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MK

June/July 2021. Issue 51

Because Milton Keynes is worth celebrating

CELEBRATE: lifestyle magazine

lity T he qua n e ma gazi fo r M K

Maaya is back open for summer

InsidE! becky leeson

faye shearwood

bogota

FR EE !

Experience the magic of indoor dining at The Hub’s multi-award-winning Indian restaurant


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Email jon@celebratemk.co.uk to book your advertising

6 NEW! FAMILY DAYS OUT Faye Shearwood recommends three child-friendly days out in her new Celebrate:MK column

Contents

9 BRIAN MAY’S GUITAR You can bid for the legendary Queen rocker’s signed guitar in Alpha Club’s charity auction

15 THE MAGIC OF MAAYA

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Experience the return of indoor dining at the award-winning Indian restaurant at The Hub

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22 INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY Exciting new Bletchley campus opens, offering a host of digital courses for the modern world

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Plus! The Scene (10), Fashion with Isabel (16), Stowe House (19), Ginger Mum (24), Willen Lake 'Welcome Back' Ad (148x105) AW.qxp_Layout 1 04/05/2021 13:55 Page 1 Gail Emms (26), Nilam Holmes (27) & more!

Get together at Milton Keynes’ outdoor watersports and activity park. There’s two lakes to discover, more than 30 activities to try and over 100 acres to explore! www.willenlake.org.uk


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June/July 2021

Welcome from the Editor

W Fun Fact

Like mother, like daughter

Did you know that sporting greatness runs in the family for Celebrate:MK columnist Gail Emms (page 26)? Her mum, Jan (pictured), went to the Women’s World Cup in 1971 with the England football team, playing in front of 90,000 fans in Mexico City.

elcome to the June/July issue of Celebrate:MK, as we look forward to much brighter days ahead in every sense. I enjoyed reading the guest column from Bogota Coffee Company co-owner Paul Ashby (page 13), who thanked all the local residents and workers who have supported his family business through the pandemic. People who don’t know Milton Keynes often say there is no community spirit here. But Paul’s experiences mirror my own, that we have all pulled together as one big MK family to help each other through. Jon Boyle Visit celebratemk.co.uk for more news from around MK Let’s keep supporting local.

We have all pulled together as one big MK family to help each other through

How to Subscribe The best way to receive Celebrate:MK directly every issue is to subscribe to the free digital edition. Just email the word ‘Subscribe’ to jon@celebratemk.co.uk

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June/July 2021

Becky becomes an Amazon #1 bestselling author overnight MK author’s debut short story ‘The Man Upstairs’ is published in the book ‘Connections’, which has topped five Amazon charts

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27-year-old writer from Milton Keynes has become an Amazon #1 bestselling author overnight. Becky Leeson’s debut short story, The Man Upstairs, was published in Connections, a new anthology of short stories that topped the Amazon charts across all 5 of its categories. Connections features 23 fictional short stories by amateur and professional authors from across the UK. Penned during the pandemic, the stories were compiled and edited by Jen Parker, founder of independent publisher Fuzzy Flamingo. Since launching at the end of March, Connections has become an Amazon bestseller in both ebook and paperback format. When Becky learned she’d hit the top spot, she shared a celebratory post on Twitter that went viral, with over 3,000 likes and hundreds of supportive comments and retweets. On publishing her first story, Becky said: “The response has been incredible. I wrote The Man Upstairs during the November lockdown, so this project was an amazing creative outlet that helped me to find some calm in the chaos. I’m so grateful for that. “Connections brought so many people together to create something special, at a time when the pandemic had forced us apart.” The Man Upstairs tells the story of a bitter, lonely woman who confuses the past with

reality, consumed by grief and regret. Her struggle with mental wellbeing is an extreme depiction of what we’ve all experienced during the pandemic. It’s an unsettling, but often darkly funny read. Becky added: “Long-term isolation is so unnatural to us as humans. I’m lucky to be surrounded by a wonderful, close support system of family and friends, but for this story, I tried to put myself into the shoes of someone older, who doesn’t have anyone.

“We crave connection with others, and that’s how my story ties into the book itself. Now, we need to keep these conversations around mental health going. We’re all in this together!” Connections is available on Amazon, priced at £4.99 for the ebook, or paperback at £9.99. For more information about Becky Leeson, visit beckyleeson.com or follow her on Twitter and Instagram @bookyleeson

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‘Three of my favourite local days out for all the family this summer’ Family travel blogger Faye Shearwood has joined Celebrate:MK to bring you the best child-friendly days out in Bucks and beyond...

Family days out

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s restrictions start to ease and the days grow longer, we’re looking forward to a summer of exploration and adventure in Milton Keynes and beyond. Luckily, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to activities for little ones in this lovely leafy county, so here are three of my favourite child-friendly local day trips, that provide a fun day out for all the family. First up is a beautiful stately home, just a 30-minute drive from central Milton Keynes. Claydon Estate is situated in the heart of the Buckinghamshire countryside, amongst beautiful parkland, lakes and child-friendly walks – along the North Bucks Way. In the 18th century courtyard, The Phoenix Kitchen serves wholesome, freshly cooked food with plenty of outdoor seating available. We sampled the children’s menu recently and it was delicious!

Little ones will love the open space, and there is even an old fire engine and Florence Nightingale’s carriage to discover. I can’t wait to visit the magnificent Claydon House (pictured), run by The National Trust and reopening at the end of May. Very Bridgerton! Claydon Estate is also home to a range of local independent shops and businesses, and they regularly host events, including (for 2021), a country fayre and a family friendly folk festival. Back to Milton Keynes, Caldecotte Miniature Railway is reopening on Saturday 29th May and we can’t wait to ride on our favourite steam trains again. Still priced at a bargain £1 a go, they hope to open every weekend this summer (regulations permitting). See you there! Lastly, if you fancy a stroll in a deep dark wood… Wendover Woods in the

Chilterns (just outside Aylesbury) has a wonderful Gruffalo Spotters Trail. Download The Gruffalo Spotter 2 app and follow the interactive trail around the woods, watching as the characters from The Gruffalo story come to life – right in front of you. We loved discovering mouse, fox, owl, snake and The Gruffalo hidden deep in this magical forest. Don’t forget to take a picnic!

For more family adventures in Buckinghamshire and beyond, follow Faye on Instagram at @meandbeau_travels


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”.

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June/July 2021

Brian May joins forces with Alpha to auction off his guitar for charity Bid online for legendary rocker’s signed guitar, which is expected to fetch thousands in Alpha Club auction for women’s cancer charities

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ollowing the success of the hit single ‘I’m A Woman’ by WOMAN – a supergroup produced by and featuring rock legend Brian May in aid of female cancer charities – Brian has agreed to auction off his pink guitar to raise further funds. The world-famous Queen guitarist has joined forces with The Alpha Family, who themselves raised an outstanding amount for Carers Trust at the start of the pandemic, to launch the unique ‘Pinkest of Pink! Alpha Auction’. This auction is being held to promote awareness and raise vital funds for two fantastic pink charities – The Caron Keating Foundation and Target Ovarian Cancer. With the unprecedented events of the last 12 months affecting both live performances and business, it seemed the perfect match for Alpha, who combine business with outstanding events whilst raising money for charity, to collaborate with Brian. Brian has generously donated the tailor-made pink guitar he used when recording and performing with WOMAN back in October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Brian with his supergroup WOMAN and the pink guitar The supergroup features ‘We Will Rock You’ alumni Mazz Murray, Kerry Ellis, Gina Murray and Anna-Jane Casey, whose hit single ‘I’m a Woman’ reached no.1 in the rock charts. The song was made in loving memory of their friend and former Casualty actress Rebekah Gibbs, who sadly died from breast cancer. Not only will Brian sign and dedicate his beloved guitar to the highest bidder, the winner will also get the chance to receive the guitar in person at the upcoming Alpha’s London Alive event (www. london-alive.co.uk) on 16th July 2021. The sensational WOMAN are just one of the many fabulous acts performing live at this

incredible event, and they will present this exclusive guitar to the winner of this awesome auction prize. TV and radio presenter Gloria Hunniford, who started The Caron Keating Foundation with her sons after losing her daughter Caron to this dreadful disease, was overwhelmed by the launch, saying: “The money raised by this magnanimous gesture will go to help people dealing with cancer all over the country. We cannot thank Brian, WOMAN and Alpha enough.” The Pinkest of Pink! Alpha Auction has opened and will close at midday on Monday 12th July 2021. To enter the auction, please visit www.alpha-auction.co.uk

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Four fab MK gigs as live music returns! Local music reporter Vicki McCarthy previews hot gigs in June and July

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s I write this column, we’re edging ever closer to the month of June. Officially the start of summer, June also historically kicks off the UK festival season, with Download and Glastonbury usually starting proceedings. And in 2021, June sees the official return of live music, as we emerge from lockdown. So, with much excitement, I wanted to share the plans of four of our most popular live music venues, as they come back with a bang! MK11 Live Music Venue At the start of 2020, MK11 had opened a brand-new second stage and bar, enabling the venue to host two gigs simultaneously. This addition to MK11 barely had the chance to be appreciated when the venue’s doors were forced to close due to the first lockdown. On Friday 25 June, those doors will be flung back open for what’s being hailed as ‘The Big Reunion’, where live music and a DJ will be the order of the evening, for the princely sum of £5. On the night, Francis will be providing (I’m reliably informed) a live set of “absolute bangers”, supported by an array of special guests throughout the night to sate the appetites of gig-goers. With a late licence already procured, the music will

The scene

continue into the wee, small hours, courtesy of a packed DJ set. mk11kilnfarm.com The Craufurd Arms Wolverton-based pub and live music venue The Craufurd Arms also has exciting plans afoot. With its events diary filling up, there is much to look forward to at the venue. But one that caught my eye was the announcement of Foo Fighters GB taking to the stage on Saturday 10 July. Celebrating the Foo Fighters in full volume, the band have quickly established themselves as one of the most talked about tributes to the Foo Fighters. And they are looking forward to raising the roof in Wolverton this summer, with a set-list that will delight diehard Foo Fighters' fans and newbies alike. Tickets are on sale now, priced at £10. But be quick, it’s likely to sell out. thecraufurdarms.com Unit Nine If Classic House is more your thing, then you best be getting your dancing shoes on, as Unit Nine has it in spades on Saturday 3 July, with the venue welcoming Ibiza favourite and all-round legend Tall Paul. One of the stalwarts of the UK music scene, Tall Paul has been filling dancefloors

across the globe for nearly 30 years, playing at the greats, from Cream, to Gatecrasher, Clockwork Orange, and Ministry of Sound, to name but a few. So, to see - and hear him plying his trade in the beautifully urban confines of Unit Nine is sure to be a real treat this year. Tickets are just £15 and on sale now. unitninemk.com The Stables Born out of humble beginnings, The Stables was first developed from converted outbuildings at the home of Sir John Dankworth and Dame Cleo Laine, with the first performance taking place on Friday 6 February 1970. Despite recent challenges, the venue is still going strong and on Friday 30 July it plays host to a night of Northern Soul, with tickets priced at £26. The late, great Edwin Starr’s band The Team will be performing, alongside a special guest, northern soul virtuoso Lorraine Silver. Expect soul and Motown hits including Agent 00 Soul, 25 Miles, Stop Her on Sight, Landslide, War, Eye to Eye Contact and many more. stables.org So, take your pick, our local music venues need your support more than ever.


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June/July 2021

An exciting summer ahead Cool

events

June/July

MKFM news reporter, presenter and local legend Sam Carmichael has some events for you this summer, including the MK International Festival...

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ell, here we are! Restrictions have been eased, most of us have had the vaccine, and countless events have been given the green light. It has been a tough ride for us all but here’s to the future and helping our much-loved city bounce back. Theatre-goers will be pleased to hear that the leading entertainment venue, MK Theatre, will be reopening its doors at the end of June. Jimmy Carr is to grace us with his presence on 5th July – good luck if you’re sat in the front row! And for those that fancy a singalong, The Magic of Motown is on 18th July featuring the greatest hits of Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, and The Jackson 5. I heard it through the grapevine that I’ll be there (see page 37 for more local theatre news). The inspiring and artistic IF: Milton Keynes International Festival will be making a comeback this summer; it is set to be bigger and better than ever. Initially planned to take place in 2020, the festival will now be held across MK from 10th to 30th July.

There will be different installations, events, virtual concerts, and much more. I can’t wait to see the Museum of the Moon at the Tree Cathedral. It’s a seven-metre sculpture that features detailed NASA moon imagery, has BAFTA-nominated music to accompany it, as well as the voice of David Attenborough. Find out more at ifmiltonkeynes.org. Lastly, if you fancy collecting some antiques and handmade gems then you should check out the hugely popular MK Handmade & Vintage pop-up market in the centre:mk (see advert on

page 35). It’ll be there for one weekend only, from 5th to 6th June and is located in Middleton Hall. The open space is transformed into a treasure trove of unique independent stalls, ranging from restored jukeboxes to dressmakers, artisan gins to original art. It’s definitely worth checking out! *All events were planned to go ahead at time of print 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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June/July 2021

‘It’s a relief that we’re still here along with so many other family businesses’ Paul Ashby, co-owner of Bogota Coffee Company in The Hub MK, reflects on a whirlwind year and looks ahead to a brighter future...

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ow’s business? This is a question we get asked daily by customers who have a genuine interest in the matters concerning the local community. As a small family-run coffee shop located in The Hub MK, we were immediately impacted by the pandemic. Despite this, we opted to stay open for takeaway throughout, with the exception of April and May 2020. We wouldn’t have been able to do this without the support from local residents and workers who turned out in all weathers to enjoy our flat whites and shop-made banana bread; as well as becoming an essential stop for dog walkers and cyclists on their daily exercise. A year on since the start of the first lockdown, we’re still here and it’s a relief to see so many other family businesses locally that have survived too. Of course, adapting was key to keeping going and refocusing on what is

Bogota Coffee Company is located at 4 Rillaton Walk, The Hub, Milton Keynes, MK92FZ. Follow them on social media @BogotaCoffeeCo for their latest updates and live music events important, in our business and in our lives generally. After getting our heads round things and spending some time with our families, we committed to a shop refurb, new menu, a switch to predominantly familyrun suppliers and an even more dedicated approach to customer service, all of which meant on some days we were busier than we had been prepandemic. We even got to the point where we needed to hire a new staff member – Santiago, the 13-year-old son of owners Andrea and Carl, escaping his bedroom for his first taste of work behind the counter. Every one of us has learnt things about ourselves over the past year and we’ve

realised the importance of social interaction, conversing with people and the part we play in people’s lives, even strangers, on a daily basis. As you read this we hope things are progressing back to normal, with our outdoor and indoor seating increased and plans for some of our famed live music events over the summer. Follow us on our social media pages @ BogotaCoffeeCo for what we’re doing for the rest of this exciting year and thank you to everyone that has shown such tremendous support throughout! Pop in to Bogota to enjoy some of the best coffee in MK and pick up a glossy copy of the latest Celebrate:MK magazine.


29TH JULY 2021

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Featuring Paul Eastwood and John Ryan

£29.95 PER PERSON Includes: a popadom with chutneys and Maaya royal banquet SPACES ARE LIMITED, CALL 01908 242665 TO BOOK OR EMAIL INFO@MAAYAMILTONKEYNES.COM

The Hub, 2 Rillaton Walk, Milton Keynes MK9 2FZ


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June/July 2021

Maaya is back open for summer The award-winning Indian restaurant has reopened for indoor dining

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ollowing months of takeaways at home, customers have at long last been able to pull up a chair and dine in comfort at Maaya Indian Kitchen & Bar, located in The Hub Milton Keynes As they tuck into their favourite dishes from the main, banquet and vegan menus, Maaya is back doing what it does best by serving freshly-cooked dishes straight from kitchen to table, with popular meals including the garlic chilli chicken, king prawn jalfrezi, lamb pasanda, an abundance of tasty sides and the famous sharing table naan. The return of table service means that their fully stocked bar lined with cocktails and classics is back in action, giving friends and family the chance to kick back, catch up and toast over a chilled glass of fizz or perfectly poured beer. If important occasions have been missed or celebratory events postponed, Maaya also offers delicious afternoon teas and bottomless brunches for up to six people, providing the ultimate spot for a special foodie feast. Starting the summer as they mean to go on – Maaya will be welcoming two fantastic comedians to the restaurant on Thursday 29 July for their ‘Curry On Laughing’ evening. The event, which will see the restaurant come to life with laughter and plenty of good times, costs just £29.95

per person, includes entrance to the event, poppadoms with chutneys to start and the Maaya Royal Banquet sharing menu. More details can be found at www.facebook.com/ MaayaMiltonKeynes/events. Alongside dining in, Maaya are continuing to offer their takeaways for collection and delivery – plus their ‘Cooking with Maaya’ vacuum-packed meal kits and loaded BBQ packs, containing marinated meats ready to sizzle on the grills as soon as the sun shines. Whilst the restaurant is back open, health, hygiene and social distancing measures will remain in place until the

restrictions are lifted entirely. Beyond 21 June – let’s hope that we can hug our friends and enjoy being out and about without masks, just like the old times! The restaurant’s opening days and hours are as follows: Tuesday & Wednesday 4pm - 10pm, Thursday & Friday 3pm - 10pm, Saturday 12pm 10pm, Sunday 12pm - 9pm. Ready to make up for lost time? Lock in your table at Maaya online in just a couple of clicks at www. maayamiltonkeynes.com, phone 01908 242665 or drop an email to info@ maayamiltonkeynes.com

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It's finally time to go 'out out' Professional stylist and fashion columnist Isabel Kelly shares outfits that range from the dressed up, to a more casual look... 1

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FwiathsIshabeiloKnelly 1. Delfi Collective Sophia dress, £445 View online at twiin.store/collections/dresses/products/the-sophia-dress 2. Thought Willa dress, £89.95 View online at www.johnlewis.com/thought-willa-straight-dress-paprika-red/p5463941 3. New Look gingham mini dress, £23.99 View online at www.newlook.com/uk/womens/clothing/dresses/black-gingham- crinkle-shirred-mini-dress/p/692005109 4. Reiss Nora top, £45 View online at www.reiss.com/p/spotted-one-shoulder-crop-top-womens-nora-in-black-metallic/

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ith June on the horizon and hopes that things are starting to get back to some kind of normality (and with fingers crossed that the weather is better), you may be considering going ‘out out’ for the first time, in a very long time! Styling clients tends to fall into two camps when it comes to outfits for going out – either those that love getting dressed up and the chance to wear something special, or those that really don’t see what all the fuss is about and would live in jeans or joggers, whatever the occasion. I’m a big believer in being comfortable but also feeling great in what you wear. It genuinely makes a huge difference to your mindset and I’m firmly in the ‘everything and the kitchen sink’ when it comes to getting dressed up! So, with that in mind, here

are four ideas for full on dressed up glamour, or pieces that will take you from day to night, if you prefer your going out look to be more casual. First up is a showstopper of a dress from independent brand Delfi Collective, £445. It’s true that it’s an investment piece, but this maxi-dress features a stunning baroque inspired Filagree floral print in a vibrant pink and red with puff sleeves, v-neck and a flattering cut for all body shapes. The elastic waist allows for ultimate comfort too! If you love the bright colours of the Delfi dress, but would like something from the High Street, this easy-to-wear red dress from Thought Clothing, £89.95, is a great option. The cotton fabric means you’ll stay cool, and the shape and belt offer you a dress that you could easily dress up with heels or down with trainers

and sandals – this is a beautiful all-rounder. It wouldn’t be summer without classic gingham, and New Look have a great mini dress, £23.99, that will work with trainers, flats, or heels. Give this outfit full on glamour with red lipstick, and matching accessories. Finally, if you’re not keen on dresses but love to wear jeans and a nice top, then have a look at Reiss. Their Nora spot top, £45, is crafted from chiffon fabric with velvet and metallic spots all over and would work with jeans, trousers, and skirts, giving you a versatile piece that will create lots of great outfits. 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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June/July 2021

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What’s on in your parks Each year we host hundreds of events across Milton Keynes’ parks. The line-up includes wildlife workshops, heritage walks, discovery strolls, dog walks, fitness activities and more. We even organise festivals and large community events. Our programme caters for all ages and there’s something for everyone to enjoy! Find out what we have planned for 2021 and how you can attend safely. www.theparkstrust.com/events

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June/July 2021

Enjoy a tour of one of the finest neo-Classical mansions in Europe

Explore the magnificent State Rooms at Stowe House

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ver the past year, many of us have discovered new walks and locations to explore in the local area. A particular favourite is the wonderful 250acre National Trust estate at Stowe, near Buckingham, which has provided welcome opportunities to blow away the cobwebs throughout every stage of lockdown. But how many of you are familiar with the magnificent building at the heart of the gardens, the house itself? Although you can hardly miss this imposing 400-room mansion as you walk the estate’s paths, many people assume that the interior of the house is off-limits as it is home to Stowe

School. However, the house – one of the finest neo-Classical mansions in Europe – is very much open to visitors throughout the year. The house is managed by the Stowe House Preservation Trust (SHPT), an independent charity who opens the house to visitors for guided tours during term time and self-guided tours during the school holidays. Stowe House’s history spans over 300 hundred years and charts the rise and fall of a great English dynasty, The Temple-Grenvilles, an extraordinary family who came to Stowe as sheep farmers and rose to be one of the wealthiest and most politically powerful families in the country. Employing some

of the most influential architects and designers of the time such as William Kent, Sir John Vanbrugh, Robert Adams and Sir John Soane, they

transformed Stowe from a country seat into the rural palace that you see today. For opening times and tickets, visit www.stowehouse.org


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watchwords are Quality, These days most homeowners suffer from Integrity and Value. Quality in thearound materials a lack of storage space. Visit celebratemk.co.uk for more news from MK So many precious items that we use for all our installations and the fact that need to be kept that all our loft packages – but where to store it are fitted by time served all? That’s where Home tradesmen, so our Counties Loft Ladders customers are assured come in. of the best job. The company, Integrity in that we based locally, offers will turn stand up at the homeowners themost hese days Ladders out.time opportunity to maximise we say and make sure homeowners Manager Jamie the house isare spotless their storage watchwords Quality, These days mostspace from from a Oakley explained: when we leave, and with suffer a loftsuffer ladder, Integrity and Value. homeowners storage “Our are valuewatchwords in the thatmaterials we offer 50sqft of of boarding and Quality in a lack of lack storage space. our services a price a light - all fullyitems fitted that So many Quality, Integrity and we use foratall our Sospace. many precious peopleQuality canand afford. in less to than day precious items thatfrom installations Value. in the the fact that need beakept just £355!toBut it’s not that allbusiness our loft packages – but where store it need to be kept – but materials thatrelies we use Our on just the affordability are fitted by time all? That’stowhere referrals and we served get a where store Home itthat all? for all our installations of the package so that our Counties Ladders huge amount of our That’sLoft where Home tradesmen, and the fact all calls makes Home Counties customers are who assured come in. from people have Loft Ladders stand Counties Loft Ladders our loft packages are referred of been the best job. to us by out, as manager Jamie come in. fitted by time served The company, our existing customers Oakley explains: based locally, offers‘Our Integrity in that we

- that simply wouldn’t happen if we didn’t June/July 2021 adhere to our overriding principles.

every installation we carry out!’

So, if you want to make use of your loft space, At the end of the day the call Jamie free on 0808 old adage that happy 301 9558 and he’ll be customers lead to more happy to pop round and happy customers is true give you a no obligation and we work hard to quote so you too can make that happen for make use of your loft!

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Gateway to a thousand glittering futures as Institute of Technology opens for business in Bletchley The new South Central Institute of Technology (SCIoT) has opened with a host of digital courses that you can choose to study in person, blended or online. It is a collaboration between Milton Keynes College, giant global brands like Microsoft and local companies such as Cranfield University, offering higher technical qualifications equivalent to university level in MK...

T

he first students are studying for an exciting digital future at the new South Central Institute of Technology (SCIoT) in Bletchley. The SCIoT is a collaboration between Milton Keynes College and a host of giant global companies like Microsoft, McAfee and KPMG and important local brands like Cranfield University and CCL Evidence Talks.

It offers a host of new digital courses and is expected to welcome a thousand students and apprentices a year as the only place in Milton Keynes offering higher technical qualifications equivalent to university level, as well as a range of short courses. The qualifications have been created with substantial input from business to ensure the skills taught will be the ones local industry

is crying out for. The SCIoT came into being thanks to the consortium winning a grant of £26 million pounds from the Department for Education in a national competition. It is the largest sum awarded to any Institute of Technology reflecting its importance to the city and the wider region. Principal, Alex Warner said: “This is a whole new concept in education in this country. The SCIoT will


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be an inclusive centre for technical qualifications, higher apprenticeships and training to plug the growing gap between demand and supply for key technical and digital roles, including cyber security.  “Students can choose to complete their studies in person, blended, or online as part of our Lifestyle Learning approach. “They’ll be taught by amazing people with upto-date experience in tech businesses and they’ll work on real world problems supplied by our partners. “This is a real joint effort by business and education to train people for the careers of the future.” Students will be taught by dual professionals, people with relevant experience in industry who know exactly the skills which are most in demand in the jobs market. Many of the courses on offer are so new they can’t be studied anywhere else in the country. Another unique feature of the SCIoT is the commitment to make sure the people studying

June/July 2021

reflect the community of Milton Keynes and the wider area it will serve. The SCIoT operates an EDI (Equality, Diversity & Inclusion) Steering Group and is already making progress in attracting students from harder-to-reach groups. Of students already recruited, 52% are from a Black, Asian, or Ethnic Minority background, 37% are disabled or neurodiverse, while 22% are female. “This is a place where everyone can learn,” Alex explained. “We strongly believe that the best businesses are the ones where the staff understand

the customers because they’re just like them. “Your background doesn’t matter, it’s your willingness to learn and your determination to build a great career. “Today virtually every business has a technical element to it and there are huge shortages, particularly in our area, so our graduates will have a real advantage in the job market.” The SCIoT is located at Sherwood Drive in Bletchley, plus Reading and Oxford. If you are interested in finding out more about courses, please email iot@mkcollege.ac.uk

Visit southcentraliot.ac.uk, call 01908 684444 or email iot@mkcollege.ac.uk for more information

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Bespoke brunching outdoors Our resident lifestyle blogger Amanda, aka Ginger Mum, talks about perfect platters, outdoor pools and shirred dresses to get you ready for summer

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un’s out buns out, hi guys! How blessed we all are this June & July to be so far out of the darkness of the past year – cheers to going outdoors to meet up because we want to, not because it’s all we are allowed! With that in mind, who better locally to set up our soiree than Luxe Outdoor Experience who bring anything from bespoke brunching to fine dining with their levelled up location bell tents. DM them on Instagram for prices and availability @luxeoutdoorexperience.

A perfect pairing actually now I think about it, would be Gourmet dinner lady who does the most divine platters for indoors or outdoors! One of the original UK grazing platter outfits, diamonds in life and masters of munchies! Delivering across the country, this sister act who previously warbled for the likes of James Arthur & Rag’n’Bone Man turned their hand to curated culinary pursuits and haven’t looked back. Check them out www. gourmetdinnerlady.com (but not when you are hungry, you will max out your credit card!)

It’s so great to be back at the gym, as you guys know I’ve been a David Lloyd stalwart for years now, and it’s great to feel the buzz again and work out with their state of the art machines and enjoy the banter with the PT’s. The biggest bonus is the lush outdoor pool for long lazy days with the kids, lunch by the pool, without having to jet off to foreign climes.

Clearly a shirred dress is the best bang for your buck frock this summer and I found this lush one in River Island in MK1 for £38 and it is a cracking summer staple. True to size and washes like a ribbon. Another option if you don’t want to show any leg would be this bargain from Next in centre:mk for a mere £26 See you next issue when we are all ready for schools out – how easy the 6 week summer holidays will be now we know we survived a year of the kids being off! Toodlepip y’all. Don’t forget you can follow my daily musings on my Instagram stories over @gingermumstyle

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When it comes to treatments, find

someone who understands you Celebrate:MK health and wellbeing columnist Gail Emms explains how important research is, if you're thinking about aesthetic treatments...

Gail Emms n lbeing colum Health & wel

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y motto has always been about “being the best me” and that includes personal, work, family, social, health, fitness and wellbeing. As a 43-year-old, it takes

a bit more work than it used to keeping in shape, diet and keeping my energy levels up. I’m also aware of beauty products and treatments that promise to deliver amazing results for a lot of money. It’s been on my mind for a while… but to be honest I have been scared and worried about the stigma of having something done. I feel confident about my body and how I look, but then sport has given me that platform to be able to express myself and feel confident about myself as a person. I am also not immune to the constant images that are on social media that it is inevitable to compare ourselves to others, but these platforms also show the many available beauty options out there that can help us feel that little bit better when we need it. To have an anti-aging treatment is to me, a vulnerable

experience and I wanted to make sure I had the best and get to know the practitioner well who understood this, know what I like, what I don’t want, and someone I could trust. Nicole O’Grady is the founder of the Brooklandsbased Olivia Cole Cosmetics and instantly I knew she would be perfect to help me. She listened to my concerns, answered all my questions and I felt reassured instantly. I have had the Sunekos treatment and the comments from people have been lovely. My skin feels smoother, hydrated, and I do look a bit younger (whoop!) and I am looking forward to working with Nicole more in the future! If you are considering boosting your confidence with aesthetic treatments, please do your research and find someone who understands you and will be honest. It is important to remember that 99% of your confidence comes from within. To book a consultation visit www.oliviacolecosmetics. co.uk Code: GAIL21 for discount

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Visit celebratemk.co.uk for more news from around MK

June/July 2021

Super-rich nutrients for anti-aging World-renowned beauty and skin expert Nilam Holmes talks about placenta-based treatments and a new skin product called Puromist

Beauty with

H

Ni lam

i, I’m Nilam Holmes, beauty expert to the stars and owner of renowned Dermaspa clinic and cosmetic brand EyebrowQueen. We have had the busiest month in our clinic since I opened in Milton Keynes 15 years ago. I have noticed a change in the business. I am finding that clients are wanting more intense longlasting treatments rather than pampering and most notably I have seen a huge increase in the number of male clients that have been visiting the clinic. The TV show 10 Years Younger in 10 Days has been a huge hit and we’ve had some amazing transformations. The last series of six episodes showed two transformations per episode. I did a combination of

high-tech beauty treatments on each person, alongside the other experts to make them look 10 years younger in 10 days. The only thing is, we see the results after 10 days on the show, but they look even more wow a month later when the results of all their treatments really kick in. I have really got into the use of stem cells (which is actually nothing new in beauty) within some of my treatments. It sounds gross but I am using stem cells extracted from human placenta, so they are super-rich in growth factors which are vital for anti-aging. Human Placenta extract has been used in medicine for around 50 years to help repair joints and skin after burns for example. Many animals and cultures eat their placenta after childbirth to nourish and replenish their bodies and you may have heard of people having their placenta made

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into capsules after childbirth. In beauty, we use ethically sourced cleaned and screened placenta extract and inject the micro-needle solution into the skin, to rejuvenate the skin. I have been working on a new skin product called Puromist, which is an amazing addition to anybody’s skincare routine. It is a completely natural skin purifier that kills all viruses including coronavirus, bacteria and fungus. I have seen so much maskne that I decided to design something that everyone could use and was kind to the skin. It kills bacteria in 30 seconds and can be sprayed frequently throughout the day, so it’s great when you’re out and about or in the gym touching equipment and then your body. It is perfect for skin health and we are due to launch in June. For more, visit dermaspa.co.uk and follow Nilam’s updates on Instagram @nilamholmes

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Molly's Pantry progress Hazel Roberts interviews Molly about the local greengrocers she set up in Bletchley during the pandemic, which now boasts a delivery service, a physical shop and an online shop

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olly’s Pantry is a small greengrocers and local food shop located just off Buckingham Road in Bletchley. But this popular and thriving business would not have come into existence without the pandemic. When Molly made the decision to study full time at university in 2020, she had not, unsurprisingly, foreseen a worldwide pandemic. Her business partner was working in theatre at the time so quickly lost his source of income too. With kids to feed, they thought fast and drew on old business contacts to set up The Pantry. Originally, it was a food delivery service, running out of borrowed premises. From there, a shop emerged, initially just on a fold out table. A year on, and the business is a delivery service and both an online and physical shop. “It is a real mind-blowing moment to sit back and realise how much has been achieved in just one year,” Molly said. When I ask her why people should shop from Molly’s Pantry, she replied: “It’s not my place to tell

Food scene

people where to shop but our customers say that we are more than just a food shop. We are also about the community and helping people where we live.” She goes on to explain that honest supply chains are at the heart of the business, offering good value, high quality produce that are local and plastic-free wherever possible. In addition, they have supplied food boxes for those who need them throughout the life of the business. With her own circumstances looking so bleak at the beginning of the pandemic, Molly knows how close she came to having to rely on food banks, so she says they will always do what they can to support people. “Every time customers come in, they ask what’s new, as we are continuously developing and growing to ensure that we can be a one stop shop,” she explained. Molly plans to set up some food education events, and there are ambitions to open a second shop. “Given the state of the world currently, who knows what’s next,” she said, “but with the support of our community, we will roll with it.”


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Waitrose bans plastic toys on magazines Retailer urges publishers to find recyclable alternatives for kids

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aitrose has stepped up its efforts to reduce single-use plastic by no longer selling children’s magazines containing disposable toys. The retailer was inspired to act after hearing about the campaign by a 10-year-old girl from Gwynedd, who has launched her own campaign to persuade publishers to end the practice. Many children’s magazines now contain free plastic toys which have a very short lifespan and cannot be easily recycled. This will not include educational or reusable craft items, such as colouring pencils

and pens or collectable models which are intended to be used multiple times. Waitrose has begun removing them from its supermarket shelves and is instead calling for magazine publishers to replace plastic

toys with more sustainable alternatives. Marija Rompani, Partner & Director of Ethics & Sustainability at Waitrose, said: “While we know these magazines are popular with children, some of the unnecessary plastic attached to them has become really excessive. Many in the younger generation really care about the planet and are the ones inheriting the problem of plastic pollution. “We urge publishers to find alternatives, and other retailers to follow our lead in ending the pointless plastic that comes with children’s magazines.”

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June/July 2021

How to create a mood board for your dream interior design Hugo Fleming, Design Director of award-winning local interior design company Cranberryhome, gives us an interiors insight into creating your perfect room

interior design co lumn

E

mbarking on any new room upgrade, whether it’s redecorating your living room or remodelling your kitchen, can be both exciting and overwhelming. With so many decisions to make around paint colours, fabrics, furniture and more, where do you start? One of the best ways to kickstart your design is to create a mood board to help organise your ideas. However, before you even start your mood board, you must think about your floor plan and furniture arrangement. Establishing a good furniture lay-out creates balance and ensures flow. Mood boards are collages of inspiration. These help you visualise and experiment with the design direction of your project. It is always helpful to have a visual snapshot of how your space will look and feel before you embark on your room upgrade. Step 1 Mood boards can be tangible or digital so choose your preferred medium before you

start. We use a combination of digital mood boards and A3 physical boards with our clients. Step 2 Gather design inspiration from Pinterest and interior design websites, magazines cuttings, samples, colours and accessories. Include furniture, lighting, flooring, fabrics and colours in your ideas. Step 3 Arrange and rearrange your mood board to get the best look. Try experimenting with different combinations of colour, texture and pattern. Keep items in proportion on your mood board as they will likely appear in the actual room. Step 4 Use the mood board to

inform your design decisions. Ensuring you are happy with the combination of colours, textures, fabrics and furniture on your board first before ordering will mean an attractive and well thought out design scheme. Making your mood board can be fun, so be bold. Experiment with colour, styles and textures. Make your mistakes on the mood board so that you don’t make expensive mistakes in your room. 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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Summer cycling safety tips Nick Hopton, of Blue Horse Bikes in Drayton Parslow, offers his advice

N

ow summer is finally here and the evenings stay lighter for longer, many of us will be tempted to dust off bikes that have been hibernating for the winter. Before you go out on the roads for the first time, it is important to stop and think, not just whether your bike works, but whether it is safe and legal to be out on the roads. There are a few simple checks to make to quickly and easily ensure your bike is safe and legal for the roads... Is there any play in the headset? Without sitting on the bike, squeeze front brake to stop the front wheel moving and rock the handlebars backwards and forwards. It should feel solid, with no movement or knocking. Is there any play in the wheel hubs? If you hold the rim of each wheel, with it off the ground, then try moving it side to side, again there should be no sideways movement or noises. The same goes for the bottom bracket that the pedal crank arms are attached to, if you hold a crank arm and try and pull and push it away from/towards the bike, it should feel solid. Are the tyres in good condition, no bald spots or cracks that go deep into the tyre? If the bike has not been used for some time, it may well have lost pressure, as rubber innertubes leak air over time. Also check for any thorns etc. that may be lodged in the tyre, before inflating to correct pressure. At least the maximum pressure should be displayed on the tyre sidewall. Are the brakes worn or need adjusting? If you push the bike along without sitting on it, then

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pull the front brake on, the front wheel should stop you and the back wheel come up off the ground slightly. If you do the same with the back brake with one hand, whilst putting pressure on the seat with the other, the back wheel should stop and skid along, not rotate. Do the gears work as they should? Most bikes have derailleur gears these days, so it is worth checking the gears move smoothly, without the chain coming off the gears altogether, or any stiffness in the chain links that could cause it to skip or jump off the gears. There are also minimum legal requirements to be out on Britain’s roads on a bicycle between sunset and sunrise. The lights don’t apply during daylight hours, but it would be best practice to have as many in place as possible at all times. Apart from lights, new bikes sold in the UK must include these features...

A visible rear, red reflector between 25cm and 90cm from the ground. Four yellow pedal reflectors, 1 facing front, 1 facing rear on each pedal. A front lamp showing a white light, up to 150cm from the ground, facing forwards. If capable of emitting only a flashing light, it must emit at least four candela (a unit of light intensity, comfortably exceeded by modern lights). If capable of emitting a steady light, the light must comply to BS6102/3 standards. A rear lamp showing a red light, positioned between 35cm and 150cm from the ground, facing rearwards. If capable of emitting only a flashing light, it must emit at least four candela. If capable of emitting a steady light, it must comply to BS3648, or BS6102/3 standards. Two independent braking systems (rear fixed wheel or coaster brake systems count as 1). It is not a legal requirement to have a bell, although new bikes must be sold with one, as is the case for front and wheel reflectors, and their use is suggested in the Highway Code. The important message though, is to make sure you are safe and confident, both in your and your bike’s ability to be out on the roads. If you need advice, or anything doing to your bike that you are not competent in doing yourself, you can contact me at Blue Horse Bikes, or any other qualified technician such as those in the Cytech Directory. Call Nick at Blue Horse Bikes on 07464 171032, visit www.bluehorsebikes.co.uk or email info@bluehorsebikes.co.uk


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June/July 2021

Running through pregnancy Murphy Runs shares some exciting news and the changes she's seen during runs

H

ello happy runners! This month I have some news that I am excited to share with you – I am expecting my first child this September. It’s been a whirlwind of a year for me that’s for sure, and I wanted to bring you up to speed with my pregnancy running experience. At the time of writing, I am 20 weeks pregnant – half way! So far, I’ve had a really positive experience. I have been incredibly luckily to have had minimal symptoms and my routine of running 4-5 days per week has been able to stay put. Running always has, and always will, be an activity that soothes my mind and

brings me energy. By keeping up with running, even on the days that I don’t feel like it, or perhaps needing to run a shorter distance than planned, I genuinely feel this has helped keep many symptoms and stresses at bay. However, some things have definitely changed for me. My pace dropped pretty instantly. It was actually during a 5 mile tempo run that I realised I should do a pregnancy test. I just could not get up to speed without having to stop every minute or so. I jogged back home and there it was – a positive test! At first it was disheartening to see my pace drop, but pretty quickly I got over it as I understood my body is now

Murphy Runs working much harder, and I am actually really enjoying running without any pressure or expectations. I’m excited to see how long I will be able to continue to run. My dream would be to continue right to the end, but my main goal is to stay active every single day. Staying strong and active will ensure a smoother return to running after the baby arrives and will help me cope better with the physical changes I will go through. Let’s hope this little one is a fan of a running buggy when they’re a bit older – they’ll be spending plenty of time in one! Follow Anastasia’s running adventures on Instagram @MurphyRuns

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34

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Stunning tyre sculptures Tyre Talk Louis Ray Pantling, owner of Tyres Direct in Bletchley, tells us how old tyres have been reused by artists to create wonderful works of art

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ou may think tyres are boring, if you do, these tyre sculptures may help to change your mind. Photo 1 is from a Korean artist Yong Ho Ji, check his creations at http://yonghoji. com/db/. Next time you decide to throw away your old tyres, think about what you could do with them, maybe attempt to make some sculptures yourself! As you know old tyres are a major environmental issue and I hope that showcasing a use for them like this will be an inspiration to others. For many, many years I have had more than an interest in tyre sculpturing. At Tyres Direct I have a bird sculptured out of a discarded tyre, and have tried many other designs. My personal favourite tyre sculpture is Nkwocha Ernest, his artwork using old tyres he

finds scattered around Lagos, Nigeria are simply mind blowing (photo 2). Google his name and admire his masterpieces, or you can check him out on Facebook and Instagram. In photo 3, this sculpture

TyrE Talk

was made of shredded tyre rubber and is my all-time favourite – the painstaking hours it must have taken were well worth it for the end result.

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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08/11/2017 13:15:31


Solution on page 43

Your June/July crossword

Across 1 Wild horse, not yet broken in (7,6) 8 Sent a message via the airwaves (7) 9 Smooth line containing no straight portions or no sharp angles (5) 10 Scourge (4) 11 Intentionally unobtrusive (8) 13 Astonished (6) 14 Mover on ice (6) 17 Catholic prayer (4,4) 19 Pack away (4) 21 (Of an angle) less than 90º (5) 22 Miscellany (7) 24 Texas (4,4,5) Down 1 Music unit (3) 2 Solo passage towards the end of a piece of music (7) 3 Golf club (4) 4 Large wading bird, like a curlew — two dig (anag) (6) 5 Small bun (said to look solid!) (4,4) 6 Cheek (informal) (5) 7 Topple (9) 10 Inflatable object for play by the sea (5,4) 12 With no apparent gaps between one part and the next (8) 15 Fairy queen (7) 16 Black Sea peninsula (6) 18 Put ashes into an appropriate container (5) 20 Positive thing (4) 23 The First Lady (3)

June/July sudoku

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June/July 2021

They're creepy and they're kooky Cara Lee talks about upcoming productions that will appear at Milton Keynes Theatre, with the likes of The Addams Family and Dreamgirls

show stoppers

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t’s actually been a pretty good time for theatre fans recently! We had the trailer for the brand-new film version of West Side Story, out this December and almost every major West End show has announced reopening (or in some cases opening) dates, mostly ranging from May to October. Some of the biggest include Les Mis (20th of May) Phantom of the Opera (21st of July) and Frozen (now opening on the 27th of August). Speaking of theatre on the big screen, the muchanticipated reopening of cinemas from the 17th of May will bring the film adaptation of Hamilton writer Lin Manuel Miranda’s first hit musical In

the Heights, out in cinemas on the 25th of June. Going back to MK, we’ve also had at least one pretty big piece of local touring news close to the time of writing. More specifically, we’ve had more information about Dreamgirls, which is at Milton Keynes Theatre on its big new tour from the 25th of January to the 5th of February. Loosely based on the story of the Supremes and the careers of similar groups, the show first hit Broadway in the 80s, before being turned into a film starring Beyonce, Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy and Jennifer Hudson in 2006, before finally having its first award-winning UK stage production in 2016. Tickets went on sale on the 27th of April and are available at atgtickets.com. It’s also been confirmed that Samantha Womack and Cameron Blakley will once again be starring in the Addams Family Musical, at Milton Keynes Theatre from the 31st of August to the 4th of September. Unfortunately, for now the reopening of MK Theatre has also been delayed until at least Saturday the 26th of June. Stantonbury Theatre’s

current reopening date is set for the 31st of July, while Aylesbury Waterside Theatre hadn’t released any official news on this at the time of going to print. But at least we have a lot of great theatre locally, in London and on the big screen to look forward to when things do eventually go back to normal! 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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Being a full-time dad is class Freelance writer, blogger and married dad-of-two Gareth Ellis writes about taking his children to local Cha Char Chimps and Tree Tots classes

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love spending time with the kids. Throughout each of the lockdowns I got to spend plenty of time with them both, but it was predominantly at home. Walks were fun (but cold), but soft play centres and classes were closed. So, you can imagine my delight when they started to open up again (and Emilia was old enough to understand and enjoy them). Rupert and Emi have both developed a love of being outside, and we love taking them to the multitude of green spaces around us, like Campbell Park and Willen Lake. That’s why Tree Tots is such a natural fit for them as they can be outside, in Howe Park Woods, playing. It’s run by volunteers from the Parks Trust, and they seem to genuinely love interacting with the children. I took both of them for the first time recently and they just love it. For Rupert he can explore and wander round with other children. He usually gravitates towards the water area, using the watering cans and the saucepans to make a lovely concoction. It’s usually ‘pasta’ with twigs acting as spaghetti and leaves as cheese. For Emi, she liked the musical bits, and was

Dad's The Word

strangely drawn to a giant microscope – maybe she’ll be a detective one day. With lockdown easing we’ve also seen the return of a few of the indoor classes – and one that has quickly become the kids’ favourite is Cha Char Chimps. With classes in different areas in Milton Keynes it’s a mix of dancing, music and play – plus parents get a bit of tiffin, what could be bad? And I have to admit, with the classes I’ve been to, I love getting involved and showing

off my ‘dad moves.’ Luckily, the kids are still too young to be embarrassed by my dancing. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of time in the future for me to bust out the hokey-cokey as they watch on and cringe – for now I’ll enjoy the fact that they laugh…. with me. Gareth writes a regular blog at www.garethellisblog. wordpress.com and you can follow him on Instagram @dads_the_word_blog


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June/July 2021

The return of the silver screen Jason Day previews the biggest movies set to hit the big screen in June and July as cinemas reopen

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ollowing Boris Johnson’s announcement, cinemas across the country were allowed to reopen from 17 May. Some chose to open later and others remained quiet, but the good news for us locally is that Cineworld and Odeon have both now reopened in Milton Keynes. The devil’s in the detail but for most of us, these are some of the new movies you’ll be able to see on the big screen. Dream Horse (out on June 4) Toni Collette plays a supermarket cashier who decides to breed a champion, money-spinning racehorse. The townsfolk get behind her and chip in financial support, creating an equine co-operative. Based on a true story, this whimsical comedy co-stars Damian Lewis. The Father (June 11) Anthony Hopkins was a

controversial Best Actor Oscar choice this year as many expected Chadwick Boseman to get a posthumous award. But there’s no denying his fine performance as an elderly man convinced his daughter (Olivia Colman. Or is it Olivia Williams?) is tricking him out of his apartment. The film works stealthily with a great script and evocative classical music. Nobody (June 21) Ryan Reynolds, Salma Hayek and Samuel L. Jackson had a hit back in 2017 with this crime/comedy caper in which Reynolds played a bodyguard protecting convicted hitman Jackson. Hayek played Jackson’s wife and the three are reunited in this good-natured sequel in which they try to save her. Another Round (July 2) Winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film, in which a group of weary high school teachers conduct an experiment to

maintain a constant level of tolerable inebriation to increase their creativity and happiness. Then they decide to up the ante. Mads Mikkelson stars. Black Widow (July 9) Marvel comics-based blockbuster starring Scarlett Johannsen in the title role. She finds herself alone and forced to confront a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past. The Croods 2: A New Age (July 16) Animated flick following the adventures of the prehistoric Crood family who, after their previous adventures, face something very different and alarming – another family. Emma Stone is one of the stars doing the vocal work. You can read more in-depth reviews from Jason by following him on Twitter: @Reelreviewer

Call 07928 027444 or email jon@celebratemk.co.uk if you are interested in advertising in Celebrate:MK

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Customer acquisition and loyalty Heather Murphy, owner of Brand Mission, talks about how customer loyalty is more important than ever, due to a change in spending habits

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ilton Keynes has over 14,000 businesses making competition fierce for many industries – and a recent study revealed 61% of consumers have changed their spending since Covid-19*, making customer loyalty more important than ever. Growing loyalty from customers in the right way will achieve lifetime value but understanding the best approach can be a challenge – particularly when business owners are running the dayto-day operation, which is where working with an agency can help. Brands will have learnt how to adapt during the pandemic and, with the full re-opening of the consumer industry underway, it’s important organisations continue to make adaptions to meet the needs of their consumers and business model as normality unfolds. Acquiring new customers can be challenging enough,

but gaining loyalty will bring bigger rewards so this should form an important part of any marketing plan. Organisations benefit from working with creative agencies as marketing experts will spend time assessing, researching and developing carefully thought-out and unique loyalty schemes. Developing meaningful engagement and offering rewards to customers will lead to long-lasting loyalty. It’s key to ensure the rewards are appropriate, attractive to the customer and also viable to manage as a business. Not all loyalty is built on schemes and dangling carrots, often it’s about creating an experience that builds an emotional bond between the consumer and business. Word of mouth remains the most powerful and effective marketing tool so businesses should ensure that each customer receives a positive experience at every interaction with a human

approach and encourage reviews where possible. Need some support to devise a plan to attract new customers and gain long-term loyalty? Brand Mission has over 9 years of experience in consumer marketing & PR across multiple industries and can help shape short and long-term marketing plans. *Source: McKinsey & Company – UK consumer sentiment during the coronavirus crisis

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.


Visit celebratemk.co.uk for more news from around MK

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June/July 2021

Local Business Directory To advertise, email jon@celebratemk.co.uk or call 07928 027444 Accountant AD Accountancy........01908 675938 Beauty and Aesthetics Dermaspa..................01908 242023 Make Up By Della B 07980 927337 Chiropractor Isis Chiropractic.......01908 307075 Dancewear Design Agency Sole2Sole....................01908 567823 Dentist MK Dental Spa...........01908 569949

Mortgage Advisor BMC.............................07756 315441 Heating

Printer Bartham Press..........01582 573471

Home Fuels................07867 386343

Neves Solicitors.........01908 304560 Schools Swanbourne House...01296 720264 Shopping centre

Home and Garden Prestige Lawns..........01908 542422 Snug Roofs.................01908 645566 Tame Your Conservatory 07598 341793 Home Loft Ladders...0808 3019558 Cloudy2Clear Windows 0800 6121118 Motoring

Food and Drink

Vehicle Crash Repairs...01908 377217 Tyres Direct MK.........01908 367770

Blossom Room...........01908 694777 Riverford MK..............01908 238100 Maaya Indian..............01908 242665

Private Members’ Club Alpha Club MK..........01908 354960

Handyman Odd Jobs....................07464 171032

Public Relations and Marketing Brand Mission..............07970 395110 Perception PR..............01908 380936

S & M Leaflet Distribution Make your business stand out from the crowd with solus leaflet distribution. 10% off first campaign! From cards, newsletters and menus, to leaflets and magazines, we deliver them all in the local area. A reliable and affordable family business.

Call us now on 07783 416052 Or email sarah.deakin@rocketmail.com for a quote

Crossword solution

Solicitors

centre:mk...................01908 678641 Sport and Fitness David Lloyd Club.......01908 207907 Let’s Kick It.................07415 178399 Be Military Fit.............07984 775332 Studio44 Training.....07808 030091 Taxis Skyline Taxis...............01908 222111 Theatre MK Theatre.................08448 717652

BLUE HORSE BIKES

Used Cycle Sales, Mobile Servicing, Repairs, Accessories & Bikes Wanted

07464 171032 www.bluehorsebikes.co.uk

info@bluehorsebikes.co.uk

Sudoku solution

You can find this month’s crossword and sudoku puzzles on the Puzzle Page on page 36. No peeking at the answers until you’ve finished!


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