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Cambridge MARCH 2014

Cambridgeshire’s quality lifestyle magazine


Inside this issue...







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UNDER NEW OWNERSHIP New owner of The Carpenters Arms, Mike Champion won Front of House Manager of the Year in 2013, and he’s formerly run The Red Lion in Hinxton, The Black Bull in Balsham, Michel’s Brasserie and The Pink Geranium. Now Mike and his team are bringing their high levels of food and service to your local family friendly pub. The food is a blend of classic and modern styles, freshly prepared, using local suppliers and seasonal produce wherever possible. The extensive menu features home-made, stone baked pizzas from the only wood burning pizza oven in Cambridge. The food is complimented by a revolving selection of local real ales and craft beers, and an ever-evolving wine list with a large choice served by the glass. Speciality teas and fresh ground coffees are available all day. The Carpenters Arms is a family run gastro pub offering guest rooms, situated a few minutes from the historic part of Cambridge city centre and the river. The interior is warm and inviting with Chesterfield sofas and a warm, friendly welcome – a real home from home. The bright, cheerful and comfortable single, double and multiple occupancy rooms suit families with young children as well as businesses. Rates are competitive and include a continental breakfast. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout, and all rooms offer TV and coffee/ tea making facilities.


OPENING TIMES: Mon-Thurs 11am-11pm

Food Served:

Friday 11am-12am

Lunch Mon-Fri 12pm-2:30pm 12pm-3pm Sat & Sun

Saturday 9am-12am Sunday 9am-10:30pm

Brunch Sat & Sun 9am-12:30pm Dinner Sun-Thurs 6pm-9:30pm Fri & Sat 6.30pm-10pm

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March 2014


102 73 5 • FIVE THINGS TO DO Our picks of the month, including International Women’s Day

61 • COMPETITION Win a glamorous makeover and boudoir photo shoot worth £275

7-10 • NIGHTLIFE After-hours ideas for all, whether you fancy dancing or a spot of comedy

67 • INDIE OF THE MONTH David Baddiel and a spectacle-themed cake competition: Taank Optometrists certainly know how to celebrate

13 • MUSIC BLOG The top live music gigs this March 17-24 • ARTS & CULTURE Delights this month include stunning free art, theatre dates and a film festival 26-27 • CAMBRIDGE LITERARY FESTIVAL We’ve got the inside scoop, plus an interview with the fairy godmother of children’s fiction, Jacqueline Wilson 29 • FAMILY Get everyone involved in these fun ideas 30-31 • CAMBRIDGE SCIENCE FESTIVAL Put your thinking caps and lab coats on for another fortnight of science fun 34-37 • 25 YEARS OF WYSING ARTS To celebrate its 25th birthday, we find out about Wysing’s past, present and future 39-41 • MOTHER’S DAY Stuck for ideas on pressies or where to go? Here are our picks to treat your mum


Cover Art

71 • MILL ROAD FEAST Get set for Cambridge’s newest food market, launching this month

The art on this month’s cover is Love to Ride my Bike with Balloons even if it’s not Practical, designed by Wyatt9, a specialised bicycle art brand. To see more of their quirky bicycle themed goods, visit notonthehighstreet. com/wyatt9.

73-76 • FOOD NEWS The latest morsels from the city’s buzzing foodie scene 79-81 • FOOD COLUMN & RECIPES Alex creates Cambridge a signature dish 83 • RESTAURANT REVIEW We head to St Ives for a sophisticated yet relaxed Sunday lunch at Slepe Hall Hotel 85-88 • BUSINESS In the first of a two-parter on marketing, we look at how to get digital savvy and boost your online presence 91-95 • FASHION We review the hottest looks from the SS14 catwalks

44 • COMMUNITY NEWS Stories and news from your local hub

96-98 • BEAUTY Charlotte and Daisy share their secrets on achieving a timeless Hollywood look & we learn a new exercise regime

53-58 • WEDDINGS Getting hitched? Check out our mother of the bride style tips, diary dates and top local suppliers, plus we talk to local Don’t Tell the Bride bride Bronte Graver

I love this time of year. As the days start (finally) getting longer and that little bit warmer, it's like the city begins to come out of hibernation and everybody starts looking for fun things to do, rather than succumbing to the sofa and a box set. Sound about right? Well, if the aforementioned box sets have turned your brain to mush, I recommend checking out the brilliant University-organised Science Festival, which returns 1023 March, bringing with it its usual blend of fascinating talks and enlightening events (more than 250 in fact) around the city. This is one of the biggest and best events of its kind in the world, and it's mostly free to attend, so be sure to get stuck in. It's a great month for gigs too, which you can find out more about in Slate the Disco's column (page 13), but one of the most interesting of the bunch looks set to be Monomania; a one-day, multivenue festival of music, sound and art – check it out on page 8. Enjoy the issue and see you next month for an extra special birthday issue (Edition will be three!).

68-69 • FITZBILLIES BUNS In a Cambridge Edition exclusive, Jennifer Shelton goes behind the scenes at Fitzbillies bakery to make a batch of their legendary Chelsea buns

42-43 • LISTINGS Our at-a-glance guide to what’s going on in your neck of the woods this month

46-48 • LET’S GO TO… ROYSTON We take a trip across the county border to the Hertfordshire market town


102-109 • INTERIORS Gorgeous ideas to get your garden in shape for the warmer months ahead 113-114 • EDUCATION Get your child’s learning off to a flying start at one of Cambridge’s top nurseries



Editor Nicola Foley 01223 499459

Alex Rushmer, Charlotte Griffiths, Angelina Villa-Clarke, Ruthie Collins, Daisy Dickinson, Jordan Worland, Charlotte Phillips

Features editor Jennifer Shelton 01223 499463 Sub editors Lisa Clatworthy, Hannah Bealey & Siobhan Godwood

ADVERTISING Senior sales executive Claire McGrath 01223 499461 Senior sales executive Lucy Nelson 01223 499451


Designer Emily Stowe 01223 499450

PUBLISHING DIRECTORS Andy Brogden & Matt Pluck 01223 499450

CAMBRIDGE EDITION MAGAZINE • Bright Publishing Ltd, Bright House, 82 High Street, Sawston, Cambridgeshire CB22 3HJ 01223 499450, • All rights reserved. Material contained in this publication may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without prior permission of the publishers. • Views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of Cambridge Edition or Bright Publishing Ltd, which do not accept any liability for loss or damage. • Every effort has been made to ensure all information is correct. • Cambridge Edition is a free publication that is distributed in Cambridge and the surrounding area


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International Women’s Day takes place on 8 March and aims to recognise the achievements of women of the past and present, and highlight issues surrounding gender equality. Cambridge is rising to the occasion with a series of motivational events, starting with the launch of a new book, The Meaning of Success: Insights from Women at Cambridge. At West Road Concert Hall, BBC newsreader Jane Hill will be interviewing women from the university about their stories and achievements (5 March, 5.30pm). On 8 March, ARU runs a free mixed event at its campus on East Road from 6pm. Browse stalls and displays organised by local women’s groups then enjoy poetry, music and performance from 7pm.

Get creative in the kitchen for Pancake Day (4 March), or venture out and let someone else do the flipping. Afternoon Tease café on King Street will be serving up some tasty treats in honour of the big day, and there’s never been a better time to stop by Benets Café on King’s Parade, which specialises in wondrous waffles and pancakes packed with fun fillings and sauces. Or, you could try out Crêpeaffaire, Bridge Street’s newly opened eaterie, where they’ll be holding a pancake tossing competition!

CIRCUS OF HORRORS You may remember this spectacular troupe of freakish circus performers from their appearance on 2011’s Britain’s got Talent: Amanda Holden described them as being ‘like the Rocky Horror Show on acid’. The circus includes sword swallowers, daredevil balancing acts, hair hangers and demon dwarves, and their new show, London after Midnight, takes the audience on a whirlwind journey through plague-ridden London. Breathtaking! They’re at the Corn Exchange on 20 March, at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £18/£25.

ANTIQUES FAIR Field Dog Fairs hold huge antiques and collectors’ fairs across the country, and have an event at Huntingdon Racecourse on 15 and 16 March. There’ll be up to 150 stalls selling all manner of wares, both old and new, making it the perfect place to stumble across something special. It’s not just for collectors – there’ll be something for everyone across the whole price spectrum. Dogs are welcome too, and it starts at 9.30am. Entry is £3/£4.


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ROLLER DERBY! Don’t miss the chance to see our local roller derby team, the Romsey Town Rollerbillies, take on Oxford Roller Derby in a varsity match with a difference on 22 March. A few weeks ahead of the Oxford versus Cambridge Boat Race, watch our city take on its age-old rival in a fast, full contact, all-female game of roller derby at Kelsey Kerridge sports centre. Played on quad skates, roller derby is rapidly growing in worldwide popularity, and it’s a darn good spectator sport too – so head along and cheer on our girls in green! Tickets £5 advance/£8. Doors open at 2.30pm.

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HACKNEY COLLIERY BAND We’ve been (ahem) blowing the trumpet of this lot since we first got wind of their Cambridge gig, which takes place on 22 March at the Guildhall, when they’ll be joined by DJ support from Huey Morgan. Founded in an abandoned pub in the London borough from which they take their name, the group take all the elements of a traditional marching brass band: trumpet, trombone, sax and sousaphone, and combine them with their love of hiphop, funk, ska and pop music. The result? Energetic, tongue-in-cheek takes on classic tunes by the likes of the Prodigy, Blackstreet and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, as well as uplifting original songs. It’s a winning formula which always gets the crowd dancing (and grinning!), and has won them a growing army of fans, as well as high profile gigs including the Olympics Closing Ceremony. Former Fun Lovin’ Criminal and current BBC 6 Music presenter Huey Morgan will be joining them on the night, playing some of his favourite funk, soul, disco and rock tracks – and with a musical knowledge as encyclopaedic as his, you know you’re in safe hands. Tickets for the event cost £12.50 and the event kicks off at 7.30pm.


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WILD BEASTS With their thrillingly different sound, Wild Beasts are frequently lauded as one of the most innovative bands to emerge from Britain in the last few years. Critics have been almost universally fawning over this indie-rock outfit since the release of their debut album in 2008, with their second offering, Two Dancers, receiving a Mercury Music prize nomination (they were pipped to the post by The xx). The band, headed up by lead singer Hayden and his distinctive falsetto voice, boast an epic, cinematic sound laden with beautifully poetic lyrics – a recipe which translates into an exhilarating live show. They’re touring in support of their hotly anticipated fourth album, Present Tense, which was released at the end of last month and sees them exploring a more electronic, synthy sound. Supported by East India Youth, they stop by at the Corn Exchange on 31 March (at 7.30pm). Tickets are £17.50.

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MONOMANIA An exciting new festival is set to hit Cambridge this month in the shape of Monomania; a one-day extravaganza of music, sound and art. On Saturday 8 March, the event will take over and transform Cambridge Junction and art space Aid & Abet (near the train station), offering a programme of live and visual arts, music performances, workshops, screenings and stalls from 1pm. Billed as a festival of ‘obsessive and individual creative experiences, whether performing, listening, making, watching, collecting, inventing, reinventing’, Monomania is brought to us by Bad Timing – who’ve been hosting experimental music and art events in Cambridge since way back in 2001. In terms of live performances, you can catch the likes of Tim Spooner with The Telescope, Sean Dower (ex-Bow Gamelan Ensemble), John Boursnell, Jack James, Lee Patterson, Richard Dawson, Land Observations, Sarah Angliss, C Joynes and Pete UM. Special commissions for Monomania include Sonic Graffiti by Mr Underwood, which will see sonic electric devices left for people to stumble across and interact with in an urban environment, and an entrancing live show from Heatsick, which will create a multi-sensory club environment at Cambridge Junction. There’s also a screening of Practical Electronica – a film about electronic music pioneer F C Judd, plus Holly Rumble’s interactive map-based piece: Hear A Pin Drop Here. Tickets £15.

Love a good boogie but can’t deal with staying up all night, fighting it out ten-deep at the bar with a bunch of 18 year olds? We might have just the thing. The Early Night Club returns to La Raza this month, bringing with it its usual blend of good time tunes, flowing cocktails and a friendly crowd, all designed with the person who needs to get up in the morning in mind. Doors open at 7.30pm, and then it’s straight into the fun with the DJs spinning tracks and everyone up and dancing from 8pm onwards. Music-wise the emphasis is on fun, and you can expect the likes of Stevie Wonder, Jackson 5, Madonna, Daft Punk and The Killers, amongst lots of other dance floor classics. With everything done and dusted by 11.30pm (or midnight if they’re feeling crazy), you’ll have a hope of not being a zombie for work or the school run in the morning, and the kitchen will be serving up tapas too (ideal for soaking up booze). This month’s date for your diary is 20 March; be sure to book in advance as the event tends to sell out.

FOOTLIGHTS SPRING REVUE World famous Cambridge student comedy troupe Footlights are, rather ambitiously, attempting to chronicle the history of the universe, from the Big Bang to the iPhone, in their Spring Revue, which comes to the ADC Theatre this month. This chronological odyssey comes to us from the writers of Edinburgh Fringe hit Dressing Down, and takes a whistle-stop tour through the primordial soup, up the Jurassic coast, down the fall of the Roman Empire and into the House of Tudor – all in the space of 90 minutes. You’re always guaranteed a good laugh with Footlights, and the chance to catch some of the slickest, funniest student comedy around – book in advance as this show, which runs 4-8 March at 7.45pm (and 2.30pm Tuesday & Saturday), is likely to be a popular one. Tickets cost £8-£12.

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FOLK FESTIVAL Booking for Cambridge Folk Festival, which takes place from 31 July until 3 August at Cherry Hinton Hall, is now open. Acts already announced include Van Morrison and Sinéad O’Connor, and with this being the 50th anniversary of the event, you can be sure that the organisers will be pulling out all the stops to make it one to remember. Tickets cost from as little as £24.50 for a day ticket to £144 for the full festival.

NEWMARKET NIGHTS It’s worth getting in early for tickets to the hugely popular series of Newmarket Nights concerts – which offer a chance to catch some great performances at this historic racecourse (as well as enjoying a few drinks and a bit of a flutter, if you’re so inclined). Acts are still being announced for this summer’s events, but we already know that Welsh legend Tom Jones will be stopping by (1 August), as well as James Blunt (27 June), and Wet Wet Wet (15 August). Keep an eye on the website to find out who else will be joining them this summer…

SHINDIG SHINDIG is back with its monthly instalment of alternative performance and art on 7 March, offering up an unconventional night out which features kaleidoscopic light installations and a trio of experimental pop acts, set against a medieval backdrop. As ever, the choice of venue is intriguing: this time around they’re holing up at The Leper Chapel on Newmarket Road – the oldest complete building in Cambridge, no less, and sure to provide an atmospheric setting for the evening’s events. On the bill music-wise are Manchester duo Shield Patterns, who blend delicate melodies and sweet vocals with hypnotic synth patterns and subby basslines. They’ll be joined by Gymnast, who (despite having just two members), manage to boast cello, guitar, vocals, beats and keyboards in their armoury. Also performing is talented Cambridge-based singer-songwriter Gaze is Ghost, known for her beautiful, haunting voice and ethereal sound. Utilising the features of the ancient chapel setting to spectacular effect will be Aid & Abet artist Susie Olczak – who has teamed up with SHINDIG to curate colourful interactive light-based visual installations for the night. The event takes place 8-11pm, and tickets cost £6 on the door or £4 in advance.


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LEE NELSON A long way off yet but worth putting in the diary, everyone’s favourite cheeky chav Lee Nelson pays a visit to Cambridge Junction on 13 October (tickets £17.50). As fans of his Well Good Show on BBC Three will know, you can expect kwalitee banter, cringe-inducing audience interaction and special guests.

THETFORD LIVE The spectacular Thetford Forest will once again be the setting for a series of gigs this summer, and they’ve got some pop-tacular offerings for us this time around. Already announced – with more acts to come – are Suede (13 June), Boyzone (11 July), and opera star Katherine Jenkins (12 July). Tickets from £42.

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WILL ROBERT @ LA RAZA We’re always happy to champion a bit of local talent, and Cambridge-based singersongwriter Will Robert is definitely one to watch. He’s been honing his acoustic, guitar-focused music for the past decade, gigging and busking around the country and building up a nice following – and this month he stops by for a midweek visit to La Raza. Head down on Wednesday 12 March to enjoy his infectious folky tunes and polished sound. With a few unexpected covers and unusual guitar techniques thrown in, he puts on a good show, and it’s free entry all night (Happy Hour until 10pm).

THE WILLOWS Cambridge-based folk band The Willows are taking to the stage in their hometown as they tour with their enchanting debut album Beneath Our Humble Soil. Fronted by the powerful and haunting vocals of Jade Rhiannon, this quintet of talented musicians weave lyrical tales onto a backdrop of Americana- and British-inspired musical folk traditions. BBC Radio 2’s Bob Harris was one of the first DJs to champion The Willows, playing their songs frequently on his show before inviting the group in for a mesmerising live performance. They’ll be stopping off for what promises to be a great show at Cambridge Junction on 27 March (8pm, £10 advance) before embarking on a busy summer schedule playing at festivals around the country.

BOOMSLANG FT. WILKINSON Cambridge Junction’s Boomslang night has been upping the ante recently with its headliners. Last month saw Duke Dumont and Toddla T paying a visit, whilst for March’s offering you can catch Brit DJ and producer Matt Wilkinson. Going by the stage name Wilkinson, this London artist has been making his presence known on the drum and bass and dubstep scene over the past few years, getting signed to the mighty Hospital records, DJing all over the world and enjoying chart success with raver anthem Afterglow. He’ll be joined at Boomslang, which takes place on Friday 21 March, by grime MC P Money, Kove and Vendetta. The event runs 8pmmidnight and tickets are £12.50 in advance.

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Jordan Worland from local music website Slate the Disco selects his must-see gigs in Cambridge this month e’re not exaggerating when we say March is a manic month for gigs, with some exciting new acts and very welcome returning acts heading our way this month. First up: Scottish synth-pop trio Chvrches play Cambridge Junction on the 12th. This gig has been sold out for some time, but if you can somehow track down a ticket then do! Chvrches’ debut record fluttered between experimental sonic approaches and whimsical electro pop. Also worth mentioning is Soak, the 17year-old Derry songwriter who will open for Chvrches – she’s the first signing to Chvrches’ own record label and proof that age does not define artistic maturity. Our gig of the month for March is the return of the wondrous Wild Beasts, at the Corn Exchange on the 31st. The band’s latest release, Present Tense, is a dramatically new album – taking cues from the most effervescent of 1980s and 1990s electronic sound but rethinking these elements with exquisite detail for the 21st century. This is a gig not to be missed! 13 years and three albums in, We Are Scientists are back with TV En Français released on 3 March through 100% Records. The New York duo will play the Cambridge Junction on 7 March. After their triumphant show with Woman’s Hour last year, Manchester duo Shield Patterns return to Cambridge, playing The Leper Chapel (Newmarket Road) on 7 March. The immersive duo create a rich sound based on delicate vocals combined with rudimentary beats and loops. Support on the night comes from Gaze is Ghost; her magical voice over haunting ethereal piano is starting to be noticed, we think 2014 could be a big year for this artist. It’s rare we get a living icon perform in the city, so make the most of legendary punk poet Dr John Cooper Clarke’s show at the Cambridge Junction on 5 March. Psychedelic grunge quintet Allusondrugs make their Cambridge

PICKS debut at The Portland Arms on 1 March. The Yorkshire five-piece are bursting with spaced out guitar effects, rhythmic pulsating drums and hypnotic vocals that shred into gut-wrenching wails. Also on the 1st, ska-punk outfit Faintest Idea play the Corner House on Newmarket Road. Joining them on the bill that night are Jake and The Jellyfish, a Leeds skapunk-folk amalgamation who went down a storm when they played Cambridge last year. Also at the Corner House this month are Lay it on the Line and There Are Ghosts who share the bill on 6 March. The leading figure of the Scottish folk scene, Emily Smith plays the Cambridge Junction J2 on 11 March. Smith’s folk style is more of a traditional roots sound and 2014 sees Smith release her fifth album. Anyone who caught Tom Odell at the Corn Exchange in October might remember Wildflowers opening that night. The Brighton band now headline their own show at The Portland Arms on 12 March. Their songs are filled with great lyrics, tempos and harmonies, with a hint of the Laurel Canyon singer-songwriter scene of the late 60s. Lissie will play the Cambridge Junction on 14 March. The granddaughter of


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an international barbershop quartet champion, Lissie’s own style is far from her granddad’s, instead going with a blue collar indie folk style. Miles Kane brings his exhilarating band to Cambridge as part of a 15-date spring tour supporting his acclaimed second album, Don’t Forget Who You Are. The former Shadow Puppet plays the Cambridge Junction on 30 March. Emma Stevens writes and sings haunting folk-pop songs and is a musician who pours her heart and soul into her work. She plays The Portland Arms on 26 March. Another songstress with an unforgettable voice, Cara Dillon plays the Cambridge Junction J2 on the 25th. Cambridge folk and roots heroes The Willows play the Cambridge Junction J2 on the 27th. Fronted by the breathtaking voice of Jade Rhiannon, supported by rich vocal harmonies and sensitive acoustic musicianship, the band draw inspiration from the Americana and British folk traditions in equal quantity. If you take a punt on one new band this month, make it Happyness at the Portland Arms on 8 March. We recommend this lo-fi 4-track offering because of their dreamy, hook-laden sound and song-writing prowess far beyond their tender years – Happyness are the real deal. Tell us about your gig at

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We explore the arts and culture scene in Cambridge, showcasing some of the many exciting exhibitions and shows taking place around the city

INTERVIEW: THE OVERTONES If you love classic movies and 50s music, you’re in for a treat this month. Vocal harmony group The Overtones will be rocking and rolling up at the Corn Exchange on 17 March as part of their Saturday Night at the Movies tour, based on the album of the same name: their third since hitting the big time in 2011. A band, for once, where every member can sing (they cover the full range from Lachie Chapman’s booming bass to Daz Everest’s falsetto), and which wasn’t put together by Simon Cowell, The Overtones met on the London live mic circuit before joining forces, liking the way their voices worked together and sharing a love of classic tunes. “What I love about us is our old-school sound,” says lead vocalist Timmy Matley, who grew up in Cork, listening to Elvis and Roy Orbison. “We have live instruments, live vocals, and it seems to really strike a chord with people.” Everyone loves a Cinderella story, and what captured the imagination of the press

was a rumour that the lads were talentspotted singing on their tea break whilst working as painters and decorators. It’s mostly true, explains Timmy: “It got to the point when we were struggling to make the rent and pay for the demos, so we were working in bars and restaurants and doing odd jobs.” It was while working on a property off Oxford Street that everything changed: “A woman heard us singing, came over and started asking us questions about the group, and why we were painting and decorating.” Timmy continues: “We gave her our card, but I didn’t really think she’d ever ring back. We’d had so many knockbacks that you get a bit cynical. But she did ring back, and three days later we’d got an audition down at Warner Brothers.” Since then the fivesome have been belting out gorgeous hits from music’s golden era for all to hear, throwing in the odd Overtones-style pop cover for good measure. Cambridge is one of the first


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stops on the tour, so being on the road will still be a novelty – they’ll be bringing DVDs for the tour bus and Timmy even knits to pass the time – “just scarves at the moment”. The guys are looking forward to delivering a top night out for the whole audience. “The best part of what we do is getting out there and performing in front of people,” says Timmy. “It’s feel-good stuff; we just want to give everyone a really good time. The album is full of big songs from films like Dirty Dancing, Pretty Woman… I’m really proud of it, I think it’s our strongest yet.” Ever-charming, Timmy tells me he's particularly looking forward to Cambridge, adding: “As far as I can remember everyone rides around on bikes with baskets on the front – is that still the same?” The show kicks off at 7.30pm. Tickets cost from £28.50 to £38.50.

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PIM & THEO On 4 and 5 March, creative theatre company New International Encounter present Pim & Theo, their latest immersive show featuring sound, film design and live performance. The show explores the opposing but unexpectedly linked lives of two key Dutch political figures, both murdered in public by extremists – Pim Fortuyn and Theo Van Gogh. The lives and deaths of these two figures frame a debate that lies at heart of the European experience at the start of the 21st century: are we one culture, many cultures or multi-cultures? Catch the show at 4pm or 7.30pm, tickets £8-£12.

Debates and discussions are already underway as we mark 100 years since the start of the First World War. What did it achieve? How involved were the officers? Will we see ever see a war like it again? Over at the ADC, some of these heavy questions lurk beneath the seemingly light-hearted façade of the musical satire, Oh! What a Lovely War, staged by Combined Actors of Cambridge. Follow a bunch or ordinary people as they become front line soldiers and sing, joke and laugh their way through some of the worst experiences the world has ever seen. Oh! What a Lovely War is on from 25 to 29 March, 7.45pm; tickets £8-£12.

INTO THE WOODS Leap into the mystical world of the fairy tale in Stephen Sondheim’s Into The Woods, performed at the ADC by Cambridge University Amateur Dramatic Club. Weaving together the stories of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel, Into The Woods takes us beyond the last page to find out what happens after ‘happily ever after’. The story is played out to a captivating score, enlivened by dazzling illusions. It takes place at 7.45pm, 12-22 March; tickets £8-£12.

CAMBRIDGE PHILHARMONIC Join the Cambridge Philharmonic for a rare opportunity to hear Mahler’s great ode to nature, the mighty Symphony No.3. In his third symphony Mahler came close to fulfilling his own dictum that “the symphony must be like the world. It must encompass everything.” Profoundly inspired by Mahler’s love of nature, this beautiful and dramatic musical picture (spread across six movements and 90 minutes) is not regularly performed. The rare chance to hear the symphony at West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge, on 15 March promises to be a highlight of the concert season. Joining Cambridge Philharmonic on stage will be mezzo-soprano Sarah Castle, the Ladies of Cambridge Philharmonic Chorus and the young singers of St Catherine’s Girls’ Choir and Kings’ Junior Voices. Meanwhile the vast orchestra includes two harps, tuned bells, double timpanists and an off-stage flugelhorn. Tickets are £12-£25. Music director and principal conductor Timothy Redmond comments: “Mahler’s Third Symphony is an extraordinary journey through emotional extremes. From the thrilling opening horn call via moments of sublime and heart-rending beauty, Mahler uses his orchestra to paint a symphonic picture on the largest possible canvas. I am delighted to bring the Third to West Road for a rare performance in Cambridge.”

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MARY BLACK & CLANNAD Two great figures of Irish music join forces on 18 March as part of a special tour that’s sure to delight fans of both artists. Mary Black, whose crystal-clear folk interpretations have delighted generations, has an impressive 11 platinum studio albums to her name. She’ll be joined by Clannad, the musical family from County Donegal who recently celebrated 40 years in the business. Experience the moving, timeless quality of Theme From Harry’s Game, I Will Find You and other classic hits. Their new album, Nadur, is the first to feature all five members since their 1989 release, Past Present. This melting pot of rootsy talent takes place at 7.30pm, tickets £32.50.

WATERSPRITE The stars are coming out in Cambridge this month for Watersprite, Cambridge University’s International Student Film Festival, which sees celebrated members of the film community descend on the city for talks, workshops, and to judge new short films sent in from around the world. Run by student volunteers, Watersprite has become one of the most notable student film festivals in the world, and a meeting ground for global cinematic talent. Past speakers have included BAFTA winners and nominees such as Eddie Redmayne, Bill Nighy, Olivia Colman and David Yates. This year they’ll welcome Rob Brydon to give a talk about his life as a comedian on the Saturday (4.30pm, St John’s Divinity School), while former Watersprite winner and director of Misfits, William McGregor, joins the judging panel. Awards in a variety of categories will be given to the best submissions, with prizes that will allow the winners to develop their careers in film. The workshops and talks will cover a range of film-related topics to open up film education to all, from film enthusiasts to dedicated film-makers, and to inspire the next generation of talent. Watersprite runs from 7 to 9 March. The whole thing is free and open to the public, and set within some of the most beautiful locations around Cambridge.

VAGINA MONOLOGUES Ladies, how do you feel about your bits? Do you squirm at hearing the ‘v’ word, or wish it was talked about more? Based on interviews with more than 200 women, of all ages and backgrounds, the award-winning Vagina Monologues is being performed at Cambridge’s Mumford Theatre on 14 March. In it, you’ll hear funny, interesting and moving stories, celebrating how women have taken control of their sexuality and their lives. Takes place at 8pm, tickets £8, with all proceeds going to Cambridge Rape Crisis.


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TRANSLATIONS If you’re looking for something suitably Irish to do in St Patrick’s Day week, book a seat to see Brian Friel’s Translations at the Arts Theatre 11-15 March. In rural Ireland, 1833, the British Army arrives to translate Gaelic place names into the King’s English. Meanwhile farm girl Máire finds herself torn between the affections of the local teacher and the comforts of home, and a British soldier and the excitement he represents. Translations is brought to us by English Touring Theatre, which celebrates its 21st birthday this year, and stars Cian Barry (Our Boys in the West End) and Paul Cawley (The Wrong Mans). Show times are 7.45pm (2.30pm Thurs & Sat matinee); tickets start at £15.


SEA MONSTERS TO SONAR Look for sea monsters and navigate the oceans of the past at the Polar Museum this month. Sea Monsters to Sonar is their current exhibition (running 5 March-31 May), and traces the development and use of maps in charting the Polar oceans and coastlines. The gallery space will be transformed into a trail of discovery, citing trade routes, objects of interest and a life-size submarine control room, plus an original 16th century atlas depicting fictional Arctic islands. Entry to the exhibition is free.

CAMBRIDGE MODERN JAZZ Slink away and soak up some jazz at Cambridge’s Hidden Rooms, underneath Jesus Lane. Cambridge Modern Jazz have three gigs for us there this month, starting with the Dan Forshaw Quartet, led by a leading young light on the British jazz scene (6 March, 8pm). Then, absorb a chaotic mix of colourful sounds by the Kit Downes Quintet on 16 March (7.30pm). Finally, see Jean Toussaint and his Quartet on 27 March for an evening of tunes that fill the gap between jazz and funk (8pm). All tickets are £10.

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The Cambridge Classical Concert Series continues at the Corn Exchange this month with a stunning performance by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Paul Daniel. On 13 March, take your seats and enjoy Beethoven’s Fidelio Overture, Piano Concerto No. 5 (‘Emperor’) and Symphony No. 7. The evening’s concert starts with a special performance by young musicians from Cambridgeshire Music alongside members of the RPO. Members of the group have composed a ground-breaking new piece, drawing inspiration from the works of Beethoven and fusing this with their own styles. A pre-concert talk takes place at the Cambridge City Hotel (just round the corner) at 6pm, free to all ticket holders. Here you’ll learn some of the background to Beethoven’s compositions, including why he took refuge in a cellar while working on the Emperor concerto. The concert starts 7.30pm, tickets £26-£35.


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FREE ART FRIDAY To brighten up the city and delight unwitting members of the public, a group of local creatives led by Cambridge artist Beyond Canvas are bringing the Free Art Friday scheme to town. The concept is simple: artists make early-morning ‘drops’ of their work around the city for finders to take home and keep... for free! It’s the first time this kind of unexpected artsy generosity has been seen in Cambridge, but the scheme actually has roots in early noughties London where for five years pioneer Adam Neate dropped thousands of original works around the capital, and it was from there that Free Art Friday was born. “Any artist can get involved – it’s a great way to showcase your own work and help promote Cambridge as a city with a thriving art community,” says Beyond Canvas, who predominantly works with aerosols and stencils and who, along with coordinating the drops, will also be contributing his own pieces. From canvas masterpieces to impromptu cardboard creations, keep your eyes peeled around the city – you could bag yourself a piece of art that’s totally unique and completely free! See the Facebook page for details.

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Described by The Times as ‘one of the 20th century’s great neglected plays’, Errol John’s Moon on a Rainbow Shawl comes to Cambridge Arts Theatre from 18 to 22 March. In Port of Spain, Trinidad, neighbours drink, brawl, love and look out for each other, stuck in a humid, perfumed world of calypso music, hymns and drumbeats. But Ephraim is different, and not even the seductive Rosa is going to stop him escaping his dead-end job and seeking a fresh start in England. Catch it at 7.45pm (2.30pm Thurs & Sat); £15-£27.

AN EVENING WITH JILL DAWSON Author of Trick of the Light Jill Dawson will be speaking at Heffers bookshop on 6 March, launching her latest novel, The Tell-Tale Heart. An intriguing novel about love and identity, it weaves together the lives of three compelling characters. Patrick, a 50-year-old professor, drinker and womanizer has been given six months to live; but when he is given a heart transplant, he becomes curious about the life of the Cambridgeshire teenager it came from, and his ancestor, who was involved in the Littleport riots of 1816. The evening starts at 6.30pm, tickets £7.

A LIFE OF GALILEO The Royal Shakespeare Company bring their acclaimed new production of A Life of Galileo to Cambridge Arts Theatre, following a successful run at Stratford last year. Ian McDiarmid reprises his role as the radical scientist Galileo who, in 1609, is poised to make a discovery that will transform the way we see the world. Yet what he sees through his telescope doesn’t tally with some schools of thought, sparking civil unrest and a call for Galileo to publicly denounce his theories. See it between 31 March and 5 April, 7.45pm (2.30pm Thur & Sat); tickets £15-£35.


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VIEWS FROM THE ’BRIDGE Following on from last November’s successful, locally-themed show, Views from the ’Bridge is back, promising more theatrical interpretations of life in Cambridge, by those who live here and love it. Over the past few months, Daniel Pitt has been working his way through short scripts, from comedy to dance, live art to spoken word, sent in by local people. On 24 March he’ll be inviting all writers to perform their pieces live at Cambridge Junction, offering a chance to showcase their work (either finished or works-in-progress) in front of an audience, with the venue offering £100 per performance. It should be a great night of varied entertainment; starts 7.30pm, tickets are just £5.

BOLSHOI BALLET Tune in to the Bolshoi Ballet’s stunning performance of Marco Spada, being broadcast live to Haverhill Arts Centre on 30 March, 4pm. Raised in his castle lair, the beautiful Angela has no idea of her father Marco Spada’s double life as a notorious bandit. While he conducts his brazen plundering under the Governor’s nose, Angela has fallen in love with Prince Frederici – who is already engaged to the Governor’s daughter. This rarely-preformed ballet is both technically and dramatically complex, with beautiful scenery and costumes making for quite a spectacle. Tickets are £12.50-£15.


THE PERFECT MURDER If the packed-out house for last month’s Agatha Christie play is anything to go by, Cambridge theatregoers love a good murder mystery. We’re in luck, then, that another one is heading our way: The Perfect Murder, by Peter James, and starring Les Dennis. The comedian, Family Fortunes host and soon-tobe Corrie star takes on the role of Victor Smiley, whose marriage is reaching crisis point. But when Victor decides there’s only one way to get his wife Joan out of his life forever, he meets with a nasty surprise. Enter young detective Roy, who quickly starts to realise that nothing is quite what it seems. The Perfect Murder comes to the Arts Theatre from 24 to 29 March, 7.45pm (2.30pm Thur & Sat matinee); tickets £15-£30.


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The infamous gallows at Marble Arch, the dark labyrinths frequented by Jack the Ripper and the ghoulish origins of the nursery rhyme London Bridge is Falling Down all provide material for this dramatic concert. The Tyburn Tree, based on the concept album of the same name, shines a lantern into some of the murkiest corners of London’s history. It’s performed by Marc Almond, your tour guide throughout the show, and saxophonist, composer and producer John Harle, who provides the score. They’re joined on stage by soprano Sarah Leonard. Catch it at the Corn Exchange on 4 March at 7.30pm. Tickets are £10-£24.

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love the beginnings of spring sunshine this month. Perfect for trawling the city at the weekend and popping in to catch a show – try the gallery on King Street (initially set up by Changing Spaces, now run by Cambridge School of Performing and Visual Arts) this month, featuring photography tutor Joanna Whitehouse’s exploration of modern abstract architecture in Cambridge. Love it or hate it, our city is certainly changing – and these photos cleverly juxtapose visual fragments of its angular new modernity with high flying, blue skies. It’s also International Woman’s Day this month on 8 March, for which I am producing a show (am totally calm), Rebel Women: Inspirational Girls, at the Cambridge Art Salon, with a group of teenage girls, supported by Romsey Mill, that opens on 7 March. Together we’ve been interviewing female role models in the Cambridge community, from entrepreneurs, artists, accountants, mums and paramedics, to crime writers like Alison Bruce. Expect film, photography and animation from Andy Little, animating women giving advice to their teenage selves. Or why not visit the University of Cambridge’s New Hall College, housing Europe’s largest collection of women’s art on 8 March – a national treasure and one of Cambridge’s best-kept secrets? Artist Cordelia Spalding launches A Museum Of Infinities as part of the University’s Science Festival on 8 March – ‘just beautiful’, says New Hall’s Sarah Greaves. I’ve been getting all nostalgic over Cambridge-based feminist Germaine Greer, who turned 75 last month (happy birthday Germaine!) – feels like a blink of an eyelid since I was 16 and hoovering up The Female Eunuch in the late 1990s, her feminist classic, which changed my whole sense of self and had me doing all sorts of taboo-breaking things in the name of female liberation (sorry Mum). If you haven’t read it and you love feminism, it’s a must-read, all the more relevant now in this age of Blurred Lines, twerking and pressure to get lipo-tweaking. 8 March also sees Monomania hit Cambridge, a one-day festival that celebrates solo creativity across sound,

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Don't miss Heatsick's fusion of dance music and critical satire at the Monomania festival

Joanna Whitehouse explores Ca mbridge architecture at the King Street gallery

Heloise Toop's portraits would make an ideal Mother's Day gift

Mr Underwood places sonic objects around the city as part of Monomania live art and performance at Aid and Abet, Cambridge Junction and venues in between; check out for more information. Cambridge has a rich, slightly secret, underground creative scene and this festival is your passport to it – a must-try and one I’m placing in my diary. “It unites Cambridge’s enviable international experimental/underground music scene,” explains Jo of BadTiming, the driving force behind the festival who over 12 years has staged over 100 solo performances from across the world. “Plus, it celebrates solo creativity and inventiveness across arts, technology and everyday life,” she adds. Monomania features fanzines, commissioned work, talks and workshops. So good to see some of our city’s arts venues embracing such edgy stuff, particularly Cambridge Junction, which has long had its roots in such a scene (so many happy memories of interviewing DJs and musicians there as a young writer!) Hunt around for Mr Underwood’s Sonic Graffiti, sound objects placed in public spaces, or check out Heatsick (so intrigued by his

album ReEngineering, a ‘cybernetic poem’ – fusing dance music with critical satire). This is also a chance to enjoy Aid and Abet’s warehouse, which has done volumes for the city’s contemporary art scene, before it’s sadly demolished – catch it while you can (details at Finally, this month, whatever you do don’t forget Mother’s Day, by far the most important celebration on the annual calendar, on 30 March – if you’ve been through labour, every day really should be Mother’s Day, dammit. Why not treat her to a specially commissioned portrait or a spa trip? One of my fav portrait artists is Heloise Toop, one of Cambridge’s most vibrant young professionals in this niche art. Or art-loving mums would most probably adore being treated to a trip out to Burwash Art, lunch at Burwash Manor’s gorgeous restaurant and a spa treat onsite with Dragonfly – the Side by Side package is designed for mums and daughters. Sometimes though, just telling her how much you love her and a big hug is more than enough – enjoy your month, all!


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1-6 April

This year’s Literary Festival brings to Cambridge a wealth of great names from the world of words

High-profile names from literature, media, philosophy and politics are descending on Cambridge for the 2014 Cambridge Literary Festival. Formerly Wordfest, it takes place 1-6 April and looks set to be the biggest and most ambitious yet. As well as talks from the likes of Alain de Botton and Dame Jacqueline Wilson, a series of special events is also planned, including a strand of Brazilian-themed sessions in celebration of the 2014 World Cup, a strand devoted to the commemoration of the First World War, a celebration of Dylan Thomas’s centenary and the inaugural Cambridge Literary Festival Debate. Cathy Moore, festival director, says: “Exciting times are ahead for the biggest literary party in the south east. Located in a city with a university of global significance we embrace the best of both town and gown. Our essence is energy, curiosity, challenge, intellectual excellence and fun.” Find out more at


The fairy godmother of children’s fiction, Jacqueline Wilson, tells Jennifer Shelton about her first story, funny fan mail and not being married to Roald Dahl… Her books have been treasured companions of childhood for over 20 years, their fun, feisty characters – with very real worries and dreams – still capturing the spirit of what it means to be a child today. Whether it’s playground spats and sibling rivalry in Double Act or dealing with divorce in The Suitcase Kid, Jacqueline Wilson’s ability to speak to her readers, without losing her lightness of touch, is key to all her wonderful works. “I think it’s because I still have vivid memories of what it feels like to be a child,” she considers. “I can’t remember what I was thinking five years ago, but I remember what I felt when I was ten, so it’s easy to remember myself back there.” Wilson, whose kindly, chatty personality comes through instantly, was born in Bath but grew up in Kingston upon Thames, an only child who delighted in reading and dreaming up her own stories. “I had very girly taste, I liked Little Women, What Katy Did and the E Nesbit books. I was a passionate reader; I lived in the local library. I loved writing stories, and

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apparently at the age of six, when I was having my tonsils out, the doctor asked what I wanted to be when I grew up and I said quite solemnly, ‘a writer!’.” Wilson still has a tatty notebook containing one of her first stories, Meet the Maggots, written aged nine. Though she admits: “I don’t think I showed any remarkable talent, I’m sure many children of nine could do much better!” The author still lives in Kingston today, in a Victorian house populated by two cats and too many books. “I can’t stop buying books: if I live to 500 I still wouldn’t get through them all,” she smiles. As for the cats, meet Jacob and Lily: “Jacob is much bigger, Lily is quite little and delicate,” Wilson tells me. “She’s fascinated by the computer and thinks she can write too, and patters across and deletes everything I’ve written.” Dogs and cats form the inspiration behind her latest book, Paws and Whiskers, which she will be discussing at Cambridge Literary Festival. It’s a treasury of excerpts from her own favourite dog and cat tales,


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Clockwise from top left: Festival fans, Joanna Trollope, Emma Donoghue, director Cathy Moore with guest programmer Alex Clark, Germain Greer, Jonathan Fenby, Hanif Kureis

ELEANOR CATTON Join the 2013 Man Booker Prize winner in a discussion about historical fiction and her second novel, The Luminaries (Winstanley Lecture Theatre, 1 April, 6pm, £10/£8). MELVYN BRAGG The broadcaster and writer introduces his latest novel, Grace and Mary, about a man’s relationship with his elderly mother (Union Chamber, 4 April, 2.30pm, £11/£9).

including a new story from Wilson herself. She’s also asked some of her literary chums like Philip Pullman to write a bit about their own pets, “because children always love to know what animals you’ve got.” Wilson keeps in touch with her readers through her blog and tries to get through the mountains of letters sent in by fans. “I used to pride myself on writing back to every child that wrote to me,” she admits, “but it’s just impossible now. But if a child has tried extra hard or said something quirky, I’ll write back.” She laughs a tinkly laugh: “Just yesterday a child wrote to say that all the children in her class had told her I was married to Roald Dahl, and was this true?! Also, because I was born in Bath, a lot of the younger children take this literally and think I was born in a bath! It’s very sweet.” Wilson’s first job was for the publishing company that launched Jackie (they told her they’d named it after her, though she’s not sure if they were “just being sweet”). She penned a few crime fiction novels for adults before focusing solely on children’s novels, her big break occurring in 1991 with The Story of Tracy Beaker. What advice would she give to budding children’s writers? “First of all, take it seriously. Some people think that anyone

can make up a kids’ story, but I think every writer for children worth their salt takes as much trouble as they would do writing the most high-flown literary novel. Also to write from a child’s point of view.” As any fan will know, Jacqueline Wilson books wouldn’t be the same without Nick Sharratt’s zany illustrations. I wonder if she describes the way she wants her characters to look, but Wilson replies: “I don’t tell him anything extra. He reads the book several times and nearly always, when I see the way he’s illustrated a character, it’s as if he’s got into my head and seen how I imagined them to look.” Another important contributor is Wilson’s daughter, Emma, who casts an encouraging eye over every manuscript. “She’s a professor at Corpus Christi, so it’s always a lovely excuse to come to Cambridge,” beams Wilson. I’ve no doubt that anyone going to Wilson’s talk is in for a treat. Making reading fun is something Wilson feels very strongly about, and she hopes that her books will inspire a love of reading in generations to come. See her at the Cambridge Union Chamber on 6 April at 2.30pm. Tickets are £7. For the full programme visit


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PAT BARKER One of the most significant writers of war literature, and author of the Regeneration trilogy, leads a talk on the causes and effects of the First World War, war poets and wartime psychiatry (Union Chamber, 6 April, 7pm, £12.50/£10). CAROL ANN DUFFY Britain’s Poet Laureate talks about her life and career in this wonderful celebration of poetry (Union Chamber, 3 April, 7.30pm, £15/£12). RACHEL JOYCE A book club favourite last year, Joyce discusses her sweet, poignant and highly original novel, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (Union Chamber, 4 April, 1pm, £8/£6). JOANNA TROLLOPE The best-selling novelist and OBE makes her festival debut, discussing her new novel, Balancing Act, about marriage, family and juggling life’s priorities (Union Chamber, 4 April, 5.30pm, £11/£9).

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my pretties�


Visit the Raptor Foundation near St Ives and see some of the coolest birds of prey in action. Their Meet The Birds experience, especially for children under 10, lets you handle and even fly some of the centre’s birds, including the beautiful barn owl, kestrel (which you might have seen hovering above motorways) or the cute little owl. The experience costs £25, lasts one and a half hours and can be tailored to each child, and could be perfect if there’s a birthday coming up. You’ll also get a photo of you and your new feathered friend to take home.

Sleeping Beauty in the Woods recreates the classic story through puppetry and video projections in this enchanting production by Little Angel Theatre. In a faraway land, a king and queen are desperate for a child, so a fairy grants them their wish. But when the beautiful Briar Rose is born, the fairy is not invited to the christening, causing her to put the kingdom to sleep for 100 years. It’s on at 11.30am and 2.30pm, 16 March; tickets are £5/£9. Hear some live music at Cambridge Junction’s Family Folk Show on 23 March (11.30am and 2.30pm). Award-winning folk duo Megson have put together a lively show featuring children’s folk songs old and new, which are sure to delight audiences of all ages. Tickets are £5/£9. Then, journey to the bottom of the sea in The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer on 30 March, for an imaginative and uplifting experience that’s been given five stars by critics around the world. It’s on at 11.30am and 2.30pm, tickets £5/£9.




Watch the new lambs frolicking about the farm at Wimpole and learn a bit about them too during the Estate’s lambing season, running from 22 March until 6 April. Wimpole’s Home Farm houses a variety of rare breeds, and the farmers will be on hand to tell you what life is like for the flock – if you’re really lucky, you might even see a new arrival being born… Open 10.30am-5pm; entry is £9 (adults) and £5.80 (children), with discounts for National Trust members.



Raining? Who cares! Blow a raspberry at the weather and explore the Funky Funhouse on Mercer’s Row, Cambridge. A big, colourful indoor play arena – a little bit like the one on the 90s kids’ gameshow – it features slides, tunnels and a new toddler area, all surrounded by soft safety mats. Funky Funhouse do birthday parties, discos and laser parties too, and regular entry is £4.50 per child (£3.70 weekdays), and 50p per adult, including a free cup of tea/coffee.


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Splash If you don’t know who Peppa Pig is, just ask anyone under 8 (or their parents) and prepare to discover a whole new world of charming children’s entertainment. The global phenomenon returns to the Corn Exchange stage on 1 and 2 March with Peppa Pig’s Big Splash, featuring songs, dancing and adventure. In order to raise money to fix their leaking nursery roof, Peppa and her friends decide to hold a fête, and there’ll be cakes, bunting and games – including the champion puddle jumping competition, judged by Mr Potato! Showing at 10am and 1pm (and 4pm Saturday), tickets cost £9 – £15.50, with £2 off for under 16s. Later in the month, catch puppet show TomTen, adapted from Viktor Rydberg’s poem about a kindly gnome who lives on a remote Swedish farm. No-one has ever seen him, but look closely and you might spot his footsteps in the snow… It’s on 30 March, 11am and 2pm; tickets £6.50/£9.

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SCIENCE FESTIVAL The Cambridge Science Festival returns this month, offering a huge array of talks, demos, performances and activities for all ages. Here’s a taste of what’s in store

hat’s new in space? Why do coincidences happen? Why do cats make us sneeze? These are just a few of the questions being explored at this year’s Cambridge Science Festival, taking place at venues across the city, 10-23 March. Over 250 inspiring discussions, hands-on activities, tours and talks are planned on every subject under the sun, from genes and the universe to snot, brains and the science of cycling. “The Science Festival has grown significantly since its modest beginnings 20 years ago and today is recognised as one of the most exciting science festivals in the world,” says event co-ordinator Shelley Bolderson. “Last year, we welcomed over 30,000 local, national and international visitors and we hope to meet many more this year. The range and diversity of subjects covered

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during the two weeks is astonishing and incredibly exciting for anyone who wants to discover the world around them.” This year’s festival, which explores themes of ‘structures and patterns’, is bursting with fascinating-looking events, kicking off with a variety of pre-festival special shows. For starters, there’s The meaning of success on Wednesday 5 March – an event celebrating International Women’s Day 2014, featuring insights from the women of Cambridge University, their stories and achievements. On Saturday 8 March head over to the Grafton between 10am and 4pm and enjoy some Science while you shop, in the company of ‘buskers’ from the British Science Association, who’ll offer intriguing demos and live experiments for all ages to enjoy. On Monday 10 March the Science Festival proper begins, with a flurry of fantastic events to get stuck into. Discover What’s new in space at St Catharine’s College, go behind the scenes at the

World’s Oldest Start-Up (Cambridge University Press), or attend a talk on science and faith, presented by Dr Conor Cunningham. Another highlight for opening day is sure to be the Science Festival Ceilidh, which features special science-themed dances including the ‘Nuclear Fusion’, ‘Wave-Particle Duality in 6/8 Time’ and ‘Mr Schrödinger’s Maggot.’ The week following is brimming with events to get the old grey matter working, from a Symmetry of science walking tour, to How to be immortal – a play about science, love and living forever at the Mumford Theatre. There’s also a handson session about sensory perception (Is seeing believing? How can illusions fool our brain?), a concert of film music by the Cambridge Graduate Orchestra, and a talk on whether science can make you cycle faster, with Professor Tony Purnell, head of technology for British Cycling. Saturday 15 March is a big day for science, with around 100 events for all


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10-23 MARCH

The festival has once again come up trumps with a mind-bendingly varied and engaging schedule ages taking place across the city – and you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing what to attend. Think maths is dull? Matt Parker begs to differ. Join him at the Mill Road Lecture Rooms for Stand-up mathematics, an hour of funny, engaging and entertaining mathematical chat that was a huge hit at the Edinburgh Festival. Over at the Guildhall meanwhile, you can learn about the science of crime investigation and get your hands dirty in Interactive crime scene, or learn how humans generate energy from atmospheric air in How we use oxygen. Elsewhere around the city, hop aboard the Gamerbus (outside Boots on Sidney Street), where you’ll get access to the latest in gaming inside a unique converted double decker bus, be part of a mathsbased Guinness World Record attempt at the Grafton Centre, or pop along to the Polar Museum for a day of family activities with a sciencey twist. The ever-stimulating

ThinkCon is back for another instalment, also on Saturday 15 March, with speakers ruminating on everything from recreational drugs to the evolution of cancer (at the McCrum Lecture Theatre). Saturday’s offerings also include Sci Cam, the live science ‘magazine show’ and New Art Club’s Feel about your body; an uplifting and life affirming spectacle which merges stand-up, silliness and dance, as well as a star turn from comedian and science champion Robin Ince, who is set to lead a conversation about the conflict between art and science. On Sunday 16 March, you can listen as Simon Singh reveals the mathematical secrets behind TV’s The Simpsons (we’re intrigued!), join in with a demo derby between the Naked Scientists and CHaOS or test your sleuthing skills at the Mystery of the horrible hypothesis at Madingley Hall – a devious scientific puzzle for all of the family to get involved with (followed by a murder mystery dinner that evening).


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The fun continues into the following week, with an appearance from the fabulous science boffs-turned-standup comedians, Bright Club, at the Portland Arms, on 20 March. There’s also a special event dedicated to the Cambridge born credit-card sized computer Raspberry Pi on the same day, plus a talk on whether monogamy is dead at CB2 Bistro on the 19th. All in all, the festival has once again come up trumps with a mindbendingly varied and engaging schedule, demonstrating why the Cambridge Science Festival is one of the most exciting events of its kind in the world. Best of all, it’s all happening on our doorstep and most of the events are free, so indulge your curiosities and make the most of it! Find the full festival programme with prices, times and locations at

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In celebration of its landmark birthday, Edition pays a visit to Bourn’s innovative art space to find out more about its history and what the future holds ocated amid sprawling countryside just outside the South Cambridgeshire village of Bourn, Wysing Arts Centre is a bit of a mystery to many Cambridge residents. You’ve likely heard of it, you may have even paid a visit for one of the public events which it hosts throughout the year, but the chances are you don’t fully realise the significance of this thriving contemporary arts hub. Occupying some 11 acres, Wysing Arts comprises a large gallery, 24 studios, a 17th century farmhouse (serving as accommodation for artists

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in residence) and a variety of specialist new media and education facilities. The centre aims to provide ‘alternative environments and structures for artistic research, experimentation, discovery and production’, out of which emerge an innovative programme of public events for all ages. It’s much more than simply a place for art exhibitions; it’s a huge generator of ideas and creativity; a place for supporting, nurturing and developing artistic talent, and in fact, one of the UK’s most renowned and progressive arts organisations. Did you know, for example, that it’s one of just

20 members of the prestigious Plus Tate network (alongside major metropolitan galleries like the BALTIC in Gateshead and Arnolfini in Bristol), or that it’s acted as a springboard for the careers of many successful artists over the years – including the two most recent Turner Prize winners? To understand how sleepy Bourn became an incubator of such remarkable artistic output, we need to look back to 1989, when a group of four friends (two couples, all enthusiastic amateur artists), set to work on an idea of creating a low cost space outside of London for artists to work. The UK was in the midst of a period of farming


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decline at the time, making agricultural land – like that of the somewhat run-down Wysing Grange Farm – readily available. Seeing a perfect fit for their purposes, the enterprising foursome threw themselves into transforming the derelict farmhouse and its surrounds into studios, converting an old hay shed into a gallery and later organising occasional exhibitions and events for the public. Around five years in they sought and gained charitable status, employing Wysing’s first director, Trystan Hawkins, who developed the centre and its public artistic programme – as well as securing its status as a regularly funded organisation of the Arts Council and beginning the process that would lead to a £1.7 million capital project to build new artist’s studios. The project, which finally came to fruition in 2008, kick-started a new phase in the story of Wysing, opening up its potential and enabling it to emerge as a unique art space and campus for artistic development. “The philosophy here is about supporting artists to make the work that they want to make and then for us to help that work reach new audiences,” explains current director Donna Lynas, who took the reins in 2005. “A lot of artists have workspace here and we fund them to research new work that’s then commissioned by us. We also run extensive programmes for young artists who want to pursue a career in the arts. It’s all very artist-centred, and it’s about supporting artists to pursue careers as artists and for them to perhaps extend out into the wider world… It’s kind of research focused, it’s experimental, we’re trying to support artists to do things that they might not have been able to do, investing in them financially and giving them space and time to work in.” But visitors, too, are a vital part of creating the artists’ work. “The people who come to Wysing are being brought into the process of work being created,” says Donna. “I suppose it’s very discursive, it’s very interactive, it’s very conversational and it’s very social – lots of sharing of food and cups of tea! I would say that it’s a meaningful experience for people and they can really feel that they are contributing to something bigger that’s happening here,” she says.


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With its commitment to development and boosting promising talent, it’s no wonder that Donna views Wysing as something akin to an R & D centre for the visual arts, drawing parallels with the incubation of talent and start-ups so famous within the ‘phenomenon’ of the Cambridge technology cluster. “That was part of the thinking, I suppose: that Cambridge is a global research centre as a city, so Wysing can be a global research centre for the arts.” But whilst Cambridge has long been a hotbed of success in the fields of science and technology, it’s never exactly been famous for its contemporary art scene. But, with the arrival of art spaces like Aid & Abet and Cambridge Art Salon and groups like Changing Spaces (who create pop-up galleries in disused spaces around the city), making their mark as Wysing blazes the trail, all that might be changing – meaning exciting times are ahead for the contemporary art movement in our area. “It’s been a long time coming, and I’m very happy about it,” says Donna on the matter. “I’m so happy that it feels like something could happen in Cambridge.”

In celebration of their landmark anniversary, Wysing will be exploring ‘the potential of the future through what is known of the past’, with a series of residencies, exhibitions and public events throughout 2014. The most ambitious of these is Futurecamp, which will take place from June to August and involve artists, politicians, philosophers, economists, architects and artists coming together at the centre to explore what the future might hold for the individual and society. Running until the end of this month, you can catch Annals Of The 29th Century, a large group exhibition of new commissions by artists in residence at Wysing during 2013. Taking its name from the eponymous sci-fi novel by Andrew Blair, this exhibition will showcase the works of Anna Barham, James Beckett, Keren Cytter, Cécile B. Evans, Michael Dean, Gustav Metzger, Rupert Norfolk, David Osbaldeston, Seb Patane, Charlotte Prodger and Florian Roithmayr. “Wysing has come a long way since it was founded and has an incredible alumni of artists who have worked here across the years,” says Donna. “I’m really looking forward to welcoming them back in 2014 when we will take a glance at the past


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whilst looking forward to a future; one in which artists continue to play a central role in all that we do.” There’s also Wysing’s hugely popular annual festival to look forward to at the end of August, which this year goes by the name of ‘Space-Time: The Future’, and will once again feature three stages and a diversity of live music and performance to get stuck into, plus stalls and a number of family activities. The centre is certainly not short on ambition, and another way that they’re looking to honour the quarter of a century milestone is by retrofitting the Wysing site with renewable energy – making them on of the first visual arts organisations in Britain to do so. “We want to take responsibility for our carbon footprint and really address that as an issue,” explains Donna. “It’s celebratory in a different way. It’s saying that in the future we do have to be more responsible and we want to do that so we’re trying very hard to raise funds to do this. We’re hopefully going to undertake that in 2015, as a way of thinking about the future in a different way.”

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AFTERNOON TEA Treat your mum to an indulgent afternoon tea at the University Arms hotel this Mother’s Day – one of the best spots in the city to enjoy this quintessentially British pastime. Take a seat in the stylish restaurant and sit back and relax as you’re presented with a selection of dainty sandwiches, freshly baked scones with jam and cream, fresh strawberries and bitter chocolate sauce, and an assortment of cakes. You’ll also be treated to a glass of Prosecco, as well as (of course!) an array of teas and coffees to choose from. Afternoon tea is served every day from 2pm until 5pm and costs £19.95 per person.

CRAFTY CREATIVES If your mum enjoys making lovely bits and bobs, treat her to a subscription from Crafty Creatives, for £17.95 a month. With this fab service, she’ll receive a box every four weeks that contains a surprise craft kit and includes everything you need to dive in and get creative. Suitable for both beginners and those more experienced, this is the gift that will keep on giving long after Mother’s Day. Best of all, if you quote ‘CAMBRIDGE’ when booking, you’ll get £5 off your first box (T’s & C’s apply).

If your mum needs a bit of R&R, whisk her away for a spa day at the Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa, located in Newmarket. It’s the perfect place for a relaxing escape, with its luxurious décor, spa lounge with refreshments (both indulgent and healthy!) and extensive selection of treatments and therapies. To help you say a big ‘thank you’ to your mum this Mother’s Day, Bedford Lodge Spa are offering a free 20-minute back massage when you book an ESPA facial (cost £65 per person, for bookings made between 1 and 31 March 2014).


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Spend the day bonding with your mum as you learn the ancient art of sourdough at Cambridge Cookery School this Mother’s Day. This session will serve as an introduction to this delicious and healthy bread, with experts sharing their knowledge and tips and revealing how simple sourdough can be for the home baker. There will be lots of teas and coffees, plus plenty of freshly baked treats and a light lunch to tuck into, and all attendees will go home with a full recipe pack, a healthy starter, and instructions on how to create a successful starter at home. 30 March, 10am-2pm, £125 per person.




If you want to spoil your mum with a slap-up lunch, head to Hotel Felix, where they’re offering a special menu in Graffiti, their stylish in-house restaurant. The menu boasts starters of red mullet with marinated vegetables and crab rillettes, or mushroom and basil velouté. For mains, options include roast sirloin of Hereford beef with celeriac puree, red wine braised shallots and Yorkshire pudding, or a beetroot and Crottin D’Antan tarte Tatin with artichoke and walnut salsa. Desserts include bitter chocolate mousse and rhubarb trifle, with macarons and coffee to finish the meal. £28 per person, £14 for children under 10. Available on 30 March.

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WHAT’S ON A round-up of events in and around Cambridgeshire for March




Time: 6.30pm Location: Lady Mitchell Hall Price: £10.50/£12.50 Description: For the first time, the world’s most prestigious mountain film festival is coming to Cambridge, showing a selection of extraordinary short films – a must-see for anyone with a spirit of adventure!



PYGMALION MARCH Time: 7.45pm (& 2.30pm Sat) Location: Cambridge Arts Theatre Price: £15-£35 Description: Impressionist and actor Alistair McGowan stars in this West End adaptation of Bernard Shaw’s Cinderella story of the flower girl turned lady.

1 March

GOB SQUAD: WESTERN SOCIETY Time: 7.30pm Location: Cambridge Junction Price: £8/£12 Description: Dare to peep into the psyche of 21st century civilisation as Gob Squad present their portrait of life as we know it.

6 March

DREADZONE Time: 8pm Location: Cambridge Junction Price: £15 Description: The unique electronic/folk outfit showcase their seventh studio album, Escapades, at what promises to be a popular gig. Featuring Mick Jones from The Clash on vocals along with original Dreadzone members.

3 March

EXPLORING ART & LIFE Time: 7pm Location: Kettle’s Yard Price: £6/£8 Description: Listen to a lecture on the subject of Art and Life, by Jovan Nicholson, curator of the exhibition. Doors open at 6pm for a wander round the gallery first. 42 | Cambridge Edition | March 2014

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Time: 7pm (doors) Location: Cambridge Junction Price: £15 Description: The California rock band, whose album With Love And Squalor made waves in 2005, are back with a new album, TV en Francais, due for release this month.

7 March

1-2 March

PEPPA PIG Time: Various Location: Corn Exchange Price: £9-£15.50 Description: The porcine heroine returns for another fun-filled family adventure in Peppa Pig’s Big Splash. Think cute puppets and singalong songs which will brighten up anyone’s day.




ANAIS MITCHELL Time: 8pm Location: Portland Arms Price: £14 Description: Since headlining the Cambridge Folk Festival in 2012, the singer has toured with Bon Iver and Richard Thompson, and returns with a clutch of new Celticinspired songs.

THE ANGEL AND THE DEVIL Time: 7.30pm Location: Trinity College Chapel Price: £5-£20 Description: They say that, when the two great violinists JeanMarie Leclair the Elder and Pietro Antonio Locatelli played on the same bill at a concert in Kassel in 1728, it was like the meeting of an angel and a devil. Experience this concert of contrasts in the atmospheric setting of Trinity College Chapel.

8 March

MICHAEL PORTILLO Time: 7.30pm Location: Haverhill Arts Centre Price: £15 Description: The MP and broadcaster speaks about his life and career in A Game of Two Halves, with a Q&A afterwards.

10-23 March

CAMBRIDGE SCIENCE FESTIVAL Time: Various Location: Cambridge Price: Various Description: Learn something you didn’t know yesterday at a series of fascinating lectures, films, events and more, hosted by some of the top minds in science. They’ll be covering all kinds of subjects, from the sublime to the everyday.


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Dreadzone are in Cambridge on 6 March; see The Angel and the Devil on 7 March; or catch Gob Squad on 1 March.

WILDFLOWERS Time: 8pm Location: Portland Arms Price: £6.50 Description: Soak up the summery vibes of this Bristol- and Brighton-based band, fronted by 21-year-old Siddy Bennett, whose love of White Stripes and Patsy Cline is evident in her gutsy, freewheeling vocals.

14 March

CUSTARD COMEDY Time: 7.45pm (doors) Location: Comberton Sports and Arts Centre Price: £10-£12 Description: Actor, presenter and award-winning comic Quincy headlines this evening of laughs, with support from sunny standup El Purnell and MC Ben van der Velde.

CARA DILLON Time: 8pm Location: Cambridge Junction Price: £20 Description: The award-winning Irish folk singer performs a set in the city this month. Whether she’s singing traditional songs or her own compositions, her beautiful voice has placed her firmly amongst the best of today’s folk talent.





15 March

NEW ART CLUB Time: 7.30pm Location: Cambridge Junction Price: £8-£12 Description: Not for the fainthearted, this life-affirming comedy show dances on the knife edge between educational (it’s part of the Science Festival after all) and a little bit saucy (there’s some brief nudity), to bring us a fun show.


20 March

CIRCUS OF HORRORS Time: 7.30pm Location: Corn Exchange Price: £18-£25 Description: As seen on Britain’s Got Talent, this outrageous ensemble of daredevils, hair hangers and even a pickled person, are back with new shocks and surprises in London After Midnight.


Time: 10.30am-5pm Location: Wimpole Estate and Farm Price: Various Description: Watch spring return to Wimpole and find out about the life of their rare breed sheep. If you’re lucky you might even see some of the new lambs being born. /wimpole-estate

25-29 March

OH! WHAT A LOVELY WAR Time: 7.45pm (& 2.30pm Sat) Location: ADC Theatre Price: £8-£12 Description: To mark the centenary of the start of the First World War, Combined Actors of Cambridge perform this awardwinning musical, full of song, sorrow, comedy and friendship.

29 March

A NIGHT OF DIRTY DANCING Time: 7.30pm Location: Corn Exchange Price: £22.50 Description: Have the time of your life at this sizzling tribute show, featuring all the iconic song and dance numbers from the movie, including She’s Like The Wind, Hungry Eyes and, of course, the showstopping (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.

31 March

BLOOD WEDDING Time: 7.30pm Location: Mumford Theatre Price: £8.50-£12.50 Description: The ghost of a past love threatens the future of a bride-to-be in this dramatic story of loyalty and passion, told through mask work, puppetry and movement. SIGN UP TO THE EDIT NEWSLETTER AT CAMBSEDITION.CO.UK

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THE MOTHER APPEAL Oxfam and Oxfam Books in Cambridge are taking part in a new appeal to help mothers around the world. We all know that mothers everywhere do an incredible job, always putting their children before themselves and being there for us through thick and thin. The Mother Appeal provides support to the world’s poorest mothers, who do all this despite facing unimaginable challenges. Until 31 March, the value of all donations to Oxfam will be matched pound for pound by the UK government, doubling the difference you make. For more information go online or visit your local Oxfam store.

Scallywags day nursery in Westwick has been presented with a plaque by the Green Light Trust to mark their first year as a Forest School. The scheme is a Scandinavian initiative which recognises that playing and exploring in the outdoors is beneficial for children’s growth and development, and the Green Light Trust is responsible for accrediting UK schemes. The outdoors team at Scallywags plan outdoor activities for the children no matter what the weather, and the aim is to teach the little ones to have an understanding and respect for nature, as well as to build self-esteem and social skills.


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For the past few months, Cambridge Sunblinds has been donating £1 for every blind or pair of curtains sold to a different cause, with Remember Ryan – Meningitis Research their chosen charity for March. Earlier this year they presented a cheque for £838 to children’s charity EACH (East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices). “We wanted to support EACH, particularly their Quidenham hospice, as they do an amazing job of caring for lifethreatened children and supporting their families,” explains Fiona Garwood, owner of Norwich and Cambridge Sunblinds. “We really appreciate the company donation of £838 as well as a further £500 which was an individual donation made by Pauline Reddington,” says Gary Cook, EACH Norfolk Fundraiser.


Castle Galleries in Cambridge teamed up with private members club 12a and Robert Graham Speciality Whisky to host an exclusive fundraising event, raising over £1000 for Help for Heroes. During the evening, the gallery exhibited original art by rock legend Ronnie Wood, including pieces taken from his ‘Raw Instinct’ collection. This featured portraits of Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts and Keith Richards, alongside paintings of hand-written song lyrics and colourful landscapes, providing a unique insight into the world of Ronnie Wood and the rest of The Rolling Stones. A signed piece of Ronnie Wood art was auctioned at the event, and overall the auction raised more than £1,500, all of which will be donated to the Help for Heroes charity: a military charity dedicated to helping men and women who have been injured whilst serving in the Armed Forces.

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St Mary’s school in Cambridge raised a whopping £11,337 through their charity fundraising events last term. The school held a fun run, which was an enormous success and enabled them to present cheques for £500 each to Plan UK and Mencap. And they didn’t stop there: pupils also raised money for the Poppy Appeal, Children in Need and Save the Children. Laura Coffin from Plan UK showed students what the money they raised will achieve for the charity, which runs the ‘Because I am a Girl’ campaign, supporting education for girls around the world – particularly relevant to a girls’ school like St Mary’s. Rachel Croshaw from Mencap also congratulated the students on their efforts, and said that the money they raised would go towards helping people with learning disabilities.


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Let's go to..

Take a bracing walk across the Heath, a beautiful, wild expanse of chalk hills and meadowland with views stretching out as far as Cambridge, 12 miles away. An ancient site, it's easy to imagine crusading knights clashing in tournaments here, or noblemen setting out for a day's hunting. It's a lovely spot to visit at sunset, too.

Royston might not immediately spring to mind when reeling off suggestions for a day trip, and admittedly when Jennifer Shelton moved there a year ago all she’d heard was that they had a cave (pretty cool actually) and that all the shops were shut (not quite true). But since setting up home just off the historic high street, she’s fallen in love with its quaint, quirky charms. Here’s what to do and see…

A bit of history

Situated just over the Hertfordshire border, Royston grew up around the crossroads of two ancient thoroughfares, its many inns initially catering for travellers going between London and York along the Roman road. Soon these travellers began trading, and ultimately settling – including King James I, who passed through en route from Scotland to be crowned, and later built a hunting lodge, which is still in situ in Kneesworth Street. It has links to the Knights Templar, who founded nearby Baldock, and was burned to the ground twice over alleged disputes over land.

SHOPPING While the high street shops have suffered since the downturn, several new businesses are now stepping in. Abbot Travel opened at the end of last year (their building is allegedly the most haunted in town), and the family-run Italian deli Avellino’s, selling tasty pesto, salamis and fresh pasta, has added a touch of continental culture. Ladies boutique Kisses stocks some gorgeous unique fashion pieces, including lovely jewellery, while Mia Caro and The Shop on the Corner are treasure troves of pretty things – great if you’re on the hunt for a tasteful gift. And you’re bound to find something quirky in Wonderful Things, down John Street, which offers two floors of kitsch homeware, gifts and paraphernalia for both guys and girls.

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WIMPOLE HALL The majestic National Trust property stands in sweeping grounds just the other side of the A505. A red-brick mansion complete with a working farm, it’s one of the top attractions in the area. You can also visit the Farm Café and Old Rectory Restaurant after exploring. The farm is currently welcoming in its latest arrivals of lambs, and there might even be some piglets running around too… Home Farm is open 10.30am-5pm, and the house 11am-5pm (closed Fridays). Entry is £8.10 adults (nonmembers) and £5.20 for children, for entry to the farm only.

ROYSTON CAVE Hidden beneath the main crossroads is Royston’s star attraction. Reopening for the summer on 19 April, Royston Cave is a hidden casket of myth, religion and folklore, which has had people scratching their heads for centuries. In groups of no more than 18, you’ll be led down a stone tunnel and into this wondrous manmade structure, shaped like a beehive, and covered from floor to ceiling with incredible carvings of warriors, horses, saints and the Holy Family. Rumour has it that the cave was a hideout for the Knights Templar, but it’s also possible that it was used as an early prison. The cave lay forgotten for centuries until it was rediscovered by workmen in 1742. Later, the owner of the house above dug a tunnel from his home into the cave (the one you’ll use to enter), and charged visitors six pence to venture in and marvel at the drawings. It’s thought to be the only one of its kind in the country – and possibly the world.


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PUBS Standing majestically at the top of the high street, within a magnificent Tudor building, The Old Bull Inn is my pub of choice. A hotel as well as a pub and restaurant, it offers 11 en-suite rooms, and serves a delicious ‘modern British’ menu, including a top Sunday carvery. They also hold a well-attended Folk Club and open mic night on the second Friday of the month. The Chequers, The Boar’s Head and the newly refurbished Green Man are also great options for those in search of a roaring fire and good beer (most of them show the football too). Or, take a drive out to the King William between the beautiful villages of Chishill and Heydon. Their food is amongst the best in the area – I can personally vouch for their luxuriant Sunday roasts – and they serve a good selection of ales too. It features some unusual décor within, and a pretty garden if you happen to visit on a fine day. It’s open from 12 noon. The Red Cow in Chrishall is also worth a visit, serving wholesome, smartly presented pub dishes – all seasonal and locally sourced – in a homely setting.

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ROYSTON PICTURE PALACE I love a community cinema, and Royston’s Picture Palace, run by cheery volunteers on a Friday and Saturday night, is always popular. It shows two films a week, projected onto a seven-metre screen in the town hall, with popcorn, proper tiered seating and a quality sound system. It’s cheaper than your average multiscreen, if you don’t mind not seeing a film the instant it comes out (films reach Royston around a month later, but who’s in a rush?), and if you pick up a card at Ad hoc you’ll get a cocktail on the house. On Facebook, the Picture Palace has over 1100 followers – that’s seven per cent of the whole Royston population! www.roystonpicturepalace.

SHEPRETH WILDLIFE PARK This charming wildlife park and conservation charity, which started out with just one poorly jackdaw in 1979, now has monkeys, lemurs, bugs, birds of prey and two Bengal tigers, mostly rehomed from zoos which were closing down. It’s situated right by Shepreth station; admission is £10.95 for adults, £8.95 children and concessions.

RESTAURANTS There’s a surprisingly eclectic array of cuisine available in the town, from Turkish to Chinese and Indian. Try The Thai Rack on Kneesworth Street (opposite the Royston & District Museum & Art Gallery) for authentic Thai food in an atmospheric setting, or Palazzo (almost next door) for a cosy Italian meal and friendly service. Just off the high street, Ad hoc is possibly Royston’s best-kept secret, and wouldn’t look out of place in a smart corner of London. A striking building, once the Old Court House, this wine and cocktail bar specialises in exceptional tapas-style sharing plates, served on trendy vintage china, with the eclectic, retro theme continuing in their Alice in Wonderland style menus. Tea is served in delightfully vivacious teapots, and there’s an array of brownies and cakes to accompany any morning or afternoon visit.

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Whether you’ve a summer of weddings ahead or your own big day is drawing close, we’ve got it covered: from flowers and quirky invitations to style tips


Bride W

ould you trust your groom to organise your wedding? When Cambridge lass Bronte Molyneux signed up for BBC’s Don’t Tell The Bride, she didn’t expect to end up atop a Swiss mountain with her groom, Darren Graver, wearing ski boots. Bronte reveals how it felt to relinquish all control – and why even a 28-hour coach journey couldn’t put her off saying ‘I do’. It has always been a family joke that we should get married on Don’t Tell The Bride. Then one evening something came up online about signing up for the Christmas special. We had forgotten all about it when we got the call. Even at this point I didn’t want to take part. But that weekend, I decided that it was something we couldn’t not do – Darren and I would never be able to afford to spend £12,000 on a wedding. After that it all moved very fast: from signing up to starting filming was just over a month.

at Wimpole, which I wasn’t very keen on. He started asking me how I saw the future, then he was on one knee. It was all very magical. That evening we were going out for dinner, where I was expecting it to be just myself and Darren, and instead was 20 of my closest friends. It was a very special day and one I won’t ever forget. ON SET… The first day felt very odd, and I was very aware of the camera. But soon the crew felt like family. They spent three weeks with us, then on our wedding day the camera crew went from two to ten. It felt crazy having that many people following our every move! It was hard being away from Darren; we had never spent more than three nights apart in four years, and not being able to send a simple text asking how his day was going was difficult. But I knew whatever Darren did he would try his hardest. THE DRESS… I arrived in the store and freaked out when I saw a massive dress – I was certain it was mine. But when I did see mine, I couldn’t believe it: it was perfect. THE BIG DAY… The wedding wasn’t average, but who wants an average wedding? I was truly amazed and it was the best day of my life, even though it doesn’t come across very well on camera. I

HOW WE MET… I am very close with Darren’s sister and we met while I was visiting. He made me a cheese sandwich and that got the conversation started. Our first date was at Wimpole Hall, which is where he proposed. It was a Friday and I had the week off because it was my 21st birthday. I had been ill, and Darren suggested going for a walk


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had no idea what he was planning - the only thing I was expecting was that it was going to be cold. I had only packed two pairs of shoes: trainers and big heels, so I was pretty stuck with whatever Darren had given me. But I was not expecting ski boots. I have never been skiing in my life. I could hardly breathe walking up to the ice church as there isn’t much air at the top. I had the weight from my dress and the boots... it was tiring. I definitely didn’t imagine wearing ski boots in my wedding dress. At least they were white! ON REFLECTION… I think the low point is very clear: the 28-hour coach trip. That was the hardest trip I have ever taken, especially as I hadn’t slept the night before. I broke down in the traffic jam as I was so close but yet so far from seeing Darren. Everyone was worried there wasn’t going to be a wedding. My high point was just before I walked down the aisle I heard mine and Darren’s favourite song and I started crying. I was so close to seeing him and knew I would finally be marrying the love of my life. I loved every moment of my wedding day. I learnt that I swear a lot, and how small Cambridge is, as we’re always getting recognised!


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invited.. YOU ARE


t’s a real thrill when a wedding invitation lands on your mat, especially one that’s completely unique and beautifully designed. Working from the bottom of her garden in Ely, in a purpose-built studio, Alex White runs Dear So & So, specialising in bespoke wedding cards with a fun, contemporary feel. “I got married in 2010 and realised there was a lack of exciting stationery around. I made our own invites and people saw them, and it just spiralled.” Alex and her husband also work in the music business as illustrators, designing album artwork and merchandise. And they’ve had some pretty high profile clients: “We did some designs for the Rolling Stones, which was probably the biggest thing we’ve done,” Alex says. “Even my gran knew who they were!” Before setting to work on a design, Alex finds out all about the wedding and the bride and groom, then comes up with some ideas. She explains: “When people approach me it’s usually because they’ve seen my designs and want something similar. Then I’ll get an idea of what their wedding is going to be like, including any colour themes. “I’ve just finished working on one like a CD case, which opens up and it’s got all the details, with a tracklist on the back of songs that they love!” It’s heartening that, even in this digital age, people still want to send and receive proper cards – and Alex doubts this will change any time soon. “I think there’s been a resurgence in people wanting handmade things. The invitation is a lovely part of a wedding, because it gives people an insight into what the day is going to be like. A lot of my work is hand-illustrated; I want it to be fun, colourful, eye-catching and a bit different, so people get something through their door and go ‘wow!’.”

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RACHEL THOMPSON DESIGN If you love pretty line drawings, look no further than this talented Cambridge-based illustrator. Rachel trained at Central St Martin’s College and creates bespoke wedding stationery with a fun, fanciful feel. We love her simple drawings, with their modern-vintage look – just ask and she’ll be happy to draw you something totally unique.

An Essex Wedding Awards winner, this highly imaginative wedding stationer’s is headed up by Emma, a recent bride herself, who makes sure to think outside the box when it comes to designing. Her portfolio displays a versatile array of gorgeous wedding invitations, place cards and other bespoke designs, inspired by each individual couple, their passions and their personalities.


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Run by Belgian owner Leen, who studied at the New York Botanical Gardens in Manhattan with top florists, this incredible boutique comes highly recommended for its blend of the traditional and modern.




wedding is nothing without flowers, and these days the options for your bouquet and centrepieces are positively endless. Based in Papworth Everard, Nicola Fowler runs Flowers by Mooi (the name comes from the Dutch for ‘beautiful’), and delights in creating gorgeous individual designs to brighten any wedding, whatever the theme and whatever your budget. “I got married in 2009 and absolutely loved my flowers, and afterwards ended up training as a florist for a year!” explains Nicola. “I did a few wedding fairs and now the business is going really well.” No matter whether you have a clear idea already, or just a colour in mind, Nicola can help come up with something spot on. Explaining the starting point for any new commission, Nicola says: “It’s important firstly to get to know the bride and groom, including what they like and don’t like, then you need to understand the theme and style of the wedding, the venue and the colours they will be using. “I do consultations at the couple’s house if I can, as you can get a good sense of who they are just by being in their home. I

AMY JONES, COTTENHAM like the flowers to say something about the couple. At one wedding we had, the couple loved travelling, and it was quite a vintage theme, so we worked vintage bus tickets into the flower design. It just makes it a bit more special for them. “A lot of weddings take place in marquees now, so the flowers can really set the style for a wedding,” she continues. “There’s quite a trend for taller arrangements at the moment.” Once everything’s decided, Nicola collects the flowers two days before the wedding, then applies various tricks of the trade to ensure they’re kept fresh and vibrant. Did you know, for example, that flowers don’t like being in the same room as fruit and veg? “It depends on the flower, but generally they like to be nice and chilled – but not too cold. Then it’s about treating them with flower food and cutting off the lower foliage, and keeping them out of draughts.” What about her own favourite flowers? “I absolutely love hydrangeas, they’re stunning flowers. I love spring flowers, and I love working with unusual flowers too.”


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This independent florist specialises in contemporary designs using a range of gorgeous flower combinations to create unique bouquets and displays. Amy will be exhibiting at the Quy Mill Wedding Fair on 2 March from 11am to 4pm.


With over 20 years of experience, this Newmarket-based florist’s has gained a reputation for producing stunning, creative flower displays, working closely with the couple to ensure they perfectly capture the spirit of them and of their wedding.

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Dates for your diary VINTAGE WEDDING FAIR

Alexa Loy

What looks set to be the most unique wedding fair in the south-east gets underway on 6 April, showcasing wonderfully different products and ideas to help make your wedding fun, fabulous and truly ‘you’. If matching chair bows and stuffy centrepieces aren’t your thing, fear not. From fun photography to quirky stationery; gorgeous, original dresses and alternative hen party ideas, the Vintage & Alternative Wedding Fair has it all covered. Wedding suppliers will fill the Cambridge Union Society, Bridge Street, for an event to remember. They’re also running DIY wedding workshops for those who like to get their craft on, while an array of vintage performers will keep you entertained. You can also enjoy a tour of the venue and see everything it has to offer as a beautiful wedding venue. The fair takes place 11am-4pm and all brides will receive a goody bag. thevintageandalternativeweddingfair.

HONEYS BRIDAL & EVENTS Independent boutique Honeys Bridal & Events are hosting a bridal party at their beautiful shop in Oakington on 4 April, 6-9pm. There’ll be nibbles and bubbly, plus exclusive offers throughout the store. They’re also hosting a Lillian West Designer Weekend, 12-13 April. Call to book your appointment on 01223 233315.

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t’s finally happened: your daughter (or son) has announced they’re getting married. There’s been champagne, tears and much hugging – but now it’s time to get serious. The role of mother of the bride comes with lots of responsibilities, from helping plan the day and being an emotional anchor to looking great in a hat. We spoke to local mother of the bride-to-be, Wendy Nelson, and mother of the bride fashion specialists, Cream of Royston, to pick up a few tips. “If you work alongside each other and make lots of lists you should find you’ll keep on top of things,” says Wendy, whose daughter Lucy gets married in May. “Having a wedding organiser – you can download them online – is probably the most important thing!” she laughs. How involved you’ll be with the planning is up to your offspring, and being prepared to help out and knowing when to take a step back are equally important. One thing you can take into your own hands, however, is what to wear. For her outfit, Wendy wanted something modern and stylish, opting for a dress of aqua blue and grey, with a sash belt and aqua jacket and shoes to match. Being open-minded and starting her search early helped take the pressure off. “The last time I was mother of the bride, I knew what I wanted but couldn’t find it anywhere,” she explains. “I also left it right until the last minute...” No mother of the bride outfit is complete without a stunning headpiece, whether it’s a delicate fascinator, spectacular hat – or something in between. “Hatinators are very fashionable at the moment,” says Sue of Cream of Royston, a dedicated mother of the bride retailer catering for all your outfit needs. “It’s a disk, which sits to the side, and doesn’t mess the hair up. Carole Middleton wore one for the royal wedding.” “What normally happens is that women choose the outfit first, then look for a hat to match,” says Wendy. “But for me the hat caught my eye first, then I looked for

an outfit to match. I got everything in the same shop which made it much easier, as I knew everything matched. You also need to know the bridesmaid’s colours, so you don’t clash – or end up looking too similar.” Cream of Royston (a tribute to Eric Clapton) can provide you with the complete look in one fell swoop, offering a huge array of outfits – helpfully arranged by colour – plus shoes, bags and headwear, all carefully selected by Sue, who has been in the business for nearly 40 years. “It’s a bit like being the bride,” she says. “You want something which will make you feel really special. People aren’t always used to shopping for this kind of outfit though, which is where we can help.” Shopping for your shape is key, and Sue advises trying on a range of styles. “Some people know exactly what they want, then they try it on and they hate it. We also offer free tailoring if something doesn’t quite fit around the top or the bottom.” Don’t forget to take into account the location, time of year, and what the groom’s mother is wearing. Wendy also advises knowing when to stop when it comes to accessories. “Wherever I go now, I think, ‘oh, that’ll look nice!’, but if you’re not careful you can spend a fortune buying bits and pieces!” Above all, the thing to remember is to enjoy yourself!


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If you’ve got a college connection, or simply want an elegant setting for your Cambridge wedding, Downing College could be your dream come true. Set in 20 acres of lawns, right in the heart of the city, it boasts elegant classical-style buildings and offers on-site hotel standard accommodation and catering. The gardens are also ideal for drinks receptions in the summer, with patio doors opening onto a stunning sunken garden, or playing croquet in the Fellows’ Garden against a stunning backdrop of flowers and trees. The college is licensed for civil ceremonies: up to 150 in the Howard Building or for more intimate weddings, up to 50 in the West Lodge. For the reception, there’s a choice of the classical College Hall which can seat up to 150 guests, or for smaller gatherings up to 46 in the West Lodge & Maitland Room. There are also options to extend into the evening with a bar and buffet. Find out about their wedding package online or call 01223 334860.

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Dates for your diary SHEENE MILL WEDDING FAYRE

Experience everything this gorgeous wedding venue has to offer and more at The Sheene Mill Wedding Fayre on 22 March, 10am-4pm. It’s a chance to view a variety of cakes, flowers, gowns and more, and meet the people behind them. There’ll also be photographers to chat to and hair and beauty experts to share advice. With everything in one place, it’s a great way to get an idea of what you want for your big day. The venue is on Station Road, Melbourn – just a four-minute walk from the rail station and a 15-minute drive from Cambridge. Register online and if you book your wedding with them on or after 22 March, you’ll receive a £500 bar tab for you and your guests on the day!


The beautiful Sheene Mill still has some dates available for 2014/15, if you’re looking for a wedding venue in a picturesque, romantic rural setting. Situated by the river in the pretty village of Melbourn, just ten minutes from Cambridge, it’s perfect for both indoor and outdoor weddings, and can cater for intimate parties of 20 up to large celebrations for 180 guests. As for the accommodation, think country charm matched with up-to-date elegance, with exposed beams and 400 years of character.



Taking place at Menzies Hotel Cambridge in Bar Hill is a gorgeous wedding fair, on 23 March from 11am until 3pm, showcasing the best of local wedding suppliers. Bridal experts Mia Sposa will be on hand to help you find the perfect gown, and Lilian Brides & Beauty of Huntingdon will also be displaying their latest collection. The event also includes a fashion show, taking place at 12 noon and again at 2pm, showcasing gorgeous gowns from Shades of White in St Ives. The fair is free to attend.

Get married on the banks of the river at the DoubleTree by Hilton, Cambridge. A popular venue for weddings, they have three rooms to choose from, catering for receptions of up to 150. All rooms have doors leading out to the gardens and the river, and ceremonies can also take place on the lawns under the romantic gazebo.


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hether you want to surprise your partner with a selection of gorgeous images, or just enjoy a day of pampering and feeling glamorous, this is the prize for you. Coco Boudoir is a boutique photo studio specialising in bespoke boudoir, sensual glamour and pin-up inspired photography, offering a spacious, luxurious studio space situated in the village of Manea, near Ely. As our prizewinner, you’ll be treated to Coco Boudoir’s Platinum

package, worth £275. Over a glass of Prosecco, you'll enjoy full professional hair and make-up, before spending an hour in the studio with an unlimited number of photos taken and a choice of four studio sets and four outfit changes. An extensive wardrobe bursting with lingerie, accessories and shoes in a variety of sizes will also be provided. You can even share the experience with a friend (instead having two sets and outfit changes each) at no extra cost. You can choose between a Hollywood, glamour, classic provocative boudoir or


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1950s pin-up style shoot, brought to life by a talented stylist. The package includes a 9x6in lustre print, to which you can then add your own choice of images to buy. To be in with a chance of winning, visit The closing date is 31 March 2014.

For more information

on Coco Boudoir, visit or call 07985 560376.

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Welcome We’ve got a spring in our step this month as we look forward to sponsoring Cambridge Style Week, a fashion extravaganza which aims to put our city firmly on the style map. Plus, we took a stroll down Regent Street to give you a flavour of what’s on offer in this bustling part of the city, discovering great eateries aplenty as well as lots more.

What is the Cambridge BID? The Cambridge Business Improvement District, or BID, is an initiative set up by Cambridge businesses and organisations to ensure continued investment in Cambridge City Centre. Businesses within the Cambridge BID area (shown in the map, right), were given the opportunity to vote for or against the BID during the ballot and on 1 November 2012 a vote in favour of the BID was returned, paving the way for an organisation which will ensure sustained investment in this historic city and the delivery of a wide range of projects and initiatives. Find out more at

Spotlight on… Regent Street The spine of Cambridge city centre, Regent Street runs southeast from St Andrew’s Street, flanked by restaurants, bars, takeaways and more than your fair share of estate agents, before turning into Hills Road on the way to the railway station. Regent Street is also home to Cambridge’s central independent cinema, the Arts Picturehouse, which offers a friendly café and diverse choice of films. It also acts as the hub for the Cambridge Film Festival, a fantastic annual celebration of cinema which is one of the largest events of its kind in the UK. Eateries of note include family-run Italian De Luca Cucina & Bar, local favourite Nanna Mexico, Chinese restaurant Seven Days, Greek dining spot The Olive Tree, quirky café The Table and the sophisticated Oak Bistro, on the corner of Lensfield Road. For big nights out, try The Fountain, which stays open ’til the small hours, or visit The Regal, which is open all day, including for breakfast. During the daytime, scan the windows of the several recruitment agencies if you’re looking for a change of career, or if moving house is next on your life list, pop in and chat with one of the local estate agents like Pocock & Shaw. They’ve been based in the area since 1985 and cover both sales and lettings.

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e-Luminate festival Art met science and innovation when e-Luminate 2014 lit up Cambridge city centre between 12 and 23 February. An ambitious initiative, e-Luminate projected kaleidoscopic colours onto some of Cambridge’s most iconic buildings, including a game of noughts and crosses on the Guildhall and a rainbow display at King’s College. The launch night, on 12 February, saw late-night shoppers

stop to enjoy music by jazz band Better Than TV, while record-breaker Alexis Arts performed mind-boggling illusions. Throughout the following ten days, concerts, talks and tours took place, including an eco treasure hunt across the city, while King’s Parade was illuminated with low-energy LED uplights, which changed and moved as people passed. As well as providing residents with beautiful displays and fun events to enjoy, e-Luminate also aims to increase awareness of low-carbon technology. More information and photos from the event can be found on their website.

An annual celebration of stylish city living, Cambridge Style Week gets underway on 26 March, promising five days of events, catwalk shows, pop-up boutiques and more. Founded in 2012, its aim is to inspire and empower people while supporting fashion-forward local and international talent and local business development. Highlights include the Celebration of Design charity gala (Thursday 27, 7pm); Celebration of Spring (28 March, 2.30pm), sponsored by Cambridge BID and featuring Modish Shoes, Cuckoo Clothing and Boudoir Femme; and the Celebration of Performance (28 March, 7.30pm), with Rosie’s Vintage and B Jewellery. Alongside the catwalk shows, Cambridge Style Week will be mentoring young designers and hopeful innovators. By including skills training and mentoring, organisers hope to increase employability and entrepreneurship amongst the many young and stylish people of

Cambridgeshire. As such, CSW is partnering closely with The Cambridge School of Art at Anglia Ruskin University, and working with students from various sixth form colleges, to offer valuable skills while working as volunteers and interns. Director Nicky Shepard says: “It regularly amazes me how much local people and businesses are willing to give to make sure this event is a success. Many of our volunteers are working or studying full time alongside helping us to make this event even bigger and better.” With over 100 volunteers, 30 business partners and four major sponsors (Cambridge BID, Fratelli Hair, Clamp Optometrists and Robinsons Mercedes-Benz) this year’s event is looking to be better than ever. For tickets to the events, visit

For up-to-date information on plans and projects, follow @CambridgeBID on Twitter


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Taank Optometrists

Taank Optometrists got a well-deserved pat on the back when they were shortlisted for Independent Practice of the Year after 100 years of looking after our eyes


ho would you invite to your perfect dinner party? Or staff birthday party? When Taank Optometrists in Cambridge set about planning their 100th birthday celebrations last year, they invited spectacle-wearing Cambridge alumnus and comedian David Baddiel to come and judge their glasses-themed bake-off on Parker’s Piece – and he said yes. “He attended Cambridge University and he wears very distinctive glasses, and we wanted someone funny, so he seemed the obvious choice,” smiles Anjana Taank, who took over the business in 2003. “He was more than fantastic. He did it because he thought it was so unusual!” The event, which took place in September, was a joint celebration of Anjana’s ten years at the company and 100 years since the business first opened on Mill Road, as an opticians and pharmacy. Members of the public were invited to bake a glasses-themed cake to be judged, with the winner receiving an iPad mini. The comic even tweeted about the event, saying: “In Cambridge today. At an optician’s bake-off: cakes in the shape of spectacles. #mightbeaweirddream #anythingforcake”. “We wanted to do something that would involve the local community,” adds Anjana. “We had a fantastic time and had lots of entries: the winner was a Despicable Me minion cake. We started out by taking quite big slices because all the cakes were so nice, but we soon realised that approach wasn’t really sustainable!” Taank Optometrists, on Mill Road, is an award-winning independent practice providing patients with the very latest expertise and technology in eyecare. They stock a beautiful selection of designer and non-designer frames and have just been shortlisted for a national award, judged by industry experts. “We’ve been shortlisted for Independent Practice of the Year,” Anjana confirms. “It’s very tough to get shortlisted so we’re

delighted to be finalists.” The winner will be announced in April. Anjana, who is studying for an additional qualification and also works at Addenbrooke’s, believes this level of service is part of the reason for Taank Optometrists’ success. “People come to us because we’re a trusted practice; we’ve been here a long time and we offer bespoke products and service. For example we stock some lovely buffalo horn frames which are handcrafted and very unique – and completely ethical. “Most of the brands we offer here are fashion led and individual. We have a mix of styles, including a lot of British brands, from very minimal to bolder designs. We’ve noticed a lot of people are going for more ethical products – wooden frames are very up-and-coming, and other natural products are popular.” As expected, optometry has changed a great deal since the shop opened 100 years ago. “Nowadays we can achieve so much more. We’re much better placed to provide eye care advice, we know more about the effects of UV on your eyes for example, and how your diet can play a part in keeping your eyes healthy.”


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Some traditional advice remains the same, however: it turns out our mothers were right when they told us carrots were good for our eyes. Says Anjana: “Pigmented food is really what we like our patients to eat, it’s healthy for your eyes.” Anjana recommends customers get their eyes tested every two years at least, to ensure everything is ticking over nicely. “It’s a really good idea, every couple of years, just to get your eyes checked; even if you don’t wear glasses. And children should be checked once a year. There are so many ocular conditions that people can develop, and they all have slightly different symptoms. But I always say that if something doesn’t feel right, it’s best to get it checked out as soon as possible.” Speaking about her loyal staff and customers, she concludes: “We work very hard. We have a fantastic team here and our patients have been supporting us for many years. We owe a lot to their loyalty. It’s their continued support which has helped us to win these awards so we’re very grateful to them.” 92A Mill Road, Cambridge, CB1 2BD, 01223 350071,

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Fitzbillies CHELSEA BUNS

Jennifer Shelton goes behind the scenes at the iconic Cambridge café to learn more about their legendary Chelsea buns – and see if she can recreate the glorious gooeyness for herself etween a plump lump of dough, what looks like a heavy-duty pasting brush and a cauldron of currants, there’s me. Wearing a fetching plastic apron, I’ve just watched Gill Abbs create a batch of the famous Fitzbillies Chelsea buns in about three minutes flat. Now it’s my turn. Incredibly, Gill has been baking these syrupy swirls of perfection since 1972, made to a closely-guarded family recipe. It’s this respect for tradition that people love about Fitzbillies, which is why I’m a tad nervous as I start rolling out the dough, Gill looking on wisely. I’ve been invited behind the scenes at Fitzbillies on the back of a new book, A Slice of Britain, out this month. Written by Caroline Taggart, it’s a jaunt around the country by cake, unravelling the secrets and stories behind local bakes, like the Bath bun and the Yorkshire curd tart – and of course our own, albeit adopted, signature bake, the Chelsea bun.

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“Chelsea bun is a name given to any bun with that curled-up, snail-like shape,” says Alison Wright, who runs Fitzbillies with husband Tim Hayward. “They’re often quite dry, without the sticky syrup over the top, so people are astonished by the lusciousness of our Chelsea buns: they’re quite a different beast.” First dreamt up as a sugary treat for the Georgian nobility, the Chelsea bun was adopted by bakeries everywhere, especially in university towns full of hungry students. “A lot of people discover them as undergraduates, when they’re still able to eat enormous quantities of cake and get away with it!” laughs Alison. “Or after rowing, when they need lots of energy. It’s not just about ‘gown’, though; the town has an important role as well. When my mum took us into town shopping on a Saturday we would always come to Fitzbillies for a bun. We still get a lot of people doing that today.” It’s thanks to Alison’s fond associations that Fitzbillies still stands today. In 2011, the

bakery unexpectedly closed after nearly 90 years. Even Stephen Fry took to Twitter to vent his surprise, exclaiming: “No! No! Say it ain’t so – not Fitzbillies? Why I tweeted a pic of one of their peerless Chelsea buns but a sixmonth ago”. So it was that Alison picked up the news, and half a year later she and Tim were behind the counter, restoring the bakery to its former glory. Today, it’s a bright, bustling place which still honours its past, with many original recipes remaining firmly intact. “We loved the brand and the heritage,” explains Alison, “still, we had to identify the things we wanted to continue and the things that weren’t helping the business and had to change. People are used to better food now, and what passed as a good cake in the 1950s during rationing won’t do today. And people want different things, like carrot cake, brownies… So we’ve developed the range, as well as keeping some things exactly the same. “The Chelsea buns were absolutely to be kept,” she adds. “Any business is lucky


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C ar o line Taggart

TALKS TARTS AND TEA Q: What inspired you to write the book? A: Sitting in my local café and realising that almost everything on offer – croissants, pain aux raisins, Sicilian lemon cheesecake, American-style muffins – was foreign. Surely the Brits invented the concept of afternoon tea, so we must have had our own special cakes?

Did you know?

Gill makes 1,680 Chelsea buns a week – that’s 87,360 a year and over 3 million since she joined Fitzbillies in 1972! to have a famous product that people keep coming back for.” Fitzbillies also do wedding cakes, birthday cakes and catering for college balls. “We made Stephen Hawking’s birthday cake this year – it was a dark chocolate cake with gold stars on it in a sort of galaxy design.” Meanwhile, my own batch of buns has been browning in the oven and is ready to come out. Incredibly, they look ok. Gill even asks which ones were mine and which were hers – maybe she’s just being polite. (In case you’re wondering how these spirally buns get their distinctive square shape, it’s by arranging them on the baking tray in twos, so they squish together as they bake and rise.) Most importantly, they taste wonderful: warm, sweet, with a satisfying outer crunch, it’s obvious why these buns have amassed such a following. Here’s to the next 90 years of Fitzbillies buns.

Q: What were the best cakes you tasted on tour? A: My favourite ‘discovery’ was the Yorkshire curd tart, which is made with the curds that are a by-product of cheesemaking. It has a slightly gritty texture that seems odd as first but soon becomes absolutely delicious. Q: Are you glad that regions still have their own unique bakes? A: I love it – I was amazed at just how many unique things there are and how local some of them are. Yorkshire curd tarts, for example, aren’t nearly as popular around Leeds and Sheffield as they are in York. Yet Leeds to York is less than 30 miles. The other interesting thing is the number of cakes being revived. I discovered Tottenham cake through my own researches, then a few months later it turned up on The Great British Bake Off, so it may be in for a revival too. Q: How did you like Fitzbillies? A: I like the way they’ve created something that appeals to modern tastes but still

maintains the tradition. There’s an old menu on the wall from the 1930s showing that they sold Chelsea buns back then – and they were probably exactly the same as they are now. And I love the concept of hungry students and professors stocking up on Fitzbillies buns if anyone was coming for tea. Q: What do you hope people will enjoy about the book? A: I hope my enthusiasm comes across – the joy of meeting interesting people and eating lots of delicious things! There are lots of recipes for people to try, but it’s also very much a reading book. Q: Did you get sick of cake? A: Not exactly, but it was good to get back to a more normal schedule. You can’t pretend it’s healthy to have two afternoon teas in a day! A Slice of Britain by Caroline Taggart, £14.99, is out 3 March.

51-52 Trumpington St, Cambridge CB2 1RG 01223 352500,


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t’s with enormous excitement that we bring you news of the Mill Road Feast, a brand-new regular food market that will show off the finest of the local foodie scene. Launching on 2 March, the event will take place every three months at the Gwydir Street car park – the same location as the alwayspacked food market at the annual Mill Road Winter Fair. Inspired by the street feasts of London, the event will take on a different theme each time, and will feature a range of great local food and drink producers. You’ll be able to snap up everything from meats and cheeses to cakes, sauces and confectionery, plus


plenty more tasty morsels from all over the world. As well as a bit of shopping, seating will be provided (and umbrellas, just in case), so you can enjoy an al fresco lunch and soak up the atmosphere, all accompanied by live music. At the debut event will be the famed ice creams of local fav Jack’s Gelato, great coffees and handmade cakes from Caffe Mobile, chocolatey indulgences from Gourmet Brownie and traditional Spanish delicacies from Azahar Spanish Foods. You can also expect sweet treats from Mama Bombon, a slice or two of tasty Loire Valley Cheese and some super-local, top-quality beef from CamCattle, plus lots more. Hot eats will be provided by the fantastic Fired Up Pizza, Cadwin Curries


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and the three amigos from local pop-up foodie sensations Urban Streetkings who will be delighting taste buds with their innovative British-Vietnamese fusion dishes. “The Food Fair idea has been suggested by local residents of Mill Road and supported by the business community,” says event organiser Ceri Ann Littlechild. “It aims to build on the success of the one held at Mill Road Winter Fair, and I very much hope that it will encourage people to come and visit this excellent part of the city.” The event will take place 10am-3pm, and the next dates for your diary are 1 June, 7 September and of course, the Winter Fair in December.

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DELICIOUS DINING All a bit secret squirrel this one, but we’ve heard rumours of another exciting supper club in Cambridge – this time with a rather unique, historic twist. The team of foodies behind Delicious Dining host sumptuous foodie extravaganzas with a medieval flavour – paying homage to what was an era of great innovation and adventurousness in European cuisine. With the crusaders from the Holy Lands returning with exciting new herbs, spices and sugars that nobody knew quite what to do with, flavour experimentation was rife. Fruit was often used in meat dishes, along with spices like nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon – nowadays more commonly associated with sweet dishes. Following the success of their Yule Feast, Delicious Dining will present a Persian feast on 29 March, when you’ll get the chance to wrap your palate around some very interesting fusion food, medieval style… Twitter @DelishDining




SHEENE MILL The Sheene Mill, located in Melbourn near Royston, is a great spot for a little R&R, with its beautiful gardens, picturesque old millpond and lovely in-house spa. It’s also quickly establishing itself as something of a foodie destination, with the talented team serving up imaginative dishes using lots of seasonal local produce in the gorgeous ‘shabby chic’ styled restaurant. They’ve recently added Afternoon Tea to their offerings, which you can enjoy in the garden conservatory, overlooking the lake. You’ll be treated to an uber-indulgent selection of dainty sandwiches, homemade scones and heavenly mini desserts – and lots of tea of course. Afternoon Tea must be ordered in advance and costs £16 per person, or if you fancy really pushing the boat out, you can add champagne to the mix for an extra £9.50.


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YOUNG’S FISH & CHIP SHOP POP-UP Young’s Seafood has teamed up with Burleigh Street’s award-winning chippy Petrou Brothers to launch the UK’s first pop-up ‘Young’s Fish & Chip Shop’. The venture will join together Young’s delicious, responsibly sourced fish and Petrus Brothers frying expertise to create a tasty menu that includes a wide variety of fish, as well as all the old favourites – plus some interesting new dishes to try like popcorn scampi. They will also host ‘School of Fish’ educational demonstrations about fish for local children in the spring, so be sure to pay a visit and find out more.

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NEW NO. 77


The talented twosome behind Bourn’s wildly popular gastropub the Willow Tree are poised and ready to open the doors of their second venture, No. 77, at the start of this month. Located just down the road in Caxton, this new pub-restaurant looks set to follow the quirkily stylish footsteps of its sister venue, with lots of gorgeous design flourishes and eclectic upcycled furniture (think vintage velvet cinema seats, hanging glass decanters and lots of deep blues and copper hues). Food-wise, and here’s the twist, they’re going to offer an authentic Thai menu, featuring classic dishes like red and green curries and pad thai, as well as a Thai tapas menu for the bar area and a takeaway service, all created by No.77’s Thai chefs, who hail from the island of Koh Samui. And to drink? As well as a nice selection of local ales, there will also be a range of cocktails, including some rather fabulous sounding Asian-inspired concoctions like a lemongrass Martini and even a basil mojito. Stay tuned to Cambridge Edition for more on No.77 in the coming months.

PANCAKE DAY AT GIRAFFE Celebrate this year’s Pancake Day by heading along to the family-friendly Giraffe restaurant on Christ’s Lane, where they’re getting into the spirit by offering 50 per cent off their delicious stacked blueberry and banana pancakes. Head down on Shrove Tuesday (4 March) for a breakfast bite (before 11am), or between 3 and 5pm for a post-school supper, to take advantage of the special offer. And you and the little ones can feast in the knowledge that you’re doing some good, with 50p from all pancake dishes sold being donated to the fantastic charity Rays of Sunshine, which grants wishes for hundreds of children each year.

SPANISH FOOD & WINE EVENING Vinopolis on Devonshire Road will be the setting for an indulgent evening of Spanish food and wine this month when local company ¡Qué Rico! tapas stop by for a special pop-up on 14 March (7.30pm). Regular readers might recall that back in January we featured two tempting tapas recipes from ¡Qué Rico!, but if you don’t fancy the DIY approach, this is the perfect opportunity to sample some of their authentic and delicious creations, matched with some great Spanish wines. On offer will be five different kinds of tapas, including the croquetas pictured, and fish and meat dishes. These will be accompanied by four wines, hailing from various Spanish regions: one cava, one white and two reds. The evening costs £25 per person.

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Hobson Street’s gorgeous little café Stickybeaks is hosting a tempting duo of special events this month with talented cook and food writer Ursula Ferrigno. First up, on 20 March, Ursula will be taking Easter as her inspiration, whipping up recipes including colomba di pasqua (Italian Easter cake) and Easter speciality pasta. Head down on 27 March meanwhile, and you can enjoy a tutored oil and vinegar tasting which will feature a selection of top-quality extra virgin oils accompanied by home-made breads. Both events start at 7pm and cost £35 per person including recipes and tasters. Book directly with Ursula by calling 07971 564418 or email Find them on Facebook for more information.

Ozzy Beck


URBAN STREETKINGS POP-UP We’ve been keeping a keen eye on the movements of the so-called ‘Urban Streetkings’ for some time. Comprising three local chefs par excellence, this lot have been springing up all over the place recently with a variety of tasty events – ranging from supper clubs to pub-based pop-ups – that showcase their innovative street food and unique fusion of modern British and Vietnamese cuisine. Behind the venture are Richard Stokes, chef patron of renowned The Three Horseshoes at Madingley for the past 21 years and Greg Proud, his head chef. They’re joined by Jay Scrimshaw, who previously owned the Pheasant at Keyston (winner of Best British Restaurant 2010 on Gordon Ramsay’s F Word), as well as working at some of London’s top restaurants. This month you can sample their gastronomic delights at Gog Magogs Hills, as they’ll be stopping by on 15 March with a special Southern soul food inspired event. Kicking off at 7pm, guests will be treated to a night of New Orleans style food and music with a menu that includes slow-cooked barbecued meats, ribs, spider crab and oysters, as well as a live band playing soul and jazz. To drink, there’ll be a dedicated Camden Town brewery beer bar, as well as bourbon-infused cocktails to accompany the feast. “We’re really excited to be working with the Urban Streetkings,” says Charles Bradford of Gog Magog. “Their food and style complements our desire at Gog Magog Hills to be far more than a traditional farm shop. Following on from last year’s successes, we’re planning several more events that will add to the growing Cambridge street food scene.” The event costs £35 per head.

MOTHER'S RUIN AT THE VARSITY If gin is the tipple of choice for your mum, then we reckon we’ve found the perfect way to celebrate Mother’s Day with her this year. The Varsity Hotel is giving the quintessentially British spirit a starring role in its Mother’s Day supper (30 March, £49), when you’ll be treated to three glorious courses served alongside a trio of complementary cocktails dreamed up by Cambridge Distillery’s head distiller Will Lowe. Head chef Angus Martin has come up with a gin-inspired menu like no other, starting off with gin-cured gravlax followed by local rib-eye with crushed juniper berries, served with a genius side of gin and tonic onions and mustard mash. At the tail end of the menu, you can look forward to a gin dark chocolate pot and cranberry biscotti. The evening will be hosted by both Will and Angus, who will talk you through the thinking behind their brilliantly boozy creations.


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f you’ve not yet paid a visit to the newly reopened Carpenters Arms on Victoria Road, make it top of your hit list. The pub was given a full makeover at the end of last year, opening in January with brighter, more contemporary interiors, freshly refurbished accommodation above and a brand new menu serving modern British pub fare, including pizzas baked in-house in their authentic pizza oven. Mike Champion, formerly of the Red Lion in Hinxton and the Black Bull, Balsham, is the man behind the pub’s transformation. Living locally, when the Carpenters Arms came up for sale, it was too good an opportunity to miss. “I’d been looking for somewhere to run as my own venture, and the Carpenters Arms is my local, so as soon as it came up for sale that was it,” says Mike. He describes the new-look Carpenters Arms as “a bar and restaurant with guest rooms – like the Red Lion and Black Bull but in the centre of town.” Mike’s aim has been to create a family-friendly pub with a focus on good food and real ales – of which there will be four rotated on a regular basis. “We’re using mainly local breweries, so we’ve got some Milton Brewery beers on at the moment, and there’ll be Woodfordes, Buntingford and Adnams too,” Mike explains. “It’s all about keeping it local.” The Carpenters has been bustling since its makeover, and as the weather warms, customers will be able to take advantage of the new patio garden. Meanwhile, the new menu offers a high standard of quality pub food, with several unique offerings to keep you coming back time and again. Starters include pan-seared scallops with crisp pork belly and pea puree, and smoked mackerel with beetroot relish and a horseradish salad; with hand-seared Scottish salmon, green pea risotto and creamed leeks, or venison burger with red onion marmalade and triple-cooked chips for a tasty main. The chips sound particularly tempting, and Mike explains: “They’re steamed, then blanched in the fryer and cooked to order so they’re really crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. They’re gorgeous, we sell so many side orders of them. We’ve also got the wood-burning pizza oven up and working – we’re the only place in the centre of Cambridge with one. The pizzas are prepared to order, and the Italian flour really makes such a difference, then they’re cooked on the stone. “We’ve raised the standard of the food and the service, and I think it’s really making a difference.” Mike’s passion for pubs has led him to set up The Light Blue Pub Company, with a view to taking on other pubs in the city in the not-so distant future. “They’re all going to be local Cambridge pubs for local people, town and gown alike.” 01223 367050


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ZARA INDIAN CUISINE Since opening its doors back in 2007, Zara Indian Cuisine in Shelford has become one of Cambridgeshire’s favourite curry houses, known for its top-quality dishes, both the traditional and more adventurous (you can get everything from classic kormas to specials like Goan lamb shank and duck massala – they also have a rather intriguing selection of Persian and Nepalese delicacies on the menu). We’re not the only ones that think they’re great either, last year the restaurant was recognised in both the English Curry Awards (in which they were finalists), and more recently, commonly known as the ‘Oscars of the curry world’, the British Curry Awards. If you fancy seeing what all the fuss is about, why not head over for the Sunday buffet, which runs from 12 noon to 3pm weekly? At an excellent value £9.95 per person (or £5.95 for kids under 12), the buffet includes an extensive range of popular dishes, so you can go wild and have a bit of everything – perfect for a bit of lazy Sunday afternoon indulgence.


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CAMBRIDGE ON A PLATE www.alicethomson

This month, Alex Rushmer rises to the challenge of creating a signature dish for Cambridge

he plate is empty, there is no dish. Where Bury has its black pudding and York its ham, Cambridge has no morsel to call its own. Despite a fearsome reputation for academic brilliance, the awesome beauty of the architecture and the rapidly growing commercial success of the city, Cambridge’s lack of a signature dish has been a source of confusion and

consternation to me for some time. And it appears I am not alone. As a result, last month BBC Radio 4 commissioned me to rectify this gross oversight and construct a dish with a heritage and a history from the outset, one that had links both actual and tenuous to the city and might have a chance of becoming a legacy in itself: a challenge indeed. But not an impossibility.


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The national staple of fish ’n’ chips is barely a century and a half old and the ancient Japanese cuisine of sushi was invented at around the same time. The hamburger dates back to 1904 and the mighty tikka masala took just 40 years from invention to become the national dish of Great Britain. The lesson is that traditions can be established very quickly indeed. All I had to do was create one. Ingredients and themes formed the bulk of my thought process – the first part simpler than the second given that I spend most of my waking hours (and some of my sleeping ones too) thinking about food. The challenge came when asked to encompass notions of the city itself, and what it means to those who inhabit it, into the dish. The river, bridges, corn, conservatism, eccentricity, acceptance, liberality, multiculturalism, pride, tradition, forward-thinking, town and gown (or town versus gown) – these ideas and concepts had to inspire the dish as much as the ingredients themselves which is where the real challenge lay. Many of these ideas seemed to have duality at their core and it seemed logical to create a dish of two parts that could complement each other. Working with the idea of tradition I hit upon the notion of using a platform that most people would already be familiar and comfortable with and settled on putting together a soup and a sandwich – two items with near infinite variability but comforting enough to be immediately accessible. From there it was a short step to deciding what to put in each of them to give the dish a real sense of place and resonance with Cambridge. Here I was led by ingredients and a desire to create something that should take time. I wanted it to be unhurried, a dish that reached its end point only when it was truly ready to represent the leisurely and relaxed pace the city seems to move at. From within ten miles of the city I managed to source beef brisket, celery, smoked eel, root vegetables, watercress and bread flour, all of which came together in what I am proud to present as Celery, Watercress & Smoked Eel Soup & The Cambridge Club Sandwich (suggestions for more succinct names are welcome). I officially have a legacy.

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RECIPES THE CAMBRIDGE CLUB This sandwich is based on the Reuben, a New York deli classic combining salt beef, sauerkraut, Russian salad dressing and Swiss cheese. I’ve made a few tweaks to personalise it: the mayonnaise-based sauce is flavoured with horseradish and saffron and the sauerkraut replaced with a fresh carrot and beetroot slaw. The meat in this triple-layered sandwich is salt beef, with a huge number of spices added to the brine – because Cambridge is so wonderfully diverse. The central piece of bread is toasted and represents a bridge or a barrier between town and gown. Interpret this how you wish depending on where your loyalties lie!

• 1 beef brisket (around 5kg) • 8l of water • 400g salt • 200g soft dark brown sugar • 4 bay leaves • A head of garlic, split in half • 2tsp saltpetre (optional) • Spices – choose some, all or none of the following (about a teaspoon of each): cardamom, black cardamom, cinnamon, Szechuan peppercorns, black peppercorns, caraway seeds, fennel seeds, allspice berries, juniper berries, star anise, cloves.

Using a carving fork, prick a great many holes in the brisket. Add the salt, sugar, spices, garlic, bay leaves and saltpetre (if using) to half the water and bring the whole lot to the boil. Leave to cool completely then refrigerate until cold before using the brine to completely cover the beef. Leave in the fridge for 6-7 days. Rinse well, place in a deep stock pot or oven tray then cover with the remaining four litres of cold water and cook at 100°C for around eight hours or until the beef is tender. Leave to cool in the cooking liquid then refrigerate until needed.

• 3 slices of good sourdough bread, the centre piece toasted • Salt beef • 1 golden beetroot, peeled and grated • 1 carrot, peeled and grated • Half a red onion, peeled and thinly sliced • 2tbsp caster sugar • 2tbsp white wine vinegar • Freshly grated horseradish • Mayonnaise • Tomato ketchup • A pinch of saffron • 5-6 cornichons, thinly sliced • Thinly sliced Cheddar style cheese • Colman’s English mustard

SMOKED EEL SOUP Cambridgeshire celery has recently been granted Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) from the European Union: a truly local and delicious ingredient. The watercress is my nod to the presence of the river that runs through the city and eels have been caught in the Fens for over 3000 years. The pickled celery adds a pleasing acidity. It is a soup that Cambridge should be proud of.

INGREDIENTS • 1 bunch of celery, roughly chopped, reserve 1 stick for pickling • 1 white onion, peeled and diced • 50g butter • 2l vegetable stock, fresh or from a stock cube • Sea salt • 2 bunches watercress, washed and roughly chopped • 150ml white wine vinegar • 50g caster sugar • 50ml water • 100g smoked eel




Mix together the mayonnaise, tomato ketchup, horseradish, saffron and cornichons in a ratio which pleases you. Keep tasting it until you are happy with the combination. It should have plenty of grunt from the horseradish. To make the slaw mix together the beetroot, carrot and onion and dress with the vinegar and sugar. Now assemble the sandwich. Smother one piece of bread with the mustard and another with the mayonnaise dressing. On top of the mustard place as much salt beef as you feel you can get away with and top with a little cheese. On the other, layer the root vegetable slaw and cover with the toast. Place that on top of the beef slice and enjoy.

Begin by pickling the celery. Combine the vinegar, sugar, water and salt. Finely dice a single stick of celery. Add this to the pickling liquid and leave for at least an hour. Melt the butter over a gentle heat in a saucepan large enough to accommodate the rest of the ingredients. Add the chopped celery and onion, season with a couple of pinches of salt and soften for 15 minutes. Stir regularly and do not allow the vegetables to colour or caramelise. Add the vegetable stock, bring to a gentle boil and simmer for ten minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through. Add the watercress, cook briefly for another two minutes then blend until smooth and then pass through a fine-meshed sieve to refine the texture. Pour into bowls, garnish with the smoked eel and pickled celery and eat immediately, thinking of Cambridge.

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Ramsey s Brasserie, Slepe Hall Head out for a sumptuous three-course Sunday dinner at Slepe Hall Hotel’s little beauty, hidden within grand Georgian walls


hough the dining scene in Cambridge is excellent, with plenty of new cafés, pubs and restaurants having opened up in the last 12 months, sometimes it’s fun to venture somewhere completely new for a culinary change of scene. Set in the pretty town of St Ives, Slepe Hall – formerly a girls’ school, and named after the town’s original alias – is an elegant Georgian-fronted hotel, bar and restaurant offering beautifully prepared, locally sourced dishes along the modern British lines. It proved a delightful destination for a relaxed Sunday lunch, with ample opportunity to explore the surrounding area afterwards. On arrival, we were shown to a sunny window seat in Ramsey’s Brasserie, where family groups, couples and a ruby wedding party had gathered to make the most of this stylish yet affordable eaterie. The Sunday lunch menu (£18.50 for three courses) offered a wide selection, each listing looking as tempting as the last. I decided on a tactical soup starter (celeriac and truffle today), to ensure I

wasn’t too full to appreciate my main, while my dining partner chose the pork and pistachio terrine. It was served with an unusual but delicious prune chutney and a flourish of salad leaves, while my soup yielded a light, creamy taste with just a hint of truffle, so as not to overpower the dish. There was a pleasing Sunday lunch theme to the mains selection, and I was easily sold on the roast pork with crackling curls and apple sauce. This arrived on a bed of steaming roast vegetables, including fluffy, crispy potatoes and slender broccoli florets, drizzled in a cider-based gravy. Across from me, my partner happily tucked into his plate of hake – a slightly daintier option against my enormous roast, but still enough to leave us both full, yet deliberating over dessert. We decided in the end to share the ‘chocolate nemesis’, asking if we could substitute the crème fraiche for a scoop of one of their intriguing homemade ice creams: damson, gooseberry or elderflower. Damson proved an


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excellent choice, bursting with fruitiness which offset the subtle chocolate and combined brilliantly with the sharp, boozy cherries on top. We settled back with a coffee (served with two dinky ribbon-wrapped chocolates) to soak up the atmosphere, contemplating a walk in the gardens before heading into town. For its high standard of food, reasonable prices and flawless service, Slepe Hall is certainly worth a day trip, while locals who haven’t yet ventured in would be wise to check out this gem on their doorstep. The establishment received a full makeover last year, with manager Stuart lightening up the reception and dining areas, adding a cosy library, perfect for small gettogethers, and modernising the bar. It also has 16 luxury rooms and is proving a sought-after wedding venue. Whatever brings you here, you definitely won’t be disappointed. Slepe Hall Hotel, Ramsey Road, St Ives PE27 5BH, 01480 463122,

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GET DIGITAL SAVVY Don’t know your SEO from your elbow? Help is at hand. In the first of a two-part special on marketing your business, we take a look at ways to effectively boost your online presence, speaking to local experts for helpful tips on navigating the digital minefield


ur area, as is well documented, is crammed with business innovators. But whatever their area, from bioscience to bouquets, tepee hire to tree surgeons, one thing is for sure. These days, an online presence is a must. “We’re going through the biggest reinvention of mass media since the invention of printing,” says Jon Shallcross, director of Stanton Shallcross, which is based in the St John’s Innovation Centre. “The statistics are beyond comprehension: for example, more words have been published online in the last five years than were produced in the whole of human history prior to that point,” Jon explains.

In the past few years, our shopping habits, too, have undergone a massive and irrevocable change. In December last year, almost one in five non-food items was purchased online, an increase of almost 20 per cent compared with 2012, according to figures from the British Retail Consortium. Gone, too, are the days when retailers could rely on online purchasing decisions being made, at leisure, from home. When we’re on the move these days, we’re increasingly likely to fill gaps in the day by going online. As browsing time has increased, so have expectations. We expect websites to take us where we want to go, instantly. And if they don’t, there are simply no second chances.


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“Almost 50 per cent of mobile web users are unlikely to revisit a site where they had trouble accessing the content,” says Jennifer Coker from fullservice digital agency, Studio 24. It may sound daunting but it doesn’t have to be. As our area’s digital experts point out, creating an effective online presence has the same goals as any other form of marketing. Get it right and you’ll end up with satisfied customers who will return time and time again. It starts with creating an effective website, which these days is likely to be at the centre of every other activity. “Most commonly, the website is the hub of activity; it’s where you’re

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trying to push your traffic to,” says Lorna Brocklesby, marketing executive at Cambridge Marketing College. A research company seeking investors may opt for a website that exudes confidence from every pixel. A business with more quirky products may shout ‘fun’ from every page. Whether you spend hundreds, or hundreds of thousands of pounds, what matters is that, as your online shop window, your site is true to your company’s objectives. “At the end of the day, everybody’s selling something,” says Jennifer Coker. One common mistake is to get carried away by all the technological gizmos available. While it’s tempting to set every pixel to work, filling the screen with fun-filled animations, you may end up either baffling or infuriating your customers. Instead, concentrate on a clean, brilliant but unfussy design that gets

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“Almost 50% of mobile web users are unlikely to revisit a site where they had trouble accessing the content” Jennifer Coker from full-service digital agency, Studio 24

customers to their destination in as few clicks as possible (the more it takes, the more you’ll lose along the way). Test your site by modelling customers’ behaviour, so whether they want to register, download information or get in touch, they can do it in as few steps as possible. Similarly, don’t use up the budget on a one-format wonder that will only work with one browser. “Test across multiple platforms, because nothing makes you look worse than a broken email,” says Jon Shallcross. It’s also worth bearing in mind that a website is, if not quite a living, breathing thing, close to it. Content needs to be regularly updated, dead-end links pruned to ensure that customers don’t end up in virtual cul-de-sacs. Google, like brown bears, only takes an interest in its prey when it’s wriggling. Websites that play dead will drop off the radar. “One of the biggest mistakes people make is to invest all the money in a greatlooking website but without a plan of how they’re going to get traffic through,” says Zak Jacobs, director of UK digital marketing agency Red Alien. His firm is an expert on on- and off-site search engine optimisation, a process that embraces everything from creating inbound links from high-authority sites to steer visitors in your direction to ensuring that every page is carefully constructed to include the keywords that boost search engine appeal. It targets not just human visitors but the robots who dictate


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how effectively your site shows up in Internet searches. “It’s about having that plan and a strategy in place to work out what channels you’re going to use to get people on to that website and also engaged with it,” he says. But however gorgeous your online presence, your efforts will be as nought unless you can convert customer interest into action. A basic marketing principle is that it’s a lot more cost-effective to hang on to the customers you’ve got than recruit a new batch, so finding ways of staying in touch should also be a priority. As every crowded inbox demonstrates, marketing emails are one of the most common techniques out there. The difficulty can be making them stand out from the crowd. There are definite no-go areas. “You should be very honest and open about your database and if somebody unsubscribes, you must adhere to that,” stresses Jon Shallcross.

“One of the biggest mistakes people make is to invest all the money in a great-looking website but without a plan of how they’re going to get traffic through” Zak Jacobs, director of UK digital marketing agency Red Alien

With Internet surfing now more popular than watching television, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics, online activity will inevitably assume an ever-growing importance for just about every business. Current developments include ever more


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sophisticated website design that automatically adapts to the customer’s mobile, whatever the format. In such a fast-paced area, it’s just as well there’s plenty of help available for those poised to enter the fray. In addition to its comprehensive range of threemodule A to Z courses on digital marketing, Cambridge Marketing Colleges also runs free, confidenceboosting, one-day taster sessions, relating digital techniques back to the basic principles of marketing. Attracting everyone from the more mature to first jobbers, all getting to grips with digital savoir faire as part of their role, courses enable them to link new technology back to the core marketing principles that people use every day. Fortunately, with our area oozing online expertise, it’s not essential to be versed in the nuts and bolts details yourself – though for those keen to learn, Decoded, in East

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London, runs day courses introducing programming and designed to appeal equally to online DIY-ers and company CEOs who may feel they are being left behind by technological advances. And as we advance along the shiny new technology highway, technophobes will be delighted to hear that there’s still room for quaint, old-fashioned techniques. So flooded

are inboxes with emails, for example, that Jon Shallcross is starting to recommend writing to customers the old-fashioned way by sending them letters. The bottom line? “Have fun and learn to love the Web,” he urges, pointing out that a strong online presence can allow smaller enterprises a chance to outmanoeuvre the competition. “You can be much more responsive and agile than organisations

with cumbersome IT departments or ponderous bureaucracies,” he says. It’s a point heartily reinforced by Jennifer Coker. “We’ve got clients whose budget is hundreds of thousands of pounds and others obviously with a smaller budget and we always say there’s no limitation. What’s key is making sure your priorities and what you’re trying to achieve are always at the forefront.”

• DO get to know your customers, who they are and their online habits. Ensure that your website is fully accessible across multiple platforms and keep abreast of changing user behaviour. “We’re seeing a lot of people browsing in the middle of the night because they can’t sleep, or because they’re standing at a bus stop and are bored,” says Jennifer Coker at Studio 24. • DO push the boundaries when it comes to website design but ensure that it is userfriendly and takes customers to their desired end point as quickly and painlessly as possible. “Have a plan of where you are trying to push your traffic to,” says Lorna Brocklesby at Cambridge Marketing College. • DON’T prioritise design at the expense of content. “There’s no excuse for poor grammar or punctuation,” says Zak Jacobs at Red Alien. • DO treat customers with respect. Spamming techniques are a no-no. “Be honest and open about your database and if somebody unsubscribes, you must adhere to that,” says Jon Shallcross. • DO keep your site interesting, updated and relevant to the concerns of your customers, but don’t spoil it with second-rate content like poor-quality images. A professional feel is key. • DO bear in mind that many corporate users won’t be able to access images and prepare accordingly. “With every email we send out we ensure that there’s a text only version that goes alongside the pretty HTML one,” says Jon Shallcross.

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GET SET FOR STYLE WEEK! Cambridge is a city that exudes style, with its natty students, up-andcoming creatives and plethora of great independent boutiques – some of which, like the Cambridge Satchel Company and Cambridge Raincoat Company, are now reaching a global market. From 26 to 30 March, Cambridge Style Week (CSW) will be celebrating all things fashion with a series of catwalk shows, talks and workshops, held at the University Arms Hotel. Organiser Nicky Shepard aims to bring the city together and showcase local shops, businesses and individuals, as well as nurturing the talent of budding young designers through mentoring programmes and work experience to inspire the industry

leaders of tomorrow. She believes that personal style affects the way we think, feel and act, and how others react to us: making fashion key to confidence. Now in its third year, CSW’s events will be all about inspiring confidence, celebrating innovation and spreading the word about what our city has to offer. Meanwhile, the fashion-conscious public will be given an insight into the hottest new trends for spring/summer 2014, and might even find out about some new places to shop in Cambridge – which can only be a good thing! For details of all shows and events, including how to book tickets, visit:


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Yes, we know it’s old hat to start harping on about florals the second there’s a sniff of spring in the air but hear us out, because there’s nothing clichéd about this season’s crop of bloom-inspired offerings. The SS14 catwalks took a distinctly nontwee approach to florals, showing us everything from painterly petals to realist depictions (including striking dissected blooms on the Christopher Kane catwalk), as well as vibrant, abstract styles from Mary Katrantzou. DECORINE SKIRT £125 COAST


COLLARLESS COATS With the weather, inevitably, all over the place at this time of year, you’ll need a stylish bit of outerwear to keep the chill away whilst avoiding looking too wintry. Say hello to the collarless coat, your new best friend for SS14. The beauty of this key new-season shape is its versatility, from this neon-trimmed, minimalist number from Miss Selfridge to Mango’s military take on the trend, right the way through to River Island’s ladylike patterned offering.



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BLING YOUR SPRING Glittering goddesses aplenty were sashaying down the SS14 catwalks, with extravagant embellishments in evidence everywhere from Burberry Prorsum to Mui and Marc Jacobs. This one is likely to catch on big time on the high street (who doesn’t love a bit of bling?), and it’ll be perfect for any smart events you’ve got in the diary over the spring months. Go for extravagant detailing on crisp whites, like this beautiful Julien Macdonald dress from Debenhams, or mimic Mui and add a bit of colour with this cute bejewelled Arrogant Cat number from ASOS.







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Eye-catching prints were everywhere on the menswear catwalks, and nothing trumpets the arrival of spring like adding a bold, colourful pattern to your outfit. Designers showcased moody florals, graphic prints and, in the case of Givenchy, vibrant futuristic motifs. Say goodbye to your dull winter wardrobe staples and replicate the look at a snip of the price with this quirky River Island knit or Primark’s kooky pineapple sweater.








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This month our beauty aficionados share their secrets for a timelessly elegant look There are some things in life you can definitely rely on: an LBD, throwing a little dry shampoo in your hair and grabbing the straighteners, and a classic make-up look that you can turn to in a crisis. This month we’re taking a cue from Hollywood to become as smouldering as a silver-screen siren of old and discover modern classics that are a must-have for every beauty bag.

Powder soft

Whether it’s 1954 or 2014, a perfectly powdered face is a shortcut to perfection. Once you’ve achieved the coverage you like with your preferred foundation (try Collection Lasting Perfection Foundation, £5.99, Boots), fix your look with a soft powder. This month we discovered Cornsilk Compressed Powder, an absolutely classic cosmetic that controls shine for a longer-lasting, fresh complexion – and it also balances skin tone without clogging pores or building colour. In an oddly pleasing twist it also smells like our grandmothers’ dressing tables – and as the only other beauty product which invokes such memories is Chanel No.5, we don’t think that’s a bad thing (£8.16, Boots).

Pucker up

The red lip is a classic that can quickly transform your face. Many can be put off trying such a bold look, but as long as you pick the right shade, any skin tone can get away with a fab retro pout. If you’re blessed with a peach-pale pink tone, make sure your chosen lipstick includes a slight orange tone to it. For yellow undertones, opt for warm, bright shades to complement your skin. Beige or sun-kissed complexions should plump for a deep plummy colour, and if you’re lucky enough for a bronzed tone, you can pretty much get away with all red shades: try a coral for a bold springtime look. For dark skin tones, orange-reds look beautifully warm. MAC is generally accepted to be the mother of the red lipstick and their make-up artists are expertly placed to advise: we’re big fans of Ruby Woo and Perpetual Flame (£15/£17.50, John Lewis). And for a punchy pink, we love the matte effect Legendary Lipstick from SMASHBOX in Electric Pink (£15.50, Boots). Too much of a jump? Try colouring in your lips with a red lip liner like Rimmel 1000 Kisses (£2.99, Boots), then covering with a sheer balm such as Vaseline’s limited edition ‘Paint The Town’ red-tinted pot (£3.65, Superdrug). This subtler approach still provides a healthgiving glow.

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Flick and frame Complement your statement lipstick by using a quality eyeliner to achieve a 1960’s style cat-eye, first made famous by starlets such as Brigitte Bardot. We used Sleek’s liquid eyeliner Dip-It Eyeliner (£4.49, Superdrug) with its easy-to-use soft brush and thick deep finish that lasted all day and night. For those with a steady hand, try MAC’s Fluidline gel eyeliner pot in Blacktrack (£15, John Lewis.) To channel your inner starlet, swipe some pressed powder over your eyelids to create a smooth base, steady your hand and work the brush from the corner of your eye to the outer lashes, adding a ‘flick’ upwards and outwards. If you’re a little unsure about getting this right, try Eye Rock’s designer liner decals that easily adhere to your skin (£5.99, Boots).

Eyebrow raising

We wrote about eyebrow trends late last year, and a bold brow seems set to stick around for at least another season. Perfectly groomed and defined arches can add depth to your make-up look and frame your face, emphasising your eyes. We tried the Benecos eyebrow pencil, which was perfect for blonde or brown eyebrows to add colour and definition using the in-built brush at the other end (£4.95, Eyebrow legends Shavata do a double-ended pencil for a day and night look with lovely even coverage (£8.50, To achieve the ‘perfect brow’ the start should line up with the side of your nose, with the highest arch in line with the outer side or your iris when looking straight into a mirror. For a Marilyn Monroe-esque arch, exaggerate the line in a rounded 90° angle for a soft peak, adding a little more height to your brow. When filling in the rest of the brow, follow your natural hairline, building more colour until you’re happy. A brush helps to smudge and keep it subtle with no hard lines.


There’s just nothing like a splash of blusher for true springtime glow, even if the rest of your face is bare. Find the apples of your cheeks by smiling widely, then gently dab some cream or liquid blusher directly to the roundest part and blend – we love Rimmel’s Wake Me Up Instant Radiance cream (£4.99, Boots) in Radiant Rose for a dewy effect. If you’ve already perfected your powder, try a shade of candyfloss pink and a large, soft blusher brush for gentle, girly warmth. Add a subtle stripe in a slightly darker shade just beneath the pinker tones, and dust on a shimmering highlighter above to add definition to your face.

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RAISING THE BARRE This month we’ve been finding out about barre, the new fitness trend-come-dance class currently sweeping the globe, which looks set to be the new big thing for 2014. It draws on elements of ballet, pilates, yoga and resistance training to create a highly effective regime performed on the mat and at a ballet barre. Daily classes are now available in Cambridge for the first time, after a sell-out trial period, at Camyoga. “You’ll discover muscles you never even knew you had!” says Camyoga founder Louise Palmer Masterton, who explains how barre can prove a fantastic complement to a regular yoga practice. “The low-impact, total body workout increases strength, toning the thighs, abdominals and sculpting the arms, whilst protecting the joints,” says Louise. “The repetitive nature of the contractions provides a meditative quality to the practice. “The result is a body that is realigned, rebalanced and works harmoniously and efficiently, hence the strong appeal this class will have for everyone, including non-yoga practitioners.” Heading the barre programme at Camyoga is leading dancer and choreographer Amy Holly (pictured), who has choreographed campaigns for international brands including Stella McCartney and Adidas. Camyoga is also offering beginner courses in small groups for those who’d like to develop more confidence before joining a class.

Cambridge hair and beauty salon Nutters, situated on Victoria Road and Mill Road, celebrates 42 years in the business this year. Since starting out in 1972, the salon has prided itself on offering excellent service and outstanding results. All its stylists are fully qualified and L’Oréal trained, and offer the best in cuts, styling and colouring, for men, women and children. Nutters Hair & Beauty can be found at 177A Victoria Road and 10 Mill Road.

GREEN TEA DETOX For an ultimate detox experience, treat your bod to a 75-minute massage at Imagine Spa, Quy Mill, which will leave your skin glowing. You’ll start off with an exfoliating massage, using green tea and lemon natural body salts blended with invigorating oils, to remove dry skin cells and stimulate blood flow. Then, slip into a fluffy robe and transfer to the Wellness Dry Floatation Room where you’ll be enveloped in the spa’s detoxifying green tea body pack, ready to float away any aches, pains and stresses! The treatment ends with a pressure point scalp massage followed by a warm shower and body butter – then a cup of herbal tea in the lounge. The treatment costs £75.



Lxir Spa Caruso on Regent Street are offering the latest eyebrow treatment to hit the market – advocated by our very own Kate, Duchess of Cambridge. Billion Dollar Brows recently launched in the UK and uses the latest technology to help restore eyebrows that have been over plucked, introducing the unique Brow Buddy tool to create healthy-looking brows which frame the face perfectly. As the shape of our brows is unique to each of us, BDB is all about enhancing the customer’s natural shaping, rather than using a ‘one size fits all’ approach. And don’t let the name put you off – it’s more affordable than it sounds!

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BRING THE INSIDE OUT Window painted in Stone Blue and stools in Churlish Green, Parma Gray and Calluna – all from Farrow & Ball. From £51 for 2.5L (01223 367771;

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Now is the perfect time to get our gardens into shape for the summer ahead. This month, Angelina Villa-Clarke offers her top tips on creating the ultimate al fresco sanctuary


hether you have a rambling cottage garden or a sleek urban space, when it comes to the style factor, many of us have come to view our gardens as just as important as the rooms in our homes. Implement a few clever design features and, weather permitting, our gardens can be utilised as a second living space when the sun comes out. Here’s how to make the most of yours.


TOP AND MIDDLE These gardens are made interesting with pathways and plants used in different heights. Topiary box spheres and alliums keep the scheme modern (01354 740401; www. BOTTOM Hot House outdoor dining accessories, are an affordable way of making your garden more ‘liveable’. From £2 (0800 636 262; www.

If you are fed up with looking at grass that has seen better days, tired plants and uninspiring borders, then it may be time to call in the professionals. If budget allows, professional landscapers and garden designers are experts in reinventing even the smallest spaces to suit the needs of you and your family. Even if gardening is not your forte, they will come up with genius solutions to make your garden a joy rather than a chore. Alex Graham-Cameron, owner of Cambridge-based Demeter Garden Design (01354 740401; www.demeterdesign. gives his advice: “The design stage is crucial. I would urge anybody thinking of redesigning their garden to really think how they intend to use it and what they want out of it. Make a list of things you would like included and things you need and don’t be afraid to change things that you’ve ‘lived with’ for years. Think of the design in two main parts. The first includes all practical aspects of the garden, such as paths, lawns, sitting areas and other features you may


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wish to consider. The second part is to think about the planting and how this can be added to enhance and add interest to the garden.” Talking through these needs with a designer is a crucial first step. Think about how you and your family use the garden. Young children, for instance, may need a play area, while an older family will have different requirements. If you entertain a lot, you may want to focus on an expansive patio or canopied dining area. You may want to grow your own fruit and vegetables, so it would therefore be important to carve out a practical vegetable patch and suitable areas for trees. After all, everyone has a different take on what their ideal garden looks like. Ian Farbon, owner of garden designers Landscape Evolution, based in Cambridge (01223 258924; www.landscapeevolution., provides some tips on how to create that idyllic garden. “A good place to start is to create a mood board of images that inspire you. Source from magazines, books, postcards and take photos of any garden features that you like when out and about. Include styles of garden that appeal – such as formal, modern or traditional – as well as different plants, types of paving and furniture etc. You’ll soon see what works well together and what doesn’t. Getting it right at this early stage will save time and money before any ground is broken. “The way in which a garden is designed is always constrained by budget,” Ian continues. “We all know how much it costs

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LEFT Invest in timeless pieces that will stand the test of time, such as this Dean Street set, £150 (0845 608 4448, BELOW LEFT Extex fabrics, such as Haze, here in Strawberry, (£48.75 per metre), are practical but fabulously chic (01634 718871; BOTTOM These Runa chairs, £95, are available in many colours. Perfect for contemporary dining (0208 099 7443;

to build an extension or garage but we are less knowledgeable when it comes to gardens. The more ‘hard’ landscaping you have (such as brickwork, paving and built structures), the higher the budget will need to be. Good landscapers will ensure the project runs smoothly and professionally. It is worth noting that a good designer may well save you more in build and material costs than the fee for the design so don't be frightened to commission one to help you create your dream!”


Bringing the ‘inside out’ is one of the latest trends in garden design. Starting with the fashion for Miami-style weather-treated rattan furniture a few years ago (previously only seen in conservatories and glitzy hotels), we’ve now got a real penchant for furniture and accessories that wouldn’t look out of place if it were place in our living or dining rooms.

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Jon Holloway, founder of Garden Trading (0845 6084 448; www., agrees: “The trend for buying high-quality furniture for the garden that will truly stand the test of time will continue way into summer 2014. Timeless, neutral hues will create a relaxed and coastal look that will last the whole summer through.” Take the innovative outdoor fabrics from British manufacturer Extex (01634 718871; for instance. They were originally created for use on super yachts, due to their water-repellent and stain-resistant qualities, but are now being used on chic furniture and cushions in some of the UK’s most stylish gardens and are instant ways of bringing a lifestyle look to a garden. The huge choice of

fabrics (in over 100 colours) includes sophisticated neutrals as well as vibrant, three-dimensional patterns and a new pioneering glow-in-the-dark material. Approach your garden like you would if you were decorating an interior room. Style spaces with accessories, cushions and lighting – you may be outdoors but it doesn’t mean you can’t be cosy or ontrend. The high street is full of affordable items that can add a pop of colour to your greenery. For affordable options, check out the new garden range from Sainsbury’s, which includes brightly coloured lanterns and floor cushions, and the hot pink and turquoise metal chairs from Out There Interiors (0208 099 7443; Mix these in with investment buys, such as the

The high street is full of affordable items that can add a pop of colour to your greenery SIGN UP TO THE EDIT NEWSLETTER AT CAMBSEDITION.CO.UK

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COSY CORNER Cambridge-based Jo Alexander stocks a huge choice of garden furniture, such as this teak sofa and armchair combination, to allow you to enjoy your garden. From £375 (01954 267857; www.

contemporary Wallflower outdoor lighting from FLOS (0203 328 5140; and modern firepits from Morsø (www. – this will add instant impact and give a twist to an average garden. For an actual living space in the outdoors, a summer house or garden room is a must. Forget the styles of old as these days outbuildings are getting more and more elaborate. Permanent orientalstyle wooden gazebos are great for dining outdoors, while pretty, pastel, Hamptonsinspired summer houses are just the thing for whiling away the summer days. But for the ultimate wow factor, you simply can’t beat a Farmer’s Cottage garden pod, available at John Lewis (01223 361292; The futuristic spheres have UV-tinted windows, waterproof interiors and dimmable lighting. They can be adapted for sleeping, dining or as a place for some downtime and many can also rotate and have sliding doors. Jo Alexander (01954 267857; www. based in the Cambridge village of Knapwell, is a one-stop shop for covetable garden furniture and accessories. Owner Jo Alexander comments: “With a little imagination, your outdoor space can become an extension to your home – for relaxing and entertaining with family and friends. Choose furniture, cushions and garden accessories that reflect the way you live and make your garden as inviting as the rest of your home. Choose a wicker or teak

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RIGHT Add a designer touch with these wallflower outdoor lights designed by Marcel Wanders. £166 (0203 328 5140;

LEFT Have a futuristic ‘second home’ installed with a Farmer’s Cottage garden pod; from £7,599 (01223 361292;

With a little imagination, your outdoor space can become an extension to your home sofa with comfy cushions, for example, and add a coffee table for the all-important drinks and nibbles, and you’ll create a living room in the sun. Just sit back and unwind in the comfort of your own garden.”

PLANTING It can be tempting to purchase lots of attractive-looking plants and flowers to liven up a tired space, but, advises Alex Graham-Cameron of Demeter Garden Design, unless you’re a very keen gardener, with lots of time on your hands, it’s best to keep planting schemes simple. “Use large groups of the same species to maximise impact and make maintenance easy,” he says. “Choosing

the right plants for the right conditions is also crucial. Look at what plants grow well in your area and your soil type. Keep trees away from buildings and drains as insurers are becoming increasingly more vigilant about such things. Ultimately a well-designed garden will give you endless pleasure, be a space to relax and enjoy all year round and, without doubt, will add value to your property.” Divide your garden up into ‘rooms’ and separate areas with a combination of walls, trellises and hedges. This creates different areas of focus and reduces the amount of open space, therefore lessening the need for lots of planting. Once you have different areas carved out, you can create different


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KEEP IT HOT Morsø Forno Grill, £895, (01788 554 410;

instance, are very popular at the moment and are available in lightweight materials in a wide range of colours, finishes and sizes which can give a dramatic look. We’re seeing an increased demand for specimen topiary, grasses and bleached trees, such as hornbeams. Old favourites like alliums seem to be as popular as ever with their massive ‘globe’ heads. In addition to the more common purple varieties, we use white flowering varieties such as Allium Mount Everest, which are great additions.”


ABOVE The contemporary Algarve Louvre Canopy, from Garden House Design Landscapers, extends your home into the outdoors. From £5993 (01903 774774;

EXPERT TIPS Call in the professionals who will advise you on how to create that dream garden. (01354 740 401;

moods in each by choosing different types of plants. Consider having a scented patch with lavender, roses and jasmine or perhaps stick to one colour palette for each area – romantic mauves, all whites or vivid brights grouped together give more of an impact. The type of plants you choose also depends on what style of garden you want to create. Cottage gardens, for instance, feature traditional perennials such as roses, lavender and lupins while contemporary schemes are more minimalist with long grasses, bamboo and box. Alternatively use lots of pots in different sizes for smaller gardens or Mediterranean schemes. “It’s always interesting to consider the latest trends when updating a garden,” says Alex Graham-Cameron of Demeter Garden Design. “Large planters, for


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Patios, decking and verandas are natural extensions to your home. Clear the clutter that can naturally gather near the house and make the most of these areas by adding in ‘homely’ touches, such as firepits, grills or even fireplaces. Popular in the USA, outdoor kitchens are also gathering momentum in the UK and, by adding dining or lounge furniture and pretty lighting, you can quickly create a stylish entertaining area. Garden House Design (01903 774 774; is an award-winning garden design specialist based in Cambridge and an expert in creating gardens of all shapes and sizes – from urban courtyards to rural spaces. Working closely with clients to create something perfectly suited to their lifestyle, the company’s aim is to maximise the time we are able to really ‘live’ outdoors in our gardens. The company supplies the cutting-edge Algarve and Camargue terrace covers, which have gladed roof systems that can be closed off with Fixscreens, glass sliding walls and panels. “Our company mantra is ‘live outdoors’ and we want people to see their garden as

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BESPOKE & HANDMADE FURNITURE SHOWROOM OPENING HOURS: 7am to 5.30pm Mon - Fri 9.30am - 4.30pm Sat Unit 24, Northfield Business Park, Soham, Ely, Cambs. CB7 5UE (Behind Scampers)

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LAWN CARE TIPS Earnest Doe & Sons advise on keeping your lawn in top condition all year round • JANUARY/FEBRUARY: If the weather is mild, occasionally cut the grass, maintaining about 25mm of growth. Keep off the grass if frozen or waterlogged. • MARCH: Rake the grass thoroughly. Spike the lawn all over and apply lawn sand if necessary. Keep mover blades high and just ‘top’ the grass. • APRIL: re-seed bare patches, apply fertilisers and mosskiller towards the end of the month. Mow regularly, lowering the blades gradually. • MAY: Treat with selective weedkillers or combined weed/feed preparations if you haven’t fed the lawn in April. • JUNE: Mow lawns twice a week if possible, working to a definite pattern. Water grass if necessary, remembering to soak thoroughly. • JULY: Treat the grass with second application of fertiliser. Water in as necessary. Don’t cut the grass too closely. • AUGUST: Keep on moving regularly and watering as necessary. Fill in any cracks caused by drought with a mixture of sharp sand and soil. • SEPTEMBER: Raise mower blades to allow the grass to thicken and protect roots from winter frost and snow. Apply autumn-winter fertiliser, weedkiller and mosskiller. • OCTOBER: Rake out thatch from turf and spike lawn to assist drainage. Brush in soil and sharp sand. Continue cutting as necessary. • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER: Use a stiff broom to remove wormcasts. Don’t mow if very wet as this will compact the soil and encourage waterlogging. •

an extension of their indoors living space and to use it in the way they would use any other area of their home,” says Debs Winrow, marketing manager at Garden House Design. “Whatever your budget or the size of your garden area, there are lots of clever design ideas that you can use to transform your outdoor space into a room that is just as elegant and beautiful as any of the rooms in your home. You can kit out your garden with firepits, baths, sofas and even outdoor kitchens.

TOP Recall endless days of summer with the Memory Lane collection inspired by the 1950s, from £2 (0800 636 262; LEFT It’s easy to spruce up your garden on a budget. Hang Tesco’s pretty pastel lanterns, £10, for a boho vibe (0800 323 4050;

“But don’t expect to leave all your accessories out all year round,” she advises. “Simply allocate a little storage space indoors, in the garage or shed, and store pretty candle holders, soft plump garden furniture cushions, and maybe velvet throws to simply take and dress your garden at a moment’s notice. Get good with creating lovely ‘picnic’ type suppers and your garden will soon be a favourite place to hang out for your friends and family. We not only offer a full design and construction service, but also offer a Garden Styling Service to add the finishing touches to your precious outdoor space.”

GREEN GREEN GRASS Take care of your lawn and you are halfway to having an impressive garden. After all, there’s nothing as pleasing as looking out on to a lush, healthy expanse of green. Keep your lawn looking neat by mowing regularly and trimming edges. Feed regularly to keep it looking green and pull up stubborn weeds. Little and often is the general rule of thumb for keeping your lawn in tip-top condition. Ian Farbon at Landscape Evolution


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also advises to take care when planning: “If you want to update your garden, the most important job is the initial stages. Draw up your existing garden, marking the boundaries and the main features and in particular those you would like to keep or must remain. Whilst a designer will create an accurate plan at an appropriate scale, a sketch of your garden (a bird’s-eye view) would be a starting point on a pad of A4 or A3. This is the bit I love most, sketching lines, shapes and ideas over the page (without thinking of what those shapes might represent) and how the shapes relate to the house. “As you refine your sketches the new garden will start to take shape on the page and you will find areas that will become the lawn, paving and paths,” explains Ian. To add focal interest, introduce different textures and shapes. Cut your grass in curves around gravel areas and stone paths, for instance. Create witty vignettes to bring your lawn to life with grouping of statues, classical water features or small areas featuring upcycled furniture. Scour flea markets for interesting objects, such as an old bike that can be painted in a bold, primary colour and then used to store plants in its basket. Arbours, loveseats and old wheelbarrows can be used as romantic touches to transform even the most boring of spaces. All it takes is a little imagination to create your glamorous outdoor home.

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Friend's School

Choosing a nursery for your preschooler can be difficult, but Cambridge’s nurseries are jam-packed with fun ideas to get your child’s learning off to a flying start

nyone still assuming that building castles in the sandpit or a spot of Play-Doh modelling is about as exciting as life gets at nurseries in our area is in for one enormous shock. While traditional fun and games are still very much on the menu, they’ve been augmented with activities so varied and enticing that it’s enough to make any adult want to go straight back to early childhood – and stay there. Take Scallywags, voted a happy place to be in its most recent inspection – and no wonder, with a programme that includes not just early literacy and numeracy skills to prepare three and four year olds for life in ‘big school’, but cooking, gardening, music – and even Spanish as well. Life here “is all about the varied curriculum and the high quality of nursery care,” says owner Alison Bradley. High up on the list comes gentle encouragement for even the tiniest of tots to explore the world around them,

Everywhere you look, preschool children around Cambridge are getting useful direct experience helped by the burgeoning Forest School movement which promotes a child-led outdoor approach to education. “There is a huge emphasis on outdoor activities, so the children do everything from learning how the changing seasons affect the trees, enjoying messy fun in the ‘mud kitchen’ or feeding our sheep, goats, chickens and ducks,” explains Alison. Real live animals are a big feature of daily life at Silks Farm Nursery School, too. Not content with hens and quails, manager Sandra Coulson is thinking of the big picture and currently planning for the arrival of two cows, courtesy of a farmowning parent. Carefully designed fencing will allow children to marvel at the cows from a safe distance as “their tongues are very rough,” she explains. Each month, a small group of children will enjoy some hands-on animal


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husbandry, learning how to feed and care for them themselves. Everywhere you look, preschool children in and around Cambridge are – with careful supervision – getting useful direct experience of the world around them. Nursery pupils at the Friends’ School are encouraged to use tools such as saws, hammers, cutting tools and nails. “We hope that our Forest School excites and inspires the children and allows them to begin to take risks with their learning,” says Ruth Darvill, Head of Friends’ Junior School. “Hopefully the experimentation and working together then translates back into the classroom to better enable the children to get the very most from their learning journey.” And that’s what really matters. Whether it’s feeding cows, carving wood or making mud pies, good nursery schools can be

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rsery Scallywags Day Nu

inspirational, giving children a zest for learning that can last the rest of their lives. It’s all about adding confidence and balancing challenge with lots of nurturing says Sarah Waddington, head of the Perse Pelican Nursery and Pre-Prep. While children have access to the superb facilities and specialist teaching that come with being part of a top school, there’s just as much emphasis on gentle care, when what’s needed is “someone to find a lost teddy or clean a grazed knee.” Ultimately the crucial thing to ensure is that your child’s first taste of formal education sets the tone for the years to come. “You want him or her to leave nursery with a love of learning and the confidence to give things a try,” says Sarah. “The key is to help and encourage children to play and learn at a pace that is right for each of them,” confirms Alison Bradley. “Watching them discover that too much paint makes the paper soggy, or how much water turns soil into mud is wonderful – and this playing is the best way to learn.” Predictably, much careful planning goes into ensuring that children make the most of their environment, indoors and out. “Many activities transfer seamlessly from the classroom to the gardens, whilst others are much better planned for outdoors, such as washing cars,” explains Sarah Waddington. “Believe it or not, that can be a fun way to learn about science.” It takes expertise to know when to offer some extra guidance. Children playing in the home corner with pots and pans will still be learning if left to their own devices. An adult, however, can add an extra dimension, perhaps modelling similar play activity next to them, explains Sandra Coulson. “It’s about having the right

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Scallywags Day Nursery


It’s all about adding confidence and balancing challenge with lots of nurturing environment with the children initiating and the adult following through.” And while there is no doubt that our area’s nurseries work wonders with their young charges, the message you will hear over and over again is the crucial importance of a strong partnership with their parents. At Silks Farm, progress charts record children’s development and help plan the next step, from more ‘tummy time’ for babies who are starting to pull themselves up to additional support for older children who need help with language or speech development. It just wouldn’t be the same without the ‘amazing’ relationships with families, says Sandra Coulson. A vital factor in this is the open door policy which makes it easy for parents to share any concerns they may have. Scallywags, which operates a similar system, has a ‘learning journey’ for each child. Sharing their development and progress, it provides a valuable insight into how their child spends each day and what they love to do. With the government currently trialling funded nursery places for two year olds

from lower-income households, increasing numbers of parents could soon have more choice on where to get the best-value provision for their children. “This will level the playing field across the country,” says Alison Bradley. With a review of staff qualifications also underway, the change will be one that all good nurseries will welcome, she believes. In our area, where nurseries are deservedly popular, the message is to plan ahead – not forgetting that all-important transition from nursery to reception. “Every year we have disappointed parents who don’t realise that we only have a small number of extra places at reception, so miss out. So it’s well worth parents finding out exactly when the main entry point is for the schools they are considering,” explains Sarah Waddington. “Nursery is an exciting time in a child’s life when every day is a new adventure, so it is vital that they are nurtured, supported and encouraged to make the most of their talents and abilities,” says Ruth Darvill. Get it right, and your child’s first brush with learning could spark a thirst that will last throughout their whole life.


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