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darling Summer 2021


Laura Dockrill of Zombiemum

living in SW London & North Surrey | darlingmagazine.co.uk


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Here comes summer!

Cover Girl Laura Dockrill

Publisher Darling Magazine UK Ltd

Whether you’re coming, going or staying, this issue of Darling is the perfect holiday companion. Bubbling over with great reads and summer inspiration. Influencer Laura Dockrill a.k.a. ‘Zombiemum’ speaks her mind on motherhood and mental health. Plus an exclusive interview with author Helen O’Mara on how men contrived to steal Hollywood from women. Don’t miss Sophie Lutz’s

Marja-Leena Toseland

Until autumn... EDITORS Karine & Marja-Leena

See the very latest in our online magazine and what’s new in Shop with Darling at darlingmagazine.co.uk

Karine Torr & Marja-Leena Toseland


insights into how the different generations have coped with Covid and now that it’s nearly over, we’re turning the spotlight to the high streets springing back to life in our SW London communities: enjoy our focus on fashion with the Top 10 Surrey boutiques, our special restaurant picks and a fabulous feature on Wimbledon Village, just in time for the return of The Championships. New balls please!


07802 949836


Laura Dockrill inspiring Zombiemum

Karine Torr


Our best ethical summer fashion favs

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11 Top 10 Surrey boutiques to swoon over

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15 Oath Home – supporting homeless children 17 Job hunting with Auricoe 18 Spotlight on Wimbledon Village 22 Long Covid and your heart health risks 23 Funerals in nature with White Rose

Kate Greenhalgh Paul Mendelson

24 Super summer dining spots


28 How have the Gens coped with Covid?

Taylor Torr

Design Director

Hermina Williams design@herminawilliams.com


Direct Colour mark@directcolour.com


Right Distribution Whilst every care has been taken to ensure that the data in this publication is accurate, neither the publisher nor its editorial contributors can accept, and hereby disclaim, any liability to any party to loss or damage caused by errors or omissions resulting from negligence, accident or any other cause. Darling Magazine does not officially endorse any advertising material included within this publication. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in any retrieval system, or transmitted in any form – electronic, recording or otherwise, without prior permission from the publisher.

27 International Week at The Rowans 31 Your pelvic floor and more – Naked Health 33 Put your metabolism on hyperdrive at Esthe Clinic 35 Falling in love with Pam Custers 37 Moving forward after giving birth – Emma Parr 38 Changing times for modern fathers 40 Our regular bridge column with Paul Mendelson 41 Buy to let property investment tips 42 Carole’s delish banana cake with a twist 43 Home Instead – elderly care at home 45 Summer fun at David Lloyd 46 Women vs Hollywood. Exclusive interview 48 Darling Diary – summer arts and culture 50 Men hate socialising? Surely not, says Kate

read more at darlingmagazine.co.uk summer 21


Laura Dockrill brushes taboos aside with Zombiemum 4

read more at darlingmagazine.co.uk summer 2021



aura is a strong woman of many talents - a performance poet, author, illustrator and a podcast host.

Born and bred in Brixton, she attended The Brit School of Performing Arts in Croydon with best friend Adele and singer Kate Nash. Adele’s song “My Same” was inspired by a hump in their friendship. She has performed at gigs and festivals at Glastonbury, Latitude, Camp Bestival, The Big Chill, udderBELLY and the London Word Festival. Newsnight Review and Woman’s Hour have also had her on. Her new book What Have I Done? is an account of the postpartum psychosis she experienced after the birth of her son in 2018. A relatively unknown condition that affects around one in a thousand new mothers. It forced her into in a psychiatric ward, without her baby, when Jet was just three weeks old. The symptoms include delusions, hallucinations, paranoia and manic moods, so it is serious, yet we don’t talk about it much for the fear of looking like a failure at a time when we feel the pressure to be blissfully happy. Laura wants to bring the conversation out in the open in order to help others and has just launched a podcast, Zombiemum, to do just that.

Let’s start with Zombiemum. What has the reaction to it been and who have you had on the podcast so far? The reaction has been totally overwhelming, warm and positive, (as I was totally scared to put this out there because every time I do something about my experience I feel like I’m running down the street emotionally naked!) But more

because, shockingly unfortunately, I just still cannot believe how many sufferers of maternal mental illness sit in silence with it. Many struggle alone or don’t ask for help whilst caring for their little ones. Raising a child anyway can make us anxious, there’s pressure and expectation, then there’s maybe the after effects of a sometimes painful or upsetting labour, sleep deprivation and trauma. On top of that, the isolation and fear of a pandemic. It’s a scary time. I didn’t realise how much of a life line the podcast would be and I’m just so grateful to the production company and all of the Zombiemum guests for making it happen. I think the really cool thing about a podcast is the shorthand, you can get to the point within moments, you can be conversational and real. You can be in the ear of a listener, maybe saying exactly the words they need to hear at that time. The impact has the potential to be so powerful. We’ve had some amazing guests, all from different lived experiences: the wonderful Paloma Faith speaking of postnatal depression but also the need to get back to ‘yourself’ after having a baby, Catherine Cho who wrote the incredible memoir, Inferno, speaking of Postpartum Psychosis, Lemn Sissay who grew up in the care system. My biggest hope is that the podcast doesn’t just raise awareness about maternal mental health but mental health in general. It’s all about smashing stigmas, normalising conversations and throwing darkness into the light.

What Have I Done? is a brutally honest account of your experiences during your psychosis, yet delivered with plenty of humour too. What was it like to write it? It was difficult to write, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t, mostly because I had a 6 month-old baby on my chest the entire time and wrote the majority of the book on my phone! As anybody with a small baby knows, time to yourself is read more at darlingmagazine.co.uk summer 2021


limited. Plus after my illness I was drenched into a thick fog of depression that I was trying to crawl out of! That said, having my baby right there, physically in front of me whilst writing really helped, it was such a reminder of why I was doing what I was doing, his love was a constant and a warm little body to hug was ideal when I dug into the tough bits. There are some parts of the illness you just can’t fix with medication and therapy, some bits you have to, unfortunately, find on your own. But I say, whatever works! After the illness I spent months trying to push the illness away from me, pretend it didn’t happen and move on, there’s a lot of shame and guilt in the wake of it all but actually embracing my illness, leaning into my experience, sharing and talking and hearing other stories is what healed me. I would say that writing What Have I Done? most definitely saved my life. I am actually grateful to it now.

You are a fabulously funny and engaging poet and have written novels for young adults and children as well as a children’s poetry collection My Mum’s Growing Down about an unconventional mum. Can young readers expect more from you soon? 6

read more at darlingmagazine.co.uk summer 2021

Ahh yes, thanks so much- I don’t always feel very funny but I’ll take that! I think being a children’s author and then going on to have a maternal mental illness after the birth of my own baby almost felt like a sick joke in itself! But now I embrace that too. The key is that knowledge is power, I kind of wish I knew that it was possible to get so unwell after such an everyday universal experience like having a baby. Adults try to shield kids from mental illness because they think it’s scary, I get it, I do, but in my opinion it is scarier NOT to know that this stuff exists. Because the illness is treatable. The biggest symptom of mental illness is fear. And we shouldn’t pretend it doesn’t exist, if we know about it we can put measures in place to take care of ourselves and those around us. So I’m working on something for younger readers about this too. Full of comfort, reassurance and hope. In the meantime The Lipstick, is my latest picture book just released and readers can look out for Blossom and The Dream House too which are out later in the year! n

To read more please go to darlingmagazine.co.uk

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Top 10 boutiques in Surrey

Surrey has it all, apart from golden beaches that is. You can find the prettiest of English villages, vibrant towns, vineyards, stunning scenery, hills and valleys (ok not the Alps), fantastic schools and even the Chelsea Football Club training ground. But for any place worth its salt it has to have fantastic independent shops and fashion is at the top of many of our lists for great shopping. See our top picks for fantastic boutiques selling amazing brands and even designer pre-loved luxury. Courtyard, Guildford

The Gate Boutique, Guildford

Courtyard has built up a great reputation over the 20 years since it first opened in Angel Gate, and in 2017 won the Best Julia Jaconell in her boutique Independent Womenswear Store in the UK award. Owner Julia Jaconelli likes to discover sustainable and ethically made brands that are loved by all ages and she is great at sourcing new up-and-coming designers as well as stocking more well known collections such as 120% Lino, Riani, Luisa Cerano, Rails, Essentiel Antwerp, Dea Kudibal and Cecilie Copenhagen. There is also cashmere by Henry Christ, 360 Sweater and Van Kukil, beautiful bags by Tissa Fonteneda and Campo Maggi and shoes by Kennel and Schmenger and Pons Quintana. This is a store for understated luxury clothing.

The Gate is run by fashion entrepreneur, Liz Trendle, who has over 20 years of experience in the fashion industry. The Gate Boutique has long been one of the top style destinations for women in Surrey and prides itself on its handpicked collections, such as Liz Trendle, Paige, Day Birger et The Gate Boutique Mikkelsen and Velvet, as well as hidden gem designers including By Malina, Birgitte Herskind and Kori, all uncovered by owner Liz and her expert team. Personal service is on top of their priorities and with a team of four stylists they create a friendly and professional boutique experience. The Gate offers customers trusted styling advice and service.



Bag by Tissa Fonteneda

Devotion Aztec Ella Dress £239

read more at darlingmagazine.co.uk summer 2021


Catwalk Boutique, Godalming

Jeremy Hobbs, Cobham

Liz Trendle from The Gate Boutique also owns Catwalk Boutique in the pretty high street of Godalming where it has been delighting happy shoppers for over 20 years. The brand mix is fresh and unique with collections from great Liz Trendle, Catwalk UK and European brands such as Oui, Suncoo, Part Two, Great Plains, and Moliin. There is always a great selection of footwear and accessories too that will complete your look. The store is loved by customers of all ages with sizes from 8 to 16 and the trusted staff are always on hand to offer expert advice should you welcome it. Moliin Mariam


Dress £199

Jeremy Hobbs is a family run, menswear boutique in the heart of Cobham. Andrew Hobbs has been in charge of the boutique for the past 10 years, it was founded by Andrew’s father, Jeremy, over 30 years ago. They specialise in quality casual wear Andrew Hobbs, outside and sell popular brands Jeremy Hobbs such as Gant, Tommy Hillfiger, Hackett and Claudio Luigi. This season’s newcomer is Scotch & Soda with a great summer collection. You’ll also find a great selection of shoes and accessories from sunglasses, belts, ties to cufflinks, and more. Check out their comprehensive formal wear hire service too which offers dinner, morning and lounge Swole Panda, the suits. jeremyhobbs.co.uk recycled woven belt


The Interior Edit, Esher

Fusspotts is a pre-loved luxury fashion boutique. Sisters Sarah Milsom and Suzy Green have been buying and selling preloved luxury fashion for over 40 years. They absolutely Sisters Sarah Milsom and Suzy Green love discovering beautiful new designer items and reuniting these with new adoring owners. Feeling that they are doing a little bit for the planet by encouraging reuse of items that have years of wear left in them is the icing on the cake. They encourage you to take your gently used pre-loved handbag or new pair of shoes you no longer love to Fusspotts so that they can match them up with a new owner. Selling through them is easy and enjoyable.

Founded and run by experienced interior designer and fashion lover Natasha Galstaun, whose motto ‘celebrating life in colour’ is all evident in her fabulously colourful boutique. Natasha Galstaun at The Interior Edit The Interior Edit is a lifestyle concept, stocking interiors and fashion, obsessed with colour, pattern and texture which is reflective in their collections. Their style is an edited version of current trends, from bohemian to vintage to Scandi and more. They also offer a bespoke curtain and blind service and stock a wide range of designer fabrics.




Louis Vuitton Artsy bag £1450

read more at darlingmagazine.co.uk summer 2021

They’ve recently branched out into fashion and stock brands such as Lolly’s Laundry, Sugarhill as well as beautiful French and Italian fashion.

Dress by Lolly’s Laundry

Jules Boutique, Oxted

Paradise Boutique, Hampton Court

Jules fashion boutique brings a hint of the Mediterranean and the French Riviera to the quintessentially charming town of Oxted. The shop’s exquisite and elegant decor spans two levels with a beautiful Mediterranean style courtyard for customers Jules in her boutique to enjoy. Jules has an extremely knowledgeable flair for fashion, following her 20-year successful modelling career and extensive experience in retail. Her ethos is simple: “I want my customers to experience a new way of shopping. Fun, friendly and fulfilling with a personal touch. I want to give every woman that something special”. Her collections include Italian flair from Elisa Cavaletti, Spanish elegance of Carla Ruiz and cool, sophisticated chic of Paris. PH Firenze jules-boutique.co.uk

A ladies’ fashion boutique located ten minutes’ walk from Hampton Court Palace. Since opening in July 2018, Helen Looker’s gorgeous store has gained a loyal following of devoted customers who love discovering unique and special Helen Looker outside Paradise Boutique pieces that cater for all occasions, budgets and ages. There is also a beautiful collection of jewellery and gifts. The store is an array of colour and beautiful prints by brands such as Scotch & Soda, Suncoo Paris, Mos Mosh, Nümph, Emily Lovelock, Dilli Grey and more. Paradise Boutique is an award-winning store that offers a personal, friendly environment plus a personal styling service. Chania Sunset Dress, paradiseboutiquesurrey.com

Number Six, Cobham

Phoenix Style, Cobham and Wimbledon Village

resort wear

by Zaimara £185

“A dream come true, my own little curiosity shop” laughs owner Sally Case. Number Six is an omni channel boutique offering collections from around the world. Our aim is to provide an eclectic mix of brands, offering individuality. Sally’s philosophy is simple - every woman should feel individual, Sally Case, special and admired. We strive Number Six to maintain a friendly, relaxed environment for you to feel comfortable. Many of our brands offer sustainable options, something we look for in all our choices. This summer’s collection is a fabulous mix of greens, blues and subtle neutrals, from flowing dresses and blouses to more structured pieces, all of which can be dressed up or down to enable you to have a more flexible wardrobe. Brands include Twinset, Odd Molly, Scotch and Soda, Berenice and Second Female. Twinset Long

With over 40 years’ experience, Phoenix Style is one of the UK’s original destinations for luxury resale fashion and accessories. Phoenix has always been Phoenix Style ahead of its time Wimbledon Village boutique well before the rise of pre-loved and sustainable fashion, buying and selling luxury designer fashion, bags, jewellery and shoes in the heart of Cobham, Surrey and most recently in Wimbledon Village has awarded this iconic store with a great following. Their rare finds, classic and contemporary must-haves from hundreds of brands are also on sale online to a broader and global community. The dedicated team of authentication specialists and devoted customers also makes selling your pre-loved items with Phoenix Style simple, fast and profitable.



Creponne Dress £275.00

Chanel Jumbo handbag £3100

read more at darlingmagazine.co.uk summer 2021 13

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Much more than a cushion Sustainable luxury home furnishings supporting homeless children from Oath Home Waste is pointless. Waste is… well… a waste. From its fledgling days working from their founder’s living room, through to their position today as the go-to organisation for the rescuing of unused, luxury fabrics, Oath Home has striven to reduce the pointless waste of beautiful, sumptuous textiles and to give them a new lease of life. Oath Home has partnered with designers, interiors specialists, production studios and sustainable warehouses to coordinate the repurposing of thousands of metres of silks, velvets, linens, and various other luxury fabrics; fabrics that, without their intervention, would have been incinerated or otherwise destroyed. Once safely delivered to Oath Home’s West London Studios, the fabrics are sorted, assessed and carefully curated into complementary colour palettes, ready for their experienced designers to put together Oath Home’s latest creation. Whilst Oath Home’s best sellers are cushions, the team works with smaller and smaller pieces of

leftover fabric to make the most of every inch, creating door stops, face masks and other accessories to beautify your home. A soon as your purchase is in the post to you, the team at Oath Home donate 100% of the profits from your sale to the charity Step by Step, a charity that works to break the cycle of youth homelessness. Oath Home and Step by Step strongly believe that children and young people should not be defined by their circumstance; they should not have to sacrifice their aspirations or life chances simply because they find themselves homeless. Step by Step helps to provide accommodation, education, counselling, professional training and mentoring to protect physical and mental health. Youth homelessness often leads to serious problems in adult life; by preventing children from becoming homeless, Step by Step breaks this cycle and gives young people a chance to succeed. n oathhome.co.uk 0330 390 3737 info@oathhome.co.uk

Fabrics donated by them | Furnishings created by us | Lives transformed by you

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read more at darlingmagazine.co.uk summer 2021



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How thinking in miniature led two local entrepreneurs to a huge idea Auricoe, a recruitment agency with a real purpose


att Goodman and Gerry Ashison’s story began in Wimbledon, where it remains firmly rooted to this day. Having met at King’s College School in the nineties, their journey has been layered with international competitions, science degrees, and music production - a career finding work for others came somewhat out of the blue.

Where do I want to work and where will I succeed? The recruitment company that they founded in 2006, rebranded Auricoe in 2020, is on a game-changing quest, transitioning from finding people jobs, to finding them work with purpose. The premise focuses on the single factor that binds these two together: values. The backdrop for their brand promoting this values-led approach is their unique miniature artwork. They create and photograph thought-provoking scenes for their online content, which has led to brand collaboration, gallery shows

that match their values, and an opportunity to search on their terms. It’s less “Who’s hiring?”, more “Where do I want to work?”, and “Where will I succeed?”.

and hopefully selection into this year’s Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.

Does job hunting captivate you or fill you with fear?

Values govern what we believe to be right, catering for a kaleidoscope of personalities and backgrounds, as well as extending a common purpose. They affect all our critical decisions, how we set goals, prioritise our time, and manage our emotions. When individual and company values align, work feels less like work, and people gain purpose. Shared goals, increased engagement and maximum productivity are the result.

Personality assessments have long ruled the roost on “soft skills”. Developed in a bygone era, without sound scientific basis and occasionally harming efforts to improve diversity, equality and inclusion.

“The world’s fastest growing companies lead the way when it comes to corporate culture,” says Matt, “and we know that this isn’t a coincidence. We want to offer people the same chance our local area gave us - an opportunity to succeed.” n

Auricoe’s new platform offers an altogether different proposition. Engagement begins on day zero. Candidates select their core values, from a carefully curated list, and what really matters is what they get in return. A list of companies


Check out all the artwork and follow the Auricoe miniatures on Instagram @auricoe

read more at darlingmagazine.co.uk summer 2021 17


Photo Karine Torr


WIMBLEDON VILLAGE Summer has arrived, the world’s greatest tennis tournament is back, and everything you need to nourish and pamper your mind, body and spirit is right here in Wimbledon Village. A fantastic variety of shops, restaurants, cafes and bars, salons and fitness studios, galleries and museums and a fabulous Sunday Farmers Market, with many exciting new offerings and experiences to explore and enjoy, nestled in a picturesque, historic setting which blends old world charm with an unhurried pace of life. You’ll find it all here, all year round in Wimbledon Village – where town meets country. Adrian Mills, Chairman of the Wimbledon Village Business Association ACE EYEWEAR

From our boutique opticians in Wimbledon Village, our aim is to bring truly unique and exciting eyewear to our clients. Our independent eyewear designers include Thierry Lasry, Ahlem, Anne Valentin, Lunor, and Salt. All produced using the highest quality materials and factories from France to Japan. Let us guide you to that perfect pair, book an eye exam or styling consultation via our website.

ace-eyewear.co.uk | 020 8946 2225 | @aceeyewearwimbledon AD LIB GALLERY

Ad Lib Gallery has opened in Wimbledon Village and is the destination to find exquisite art. With a portfolio of around 60 emerging and established artists, whether you’re after an affordable piece for your home or a larger work for a commercial property we have everything you need. If you are looking for space to hire for exhibitions or workshops, please get in touch.

adlib.online | 020 8944 8909 | @adlibgallery


Bayley & Sage opened their first store in Wimbledon Village and welcomed their first customers through the doors in 1997. They have been proud to serve the local community ever since. With a desire to celebrate seasonal and artisanal produce from the UK and beyond, the Bayley & Sage team take pride in being purveyors of deliciously fresh food and drink with excellent knowledge and advice to match.

bayley-sage.co.uk | 020 8946 0206 | @bayleyandsage BOHO

BOHO - an independently owned boutique nestled in the heart of Wimbledon Village SW19, offering hand-picked curated collections from all around the world and our very own UK designers. Whilst constantly sourcing exciting new brands for each season which are affordable and wearable BOHO also stock several brands of resort wear all year round. An exciting range of accessories, shoes, boots, jewellery, gifts and greeting cards are also available.

bohobeachfest.com | 020 8944 7375 | @boho.beach.fest.official


Caroline Randell Lingerie: Do you love your lingerie? Caroline Randell has scooped up awards across Europe for their expert fitting service and they describe it as a rather magical experience - they fit by eye and within seconds you will discover what it’s truly like to wear a perfectly fitting bra, which for many is the first time. We also love their stunning swimwear & resort wear collections from 20+ brands!

carolinerandell.co.uk | 020 89466171 | @carolinerandell_lingerie DOG & FOX - TRADITIONAL PUB AND HOTEL

Situated in the very heart of the Village, our stunning pub offers classic all-day dining from roasts to fish and vegan dishes in our restaurant and escapes from the ordinary with 28 beautifully appointed boutique rooms to stay in. Our brand-new event space, The Coach House, caters to between 40 - 300 guests for weddings and private functions – we have it all!

dogandfoxwimbledon.co.uk | 020 8946 6565 | @thedogandfox


We are a specialist mental health practice for adults, adolescents and children. We provide exceptional mental health treatments, with a highly experienced team of psychologists, psychotherapists, family therapists, occupational therapists and nutritionists with services including family, couples and individual therapy, occupational therapy, specialist autism and eating disorders services alongside nutritional therapy, workshops and events. Free 15-minute initial consultation.

thefamilytreatmentservice.com | 020 7183 9323 | @thefamilytreatmentservice


fit8 rehabilit8 are here for all your fitness, physio and injury prevention needs. Our dedicated team will provide diagnosis, manual therapy, progressive rehabilitation and prescriptive exercise treating clients suffering, recovering from or living with sports injury, back and neck pain, pre and post-op conditions, degenerative and neurological conditions. We offer you choice - we offer you solutions - we offer you care.

fit8.co.uk | 07971 977 569 | @fit8rehabilit8



Since 1967 Friarwood have been serving their local communities with exclusive wines from around the world. From everyday tipples to rare vintages, you are bound to discover something new from a family-owned winery. If you can’t make it to the shop, visit their website for next day delivery! Use code Darling2021 to receive 10% off any wines priced £50 and under. Cannot be combined with any other offer, expires Aug 31, 2021.

friarwood.com | 020 7736 2628 | @friarwood


Gigi’s Organic embodies organic, natural, plant-based, sustainable living. The Village store is fully stocked with a wonderful range of organic, natural and healthy food and drinks, including the latest innovative brands available on the organic food market. Browse and buy the most beautiful organic products, including superfoods, vegan and free-from products, natural skincare, eco-friendly tableware, as well as gift hampers. We also offer home delivery.

gigisorganic.co.uk | 020 3874 1521 | @gigisorganic


Wimbledon Village’s only locally owned and independent cocktail bar, Hemingways has been the popular choice for locals and visitors from out of town for over 10 years, with its ‘Best Cocktail Bar in South West London’ award and a reputation for live music and events that keep customers entertained until late. Also serving a range of wines and homemade pizzas, antipasti and the Villlage’s first bottomless ‘Cocktail & Prosecco’ brunch!

hemingwaysbar.co.uk | 020 8944 7722 | @hemingwayswimbledon


We are award winning Chartered Architects specialising in the design, planning and construction of bespoke homes: from new build houses to refurbishments, extensions, listed buildings, basements and swimming pools. Located at the heart of Wimbledon Village for over 45 years, we combine innovation and design flair with experience and attention to detail to create contemporary and traditional homes of the highest quality. holdenharper.co.uk | 020 8946 5502 | @holdenharperltd


We are one of the UK’s leading suppliers of quality lighting and furniture. For over 35 years, we have nurtured a reputation for sourcing unique, contemporary designs from around the world, with a particular focus on exquisitely crafted pieces from across Scandinavia and the best of classic British designs reimagined for modern homes. We specialise in products that effortlessly combine design and materials, created to last.

hollowaysofludlow.com | 020 7605 0660 | @hollowaysofludlow


Our knowledgeable team at Illumin8 offer luxurious beauty treatments in a welcoming and relaxed spa environment. Everything from your beauty essentials to highly professional, specialised and bespoke face and body treatments which are tailored to your needs. We even offer manicures and pedicures in our lush, tucked away secret garden making you feel pampered and special. Come in and have a chat with the team.

illumin8beauty.co.uk | 0333 800 3008 | @illumin8beauty 20



We are an independent Café and Restaurant with a wonderful, varied Mediterranean and Lebanese menu. Our friendly, relaxed atmosphere makes it a favourite with locals and visitors, including famous tennis players during the Wimbledon Championships. Start your day with a lazy breakfast or brunch in the terraced sunshine as you watch the world of Wimbledon drive, jog and cycle by.

maisonstcassien.co.uk | 020 8944 1200 | @maison_st_cassien


Phoenix Style is a luxury re-sale store with a 40 year heritage, and has established itself as a community built for buying and selling luxury designer fashion, bags, jewellery and shoes on the high street of Wimbledon Village. We provide a curated selection of rare finds to classic and contemporary must-haves with hundreds of brands to choose from, YSL, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and many more.

phoenixstyle.co.uk | 020 8947 6341 | @phoenixstyle_


For over 5 decades Robert Holmes & Co has been helping clients to buy, sell and let great properties, providing unrivalled service and industry experience in Wimbledon, Coombe and Kingston. In 2020 they sold almost £240M worth of property from their Wimbledon office alone and this year over £120M so far, at prices ranging from £400,000 to £10,500,000. For help with your property, please get in touch.

robertholmes.co.uk | 020 8947 9833 | @robertholmes.co


Take Time London is a beautiful boutique in which to enjoy some well-deserved “Me Time” with Vee and Em. Specialising in nails, lashes and brows, its ethos of luxury, healthy and ethical is shared by the brands it has chosen to use. All of the nail polishes and gels are vegan, cruelty free and non-toxic, meaning the natural nail is left nourished and protected. Come and treat yourself!

taketimelondon.co.uk | 020 8944 7096 | @taketimelondonuk


We are celebrating over 30 years of dealing in contemporary and period paintings from a light and spacious premises in Wimbledon Village. We have also been collaborating for ten years with the Stafford Gallery, bringing together an eclectic mix of artists from the UK, Europe and Scandinavia. We hold regular exhibitions at the gallery and offer bespoke delivery and installation, framing, restoration and insurance valuation services.

wimbledonfineart.com | 020 8944 6593 | @sw19fineart


Wimbledon Village Stables is a Members Club offering exceptional horse riding for adults on Wimbledon Common and Richmond Park. Our horse riding simulator, EQUICISE, is open to all. If you want to improve your technique, accelerate your learning, gain fitness and become a better rider – book a lesson on the Equicise.

wvstables.com | 020 8946 8579 | @wimbledon_village_stables


Long Covid how can it affect your heart health?


ong Covid refers to a number of symptoms that are still present after the initial illness caused by the Coronavirus infection.

The Cardiac Screening Service at New Victoria Hospital New Victoria Hospital offers a Cardiac Screening Package dedicated not only to people suffering from Long Covid but to any adult who would like to have a cardiology check-up to detect undiagnosed cardiac conditions or prevent lifeimpacting or threatening diseases such as heart attacks or cardiac arrests.

It can affect different systems in the body, such as respiratory, digestive, musculoskeletal and cardiovascular. The symptoms can persist for 4-12 weeks after the first manifestation of Covid symptoms and can be quite debilitating.

The Cardiac Screening package includes the following examinations:

According to a recent study by King’s College, age, female sex, and a high BMI are risk factors for developing Long Covid. Post-Covid conditions affecting the cardiovascular system are seen in about 50% of patients who suffered severe Covid and needed hospitalisation and about 10% of patients with mild or no symptoms.

• ECG – a non-invasive examination where sensors are attached to the skin on your chest to see your heart rhythm and electrical activity.

Dr Simon Pearse, Consultant Cardiologist at New Victoria Hospital, says, “The most common symptoms from which people suffer in Long Covid include fatigue, breathlessness, joint pains, chest pains, palpitations, dizziness, cough and persistent loss of sense of smell. It is important that people who contracted Covid and presented both severe and mild symptoms and have ongoing symptoms, especially of breathlessness, fatigue, chest pain or palpitations, undergo a cardiac check-up to make sure their heart is working properly, and the viral infection hasn’t affected the cardiac function.” 22

read more at darlingmagazine.co.uk summer 2021

• Health & Lifestyle Questionnaire – you will discuss potential risk factors and how to improve your diet and habits with your Cardiologist.

• Blood pressure check – this is to make sure your values are within a normal range. • Cardiology consultation – your Cardiologist will share your screening results and suggest further examinations, if needed. Patients can book the Cardiac Screening package at New Victoria Hospital for £275. For enquiries and appointments, please call the Outpatient Department on 020 8949 9020 or email enquiries@newvictoria.co.uk. n

New Victoria Hospital, 184 Coombe Lane West, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT 2 7EG newvictoria.co.uk/imaging/non-invasive-cardiology/

Read more at darlingmagazine.co.uk


A natural ending Nick and Jacqui of White Rose Modern Funerals discuss the peace and tranquility of a nature based family farewell


icture a beautiful woodland, where you can peacefully wander and listen to birdsong. Visualise a meadow nature reserve, resplendent with wildflowers where insects and wildlife proliferate. As a final resting place when a burial is preferred, natural burial grounds are a world away from the sterile rows of stone and marble that dominate a traditional cemetery. And the cost is no longer as prohibitive as it once was. A tranquil spot in the Surrey Hills or Chilterns can be far less costly (plots start from £1,240) than an urban cemetery plot where space is at a premium typically costing £000’s. We meet many families wanting a more ecological funeral option. With natural burials, traditional funeral transport or flowers attached to a plastic base are not in keeping with the natural setting of a tranquil woodland or meadow. We typically recommend low key informal

transport and natural hand-tied arrangements of flowers. Coffins are crafted from biodegradable materials such as willow, bamboo, natural wood or cardboard without fake adornments such as plastic gold coloured decorative handles. There are strict rules on memorialisation and planting – no permanent headstones are allowed, instead you may have a wooden plaque or some allow a tree to be planted. But whilst the environmental issues are important, the biggest difference that we see is how the calm tranquility of these nature havens give families a much needed sense of solace and peace at a most difficult time. We’ve organised simple family led services at a woodland or meadow graveside with minimum of fuss. Whilst other families have made use of the ceremonial halls and opted for a service followed by the burial.

As modern funeral directors we are always exploring how we can make a family farewell less foreboding. For families that prefer the option of cremation, we regularly organise cremation services at the ceremonial halls of certain natural burial grounds, so they too are experiencing the value of nature at a time of great sadness and loss. And with options for scattering or interring ashes at a natural burial ground, we can always find a nature based answer for families. n At your time of need when facing the death of a loved one, please call us. We are a husband and wife team here to help. whiterosemodernfunerals.co.uk 020 3281 1045 Causeway House, 13 The Causeway, Teddington, TW11 0JR

read more at darlingmagazine.co.uk summer 2021


Where to eat & drink this summer? The long-awaited return to eating out is finally over. We can even be seated indoors in bars and restaurants once again. We’ve put together a shortlist of some of our favourite places for meeting up over long-awaited lunches with friends and family, romantic dinners and catch-ups over drinks this summer. You are sure to enjoy the tastiest of meals wherever you dine

Don Luis Spanish tapas and Argentinian steaks in Esher An indulgent new tapas and steak restaurant has opened in the heart of Esher. Their vast selection of authentic Spanish and Argentinian dishes will tantalise the taste buds and will ensure you return again and again to sample the full menu. Whether you fancy patatas bravas, sizzling gambas or succulent steak Don Luis caters for all. Serving only authentic and best possible quality ingredients from Spain and Argentina spiced up with lively music and warm ambience to provide a welcoming atmosphere for all.

10 High Street, Esher KT10 9RT 01372 202197

Fratelli Delicatessen

a little piece of Italy in the heart of North Kingston Missing Italy this summer? Head over to Fratelli for a coffee or a delicious lunch prepared by owner Antonio who has years of experience as a chef at London’s top Italian restaurants. As well as creating fantastic food he is more than happy to suggest perfect ingredients or give great advice on any of your cooking queries. You’ll find a well-stocked deli counter, Italian groceries and also a broad selection of wine, including some of the finest vintage Italian wine.

10% off a case of six bottles of wine, valid until 31 July. 57 Park Road, Kingston upon Thames KT2 6DB 020 8549 8021 | fratellidelicatessen.com

Roz Ana

award-winning Indian cuisine in Kingston If you have not yet tried the award winning Roz Ana in Kingston yet, you definitely should. Over the last 13 years it has become the place to go for the best in authentic regional Indian food from across the sub-continent. Check out some very special dishes; coconut soft shell crab from Goa, chicken tikka masala in a sauce laced with Laphroaig whisky, chocolate samosas to name a few. At the bottom of Kingston Hill, away from the busy town centre, it’s a smart but casual spot for relaxing with cocktails, great wines and the most addictive of cuisines.

4-8 Kingston Hill KT2 7NH 020 8546 6388 | roz-ana.com 24

read more at darlingmagazine.co.uk summer 2021


The Retreat Kitchen a vegan gem in Richmond

Food for your heart and soul. The Retreat Kitchen is hugely popular for a reason as this independent plant based cafe is one of a kind. It occupies an unassuming spot on Richmond’s Hill Rise and is a perfect place to truly unwind. Maggie and Claire have created a warm, open and friendly cafe in which to enjoy their homemade creations. Whether you are in a mood for a healthy salad and fresh juice or a jackfruit chilli hot dog and some delicious cake, you’ll leave feeling happy and nourished.

16 Hill Rise, Richmond TW10 6UA 020 8127 0700 | theretreatkitchen.co.uk

Riverside Walk

six incredible restaurants with spectacular riverside views Situated on Riverside Walk, by Kingston Bridge, the six restaurants offer diverse cuisine that’s ideal for any occasion, from early morning breakfast to late dinners, and caters for all taste buds with a great variety of cuisines. There is plenty of outdoor seating available making it the perfect setting during the long summer days for alfresco dining and watching the sun go down over the river. Restaurants: Bill’s, Busaba, Chakra, Comptoir Libanais, Côte Brasserie, Haché Riverside Social.

riversidewalkkingston.co.uk KT1 1QN

Stein’s Berlin

modern German in South Kensington Stein’s Berlin is a new and exciting city addition to the well loved and family owned group of Stein’s Bavarian restaurants in Kingston and Richmond. A mix of a modern contemporary interior and an elegant Grade 2 listed building create a sophisticated yet relaxed place for authentic German food, beer and wine from all its different regions. The bar also mixes fantastic cocktails and serves even coffee and cake any time of the day. You’ll find Berlin on Exhibition Road, overlooking Princess Gardens near Royal Albert Hall. You’ll find Berlin on Exhibition Road, overlooking Princess Gardens near Royal Albert Hall.

51 Princes Gate (entrance on Exhibition Road), South Kensington, London SW7 2PH 020 3968 4600 | berlininkensington.stein-s.com read more at darlingmagazine.co.uk summer 2021


Children’s mental health matters! is a charity on a mission to improve mental health awareness. We are committed to educating individuals and organisations so they understand mental health and emotional wellbeing, and how to manage them effectively to lead successful, fulfilled lives. In 2017 Shawmind raised 103,000 signatures during our initial Headucation campaign for a parliamentary debate which led to compulsory mental health education in schools. Following on from this, Headucation 2025 focuses on equipping teachers to better understand mental health and support their pupils more effectively to deal with it.

OUR GOAL: 150,000 teachers trained in basic mental health awareness by 2025 – mental health support for 2.5 million schoolchildren per year. 1 in 6 children aged 5-16 years has a probable mental disorder? Furthermore, only 63% of these children had regular support from their school or college. The launch of Headucation 2025 coincides with the opening of the Lu-Ma Breathe Café in Wimbledon. As part of our commitment to improving the mental health of the Merton borough, we aim to make the borough the first in London to have all of its currently active primary and secondary school teachers trained in mental health awareness. We are delighted to offer all teachers FREE basic mental health training. Funded entirely through grants and donations, we are making this CPD-accredited training available at no cost to the individual or the school. The training is not demanding and is designed to fit busy teaching schedules.

Every teacher matters… every school child matters… Contact us today to ensure you get your free training:

Call 0203 981 8087



Children of the world The Rowans School, Wimbledon, held their annual International Week. The children were immersed in a variety of cultures as each class took on a country for the week, ranging from Vietnam to France, Canada to China, Mexico to Romania and Russia


he week began with the School transforming into ‘The Rowans Voyages’. Each child received a boarding pass before taking a virtual sailboat to their destination country for the week. The school opted to ‘travel’ by sailboat to promote discussion about their carbon footprint and to consider ways to protect the planet. Highlights of the week included exchanging letters and video calls with children in schools in Vietnam, China and France, enabling children around the world to come together to share and learn about each other’s cultures. The children also enjoyed music workshops which took on a global theme, exposing them to new and exciting genres of music and instruments from around the world. Parents from the school community also joined in the fun, putting on a virtual International Fair where the children took a whistlestop tour of all the countries being studied. They not only learnt many interesting facts about each country but they also enjoyed sampling many delicious local delicacies! The Rowans is proud to hold the British Council’s

prestigious ‘International School Award’ in recognition of its work to bring the world into the classroom. The award rewards schools that have shown a commitment to embedding international awareness and understanding. When discussing the school’s International efforts, Miss Elizabeth Spratt, Head, said “We embrace our international community in Wimbledon and celebrate the many languages that The Rowans children speak at home. Our international activities provide our children with a window into different cultures and countries, and supports the work we do in helping them to develop as global citizens.” The Rowans school, based in Wimbledon, is a coeducational school for children aged between 3 and 7. It provides a nurturing and welcoming start to school life, especially during those early years when key social skills and attitudes are acquired and developed for life. The Rowans has a longstanding reputation for academic and all-round excellence and every teacher takes great pride in the achievements of each child. n

rowans.org.uk registrar@rowans.org.uk read more at darlingmagazine.co.uk summer 2021



What we can learn from our sisters of all ages There is a lot of intergenerational fighting going on online. Millennials and Gen-Z vs Boomers. The pitting of the Silent Generation’s stoicism against the snow-flakery of the young by certain segments of the media. Meanwhile us Gen-Xers pass the popcorn and note that we are being as neglected as always with a wry smile. Sophie Lutz explores more


here is a sense of indignant hostility to the idea of these generational labels that increases with age. When did we become the enemy we wonder? We rail against the notion that the young have anything to teach us as much as they dismiss out of hand the wisdom that we might have to offer. And yet each generation, has lessons for the other. The pandemic and our response to it has affected age groups so differently. Digging into the differences increases empathy, and the realisation that we all have something to learn from our sisters of other ages.

The Silent Generation. Born 1928-45. Aged 76 to 93 in 2021 Covid-19 has hit this generation hard. They are most at risk of serious illness, asked to shield and isolate. Known for keeping their heads down uncomplainingly, their stoicism belies their suffering. Perhaps most likely to say they are fine, whether or not they are, we can learn from 28 read more at darlingmagazine.co.uk summer 2021

their ability to keep going in the toughest of circumstances, but they need to learn that talking about their feelings and asking for help are not signs of weakness.

Baby Boomers Born 1946-64. Aged 57 to 75 in 2021 Envied by the young for their luck; condemned for having fiddled while the planet burned. Growing up in a time of relative affluence, when housing was affordable and living standards were high, Covid has been their first big challenge. While Boomers have felt by turns angry and depressed by the restrictions placed on them. They could remember that the structures that have supported their lives so well, do not provide the same security for the generations behind them.

Gen X Born 1965-80. Aged 41 to 56 in 2021 The most financially hard hit by Covid, GenXers are providing 360-degree caregiving for their children and their parents, whilst still in peak bread winning years. Those able to work from home have had home-schooling needs to contend with, whilst those needing to be out in

the workplace have had the stress of difficulties in securing childcare, as well as inability to visit elderly parents. Gen X can teach us resilience and independence, but need to learn to lean on each other, and allow the generations sandwiching them to lend a hand.

Gen Y/Millennials Born 1981-94. Aged 27 to 40 in 2021 Much maligned Millennials are less likely to be married or have children than any generation preceding them. They have been hit with wave after wave of disaster from 9/11 to the financial crisis. Priced out of the housing market, many of them have had to move back to their parents for Covid. Mental health in this most self-aware of generations has been hit hard.. Widely derided and scorned in the media for their avocado toast lifestyle, this generation deserve our empathy. The days of mass house ownership and job security are long gone, and Millennials are in need of our support. Their reflexivity is to be applauded, and we could all take a leaf out of their questioning and status quo challenging book.

Gen Z Born 1995-2009 Aged 12 to 26 in 2021 The generation that should have been forming

friendships, partying, starting Uni have all had to contend with the hole that Covid has torn into their world. A year at this age is a lifetime and no doubt Gen Z will become known as the Covid Generation for the severity of the impact on their development and their lives. The mental health toll of Covid is most acute in this generation, and the effect of lack of social contact cannot be underestimated. All the evidence suggests that contrary to some media coverage, Gen Z have adhered magnificently to the rules. This is the generation that have grown up with BLM, MeToo, and we can only hope that these change makers take the Covid earthquake and forge a new way forward for us all. Covid has made every generation realise that relationship is everything. Let’s hug our Silent Generation and Boomers, making sure we stay in more regular contact than we did before. Lend a hand to our Gen X caregivers and our financially squeezed Millennials. And let’s give Gen Z the respect they deserve. All of the previous generations messed up. Let’s support Gen Z in changing this world to one of greater equality, where we look after each other, and the planet, far better than before Covid woke us all up to what’s important. n sophielutz.com

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Build your strength from Core to Floor Find out about some exciting new technology which will strengthen your core stability and help to tone your pelvic floor and more


e are delighted to unveil our BODY SUITE’, Louise Stewart at Nakedhealth MEDISPA tells us. With Plastic Surgeon David Gateley at the helm it is reassuring to know that all chosen technologies have their place in helping patients achieve their body goals. Two new highly effective treatments have been added. Emsculpt deploys High Intensity Focussed Electromagnetic Energy which targets the muscles, creating intense contractions which you cannot do in a normal exercise routine. This helps to build muscle and burn fat by causing over 20,000 contractions in one 30-minute session or the equivalent of 11 squats per second. Emsculpt is a game changer for men and women keen to improve abdominal tone or who want a more lifted, shapely bottom. It is ideal for anyone looking to support their gym training but equally for those who are out of the habit of exercising and want a super boost. 4

This works really well for men or women suffering with stress incontinence sessions are recommended at two a week. Arms, calves and thighs can also be treated. The treatment works very effectively with Coolsculpting Elite. “Patients have been pleased with the results of their CoolSculpting but then want better muscle definition”, says Pegah, Senior Aesthetic Therapist. The Emsella chair is the ultimate solution for strengthening the pelvic floor. The intense effect on the muscles utilises the same technology as the Emsculpt, HIFEM. Sitting for 28 minutes induces thousands of supramaximal pelvic floor contractions. It works really well for men or women suffering with stress incontinence or who want to improve the quality of their intimate life. Is it embarrassing to book this treatment? Not at all! The whole Nakedhealth team are using it. Everyone want things to be even better than they are.

It is used to tone the muscles in preparation for pregnancy or for people who have noticed a change post childbirth or when they get a bit older. Perhaps having to get up in the night or a bit of leaking. This is a game changer. Remembering to do pelvic floor exercises and then doing them effectively is really hard. This is the lift we all need. “Confidence and poise achieved through core to floor strength cannot be overemphasised” says Louise.


Nakedhealth MEDISPA 020 8944 5454 nakedhealth.co.uk 261-263 Coombe Lane Wimbledon SW20 0RH

To read more go to:

darlingmagazine.co.uk/ HAIR & BEAUTY

read more at darlingmagazine.co.uk summer 2021



Warren Cutting Coombe Estate


ocated on the exclusive Coombe Hill estate we are delighted to offer this spectacular family home with a southerly aspect, nestled between Coombe Hill Golf Club and Coombe Wood Golf Club in a gated private cul de sac. The house has been totally refurbished to an impeccable standard by the current owners providing just under 6000 sq. ft of living space offering 7

bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, and 5/6 reception rooms with annexe. Set well back from the road in beautiful, landscaped gardens with double garage, a loggia and wood burning stove for al fresco dining. The house benefits from under floor heating, herringbone oak, and Jerusalem stone flooring, Sonos sound system, bespoke coving, cast iron radiators to first and second

floors, and powder coated aluminium double glazing to windows and external doors. n

Asking price £4,380,000 Sara May FRSA | Associate Property Consultant E: sara.may@fineandcountry.com T: +44 (0)204 524 9345 M:+44(0)7931771760

darling loves local LIBA Also on Zoom!


07833 218 738

Interior & Exterior Painting & Decorating Refurbishments Plastering / Skimming Reliable & Friendly Top-to-toe spring cleaning After builder clean-up Pre-tenancy clean Curtains, carpets and upholstery cleaning Floor cleaning and polishing General weekly clean 020 8542 7966 | 07961 337587 cgscrubbers.co.uk


info@libadecsolutions.co.uk www.libadecsolutions.co.uk @libadecsolutions @libadecsolutions

Weight-loss device that actually works


Our Editor Marja-Leena tested Infrabaldan at the new Esthe Clinic in Richmond


nfrabaldan is proven to put your metabolism on hyperdrive, tone your body and leave you feeling great with the happy hormones boosted. It triggers an anti-ageing action to detoxify, purify and regenerate tissues. It’s also proven to improve your cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Esthe Clinic is one of only three clinics in the UK to have the ground-breaking Infrabaldan 3.0 machine. It’s basically an exercise bike, where you lie down, surrounded with infrared lights. It was developed to help people with difficult to lose excess weight in specific areas. It combines selected infrared light with constant movement of the gentle pedalling of the exercise bike. The infrared radiation is harmonised with your heartbeat by the machine and this triggers aerobic metabolism.

This is what I experienced during my 40 minute session After a short consultation, explanation of the benefits and completion of a health

questionnaire I was shown how the machine works and how to stop it should I feel the need during the session. I was advised to strip off totally, leaving only my underpants on in order to experience

Summer offer

valid until 30 June

24 sessions for the price of 12 Also featured in The Truth About Cosmetic Treatments by Michael Mosely on BBC. See link at estheclinic. co.uk/scientificdevices/

the maximum benefit of the infrared light. I chose a moderate exercise mode and off I went pedalling at a fairly leisurely rate keeping to my set optimum speed. The lamps are very hot and I soon felt very warm. It’s not sauna hot, more like a bikram yoga studio temperature which is ideal for stimulating metabolism and releasing toxins from your body. Thanks to Netflix on the screen the 40 minutes almost flew by. I felt great afterwards, the way I would after a great exercise session although not tired out. I also think that even just one session had a toning effect on my slightly wobbly waist area. As with all treatments and exercise, you need to have 2-3 sessions a week until your desired results are reached. Then make it your regular routine as you would with your gym visits. n 7 Hill Rise, Richmond TW10 6UQ 01748 889594 | 07795 330130 estheclinic.co.uk

read more at darlingmagazine.co.uk summer 2021 33

Let’s do lunch (or a breakfast meeting or a conference...) All types of corporate events catered Drop and Go delivery service Breakfast and lunch meetings Conferences and corporate functions Christmas and seasonal parties Launches and film sets Event staff catering

Whether you need a buffet for a client meeting, hot meals for a conference or burgers for the crew, our friendly, professional team will take care of everything for you. To find out more about our corporate catering service, visit www.partiestogo.co.uk or give Carole a call on 020 8947 5337.




got to do with it?


h the sweetness of romantic love. Those heady moments of spontaneous attraction and affection we have for another. We all seem to be clear on the Hollywood understanding of falling in love. We can’t choose it, it simply happens. We “fall” in love. We are powerless in being able to prevent it. “Falling in love” is a wonderful experience. It changes the chemistry in our brain and we experience euphoria. Our appetite suddenly disappears our energy levels soar and we are filled with a wonderful cocktail of wanting and excitement. So often we confuse the fact that the heady feelings disappear and believe that we have fallen out of love. There are however three phases of love. The first the romantic “falling” the second is the moment when we “attune” ourselves to our relationship and this answers the simple question. “Will you be there for me? Can I trust you?” This is a process of creating trust by being aware of our partners pain, tolerating the fact that one doesn’t always agree, turning towards one’s partner’s needs and developing understanding through empathy and communication. 21/97/35/61 The third stage is building commitment and loyalty. Strangely this thing called love is not as unpredictable as we are led to believe. It is within our power to create love and not just leave it up to happenstance. It is within our reach to cultivate and develop. We can develop and build 0/97/46/0 love. We all need to feel loved, to give love and receive it. Love is as important to our wellbeing as it is the air we breathe. Are you feeling like you may have lost that loving feeling perhaps it is time to kick start your relationship mojo. n

Contact Pam Custers The Relationship Practice therelationshippractice.com 07572 841 388 Pam holds an MA in Relationship therapy Psychology (Hons) (BACP)

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...and experience undeniable results Private sessions just for you, or semi-privates for two, or small group reformer classes, in our gorgeous Pilates studio in Wimbledon, or Online group or private sessions from the comfort of your own home. We will give you the space and the tools to learn to move intelligently and thoughtfully, reaping the benefits of Pilates.


3 Red Studios, Elm Grove, Wimbledon, SW19 4BX +44 7961 495 297


sep-oct 2013 | darlingmagazine.co.uk


How to move forward after a traumatic experience having a child I believe there are potentially mothers who have had very traumatic experiences either while pregnant, giving birth and in the early stages of life with a baby that have been missed and undiagnosed What is trauma and how do we know if we have been in a situation that has caused it? As we experience a threat, (trauma), to our survival, for example during labour; our limbic system, is activated. This system which holds the hippocampus, processes information and the amygdala, which processes emotion, reacts starting our fight, flight, freeze response. This area of the brain is in constant communication with the cortex, the outer layer of the brain, which we use to rationalise. In stressful situations the link between the hippocampus/amygdala and cortex can break down. When a traumatic event happens the memory stays in the cortex but because the emotions and the memory are separate from each other, we still can’t rationalise. There are a number of symptoms of trauma or PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) which may help you consider where you are with trauma. Do you avoid situations or things that remind you of an event? When you remember an event do you feel sick, numb physically and/ or emotionally, on edge, tense? Perhaps you only remember snippets of the event/birth.

The client is always in the driving seat, with me the therapist, sitting beside them supporting them to navigate the road they are on. n If you would like further information on PTSD, go to ptsduk.org emma@emmaparr.net emmaparr.net 1

Claire Cotton ad_AU19.pdf






Illustration by Muriel Clarke


When a mother has a traumatic birth, it impacts them not only at the time but through the course of raising that child. There may then come a time when another child is wanted in the family. How is it possible to have or perhaps even want another child after experiencing trauma? Is it possible to have a different experience with the weight of past trauma? Working with trauma is complex and needs to be done in a contained and safe way.







Changing times for the modern father The Covid-19 global pandemic has affected many aspects of our lives, not least the lives of many fathers


t has made many people reassess things in their life and consider what is important to them. We have all had to work from home and be more flexible about how we work, fitting it around family time and childcare demands far more than ever before. The lockdowns have allowed those who were previously struggling to be home for dinner, bath or bedtime the opportunity to be there for all of those things. Parents have been able to share these roles and responsibilities. However, will these changes last forever?

Silver linings There have been some really positive changes in terms of families being able to spend more time together. Many couples have co-ordinated 38 read more at darlingmagazine.co.uk summer 2021

their schedules to juggle work commitments as well as childcare responsibilities, including the dreaded home schooling. Whilst statistically it has still been mothers, as primary care-givers, who have taken the lead in the childcare responsibilities, the pandemic has allowed many more men to be around and provide support. This is something they had never been able to do before. During the national lockdowns, those fathers who may have chosen the ‘big career’ where the mother has sacrificed hers for availability, and who regret this, have enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with children, eat meals with them, take on some of the childcare responsibilities. The pandemic did allow even those fathers with very long strict hours to be around more than they had ever been before.

Men who may have never been actively involved in looking after their children on a day to day basis, or even engaging with them in respect of homework, have either had to or have had the chance to step up to those responsibilities.

Too much to handle? For others this extra proximity has caused further strain on a relationship that may have already been under pressure. Whilst some fathers seem to have really embraced the change to their parental roles, others seem to be itching to get back to normality and leave childcare responsibilities behind. When there has been a breakdown in a relationship and parents have to consider how the children are going to spend time with each of them, work commitments are an important factor that cannot be ignored. Some relationships break down as a result of the little time that the families spend together. Sometimes there is resentment with one parent being at home, coming for children and the other feeling they have to go out to work and earn money in order to maintain the home and family. This resentment can run both ways. A good career may have been sacrificed, as it can be difficult for two high powered jobs to co-exist within a family dynamic. It is sometimes difficult for parents to see how one partner (often the father) can suddenly be far more available to the children following the breakdown of a relationship, especially if they have not been previously able to commit to being home on time even one day a week.

Waiting for the new normal Many companies have reported that some of the changes made to working practices during the pandemic, such as more home working, are here to stay. Only time will tell to what extent that will be. When considering how a child should spend time with each parent, and the division of care between them, the primary consideration has to be what is in the child’s best interests. Parents’ views often conflict on this. Children frequently experience trauma and distress following the breakdown of their parents’ relationship. They crave stability and security. Whilst a newly separated father is currently available at home to care for his children, he may be demanded back in the office full-time in a few months. It may not be fair (to the children) for him to be given a level of time that may not be sustainable in the long term. It is difficult sometimes for parents to see that ensuring there is stability and security for their children may mean seeing them less regularly during the week. The key however is trying to limit the impact any change has upon the children. Let’s hope that the balancing of childcare roles and responsibilities is here to stay. Whatever the new normal is, let’s keep the needs of the child uppermost in our minds to avoid further distress and disruption in what has already been a very challenging year. n

Moving in the right direction Pre-pandemic, there were already signs of change. More employers have been recognising the need to allow for shared parenting leave. And post-divorce or separation, more fathers have been wanting equal access to their children and to be viewed as equivalent to mothers in terms of the right to care for their children. There was already beginning to be a shift away from the pattern of care between separated parents. Traditionally the father has been ‘allowed’ every other weekend and one night in the week. The trend is now towards a more equal parenting pattern, other commitments permitting.

Hannah Field, Partner +44 (0)20 8541 2018 Hannah.Field@russell-cooke.co.uk

Read more from Russell-Cooke online at darlingmagazine.co.uk read more at darlingmagazine.co.uk summer 2021 39


Hot summer bridge with Darling guru, Paul Mendelson Lots of players now include Weak Twos in their system. Usually played in just the major suits, an opening of 2H or 2S shows a 6-card suit, with 5-9pts. This is a mini pre-empt and is designed to put the opponents off their stride. However, when the opponents buy the contract, they have been provided with useful distributional information which, if they pay attention, can provide a blueprint to playing the hand successfully.

♠ West S J95 H 82 D Q108 C Q10732

♦ Dealer East N E 2H 3S NB

North S 743 H QJ4 D A543 C A64

East S 10 H AK9763 D J72 C J98

South S AKQ862 H 105 D K96 C K5 N/S Game S 2S 4S

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West led 8♥ which, from the bidding, you know to be top of a doubleton. East wins with K♥, cashes A♥ and leads a third heart. As declarer, you know that West is getting ready to trump this trick. Do you trump low, trump high, or think of something else? If you trump low, you will be over-trumped. If you trump with a top trump, you may well (and, here, you do) set up a trump trick for West. Look for an alternative: you are scheduled to lose the third round of diamonds. Instead of trumping the third round of hearts high or low, discard 6♦. West must ruff to avoid dummy’s Q♥ from winning and now, your trump holding protected, whatever West leads, you can win, draw three rounds of trumps and the rest are yours. n ♥♣♦♠ aceoftrumps.com 40 read more at darlingmagazine.co.uk summer 2021

Creating Connections Inspiring Success


VISITORS AND NEW MEMBERS WELCOME. EMAIL ‘My vision is to encourage more women to julie@theathenanetwork.com ‘My visionand is to women to network in encourage turn realisemore their full potential network and in inspiring turn realise their potential by helping and them andfull providing by helping and inspiring them valuable connections’ , says Julieand providing HELPFULconnections’ WIMBLEDON, WEBSITES valuable says Julie Love Wimbledon WIMBLEDON, PUTNEY, BALHAM AND STREATHAM www.lovewimbledon.org WIMBLEDON, PUTNEY, BALHAM AND STREATHAM London Borough of Merton Julie Eltham www.merton.gov.uk Julie Eltham Regional Director, The Athena Network Citizen’s Advice Bureau Regional Director, The Athena Network t: @athenaSWlondon www.nacab.org.uk t:f: @athenaSWlondon TheAthenaNetworkSurrey&SWLondon Merton Chamber of Commerce f:www.mertonchamber.co.uk TheAthenaNetworkSurrey&SWLondon 07890 523030 e: julie.eltham@theathenanetwork.com 07890 523030 Wimbledon Town Centre www.wimbledontowncentre.co.uk w: theathenanetwork.co.uk/julieeltham e: julie.eltham@theathenanetwork.com Wimbledon Civic Forum w: theathenanetwork.co.uk/julieeltham www.wimbledoncivicforum.org.uk Wimbledon Society

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From Richmond Chic to a Mountain Peak


elinda explains that asking Buy To Let Hunter to manage her flat in Richmond as a short term serviced accommodation makes sense whilst she is abroad. “I wanted to keep my flat, to maintain a toe hold in London, but it was a purely commercial decision to sweat my assets whilst I choose to live somewhere else.” She explains that she didn’t think too much about traditional pensions during her working life; instead, she mostly invested in properties and by default she now relies on that rental income in her retirement. Melinda explained her reasons for choosing BTLH: “The onset of Covid caused a dearth of options in the lettings market. The world has changed in rental terms.” Melinda spoke to the agents who used to handle her property and found their model no longer really fit for purpose. “I needed shorter lets so I can come and go from time to time.“ The BTLH model is flexible and more cost effective for her needs: “The old agents were proposing a 25% charge on any rental income and then a range of expenses that add up to £500-£600 for every letting!” They were billing her for inventory and administrative costs in addition to the fees she was already paying. “It’s one thing if you are having lets for a year or more, but it really didn’t make sense for the shorter term serviced accommodation model that I needed”, she explained.

Melinda was also unsure about the outsourced due diligence when the agents took references for her tenants – “BTLH have a much more personal and less algorithmic approach!” she laughed – ah yes, I smiled, the advantage of having a very small office! “My experience of BTLH has been very good!” she explained from Switzerland where she was locked down up a mountain. I can trust you to make the right decisions and it helps finance my lifestyle whilst retaining flexibility.” Fancy a bit of a nomad retirement with a bit of extra security like Melinda? n Can BTLH help you find the perfect property? Get in touch and have a chat: 020 7550 9396 or hello@buytolethunter.com. For more information check out buytolethunter.com Quadrant Road, Richmond, London, TW9 1DH

Buy To Let team - Alex, Lucy and Adrian read more at darlingmagazine.co.uk summer 2021


COOK’S CORNER Banana Crumble Cake – my version!

Carole Cory

This is a firm favourite of my family. It can be served just with your coffee break, after dinner dessert, for breakfast, lunch or anyime. It is absolutely delicious!

Photograph Flora Westbrook

Recipe 6oz Self-raising flour 6oz Golden caster sugar 6oz Unsalted butter 3 Eggs 50g Walnut pieces 75g Dark chopped chocolate 4 Bananas – very ripe 1 Packet crumble mix (cheats option) 200g approximately – some like more crumble mix than others 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar for the top

Method Mix the flour, sugar, melted butter and eggs in a bowl. Add the walnut pieces and chocolate. Mix into the cake mixture. Then peel bananas, mash them lightly and add to the cake mixture.

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Mix all together. I put the mixture in a lightly greased loaf tin, as opposed to a round cake tin, as this is my version. It’s a bit of a different banana bread. Cover the top with the crumble mixture. Then cover lightly with brown sugar to caramelise. Cook in the oven at 180 degrees for approximately 50 minutes. Check with a skewer or knife to see if it is cooked. The skewer should come out cleanly. I use more banans than normal as we all love the taste of bananas so it may be a more gooey finsh but it is delicious! 020 8947 5337 carole@partiestogo.co.uk partiestogo.co.uk

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A life well lived should continue at home Says award-winning Director of Home Instead, Clare Jefferies


hen life at home starts becoming harder to maintain it is only natural to think about what the next steps should be. For many this might mean reaching out to a local care home who can provide care around the clock. However, we know that moving into care is a difficult step to take. More than ever, people are talking to us about their anxieties around leaving their home and starting again somewhere new. Whether it is the sadness of leaving memories behind or the uncertainty of what they are moving towards these are anxieties that we can put to bed. We have put together a new live in care team to support our clients 24/7, in their own homes. Home Instead Wimbledon & Kingston are your local home care specialist. Over the last 10 years we have delivered more than a million hours of care to people living in your area and are the only home care company in the country to be rated Outstanding by the CQC across 3 consecutive inspections.

Give us a call to find out more. We’d love to hear from you. n

We have been planning for a family holiday for so long and it is such a relief not worrying if Mum is going to be ok! I feel like I have gained a sister, knowing that Lizzie is going to be there when I’m not. My father’s death has hit my mother so hard, but I really think it is down to the wonderful companion that Home Instead has sent that is getting her through it! Testimonial from Mrs. M’s daughter Kingston Upon Thames Call 0208 942 4137 or visit: homeinstead.co.uk/wimbledonandkingston

read more at darlingmagazine.co.uk summer 2021 43

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CLUB NEWS For summer fun at Raynes Park


his is why we are so happy to have reopened the club recently, welcoming back our members to all the superb facilities that we have to offer. If your summer is looking a little uncertain, why not join a club, where fun is guaranteed. With two fantastic swimming pools, indoor and out, hosting our AllStars swim lessons, or eighteen tennis courts hosting our AllStars junior tennis programme we have the space and facilities to guarantee a great summer. Alongside that we have a DL Kids programme bursting full of inclusive


activities, every day of the week helping children stay fit and active into their teenage years. We are also pleased to relaunch our Holiday Clubs programme and finally children’s birthday parties make a welcome return for members and members guests. If you are looking for a club, that can provide something for the whole family then come and visit us today. n Enquire today via davidlloyd.co.uk and let us help make your summer.

Martial Arts classes for all ages

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For more on the benefits of martial arts for kids go to darlingmagazine.co.uk/KIDS/activities read more at darlingmagazine.co.uk summer 2021 45

Women Vs Hollywood Exclusive Darling interview with author Helen O’Hara on her ground breaking book

Where did your love of films begin? I’ve loved film as far back as I can remember. Some of my favourite childhood memories include movies: going to the cinema for the first time ever to see a re-issue of Snow White and being terrified by the Wicked Witch; seeing Return Of The Jedi on the big screen; sneaking a look at 15-rated videos with my friends when we were far too young! I love storytelling and imagination, and cinema’s ability to take us out of our own heads for a couple of hours.

What got you interested in women’s place in the film industry? I’ve been interested in the strange disparities that exist in film for a long time, just as a film fan and film journalist. Why are almost all directors male? Why are most leading characters male? Why did Hollywood experts call Mamma Mia’s success a surprise, when any woman could have predicted it? The situation is not natural, because we’re half the population. So I started looking into what was happening, and the book grew out of that. There’s a bit of anger in there at some of the injustices that have held women back, but I do have hope as well. I believe things are changing for the better.

Can you name a few female filmmakers and actresses who changed film through the decades and how they influenced audiences? There have been so many, and even in film school you’re taught about very few. Alice Guy-Blaché was one of the first filmmakers anywhere and made literally hundreds of short films, starting in 1896, but was written out of film history – literally. The company where she worked, French studio Gaumont, left her out of its first official history book. Lois Weber was one of the most important directors in Hollywood in the mid-1910s, but was demoted 46 read more at darlingmagazine.co.uk summer 2021

to doing screen tests by the end of her career. Mae West became one of the highest paid people, in any profession, in the US in the 1930s, but her career was squashed by censorship – which also stopped black actresses like Lena Horne and Dorothy Dandridge from having the careers they deserved, because black stars were not allowed to play romantic scenes with white actors. Stars like Bette Davis and Joan Crawford shaped fashions and inspired generations; others like Olivia de Havilland and Marilyn Monroe fought the studio system to ensure better deals for actors.

What was the pivotal turning point in the 1910s and 20s from women having a place in the industry to being sidelined? By the late 1910s, big investors realised that there was huge money to be made in movies, and the studios became almost like factories, signing stars and filmmakers to contracts and then shuffling them from one film to the next to keep them busy, a human production line. The small, female-run studios that Guy-Blaché and Weber had established couldn’t compete, and they were no longer given opportunities at the big studios. So gradually almost all women in senior roles were phased out and were replaced by men.

How did men get to control the money and therefore investment in films? In the beginning, you could make films on a shoestring budget, in a studio space not much bigger than a family home, and people made them not just in Hollywood but all over the world. As films got longer – going from 30 seconds to over an hour during Guy- Blaché’s career – they became much more expensive and required larger spaces, most on huge studio backlots around Los Angeles. The growing studios therefore needed money, and that meant Wall Street investors. Those were

all men, of course, and at a time when women couldn’t even vote in the US it would have seemed strange to them to see women in senior roles in the studios where they invested. So they hired men like themselves, and men kept doing that ever since.

Why have only two women – Kathryn Bigelow and Chloe Zhao this year – ever won best director at the Oscars in nearly 100 years? I think it’s the nature of directing. A director has to be decisive and authoritative, someone in control of a film’s whole look and feel, and a lot of men are very uncomfortable with putting women in power like that. We might end up giving them orders! Nightmare. So women only comprise perhaps 12% of Hollywood directors in a given year – despite the fact that women go to film school in about equal numbers to men and have done for years. Consciously or not, studios have not historically hired female directors much. Women don’t get the same opportunities to follow up a promising debut with a studio movie, and they don’t get to make follow-up films and develop their craft.

What can women do to encourage men to appreciate the subject of women in films and how has the unconscious bias towards the needs of men been skewed? Men are pretty used to seeing themselves as the leads in films, and watching stories all about how daring and capable they are and how heroic they can be. Some of them kind of struggle to identify with female leads and stories about women as a result, because they’ve never had to learn to lose themselves in those stories about the other sex (though women have been used to it for ages). But encouraging men to take stories about women seriously might actually increase their empathy for women in real life; if they learn to identify with female characters onscreen, maybe they can do the same every day. So the new generation of films about women that are not romantic comedies or “chick flicks”, films that are often directed or produced by female filmmakers - films about action hero women, and professional women, and sometimes really awful women - might appeal to men more than they expect, and might end up changing the world.

How has the #metoo movement helped reduce the gender and racial gaps in the industry recently? There’s still a lot of work to do, but #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter have fundamentally changed the conversation in Hollywood. Many female stars who saw their peers as competitors started talking frankly as a result of #MeToo and have realised that they have all faced the same barriers, and have started to work together to tear those barriers down. It used to be that actresses all scrambled for the same good roles because there were so few of them; now they’re working to change the picture so there will be more opportunity, and no predators like Harvey Weinstein to hold them back.

Who do you admire as independent female producers making popular series and films more and more? Reese Witherspoon is doing great work – maybe as you’d expect from the star of Legally Blonde. She’s spent the last decade finding female-led stories to develop for the screen, creating nuanced roles not just for herself but other women as well: think Gone Girl, Little Fires Everwhere and Big Little Lies. Margot Robbie is doing something similar with Promising Young Woman and Birds Of Prey, as are Charlize Theron and Jessica Chastain.

What’s the progress/effect on balancing more women on the Oscar panels/BFI panels? This is one of those things that sounds pretty dull, but could have a major effect! It used to be that most Oscar voters were old white men, as were most people choosing films for big film festivals, and most film critics. But in recent years the big festivals, and awards bodies like the Oscars and BAFTAs, have made an effort to diversify their selectors, and that has allowed a far wider range of films to make an impact at awards shows and Cannes or Sundance. Films like Nomadland, Moonlight or Parasite might not have been so warmly received in the past. n

Read the full interview with Helen online at darlingmagazine.co.uk

Summer festivals & events are back HAMPTON COURT PALACE FESTIVAL 13 - 24 August

For the 25th year running this year’s Hampton Court Festival will have an unmissable lineup of legendary names including Van Morrison, Bastille Reorchestrated, Keane, Tom Jones and Björn Again. Traditionally held in June, this year’s festival has been rescheduled following the government’s roadmap announcements. The concerts are held in Base Court, one of the magnificent Tudor courtyards within the palace. This is not your regular festival. You can leave your wellies at home and instead picnic in the Palace gardens ahead of the concerts. There is no need to pack your own either as there are plenty of Pimm’s tents, bars and delicious food stands to cater for everyone’s taste. The festival will open on Friday 13 August with Van Morrison, whole hits include Brown Eyed Girl to Moondance. hamptoncourtpalacefestival.com

based literary festival and one of the first to return to live in-person events. The festivals will be hosted in BookFest’s reduced-capacity, roof-only marquee with socially distanced allocated seating. Additional safety procedures will also be in place, such as an advance booking-only policy to enable track and trace. What to expect at this summer’s “Sunrise” Forty talks, readings, discussions and workshops spanning fiction, poetry, politics, nature, art, fashion, music, lifestyle and spirituality, including events for young people and schools. The diverse programme features a range of writers, artists and thinkers. There will be plenty of well-known names and also some important new voices and also local talent: Caitlin Moran, Alastair Campbell, James O’Brien, Ray Mears, Anya Hindmarch, Robert Webb, Harriet Hastings and The Breakup Monologues with Rose Wilby and Shappi Khorsandi, are just some of the celebrity favourites to look out for. wimbledonbookfest.org Read Arran Denning’s exclusive interview with fashion activist Orsola De Castro online at darlingmagazine.co.uk


WIMBLEDON BOOKFEST “SUNRISE” FESTIVAL 9 - 13 June The “Sunrise’ is the first of this year’s two 5-day festivals on Wimbledon Common. It will be followed by “Sunset” from 15 to 19 September. Wimbledon BookFest is London’s leading community-

50 Earlham St, London is exhibiting one of the world’s largest collection of privately-owned Banksy art. The exhibition has been seen before in Australia, Israel, New Zealand, Canada and Sweden and has arrived for a West End exhibition. It’s housed in the cavernous, 12,000 square foot warehouse, formerly the iconic Belgian restaurant Belgo in the heart of Covent Garden. This is a brilliant opportunity to get up close to the iconic work of this subversive, mysterious and brilliant artist who’s identity is still a mystery. Banksy is considered as one of the world’s most political artists and makes it to the world’s 100 most influential people list. This may be your only chance to see all these original Banksy artworks in one location as most pieces will return to private collections afterwards. You will

see world famous works of art including ‘Girl with Balloon’, ‘Flower Thrower’ and ‘Rude Copper’. Works showcased have been authenticated, with much work dating from the period 1997-2008, Banksy’s ‘golden age’. Banksy is infamous for his outdoor art, but this amazing exhibition also offers the chance to see his indoor pieces too. artofbanksy.co.uk


Spectacular circus skills blend seamlessly with physical comedy and theatrical storytelling in this colourful, loud and hilarious show from renowned international company Lost in Translation. rosetheatre.org


The Championships will return this summer and exact ticket capacity is expected to be announced mid-June when all tickets will be made available via online sales. wimbledon.com

NEW WIMBLEDON THEATRE Reopens 1 August ROSE THEATRE IN KINGSTON Reopens 27 June The 15th open air season in this former chalk quarry in the middle of Guildford continues this July. As you Like It is Shakespeare’s gloriously sunny comedy: a celebration of human nature’s desire to forgive and forget, to love and to laugh. Perfect for this summer. guildford-shakespeare-company.co.uk/as-you-like-it/


Rose Theatre have a great summer ahead with a programme including the latest Live at the Rose comedy night, Copenhagen Winner of the Tony Award for Best New Play. This Michael Frayn’s multiaward winning masterwork is a dazzling exploration of two brilliant minds and their motives in Nazi occupied Copenhagen in 1941. The War of the Worlds. originally an Orson Welles radio drama, now brilliantly adapted for 2021 and the era of the Internet. Zog the classic children’s musical based on Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s book. And Educating Rita, a hilarious and heart-warming comedy that won the Olivier Award when it was produced in London’s West End by the RSC and was adapted into the awardwinning film starring Julie Walters and Michael Caine.

This highly successful exhibition has travelled to 65 cities across the globe already and has finally made it to London. You can dive into Van Gogh’s legendary world and view his work like never before. Combining incredibly detailed projections of his most remarkable paintings with digital surround sound and smells, the exhibition takes you straight to Provence in the south of France.

All shows are being sold on a socially distanced capacity, but updates on Step 4 of the Government’s roadmap will hopefully allow a full capacity again. Artistic Director Christopher Haydon’s first season will be announced soon for autumn 2021. Hotel Paradiso on 9 to 11 July is part of International Youth Arts Festival 2021.

Over 3,000 images projected in the 25,000 sq ft (2,323 sq m) purpose-built venue, you can expect a breathtaking multi-sensory experience. Top tip: make sure to have your pic taken at the Sunflower Selfie Room, a 360°, mirrored space filled with hundreds of sunflowers. visitlondon.com read more at darlingmagazine.co.uk summer 2021 49


Perhaps You’d Care to Join Us? By Kate Greenhalgh Now that it’s become ok to ‘cancel’ stuff, I’m going to come out and cancel people who cancel. Specifically men (boo!) who cancel social invitations after their wife has accepted them. We had our Rip Van Winkle year, but now we are back in the era of socialising, like it or not, and it’s not easy. We’ve all suffered either a bad case of wordvomit from too much pent-up chitchat, or social anxiety paralysing us with fear. The prospect of bantering with Barbara at a barbecue was monumentally scary. But back to man-bashing. I believe I’m not being sexist to aver that men hate socialising (MIXED socialising) more than women. Traditional boygirl seating plans have stuck me next to more fidgeting, sighing, tongue-tied, watchglancing, phone-peering, middle distance-gazing, miserable men than I can count. Despite my legendary

charisma, even I have given up trying to humour them out of it. I can talk about the trials and tensions of the Premier League (men’s) in depth - so a boring woman I am not! No Siree! And is there anything more depressing than a gender-divided table of people, with the girl-end talking about kids, and the boy-end about golf? (‘What?’ thinks everybody. ‘That sounds perfect.’) Why is it so many men dread meeting up? A friend of mine once told me he fantasises about self-immolation as a last resort to get out of dinner parties. Self-immolation! Other friends of ours cancelled at the last minute the other day because the husband had ‘forgotten they needed to set off early to the Isle of Wight’ the following day. What next? An invalid friend called Bunbury? If you haven’t read Larkin’s poem ‘Vers de Société’, do so - it is

50 read more at darlingmagazine.co.uk summer 2021

the ultimate expression of male horror of socialising - ‘something that bores us, something we don’t do well.’ My partner is different in that he adores socialising with everybody. I could hire him out for those tricky occasions when nobody wants to sit next to Auntie Agatha. He would love to! A sullen cloud never dims his amiability. ‘Invite the so-and-so’s round!’ he cries. ‘No, they are frightened of coming to Peckham, remember,’ I say. ‘Well how about the so-and-so’s?’ ‘No. They like you but not me.’ ‘Well, the so-and-so’s’ ‘No, they are smug about their kids all the time.’ ‘Well, ANYBODY!’ he pleads. ‘No, I just know her husband will dread it and end up cancelling.’ So men, try to be less negative about it all. Lean in. We women don’t lay all this stuff on for fun, you know. n

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