Celebrate:MK April 2017

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April 2017. Issue 5. FREE


Because Milton Keynes is worth celebrating

CELEBRATE: lifestyle magazine The world is not enough for Holly Holly Brewer explains how Eurovision and X Factor fame have led her to gigs across the globe

The q ua maga lity zin for M e K

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About Celebrate:mk Celebrate:MK is a positive, vibrant, free monthly multimedia lifestyle magazine with a modern approach 10,000 high-quality glossy copies of the magazine are delivered to homes and businesses in MK You can pick up a copy from Waitrose at Oakgrove and David Lloyd Club, among other places You can read our current and past digital editions online any time at celebratemk.co.uk Our mobile-friendly digital edition is emailed to a list of subscribers and pushed out on social media Our mission is to celebrate the successes of local people and businesses in Milton Keynes

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Welcome from the editor


pril is one of my favourite months of the year, so it is with great pleasure that I welcome you to this latest edition of Celebrate:MK lifestyle magazine. The spring sunshine and warmer weather is nice, but it is my birthday and Easter eggs that I love most about April. I’m a bit of a chocoholic so the return of Cadbury Mini Eggs and Creme Eggs fills me with glee. But I need to keep my cravings under control this month as I’m trying to lose weight for my wedding this summer. With this in mind, our new healthy eating Riverford Recipes food column (page 7) is perfectly timed. I need to swap the chocolate eggs for organic veg this Easter! Another highlight of this month’s magazine is Vicki McCarthy’s review of a gig by legendary West Country rockers The Wurzels (page 24). Initially I was horrified to read that 78-year-old Tommy stripped down to his

I need to swap the chocolate eggs for organic veg this Easter! pants on stage, but it seems his antics were well-received by the MK crowd! You can also read my review of Spice Village Indian restaurant on page 20, and my interview with our April covergirl Holly Brewer on page 22. Remember you can always grab a glossy copy of Celebrate:MK from Waitrose at Oakgrove – we refill our popular pick-up point at the entrance to the store nearly every day.

Jon Boyle

The smallprint: Celebrate:MK cannot take responsibility for the content of advertisements or quotes/claims in articles. All photos and artwork are accepted on the condition that permission has been granted for its use in Celebrate:MK. Reproduction of any content included in Celebrate:MK, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited unless permission has been granted by the editor. © Celebrate:MK

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April 2017

Dads to enter Wacky Rally in MK-themed car for The Henry Allen Trust

On the moo-ve for charity


our local dads are pimping their ride Milton Keynes-style for a European road trip, complete with cows, roundabouts and even The Point, writes Mimi Launder. Organisers Wacky Rally allow only £300 to buy and personalise a car – and whilst there are droves of Bat Mobiles and tributes to Star Wars, there is only one drive inspired by our beloved city of roundabouts. “Milton Keynes has a bad name, but we want to celebrate it,” said account director Kev Sparks. “We’ve all been here for over 20 years. We’ve brought kids up here.” Kev and his friends – Gary Billingham, Gary Mears and Rob Herkes – plan cow print, cow horns, cow bells, roundabout signs on the wheels and even a mini The Point attached to the roof. Kev said: “We want to celebrate MK, but we want to have fun with it too.” But they are not forgetting the practicalities when it comes to driving in fancy dress. Settling on onesies with udders, latex cow masks and super soakers, Kev said: “We’re

COW’S THAT? Kev Sparks’ team and, below, the vision for their car driving a long way, after all! “The team name we’re probably going to go with is ‘We Can’t Believe We’re Not a City’.” Their “very old” Mercedes will take them from Lille to the Italian beach resort Rimini this summer, through the dramatic scenery and tight turns of the Alps and the Dolomites. “It’s going to be an undulating, quite hairy experience,” added Kev. Kev is urging any companies who are interested in getting involved to contact them. “We’re not after sponsorship or money – just if there is anything you can do to endorse the Milton Keynes aspect. We’ve already got the concrete cow brewery

on board. They did a limited 50th anniversary lager and promised a beer on our return.” Their chosen charity for Wacky Rally is The Henry Allen Trust. Kev and his friends are no strangers to fundraising – they raised £3,500 for Muscular Dystrophy UK by walking the Three Peaks Challenge with Kev’s brother-in-law who was diagnosed with the condition. “We are a group of guys who are all settled down with families and stuff. So now and then we will try to do something exciting. “But this year we thought let’s do something even better than that. Let’s take it outside the UK. “Our families and friends think we’re a bit mad and say, ‘you want to take time away from work and family to drive across Europe in a banger of a car?’ Our answer is ‘yes’.” To make a donation towards The Henry Allen Trust and support the dads, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/ MoovinanRockinToRimini


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Local charity improving lives of adults with disabilities since 1992

Happy 25th MK Snap


ilton Keynes has already marked its 50th birthday this year, and now one of its leading charities is toasting its 25th year of supporting adults with disabilities in the city. MK Snap (Special Needs Advancement Project), based in Walnut Tree, provides life changing opportunities for its learners. Delivering a leading programme of education, life skills, and work training to adults with learning difficulties, it provides learners with the skills they need to be the best they can be. Maureen McColl, Chief Executive of MK Snap, said: “At MK Snap our philosophy is simple, we provide skills and opportunities for adults with learning disabilities to engage with the communities they live in and to reach their full potential. “As we enter our 25th year we look back fondly on our journey from an industrial unit in Kiln Farm to our purpose built facility here in Walnut Tree, which has been our home since 2008. In 1992 we began with just 15 learners after parents struggled to find alternative provision. Today 125 learners use our service each week, taking part in 25 different and varied subjects. “There really is something for everyone at MK Snap.” Its learners all come from Milton Keynes and the surrounding local authorities and include adults recovering from stroke or head injury, those with visual or mobility

ALL SMILES: Learners at MK Snap celebrate its 25th anniversary impairment, and people with learning disabilities, such as those on the autistic spectrum. With a focus on work training from its early days, MK Snap sourced ‘real’ work from local companies such as Mechline Ltd who provided gas pipes to be cleaned, labelled and packed.

To this day, work training remains part of the charity’s daily activity alongside its extensive education programme, which now includes subjects such as IT, photography, art, sport, gardening, performing arts & craft production. The recent expansion of the catering hub gives MK Snap the facility to host

a weekly community café every Thursday from 10am to 12.30pm. The learners are involved in every stage of the process from baking the cakes to serving the customers, providing them with the opportunity to develop new skills in a kitchen environment. The charity also makes and sells handmade craft products through its enterprise programme, and its horticulture group grow plants and produce for sale to the public. To celebrate MK Snap’s landmark birthday, the charity is inviting the local public to support its special calendar of events, which includes an evening of wine tasting, a quiz night, a heritage walk and an exhibition showcasing its history. Find out more about MK Snap’s anniversary events by visiting mksnap.org or by joining them on social media. Twitter: /mksnap Facebook: /mksnap Instagram: /mksnapcharity

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April 2017

‘A quick, tasty midweek supper’ MK’s friendly Riverford franchisees Vanessa and riverford Recipes Russell Cook have joined Celebrate:MK as food columnists to bring you a healthy recipe each month TARKA DAL WITH SPRING GREENS (Serves 2)


just love to cook and eat with the seasons, writes Vanessa Cook. And since most of the dry ingredients for this recipe are already in my store cupboard, it’s just a case of pulling out some nice fresh greens from my veg box, and off I go. If you haven’t any spring greens, spinach is delicious too – and I’ve even made it before using finely shredded cabbage. This fabulous Riverford recipe is a great midweek supper. It’s quick, easy and super tasty. The ingredients you will need are... 125g yellow mung dal (or red lentils) rinsed. Oil for frying – sunflower, vegetable or coconut. A small onion, finely sliced. A clove of garlic, finely chopped. 2-3 cm piece of ginger, peeled & grated. A quarter of a teaspoon of turmeric. 1 chilli deseeded & finely chopped. 200g of spring greens, rib stalks cut out. A small handful of fresh coriander leaves. Lemon juice to taste. And for the Tarka...

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2 tablespoons of oil. 2 teaspoons of black mustard seeds. 2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced. A quarter of a teaspoon of dried chilli flakes. 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds. First you need to put the mung in a large heatproof bowl and pour it over 600mls of boiling water, then leave it to soak. Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a large heavy based pan and fry the onion gently for 10 minutes until soft and translucent – then add the garlic ginger, turmeric and chilli then cook for a couple of minutes. Skim any scum from the top of the mung then add them along with the soaking liquid to the onion mix. Bring to the boil then simmer for about 20 minutes until the mung are cooked through and soft (you can

Call Vanessa on 01908 238100 to order an organic recipe or veg box straight to your door

now mash them if you like, for a creamier texture). Whilst the mung are cooking, boil the spring greens until tender (around 6-8 minutes). Drain them and refresh in very cold water, squeeze to remove as much water as possible then finely shred the leaves. Make the tarka by gently heating the oil, then adding the mustard seeds, garlic, chilli and cumin. Then fry, stirring constantly, for a minute or two until the mustard seeds start to pop. Whilst the tarka is heating up, stir the spring greens into the mung to warm them through then add the coriander and a squeeze of lemon juice, then drizzle the tarka over the top. If you’re very hungry add some rice, or a flatbread such as chapatti or roti. I hope you love it as much as I do!


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April 2017

Grafton wins best spa award Grafton Spa and Wellness, based in Potterspury, scoops the Spa of the Year award for the South of England at prestigious event


here is nothing more relaxing in life than spending the day unwinding at a good spa. And fortunately for us in Milton Keynes, we now have the best spa in the whole of the South of England on the outskirts of our city. Grafton Spa and Wellness, based in Potterspury, won the Spa of the Year award at the prestigious Matis Beauty Awards this year. The ceremony was held at the glamorous Hilton Hotel in Marble Arch, London, where the team from Grafton managed to go one better than the Highly Commended Award they achieved last year in the same category. Spa owner Georgina Pearse said: “We are completely overwhelmed and honoured to win such an amazing

DREAM TEAM: Georgina Pearse and her staff collect their award award. Our wonderful team at Grafton Spa should be immensely proud of what we have all achieved – all the girls have worked so hard for this award. “Suffice to say, 2017 is off to a wonderful start at Grafton Spa and we’re excited to see what the spring and summer

hold in store for us.” The beautiful spa, which is less than two years old, is based in the rolling countryside between Milton Keynes and Northampton at the Wakefield Lodge Estate. The boutique day spa boasts state of the art facilities, including colour therapy treatment rooms, sauna, steam room and an amazing 10-seater hydrotherapy pool with over 80 jets – the only one in the UK. The team here at Celebrate:MK can’t wait to test out Grafton Spa and Wellness for ourselves, so look out for a full review from us in the near future.

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April 2017

Fun-filled activities for your children to enjoy my m u An eggcellent Easter M atters M Our columnist Kathryn Townsend suggests some local Easter activities to keep your little ones entertained


f they haven’t already, those little monsters that frequently refer to you as mum or dad are probably gearing up to talk incessantly about the up and coming eggstravaganza that is Easter. Not because most of them will be aware of the symbolic reference to Jesus, but primarily because where there’s chocolate, there’s children, and they want nothing more than to be included in all things fun and sweet. If you haven’t yet thought about how you’re going to keep those excitable little sugar fiends occupied this Easter, don’t panic, because Milton Keynes is brimming with all sorts of enjoyable delights. Why not start your day with an EASTER BUNNY BREAKFAST (April 14-17) at Dobbies. At just £8.95 per child, your little one can experience a treat like no other, which includes eggceptional activities and games and the opportunity to meet the Easter Bunny. Advanced booking is required. Then again, what could be more fun than an Easter egg hunt or maybe even two. Join the MK MUSEUM ANNUAL EGG HUNT (April 14-17) where they plan to shell out rewards all around.

Normal admission fees apply. Alternatively, get hunting at the EMILY’S STAR ANNUAL EGG HUNT (April 14) between 10am and 2pm. Follow the clues around the Secret Garden, Wolverton, for just £3 per child and witness Easter excitement at its finest – you may even bump into the Easter Bunny himself! If all that sugar isn’t enough for you then the FROSTS EGGCELLENT TREAT (Easter weekdays) at the popular local garden centre is the place to be. Let your children’s sticky fingers get creative by decorating their very own Easter egg, complete a fun Easter activity and enjoy a

glass of squash (after all, getting messy is thirsty work!) all for just £6.99 per child. Booking is not essential though tickets can be purchased in advance. Finally, if you are looking for something a little less sugary but still incredibly sweet, why not visit the THRIFT FARM LAMBING EVENT (April 8) between 9.30am and 4pm. It’s a great opportunity to see some newborn lambs as well as enjoying endless fun on the farm with additional activities. Adult tickets are £5 and children’s tickets are £2.50 with children under two going free. Happy Easter!

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April 2017

‘Take risks this spring’ Celebrate:MK fashion columnist Valerie Wyndham is clearly a woman worth listening to as she has almost 150,000 followers on Twitter. She explains how a recent holiday to Miami has inspired her latest MK look


pring has sprung, fashionistas! Flowers are about to blossom and with a few simple style tricks, so will our wardrobes! Begone basic black... it’s time to incorporate fresh patterns, happy prints and courageous colours into our daily attire. A recent vacation to the sandy shores of Miami Beach inspired my upbeat attitude which eventually translated into the outfit you see here. The city’s graphic artwork and tropical climate was just what I needed to inspire me to take risks in what I choose to wear this spring. I must admit I was apprehensive to dip my toe into the pool of whimsical prints! Once I did though, it completely recharged my spirit. This may have had something to do with the poolside daiquiris that accompanied this look post-photoshoot... but in my defence they DID match my outfit. Accessorising with cocktails is the newest trend, didn’t you know? Another colourful trend to take note of this season is colour blocking in surprising pairings, such as royal blue and cherry red, peach and mint green and even shocking orange with lemon yellow.

SoCal fashion

These delicious combos have me craving another fruity cocktail! But before I summon the pool boy let me stress this point: I truly believe you ARE what you wear. Why not see if a jolt of bright colour in your outfit doesn’t make the hum drum of daily life just a little more enjoyable. My final piece of advice to those complaining of Milton Keynes’ gloomy weather? Don’t you dare let a lack of sunshine keep you away from a cheerful new spring look. Embracing colour is your sartorial right at this time of year! So go out there and find the one that puts a #SPRING in your step.

Stylishly yours, $oCalVal

Follow Valerie on Twitter at @SoCalValerie, Instagram at OfficialSoCalVal or her personal fashion blog at valeriewyndham.net/fashion


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Furniche your bedroom to create valuable space Bespoke wardrobe sales booming at Bletchley firm


family-run business in Bletchley is giving the major UK retailers a scare as sales of its stylish made-to-measure wardrobes go through the roof. Furniche, based on Bilton Road, is an independent brand that promises beautiful bespoke bedrooms and storage solutions for its customers. The business is owned by Milton Keynes brothers Amjad and Ilyas Janjua, who have lived in our favourite city for 40 years.

The pair believe that their outstanding attention to detail, the quality of their products and their prices are key reasons why people are turning their back on the major chains to come to them. Amjad (pictured above right) said: “We have been trading for 10 years and we’re now at a stage where business is really booming. “When people come to us they know that we will create a bespoke wardrobe that not only fits their bedroom perfectly, but fits their sense of style too.

“You can choose the height, the width, the number of doors and more because we make them to your exact

We work with only the best quality products available as we offer a 10year warranty

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specifications. With Ilyas’s background in engineering, we are able to manufacturer our own high-quality sliding wardrobe systems with smooth-slide tracks here in Milton Keynes. “Our products are the result of many years of product development. As we work only with the best materials available, we offer our customers a trouble-free 10-year warranty. “Our pricing is completely transparent too, and customers will save an average of 60% when they use Furniche instead of a major chain.” Amjad and Ilyas pride themselves on Furniche’s outstanding customer service. “We are happy to take care of the entire process from start to finish,” said Amjad. “Customers can count on us for the very best service, from design to the final delivery, when the wardrobe is assembled at a customer’s home by our in-house fitting team. “Our customers know that if they want to make a phone call they will get through to us straight away.


April 2017

“You try ringing one of the big chains if you’ve got a problem – you’ll have to ring head office or email them with your enquiry.” There are a number of exciting new developments at Furniche as the business continues to flourish. Amjad said: “We are very proud to announce Furniche’s recent partnership with Noteborn, a world-renowned cabinet maker leading the way in premium walk-in dressing rooms. You can see our fantastic Noteborn showroom display at our Bletchley store. Also, new for 2017 is our new range of

German freestanding sliding and hinged wardrobes, with prices starting from only £399 with free fitting. “We offer a free home design service or people can simply visit our showroom, where one of the team will show you all the options and finishes available to create your perfect bedroom, and provide an instant quotation.”

Visit the new Furniche showroom at 5 Bilton Road, Bletchley, MK1 1HW or call them on 01908 370113


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‘Your front door makes a real statement about who you are’ The Door Studio in MK is an official installer of Truedor, for whom TV presenter and architect George Clarke is the product ambassador. Here, George explains why it’s important to choose the right front door for you


ello, I’m George Clarke, product ambassador for Truedor from IG Doors. Composite doors are one of the best products on the market today when it comes to quickly and dramatically changing the appearance and the feel of the home, enabling homeowners to make a really personal statement about themselves. Whether you live in a Victorian terrace, a 1930s semi-detached, a cottage or a truly modern development, your front door is the most immediately visible feature of your home and is the thing that says most about you. For so many years the range of door styles available was quite limited, but thankfully that’s no longer the case. Now there is a vast range of door styles available, specifically designed to suit whatever type of property you live in.

SHAKEAWAY: John Connolly from The Door Studio with George I always say to homeowners that it is important to understand the crucial role that a front door plays in the look and feel of the home and how important it should be to them. Every time you come home – or friends and neighbours come to the door – it is an opportunity to feel that the door is entirely personal to you, and a reflection of your personality. It should give you a

real sense of pride and a huge sense of ownership. Meaningful choice is really important, especially in today’s world where people know who they are what kind of statement they want to make about themselves. Being able to choose a great front door enables this to happen and is a great starting point for any changes you want to make to your home. Thanks for reading, and choose wisely!

Call 01908 645566 for a brochure


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A chic bathroom makeover Home improvement blogger Becky Pink is doing up a 1970s house on a budget. She explains how she has accessorised her bathroom for less than £100


itchens and bathrooms are known to sell houses. We are so pleased with how our bathroom turned out, and hope the kitchen we are currently having installed will be as successful. Our old bathroom was tatty, with dated, cracked tiles and decaying lino. We had to replace it when it leaked through the kitchen ceiling! We took the opportunity to have the partition wall to the airing cupboard knocked down, to make space for a walk-in shower, opposite the bath. Replacing a bathroom doesn’t come cheap, so I had to find chic yet cheap accessories to finish off the room in style. We have two young children, so I needed a space to store our bottles. I found the round tower unit in the BHS sale for about £50, and built the circular theme around this key piece. The white bin (£5) and toilet brush holder (£3) are from Wilko and the aloe vera plant and galvanised metal pot are from IKEA for about £5. I also got the shiny plastic KUGGIS storage boxes on the windowsills from IKEA for £2.50 each. Next I picked up the circular black wire shelf at TIGER

in The Centre:MK for £12 (pictured inset left). It’s the perfect size and shape for my mini IKEA cacti, and I love it. I was thrilled to find the large circular mirror with fauxleather strap in B&M (pictured inset right), as it matches the shelf perfectly. I couldn’t resist the smaller one with the rope hanger: they

House to Home

were under £10 each, and add texture to the room. All of this came to less than £100, and I think it gives the bathroom a chic, contemporary look. Check back next month to see if our kitchen looks as good! Becky is a freelance copywriter and journalist who blogs about her family, life and home at pinkscharming.com. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @pinkscharming

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Spice Village’s banq Indian restaurant Spice Village hosts a special five-course banquet every Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday. Editor Jon Boyle went along to try out the stylish Shenley Church End curry house


here may be more than 4,000 miles between Milton Keynes and the Indian capital city of New Delhi, but there is still something very British about going for a curry. Us Brits just love to relax and unwind with our friends and loved ones over the sound of poppadoms cracking, allowing the worries of the working

week to drift far away. So when I was offered the opportunity to review the highly-acclaimed Spice Village Indian restaurant in Shenley Church End, I jumped at the chance. At the very least I knew it would earn me some brownie points with my fiancée, Elli, if I took her out for a long-overdue date night! Within seconds of entering

the venue I fell in love with it – for two reasons. Firstly, the restaurant looks spectacular, with stylish ceiling art, neon lights and water features, as you can see in the pictures. Secondly, they serve Cobra on tap! Now, this might seem a strange one, I know. But I enjoy a couple of pints with my curry so I find it extremely annoying

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April 2017

nquet is fit for a king when restaurants only serve 330ml bottles as I feel like I’m constantly waiting for drinks. Elli and I were warmly greeted by co-owners Salim Islam and Ash Haque, so we took a seat at the bar (with a pint of Cobra for me, of course) to hear more about the venue. Salim told us: “We’ve been running Spice Village for three-and-a-half years and it’s gone brilliantly so far. “Milton Keynes has experienced something it hasn’t before with the atmosphere, the decor and the food. It’s a very upmarket, modern restaurant. “Our banquet night is fantastic value for money, where people can have a starter, main course, side dish, pilau rice and a naan for only £10.95 per person. “We also do a special Thali night every Tuesday, which

is little bits of everything. It’s very traditional as years ago people used to eat out of a Thali, choosing bits of everything they like – it’s basically Indian tapas. “And our chef won Curry Life Magazine chef of the year in 2016. Our food is tremendous and we’d love everyone to come and try it!” We were then taken to be seated in a cool, horse-shoe shaped booth to choose our food, and we decided to go for the banquet option.

We had onion bhajis to start, chilli chicken stir fry and chicken tikka masala for our main courses, saag paneer and bombay aloo for our side dishes, plus a pilau rice and naan bread each. The food was delicious, perfectly cooked and with just the right amount of spice. The banquet was so filling that we still had food left over at the end. It’s incredible value for money and, although it’s only a tenner per person, it’s a banquet fit for a king.

Call Spice Village on 01908 330476 to book a table or a home delivery. The 5-course banquet is just £10.95 per person


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MK singer gigging around the globe after Eurovision fame

The world is not enough for Holly


olly Brewer has received a fast-track lesson in the highs and lows of the music industry since bursting onto the national scene by singing at the celebrity wedding of Mark Wright and Michelle Keegan two years ago. The 22-year-old Milton Keynes songstress was given four yesses by Simon Cowell and the rest of the judges on The X Factor, only to be left heartbroken when she was chewed up and spat out by the hit ITV show just days later. Then in January this year she had the ecstasy of being shortlisted as one of six finalists to represent the UK at the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest. Holly brilliantly performed the original song I Wish I Loved

Photos courtesy of the BBC, leescriven.com and hollybrewer.co.uk You More at the Hammersmith Apollo on BBC2’s Eurovision ‘You Decide’ show to a live TV audience of millions. But she was pipped to the winning post by Lucie Jones, who will now represent the UK at Eurovision in Kiev next month. Celebrate:MK caught up with Holly over a Latte in Pret at intu Milton Keynes (a soya Latte with vanilla, in Holly’s case), to get the inside track on her whirlwind rise to fame. And there was only one place to start – Eurovision. “I’ve been gigging regularly for the last three years and a girl I had met in the industry put my name forward to the Eurovision people,” she explained. “After four auditions and lots of meetings I was told on Christmas Eve that I had got it,

so it was the best Christmas present ever! “The people of Milton Keynes really backed me throughout, they are so amazing and my social media just went crazy. “I’ve gigged in MK for years, since I was 13, so it’s really nice that when a big opportunity comes up the local public all support you. “I struggle with that stuff a little bit as I get anxious about replying, and the more messages that come in the more the pressure builds. “I was so nervous as I was first on stage but I gave 110% and I knew I couldn’t have physically given any more – I was exhausted by the end! “I’m really competitive so there was a part of me that would have loved to have won, but I’ve got that clip for life now, live on BBC2, so that’s

The Door Studio is proud to support

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better than any show reel I could ever put together.” Holly’s Eurovision moment in the limelight has worked wonders for her career as she has been inundated with offers to perform around the world. “I’ve been gigging non-stop since people saw me on the television – mainly corporate gigs,” she said. “I’ve been doing amazing gigs in London, the Seychelles, Moulon in France, Barcelona, Dubai and Greece. I don’t think of it as a job, it’s my entire life. “I miss out on a lot of social events with my friends as I’m often gigging from Thursday to Sunday every week. “It’s a tiring job but, equally,

I received countless messages of congratulations but the day before I had received the call to say I was out. It was horrible

I love it.” Next, talk turned to her performance at the wedding of ex-TOWIE star Wright and former Coronation street actress Keegan at Hengrave Hall in Bury St Edmunds in 2015. Holly said: “I got an email through my website from a wedding planner, who said ‘we’ve got a big wedding we’d like you to do that will be covered by Hello! magazine’. “When I found out it was Mark Wright and Michelle Keegan I was in shock as I thought they would have wanted someone huge like Ed Sheeran! I couldn’t believe that they’d want me. “I went along and I played the piano and sang. There were loads of people from the soaps there but I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures – my phone was actually confiscated! It was in the press so that really launched my career to a different level.” However, in a strange twist of fate, it actually wrecked her chances on The X Factor. “I went on stage at Wembley in front of Simon, Rita Ora, Cheryl and Nick Grimshaw, and they said ‘we’ve heard about a celebrity wedding that you’ve done’. “Simon wasn’t impressed

t local performers in Milton Keynes


April 2017

because, for him, that made me a wedding singer. But he still gave me a ‘yes’, which was confusing. I got four yesses but the day before boot camp the producers called me to say I was out. “The media had already labelled me as the next winner of X Factor because I’d done this celebrity wedding and publicly I’d been put through. “I received countless messages of congratulations but the day before I had received the call to say I was out. It was horrible.” Holly ended by thanking the MK business community for all the support she’s received. She said: “When I was little a few businesses came forward to sponsor me, which I’m really grateful for, including one from the local home improvement scene. “I did Real Music MK, MKFM and lots more. I used to be signed to RGS Music in MK too. “MK has backed me since I was 13 right up to now, which is a wonderful feeling.” Visit hollybrewer.co.uk to find out more about Holly or to book her for an upcoming event. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @hollysbrewer


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The Wurzels were anything but pants in their MK11 gig Celebrate:MK music columnist Vicki McCarthy enjoyed watching the legendary West Country band in MK – including some shock stripping


ith recent news of Ed Sheeran taking up 16 spots in the UK top 20, it’s become obvious to most just how much the music industry has changed. In an age where artists can find fame quickly through reality shows and social media, many don’t have to “serve their time” playing to six people in the back room of a pub. This is why I love bands that have withstood the industry and been together for decades. So, recently, I saw one of these bands, when MK11 gave us a night of music, cider and laughter, courtesy of The Wurzels. Formed in 1966, with some line-up changes over the years – the first due to the untimely death of founding member Adge Cutler – their popularity endured and they became chart sensations. With a packed gig itinerary and new recordings, the band is showing no sign of hanging up their neckerchiefs. When the subject was broached, Tommy from the band simply stated: “We will call it a day when we no longer enjoy it.” This enjoyment was evident to the sold out crowd packed into MK11 for their gig.

The scene

STILL GOT IT: The Wurzels, pictured with Vicki McCarthy at MK11 Billy Nomad and Gareth Warren and Fools warmed the crowd up perfectly for the inventors of the ‘Scrumpy and Western’ genre and The Wurzels were greeted by a diverse demographic making up the cheering crowd. Ticking off favourites from Cheddar Cheese, to The Marrow Song (Oh! What a Beauty!) and Don’t Tell I, Tell ‘Ee, the band gave the audience just what they wanted, punctuated with their onstage banter and wellworn-yet-hilarious one-liners, meaning fans could drink, sing and laugh in equal measures. As the show came to a close, the opening bars of The Combine Harvester kicked in, sending the crowd

into a frenzy, with Tommy inexplicably stripping to his pants mid-song making the crowd roar! Then the gig was over. The band being true professionals, thanked the support acts, the staff and the crowd alike, before bidding us a sincere farewell. With their professionalism, humour and downright catchy tunes, it’s easy to see why The Wurzels have weathered the test of time. Which I for one, raise my glass to. Now where did I put my cider? You can catch Vicki McCarthy Monday to Thursday on MKFM from 7pm to 10pm on 106.3FM and mkfm.com. Twitter: @VickiMcCarthyFM

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SATURDAY APRIL 1 MK11, Kiln Farm: Sunshine Sessions - A Night Of Reggae and Rum DJ Set. 20:00, free. Unit Nine Venue, Old Wolverton: Josh Butler + Jobi + Ross Stone + Bradley Maison + Dom Espi. 21:00, £7.00 (adv). The Slug & Lettuce, CMK: Tailfeather - Motown Soul Funk Disco Rock ‘n’ Roll DJ Set. 21:00, free before 22:30. FRIDAY APRIL 7 MK11, Kiln Farm: Drink The 90s Dry! DJ Set. 20:00, free. The Craufurd Arms, Wolverton: My Vitriol + TBA. 19:30, £15.00 (adv). The Stables, Wavendon: Brian Kennedy: The Essential Collection. 20:00, £17.50 (adv). SATURDAY APRIL 8 MK11, Kiln Farm: Funk Soul


April 2017

Vicki’s weekend

Gig guide Brother #14 DJ Set. 20:00, free before 22:00. Unit Nine Venue, Old Wolverton: Sweet Female Attitude. 22:00, £8.00 (adv). The Slug & Lettuce, CMK: Tailfeather - Motown Soul Funk Disco Rock ‘n’ Roll DJ Set. 21:00, free before 22:30. SUNDAY APRIL 9 The Stables, Wavendon: Emily Mae Winters. 20:45, £10 (adv). FRIDAY APRIL 14 MK11, Kiln Farm: Faux Fest ‘17 - Beer & Tribute Band Festival #2. 12:00, free. Sat & Sun too. The Stables, Wavendon: Lindisfarne. 20:00, £27.50.

SATURDAY APRIL 15 The Craufurd Arms, Wolverton: Twelve Foot Ninja + TBA 19:30, £10.00 (adv). Unit Nine Venue, Old Wolverton: Garage Delight The Home Coming Old Skool Garage DJ Sets. 21:30, £10.00. SATURDAY APRIL 22 The Craufurd Arms, Wolverton Blushes (EP Launch) + TBA 19:00, £5.00 (adv). SATURDAY APRIL 29 MK11, Kiln Farm: The Total Stone Roses + The Indie Scene 20:00, £10.00 (adv). SUNDAY APRIL 30 MK11, Kiln Farm: Who’s Next - Europe’s Premier Tribute to The Who. 20:00, £7.00 (adv).


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A theatre experience

It was a blast from the past for Alicia Babaee as she took her two-year-old son, Henry, to Stantonbury Theatre to see a children’s classic on the stage


don’t think I’ve been to Stantonbury Arts and Leisure since the ‘80s, when it was the height of sophistication… if you were a child who loved swimming, gymnastics and performing in dance shows, that is. So when I returned, it felt pretty nostalgic – everything looked just as I remembered it. We were there to see The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show, an adaptation of the 1969 children’s picture book by Eric Carle. It’s sold 41 million copies so you can imagine how

popular the stage adaptation is and Henry, two, and I, were lucky to get the last seats in the house. Being a children’s classic, a large proportion of the audience was made up of littlies. I was impressed that The Long Lounge Gallery Bar had been transformed for them, with rows of tables topped with colouring pencils and paper, to occupy them before the show. Henry and I bought some Maltesers and a bottle of water, which I paid £3.50 for, but I’m sure you could take

your own treats in. The theatre is small compared to most and a little rough around the edges. But it’s got a real ‘local’ feel (you can hire it out for community performances) and we weren’t there for the glamour. It was just perfect for youngsters, as it’s not too big and daunting. I probably should have researched the show more thoroughly because, although I wondered how they would stretch the story to an hour, I didn’t realise that it included three of Eric Carle’s other stories, too: The Artist Who

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Painted A Blue Horse, Mister Seahorse and The Very Lonely Firefly. Having not prepped Henry for this, he was asking, on repeat: “Where’s the hungry caterpillar?” But that didn’t mean he wasn’t enjoying it. It was captivating to a child, and the puppets – of which there are 75 throughout – were incredible. It began with The Artist Who Painted A Blue Horse, in which the artist painted each animal from the book, before big puppet versions joined him on the stage – including a multi-coloured horse, green lion and yellow cow. Then came Mister Seahorse, in which a set of corals and leaves came to life with

The puppet was brilliant – exactly like in the book – and the background music was fun. Henry’s been talking about the show ever since


April 2017

magical, shiny sea creature puppets. The flashing fireflies and fireworks in The Very Lonely Firefly were equally beautiful, lighting up the stage – and the children’s faces. Last but not least came The Very Hungry Caterpillar, who Henry was very happy to see! The puppet was brilliant – exactly like in the book – and the background music was charming and fun. The butterfly was spectacular, as it dominated the stage with its huge, colourful wings. Henry’s been talking about the show ever since, as I imagine children have in Australia and New York, where it’s also hit the stage. We picked up some leaflets

at the end and I’m looking forward to booking The Scarecrow’s Wedding next. I believe Avenue Q is going to be another great show – albeit for an adult audience. I’ll be making more effort to keep an eye on what’s on at Stantonbury Theatre in future.

Music and Lyrics By Dolly Parton

Book By Patricia Resnick

Based on the 20th Century Fox Picture Originally produced on Broadway by Robert Greenblatt, April 2009

This amateur production is presented by arrangement with JOSEF WEINBERGER LTD. on behalf of MUSIC THEATRE INTERNATIONAL of NEW YORK.

Three unlikely friends take control of their office and learn there is nothing they can’t do, even in a man’s world. 9 to 5 The Musical, with music and lyrics by Dolly Parton and book by Patricia Resnick, is based on the seminal 1980 hit movie. Set in the late 1970s. this hilarious story of friendship and revenge in the Rolodex era is outrageous, thought-provoking and even a little romantic. - Performed by Arts1 Sixth Form Students

Saturday 17th June 2017 01908 324 466 2.30pm & 7.30pm £16/£14 stantonburytheatre.co.uk

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April 2017

Lord of the Dance leaps into MK Nancy Stevens, award-nominated writer and radio presenter, looks forward to three very different shows in Milton Keynes this April


ichael Flatley’s spectacular Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games (April 4-9, MK Theatre) returns to Milton Keynes following its successful world tour, celebrating 20 years of the legendary show. With all the precision and thrills of the original, it has new staging, new costumes and choreography, worldchampion acrobats, specialeffects lighting, dancing robots and cutting-edge technology. The spectacle will showcase 40 of the world’s most outstanding young performers, directed by Flatley, with new music by composer Gerard Fahy. The innovative production, combined with the best of Irish dancing tradition, offers a hugely entertaining evening.

show stoppers

HANDS UP: Michael Flatley’s legendary show returns to our city Dirty Dancing (April 24-29, MK Theatre) is the musical that made stars of Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. It is the summer of 1963 and it’s the classic story of Baby and Johnny, featuring the hit songs ‘Hungry Eyes’, ‘Hey! Baby’, ‘Do You Love Me?’ and the heart-stopping ‘The Time Of My Life’. Full of passion and romance, foot-tapping music, and sensationally sexy dancing, this record-breaking version of the phenomenally successful 1987 film features the much-loved characters and original dialogue from the film, with exciting extra scenes included. Avenue Q Company MK (April 19-22, Stantonbury Theatre) is set in Avenue Q –

not the swankiest of streets, but home to some colourful characters and an unlikely collection of friends, both humans and puppets! Princeton has just graduated from university and finds himself in Avenue Q, following his dream. However, his outlandish new neighbours, and a very small bank account lead Princeton on a completely different, hilarious life journey. This show is unPC, raucous, risqué and, together with the puppetry, is ridiculously funny. It is unsuitable for under 16s. Listen to Nancy Stevens’ arts show on MKFM every Sunday from 6pm to 7pm. Twitter: @NancyStevensMK

Fancy a life on the stage? Arts1 in Milton Keynes offers training in dance, acting & musical theatre. Visit arts1.co.uk or call 01908 604756 for details


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Let’s get social: Our March highlights Our Waitrose pick-up point is Facebook news

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April 2017

Win a kids’ music studio party Competition


elebrate:MK has teamed up with Pop Story to give away a free children’s party in a professional music studio worth £199. The PopTastic party package is filled with popstar treatment for up to 14 kids. The children will record a song of their choice in the professional recording studio at Unit Nine, where

they’ll be treated as stars for the day! To enter, email jon@celebratemk.co.uk with the words ‘Enter Pop Story competition’ in the subject box, or like and share the post on our social media channels.

Visit popstory.rocks/poptastic-party for more info.

Want to receive Celebrate:MK every month? Subscribe to our free digital edition right now! At CTS we offer flexible courses Access to Higher Education: Nursing – Midwifery – Social work – Education – Business studies – Science. GCSE: English – Maths – Physics – Chemistry – Biology – Psychology – Business studies – Law & Sociology. Functional Skills: English – Maths – ICT.

It’s not too late to apply: Our last Access to HE intake this year starts on 3rd April 2017

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January 2017. Issue 2. FREE


Because Milton Keynes is worth celebrating

CELEBRATE: lifestyle magazine


New year’s resolutions for the whole family for a great 2017

Come on over Valerie US wrestling diva SoCal Val explains why she wants to live in MK forever



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Great Scot! New MK Dons boss Robbie Neilson on life down south

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Email jon@ celebratemk. co.uk Write ‘Subscribe’ in the subject box Job done! You’ll be emailed an online link to the new mag each month

Subscribing to the digital edition is the only way to receive the magazine directly every month, as we rotate the home delivery areas for our printed magazines


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‘Choose Carey Corporate Pensions for your workplace pension’ Christine Hallett, CEO of Carey Corporate Pensions UK, explains why businesses should look no further than the Furzton-based group for corporate pensions


e are delighted to have been chosen as the workplace pension provider to a number of different types of organisations even before auto-enrolment became law in 2012. We are experts in this market, and provide a qualifying workplace pension to any employers whatever the size; from Federations and Associations for their large memberships; charities,

schools and community groups; from football clubs, those requiring a Sharia compliant scheme; from the smallest business with a single employer to the largest with a mass of individual contractors. We have assisted late stagers, and early starters; accountants with multiple employers – the list is growing and seemingly endless! We are committed to assisting any employer of any size and with any number of

unique needs. We continually strive to adapt and develop our product and proposition to achieve the best solutions for our growing numbers of workplace pension clients, to suit their individual requirements. ALL employers have to set up a workplace pension for their staff. It is the law. Choose a local business to work with – we will make it as simple as possible for you and support you all the way.

directautoenrolment.co.uk/referrer/MK50 All employers with at least one employee must set up a workplace pension. It is the law. We can help 0330 124 1510 Carey Corporate Pensions UK Limited is registered in the UK under Company No 09358998. The Carey Workplace Pension Trust (PSR 12006391) is regulated by The Pensions Regulator.

Email jon@celebratemk.co.uk to arrange your cover Read our digital edition every month at celebratemk.co.uk


April 2017

Water way to save t

Dad’s eco-friendly system could r

Artificial grass grows in popularity residents to enjoy the small amount of summer we get. It has made a debut in garden shows at Chelsea and is often used on garden TV shows, with approval from Sarah Beeny and the king of gardening – Alan Titchmarsh. The main reason for the increasing acceptance of lawns is the enormous improvement in its quality. It comes in all

colours, shades and lengths, allowing the customer to choose their ideal lawn. As a general rule you can expect to pay from £55 to £75 per square metre. To find out more head to prestige-lawns.co.uk or visit the company’s show garden at Unit H, Furtho Manor Farm, Northampton Road, Old Stratford, MK19 6NR.

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Two perfect family homes from Laura Laura Garnett, Branch Manager of Connells estate agents in Oxley Park, has got two beautiful houses available for purchase in MK this month. She talks you through them...

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his is a beautifully presented five double bedroom family home, benefitting from a grand entrance hall, generous

dining room, beautifully fitted kitchen/breakfast room with doors leading to the garden. The utility room also has garden access.

There is a 20” dual aspect lounge leading into a conservatory, making the living accommodation incredibly versatile!



he garden with this house is extremely generous, which will come in handy as we approach the summer months and the forthcoming

barbecue season! It is a beautifully presented four bedroom detached family home, with a garage and driveway to the side of the

property. It benefits from wonderful open views. Call today on 01908 330751 to book your viewing of either of these properties.

Thinking of moving? Call 01908 330751

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April 2017

Making a high-heeled stand Elizabeth McGlone, senior associate and employment law solicitor at Neves Solicitors in Rooksley, explains al eagle g e l the law on workplace dress codes after the national controversy over a worker who was sent home for refusing to wear heels


orkplace dress codes have become a hot topic in the news over the last few months. One of the most prominent stories, that is leading the way for a challenge to workplace dress codes, is that of an agency worker in London. The worker in question was working front of house at PWC when she was told by her agency to go home, without pay. Their reason for sending her home was that she refused to wear high-heeled shoes. The worker’s agency imposed a dress code on their female staff, which included requirements like non-opaque tights, no visible roots in hair, make-up to be regularly reapplied at work and heels to be worn with a heel height of two to four inches. As a result of this action by the agency the female worker started a petition which has

EXPERT: Elizabeth McGlone gone on to galvanise opinion on the enforcement of specific corporate dress codes for women. Members of Parliament have since debated a ban on mandatory workplace dress codes that impose specific obligations on female employees and workers, like those listed earlier, that are inapplicable to men. The debate is non-binding but the government has confirmed that it will take action to rule out any codes that are applicable to a specific gender. So what should employers

consider when writing a dress code for their employees? Dress codes can be appropriate in certain working environments, but can be discriminatory if imposed unequally on one sex or the other. For example, it could be appropriate to have a strict dress code to comply with health and safety or food hygiene requirements, Employers should always apply a reasoned approach to any dress code that they seek to impose. It is acceptable to have slight differences for men and women, e.g, men are to wear a tie and women are to wear business attire, as long as the code facilitates an equal standard of dress between the genders. Beyond just gender a dress code must not be discriminatory in respect of the other protected characteristics in the Equality Act 2010 for age, disability, gender reassignment, religion or belief, or sexual orientation and it is important that any dress code should be created with these in mind.

Call Elizabeth at Neves on 01908 304560

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April 2017

‘Robbie Neilson has added a much needed grit to the Dons’ The



s well as presenting MKFM Drive every weekday from 4pm, I have the fortune of providing MKFM’s coverage of MK Dons throughout the season. Having done this for four years now, I’ve seen some great moments at Stadium:MK. The 4-0 thrashing of Manchester United, the brilliant promotion season to the Championship and watching a young Dele Alli develop into the England international he now is. This season, however, hasn’t had quite so many highs. After being tipped for an immediate return to the second flight, Karl Robinson’s MK Dons side never seemed to shake off the relegation mood and didn’t win in the league at home until December. As much as it’s part and parcel of football, Karl’s departure was a sad one for many Dons fans, with him having become such a key figure in Milton Keynes after six years in charge at MK1. Robbie Neilson seems to have added a much needed grit and determination to this Dons side. With only a couple of additions in personnel, including the outstanding Harvey Barnes, Neilson has

MKFM’s Greg Burnet gives his verdict on the current state of MK Dons after four years of covering the team through the highs and lows

THE BOY DON GOOD: Greg Burnet covers MK Dons FC for MKFM managed to steady the ship and subside the relegation fears that were rippling around the stadium after every home defeat. Big victories such as his first home game against rivals AFC and the 4-0 away trip to Peterborough have settled Neilson into the hearts of Dons fans and he continues to impress with the fluidity of the formations he plays and changing things on the

Neilson continues to impress with the fluidity of the formations he plays

pitch, including the odd triple substitution, to get a result. His plan now has to be how to improve in the summer. With many of the current players out of contract, Neilson has made it no secret that he’s planning a big reshuffle. It’s a squad that needs investment and, come September, may not be a Dons squad we recognise; but hopefully one that wins a lot of games. How great it would be if we could have another promotion season with over 100 goals. COYD. Listen to Greg on MKFM Drive every weekday from 4pm to 7pm. MKFM is on 106.3FM, DAB Digital Radio and at MKFM.com


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‘Life needs more oomph’ Celebrate:MK film critic Jason Day reviews Life and brings you the lowdown on the best of the other new cinema releases this month

er w e i v e r l Ree Photo courtesy of Sony/ Columbia/Skydance


ife (out now) deserves credit for pulling off a great surprise ending, although the film is largely devoid of decent thrills. A creature from Mars starts picking off a team of scientists, with Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds (pictured above) starring. It’s a relatively taut movie, but just needed more oomph. Full review: bit.ly/lifefilm2017

freshen up the car racing antics.

The Boss Baby (April 7) Alec Baldwin provides the voice of a family’s new baby who has a mysterious plan. He ropes in his elder brother to help him achieve his aim.

Table 19 (April 7) Unlucky in love Anna Kendrick is seated at the titular table with other oddballs at a wedding. She accepts this means she is fated to be single… until the man of her dreams appears at another table.

Going In Style (April 7) Genial comedy with Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin as retirees who become bank robbers when their pension pots are frozen. With actors of this quality, the one-liners hit home.

Fast & Furious 8 (April 14) Incredibly into the eighth film of the series, this is also the first major American movie to be given permission to film in Cuba. Charlize Theron is one of the new faces brought in to

Rules Don’t Apply (April 21) Director/star Warren Beatty’s recent gaffe at the Oscars might help this light comedy along at the box office, as he plays movie mogul Howard Hughes. Lily Collins is the aspiring actress he is helping to stardom. Alden Ehrenreich is the driver who romances her. Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 (April 28) The sequel to 2014’s blockbuster hit should please fans of sci-fi and Marvel comic adaptations. Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana return as the extraterrestrial criminals who try to unravel Pratt’s parentage. You can read more in-depth reviews from Jason by following him on Twitter: @Reelreviewer

Read our digital edition every month at celebratemk.co.uk


April 2017

Business Directory

Your handy local business listings guide

All of our advertisers are automatically added to the Business Directory Accountants Willoughby & Co.......07886 306746 Carers Westminster H’care..01908 373734 Charities MK Snap.......................01908 690330 Estate Agents Connells, Oxley...........01908 330751 Food & Drink Riverford MK..............01908 238100 Spice Village..............01908 330476 Waitrose, Oakgrove..01908 230565 Further Education CTS Education............01908 821091 Gyms David Lloyd Club.......03451 296807

Home & Garden Furniche......................01908 370113 Prestige Lawns..........01908 542422 The Door Studio........01908 645566 Mailing Data Laser Mail..........01908 361570 Pensions Carey Pensions..........03301 241510 Printers Regal Litho ................01908 270400 Solicitors Neves Solicitors.........01908 304560 Spas Grafton Spa................01327 810206 Taxis Skyline Taxis...............01908 222111

Theatre Schools Arts1.............................01908 604756 Tutors Gill’s Photography....07595 161855 Vehicle Bodyshops Scuff ‘N’ Scratch........01908 377217 Water Purification Smart Water Filters...01234 889743

To advertise in Celebrate:MK email jon@celebratemk.co.uk Our prices range from £40 per month for a small advert, to £500 for a double-page spread. You’ll be added to the Business Directory too.

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