly proud of the business: “Our aim is to support the local food economy by sourcing as many of our cooking ingredients as possible from local producers,” he says. “By employing local people, and working with partners from the towns, villages and farms around us, we like to think that Dovecote Farm contributes positively to our area.”



Top Farm Shops

Lutton Farm



INCE 1960, when it opened as a PYO enterprise, the Long family at Lutton Farm, near Oundle, has been building up an enviable reputation as a soft fruit supplier to the UK’s premium supermarkets. While this is the main part of the business, the strawberries, raspberries and blueberries are also available to buy direct from the farm shop. By cutting out the ‘middle man’ the Farm keeps prices low, with punnets of class 2 fruits (these have the same flavour as supermarket fruit, but may be misshapen) selling for as little as 50p. “We aim to grow and sell the best quality berries with truly outstanding flavour that are freshly picked and deliver the most in terms of a fruit experience,” says Fin Broadbent, operations manager at the Farm. “We also grow beefsteak tomatoes, herbs and lettuces, and we source local seasonal produce - root vegetables, courgettes, flat peaches, apples, pears and plums - so that we can offer our customers more than just berries when they visit.”

Harvest Barn, Farcet www.harvestbarn.co.uk


INCE opening in January of this year, Lynn and Steve Briggs have been delighted with the response to their Farm Shop and Café. As first generation farmers, they have had a very busy ten years since taking on the 250 acre Whitehall Farm, which grows cereals, vegetables and fruit crops. The couple are proud to hold a Higher Level Stewardship Scheme agreement with Natural England, and are keen to protect and preserve the local wildlife wherever possible - more than 25 acres of wild flowers, rough grasses and ditches offer a haven for birds, insects and all the other accompanying animal life. Many of the salads, vegetables, fruit and flowers available to buy at the Farm Shop are grown and picked on the farm, but the shop also stocks locally-sourced cheeses, pates and charcuterie products. The pressed apple juices, made from the farm’s own heritage varieties, are well worth a try. Lynn is enthusiastic about the coming year: “It’s been a whirlwind of a few months, and we’re not resting on our laurels,” she says. “We’re constantly expanding the range of produce we offer - my carpenter is having to build me some more shelves! “Now the weather has warmed up we’re excited about getting our courtyard and children’s play areas open, as we’re having lots of groups visiting us, from the Salvation Army to mums with tots.”



More of our favourite farm shops Hill Farm at Chesterton for family-friendly, seasonal PYO fun: open during the summer months, there is ample space and a playground for children to run around whilst you enjoy a rest from all that picking over a cup of tea and home made cake. www.hillfarmpyo.co.uk Moor Farm at Newborough for top-class meat and poultry: they offer guided group visits of their farm - ideal for schools to give the children a better understanding of farming and food provenance. Moor Farm’s shop also sells locally produced cakes, chutneys and preserves. www.moorfarmshop.wordpress.com The Pickled Village at Bulwick, which stocks an eclectic and delicious range of items, from the everyday to the luxury. Pop in for a takeaway cup of homemade soup, or fresh-from-theoven sausage rolls and cakes. Their Cuban Mojito marmalade is out of this world… www. thepickledvillage.co.uk

A 17th Century Village Pub

A 17th Century Pub in the charming village of Nassington. Taking pride in being a part of the community, serving good home cooked food, five fine cask ales with low beamed ceilings, open fireplaces and two beer gardens, not forgetting a warm welcome from Gary, Pam and the team.


Tuesday: Steak Night (booking advisable) Wednesday: Fish & Chips only £5.95

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. . . s e t i r w r e p ee A beek Honey bees are not just master engineers and expert communicators, they are a vital part of our ecosystem and one that is under threat. Local beekeeper and food blogger Kelly Castelete reports

Kelly with the bees


Y first introduction to beekeeping was a few years ago when I accompanied local beekeeper Jeff Hunter of Titchwincle Honey to visit one of his apiaries on a beautiful sunny day. One of his hives alone was home to around 100,000 bees and, whilst most were out foraging for food, I found myself surrounded by tens of thousands of bees. On that first visit, I learned that bees go up not down, hence why you should tuck your beekeeping suit into your wellies! I also learned how honey bees turn nectar into honey, by vibrating their wings and reducing the water content. I discovered that honey bees have a unique dialect and language in the form of dance. The ‘round dance’ and ‘waggle dance’ are two ways in the which ‘scout bees’ communicate the location of food they have found using the position of the sun to pin-point accuracy. They truly are remarkable. That day sparked my interest in beekeeping and my husband Mike was equally keen. We set up our first beehive a few years ago and continue to invest in more each year. There are lots of aspects of beekeeping which are rewarding, not least doing something that is completely different, and in doing so getting closer to nature.

This stretch of the River Nene, rich with Himalayan Balsam plants, is within flying distance of one of Kelly and Mike’s hives

Big challenges

From our own experience, honey bees have a lot to contend with. Since starting, we’ve experienced freak weather conditions, including flooding and prolonged freezing temperatures. One of our biggest challenges is supporting our colonies throughout the winter. Much has been written about neonicotinoids, a pesticide widely used in farming until a partial EU ban was introduced in 2013. In February 2018, the European Food Standards Agency conducted a peer review of 1500 studies on the effects on wild bees, pollinators and honey bees and they concluded that “the risk is confirmed.” The British Beekeepers Association continue to support the EU ban on neonicotinoids, and pesticide use is one of the top concerns for beekeepers. But we mustn’t be too quick to criticise farmers. Those I know are keen to protect bees. They follow guidelines on efficient pesticide use, and actively support bees. Many will plant wildflower corridors near hives and

encourage bramble growth to help sustain food supplies. It’s within all our interests to protect honey bees. While pollinators are essential for all plants, it’s the honey bee colonies that help pollinate spring crops, due to their numbers. Around this time of year, borage, bean and rapeseed crops provide a good source of food for honey bees. Throughout the summer, wildflower, blossom, brambles and balsam are other nectar sources. Mike and I joined over 100 beekeepers at the Northamptonshire Beekeepers’ Association Bee Health course last summer. It was superbly organised, and we came away armed with information on how to look after our bees. A major new threat is the Asian hornet, which has been found in the UK and can cause

devastation to honey bee colonies. Beekeepers and gardeners are encouraged to keep alert to this threat and report any sightings to the National Bee Unit. We also learned more about the reasons why a productive queen may stop laying eggs (something we’ve experienced) and how to protect against diseases and the deadly varroa mite. As an avid food blogger, one thing that really surprised me was the amount of food we eat that relies on bees and other pollinators. A count of all the foods I had consumed in the previous week showed that, out of 46 foods (including strawberries, grapes, wine, cocoa, cashews, onions, apples, lemons, limes…the list goes on), 24 would not exist if we lost the honey bees and other pollinators. NENE LIVING MAY 2018


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. . . s e t i r w r e p ee k A bee

Raw chocolate honey

How can you help bees? There are many ways we can all help honey bees and pollinators. Introduce flowering plants into your garden borders, or sow a large patch of land with wildflowers. The RHS has produced a helpful “Perfect for Pollinators” guide (see box for details). Find out what the Asian hornet looks like (it’s different to the European hornet) and join the Friends of the Earth Bee Count. If you are interested in beekeeping, contact your local beekeeping association.

Which honey to buy?

In all its varieties (borage, bean, blossom, flowering parsnip and wildflower, to name a few) raw honey has the quality of a fine single-estate wine. When you buy from a beekeeper, you are usually buying raw honey from a single hive or apiary, foraged from the nectar of flowers in bloom at that given time. It is my sweetener of choice and, besides the unique flavour of each jar, raw honey has some nutritional benefits. It contains small amounts of Vitamin B, and is known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is something I love to cook with, too, and I have devised a series of recipes for my blog.

Created from my love of dark chocolate, our own Castelete’s Chocolate Honey combines the delicate flavour of raw honey with 100% organic cocoa. Spread on toast, drizzle over a croissant or dollop on your yoghurt. Here are some of my simple, favourite recipes.

Croissants with strawberries and cream cheese: Serves two • 2 croissants • 4 tbsp cream cheese • 4 strawberries, washed and sliced • 2 tsp chocolate honey • Slice the croissants in half, spread one side with cream cheese and pop some strawberries on top. Drizzle with chocolate honey and enjoy with a cup of tea or glass of champagne!

Banana ‘nicecream’:

Serves two • 3 small bananas • 60ml milk • Handful of hazelnuts, chopped • 2 tbsp chocolate honey • A fantastic recipe to use up your ripe bananas. Chop two bananas and place in the freezer overnight. When you are ready, put the frozen banana into a food processor, and blitz for 10 seconds. Add half of the milk and blitz again. Use a spatula to scrape any ‘nicecream’ from the edge. Continue blending and adding milk until you get a smooth creamy texture. I usually pop it into a container and refreeze for when I’m ready to serve. Fill your bowl with fresh chopped banana, scoops of ‘nicecream’, a spoon of chocolate honey and chopped hazelnuts.

Mint chocolate milkshake: Per serving • 200ml milk • 1 tsp chocolate honey • Handful of mint leaves, finely chopped

• 3 ice cubes • This ice-cold shake is perfect for a summer’s day and the hint of mint is refreshing. First, add the milk and chocolate honey into your blender and blitz. Next add the ice and mint, blitz some more and serve.

About Kelly: Kelly is a Northamptonshire-based food blogger and healthy eating advocate. She is also a beekeeper and, with her husband Mike, she has launched a range of honey-based foods. Mike and Kelly will be at Oundle Food Festival on Saturday June 23. Follow Kelly on Instagram @goodfoodbee. Find out more about Castelete’s Honey Food: www.tastegoodvibes.com FIND OUT MORE ABOUT BEEKEEPING AND ENCOURAGING BEES TO YOUR GARDEN VIA THESE WEBSITES Northamptonshire Beekeepers Association: http://www.northantsbees.org.uk/ Friends of the Earth Bee Count: https://friendsoftheearth.uk/bee-count RHS Perfect for Pollinators: https://www.rhs.org.uk/science/conservation-biodiversity/wildlife/perfect-for-pollinators



Compiled by Bridget Steele

Wellbeing Notes

What’s new in cosmetic surgery?

Mr Anthony Barabas - Consultant Plastic Surgeon at Fitzwilliam Hospital in Peterborough gives the lowdown on Cosmetic Surgery. The buzz word going into 2018 is ‘natural.’ The trend for more natural-looking cosmetic surgery started a number of years ago with advances in non-surgical procedures. The eyes have it There has been a shift in eyelid surgery, too. Removal of fat from around the eye often resulted in a hollowed-out, skeletal appearance to the eye, so now fat is sculpted, repositioned or even added at the same time as excess eyelid skin is removed. Non-surgical treatments have a very limited ability to rejuvenate the upper eyelids, so upper eyelid surgery has always been popular. In contrast, lower eyelid treatments remain non-surgical and fillers can reduce the look of tired eyes resulting from bulging lower lid eye bags and Botox to reduce crows’ feet. Men seek surgery Increasing numbers of men seek facial rejuvenating procedures, in particular eyelid surgery and neck contouring, and this trend is set to continue. Treatment to reduce ‘man boobs’ (gynaecomastia) is now commonplace and no longer a taboo subject. In fact, a major factor that has increased demand for cosmetic surgery over recent years is how easily people can search the internet and read up on treatments they may be embarrassed to discuss in open conversation with family and friends. Websites, blogs and chat rooms – and even the opportunity to email surgeons directly on their homepage – have all broken down many of the barriers and helped to bring cosmetic surgery to the many, not just the few. For more information contact the Hospital Service Advisor on 01733 842304 or visit www.fitzwilliamhospital.co.uk

Body conscious If you look better you feel better – that’s certainly true for most of us. Elysia Health and Beauty have worked with LIPOFIRM PRO since it was launched. Consistent results have made this celebrity favourite hugely popular. Owner Lisa Claypole said “The results speak for themselves and clients have regained their body confidence without the need for surgery.” Whether you’re looking to lose a few inches, target stubborn areas of fat that are resistant to exercise, tighten skin, work on your arms so you needn’t worry about your choice of outfit, effectively reduce cellulite or regain your shape after pregnancy, Lisa says that LIPOFIRM PRO will deliver. “We can also treat the face and neck and eye area with advance Radio Frequency. It can help to reduce wrinkles, and tighten and tone loose and lax skin.” LIPOFIRM PRO is medically certified and suitable for men and women. It is ideal for multiple body areas and no downtime is needed. Lisa recommends a course of treatments for the best results and she has an extensive portfolio of the results that can be achieved. For more information contact Elysia Health and Beauty, Tansor, Oundle. Tel: 01832 226328 or 07879 620196.

New treatments at Pure Health & Beauty Jayne Reading celebrates the 10th birthday of her delightful village salon in Glapthorn. Situated in the most tranquil of settings, with plenty of off road parking, this friendly and welcoming salon has always focussed on traditional treatments delivered in a professional manner giving clients a luxurious and discreet experience. Experienced health care professional Amitosh Sahi joins the team this month to offer aesthetic treatments. Anti-wrinkle injections have become an accepted an effective way of treating lines and wrinkles with small quantities of Botox that reduce contraction of the facial muscles to create a softer smoother complexion. This treatment lasts for three to five months and starts at £200. Small amounts of dermal filler can restore volume, making skin appear plumper, smoother and more youthful. Lip fillers are another popular way of adding volume and accentuating the natural shape of your lips creating definition and size. Treatment isn’t painful and takes just 20 -30 minutes. The filler used in the salon contains local anaesthetic and although there is slight swelling after treatment, this doesn’t last more than three or four days. Prices start at £275 and results last for up to twelve months. Aesthetic treatments at Pure Health & Beauty are followed up with a free top up within three weeks for any more resistant areas. For appointments contact Jayne at Pure Health & Beauty, Glapthorn, near Oundle. E-mail jayne@purebeautyglapthorn.co.uk Tel: 01832 272310. 26



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All about eyes Sparkling, healthy eyes shouldn’t be taken for granted, says beauty writer Rebecca Chantrell


YE health is not something people tend to worry about day to day; however, eye strength and appearance are responsible for how well, youthful or tired a person can look. The foods we consume and how we care for our eyes on a daily basis can play a part in preventing sight deterioration. Local experts provide nutritional advice, explain the benefits of sunglasses and suggest how a screen detox may be in order.

Get ready for summer with The Oculist Gerry, Rob and Hannah at The Oculist in Peterborough want everyone to look great in their sunnies and make sure that eyes are protected from harmful UV radiation. Most of us are aware of the dangerous effects UV rays have on our skin, and we protect it with sunscreen, but few of us realize the risks to our eyes. Director Gerry Sondh says: “UV radiation can damage the eye’s surface tissues as well as the cornea and lens.” There are three common classifications of UV radiation. • UVA has the longest wavelength. It has a lower energy and deeper penetration and is responsible for tanning and ageing. • UVB is responsible for the burning effects of sunlight on the skin. • UVC is absorbed by the Earth’s ozone layer and therefore is not a concern. Gerry explains: “a short-term effect of UV Radiation is Photokeratitis - an inflammation of the cornea which is like sunburn of the eye. It is painful and creates symptoms including red eyes, dry gritty sensation, sensitivity to light and excessive tearing.” Another ocular condition associated with long-term UV exposure is cataracts. Symptoms include cloudy vision, glare, reading difficulties and faded colours. “We can make sunglass lenses to block the harmful UV radiation effectively. Light can still enter above, below and around the sides of most standard frames, so our qualified team spend time finding a balance between style, comfort and fit. We can provide almost any prescription for our wrap around sunglass frames offering full protection to the eye.” “If you love your brands we can offer a standard solution for your eyewear needs with RayBan, Prada, Dior and Tom Ford. If you want something engineered and unique we can look at our specialist brands Oliver Peoples, Mykita, Orgreen, Theo, Rapp, Face a Face and LINDBERG. All of these are handmade and unique to The Oculist in Peterborough. These brands offer original designs, innovative material and mind-blowing bendy hinges. Another favourite we stock is Maui-Jim. This is our premium polarised collection. The high performance polarised lenses are available as ready to wear and in most prescriptions.” Call to book a Style Consultation, 01733 555621 24 Westgate Arcade, Queensgate Centre, Peterborough, PE1 1PY Sunglass lenses block harmful UV radiation.

A treat for the eyes The skin around our eye area is 25 per cent thinner than the rest of the face. It has less sebum (oil) production which naturally causes dryness and due to constant movements and straining is normally the first place to show signs of premature ageing. The team at ‘and so beautiful’ are on hand to help… Owner Rebecca Squires says: “we offer clients a discounted Decleor Vital Eyes treatment if incorporated into one of our Decleor aromatherapy facials. This treatment visibly plumps and smooths the eye area after just one treatment. The hydrating eye mask fights fatigue, quenches moisture loss and helps erase wrinkles for a sparkling eye zone.” With makeup formulas becoming more advanced and long lasting, removal of makeup needs to be done properly. If not, unnecessary dragging and friction can occur causing eye irritation and inflammation. With prolonged poor removal, eyelashes can become damaged, brittle and in the worst cases, eyes can become infected. It is well known that cleansing wipes alone do not remove all particles (as well as being bad for the environment). Rebecca says: “I believe that the newly formulated Decleor Bi-Phase Caring Cleanser is the answer to all of our facial and eye-care cleansing concerns. It’s an oil-based cleanser, containing a scientific blend of botanical oils and floral water. It works delicately around the eye area, gently removing even the most stubborn face and eye makeup, whilst hydrating and plumping the area.” Call ‘and so beautiful’ in Orton Waterville and Woodnewton 07905 926902

TOP TIP Products such as mascara should be replaced every few months, as they are breeding grounds for bacteria. If you notice any change to the smell or texture of products, they should be thrown away. Always use separate cotton pads for each eye to prevent cross contamination.




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All about eyes

Food for vision Eating a well-balanced diet with multiple food groups is super-beneficial to the eyes. Vitamins work from the inside out to stimulate cell renewal and anti-oxidants prevent free radicals. Eating the right foods can protect the eye macula, lens and cornea and reduce inflammation which can cause tissue damage. Nutritionist Pip Fairhall explains: “all those times you were told as a child that eating carrots is good for your eyesight, it is true! Carrots and leafy green veggies are considered some of the best foods for your eyes because they provide antioxidants and eye vitamins, including vitamins C, E, A and zinc, along with carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin.” Pip Fairhall Nutritional Therapist and Life Coach 07557 344402

Turn back time with Elysia


The Exilis Elite is a non-invasive alternative to Botox or surgery. A handheld device is passed over the treatment area. It heats the skin and stimulates collagen-producing cells deep in the dermis with the aim of creating younger, firmer looking skin. Lisa Claypole, owner of Elysia, can tailor the treatment to individual eye concerns, AFTER working the device into lines above the brow and close to the lash line. For optimum results hydration levels in the skin should be high, so clients are advised to drink plenty of water prior to treatment. Lisa says: “Exilis Elite is one of the most advanced non-surgical treatments available, and it was featured in Tatler’s 2018 Cosmetic Surgery guide as one of the “go to” treatments. It has also won numerous awards. It is the only device on the market that delivers monopolar radio frequency (this has the deepest penetration depth) and ultrasound energy simultaneously for best results.” “Treatment areas include eye area, chin, jawline, mouth, décolleté and most body areas. It has a unique cooling feature to provide a comfortable treatment. Its clinically tested and scientifically proven to treat laxity. There is no downtime and I believe that the results that speak for themselves.” Elysia Health & Beauty, Tansor, Oundle, PE8 5HP 07879 620196

Screen detox at Alwalton Hall A recent report revealed that the average person scrolls through 300 feet of mobile content every day, the equivalent of the Statue of Liberty! With that in mind, a screen or phone break at Alwalton Hall ensures a super relaxing day and complete eye recharge. Try a total detox; leave phones in the locker and enjoy the spa facilities in the beautifully restored manor house- which is also very easy on the eye! The Bright Eye Treatment is a perfect to give eyes that special ‘pop’ and restored vitality. Technical Director Jess Topping says: “eyebrows and lashes are tinted and completed with an eyebrow wax giving shape back to your face. With a choice in the colours we use from light brown to the darkest of black it can suit all ages and styles. A patch test is required 48 hours before your appointment.”

Alwalton Hall, Church Street, Alwalton, Peterborough, PE7 3UN 01733 391166 NENE LIVING MAY 2018




Elegant by design After months of planning, a tired and dated kitchen was transformed into a light and welcoming space by Stamford-based company QKS. WORDS: AMANDER MEADE PHOTOGRAPHY: ELLI DEAN Below: The magnificent quartz topped peninsula provides the focal point of the kitchen and is the social hub of the room. It hosts an integrated extractor hob, sink and dishwasher. The cabinetry by QKS is all oak lined with a full height fridge and dual ovens with combined microwave. The stools are by Elizabeth Stanhope Interiors. The walls are painted in Elephant’s Breath by Farrow and Ball.



About QKS…. QKS have been established since 1981 and their newly refurbished kitchen showroom in Stamford is the largest in the area. Design Consultant Andrew Singer says that design flexibility is a crucial feature of the QKS service and one in which the team takes great pride. “This means that in addition to the traditional styling associated with older buildings we can also offer exciting possibilities for more contemporary projects, whether as extensions or as part of a new build.” With over 10,000 projects completed in the region, the statistics speak for themselves – you can find 25 room settings, and 100 different built in and range cookers in the showroom and QKS offer 1,000 different door styles and colours. Options range from bespoke and custom made kitchens to factory built versions. In short, whatever your taste or budget, you will find the kitchen you want at QKS plus all the design input and advice you need to add value to your home.. Above: The preparation and cooking area is clearly defined from the dining space beyond. Floors are by Stamford Stone. The large silver candelabra are by Elizabeth Stanhope Interiors. Appliances are by Siemens throughout.

QKS – Quality Kitchen Services qksstamford.co.uk Tel: 01780 755855


ESCRIBED as ‘very 70s’ and an ergonomic nightmare, it was time for a major update to the kitchen belonging to Mr and Mrs L who live in a conservation village on the border of Rutland and Leicestershire. “Our dining room was never used so the remit to our architect was to create an open plan kitchen with space for dining and entertaining that would work for us in a much more efficient way,” explains Mr L. The couple decided to extend the footprint of the former kitchen by creating a large extension, building on a rarely used piece of garden. Taking their time over their planning, they worked alongside local architect, Joe Breslin who frequently collaborated with the couple’s chosen builder – Will Ashmore of Coppice Homes. Once work was underway on the build, Mr and Mrs L began to shop around for kitchens. Having eliminated the idea of commissioning hand crafted units they selected QKS of Stamford for the job. “We were immediately impressed by the quality of the advice and planning expertise as well as the fact we were never put under any pressure to buy – in fact, Designer Andrew Singer saved us money where it was appropriate.” The extensive build coupled with brand new plumbing, flooring and electrics meant it was crucial to synchronise the efforts of the trades people involved and Andrew was on site frequently to make sure plans were carried out to the last centimetre. This streamlined approach allowed the team to pinpoint the exact day when the new kitchen could be fitted and, true to their word, QKS completed the installation in four days. “The teamwork was more than impressive,” says Mr L. “The worktop for our huge peninsula is made from quartz and over three metres long – it took five people to lift it!” The couple are delighted with the resulting kitchen which has a Stamford Stone floor and clearly defined cooking and dining areas beautifully decorated using local suppliers. Clever storage and elegant details like down lit glass fronted soft close cabinets add a touch of glamour to the otherwise highly functional space. “Everything is where it should be, which makes cooking and entertaining so much easier. We still come down every morning and think ‘Wow’.


Joe Breslin (Architect) 01572 724108 Cavells cavells.co.uk Tel: 01572 770372 Coppice Homes coppicehomes.co.uk Tel: 01572 811111 Elizabeth Stanhope Interiors elizabethstanhope.co.uk Tel: 01572 722345 Stamford Stone stamfordstone.co.uk Tel: 01780 740970

Above: The dining area is filled with natural light thanks to the large lantern skylight and French doors. “Light was very important in this project; the lantern was extra expenditure but well worth the effect and it helps give a really contemporary feeling to the new kitchen.” Mr L. The couple already owned the dining table and chairs – the console table, matching lamps and faux hydrangeas were from Elizabeth Stanhope Interiors. NENE LIVING MAY 2018


Salvage style

Antiques and vintage pieces aren’t just for interiors. They work beautifully in the garden, adding character and a focal point. You might choose a gorgeous verdigris copper pot repurposed into a planter and filled with white violas, or an ornate wire plant stand to create a vertical garden full of colourful pots. Recently, I visited Rutland Garden Classics near Oakham where there is a plentiful and varied stock of reclaimed items such as statues, stone troughs, zinc tubs and baths, urns, plant stands, old signs and metal garden seats, benches and tables. Prices start at just a few pounds for aged terracotta flower pots. Allow plenty of rummaging time, as the area is packed with finds. Here are some ways to use your vintage buys: • An old bookcase can be repainted and transformed into a ‘theatre’ in which to display pots of auriculas. The neat, button-shaped blooms come in a variety of bold colours and look good displayed in groups (border auriculas are the easiest type to grow). The shelf will provide some shelter, which is handy as these plants prefer to be slightly shaded. • An old Victorian or Edwardian metal garden seat is worth investing in as it can be used to create a unique focal point in the garden. Position it at the end of a path, for example, so that it draws the eye. • You can plant up almost any container, so long as it has drainage holes (you can easily drill some). Fun examples include an old French horn planted with trailing lobelia or nasturtiums. Or find some rusty vintage tins with interesting graphics, punch some holes in the bottom and add colourful, inexpensive bedding plants such as petunias to make a seasonal display. • Old sieves and colanders make excellent planters because they already have drainage holes! Again, trailing or climbing plants work well in these – bacopa is a good choice. You will need to keep the soil well hydrated in dry spells. Rutland Garden Classics, Rutland Village, Ashwell Rd, Oakham LE15 7QN www.rutlandgardenclassics.co.uk Tel: 01572 720070


QUICK MAKE Little Book of Leaves This is a simple project to try with children to help them (and you!) identify the leaves from different trees.

Plant some herbs

According to a 2018 garden trends report from Wyevale Garden Centres, sales of herbs have soared in the last five years, increasing by a fifth. It’s not surprising as herbs are so straightforward to grow in any sized garden, and there’s nothing nicer than snipping a handful of your own to add to a salad or a cocktail. Herbs look super- stylish in a raised bed, and the advantage of this is that you can grow them on the patio, so they are handy for use when you’re entertaining. Small raised bed kits are widely available from garden centres, or you can create an instant one using an old drawer or wooden box. All my herb plants come from Stamford market. A useful selection includes rosemary for barbecue marinades, lemon thyme, for adding to cocktails, chives to snip over salads, and lemon balm to make a soothing tea or infusion.

Growing in my garden now

Hardy geraniums, also known as cranesbill, are garden superstars. They form masses of colour, spreading to fill borders without taking over. For a sunny position, try blue ‘Bill Wallis,’ which is drought tolerant, and will grow around knee high. For a variety which will tolerate part shade, go for deep pink ‘Ann Folkard,’ which you can put under shrubs or trees. Try The Barn Garden Centre, Oundle and plant out now.



You need: • A selection of leaves from different trees • Some heavy books or a flower press • Thick watercolour paper (Colemans sells this by the sheet) • Acrylic paints • Brush or roller 1. Gather a selection of leaves in different shapes and sizes. 2. Press them for a couple of days, either between some heavy books, or put in a simple flower press. 3. Make a folded book by cutting a strip of thick watercolour paper, and folding it up, concertina-style, to create six or eight ‘pages.’ 4. When the leaves are pressed flat, put them on a piece of newspaper. Apply a thin layer of acrylic paint either using a paint brush or a roller (this can get messy!). Choose different colours, not just green. 5. Press a different leaf on to each ‘page’ of the book, smoothing it down. When dry, label each leaf.

Garden Inspiration! Don’t miss the village of Northborough’s open gardens event on May 28, 1pm -5pm. Combine a stroll around some delightful gardens on the Cambridgeshire/Lincolnshire border, with tea and cake in the church, and browse the plant stall. Programmes cost £4, children are free. All proceeds to St Andrew’s Church.

t Es



al Comp


1981 - 37 Years



25 large room settings in our extensive showroom

• Contemporary, modern, traditional & handmade bespoke kitchens • Affordable, quality kitchens and the latest designs on display • Over 60 appliances on show The best quality, best value & best service from a company fitting kitchens since 1981

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Additional Kitchen Designer required. Apply in writing. T H E A R E A’ S L A R G E S T I N D E P E N D E N T K I T C H E N S H O W R O O M The Maltings, Barnack Road, Stamford, PE9 2NA T: 01780 756514 or 755855 E: sales@qksstamford.co.uk www.qksstamford.co.uk 35

Green up your diet!

National Vegetarian Week runs from 14 to 20 May. The self-confessed veg nerds at Riverford explain why eating fruit and vegetables is beneficial – and delicious!


Fruit and veg really can help to keep you healthy. According to researchers from Imperial College London, these types of foods can reduce the chances of having a stroke and lower the risk of heart disease. Fruits and vegetables can also help stave off cardiovascular disease and cancer.


Many fruits and vegetables are virtually fat free, great news for anyone who’s trying to maintain a healthy weight. What’s more, these foods are very low in salt content, and can help to lower both blood pressure and cholesterol.


Fruit and veg are nutrition powerhouses. A single serving of kale (equal to around four heaped tablespoons) will provide you with enough vitamin K (good for your blood) and lutein (good for your eyes) for a day. As well as providing you with plenty of vitamin C (good for your immune system, heart and skin, among other things).


Fruits and vegetables are full of dietary fibre, which is one of the keys to a healthy digestive system. This food type normalises bowel movements, lowers cholesterol and helps to control blood sugar levels. Bananas, oranges, raspberries, carrots, beetroot and broccoli are all great sources.


Organic crops are grown by working with nature rather than against it. UK-based charity the Soil Association says that this means fewer pesticides, no artificial additives or preservatives and no GM ingredients. Eating fruit and veg produced by organic growers like Riverford can help to reduce your exposure to harmful substances used in artificial fertilisers and non-organic soils. What’s more, some studies have shown that some organically grown fruit and veg may contain up to 68 per cent more antioxidants than nonorganic.



Roast asparagus with spring onions and goat’s cheese Serves 2 This dish makes a perfect lunch served with crusty bread. Ingredients • 1 bunch of asparagus • Olive oil • 4–6 spring onions, depending on size • 50g goat’s cheddar • 1/2 lemon • Salt & black pepper Method 1. Heat the oven to 210°C/Gas 7. 2. Snap the tough lower stalks from the asparagus then split any larger stems in half lengthways so that they are all roughly the same size.

3. Toss the asparagus in a baking dish in just enough oil to coat. 4. Season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 8–12 minutes (depending on thickness) until just tender. 5. Trim the spring onions; nip off the root, cut off the darker ends and peel away the first layer of skin. 6. Slice very finely at an angle. 7. Break up the slices with your fingertips. 8. As soon as you take the asparagus out of the oven, squeeze the lemon juice over it and toss the spring onions through. 9. Pile on to a plate and crumble, grate or shave the cheese on top.

4 easy ways to change your diet

1 equal to half a portion. Add an extra portion of veg at dinner time. Two broccoli spears count as one portion, as do three heaped 2 tablespoons of peas, carrots or sweetcorn. Take the hassle out of buying your groceries and get veg delivered. Riverford provides a weekly door-to-door 3 delivery service across Peterborough and the surrounding areas. A smoothie is a simple way to mix together different combinations of fruit and veg. As well as tasting great, 4 smoothies can provide multiple portions of fruit and veg in a single serving. Have a portion of fruit with breakfast. A banana, apple or orange all count as one. A plum, kiwi or apricot are

Try one of these veggie recipes or visit www.riverford.co.uk for more ideas.

Pasta with spinach, walnut and basil pesto Serves 4 If you have any leftover pesto, it will keep in the fridge for a few days, covered with a layer of oil, or freeze it. Ingredients • 30g walnut pieces • 20g pine nuts • 400g dried pasta (any type) • 2 garlic cloves • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg • Zest of 1/2 and juice of 1 lemon

• 200g spinach, washed • 100g Parmesan or vegetarian alternative, grated • 50g basil • 100ml olive oil, more if needed • Salt and pepper Method 1. Stir the walnut pieces in a dry frying pan on a low heat for a minute or so to lightly toast them. 2. Repeat with the pine nuts. 3. Add the pasta to a large pan of boiling salted water and cook according to the packet instructions. 4. While the pasta cooks, put the walnuts, pine nuts, garlic, nutmeg, lemon zest and juice, spinach, half the Parmesan and all but a few leaves of the basil in a food processor.

5. Blitz, gradually pouring in oil until the mixture forms a rough paste. 6. Season to taste. 7. Drain the pasta, reserving a ladle of the cooking water, then toss with enough pesto to coat, adding a little of the reserved water to thin the sauce if needed. 8. Stir in the remaining Parmesan, check the seasoning and serve, garnished with the remaining basil leaves.


Living by the River

On May 5 and 6, Yarwell Country Park showcases the homes and facilities it has to offer at a fun-filled family weekend


OWN by the River Nene, Yarwell Country Park is a growing business. With an established camping and caravan site, there is now a burgeoning community of homes for the over-55s, with 47 currently in situ and around 200 more planned for the future. Owner Howard Jones is excited about the potential for the site, which he says will combine both residential and touring elements. “We are a family company, and we have a few parks across the UK. This is a niche market which we understand fully,” he says. The open weekend on May 5 and 6 is designed to showcase the homes, and welcome people to the site and everything it has to offer. There will be a duck race, a fancy dress competition with prizes, and a craft show featuring the work of local makers and food producers. It is a great chance to experience the atmosphere at the Country Park, while taking part in some taster sessions and fun activities. Expect to find Wheels on Wheels, an opportunity to try your hand at throwing a pot. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, then the Nene Extreme 24 ft climbing tower might be more up your street. There are four routes on the tower which can be used simultaneously. Each person is protected by the hydraulic auto-belay system, which provides maximum safety. Or if you prefer the water, the Rutland Adventure Company will be at the event offering the chance to try body boarding. Foodies can buy local Nassington Honey, try honey based marmalades, chutneys and sauces from Nature’s Fayre, sample ales from The Brigstock Brewery, sip sparkling wines from Northamptonshire vineyard Fleur Fields, or try some freshly roasted beans from Profumo Coffee. Award winning garden designer Jeni Cairns from Juniper House, based near Whittlesey, will be bringing her beautiful laser cut metal sculptures



and outdoor pieces, illustrator and watercolour artist Sam Purcell, aka The Hare in the Sweater, is attending with her product range of prints and ceramics, while Floral Forae is a florist who creates informal, country style bouquets. You can also stock up your garden borders and pots from Nassington Plants. The focus on local businesses demonstrates the Country Park’s commitment to its rural location. “We do what we can to support the local community and put something back,” says Howard Jones. There will be chance to look around the homes on the day. They offer surprisingly spacious accommodation, with en suite bathrooms and stylish kitchens. They are solidly built, and come with a brick skirt surround and steps to front and back. Each has a block paved drive with space for two vehicles and fully landscaped surroundings. Some are bespoke designs, incorporating client’s special requests for a kitchen or bathroom design, for example. There are 45 moorings on the river Nene, and a slipway for launching boats, so for anyone with a penchant for messing about on the river, it is an ideal location. A five acre lake, stocked with fish, is in the middle of the park and available to residents and for those using the campsite. Howard’s company is investing in the site all the time. As well as the existing Riverside Café, which serves coffee, tea, lunches and snacks, there are plans for a 25-seater café in the converted mill buildings. In addition, six two bedroom luxury apartments in the former Victorian flour mill building are now on sale via Aspire Sales and Lettings. The open weekend runs from 10am-4pm on both days. Yarwell Country Park. Mill Road. Yarwell PE8 6PZ Tel: 01780 782344 www.yarwellmill.co.uk

Show Home Now Open


A collection of 6 luxury 2 bedroom apartments situated in the former Victorian flourmill at Yarwell Mill Country Park


• Grade II listed apartments combining modern day

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• High specification to include fully integrated kitchens • Four-piece bathroom suites with roll top bath

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• Built in wardrobe to the master bedroom • Ground floor apartments have private patios

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A liTtlE wAlkIng Early to mid-May is the perfect time to go on a bluebell walk, and Old Sulehay near Wansford is a great spot. Cared for by the Wildlife Trusts, it’s a fragment of the ancient Rockingham Forest and is a great alternative to busy picnic areas buzzing with people. Go for a walk amongst the ancient trees where rare wildflowers grow, and the kids will love exploring the carpet of colour, letting their imaginations go wild! It’s also a great setting for family pictures if you’re good with a camera – a shot of the children playing amongst the bright flowers will make a great picture to hang up. There’s an old limestone quarry nearby with a nature trail running through it; if you’re lucky you might find some fossils! www.wildlifebcn.org/reserves/old-sulehay

LIttLe livIng Rachel Andrews-Ingram (and her two under-fives) get busy in May.

A liTtlE bIt oF fArm liFe With the lighter evenings, I like to take the children somewhere further afield for a day out. West Lodge Rural Centre is only 30 minutes drive from Peterborough, and it’s one of my favourite parks as there’s so much to keep the kids occupied. You can see the animals, have a pony ride, take a walk in the woods, have lunch by the stream and watch their famous piglet race. My two loved the cuddle corner where they were able to handle the rabbits and guinea pigs, and there is an impressive adventure playground. There’s also lots of shelter, so if there’s rain you can head to the indoor play area or to the restaurant for a drink. They also sell hot and cold food and a reasonably priced kids’ menu. Open Mon-Sun 9.30pm-6.00pm tickets £6.50 per person if booked online, under twos, free. www.westlodgeruralcentre.co.uk

A liTtlE gYmnAstIcs If you’re experiencing soft play fatigue and looking for something different, try Parent and Child classes at Spiral Gym in Bretton. Suitable from birth to fouryears-old they hold informal sessions where you can turn up and let your children explore a variety of soft play, toys, and pre-school equipment. It’s a great way to meet other mums or arrange a play date with your mummy friends. Eliott enjoyed the trampoline and playing with the various toys such as hula hoops, tunnels and rockers – and he loved pushing the walker around the soft matting. The rest of the gym has an abundance of soft mats and became our own mini assault course! It’s ideal for those with wriggly babies and toddlers who just want freedom to explore. If you have younger babies then you can just play with the toys at the front of the gym where there’s lots of space for them to practice walking safely. This is a fun and safe way to introduce your child to gymnastics and won’t break the bank! Classes run Tuesday and Wednesday 9.30am-11.00am £3.50 first child, £2.50 second child (under 6 months free) www.spiralgym.co.uk

A liTtlE bIt Of SenSorY pLay

If you’re a fan of messy play, then making up some ‘moon sand’ for some indoor or outdoor fun is a great and easy-to-do activity. All you need is some flour (9 cups), baby oil (1 1/4 cup) or vegetable oil, food colouring, a washing up bowl and some child-sized kitchen play equipment. Simply measure out your flour, mix food colouring of your choice with some of the baby oil, then mix that into the flour (you’ll need separate bowls to make each colour). You can add glitter and even mild scents like vanilla essence and lemon extract, for an extra sensory experience. Transfer your now coloured sand into the washing up bowl and then let the kids get stuck in! My little ones spent hours playing with it – I made sure there were lots of bowls, spoons and toys for them to use, and it captured their imagination as they believed the sand really was from the moon!



LIttLe livIng vIn vI Ing ng When you feel like broadening your horizons or just getting away from the routine, there are some fantastic trips that can easily be done there and back in a day. Louise Goss takes Toby and Freya to explore… STANWICK LAKES

! y A y aw



ITHIN an hour’s drive, a few miles south of Kettering or Thrapston off the A45, you have Stanwick Lakes. With its numerous walks, playground, indoor play area, scenery, wildlife and family-friendly café, you have the ingredients for a full and fun family day out. Stanwick Lakes is a 750-acre nature reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest, which means it is a haven for wildlife, particularly birds. For the grownups there are some really pleasant walks surrounded by nature, for the children, lots of space to run around, paths to explore and areas to discover and let off steam. There are plenty of trails to choose from. The Adventure Trail is a scenic walk with some fun play equipment breaking up the route. Toby had great fun mastering the over-water rope bridge. Close to the visitor centre is a smaller Sculpture Trail with some eye-catching sculptures that younger ones will enjoy, and if you pick up a Heritage Pack from the shop, you can explore the Heritage Trail and see the site of an original Iron Age settlement among other fascinating things. Everyone’s out walking, running or cycling here and the walkways around the lakes are all pushchair friendly. Toby loved taking his scooter for a zip around and cycle hire is available at weekends and during school holidays until November. The main attraction for our two was the adventure playground: a large, sandy area with lots of slides, raised walkways, climbing nets and swings. It kept them entertained for a good while and Freya loved all the places to hide! Also worth a look is the Discovery Zone for some history on Stanwick Lakes and lots of well-designed information boards, feely boxes and engrossing activities for the children.


FoOd DIY options include barbecues and picnics. If you want to eat al fresco, there is a designated barbecue spot behind the playground and there are picnic tables and grassy spaces dotted about. A refreshment kiosk is open during weekends and holidays. We ate in Café Solar in the visitor centre. You can grab a fun children’s lunch box and fill it with items such as sandwiches, cheese, yogurts, fruit and snack bars, which went down a treat here. One place both Toby and Freya loved was the indoor Hideaway next to the café – perfect if it starts to rain or you want to finish your coffee in peace while the kids burn off more energy. There are ride-on toys, slides, a ball pit and dress-up to keep them occupied.



If you want to tie your visit in with a special event, check these out in May: • Movie Mania Family Fun Day on Sunday 13 May for photo opportunities, workshops, crafts and characters from movies such as Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean. • Big Chef Little Chef (parents and preschoolers) on Friday 25 May for fun in the kitchen. • Stanwick Bakes for messy baking fun for kids in drop off session on Saturday 26 May. Check out the what’s on page of the website for more details and other events. Facilities include: • Large car park • Indoor and outdoor play areas • Assault course

• Lakeside walks pushchair friendly • Café offering children’s meals • Barbecue area and picnic spaces • Cycle hire • Bird watching • Shop with great gift ideas THINGS TO NOTE: No cost to enter or use the site but there is a parking charge. Events may incur an extra charge and booking usually required. If it has been wet, the slides become water slides and the car park can get muddy - bring wellies! www.stanwicklakes.org.uk



How to get a show-stopping lawn!

Planning a party, wedding reception or open garden at home? Sarah and Jo Parish from GreenThumb share their tips for creating a beautiful backdrop to your celebrations


ARDENS are now seen as an extra room providing us with extra space to entertain on a large or small scale. And there’s nothing like throwing open your doors and heading out onto a beautiful, lush green carpet of grass to host a special occasion. With a little expert help, it’s possible to create a smooth, weed-free lawn in advance, leaving you plenty of time to concentrate on the other arrangements to make your big day run without a hitch. Sarah says: “we always start by knowing the date of the event and then we work back so the lawn is in tip top condition at the right time. It’s a team effort, customers cut and water the lawn and leave the rest to us.” Here are Sarah and Jo’s top tips to get the wow factor.

Plan well ahead For a lovely green and weed free lawn take action as soon as you know the date of your event. Where there are lots of weeds in the lawn some will cover and protect others, so another treatment or two will be needed. Sarah and Jo say that generally you can expect at least half of your weeds to go after one GreenThumb treatment, often more, so after a couple of visits most of your weeds will have disappeared. GreenThumb lawn care technicians are trained and qualified to apply herbicides safely and correctly. If you do treat your lawn yourself, always read and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and guidelines.

Get the mowing right Remember that mowing is just like pruning. Proper mowing increases the density of the grass which in turn decreases weeds. For a lush green look, mow between 25mm (1”) and 50mm (2”) in length. Regular cutting is absolutely vital,

aim to do it at least weekly over the spring and summer months.

Impress with stripes on the lawn

Give your lawn a moisture surge

A mower with a roller will give you stripes. Stripes are simply created by the two-tone contrasting colours of grass laid flat in one direction and again in the opposite direction. Make sure that the mower overlaps the previous strip a little as this will prevent leaving uncut strips across the lawn.

GreenThumb offers a treatment called Oasis. It prevents your lawn from becoming dry and scorched, as once it has been treated, it will keep subsequent moisture attached to the root zone. This means reduced watering is needed to keep your lawn looking greener during dry conditions.

Water in dry weather A lawn typically requires 25mm (1”) of rainfall a week; a deep soaking twice a week for approximately 20-30 minutes is much more beneficial than a light sprinkling every day. This will promote stronger, deeper roots and the lawn will be less likely to dry out. Don’t forget, in dry weather water early in the morning or later on in the day when evaporation is at its lowest.

Book a GreenThumb Lawn Makeover and get a stunning new lawn If you’ve got a couple of months before your special event and you’re looking at an old, moss and weed infested lawn, then why not get a wonderful new one without the hassle and cost of re-turfing? Sarah and Jo say: “over the last two years GreenThumb has developed and trialled a Lawn Makeover – specifically designed to create a new and beautiful lawn. We use the best materials including our bespoke ‘Diamond Green’ grass seed, our premium Nutragreen* feed and a 100% organic topdressing. The service comes with three follow-up care visits. The GreenThumb Lawn Makeover process takes approximately one day to complete and within 6-8 weeks, you’ll have a luxurious new lawn. Sarah and Jo and their team of lawn technicians look after over 2000 lawns in the area. To find out more, or book a FREE lawn analysis or request a Lawn Makeover brochure contact Sarah or Jo on 01733 755028 or email peterborough@greenthumb.co.uk Website www.greenthumb.co.uk NENE LIVING MAY 2018


Street artist ‘Nyces’ is bringing street art, dance and music to Peterborough and its people. Words: Clare Howcutt-Kelly

Off the wall

Do you think street art is becoming more mainstream? I think the popularity of artists like Banksy has opened up the culture to a larger audience. Street art is seen as the more acceptable brother of its darker counterpart, graffiti. Cities like Brighton, London, Bristol and most recently Leicester show how street art can become a tourist attraction with tours and festivals celebrating street art. Have you seen a rise in people wanting to commission bespoke artwork for their homes? Absolutely! In the past five years, the acceptance of street art has grown massively. With my own company Street Arts Hire, I have seen it expand from children’s bedrooms to garden walls, kitchens, living rooms and canvas-based artwork. What has been your favourite piece of work so far? Last year I painted a blue jaguar in the grounds of Peterborough Cathedral at the Oxjam festival. It was a stormy day with 40mph winds! My board was hitting me in the face and all the odds were against me. Can you tell us about the rest of the Street Arts Hire team? Like superheroes, we have secret identities and everyone has an element they bring to the team; Andy leads our workshops teaching street art, Fred is our fine artist using fingers and fine brushes to finish murals, Jano is a master of speed who achieves mind-blowing results and I orchestrate the overall business operations and paint virtually anything required. I believe we are at a stage where there is virtually nothing we would turn down. Our business offers street dance and music for hire too, so it’s a complete street arts solution to meet almost any requirement. When did you first discover your talent? I first started drawing as a kid, but it was early in secondary school, just



among friends, that I started to build a reputation for a being a good artist. It was around this same time (approximately 1999) that I first started to experiment using spray paint. What materials do you use? I only really use spray paint and paint markers. If I had the time I would love to try other mediums such as water, oil, acrylic and airbrush painting. Some of the oil and acrylic work I have seen on social media is incredible and really inspiring. Where is your favourite place to go in the city? I visit the Ostrich Inn in Peterborough for the local monthly street art battle event called ‘Battle Lines,’ which is worth checking out if you haven’t already. There are two artists, two boards, and 90 minutes to create an artwork. The crowd decides the winner. If you could paint anywhere, where would it be and why? I’d love the opportunity to paint my biggest piece yet and I would love to do it in Peterborough. The apex of a house, the side of an industrial building – having at least 20ft or above to paint something would be a dream for me right now. If anyone wants to help make my dream a reality, please get in touch! What would you like to see the city offer that it doesn’t already? I would like to see Peterborough do more to support the art of everyone and not just the few. Years ago, through the support of a select few who believed in me who work within the local council and police, I was awarded a certificate of achievement for turning run down areas into pieces of art. Maybe now it’s time for Peterborough’s first street art festival? Find out more at: www.facebook.com/streetartshire

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Urban Rambles:

a new book by Nicholas Rudd-Jones


LL my life I’ve loved walking through the countryside – round here across the gently rolling hills of Rutland, in the more rugged outcrops of the Peak District and often in the mountain ranges of Europe. And the order of play is roughly the same - walking gear, maps, compass, rucksack, ruggedness, in exchange for tranquillity, exquisite views and impressive calf muscles. Until recently. My epiphany came whilst strolling with a friend alongside the Regent’s Canal, when the exquisite pleasures of urban rambling suddenly dawned on me – no preparation required, no rucksack, snacks and loos almost always on hand, great architecture and history at every turn and – this is the really surprising bit – bags of delightful green spaces. Our cities have been transformed in the last generation and there are some real gems. So, I decided to write a book about it, and thus was Urban Rambles born. Choose from cathedral cities like York and Lincoln, seats of learning like Cambridge and Oxford, trading ports like Bristol and Liverpool, cities designed for pleasure like Brighton and Bath. Choose to visit Victorian industrial cities Manchester, Sheffield and Birmingham, and of course the nation’s capital, where my ingenious 25-mile circular route takes you from urban regeneration through the Olympic Park and past rivers, parks and palaces. Because of our central position in the country, may of the walks can easily be reached in a day, especially as they all start and finish at the city’s main station. Here’s a flavour of a couple:




Altogether, this walk is 25 miles, but it is split into four stages, so you could do it one stage at a time. And because one stage starts at King’s Cross & St Pancras and another ends there, Stages I and IV are especially convenient for us folk from the north. The London Inner Circle takes the City as its pivot and makes use of old waterways: the canals (Regent’s Canal, Lee Navigation, Grand Junction), conduits (The New River), rivers (Lea, Thames) and ‘hidden’ rivers (Walbrook, Fleet, Tyburn, Westbourne) of the capital. Around two-thirds of the route is close to water – although sometimes you wouldn’t know it, as it’s a few metres below ground! The route was driven by a determination to take you through as much green space as possible – be it parks, squares, churchyards, waterways, dockyards, terraces or even a sky garden. Thrown in too are the next best things to quiet, green spaces – medieval passages, alleyways and mews. One of my favourite recent initiatives is the campaign to make London the world’s first National Park City: ‘a city where people and nature are better connected; a city that is rich with wildlife and every child benefits from exploring outdoors’. London has a world-beating 3,000 parks, 13,000 species of wildlife and 47 per cent of its surface area is green spaces; and in the last generation things have got so much better with major regeneration projects and environmental improvements.


This walk takes you past many of the classic university sites of the city, but also to places that you will never have seen before, even if you have lived or studied here. In half a day you will feel like an insider! Cambridge is a city still defined by academia. The most prominent (if plain) building remains Giles Gilbert Scott’s 1930s University Library, only 157 feet in height but visible from miles around; for this is a very flat landscape, ideal for the cyclists you will encounter around every corner, often heading straight for you! The dominance of the colleges in the landscape has meant a city grid that is skewed, with almost all of the nineteenth-century development taking place to the east of the city away from the colleges. The railway station was also relegated to the south-east edge of the city, apparently to discourage undergraduates from hopping on the train down to London and neglecting their studies. However, the huge benefit of this tight collegiate land ownership has been the large green open spaces that have remained intact, along the Backs, the river to Grantchester and also the numerous sports fields. The name ‘the Backs’ refers to the backs of the colleges. In the sixteenth century, the area consisted of pasture, gardens and orchards owned by the colleges, with wooden bridges across the Cam. Over time, the colleges planted avenues of trees and built sturdier bridges. In 1772, Capability Brown laid out a wilderness behind St John’s College. This ‘rus in urbe’ vision continues to this day, with sheep in front of King’s, wild areas, specimen trees and vistas, making it one of the most picturesque spots in the country. Punting, which is an integral part of this rural idyll and looks like it has been around for ever, was surprisingly only introduced in 1903, when Jack Scudamore spotted the tourist potential. The other very noticeable feature of Cambridge has been its pedestrian and cyclistfriendly policies. The city centre has been barred to traffic for many years and is consequently a delightful space to wander through, full of interesting shops and cafés. Full directions and a Google map of all the walks and more can be found at www.urbanrambles.org The Urban Rambles book, published by Frances Lincoln, can be purchased online at Amazon, or at Walkers Bookshop, Stamford and Oundle Bookshop. NENE LIVING MAY 2018


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A garden to inspire

Barbara Segal visits Elton Hall and discovers grounds which combine grandeur and warmth PHOTOGRAPHY: MARCUS HARPUR


IR William and Lady Proby are the modern, pragmatic, yet undeniably creative custodians of Elton Hall, a stately Cambridgeshire house that (apart from a brief period during the Second World War) has been in continuous Proby family occupation for more than 300 years. When, in 1980, William and Meredyth moved to Elton Hall, it had been empty for four years, having already become very rundown in the post-war era. They took on the challenges of this historic home with the insouciance of youth and over the ensuing decades have done much to put things to rights.

Marriage of styles The Proby family connection with Elton goes back to the late fifteenth century, when Sir Peter Proby acquired the lease of the manor of Elton for the sum of £850 – that was for the land but not the hall. The buildings here date from the reign of Henry VII and were the home of Sir Richard Sapcote. After the Sapcotes sold the property in 1617 its history is uncertain until it appears in the ownership of Sir Thomas Proby by 1664. He restored some of the medieval buildings and added, to the west, a fine house in Restoration style. These elements were later joined

togetherby an extension, resulting in an L-shaped building. Elton Hall has undergone numerous architectural changes over the last 350 years. By 1815 it had been transformed by extensive alterations in a romantic Gothic style, featuring castellations and turrets. These details were removed in around 1855 to restore the western block to its classical origins, but the Gothic extravaganza remains on the southern front. It has been a daunting task to create a modern garden that accommodates the hall’s two distinct faces – also one that matches the Grade I listed building for grandeur and at the same time offers a feeling of warmth and intimacy. Meredyth has accomplished it all with brio. And yet she started out with no special knowledge of design. “In that first summer I used to look out of the window thinking what am I going to do?” she says. The last formal

design for the garden had been made in 1913 by A.H. Hallam Murray, but only vestiges remained by 1980: the gravel paths, lawns, well head and lily pond all to the south of the house. The main problems facing the Probys at the start were the weed-infested rose garden, the vast and flat empty space in front of the house, and the 150 dead and dying elm trees in the park. Although Meredyth had access to Murray’s original plans, she did not feel inclined to revert back to what had once been there just for the sake of it. After all, Murray’s garden had been designed when there were 13 gardeners, while she had a team of two. So, early on, the garden was reduced in size from 10.5 to 7 hectares/26 to 17 acres, to fit around the L-shaped house and cut down on maintenance. NENE LIVING MAY 2018


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A garden to inspire Learning curve Finding out about flowering plants was a steep learning curve for Meredyth. “My knowledge gradually accumulated, through conversations and initially through moving plants around myself, as they did or didn’t do well on our predominantly clay soil.” She discovered how to use plants architecturally to create strong shapes that lend height and distance, bringing a sense of perspective and depth to a relatively flat piece of Cambridgeshire. Books were also an important resource in those early days. Meredyth’s garden bible was David Hicks’ Garden Design, as it introduced her to the importance of structure. The yew and hornbeam hedges she planted in the first years at Elton now define various garden areas and protect plants from the sharp winds that prevail in the eastern counties. Statuesque in size, the hedging complements the scale of the house.

Circular motif The problem of the rose garden, waist-deep in thistles, was solved in 1983 with the help of rose specialist Peter Beales. For the next 20 years the new rose garden looked wonderful. Unfortunately, rose replant disease increasingly caused the plants to sicken so in 2006 all the roses were removed and 500 tonnes of soil were dug out and replaced. The site was given a new lease of life as the Flower Garden, created by Suffolk designer Xa Tollemache. Set into an immaculately kept lawn, large corner beds mark out a circular space at the centre of the garden, a motif reinforced by four narrow bands of planting forming an inner circle. Bold, expansive plantings of tall perennials combined with roses such as ‘White Flower Carpet’ have been refined over the years by Meredyth, working with freelance gardener and plantsman Mark Todhunter. The aim is for an unfaltering succession of flowers from June through to August, to coincide with the period when the garden is open to visitors. To one side of the Flower Garden is a raised gravel path shaded by a series of eight metal arches, each holding a number of wisteria and clematis. From this slightly elevated vantage point, the Flower Garden’s central pool and water sculpture are seen at their best.

Near the Flower Garden, and providing a contrast to it, is the Shrubbery. Intended mainly as a spring garden, in summer it becomes a restful oasis of green. The many trees planted in this area since 1980 are still relatively young, including weeping silver lime (Tilia tomentosa ‘Petiolaris’), the foxglove tree (Paulownia tomentosa) and Acer negundo ‘Variegatum’. Rhythm in the garden is also provided by extensive use of topiary. The conical shapes lining the hornbeam walkway that leads to a view of the park, the central box and yew planting that makes sense of and anchors the well head in the vast front lawn, and the humorous topiary forms (Bertie the Norfolk terrier, a crown, some bobbles) and flat piano shapes showcased near the house, are all kept in check either by head gardener Steve Simpson or James Crebbin-Bailey of Topiary Arts.

Lily pond The Orangery Garden was William and Meredyth’s millennium project. They wanted somewhere to overwinter plants so asked architect Christopher Smallwood to design an orangery. With its own run of crenellations, obelisks and Gothic windows, it perfectly reflects the Gothic facade of the house. In front of it is an enclosed garden that shelters a

collection of heat-loving plants and a row of Italian cypresses. Closer to the house is a sunken lily pond that formed part of the 1913 design, to which four corner beds and a low, enclosing wall have been added. The original planting called for bedding plants such as ageratum, salvias and begonias. Mindful as she is of the garden’s history, Meredyth was quick to ditch the bedding in favour of a larger, lusher planting scheme with campanulas, poppies and Aruncus dioicus. “The house itself is layered with different styles, and I didn’t feel bad in abandoning features of the 1913 design that no longer worked,” she says. “I think that with the immaculate lawns and formal hedging, a burst of wild colour and texture around the lily pond is much more exciting.” An awareness of this unspoken dialogue between house and grounds, past and present, makes for a rich experience when exploring the newly revived garden. Extract taken from Secret Gardens of East Anglia, A Private Tour of 22 Gardens by Barbara Segal. Photography by Marcus Harpur. Published by Frances Lincoln. £20. Available from Oundle Bookshop and Waterstones, Peterborough. Elton Hall and gardens are next open to the public on May 27 and 28. Admission charges apply.





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Out & About

Rachel Andrews-Ingram selects top dates for your diary this month.

An American in Paris

Wednesday 2 May Thünderbards: 4nd In their ‘4nd’ (4th) show, watch critically acclaimed comedy duo Glenn Moore and Matt Stevens – plus the stars of BBC Radio 4’s ‘Sketchorama’ – perform fast-paced sketches packed with off-beat jokes and highbrow silliness. This is a show about failure, in which they ponder when it is that creatives like themselves need to go out and get a ‘normal’ job. All this is answered, through some silly skits about echoes, Grease, and witness protection plus much more randomness. 7.45pm, The Stahl Theatre £12, Stahl Theatre, Oundle, PE8 4EJ www.oundleschool.org.uk/ Stahl-Theatre Friday 4 May Nathen Amin - The House of Beaufort: The Bastard Line that Captured the Crown Those who are fascinated by the War of the Roses won’t want to miss an evening with author Nathen Amin discussing his new book that explores the Beaufort family. The Beauforts were medieval England’s most captivating family, and symbolised the volatile nature of this period. For the first time Amin has explored the entire family in a full-length biography and Amazon best-seller that delves into their rise and fall. Nathen is also the founder of the Henry Tudor Society and has discussed the Tudors on BBC radio and television. 7.45pm, £8, St Peter’s Church, North Street, Oundle. Oundle Box Office, 01832 274734, online at www.oundlefestival.org.uk

Saturday 12 May Mistress and Commander: Amelia Dalton – High Jinks, High Seas and Highlanders If you admire those with a sense of adventure and the determination to succeed then an evening with Amelia Dalton and her journey of self discovery will have you captivated. Join her as she discusses her book, which retells the story of her leaving the country life of grouse moors and hunt balls to convert a deep sea trawler into a holiday cruiser. Unprepared for such a life-change by her background, she is forced to deal with closed community of fishermen in northern Scotland in the 1990s, negotiating red tape, overseeing shipyards and dealing with engineers – whilst coping with demanding shareholders and wayward employees. She’ll take you on a journey through the highs and lows and ultimately how it led to a success. 7.45pm, £8 (£6), £1 off early bird tickets bought before 5 May, St Peter’s Church, Church St, Oundle, Peterborough PE8 4EE, 01832 274734, www.oundlefestival.org.uk Monday 14 May Nature Tots Join this fun parent and toddler group and embrace the outdoors as spring comes to life. The session is an engaging way to ease your kids into nature, with messy craft activity, story and song time plus lots of opportunity to explore the beautiful surroundings.

10:00am-11:30am, £3 per child (booking essential), Discovery Den Ferry Meadows, Ham Lane, Peterborough PE2 5UU www.neneparktrust.org.uk/ferry-meadows, 01733 234193 Wednesday 16 May An American in Paris The multiple-Tony Award-winning stage show is coming to town! Inspired by the Oscar-winning film of the same name starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron, the stage production of An American in Paris features many of George and Ira Gershwin’s most iconic show songs including “I Got Rhythm,” “’S Wonderful”, “I’ll Build a Stairway To Paradise” and “They Can’t Take That Away from Me”, alongside some of the duo’s more sweeping classical compositions including “Concerto in F,” “Cuban Overture” and the iconic “An American in Paris.” 7.30pm, £11.50, Key Theatre, Embankment Rd, Peterborough PE1 1EF www.vivacity-peterborough.co.uk Thursday 17 May Piano Duet Recital If Beethoven’s symphonies, Schubert’s Fantasia in F minor and Debussy’s Petite Suite sound like your idea of auditory heaven, a blissful evening awaits you as Oundle School’s Head of Keyboard Alec Hone and Director of Music Quentin Thomas showcase a duet of some of music’s most noteworthy classical composers. The finale comes in the shape of a special arrangement of Dave Grusin’s film score from The Firm. 7.45pm, all welcome no tickets required, Great Hall, 12 New St, Oundle, Peterborough PE8 4GH NENE LIVING MAY 2018

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Out & About

An audience with Ian Waite & Oti Mabuse.

Living Heritage Game and Country Show at Burghley House

Saturday 19 May Mindfulness in Ferry Meadows: an introduction to mindfulness Let trained teachers Jennifer Cramb and Andrea Woods show you practical techniques to alleviate the pressures of life by adopting mindfulness. It’s proven that paying attention to the present moment pays dividends to your well-being. Held in the beautiful and relaxing surrounds of Nene Park, this is the perfect setting to help bring calmness and focus to your life. 11am - 1pm, £12.50 Lakeside Meeting Room, Nene Outdoors Watersports Centre, Lakeside Complex, Ferry Meadows Country Park, Peterborough PE2 5UU to book: jennifer.cramb@vivekacc.com Saturday 19 May Faulty Towers: the Dining Experience Fans of this classic comedy series will love this unique show – where the audience become diners. Let Basil, Manuel and Sybil treat you to a 70’s style 3-course meal, with a big helping of mayhem. Expect the unexpected with this mostly improvised show – no doubt a deliciously entertaining and chaotic evening! 7:30pm, £49 Full Price, £46 Groups of 6+ (inc fees) Key Theatre, Embankment Rd, Peterborough PE1 1EF, www. vivacity-peterborough.co.uk



Saturday 26 May Milkshake! Live - The Magic Story Book This is every child’s dream: all their favourite Milkshake! characters under one roof in this live, all-singing all dancing musical extravaganza. Join Bob the Builder, Little Princess, Noddy, Fireman Sam, Shimmer and Shine, Pip from Pip Ahoy!, Winnie and Wilbur, Wissper, Milkshake’s very own Milkshake Monkey and two Milkshake! presenters and let the kids let off some steam bopping along on a journey of the world’s favourite fairytales. 12pm, £15.50 adult, babes in arms £5, under 16’s £13.50, the Broadway Theatre, The Broadway Theatre, 40 Broadway, Peterborough PE1 1RT, www.broadway.today Sunday 27- Monday 28 May Living Heritage Game and Country Show at Burghley House This family event celebrates everything that’s great about the countryside. With three main arenas, and smaller country sports areas and workshops, the show features the very best in countryside activities and entertainment from dog agility, falconry, ferret racing, an angling village, traditional working crafts, childrens’ activities, shopping and much more. 10am, £12.50 adults, £4 children, Burghley House, Stamford PE9 3JY, www.burghley.co.uk, 01780 752451


Friday 8 June Music in Special Places: Teyr This tremendous folk trio perform their brand of bothy ballads, shanties, folk tunes and Irish poetry in the surroundings of St Peters Church. Expect close vocal harmonies, with fiddle, uilleann pipes, guitar, low whistle and accordion, for a tight, toe-tapping and atmospheric set. 7.30pm. St Peters Church, Yaxley PE7 3LH. £15, £12.50 (concessions) and £4 for under 18s. Book through Oundle Box Office. Tel: 01832 274734 Sunday 10 June NSPCC charity cycle ride Dust off those saddles and head to Rutland Water for the sixth annual NSPCC family bike ride, following the 17-mile perimeter of the reservoir. This fun event sees dozens of participants gearing up for this charity event, with a free hog roast for all entrants and a complimentary goodie bag and T-shirt too. Ride starts at 9am, £10 adults, £5 children £25 for a family, Rutland Water, To sign up visit www.rutlandbikeride.eventbrite.co.uk or contact John Burcham on 07880 600635.


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Nene People Enter the magical world of Magpie and the Tambourine where top-hatted flamingos, sleeping mermaids with rabbit ears and sloths wearing party hats are exquisitely detailed in bell jars and baubles. Creator and Thrapston resident Nicki Storey, has a quirky, magical and sometimes slightly macabre style that has put her gifts and homewares in a realm of their own

Nicki Storey

Creator of Magpie and the Tambourine WORDS: REBECCA DOWNEY


What is the significance of the name Magpie and the Tambourine? The ‘magpie’ reflects my hoarding habit; I have always been a collector of things that I find fascinating. The ‘tambourine’ refers to my passion for Bob Dylan’s music. One of my sons, Dylan, is his namesake. How did you come about with the idea for your business? I studied art at the University of Northampton and I always did portraits of animals for friends and family. I needed to do something that fitted around my children’s lives – I have four between the ages of 8 and 15 so I do a lot of running around. Magpie complements my other job, which is doing the payroll for my partner’s business. It is great to have a creative outlet as well as the bean counting; both jobs involve being meticulous and exact. I like boxes and order and making things neat and precise, which is why my creatures are usually contained under glass domes. What is the inspiration behind your creations? Everything goes back to nature. I grew up in Northamptonshire and moved around a lot but always lived in a rural setting and loved to draw the wildlife and natural surroundings. I have three siblings and I would say we are a very ‘visual’ family. Attention to detail is something we all inherited from our parents who are quite particular about style and décor. One of my sisters breeds Welsh mountain ponies, which is also about getting the right look in terms of shape and size. It’s important for me to not have clutter; everything around me must be beautiful or useful. Your designs are so intricate – how long does it take to produce each artwork? I tend to work on elements as a group. For example, I have several metal angel wings in the garden and I’m experimenting with getting the perfect amount of rust on them. I might craft a batch of clay mushrooms in an afternoon, which will be used on several different projects or I will spend a couple of hours concentrating on beadwork or painting. I do most of my work on my zinc-covered kitchen table and I’m a bit of a night owl so I will find myself pottering during the night with David Attenborough box sets for background company. How would you like to see your business develop? I have a stand at the Country Living Fair each year and I currently have my pieces stocked in The Rounded House in Oundle, Vintage Bean in Kettering and Ginger Kate’s in Market Harborough, as well as a few gift shops up North – but there is only so much I can make in the time I have. Magpie is me, I’m quite shy and introverted; I think I would struggle to share my working style with someone else. I am also self critical and if something is not perfect, it goes in the bin! I don’t make anything I wouldn’t have in my own home. And I definitely don’t do twee; creating something unique is key for me, hence I enjoy taking on bespoke commissions. Nicki’s home décor and gifts can be found at The Rounded House at 10b West Street, Oundle, or you can follow and order online via Facebook and Instagram: @Magpie and the Tambourine


Nicki’sNene highlights


I love that the seasons are so obvious here – whether it’s fields of hay bales or woods of bare trees you easily get a sense of the time of year.


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My favourite place for stress relief is Barnwell Country Park. I often wander around with my children and it calms me. NENE LIVING MAY 2018













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Nene Living May 2018  

Nene Living May 2018