Celebrate:MK April/May 2021

Page 1

April/May 2021. Issue 50


The quality magazine for Milton Keynes

CELEBRATE: lifestyle magazine Creating Change Makers with the Swanbourne Spirit

INSIDE! carly wilford

isabel kelly



Local independent schools Stowe and Swanbourne House come together to form The Stowe Group. Read more about it inside.


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April/May 2021

The return of dining-in at Maaya Maaya is set to open its doors at The Hub on Monday 17th May


xciting news! Maaya Indian Kitchen & Bar, located in The Hub Milton Keynes, is preparing to reopen for indoor dining again on Monday 17th May. Whilst the award-winning restaurant has had to close for dining inside, the takeaway service has really taken off and the support from the local community has been “fantastic”, say the restaurant’s owners. When customers are able to return to the restaurant, much of Maaya’s favourites will also make a comeback including afternoon tea, and bottomless brunch menus – while cocktails, wine, beer and soft drinks will flow from the bar, and a refreshingly lively atmosphere fills the restaurant once again. NEW for the ever-evolving restaurant for 2021 is its ‘Cooking with Maaya’ meal kits offering (see left page), which launched in March and lets customers take home fresh, vacuum-packed ingredients to cook flavours of India in the comfort of their own home. And as the warmer weather creeps closer, Maaya will also release more of its flavourinfused BBQ packs, which were a huge hit last year in the UK’s scorching spring/summer weather. Health and hygiene will remain of the highest

importance as the restaurant transitions from takeaways to table service, with the continuation of daily deep cleans, sanitising between bookings, staff PPE and masks to be worn when moving around the restaurant. These measures will remain in place until the government declares it safe for businesses to lift their safety precautions. With much of life returning to normal, we wish Maaya and the team all the very best and we can’t wait to join them for a fresh curry and ice cold glass of beer.

To pre-book a table at Maaya for Monday 17th May onwards, visit www.maayamiltonkeynes.com or call 01908 242665



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7 CARLY’S DREAM DEBUT Local DJ and music producer Carly Wilford’s debut track smashes the house charts



8 NEW! ISABEL KELLY The professional stylist offers some spring style ideas after joining as our new fashion writer



Blogger ‘Murphy Runs’ hits back at Piers Morgan after his criticism of runners not wearing masks

13 NILAM IS BACK! World-renowned beauty and skin expert Nilam Holmes recommends a new treatment the celebs love



BABY MASSAGE Tammy Bradley discusses her new business that offers baby massage and play experiences for children

16 THE SWANBOURNE SPIRIT Swanbourne House headteacher Jane Thorpe writes a guest column

22 FRATELLI’S REVIEW Jon Boyle tries out Fenny Stratford’s new Mediterranean restaurant

25 EMILY’S CHARITY AIM MK mum Emily Orchard is hoping to raise £4k for Refuge to help survivors of domestic abuse

27 BREAK THE BEAT Vicki McCarthy interviews Barry Watson about his Hip-Hop project

Plus! Cool Events (18), Gail Emms (20), Ginger Mum (24), Creative Culture (26), Food Scene (31), Dad’s The Word (37), Show Stoppers (39) and Reel Reviewer (40)



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/May 2021

Welcome from the Editor

Fun Fact

Cara is First Class

Did you know that our resident theatre columnist Cara Lee (see page 39) was taught by Celebrate:MK editor Jon Boyle on her BA Hons Journalism degree at University of Bedfordshire? She achieved a First Class degree too!


o this is it, the month where we begin the long road back to normality. Things seem to change so quickly as we jerk from one U-turn to another in the pandemic but, as I write this, I’m looking forward to the reopening of gyms and beer gardens on April 12th, followed by the return of indoor dining on May 17th. As such, our new fashion columnist Isabel Kelly (page 8) is on hand to offer you some spring fashion tips to help you put those jogging bottoms away and go out and play. I hope you Jon Boyle Visit celebratemk.co.uk for more news from around MK enjoy a great spring.

It will soon be time to put the joggers away and go out and play

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April/May 2021

Carly’s debut track strikes a chord with house music fans Local DJ and music producer Carly Wilford’s track ‘Generation X’ smashes the house charts with support from Idris Elba and Annie Mac


arly Wilford’s debut track ‘Generation X’ has proved a huge tech house hit across the globe – less than a year after she decided to start making music, writes Jon Boyle. But this will come as little surprise to anyone who knows Carly – who was the winner in the music and entertainment category at the MK Women Leaders Awards 2020 – as everything she touches seems to turn to gold. The multi-skilled Carly has thrived as a personal trainer, radio show host, TV presenter and DJ, as well as launching her own meditation and wellbeing platform last year. And now she can add music producer to that list after being inspired to start making music a year ago when she saw a statistic that only 2% of women are music producers. She began her journey by joining Toolroom Records’ Academy Course, honed her skills during lockdown, then released her debut single ‘Generation X’ with Mr. V on Toolroom Records within 10 months of laying down her first beat on the course. The song has reached number 4 in the Traxsource tech house chart and was included on the album ‘Leaders of the New School’, which reached number 1 in

‘Generation X’ by Carly Wilford and Mr. V is available on Spotify and all major music platforms

Photography by Jack Goodman

the Beatport tech house chart. Generation X has travelled far and wide, gaining support from the likes of Annie Mac, Danny Howard, Jaguar and Arielle Free on Radio 1, TCTS and Ben Malone on Kiss FM as well as landing key spots in Spotify’s top editorial playlists. The track has also received global DJ and producer support from Idris Elba, Mark Knight, Eli Brown, Martin Garrix, David Guetta, Jamz Supernova, LP Giobbi and Wh0. Carly, who has just moved back to the local area, said: “Recently I came back to my roots and I couldn’t be more proud to have released my first track while living here. “It’s been so humbling

hearing Generation X being played regularly on the radio and achieving so much support from people I respect. “The other week I went out to the supermarket for my Friday night out and when I got back in the car I heard Annie Mac playing my track live on BBC Radio 1. “Annie is one of the reasons so many of us are inspired to keep reaching higher in the music industry. “I’m so massively humbled and grateful to her and her team, and to everyone who has supported the track.” Follow Carly on Instagram at @carlywilford or visit her website carlywilford.com

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Spring style ideas to get you out of those jogging bottoms! Professional stylist and fashion writer Isabel Kelly has joined Celebrate:MK as our new resident fashion columnist. She begins by offering some fashion tips to spring you out of those joggers...


nless you’ve been heading out of the house to work every day, the lure of those comfortable jogging bottoms is hard to beat. Practical, stretchy and oh-so good – the elasticated waistband has been a lockdown favourite. I’m a huge believer in wearing what makes you feel great, whatever that is. But as lockdown starts to ease, and the weather turns to spring, it’s a good opportunity to think about outfit ideas that aren’t loungewear! Start by using one of your summer dresses and layer this over a pair of jeans or leggings, a vest top and fine knit jumper. I personally love a shirt dress for its versatility. If you need to, you can lose the fine knit jumper or jeans if things get too warm later – this is an easy look that you can pair with trainers, flats or dress up with heels. It can still be casual but feels more pulled together than jogging bottoms. If you like to wear a chunky jumper, layer this over a summer dress and add a belt to define the waistline. Oversized blazers work beautifully with this look, rather than a coat, and once again, you can lose the jumper later in the day if it warms up.


Dancing Leopard shirt dress, £57

Yaa Yaa London earrings, £80

If you’re unsure about wearing your dress layered with a jumper, simply use the dress as the layering option instead. If you have a shirt dress, undo all the buttons and wear this as a longline cardigan over your outfit. It adds interest, a bit of extra warmth, and the longline of the dress is flattering on all body shapes. If nothing can tempt you from your loungewear, but you want to feel a bit more

glam, then accessories are the perfect way to do this. A simple white t-shirt is a great canvas for a statement necklace or try a beautiful pair of earrings. I’m a huge fan of statement pieces as they give you maximum impact for little effort!

You can buy this dress online at ww.dancingleopard.co.uk/collections/ dresses/products/dove-dress-inmono-leopard

www.yaayaalondon.com/shop-online/ ols/products/yaa-yaa-london-holdon-rose-quartz-gemstone-statementearrings-blue

Isabel Kelly is a stylist and fashion writer. You can follow her on Instagram at @thewardrobeedituk or visit her website at www.thewardrobeedit.uk

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April/May 2021

Should runners wear masks? Murphy Runs hits back at Piers Morgan after his criticism of runners


anting, wheezing show-offs’ is how the charismatic Piers Morgan recently described runners who don’t wear masks. He went on to describe all runners as ‘narcissistic’ and compared newbie runners to ‘giant snails’. I am all for runners choosing to wear masks if they feel this is best for them, but unlike Piers, I think those of us that choose not to can do so without us suddenly turning into a giant snail. Runners have been criticised since day one of

I try to run when there's no one around!

the pandemic, including new runners. When exercising once a day became law, I was pleased to see a flood of new runners outside and friends on social media starting ‘Couch 2 5k’. But to those who chose to stay sitting on the sofa like Piers, these runners were just ‘jumping on the bandwagon’. Runners who continued to keep up their running fitness and trained for virtual races were ‘abusing the exercise rule’. This is probably the perfect time to mention that the World Obesity Federation recently published a report about the overwhelming link between obesity and Covid-19 death rates. A link that could have been avoided. But back to the mask debate. I know that walkers can feel uncomfortable, pandemic or not, when a runner passes them closely leaving little breathing space. However, I have taken extra efforts over this last year to give at least two metres of space and more where possible. I run as early as possible to avoid crowds. I no longer run at my favourite spots in Milton Keynes on the weekends because the constant

Murphy Runs pedestrian dodging is tiresome. All my trainers are ruined from jumping into mud to let the walker have right of way (despite us both having equal rights outside). If runners wear masks, then so should smokers and vapers. I bet there isn’t a person reading this who hasn’t inhaled a strangers smoke, vape or illegal substance whilst outside. It’s also common knowledge that masks become ineffective when wet, so how many mask changes during a 10km run does Piers Morgan advise? He already fits his own description of a ‘runner’, so I’ll wait for his advice. Follow Anastasia’s running adventures on Instagram @MurphyRuns

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Celebrate YOUR business!

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The House of Dough is well worth a go

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f you are looking for some of the best doughnuts in Milton Keynes then The House of Dough is well worth a visit, writes Jon Boyle. Based in Swinfens Yard on Stony Stratford High Street, I popped in to buy some doughnuts for the first time last month and they were absolutely incredible (see my photo above). The independent

business has been a roaring success since it opened during the pandemic, with long queues forming well before opening time in its early days. The opening times have changed recently to 12pm-5pm on Wednesdays to Sundays, so pop by to pick up your doughnuts. Believe me, they taste as good as they look.

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April/May 2021

Time to reboot and make up for lost time World-renowned beauty and skin expert Nilam Holmes talks about discovering new ‘big gun’ treatments like Morpheus8 and more...

Beauty with


Ni lam

i, I’m Nilam Holmes, beauty expert to the stars and owner of renowned Dermaspa clinic and cosmetic brand EyebrowQueen. Well, this time last year we were ready to go into our first lockdown and my clinic Dermaspa has been closed for around nine months. During that time, I’ve been busy studying, filming and working virtually. I have personally found this third lockdown really draining mentally and emotionally but I am staying positive and feel like we are coming to the end at last. Even though I have an established clinic, the business has been hit really hard. Thankfully, my team and clients are all well and safe, but we have had to change

and downsize the business to survive without income for nine months, over the last year. It has been very sad to see so many local businesses and colleagues closing down and we are lucky to be hanging in there. I have been able to keep busy working virtually and I have been filming another series of 10 Years Younger. The first series was filmed in lockdown, so it’s lots of tips and tricks to look and feel more youthful, and the next series will go back to actual makeovers. It’s such a great uplifting show to be involved with. So beauty wise, you all know I love high tech medibeauty and I have had a bit more time to discover some fantastic new treatments and skills. I know my clients have missed treatments for a year, so I have found some new ‘big guns’ to use, to reboot and make up for the lost time and ageing effects of lockdown. In September, I did a treatment called Morpheus8 on Amanda Holden who recently turned 50! I have been working with Amanda since 2013 and I can honestly say she looks better than ever.

Recently, Judy Murray shared her experience from the same treatment and her results are incredible. I’m not going to lie though, the treatment is a little painful and on the pricey side, although everyone who has had it, has said it was worth it. Treatments start at £750 and prices vary between areas, clinics and practitioners.

* Treatment carried out by Dr Judy Todd

For more, visit dermaspa.co.uk and follow Nilam’s updates on Instagram @nilamholmes

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Tammy offering baby massage and play experiences for children Experienced MK nursery nurse Tammy Bradley writes a guest column about her new business ‘The R.E.A.L play experience’


i, my name is Tammy and I am the owner and play session leader of The R.E.A.L play experience. As a qualified nursery nurse I have over 25 years experience in various settings. Every working environment I have been in has given me different skills, tools and inspiration to bring me to this point in my life where I want to deliver services that I believe will help children develop and grow as individuals. I’m a qualified IAIM baby massage instructor and have delivered many groups and 1-1 sessions. Baby massage is a wonderful experience for a family to do together and has so many benefits. I will be offering 5-week group sessions in Milton Keynes and the surrounding area as well as tailor made 1-1 session to suit your needs as a family. My journey of heuristic play started many years ago. I find it amazing watching a child’s concentration and wonder, as they explore different objects they find around them. I have delivered many sessions simply using real

objects and the children’s play has been the most engaging I have ever seen. When I decided to set up for myself, I knew this was something I had to offer, and can’t wait to roll out the programme this year for you all to join in with. The R.E.A.L play experience sessions give children the opportunity to Respond to what’s around them, Explore different textures and objects, be Amazed at what they can do and Learn from play with such concentration and wonder. During lockdown I have been busy on my Facebook page doing free Live Rhyme Times twice weekly for everyone to join in with. Once rules allow, I look forward to bringing these rhyme time sessions to

Visit www.therealplay.co.uk

you all in person. For more information please visit my website www.therealplay. co.uk and my Facebook page the R E A L play experience. Most importantly The R.E.A.L play experience is here to allow children to Respond, Explore, Amaze and Learn. Come along on that journey with them and see how they play.


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‘Creating Change Makers with the Swanbourne Spirit’ Swanbourne House is an independent day and boarding prep school, set in 55 acres of Bucks countryside just 20 minutes from Central MK. Here, the school’s Head Jane Thorpe – who is a former Barrister and Judge – introduces us to the ‘Swanbourne Spirit’ in a special guest column...


e talk a lot about the Swanbourne Spirit, and it’s quite a difficult thing to define, but an easy thing to see and feel. A broad range of individuals with different passions, interests and characters come to Swanbourne, but we see the Swanbourne Spirit coursing through them all in different ways during their life at the school. The Swanbourne Spirit is about courage, trying new things with energy and not being afraid to fail. Being kind and considerate, with a strength and ambition to rise to challenge and to succeed. It’s about the resilience to pick yourself up, adapt and go again, being a team player and a leader when needed. Being an independent worker, thinking creatively to solve problems and being honest with yourself in reflecting on the job you’ve done. It’s about a passion and excitement for learning and adventure. At Swanbourne,

Swanbourne House School’s merger with two other independent schools opens up a host of new facilities to Swanbourne students we’ve recently introduced the Pre-Senior Baccalaureate (PSB) as our Years 7 & 8 assessment framework. The PSB helps us support the children to identify and develop the many skills and character traits needed for the 21st Century – character traits we believe make up the Swanbourne Spirit.

Academic rigour remains at the heart of learning but the focus of the journey is not preparing children to pass outdated tests and exams; it’s about arming them with relevant and broad subject knowledge and the skills required to apply and extend their learning both at and beyond school.

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The PSB allows children to learn and be assessed in different ways – how do they perform in leadership roles? Are they able to collaborate effectively as part of a team? Do they show resilience in the face of adversity and put forward creative solutions to overcome problems? We see the PSB send children on their journey with a self-esteem boost, hungry

Academic rigour remains at the heart of learning but the focus of the journey is not preparing children to pass outdated exams

April/May 2021

and inspired to go out and meet the world, confident in their abilities and fortitude having developed their own individual Swanbourne Spirit. We are extremely proud of our pupils and receive excellent feedback from their Senior Schools.


Swanbourne House merges with Stowe and Winchester House Schools


wanbourne House recently merged with Stowe School and Winchester House to form The Stowe Group. Membership of The Stowe Group gives Swanbourne pupils access to a combined site of over 800 acres with unrivalled educational and co-curricular facilities. These include Stowe’s Worsley Science Centre, the Roxburgh Theatre, the Chung Music School, state-of-the-art gym, 8 lane athletics track, equestrian centre, 6 lane competition swimming pool, clay pigeon shooting range and 9 hole golf course.. Find out more about about the schools and admissions by visiting swanbourne.org or stowe.co.uk

Swanbourne House Virtual Open Morning on Friday 23rd April. Visit Swanbourne.org to book your place



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Events to put a spring in your step Cool

Fabulous MKFM news reporter and presenter Sam Carmichael shares three events that can ease us back into some sense of normality

events this month


he day has arrived where I can tell you about real events! Milton Keynes is starting to open up again and it’s time to dig out those old things called jeans. You may feel anxious and hesitant about the lifting of restrictions, I know I do, so to gradually ease us back in, I have found three events that range from virtual to in-person. If you are itching to get out of the house and reunite with friends in style, then I thoroughly recommend heading out for a bottomless brunch. Think great food and endless flowing cocktails. Countless venues across Milton Keynes offer this trendy dining option, including Turtle Bay and Las Iguanas at The Hub, and it usually runs every day of the week. There is outdoor dining from April 12th and indoor dining from May 17th so there are different options depending on how comfortable you feel. Dig out the fancy shirts and go all out. I can almost hear the ‘clink clink’!

For those who want to get out but feel happier within their bubble, then how about a drive-in cinema? Nightflix, based at the National Bowl, is showing plenty of classic movies at the minute. You stay in your car, unless buying food and drink, so it is very secure. There seems to be a film for everybody ranging from Mamma Mia to Grease, Pulp Fiction to Joker. It looks like a great night out – a big switch up from a lockdown date with the sofa! Lastly, if you want to hold back for a while, local charity UK Astronomy is hosting an

Online Astronomy Festival in April. It is full of free talks and events aimed at encouraging people to look up! What a great way to learn about all things space. It will certainly make nights at home that bit more interesting. You can find out more by visiting UK Astronomy’s Facebook page, just type in ‘UK Astronomy Events’. If you are running or hosting an event and want to get in touch, find Sam on Instagram @samxradio or email sam. celebratemk@gmail.com

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‘Be proactive with your health by booking a health check’ Celebrate:MK health and wellbeing columnist Gail Emms explains how you can find out how healthy you are with the help of Soza Health

Gail Emms n lbeing colum Health & wel


here has never been more of an emphasis on health and wellbeing as there has been over the last 12 months. Physical and mental health has been in the news 24/7 as many find themselves in very different situations due to the lockdowns. In the first, it became the norm for people to show their 5Km times on social media and Joe Wicks was on the TV every single day… but as the year went on, the focus also went to mental health as many were struggling from the ‘new normal’ that the UK was living in. So how healthy are you? Do you actually know? We go to a doctor when something is wrong – a reactive response, but what about being PROACTIVE with your health? Are you doing everything you can to prevent your physical and mental health

reaching a stage where you need to seek medical advice? I have teamed up with Soza Health (www.sozahealth. com) to encourage more people to do the following:

3. Be in charge of your wellbeing You have 1 body so look after it! Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed to want to be in the best health possible.

1. Get a health check Soza Health offer 45-minute tests for respiratory / cardiovascular / digestive / immune / stress management / blood sugar etc and you get a full report after advising on nutrition, vitamins and exercise for improvements.

4. Make changes Understand that you have the choice to do something about it and need support doing so.

2. Get the workplace involved As people are slowly getting back into the offices, make health and wellbeing a priority as you will all benefit. Think of ideas to include everyone including charity walks, lunchtime meditation sessions or mental health workshops.

As someone who has recently had a health check and was surprised by the results, I cannot recommend highly enough about making 2021 the year to make your health and wellbeing at the TOP of your list. Soza Health checks are available to book in at www. sozahealth.com. Contact gail@ge-consultancy.com for business bookings.

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Cloudy2Clear, A Local Service With A Smile. I think we can all agree that seeing the back of 2020 was a welcome event for each and every one of us, and we can now hopefully march into 2021 with renewed positivity and optimism. One thing is for sure though, there have also been some heart warming positives that we can take out of last year. It has often been said that we can only really get to know one another and realise what is truly important in times of crisis. I think few would argue that in this case what has proven to be important is local community spirit. When talking to the Manager of Cloudy2Clear windows Stephen Moon it became clear that these values have been held dear for a number of years. Since starting

the business some years ago Cloudy2Clear have remained true to their core values of supporting the local community by providing a service that saves the public money. The Cloudy2Clear service only requires the glass to be replaced and not the whole window once the unit has failed. Stephen commented “Cloudy2Clear were able to assist our community through the last financial crisis in 2008 due to the savings that can be made in using our service. Unfortunately we might be going through something similar again soon and the public can rest assured that we will be there to help once again”.

All C2C employees operate a strict social distancing policy.

For a free quotation please call 0800 61 21 118 or visit www. cloudy2clear.com

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Fratelli’s Bar & Restaurant brings a unique Mediterranean dining experience to Fenny Stratford Fenny Stratford High Street has received a new lease of life in recent years as classy independent restaurants have moved into town. Fratelli’s Bar & Restaurant is the newest addition to the area and has been earning rave reviews since opening for takeaways during the pandemic, so Jon Boyle went along to check it out...


y Italian language skills are about as good as my ability to diet – non existent – but I do at least know that Fratelli’s means ‘brothers’. And how fitting this name is for the new jewel in the heart of Fenny Stratford High Street, as best friends Gian Bimb and Jack Behjet (pictured right) – have come together to bring Milton Keynes a unique Mediterranean food experience. “We are brothers from other mothers, bonded over a love of great food,” explained the friendly and exhuberant Gian, who I met for the first time as I went in to collect my takeaway. He was right about the great food too – I actually haven’t ever had a takeaway quite like it. The food was like a delicious gourmet blend of Italian, Turkish and American cuisine. It weirdly felt posh but devilish at the same time as I tucked into my tasty minted lamb burger, which contained feta cheese,

Fratelli’s Bar & Restaurant co-owners Gian Bimb and Jack Behjet pictured in their restaurant at 35a Aylesbury Street, Fenny Stratford mozzarella, caramelised onions, tomato & spinach salad, garlic & coriander mayonnaise and chilli & tomato jam. But the high quality of the food came as no surprise to me as co-owner and head chef Jack has been one of the

best chefs in Milton Keynes for the last six or seven years. I’ve known him since his days working at The Hub and he’s one of the nicest guys you could ever wish to meet too. Another well-known local face at Fratelli’s – which should not be confused with

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the Fratelli restaurants in Woburn and Ampthill as they are not connected – is Milton Keynes bar royalty Alan Ayres. MK doesn’t have many celebrity bartenders but Alan is certainly one of them, and he described his current role as “Daddy” of the restaurant until he takes up his natural role of shaking cocktails, pulling pints of Peroni and telling bad jokes behind the bar after lockdown. Other items I enjoyed as part of my takeaway were the Fratelli’s fries, chicken tenders and the BBQ beef short rib croquette, followed by white

April/May 2021

chocolate & Nutella arancini for dessert (bottom right photo). My takeaway was stunning but dining in will be even better after lockdown as the venue looks so cool inside and has a lovely cosy vibe to it. I actually can’t wait to go for a meal there, followed by a few drinks afterwards at Pink Punters just down the road. The new-look Fenny Stratford is going to be a great night out from June 21st! Call Fratelli’s on 01908 941654 to order a takeaway or visit fratellismk.co.uk

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Tipi Time and positive podcasts Our resident lifestyle blogger Amanda, aka Ginger Mum, talks about the most memorable birthday, all thanks to a local business


eyond excited to say hi to you all again in this, my most anticipated season of the year! Finally it’s time to crack open those chocolate eggs, soak up the first rays of spring sun and tentatively – Covid roadmap allowing – reach for the hugs and fun we have missed so much!

Despite trying times, a number of independent businesses have flourished and come to the rescue to give us and our families that special something for big occasions and I’ve been highlighting a few of them over my recent columns. First up for this issue is Tipi Time Sleepovers – a fledgling business, born out of lockdown – they are growing fast from word of mouth and I can personally vouch for their flexibility, professionalism and attention to detail! Dominic had the most memorable birthday thanks to these guys coming in whilst he was covertly sent out on a dog walk and came back to a surprise gamers themed delight! Covid secure and complete with personalised effects, balloon arch and a bespoke sleepover den for two, he couldn’t have been happier and I cannot recommend this dynamic duo highly enough with their warm friendly manner, numerous themes and highly competitive prices – watch out for their new igloo pods too! No celebration is complete without the sweet treat element and since we were all lockdown cake baked out already, a perfect twist on the traditional birthday cake was a

decadent Kinder Bueno deep dish cookie. What a mouthful – literally! It tasted absolutely divine and the team were so great to deal with. Another fantastic local MK business we are so lucky to have. So I’ve been listening to podcasts a lot lately. I had previously avoided them until January but now I’m hooked. Some of my favourites are ‘Law of Attraction Changed My Life’ for positivity and keeping it real about how to be the best version of yourself, plus ‘My Favourite Murder’ and ‘Redhanded’ for all true crime buffs. Let me know some of your favourites? I’m always on the lookout for new ones now I’m a podcast convert! Don’t forget you can follow my daily musings on my Instagram stories over @gingermumstyle

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April/May 2021

‘Run, walk or cycle to help survivors of domestic abuse’ MK mum Emily Orchard explains in a special guest column how you can help her raise £4k for Refuge in response to ‘the shadow pandemic’


he last year has affected everyone in so many ways and highlighted significant issues in our society that I hope can be addressed as we start to look forward to life after Covid. One of the issues that has been so starkly highlighted and directly impacted by the pandemic is domestic abuse. In Milton Keynes alone, 1 in 5 people have reported experiencing domestic abuse, and nationally its estimated that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime. Before the first lockdown measures were implemented in March 2020, the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, run by Refuge, logged on average 270 calls and contacts every day from people needing support. Since March last year, Refuge has seen a record increase in calls and contacts while people have been trapped at home with their abuser. While of course lockdown doesn’t cause domestic abuse, it can aggravate preexisting abusive behaviours. Described as the shadow pandemic, the rise in domestic abuse has come at a time when fundraising has been made incredibly difficult for charities. This has inspired me to step up to do what I can to support Refuge and I’ve committed to

a challenging 10-day trek to raise funds to mark their 50th year of providing a lifeline to survivors of domestic abuse. I have a target of £4,000 and as part of my fundraising I’m building a team of 100 supporters to pledge 3 miles for 3 survivors of domestic abuse in any way, place and time that they’d like. When we reach our target, together we will have covered 1 mile to represent every single person who contacts Refuge’s helpline in just one day. It is a £15 donation to enter and everyone who takes part gets a medal designed especially for this challenge.

We’re just over halfway there so far so there’s still time to get involved and show your support for survivors of domestic abuse To sign up, email me on emilytrek50@gmail.com or visit my Just Giving page at www.justgiving. com/fundraising/ EmilyTreksForRefuge Need domestic abuse support? Visit www.refuge.org.uk or www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk (access live chat Mon-Fri 3-10pm), or freephone the confidential 24-Hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.



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Inspiration in isolation Creative Culture columnist Elizabeth Woodward discusses artworks inspired by isolation... In the UK, an interest in arts and crafts increased drastically during lockdown, from a 622% increase in registrations for the Open University’s online creative courses, to the rainbows displayed in windows across the country, not forgetting banana bread’s moment in lockdown one. Art has been no exception, with incredible works being inspired by trying times. One of my favourites is Jamie Green’s tribute to Captain Tom Moore, a stunning black and white portrait of the national hero. The carving was created on a reclaimed cupboard door which is around 100 years old and Green said it therefore "seemed to be the perfect foundation" for the moving artwork. Closer to home, Milton Keynes gallery have been finding new ways to remain connected through art with their Doorstep Diaries MK photography project, which


© Stace Photography


hilst isolation may have once been considered a void for inspiration, the events of the last year have proved otherwise, with many of us turning to the arts to keep connected and remain sane. With more free time than ever before, we have plenty of newfound creative inspiration to show for it. The virtual exhibition ‘No Time like the Present’ by Public Gallery brought together 50 artists from around the world and showcased works created in and inspired by isolation. There is a wide range of media on show with each artist creating a work such as a drawing, painting, textile, photograph or sculpture and a video in response to our current reality. The collection explores themes such as the repetition and monotony of isolation and feels like a time capsule of the early months of 2020.

was an open call to Milton Keynes households to have a photograph taken on their doorstep during lockdown, in order to capture the positive moments of our time in isolation. The project will be open to the public once current restrictions are lifted. The exhibition will also incorporate interviews with residents, which are part of an ongoing project called Lockdown Lives MK, organised by the charity Living Archive MK who aim to collect and preserve the history of Milton Keynes and its residents. This project is still open and looking for submissions. If you would like to share your isolation story, please visit www.livingarchive.org. uk/ For more information visit: publicgallery.co/exhibitions/ no-time-like-the-present www.mkgallery.org/whats-on/ doorstop-diaries-mk/

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April/May 2021

Break to the Beat Music reporter Vicki McCarthy catches up with Barry Watson to talk about his Hip-Hop culture exhibition and project Break to the Beat...


t was recently announced that Reading and Leeds festival will be going ahead this year, and despite feeling cautious, it’s given music lovers (myself included) the much-needed hope of the chance of experiencing music events in 2021. During the past year, many musicians, promoters, and venues have been working away behind closed doors, looking ahead to when their projects can be brought to fruition. And last month, I caught up with someone who was doing just that. Step forward Barry Watson, who’s behind local Hip-Hop culture exhibition and project Break to the Beat. I immediately wanted to find out how the idea was conceived. “The idea came about after a KRS ONE gig in MK in 2019,” Barry explained, “Which prompted discussions about the Hip-Hop culture locally and how it would be great to celebrate and promote the scene.” The first Milton Keynes HipHop culture exhibition took place in October 2019 at the Open University where Barry works. Having teamed up with colleague Sam Hazell, they approached their employer with the idea to host the event on the university campus. The notion was supported by Sas Amoah, the chair of the Open University’s BAME network, so Barry and Sam got

The scene

Milton Keynes DJs Moschops (Harry Webley) and Boothy (Luke Boothroyd) onboard too. Barry elaborated, “Moschops and Boothy supported the event by playing records and demonstrating the artforms of scratching and mixing. After the event several pieces of artwork and memorabilia such as records, CDs, tapes, flyers, etc with local connections were displayed for 10 days in the Open University library for staff and visitors to view.” And just as the team were getting into their stride, with plans to grow the project and organise more events, the UK went into lockdown. Which I guess gave the guys a lot of thinking time? “Ha! Absolutely, plenty!” Barry laughed, “During the early lockdown, it became clear that a 2020 exhibition wouldn’t take place at the Open University. So, I decided that the best way to move forward with the project was to create an online space and to start to document some of the artistry displayed in the exhibition. It meant that people could view it in a safe online environment, which we hope will spark an interest with

the folk of MK and whet their appetites until we can return.” Barry continued, “The aim with both the website and the related exhibitions is to provide a platform where the Hip-Hop culture of Milton Keynes and the wider community can be documented and showcased. Although we have only just started to scratch the surface, we aim to show people how Hip-Hop has inspired and influenced some local creatives.” Adding Facebook and Instagram as extra channels to support the project’s website, Barry and the team say that the Break to the Beat website will continue to be regularly updated as the project progresses and they look towards being able to host a 2021 exhibition, as soon as it’s safe to do so. “Hip-Hop is for everyone!” Barry added, “You don’t necessarily need to be a fan to enjoy it. The fundamentals are peace, unity, love, and having fun. So, check out the website and find out more!” To find out more, visit www. breaktothebeat.com



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Inspirational fabrics for your interiors

© Prestigious Textiles


abrics really make a house a home, with so many designs and colours to choose from, just where do you start? Firstly, any window looks so much more presentable if you consider a layered look. Layering a window essentially means adding a blind to the inner part of the window and dressing the outside with curtains. This sophisticated look needs a little experience to combine patterns, textures and colours. To keep it simple, add a blind in a textured fabric and plain curtains or reverse the look. Experiment with different curtain headings to add interest and detail. A popular heading is double pleat which is stylish but not too over the top, you can add a button detail to these also. Alternative headings include: goblet, triple pleat, eyelet and a more contemporary wave curtain heading. When choosing curtains, always opt for interlining; this adds weight to your curtains,

© Osborne & Little

interior design co lumn

© Zofany

© Designers Guild

Hugo Fleming, Design Director of award-winning local interior design company Cranberryhome, gives us an interiors insight into new fabrics for curtains and blinds and even headboards...

ensures they drape well and serves as an insulating layer in those cold winter months. Curtains look fuller and more expensive too! Prestigious Textiles Apsley fabric offers a luxurious country feel available in different colour ranges. Here you can add cushions with tassels for that more boutique look. Choosing a rich colour and pattern for a plain looking bedroom gives it a focal point. Experiment with different shaped headboards to accentuate the look. Fullerton fabric from Osborne & Little hits the spot and makes a statement headboard. Adding contrasting piping or tassels to a scheme creates a more bespoke look. Fabrics are very touchyfeely, so be sure to

experience a sample of your fabric first before committing. Try making cushions out of designer fabric and adding these to lift a plain sofa or chair, adding that finishing touch you need. Finally, as an alternative, invest in a double pole for your windows. Dress with a curtain on the room side and a voile on the inside for that laying effect. Adding an acrylic curtain pole gives a more contemporary look. Hugo is Design director of Cranberryhome the award wining interior design and property styling company based in Milton Keynes. Often found at Ask an Expert at Grand Designs Live, Hugo is in demand as an interior designer all over the UK.

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April/May 2021

Cranberryhome Interior Design ~ Room Designs ~ Property Styling

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Waitrose helps vulnerable households Retailer helps to fight hunger with new trial to deliver surplus food


aitrose has teamed up with some of its biggest suppliers and food distribution organisation FareShare in a new trial that will redirect surplus farm food to families in need. In the next phase of its Give A Little Love Campaign, Waitrose is providing funds to FareShare to contribute to the distribution of surplus food from its farms, taking away all handling costs from farmers and helping them to maximise the number of donations they can make. This includes diverting food surplus directly from Waitrose’s own farm on the Leckford Estate. In total, over five million surplus apples, cucumbers, crooked carrots, mushrooms, peppers, sweet baby sprouts and tomatoes will be redirected – aiming to create more than one million meals for vulnerable families across the UK. In addition, with low levels of food surplus across protein food types and FareShare identifying this as an area where more supply is urgently needed, Waitrose has also purchased and will provide one million British eggs (donated by Stonegate) and almost 22 tonnes of British beef (donated by Dovecote

Park) to support vulnerable families. The trial follows reports from Child Poverty Action Group that 80 per cent of low-income families in the UK are financially worse off as a result of the Covid pandemic – with many struggling to put food on the table during lockdown. James Bailey, Executive Director of Waitrose, said: “We’ve all been inspired by the brilliant work Marcus Rashford has been doing, and we believe there is now a real opportunity for the industry to stand united and help tackle food poverty right from the farm. “While farm surplus is put to good use, we must do everything in our power to divert any edible food we can to families that need them during this pandemic. “As the only supermarket to own and run its own farm, we know how much pressure

farmers are under to keep the nation fed, so it’s vital this burden and cost does not rest on their shoulders. This is why we will be funding all handling costs until the end of June to get food on the plates of those that need it most. This is just the start and we hope this will lead to us achieving our goal to one day eradicate all avoidable and edible farm waste.” Lindsay Boswell, CEO of FareShare, added: “This is a significant moment in our battle against food waste and hunger in the UK. “Working with Waitrose farms and suppliers offers FareShare a fantastic opportunity to access food that would otherwise end up going to waste, at a time when millions of people are going hungry across the UK. “The involvement of Waitrose in tackling food waste is a major step forward.”

Visit your local branch of Waitrose at Oakgrove, Milton Keynes

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 7am-10pm, Sunday 11am-5pm

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April/May 2021

A bubbly fire truck for your special day Hazel Roberts talks about how a vintage 1972 fire engine was transformed into a food truck that delivers champagne, whilst maintaining its traditional appearance


o what do you do in a pandemic when you are between jobs and you have a couple of vintage fire engines laying around? Create a Champagne Fire Truck, of course! Development Chef, Richard Reynolds, known in the local food scene as the man behind the belistore food truck, has always had a passion for vehicles so when he had the opportunity to buy a 1964 Dennis fire engine in October 2016, he jumped at the chance. Street food fans will know that it is not uncommon for food vendors to operate from converted old vehicles – vintage campervans, old horse boxes, etc. So, for a while Richard pondered how he could sympathetically convert a non-running fire engine into a food truck. It was two years before inspiration struck – Champagne! The fire engine could create the backdrop to a bar, conserving and celebrating its traditional appearance and quirky features. Amazingly, the next month, Richard was asked if he fancied buying a running, 1972 British Leyland AEC fire engine. This seemed the perfect chance to realise his dreams

Food scene

and in August 2019 he took ownership. In the months that followed, he sourced materials and parts and towards the end of February 2020, the fire engine headed to a workshop in Newton Longville to begin its transformation. Then Covid happened. At first the conversion slowed but, with more time available and renewed motivation, Richard was able to dedicate himself to the project and within a few months the Champagne Fire Truck was ready for launch. In early 2021, the first few champagne deliveries from this impressive vehicle were made. Plans, of course, are for it to attend events and to be available for private functions just as soon as allowable. In the meantime, it is entered into the Restaurant and Bar Awards 2021. “Champagne Fire Truck is a really exciting concept,” said Richard, “and the waves, smiles and conversations it inspires when out on the roads, and the social media attention it has attracted from the start, fills us with excitement to see what 2021 brings.” For more information visit www.champagnefiretruck. com or follow them on facebook and instagram.




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April/May 2021

It’s time for businesses to reignite the spark Heather Murphy, owner of Brand Mission, talks about how businesses are starting to reopen and are thinking about new marketing strategies


s consumers are poised ready for hospitality, travel and wellbeing to reopen, businesses are busy behind the scenes getting ready to spring back into action once more. Over the past few months, at Brand Mission, we’ve seen an increase in the number of consumer-facing organisations using the shut-down time as a chance to zhoozh up their marketing with a fresh approach, and even full rebrands. If you’re one of the many businesses set to re-open and have less time on your hands to market what you offer, Brand Mission can help. Whether you’re looking for a marketing health check and some recommendations to help upcoming business soar; in need of a new marketing strategy because your business has changed

direction, or want to create some fun campaigns to attract new footfall - we have many years of experience across consumer and trade businesses to bring ideas together and develop a plan to bring them to fruition. We often get approached by companies who have lots of ideas and a vision but are unsure how to add a marketing strategy to bring them to life. At Brand Mission, we tailor how we work with businesses depending on the requirements. Some business decisionmakers like to work closely with our team to brainstorm ideas and discuss how they can be executed – others have a goal and issue a brief for us to come up with creative ideas and how these can be effective and practically rolled out into a successful campaign.

Working with an agency brings more ideas and years of marketing knowledge and experience across a range of industries. Our marketing experts will help streamline ideas to match the brand, service or product’s personality and tone of voice when thinking of the finer details and communication channels. Plus, we’re passionate about becoming fully immersed in your business to deliver what your customers love!

Reap the benefits of outsourcing your Marketing and PR. Contact Brand Mission at info@ brandmission.co.uk or visit www.brandmission.co.uk for more information.



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Would you bee-lieve it? Ray Pantling, owner of Tyres Direct in Bletchley, tells us some horror stories where people have found the unexpected in their tyres...


he truth can be stranger than fiction. If you hadn’t seen this photo, you might not have believed that a beehive could form inside a tyre (image 1). It would seem that the bees don’t mind where they set up shop, as long as they are left alone. More than likely, the owner of this tyre didn’t welcome them in. You don’t have to go to the sea to look for trouble with sharks because they’ll come looking for you. Evidently it was reported that this is a shark’s tooth that got stuck in a tyre (image 2).

TyrE Talk It’s difficult to judge since the tooth is inside the tyre. Although most drivers don’t want to see nails or other objects in their tyres, they probably don’t want to see snakes swirling around in their wheel and tyre either (image 3). That’s not exactly what drivers expect to see when they’re approaching their car to start their day. It’s not exactly the welcome they were looking for, before entering their car. Don’t have nightmares!

You can find Ray at Tyres Direct, Unit 51, Barton Road, Water Eaton Industrial Estate, Bletchley, MK2 3BN. For more information follow @TyresDirectBletch on Facebook or visit the website www.bletchleytyres.co.uk

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Call us today on 01908 367770 @TyresDirectBletch www.bletchleytyres.co.uk




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08/11/2017 13:15:31

Want to receive Celebrate:MK every issue? Subscribe for free August 2018. Issue 21


Because Milton Keynes is worth celebrating

CELEBRATE: lifestyle magazine

Dele inspires a generation Dele Alli’s mentor Dan Micciche explains how the Milton Keynes boy’s World Cup success will inspire all young footballers across MK

Inside this issue SoCal Val lands ITV role, plus August MK events, beauty, fashion, food, fake news, fitness, films and fun!



al The qu MK r mag fo

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VISIT DAVIDLLOYD.CO.UK OR CALL 0345 129 6807 TO BOOK YOUR TOUR TODAY David Lloyd Milton Keynes Livingstone Drive, Newlands, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, MK15 0DL

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April/May 2021

Ludicrous lyrics in nursery rhymes Milton Keynes blogger and married dad of two, Gareth Ellis, has noticed how bizarre some children's songs really are...


ursery rhymes and children’s songs are weird. At the moment, it’s a common occurrence to hear the phrase ‘Alexa, play children’s music,’ to keep Rupert and Emi entertained. But in listening every day for the last two months I’ve learned a lot of the lyrics to these songs and my god are some of them bizarre. For example, Old Mother Hubbard. It starts out simple enough. Old woman has a dog, goes to feed it, realises she doesn’t have any, so poor dog doesn’t get any. I mean for starters you’d just go and buy the poor thing some food (as long as you remembered your mask.) But then she goes to buy him all kinds of things to make up for it and he repays her by doing weird things. I mean, she went to the tailors to buy him a coat and when she came back, he was riding a goat. I mean, where did the goat even come from? I’ve been singing Oranges and Lemons for years, however, if you listen to it there’s a story that runs through. You owe me five farthings, when will you pay me? I don’t know, then someone gets their head cut off! I mean, talk about escalating quickly. Over five farthings! That’s

Dad's The Word

just half a penny in today’s money (minus inflation.) In the song, Five Little Monkeys, it tells the story of a family of monkeys that lets their children jump on the bed, counting down one by one as each one falls off, bumping their head. This is despite the fact that each time ‘Mummy phoned the doctor,’ he tells her ‘No more monkeys jumping on the bed.’ I mean, if that was human children, you’d stop everyone jumping after the first one fell, right? Finally, and probably my favourite on this list, is the old

lady who swallowed a fly. I mean, just have a drink of water, don’t swallow a spider. And then after that how is she swallowing a cat? Is she a snake? I mean, which doctor gave her that advice? I know what people are going to say, that loads of these songs have a meaning, but that doesn’t stop them from being weird! Riding a goat indeed. Gareth writes a regular blog at www.garethellisblog. wordpress.com and you can follow him on Instagram at @dads_the_word_blog


Solution on page 43

Your April/May crossword

Across 1 Coney (6) 4 Elegant and fashionable (5) 7 Hindu festival with lights, celebrating the end of the monsoon (6) 8 Not divisible by two (6) 9 Energetic dance — swing music (4) 10 Plant with large brightly coloured flowers — cub is his (anag) (8) 12 Pronunciation of a word, such as ’it for 'hit' — plot lost tag (anag) (7,4) 17 Galaxy (5,3) 19 Holy Father (4) 20 Mountain peak where Noah's Ark landed (6) 21 Person who plunders (6) 22 Attempt to pull a fast one (3-2) 23 Indifference to life (6) Down 1 Barrier consisting of bars (7) 2 Mexican agricultural labourer in the US — crab roe (anag) (7) 3 Hibernian meat and veg dish (5,4) 4 One of the two main branches of orthodox Islam (5) 5 Without reference to anything else (Latin) (2,5) 6 Frank and reliable (6) 11 Ungainly (and painful) dive (5,4) 13 Song for bedtime (7) 14 Main support for a tree, growing straight downward from the trunk (7) 15 Hot (7) 16 Diacritical mark used in German (ä, ö, ü) (6) 18 Hanker (5)

April/May sudoku

Place a digit from 1 to 9 in each empty cell so every row, column, and every 3 x 3 box contains the digits 1 to 9. Solution on page 43 01908 569949


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April/May 2021

The return of theatre is mapped out Cara Lee talks about limited capacity performances that could be taking place, as the roadmap out of lockdown is a bright light for theatre fans

show stoppers


t’s been a pretty good couple of months for theatre fans, as we have finally got a roadmap for reopening! If everything goes to plan, at the time of writing, theatres and other performance venues should reopen to limited capacity on the 17th of May, as the third step in the roadmap announced by the government in late February. Of course, it could still be delayed if there’s a sudden spike in cases and it won’t be exactly the same as it was before, with the aforementioned limited capacity and social distancing still being in place, but it’s still great news. After the 17th of May, the first show back at MK Theatre will be acapella group

Ladysmith Black Mambazo, once called “South Africa’s cultural ambassadors” by Nelson Mandela. In this show, they’ll be paying tribute to and celebrating the music of their founder Joseph Shabalala. Other shows coming up soon after the reopening will include Kevin Clifton: Burn the Floor on the 21st of May, ABBA Mania on the 30th and the Addams Family Musical from the 1st to the 5th of June. Over at The Stables, which briefly reopened last year, Carl Hutchinson will be the first act to play the day after the 17th. Other acts currently on the bill for May are Harriet, rescheduled from the 11th of July 2020 to the 21st of May this year, the Dublin Legends on the 24th and Cherry Lee Mewis on the 29th. Although they haven’t officially commented on the recent news, it’s also

presumed that Stantonbury Theatre will be back at this time if venues are allowed to reopen, so watch this space! Kevin Clifton’s Burn the Floor show will also be making a stop at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre on the 20th May. Other shows planned close to reopening for Aylesbury will be the Simon and Garfunkel Story on the 28th May and Al Murray on the 30th. We’ll have to wait a little while longer to be back in business (both figuratively and literally), but there is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel. Cara Lee is an MK based freelance writer and editor, who also writes the theatre blog In the Lights. You can find her on Twitter at @LeeInTheLights, on Instagram at @inthelightsblog and on Facebook at @caraleecontent.

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Mortal Kombat is no fatality Jason Day previews the cinema releases for April and May ahead of step two of the roadmap this new movie version of the old video game. A fighter called Cole Young seeks out Earth's greatest champions in a high stakes battle for the universe.

wer Reel revie


inemas are on step two of the Government’s roadmap back to the old normal. But, along with the neverending series of updates and U-turns, the possibility of more change hangs in the air. The more realistic date to pin in your diaries is probably going to be 17th May. The question is, what state will multiplexes be in when they welcome us? Bagsy the first popcorn at Cineworld! Nomadland (April 9) Now garlanded with Golden Globes, this must be a shoo-in for some Oscars. France McDormand plays a woman journeying through the American West after losing everything, living as a van-dwelling nomad. Mortal Kombat (April 16) A decidedly star-less cast in

Nobody (April 23) “Don’t call 911”. Bob Odenkirk stars as the most unassuming of men who takes the law into his own hands when his family are threatened during a burglary. Turns out he’s more like Liam Neeson in the Taken films and can more than adequately handle himself. Connie Nielsen is his wife; Christopher Lloyd plays his dad. Justice Society: World War II (April 27) From the DC comics stable, JS characters are dropped into World War II thanks to a timeslip. The Flash meets Wonder Woman and her top secret team (the Justice Society of America). The Artist’s Wife (April 30) Bruce Dern stars as an arrogant, successful artist who examines his life with long suffering wife Lena Olin. Olin is also a talented artist but has neglected her art to support her husband’s career and raise a family.

Sounds a bit like The Wife with Glenn Close; no bad thing, as that film was engrossing. Those Who Wish Me Dead (May 7) Angelina Jolie stars in this action thriller as a survival expert who helps a teenage murder witness who is being pursued by assassins during a forest fire. Rare Beasts (May 21) Honey to the Bee? More like busy bee as Billie Piper writes, stars in and directs this frank, almost brutal drama about a woman on the edge, just about losing it as she tries to find a good relationship with a decent fella. Lily James co-stars. Cruella (May 28) Emma Stone stars in this 101 Dalmations prequel, giving the back story of one of Disney’s most memorable villains. From the trailer it looks lavish and, in Stone, lipsmackingly wicked.

You can read more in-depth reviews from Jason by following him on Twitter: @Reelreviewer

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hanks to the Electric Vehicle Experience Centre, the MKFM team are gaining first-hand experience of driving and charging an electric vehicle in Milton Keynes and they'll take you along for the ride! With a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel-fuelled cars brought forward to 2030 in the UK, there has never been a better time to start thinking about going electric. The Electric Vehicle Experience Centre is the UK's first brand-neutral centre for electric and plug-in vehicles, based in centre:mk, with an aim to provide completely free education and advice about electric and plug-in vehicles. Thanks to the EV Centre, the new car supplied to MKFM will help the team undertake our work in the local community whilst providing an insight into the experience for listeners and online followers. Lia from the MK Breakfast Show will provide regular updates on air and on our website about her experience of driving an electric car for the first time, what charging is like across Milton Keynes and the support received from the EV Gurus and the EV community. Lia says, "I am so excited to be trialling an electric

car for the first time (and an automatic for that matter). “It's not long until we will all have to make the switch to go green so this is a great opportunity to see what it's like and share my honest experience with listeners every morning on the MK Breakfast Show. “We are so thrilled to have partnered with the EV Experience Centre and I'm excited to join the electric vehicle revolution!" The new MKFM vehicle, Renault Zoe 4.0, has been co-branded by We Wrap Any Car and can be seen out and about across Milton Keynes and at MKFM’s studios at Stadium MK. Keep an eye out and tweet us a picture if you spot us @MKFM. Follow Lia's electric vehicle experience by tuning in to

MKFM weekday mornings 7-10am on 106.3FM, DAB Digital Radio, online, on your mobile and smart speaker. Find out more about electric vehicles! Interested in trialling an electric vehicle for a few days? The EV Experience Centre offers a range of experiences for up to 7 nights with a great choice of vehicles including; the new VW lD.3, BMW i3, MINI Electric, Renault ZOE and more, starting at just £30! Find out more about the Electric Vehicle Experience Centre experiences and receive 20% off your booking by quoting MKFM2020. Go to www.MKFM.com/ev

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