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Issue 82 | JUNE 2017

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Still dreaming Actor James McArdle



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contents Issue 82 | JUNE 2017

6 | Interview | JAMES MCARDLE

Scottish actor James McArdle talks to essence about his current role starring in the National Theatre’s production of the Pulitzer and Tony prize winning modern classic Angels in America.

16 | Travel | ABU DHABI


Situated on the Persian Gulf, Abu Dhabi is a major cultural and commercial centre of the UAE. Rebecca Underwood experiences an Arabian adventure.

22 | Garden design | ALLADIO SIMS

Emanuela Alladio of Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design describes the experience of creating four show feature installations at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show.

26 | Motoring | AUDI

The ever-popular open-air A5 returns to the Audi fold even more elegant than before, as Euan Johns finds out.

30 | Haute couture | BALENCIAGA

A new exhibition at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion, showcases the work and legacy of the innovative Spanish couturier, Cristóbal Balenciaga.


Travel | ABU DHABI

The noble tradition of desert falconry


he United Arab Emirates, a unification of seven sovereign sheikhdoms, was formed in 1971 following the British withdrawal from the Gulf area, and as a result of the bi-lateral friendship treaty signed on 22 December 1971, the UAE continues to maintain a close relationship with the United Kingdom. Ruled by HM, the Emir Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, is a modern, prosperous city that offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into the colourful tapestry of Arabian history and culture. Located at the head of a ‘T’ shaped island in the Persian Gulf, the largest of the emirates covers an area of only 375 square miles, but there is much to explore.

40 | Food review | STEPHANIE BROOKES

Stephanie Brookes, foodie expert and BBC Radio London contributor, visits Roast Restaurant in Borough Market.

Dune driving in Abu Dhabi




Seasonal and local food comes in the form of peas and strawberries with recipes to try.


Situated on the Persian Gulf, Abu Dhabi is a major cultural and commercial centre of the UAE. Rebecca Underwood visited to experience the excitement of Gulf culture, safari, falcons and much more.

52 | Legal | MUNDAYS

Fiona Moss, Associate at Mundays Solicitors, examines the complex legal issues surrounding Artificial Intelligence.

54 | Finance | PMW

Simon Lewis, CEO at Partridge Muir & Warren Ltd, considers that the future of the UK will be greatly influenced by how entrepreneurial the next generation proves to be, and finds good reason for optimism.


Al Ain Oasis is a popular attraction and as one of the world’s oldest continually inhabited settlements it was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011. Featuring ruins of circular stone tombs, a number of wells, palaces and towers, the site provides a fascinating insight into desert life dating back to 2500 BC. To learn more, visit the Al Ain National Museum and admire the extensive collections of exhibits including pottery, stone and copper vessels, household objects, weaving looms and musical instruments, which, together, provide some understanding of local traditions and customs. For those yearning for a true Arabian adventure, consider a thrilling desert safari on board a robust four wheel drive vehicle. The Liwa Oasis, located on the edges of the Empty Quarter, is where you will find 300 metre high sand dunes: ideal for a spot of what is known as ‘wadi bashing’ or ‘dune driving’. Highly skilled local drivers negotiate unexpected hazards in the harsh desert surroundings with ease and for those seeking a high octane adrenaline rush and a very bumpy ride it is the ideal excursion. Wildlife lovers may be fortunate to spot the odd resident, including Arabian Oryx, gazelles and hyenas. To get up-close and personal with feathered residents, visit the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, located on Sweihan Road. The noble tradition of falconry in the Arab world dates back to 3500 BC, when it was practised in Iraq and it is known that the Bedouin used falcons as a means to hunt for meat. The Falcon Hospital, established in 1999, provides individual air conditioned rooms for more than two hundred Saqr and Peregrine

Al Jahili Fort in Al Ain

Falcons. Annual check-ups include precision talon trimming and particular attention is paid to the bird’s feathers as the loss of just one can result in balance issues during flight. The falcon is a national emblem in the United Arab Emirates and the government initiated the introduction of falcon passports to curtail illegal trade. Immerse deeper into local culture and wander around the Al Jahili fort, located in the Al Ain area. Built in 1891 to defend the mountain passes and palm groves, it really is a special spot. Take a leisurely stroll around the west wing of the fort, now used to house a permanent exhibition of photographs taken by the late Sir Wilfred Patrick Thesiger. The highly respected explorer and author embarked on the most arduous journey imaginable in 1945, crossing the 650,000 square kilometre Rub’ al Khali (Empty Quarter), the largest desert in the world, on foot and by camel. Mingle with the locals and visit one of Abu Dhabi’s most spectacular landmarks, the opulent Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which features 80 towering domes, sparkling 24 carat gold chandeliers, more than a thousand columns, and the world’s largest hand woven carpet. Constructed over a decade, the Mosque features natural materials including marble, stone, ceramics, gold and crystal and it covers an area of over 240,000 square feet providing ample space for 41,000 worshippers. The structure’s shimmering gold and white hues are flooded with sunshine during the day and floodlit at night by an impressive system of lighting which reflects the phases of the moon and reflective pools add to the overall beauty. >>>

JUNE 2017 | essence-magazine.co.uk 17


Motoring | AUDI


DROP TOP The ever-popular open-air A5 returns to the Audi fold lighter, more rigid, more comfortable and even more elegant than before, as Euan Johns explains. >>>

56 | Education | CRANMORE

Michael Connolly, Headmaster of Cranmore School, examines the issue of chasing assessment and examination results, and the effect it can have on a child’s education and wellbeing.

58 | Leisure breaks | CORNWALL

Cornwall means so many things to so many people: beach holidays, coastal boltholes perfect for a romantic sojourn and a gourmand’s paradise, writes Chantal Borciani.

62 | Theatre | INTERVIEW

Al Senter interviews distinguished actor Edward Fox OBE as he appears in the one-man play Sand in the Sandwiches exploring the life and work of John Betjeman.

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66 | Events | SURREY

Linda Seward’s detailed diary of the best of what’s on in theatre, music, exhibitions, arts and the countryside.

74 | Interiors | ELITE STONE

Tetyana Kovalenko is the CEO of Elite Stone, a luxury manufacturer of ornamental stone. Andrew Peters asked her about her company and her passion for using stone.

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essence 82




essence team

Acting Editor: Andrew Guilor Contributing Editor: Louise Alexander-O’Loughlin Publishing Manager: Rebecca Peters Production Manager: Linda Seward Designer: Sharon Smith Senior Designer: Jason Mayes telephone: 01932 988677 email: editor@essence-magazine.co.uk Advertising Manager: Andrew Peters telephone: 07980 956488 email: marketing@essence-magazine.co.uk Advertising Sales: telephone: 01932 988677 email: marketing@essence-magazine.co.uk Advertising Sales: telephone: 07971 937162 email: katie@ktmedia.co.uk Contributors: Al Senter, Andrew Peters, Euan Johns, Shirlee Posner, Michael Connolly, Fiona Moss, Chantal Borciani, Simon Lewis, Stephanie Brookes, Naomi Diamond, Rebecca Underwood, PJ Aldred, Jennifer Sutton, Linda Seward, Jane Pople.

essence magazine

Maple Publishing Limited, the publishers, authors and printers cannot accept liability for errors or omissions. Any artwork will be at owner’s risk. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the copyright holder and publisher, application for which should be made in writing to the publisher. The opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publisher.

essence is posted by Royal Mail to key addresses in Cobham, Oxshott, Esher, Weybridge, Guildford and outlying areas. Properties in all the major private estates, including St George’s Hill, the Crown Estate and Wentworth Estate, receive the magazine 10 times per year.

Political animals Although none of us would outwardly claim to be so, we are all political animals to a greater or lesser extent. With election fever prominent, we perhaps unwillingly listen and try to avoid the avalanche of material containing different arguments and opinions that comes our way. It’s hard not to fall back on early influences and acclaimed actor James McArdle is no exception. We caught up with the brilliant young actor currently starring in Angels in America at the National Theatre and found out he has deep rooted beliefs of his own. Also in essence this month, Audi has a new, more than competent open top addition, the A5, complete with improved styling as Euan Johns finds out. In addition, we travel to Abu Dhabi for a desert adventure and sample the delights of Cornwall. He may have been the King of Couture, but Cristóbal Balenciaga was a very private man, preferring to concentrate on the job in hand that he loved and made his life. A major new exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum celebrates his impact on the fashion world. Foodie expert and BBC Radio London contributor Stephanie Brookes returns and samples Roast Restaurant in Borough Market. The Chelsea Flower Show saw a reduced number of show gardens this year, but Alladio Sims Landscape Design found plenty of interest and Emanuela Alladio shares this with essence readers. There are many ways to enjoy the beauty of nature, none more so than in the beauty of rock formations. Elite Stone offers its expertise and shows just how natural stone can be used to best advantage in our interiors.

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As summer beckons, essence has beauty, legal, educational and financial advice on offer, together with the pick of activities highlighting food and events to enjoy and places to go.

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The essence team

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dreaming Scottish actor James McArdle talks to essence about his current role starring in the National Theatre’s Angels in America. James will also take the lead alongside Vanessa Redgrave in this summer’s BBC Two series ‘Man in an Orange Shirt’, part of the BBC’s Gay Britannia season. PHOTO COPYRIGHT: MICHELLE BEATTY


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Q James, you started as a child actor how did that come about? A Producers from a television show came to my school looking for a boy to lead a new show for them. I think they were looking for the most obnoxious child they could find... After that my aunt got me a place at PACE youth theatre in Paisley. I had to choose between acting and swimming as a hobby.  James McArdle (Louis) and Andrew Garfield (Prior) in Angels in America Millennium Approaches PHOTO COPYRIGHT: HELEN MAYBANKS

Q What do you think set you apart? A I don’t know, I have a natural tenacity and drive. But, you know, my parents also worked very, very hard. I come from a workingclass background and because of their hard work I had a very secure upbringing in which food and shelter were always provided and I went on holiday abroad every year, or every two years. That level of privilege offered me opportunity. Like having the belief in myself to get to RADA. That belief came from my privilege. Then once I got to RADA I saw what real privilege was and how astoundingly unequal the class system in this country is. Q You haven’t come from a conventional theatrical background, what drove you to become an actor? A Well, when I was young, it was a safe form of uninhibited selfexpression.  I also felt that, when I would try to say something in real life, it wouldn’t have the same resonance with my family as it did when I was on stage saying the same thing, but through a character with someone else’s words. Plus I’ve always had a lot to say. Actor. Writer. Politician. They were the only options for me. And a vet. Weirdly. Sometimes I still dream of being a vet. Maybe when I grow up. 

Gay Britannia The BBC announced in April a Gay Britannia season of programming marking the 50th anniversary of The Sexual Offences Act 1967, which partially decriminalised homosexual acts that took place in private between two men over the age of 21. Led by programming on BBC Two and BBC Four, with other content across BBC radio and online, the Gay Britannia season will feature stories that celebrate the LGBTQ community as well as challenging existing preconceptions and prejudices. The season will cast a fresh light on the history of gay Britain, as well as highlighting just what it means to be gay in Britain today.

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Interview | JAMES MCARDLE James McArdle (Louis) in Angels in America – Perestroika PHOTO COPYRIGHT: HELEN MAYBANKS

“The problem with acting as an art form is that it’s a business. The problem with it as a business is that it’s an art form. It is a fickle game. There are successful actors who can’t act and unsuccessful ones who can.” PHOTO COPYRIGHT: MICHELLE BEATTY

Q You applied to RADA 10 years ago, making the journey alone from Glasgow to the London audition. What were your feelings at the time? A I just remember thinking, what else will I do if this doesn’t work? I was continually second guessing the choices I’d made about the speeches. Q How do you think the audition went? A TERRIBLE. The first attempt at it anyway. I messed it up and left the room. I was the last of the day. I got half way down Gower Street and thought: “No, you  can  act!” So, I went back. I  remember the receptionist, Dee, shouting at me as I ran up the stairs. I came in and asked if I could do it all again. The actor on the audition panel called me a few choice words, before agreeing. I remember they had soup and I told them to “eat their soup” and I would just begin. It went better. Much better.  Q You didn’t tell your parents what you were doing, have they been supportive of your chosen career? A I think I bewilder them a lot. They have always supported my chosen career. Always. I would never have been able to do this without their 100% support. I’m aware how... strange it is for them.  I don’t think watching some of the things I’ve done on film and on stage was something they saw for their future. But I’m glad it is. I hope they are proud.  Q The work has flowed since RADA, but does the prospect of ever being out of work scare you? A The problem with acting as an art form is that it’s a business. The problem with it as a business is that it’s an art form. It is a fickle game. There are successful actors who can’t act and  unsuccessful ones who can. I will always act, even if it is in my shed at the bottom of my garden. If the work ever does dry up...I’ll become a vet.    >>>

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James McArdle (Louis) and Andrew Garfield (Prior) in Angels in America – Millennium Approaches PHOTO COPYRIGHT: HELEN MAYBANKS

Q Last year you won the Ian Charleson theatrical award for your 2015 performance of Platonov in Chekov’s play of the same name. Do you agree with John Peter’s reasoning behind the creation of the award that: “Classical work is the solid bedrock of all acting. It is classical acting, with its twin demands of psychological perception and formal excellence, which truly tests and proves the actor’s ability and stamina, both physical and mental.” A Absolutely! Only the best actors can do theatre. And on top of that, classical theatre. To make that stuff realistic and have pumping blood running through it is a skill worth reaching for if you are at all interested in acting. It separates the men from the boys. It always pushes me to the brink, but I always come away having learned more and gained more authority over what I’ve chosen to do. I’ll always seek to do a play every year or every two years. Plus, loads of these plays are so modern and relevant and I know young people would love them. My mates from Glasgow, all the boys I went to school with and none of whom are actors, loved Platonov. The thing with classical theatre is you have to work hard to be excellent or you’ll be rumbled. There is a lot of room for mediocrity on telly and film. Work that is modish and vain can get passed off for naturalistic and subtle. On stage, there is nowhere to hide. If you’re not telling the truth, they will find you out.

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Q You’re now playing Louis Ironson in Tony Kushner’s classic Pulitzer and Tony award-winning play Angels in America. Was it an easy decision to accept the role in this era defining classic? A Very easy. It’s a complicated role and I was honoured they asked me to do it. James McArdle (Louis) and Russell Tovey (Joseph Pitt) in Angels in America – Perestroika PHOTO COPYRIGHT: HELEN MAYBANKS


James McArdle The Telegraph describes him as “transfixing” and “magnetic”. James McArdle played two parts in David Hare’s adaptation of Young Chekhov’s Platanov and Ivanov at the National Theatre for which he was nominated for ‘Best Actor’ at last year’s Evening Standard Theatre Awards alongside Ralph Fiennes, Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Kenneth Branagh. James won the Ian Charleson award garnering exceptional reviews across the board for his lead role of Iothario ‘Platanov’. Paul Taylor (the Independent) cites James to be “the most stunningly gifted performer to have emerged since the advent of Eddie (Redmayne) in the Rylance era.” James’ further credits for theatre include James I: The key will keep the lock, at the National Theatre, Macbeth at the Globe, Spur of the moment at the Royal Court, The heart of Robin Hood for the RSC and a further leading role in the universally acclaimed West End production of Chariots of Fire. For television, his credits include Golden Globe and BAFTA nominated Page Eight for BBC with Ralph Fiennes and Bill Nighy, the multi-awardwinning Appropriate Adult alongside Dominic West and Emily Watson, and the acclaimed film for BBC4 Best Possible Taste: The Kenny Everett Story. For film, his credits include 71 with Jack O’Connell, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Private Peaceful. PHOTO COPYRIGHT: MICHELLE BEATTY


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James McArdle (Louis) and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett (Belize) in Angels in America – Millennium Approaches PHOTO COPYRIGHT: HELEN MAYBANKS

Angels in America

Q Is it a good time to revive the play, as when Trump was elected some people drew parallels with the Reagan era? A I think this play will always be relevant. In hundreds of years, if there is still a human race in hundreds of years, people will look to this play. It captures perfectly what it is like to be alive in the late 20th/early 21st century. However, it does have an added potency given the current political climate.   Q In the play your character Louis Ironson leaves his AIDSinfected lover. Do you have sympathy for him? A Of course. Prior is Louis’ Goddess. He is having to watch his Goddess die of a terrible disease and the urge to run is so great. I’ve lost loved ones to horrible diseases and the urge to run is great. You feel helpless. You can’t save them. It’s emasculating and heart breaking.  Q Angels in America is a reflection of America in the Reagan era. If you were ever short of work would you move over the water? A I would work in America if they ever invited me,  but I think I would always return home. I love Scotland too much.  Q You’ve had a wealth of accolades for your acting. How do you take all of this praise? A Well, it’s sort of none of my business in a way. I enjoy working hard to satisfy the perfectionist in me. I have to keep my work for

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Marianne Elliott’s revival of Tony Kushner’s 1993 modern classic is nothing less than the biggest theatrical deal of 2017. Subtitled A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, the play is an era-defining, two-part look at America during the eighties’ AIDS crisis. As a group of New Yorkers struggle with love, fidelity and illness, the everyday and the numinous start to merge and blend in grand style. Pulitzer (drama) and Tony award (best play) winning, the play is a complex examination of AIDS and homosexuality in America in the 1980s. Certain major and minor characters are supernatural beings (angels) or deceased persons (ghosts). The play contains multiple roles for several of the actors. Initially and primarily focusing on a gay couple in Manhattan, the play also has several other storylines, some of which occasionally intersect. The two parts of the play are separately presentable and entitled Millennium Approaches and Perestroika, respectively.

myself or else I’d go crazy. How people choose to accolade me is actually none of my business. I don’t have Facebook or Instagram or Twitter or anything like that.  Q You’ve acted in theatre, films and television, but mainly theatre, is that what you enjoy most? A I really enjoy filming and being on stage. They feed each other. I will always come back to the theatre though. On stage, you’re in charge of the evening. On screen, you are dependent on a good editor.  Q What do you find to be your best leisure time when not working? A Swimming. Front crawl. Swimming, swimming, swimming! essence INFO

Angels in America is at the National Theatre, London SE1, until 19 August. Man in an Orange Shirt will air on BBC Two this summer, as part of the Gay Britannia season. NT Live broadcasts of Angels in America will take place to cinemas around the UK and internationally – Part One on 20 July and Part Two on 27 July. More info can be found at: http://ntlive.nationaltheatre.org.uk.

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Morning Star Party Night Friday 23rd June 2017 to raise funds for Morning Star Children's Centre for underprivileged children in South Africa

ACS International School, Cobham 7:00pm

Menu Delicious three course dinner with coffee, accompanied by fine wine from Château de Berne. CONTACTS: Linda lindagardiner@hotmail.com 07979 600877 Bill bill@ruxley.com 07768 848899

With entertainment from The Antidote (6-piece band) featuring George Royall Vocalists Sheila Daniels & Zara Mason And the amazing magician, Lee Burridge Plus an exciting auction with a surprise celebrity auctioneer

£100 per person or £750 for a table of eight Places are limited, so please send your application for tickets as soon as possible by visiting essence-magazine.co.uk/charity The ingredients are all there for a great evening, but it’s you who’ll make the difference. Kindest regards Linda and Bill

If you are unable to attend but would like to make a donation it would be very much appreciated by the children of Morning Star. Please make cheques payable to ‘Morning Star’ and send, marked as a donation, to Morning Star, Flat 9, Hill House, Portsmouth Road, Esher, Surrey KT10 9LN.

Discover our world of luxury, tailor-made travel Your dedicated Travel Specialist will tailor-make your perfect getaway, whatever the occasion; treating you to competitive prices, exclusive offers & VIP benefits at the finest hotels across the globe. Let Quintessentially Travel make the world of difference to the way you travel.

To book, please contact Quintessentially Travel on +44 (0)20 7022 6560 or email info@quintessentiallytravel.com & quote ‘ESSENCE’.


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The noble tradition of desert falconry



Situated on the Persian Gulf, Abu Dhabi is a major cultural and commercial centre of the UAE. Rebecca Underwood visited to experience the excitement of Gulf culture, safari, falcons and much more.

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Travel | ABU DHABI


he United Arab Emirates, a unification of seven sovereign sheikhdoms, was formed in 1971 following the British withdrawal from the Gulf area, and as a result of the bi-lateral friendship treaty signed on 22 December 1971, the UAE continues to maintain a close relationship with the United Kingdom. Ruled by HM, the Emir Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, is a modern, prosperous city that offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into the colourful tapestry of Arabian history and culture. Located at the head of a ‘T’ shaped island in the Persian Gulf, the largest of the emirates covers an area of only 375 square miles, but there is much to explore.

Dune driving in Abu Dhabi


Al Ain Oasis is a popular attraction and as one of the world’s oldest continually inhabited settlements it was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011. Featuring ruins of circular stone tombs, a number of wells, palaces and towers, the site provides a fascinating insight into desert life dating back to 2500 BC. To learn more, visit the Al Ain National Museum and admire the extensive collections of exhibits including pottery, stone and copper vessels, household objects, weaving looms and musical instruments, which, together, provide some understanding of local traditions and customs. For those yearning for a true Arabian adventure, consider a thrilling desert safari on board a robust four wheel drive vehicle. The Liwa Oasis, located on the edges of the Empty Quarter, is where you will find 300 metre high sand dunes: ideal for a spot of what is known as ‘wadi bashing’ or ‘dune driving’. Highly skilled local drivers negotiate unexpected hazards in the harsh desert surroundings with ease and for those seeking a high octane adrenaline rush and a very bumpy ride it is the ideal excursion. Wildlife lovers may be fortunate to spot the odd resident, including Arabian Oryx, gazelles and hyenas. To get up-close and personal with feathered residents, visit the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, located on Sweihan Road. The noble tradition of falconry in the Arab world dates back to 3500 BC, when it was practised in Iraq and it is known that the Bedouin used falcons as a means to hunt for meat. The Falcon Hospital, established in 1999, provides individual air conditioned rooms for more than two hundred Saqr and Peregrine

Al Jahili Fort in Al Ain

Falcons. Annual check-ups include precision talon trimming and particular attention is paid to the bird’s feathers as the loss of just one can result in balance issues during flight. The falcon is a national emblem in the United Arab Emirates and the government initiated the introduction of falcon passports to curtail illegal trade. Immerse deeper into local culture and wander around the Al Jahili fort, located in the Al Ain area. Built in 1891 to defend the mountain passes and palm groves, it really is a special spot. Take a leisurely stroll around the west wing of the fort, now used to house a permanent exhibition of photographs taken by the late Sir Wilfred Patrick Thesiger. The highly respected explorer and author embarked on the most arduous journey imaginable in 1945, crossing the 650,000 square kilometre Rub’ al Khali (Empty Quarter), the largest desert in the world, on foot and by camel. Mingle with the locals and visit one of Abu Dhabi’s most spectacular landmarks, the opulent Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which features 80 towering domes, sparkling 24 carat gold chandeliers, more than a thousand columns, and the world’s largest hand woven carpet. Constructed over a decade, the Mosque features natural materials including marble, stone, ceramics, gold and crystal and it covers an area of over 240,000 square feet providing ample space for 41,000 worshippers. The structure’s shimmering gold and white hues are flooded with sunshine during the day and floodlit at night by an impressive system of lighting which reflects the phases of the moon and reflective pools add to the overall beauty. >>>

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Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

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Travel | ABU DHABI


For travellers considering a ‘stop over’ in Bahrain en route to Abu Dhabi, the Four Seasons Bahrain Bay (fourseasons.com/Bahrain) is located on a private island and offers the ultimate level of comfort and service. Accommodations include a selection of sumptuously furnished rooms and suites reflecting the art deco style and chic marble bathrooms feature oversized bathtubs with separate showers and an in-mirror television allowing guests to keep up with the latest news whilst bathing. Hotel facilities include five swimming pools and a fabulous outdoor infinity pool which measures 956 square metres and is surrounded by enormous parasols and comfortable sun loungers providing an ideal oasis. Vento, the hotel’s poolside trattoria, offers an extensive choice of delicious Italian dishes, including the Ossobuco ‘alla Milanese’, which is slow cooked for eight hours, and accompanied by a glass or two of Amarone Della Valpolicella, it is distinctly first rate. Other dining venues include the Bahrain Bay Kitchen, which presents an international breakfast and luncheon buffet and the open kitchen shows a frenzy of chefs creating tempting dishes at ‘live’ cooking stations. ALL PHOTOS COPYRIGHT: TCA ABU DHABI

For weary travellers keen to reside in similarly lavish surroundings, the Ritz Carlton Grand Canal Hotel (ritzcarlton.com) is directly opposite the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and provides the highest standards of comfort and service. This ultra stylish, Venetian-inspired property is surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens and features a gorgeous private beach and an impressive outdoor pool covering 1,600 square metres. Plump sun loungers ensure Hunting for treasure in Abu Dhabi that occupants may dine in-situ and the hotel’s al fresco restaurant offers a wide range of lunch boxes which are promptly delivered by bicycle. Other dining venues include Giornotte, which presents Italian cuisine served with aplomb. Club level guests are welcome to access the complimentary Club Lounge which provides concierge and butler services and presents an excellent breakfast buffet extravaganza, midday snacks, a sumptuous afternoon tea, and hors d’oeuvres, cordials and desserts served with panache. Accommodations include spacious deluxe rooms and suites, elegantly furnished with comfortable beds swathed in crisp white Egyptian linens. Chic bathrooms feature a spacious bathtub with a separate rejuvenating rain-forest shower and a generous supply of Asprey bathing products. Executive suites also feature private balconies: ideal for a pre-dining tipple or two. Or, for dedicated water babes deserving the ultimate treat, opt for a two bedroom villa with private plunge pool. Ardent sailors will be eager to experience an exhilarating boat ride and to savour the spectacular waterside view of Abu Dhabi’s skyline. Hop on board the 60 or 90 minute Yellow Boat Tour (yellowboats.com) which departs from gate number three at the Emirates Palace Marina. The topof-the-line rigid inflatable vessels comfortably seat ten passengers and are powered by Evinrude E-TEC direct injector engines, manufactured in the UK. Sailing past the intoxicating sight of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the luxurious Presidential Palace and the adjacent Royal Palaces is unforgettable. For those seeking their own luxurious residence and a true home from home living experience, the Marriott Executive Apartments (marriott.com), located right in the heart of Abu Dhabi’s downtown area, feature fully serviced apartments with one, two or three bedrooms and provides

Desert camel trekking

the highest standards of comfort and service. We relaxed in a stylishly furnished two bedroom apartment measuring 132 square metres with enormous windows flooding the area with light. The spacious lounge with plump sofas and a huge flat screen television provided the perfect retreat after a busy day exploring the city and we took advantage of the fully equipped kitchen with every appliance including an oven, hob, refrigerator, dishwasher and washer/dryer. For guests with a preference for dining out, the adjacent Marriott Hotel Downtown offers a number of bustling venues, including the very popular Kuzbara which features an open kitchen and presents a first class international breakfast buffet, luncheon and dinner. Facilities at the Marriott Executive Apartments include outdoor adult and children’s swimming pools and a fully equipped gymnasium. For an Arabian adventure, explore Abu Dhabi, experience Emirati hospitality at its best and reflect on the words of Sir Wilfred Patrick Thesiger, the author of Arabian Sands: “I tasted freedom and a way of life from which there could be no recall.” 


Gulf Air, the national carrier for the Kingdom of Bahrain, offers reliable and punctual daily flights from London Heathrow to Abu Dhabi via Bahrain, and provides an efficient check-in service, generous baggage allowance and the highest levels of on-board service. Relax in style in the Falcon Gold Lounge prior to departure from London and Bahrain. For more information visit gulfair.com.

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Chelsea - making the wild look pretty? Emanuela Alladio of Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Limited describes her experience of creating four show feature installations at this year’s prestigious Chelsea Flower Show with her fellow director Jon Sims.

The light hits the long border and creates interesting


silhouettes along the grey wall

very year the Chelsea Flower Show is an unparalleled experience for everyone who loves gardens – an explosion of flowers and ideas assaulting the senses the minute you walk through the gate, bursting with colours, shapes and scents, some very brash and bold and boisterous and others more quiet, restrained and soft. The Chelsea Flower Show has something to offer for every taste. This year Alladio Sims was asked by the RHS to create four separate show feature installations around the show ground. There had been a reduced number of show gardens this year, possibly a consequence of the A path lined with purple alliums, hostas and foamy flowers adds a splash of colour in this very natural woodland setting

Cistus and grasses soften the M&G planting outside the Bullring Gate

Woodland plants brighten up shady woodland corners

It’s as if these transparent glasshouses randomly placed on the corner of a suburban garden were not there – kids have been playing cricket on the lawn, or is it a reflection?

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Garden design | ALLADIO SIMS Golden achillea and grasses soften the M&G Bullring entrance planting


Bella brings the final touches to the M&G border

A strange creature has crossed the road to smell the wonderful scents of this perfect early summer long border

The lovely pincushion flowers of astrantia brighten up this shady corner

Orange and purple are a perfect vibrant summer colour combination

Brexit vote, as each garden at Chelsea usually requires a high level of sponsorship to bring it to life. Despite this, the reduced numbers made for an undoubtedly more relaxed and leisurely show. Instead of rushing to see the next show garden, this year visitors seemed to slow down, taking their time to enjoy and digest what they saw and making the most of the opportunities to meet and engage with the designers. The rare opportunity to share the joys and tribulations of the process of creating a show feature at this prestigious event was one Jon and I grabbed with both hands. It’s a treat to display your ideas to so many enthusiastic visitors and to listen to their views on the gardens they see and is one that we as designers relish the most. It is a great chance for us to obtain a good indication of what people like or dislike, and it is so heart warming when our work is able to bring joy to so many people. In creating evocative and atmospheric garden spaces we hope to stimulate reactions, feelings and memories that make a thoroughly engaging spectacle for the viewer. Indeed, we believe the level of visitor engagement is the true measure of a successful show garden. Venturing inside the Great Pavilion the passion for plants really transpires on the growers’ faces. If you engaged them in conversation they >>>

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Foxgloves soften this romantic and informal border

The beautiful purple flower of a thalictrum is airy and fluffy

Jon checking that the trees are in perfect shape for the opening of the Show

are always very willing to share growing tips and secrets, because they too are in tune with those who share their passion for plants. What was the real star of the show this year? We think there were two opposing camps: one really bold and almost garish (with bright pink rhododendrons, showy lupins and explosive oranges) and one much more restrained, naturalist and soft, closer to what a natural habitat would look like without any artificial intervention. Needless to say these two camps divided visitors, sparking criticism towards the more unkempt look and equally leaving others unimpressed by the very showy and contrived nature of the more manicured gardens. Who is correct? Should a show garden only contain perfect specimen plants and highly manicured borders, or should it portray a landscape close to the one where the plants would survive naturally? We think there is space for showcasing both options: the trick is to give visitors enough information that they can engage with it – if you share the passion, the personal experience that inspired it, and the long journey taken to create it people will, without fail, fall in love with even the commonest plants and the landscape they illustrate.  Jon and Emanuela in the show garden they created for the Istanbul Flower Festival in 2016

essence INFO Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Limited Regional office: Lower Bourne, Farnham, Surrey GU10 3RE Website: www.alladiosims.co.uk Email: Hello@alladiosims.co.uk

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Profile: Alladio Sims Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Ltd was established in 2015 after Jon Sims and Emanuela Alladio collaborated on a Silver Gilt winning show garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. The two directors continue their collaborative approach throughout their practice with Jon’s background in interior architecture giving distinctive spaces and Emanuela’s passion for plants and photographic eye adding great texture and contrast.


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Motoring | AUDI


DROP TOP The ever-popular open-air A5 returns to the Audi fold lighter, more rigid, more comfortable and even more elegant than before, as Euan Johns explains. >>>

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udi has a well earned reputation for its open-top, four-seater cars and the complement is now full again. The all new successor to the Audi A5 Cabriolet rejoins a range noted for delivering everyday versatility alloyed with a distinct air of elegance The new vehicle is slightly longer and significantly lighter (40 kilograms), with a much more efficient engine. There are three engine choices, including the same brand new 3.0-litre TFSI engine first seen in the latest S5 Coupé and S5 Sportback. Some things don’t change though and the A5’s looks remain instantly recognisable. Being a German car it goes without saying it’s well made, and in comparison to its competitors it holds up well on all fronts. As such it will be sure to maintain a loyal customer base. The stable mate S5 may offer a little more excitement, the BMW 4 series probably has better steering and the Mercedes C class may provide more comfort, but that’s where any detractors have to stop as in every other way the Audi takes the honours. The A5 has been around for over 10 years, and in that time has quietly established itself as a very alluring alternative to its competitors. It’s an impressive car for everyday use and the fact it’s a convertible makes it that bit more appealing. Part of that appeal is down to the A5’s three layer roof which when down leaves little wind or engine noise to be endured. In fact, the roof has to be classed as a mini work of art and one of the best currently around. The one-touch opening function makes operating the acoustic hood a piece of cake: a flick of the switch is all it takes to open the soft top in 15 seconds or close it in 18 seconds at speeds of up to 31mph. For the styling of the new Cabriolet, Audi’s designers went with the sleek lines of their Coupé. The rear window is flatter and emphasises the car’s sleek stance, as do the short overhangs and long wraparound bonnet with its power dome. The interior space is excellent and finish quality is of a very high standard, so don’t waste time looking for any cheap plastic that may be hidden out of

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Motoring | AUDI

sight. Two adults can fit in the back with ease, although on longer journeys may want to stretch the legs regularly with a few stops. The boot is sizeable and seats fold down to provide ample space for anyone wanting to take the odd trip to the recycling centre. On the techie front, there are more than enough systems to keep any technophobe happy. It’s all a bit mind blowing for the more senior citizens amongst us, but even the most attention deficient millennial will feel perfectly at home. Amongst the more useful gadgets is that drivers can be advised of upcoming hazards and accidents all using the car’s so called ‘swarm intelligence’. All in all the A5 is a great summer car that will see users through the winter comfortably


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too. There are 16 versions to choose from with the top of the range S5 costing just under ÂŁ52,000, so more expensive than its peers. On the plus side, fuel economy is good due to the lighter body and better engine and comes in at over the 60 mpg mark for a combined cycle. The A5 is stylish, fun to drive and has those head turning looks, so happy summer motoring. ď ś essence INFO

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Website: www.audi.co.uk

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ing K of couture

A new exhibition at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion, showcases the work and legacy of the innovative Spanish couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga.


nown as ‘The Master’ of haute couture, Cristóbal Balenciaga was one of the most innovative and influential fashion designers of  the last century. His exquisite craftsmanship and pioneering use of fabrics revolutionised the female silhouette, setting Alberta Tiburzi the tone for modern fashion. in ‘envelope’ dress by Cristóbal Balenciaga’s impact on fashion has been profound. Yet to many of us he remains an Balenciaga, Harper’s unknown, an enigma, something he inadvertedly helped create as throughout his life he Bazaar, June 1967 shunned publicity and gave only one interview during his 50-year career. PHOTO COPYRIGHT: HIRO 1967 Now a new exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum: Left: Cristóbal Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion marks the centenary of the opening Balenciaga at of Balenciaga’s first fashion house in San Sebastian, Spain, and work, Paris, 1968. Photograph Henri the 80th anniversary of the opening of his famous fashion house Cartier-Bresson in Paris. The V&A houses the largest collection of Balenciaga PHOTO COPYRIGHT: HENRI CARTIER-BRESSON, in the UK, initiated in the 1970s by photographer Cecil Beaton, MAGNUM PHOTOS Balenciaga’s longstanding friend. Balenciaga is not associated with a signature outfit, as Coco Chanel, to name but one, nor with a pivotal moment, as with Christian Dior and the New Look of 1947, nor a cultural phenomenon like Vivienne Westwood “Haute couture is like and punk. From the moment he opened his an orchestra whose Paris house, Balenciaga’s clothes struck a note of simplicity that at times had a regal presence, conductor is Balenciaga. at others a graphic grace. But, as with Chanel, We other couturiers Balenciaga believed clothes should not hamper are the musicians and the body. His clothes became easier to engage we follow the direction with until, by the mid-1950s, many could be slipped on and off over the head. He reshaped women’s silhouettes in the 1950s. In the 1960s he gives.” Christian Dior the purity of his masterpieces lifted his work into the arena of art. His cut was legendary. Nothing fitted the body with the supple ease of a Balenciaga suit, and once women had worn his clothes they were often unwilling to wear anything else. Born in 1895 in Getaria, a small fishing village in the Basque region of northern Spain, Cristóbal Balenciaga was introduced to fashion by his mother, a seamstress. Her clients

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Above: Baby doll’ cocktail dress, crêpe de chine, lace and satin, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Paris, 1958 PHOTO COPYRIGHT: VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM, LONDON

Right: Flamenco-style evening dress, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Paris, 1961. Photograph by Cecil Beaton, 1971 PHOTO COPYRIGHT: CECIL BEATON STUDIO ARCHIVE AT SOTHEBY’S

Dovima with Sacha, cloche and suit by Balenciaga, Café des Deux Magots, Paris, 1955. Photograph by Richard Avedon PHOTO COPYRIGHT: THE RICHARD AVEDON FOUNDATION

included the most fashionable and glamorous women in the village. Aged just twelve, he began an apprenticeship at a tailor’s in the neighbouring fashionable resort of San Sebastian, where in 1917 he established his first fashion house, named Eisa – a shortening of his mother’s maiden name. Balenciaga opened fashion houses in Barcelona and Madrid before moving to Paris in 1937. The house on Avenue Georges V quickly became the city’s most expensive and exclusive couturier. His early training set him apart from other couturiers of the time: he knew his craft inside out and was adept at every stage of the making process,

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from pattern drafting to cutting, assembling and finishing a garment. For him, the design process started with the fabric rather than with a sketch. “It’s the fabric that decides,” he stated, proving he knew how to exploit materials to the very best effect. Balenciaga’s Spanish heritage influenced many of his most iconic designs. His wide-hipped ‘Infanta’ dresses from the late 1930s drew on the portraiture of the seventeenth century Spanish artist Diego Velázquez. Flamenco dresses, matador outfits and black lace – seen in the traditional mantilla shawls worn by women at special ceremonies and during Spanish Holy Week – were also frequent motifs. In the 1950s, the later phase of his career, Balenciaga pioneered new shapes never before seen in women’s fashion. These radical designs evolved gradually as he refined and reworked the same ideas from season to season. Volume filled the ‘balloon hems’ of his early 1950s’ dresses, and was then used at the back of his ‘semi-fit’ lines in the mid-50s – dresses and jackets fitted at the front, but with loose voluminous backs. In 1957 he shocked the fashion world with the introduction of the ‘sack dress’, a straight up and down shift dress, which completely eliminated the waist. At a time when Christian Dior’s hourglass shaped New Look was still dominant, the ‘sack’ was initially met with hostility from both clients and press. “It’s hard to be sexy in a sack!” cried the Daily Mirror. Like many of Balenciaga’s most radical designs, this look eventually filtered into the mainstream. The sack dress was the forerunner of the ubiquitous mini-dress of the 1960s – and remains a fashion staple today.


Elise Daniels with street performers, suit by Balenciaga, Le Marais, Paris, 1948. Photograph by Richard Avedon PHOTO COPYRIGHT: THE RICHARD AVEDON FOUNDATION

The baby doll dress, also from the late 1950s, continued the theme of abstracting the body, with its trapeze-like shape skimming the waist. This abstraction reached a pinnacle in Balenciaga’s designs of the late 60s, as can be seen in the dramatic four-pointed ‘envelope dress’ shown the year before he closed the house. A sculptural form, moulded from his favourite fabric – stiff but lightweight silk gazar. Although a big hit with the fashion press, only two were sold and one was returned because the client couldn’t figure out how to go to the “Balenciaga alone is a bathroom in it. couturier in the truest sense Balenciaga dressed some of the most glamorous women of the of the word. Only he is 1950s and 60s. Mona Harrison- capable of cutting material, Williams, later Countess von assembling a creation Bismarck, was voted ‘best-dressed woman in the world’ the first time and sewing it by hand, the the accolade was awarded in the others are simply fashion 1930s. Described by Cecil Beaton designers.” Coco Chanel as a ‘rock-crystal goddess’, she dressed exclusively at Balenciaga, right down to her gardening shorts. Then there were the Duchess of Windsor, Grace Kelly, Jackie Kennedy (the president balked at the bills), Helena Rubinstein, Mrs William Randolph Hearst, and to this small sample of society clients could be added Hollywood stars such as Ava Gardner, Ingrid Bergman, Marlene Dietrich and Lauren Bacall.

Model wearing Balenciaga orange coat as I. Magnin buyers inspect a dinner outfit in the background, Paris, France, 1954 PHOTO COPYRIGHT: MARK SHAW, MPTVIMAGES.COM

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Left: Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn wearing coat by Cristóbal Balenciaga, Paris, 1950. Photograph by Irving Penn PHOTO COPYRIGHT: CONDÉ NAST, IRVING PENN FOUNDATION

Right: Evening dress, silk taffeta, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Paris, 1954 PHOTO COPYRIGHT: VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM, LONDON

Balenciaga liked to dress women who had a strong sense of style and his clients were often extremely loyal. When his fashion house closed in 1968 the news shocked his clientele who experienced a real sense of loss – Mona von Bismarck shut herself in her room for three days straight. Unlike some other high-profile designers of the era, Balenciaga was a very private individual. He refused to court the press, but despite his elusive nature, for many a Balenciaga show was the closest fashion gets to a religious experience. Balenciaga did not appear at the openings of his collections. Nor did clients see him for fittings as a rule. He watched the shows from the doorway to the ateliers, peeking through a small hole in the curtains. By staying backstage he could concentrate on what he loved – the work. Balenciaga led a revolution in fashion, and has consistently been revered by his contemporaries, including the likes of Christian Dior and Coco Chanel, and fashion leaders of today. French designer Emanuel Ungaro, who trained with Balenciaga, said it was he who: “laid the foundations of modernity” in fashion, and both Ungaro and Andre Courrèges, another Balenciaga protégé, took forward their teacher’s minimalist aesthetic into the space-age chic of the 1960s. The closure of Balenciaga’s fashion house in 1968, and his death four years later, marked the end of an era. Yet the master’s innovative pattern cutting, use of new materials and bold architectural shapes have remained influential. In 1986 the Balenciaga label re-launched under a series of creative directors. Of particular note are Nicolas Ghesquière – widely credited for reviving the label from 1997 to 2012 – and Demna Gvasalia, the current creative director who ensures the name Balenciaga is on everybody’s lips today. Both designers have worked closely with the Balenciaga House archives, looking to the original designs by The Master for inspiration in cut, shape and materials. As Gvasalia said of his latest collection, which drew heavily on iconic pieces by the housefounder: “It is important to know the past in order to build the future.” essence INFO

Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion, sponsored by American Express, at the V&A Museum Exhibition runs until Sunday 18 February 2018 Daily: 10am to 5.30pm. Friday: 10am to 9.30pm Tickets: £12. Concessions apply. Advanced booking recommended Website: www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/balenciaga-shaping-fashion

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Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion exhibition at the V&A The Victoria & Albert Museum holds the largest collection of Balenciaga garments and hats in the UK. Many pieces were sourced for the Museum by society photographer Cecil Beaton, who used his contacts to assemble a prestigious collection of twentieth century couture. This filled a significant gap in the Museum’s archive, and in 1972 formed the basis of the ground-breaking 1972 exhibition Fashion: an Anthology by Cecil Beaton. Today the V&A’s Balenciaga pieces are some of the most frequently studied in its fashion collections, remaining a constant source of inspiration for the next generation of fashion designers.

Win a signed

Elizabeth Emanuel design The British fashion designer Elizabeth Emanuel, who found fame as part of the design duo behind the ‘wedding dress of the century’ for Lady Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales, has turned her design talent to support the protection of wild tigers. It was Elizabeth’s now famous black evening dress that was to change overnight the image of a shy teenager into that of a future Princess. The design, unique to the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation’s TigerTime Campaign, forms part of Elizabeth’s Moulage Heritage Collection brand that incorporates 18th and early 19th century images embellished with historical fonts, flourishes and her own artwork. To win a signed printed copy of the design simply visit www.essence-magazine.co.uk and answer the following question: For which famous Royal bride did Elizabeth Emanuel design a wedding dress? A) Princess Diana B) Kate Singleton C) Sarah Ferguson

essence INFO

The exclusive design is available on t-shirts, vests and sweatshirts for a limited period via online retailer Everpress until 19 June. Websites: www.everpress.com/tigertime-elizabeth-emanuel www.elizabethemanuel.co.uk

The TigerTime Campaign was launched in 2011 by UK wildlife conservation charity the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) to help raise funds and awareness for the protection of wild tigers. With a social media following of almost a million, funds raised support tiger conservation in India, Thailand and Russia as well as undercover investigation into the illegal trade of tigers. Through its www.bantigertrade.com petition, TigerTime calls for the ban of the trade in tigers from all sources. For more see www.tigertime.info.



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Fashion collectables | BARNEBYS

Launer Elizabeth Daffodile bag

Bags of investment Handbags are hot and now offer excellent investment potential, according to online auction house Barnebys, with an annual growth in value of eight per cent on bags from £900 to £200,000. essence finds out more. The value of branded women’s handbags has gone through the roof and today they are one of the most collectable alternate investment categories at auction. Barnebys, the art and collectables search engine and aggregator, tracks trends in this sector. Hosting 2,000 auction houses on its website, every day it carries some one million objects for sale. Pontus Silfverstolpe (left) is co-founder of Barnebys and explains: “The value of these bags is linked to their limited availability, the rare quality of their materials, the elegance of their design and the condition they are in. Provenance can also help push up the price of a particular item. Auction house specialists advise that they be treated like any other rare investment – and kept in a bank vault.” One of the highest prices paid for a handbag was for a pink crocodile-skin Hermès Birkin bag. It broke the record for the most expensive handbag sold at auction, selling for £146,000 at a Christie’s sale in Hong Kong in 2015 to an anonymous bidder via telephone, thus beating the £142,000 previous highest record set in 2011 by a gold and diamond Birkin that had belonged to the late Elizabeth Taylor. The new world record is held by a matte white Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Diamond bag by Hermès Birkin, designed by Jean Paul Gaultier and sold at a Christie’s Hong Kong auction in June 2016 for £208,250. It was described by Christie’s as: “the rarest, most sought-after, most valuable bag. Only one or two of the Diamond Himalayas are produced each year.” Behind this growth in value is the limited numbers of these bags produced, their ultimate luxury price and the huge demand for them as status symbols by fashion conscious women. Their value seems to shrug off any downturn in the economy and simply grow each year. Top bag brands include all the usual suspects: Chanel, Christian Dior, Hermès ‘Kelly’ or ‘Birkin’ (as in Grace Kelly and Jane Birkin), Louis Vuitton, Celine, Mulberry, Prada and Fendi with prices starting at around £900 and moving way beyond to £200,000.


“So next time your partner says she wants a handbag and the price horrifies you, just think that it may in fact prove to be an investment.” Pontus Silfverstolpe, co-founder of Barnebys

Pink crocodile skin bag

The JustCollecting Rare Handbag Index, which tracks investment-grade bags, increased by just under eight per cent a year between 2004 and 2016. Over that twelve year period, the standout star — the Chanel 2.55 Medium Classic Flap Bag — has risen in value by more than 230 per cent. Auction houses have not been slow to cash in on the trend for this latest luxury goods category, with both Christie’s, Sotheby’s and others holding handbag sales each year alongside their more regular sales. The value of these bags is linked to their limited availability, the rare quality of their materials, the elegance of their design and their condition. As with every other investment category, values rise and fall, but for now handbags are hot.

essence INFO

Barnebys, the world’s leading auction aggregator As the world’s leading auction search service (or aggregator), Barnebys features, at any given time, over a half million items for sale through about 1,600 auction houses worldwide. Websites: www.Barnebys.co.uk, www.justcollecting.com

Chanel’s 2.55 medium classic flap bag

Green Hermès bag sold at auction in 2012. Polished silver palladiumplated armature and hardware, lined in lambskin and with a four leaf clover charm (a shamrock charm is also offered), both in Vert Irlandais Alligator. Sold at Christie’s in 2012 for £79,250

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Matte white Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile diamond bag by Hermès Birkin

We Fix...

Baggy Eyelids, Sagging Jowls & Neck Lines

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(left to right) Before Gary’s surgery and one month after Concept™ Facelift, Neck Lift & Eyelid Surgery

I’m fast approaching fifty and have started to notice over the last few years that the lines on my face are much more visible. My skin seems to be a bit saggier and my eyelids felt very heavy, giving the appearance of looking tired. The way I looked on the outside didn’t reflect how I felt on the inside. I wanted to look fresher.

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Cosmetic surgery | BELLA VOU

On personal recommendation The Bella Vou Pantiles Clinic offers cosmetic surgery and dental treatments for both men and women from a purpose-built private clinic in the heart of Royal Tunbridge Wells. Here clients of the clinic share their positive experiences.


hree clients of the Bella Vou cosmetic surgery clinic in Tunbridge Wells share the fantastic results of their surgical procedures, in their own words.

Debbie, 50. Treatment: Concept™ Facelift

Lead surgeon Amir Nakhdjevani

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“I work in the beauty industry and so I always try to look my best. However, as I approached my fiftieth birthday, I noticed that sagging skin around my jowls and neckline were making me look old and tired. I was in the process of planning my wedding and was desperate for a procedure that would give me a fresh new look but without a long recovery. “I saw Amir Nakhdjevani (lead surgeon at Bella Vou) on a BBC documentary that showed him performing his pioneering Concept™ Facelift. The procedure was exactly what I had been looking for: it was carried out under local anaesthetic and promised rapid healing, minimal bruising or downtime, very little scarring and natural looking results. After my consultation, I took some time to consider my options before deciding to go ahead with the Concept™ Facelift. The time in theatre seemed to fly by! The local

anaesthetic injections were a little tender, but the rest was a breeze. My results are amazing; I love my profile and I now have a beautifully contoured face. I’m excited and happy that I will be feeling confident to have gorgeous snaps to remember my special day!” Gabriella, 53. Treatment: Eyelift

“I have always had very heavy upper eyelids, however, over the last three years, gravity has really taken its toll. My eyelids were drooping onto my eyelashes, which made it impossible for me to wear mascara or eye shadow. I looked so much older than I felt and I was mortified to be mistaken for my son’s grandmother when picking him up from school! “When I met Amir, I instantly clicked with him, I knew he was a surgeon I could put my trust in. As Amir had pioneered procedures, I knew he would work his magic in theatre as he showed me examples of past patients that put my mind at ease. “My experience in surgery was exactly how I had hoped it would be. I was awake during the procedure, but the easy conversation and having a friendly hand to hold totally distracted me


Ready for radiant skin this summer? Summer is upon us and aesthetician Naomi Diamond of The Epsom Skin Clinic is on hand to recommend treatments to help optimise our appearance.

from any discomfort. Amir suggested removing two centimetres of skin from each eyelid, which is a lot! I looked in the mirror and even though I had stitches and slightly puffy eyes, I could instantly see my results, all thanks to Amir and his amazing team!” Jane, 46. Treatment: Tummy tuck surgery

“I chose to have a tummy tuck because I was extremely self conscious about the way my tummy looked. After three pregnancies, my muscles were slack and no amount of dieting or exercise would give me back my pre-baby stomach. It affected the way I dressed and the way I felt about myself. Having done some research into tummy tuck procedures, I decided to book a consultation appointment at Bella Vou because the online reviews were really positive and people spoke very highly of the work Amir undertakes. “Amir took the time to explain all the potential complications and reassured me that any scars would be hidden by my clothes and would fade away over time. The surgery was carried out under general anaesthetic and the results are fantastic, I didn’t realise how young I’d look! My stomach is tight and flat again as it was before. It’s been a huge change for me: it’s a fantastic feeling to be able to wear whatever I want, rather than having to put things back on the hanger because they don’t suit me.”

My first recommendation to achieve the optimum summer glow, would be to book a consultation with a recognised skin therapist. At The Epsom Skin Clinic this consists of a 30 to 45 minute appointment where the therapist will determine the best skincare plan, tailor made for the client. During this consultation, a therapist will listen to client concerns and discuss a variety of options from laser hair and facial redness reduction to more general skin conditions. In our experience, it is preferable to book a consultation at least six to eight months in advance, particularly if wishing to discuss more specific concerns or problematic skin. However, there are a few treatments that will help in the short term making skin appear smoother, healthier and more flawless. Keep in mind that any plan will be matched with home care products to support any in-clinic treatments and to provide best results. We see a lot of press about Botox and dermal filler treatments, not all of it good! However, these treatments are nothing to be scared of. Botox is an injectable that minimises muscle movement and therefore prevents and softens wrinkles; it can obliterate that annoying frown line! After an initial treatment, there’s normally a follow-up appointment two weeks later just to tweak any results and effects can last anything from three to six months. Dermal fillers help to plump skin, giving it back a youthful appearance by using hyaluronic acid, a hydrating ingredient found naturally in the skin. The acid holds up to 1,000 times its own weight in water and can enhance natural beauty by subtly adding volume where, for example, age or weight loss has taken its toll. These treatments will I am sure spark major confidence boosting comments such as: “You’re looking well” or “Your skin’s looking great!”. For those not wanting injectables, but still interested in reducing fine lines and wrinkles or improving skin texture, there’s eDermastamp. This creates tiny channels in the skin that allow peptide rich products or hyaluronic acid to penetrate deeper. The treatment also promotes collagen and elastin production and encourages

cell turnover. Results are smoother, more radiant skin with fine lines and wrinkles appearing more subtle and reduced. eDermastamp can be made more intense for those with acne scarring. Combined with microdermabrasion, it can improve texture and tone whilst re-educating skin to make the appearance more even. The process involves one treatment every six weeks and needs around four treatments in total. Skin peels and microdermabrasion are a great way to finish off a series of treatments or, if time is short, working more superficially, these treatments can make dull, tired and uneven complexions appear brighter and feel silkier. Microdermabrasion uses small crystals and vacuum suction to deeply exfoliate and bring fresh nutrients to the skin to refresh and replenish. There are many different skin peels containing various chemical exfoliants (fruit acids etc). These penetrate to different levels of the skin evening out tone, helping with spots and imperfections, improving pore size and generally making the skin appear healthier and brighter. The two treatments can be combined for a more intense result and at the Clinic we can also pamper with a hydrating or vitamin C mask for a real boost. Finally, for those who may not have thought about it, microdermabrasion for the back can be essential for those revealing a little skin. My tip is to have a treatment at least ten days before a spray tan to help the tan spread more evenly for that beautiful, sun kissed look.

essence INFO

Epsom Skin Clinics Website: www.epsomskinclinics.com Telephone: 01372 737280 (Epsom) or 020 8399 5996 (Surbiton) PHOTO COPYRIGHT: KZENON | 123RF.COM

essence INFO

To read more patient stories from real clients at the Bella Vou clinic, please visit www.bellavou.co.uk/patient-stories or contact the clinic to enquire about cosmetic surgery procedures.

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Roast's red mullet with roasted garlic aioli and gremolata

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Stephanie Brookes, foodie expert and BBC Radio London contributor, offers her pick of an eating establishment for this month: Roast Restaurant in Borough Market. PHOTO COPYRIGHT: ANDREW MANLEY | 123RF.COM


t feels a little celebratory to have a roast dinner in the middle of the week, but that’s just what is to be expected when you dine at Roast in Borough Market. The restaurant itself is arguably in the least busy part of Borough, that is to say, it’s high up in the rafters, and a veritable sanctuary from bustling life below. The entrance to Roast is located within the market, and a gentle elevator ride up to a restaurant that promises the best of British cooking, using locally sourced ingredients, sounds good, so far. As we all know, great food is only part of the restaurant experience, another aspect, which I feel is just as important, is the matter of where your server decides to seat you and your party. It can make or break a meal, of that we all know. If you’re a smaller party of two, request a window seat with views of the market, but as we were a larger group, we were seated on the upper section of the restaurant with stunning views over Park Street. This area of the restaurant is flooded with natural light from the decoratively large windows. A perfectly located dining spot, I must say. It’s the ideal restaurant choice for a celebration, as

it does have that ‘wow’ factor quality, and yet it still feels comfortable enough for a more informal, week day lunch. Head chef, Stuart Cauldwell, has created a menu where the ingredients take centre stage, using the finest seasonal produce. It’s the kind of menu designed for the true food lover! The Duck Breast with pineapple relish and port reduction instantly piqued my interest, yet the comforting description of the Braised Rabbit stew, with smoked venison chorizo, was all too appealing. In the end, the classic Roast Beef with Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and horseradish claimed victory. It was an easy decision when you haven’t had a roast dinner in a while – seeing it on a menu does have a knack of making you crave it all the more. We also opted for the Red Mullet with roasted garlic aioli and gremolata, and the Pork Belly with mashed potato and Bramley apple sauce. As the orders were placed, we all instantly brought up the fact that this roast dinner could potentially ruin all home-cooked roast dinners forevermore. After all, if you order such a classic dish at a restaurant, it could make your own homemade attempt a little pale in


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comparison? But then, we considered that it should, in fact, wipe the floor with any of our amateur versions, as this restaurant is known for its expert touch on this much-beloved British dish. As the main meals were served, we were all immediately drawn to the comforting sight of the traditional roast dinner: slices of just medium-pink roast beef, with a generous pouring of silky, smooth gravy (certainly nothing like the attempts I’ve made), and as expected, perfectly roasted potatoes with a crispy outer layer, encasing a fluffy centre – often difficult to achieve in a home oven. The addition of the horseradish lent a touch of heat and creaminess to the richer notes of the dish. Of course, the Yorkshire pudding was promptly devoured before anything else. But all the praise wasn’t for this dish alone, the Red Mullet with its deliciously crisp skin and garlicky aioli was a great choice for the table, although at first glance, it looked far less generous in portion size, but actually turned out to be just as rich and satisfying. However, if you’re looking for the true star of the meal, the Pork Belly with mashed potato had us all clanking our forks for another taste. The crackling was crispy but without the chewiness, combined with the perfectly creamy potatoes and tart, Bramley apple sauce, made this classic combination remind us why it’s such a firm favourite for Sunday lunches and decadent midweek feastings. The dessert menu was, of course, tempting as it always is for a sweet tooth like me, but no delicious ‘afters’ for our party – we were far too full, and also

A perfect dining spot: Roast Restaurant

far too busy discussing the matter of our next visit; especially the all-important matter of the Pork Belly dish which we have all unanimously decided we are definitely ordering again.  essence INFO Roast Restaurant The Floral Hall, Stoney Street, London SE1 1TL Websites: www.stephaniebrookes.com and www.roast-restaurant.com Telephone: 0203 00 66 111 Twitter: @stephbrookes @roastrestaurant

Roast's traditional beef with accompaniments

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Food and Drink Innovation

AWARD WINNING GIN FROM THE SILENT POOL IN SURREY Now available at Majestic and Waitrose stores nationwide. www.silentpooldistillers.com

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Crates Local Produce is located centrally within the historic market town of Horsham and bursts with fresh, seasonal food sourced directly from local producers. For more details see www.crateslocal.co.uk. Follow on Twitter @crateslocal or Facebook page Crates Local.

At their best right now Seasonal and local food offers taste, health and even economic benefits. Crates Local Produce highlights the amazing seasonal produce available from our region.





There is little doubt this sweet and delicate vegetable works very well frozen and even canned, but it is really worthwhile enjoying them fresh when they come into season. Peas are a cool season crop, sown in late winter and available from early June through to late July. There is a real nostalgia for many in shelling peas and it’s a great way to engage children with green veg with the formula of a few for the bowl equals one for them. Peas grew wild in the Mediterranean and were cultivated from Neolithic times, mainly for their dry seeds. Selection soon improved their yield and over hundreds of years they were introduced as far as India and became a staple of the Romans. Once they became established in Northern Europe, the most popular English peas, also known as garden peas, were soon taken to the Americas. The best flavour comes from young, fresh peas with firm pods. Best boiled, steamed or even raw soon after purchase, store just for a short time in their pods, in a bag, in the salad section of the fridge.

What is more quintessential of a British summer than Wimbledon and strawberries? However it was the Romans who took this berry to worthy heights, believing it helped all manner of ailments from gout through to fever. A member of the rose family, the strawberry is the only fruit with its seeds on the outside and, due to its heart shape, became a symbol for passion used as an aphrodisiac in medieval times. Today’s strawberries are grown throughout the world, but have the best flavour when bought fresh and locally. They do not do well in cold store, nor travel well, so this is one of the finest fruits to enjoy in season. They should be washed and handled gently, eaten at room temperature and, even better, after they have been in the sunshine for an hour or so. Buy from local farms, markets or speciality shops ensuring their locality. Only store in the fridge if not eating within a few hours of purchase.

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Pea and prawn risotto from Crates Local Produce www.crateslocal.co.uk

Classic strawberry daiquiri from Crates Local Produce www.crateslocal.co.uk

Serves 4

Makes 4-6 servings

Ingredients: 340g of prawns, peeled and deveined 50g fresh peas One small onion, diced Two cloves of garlic, crushed Four tablespoons of rapeseed oil 185g Arborio (risotto) rice 700ml chicken stock Juice of half a lemon Salt and pepper, to taste

Ingredients: One cup white rum Three cups of fresh strawberries, chopped Quarter cup of fresh lime juice Two cups of crushed ice Quarter cup Crème de Fraise as an optional extra, reducing rum accordingly Two teaspoons sugar (not required if using Crème de Fraise)

Method: wIn a small bowl, toss the prawns in half of the rapeseed oil and season with salt and pepper. w In a large pan, add the prawns and cook on medium heat for three minutes. Remove from heat and set aside the prawns and juices. w In the same large pan, add two more tablespoons of rapeseed oil and cook the onion and garlic for three to four minutes. w Add the Arborio rice and slightly toast the outside of it, stirring constantly. w Add the chicken stock, bring to a boil while stirring often. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and allow to cook for another 15 minutes until the rice is creamy, tender and has a bite to it. w Stir in the peas, then add the set aside prawns. Season with salt and pepper to taste. w If the risotto seems too dry and not creamy, add more chicken stock a little at a time, until you achieve the required consistency. w Juice half a lemon on top of the risotto before serving and stir to combine. w Serve immediately.

Method 1: w For a very simple method, place all the ingredients in a blender. w Process at the slowest speed for up to 10 seconds. w Blend at a higher speed for up to 20 seconds. Method 2: w Without a blender, mash ingredients lightly in a cocktail shaker. w Add the crushed ice and shake well. w Serve in a chilled glass with half a strawberry.

essence INFO Crates Local Produce 24a Carfax, Horsham, West Sussex RH12 1EB Telephone: 01403 256435 Website: www.crateslocal.co.uk Follow on Twitter @crateslocal or Facebook page Crates Local

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The art of chocolate Shirlee Posner discovers chocolate heaven at a new business appropriately named Choctopia based in the picturesque village of Newdigate in West Sussex.


avid Mitchell of award winning butchers Black Barn at Secretts in Milford sent me an email with an introduction to founder of Choctopia and chocolatier, Matt Hancock. I clicked on the link and his chocolates looked so gorgeous I rang him immediately to arrange to meet. Matt is right at the beginning of his business journey and we met a few days later at his chocolate studio in leafy Newdigate. An alumni of the prestigious Westminster College where he gained a professional chef’s diploma, Matt has worked his way around some feted kitchens and the globe. He has done stints with Phillip Howard of the Square (in his heyday), which gave him a ticket into many restaurant kitchens. Keen to travel, he has spent years hopping around New Zealand, Australia, Vietnam and other parts of Asia. After emigrating to Australia in 2007 he tried to settle but felt compelled to return to England and in 2012 he came back to the UK and found a job at the Ship Hotel in Weybridge. By this time he had started to dream about starting his own chocolate company making high end, gorgeous looking creations with interesting fillings.

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A couple of years later he took the head chef position at Ghyll Manor which kept Matt occupied while he planned his own business. Finding an available unit on a farm in Newdigate made this a reality and a few months ago he made the move. The ethos around his business, he says, is his fascination with the art and science of food and in particular chocolate. This is apparent in his workspace, which actually looks more like an art studio than a typical kitchen. When I visited, I realised I was in for a treat as Matt showed me how he makes his current creations from scratch. His approach to his designs is unique and as he says he feels its worth spending time making sure he achieves the finish he wants for the ultimate wow factor. First he starts with a chocolate mould. This is polished to ensure that when the chocolates are finished, they have a gorgeous glass like sheen on the surface. Each design of chocolate denotes a different filling too, so on his workbench are all the tools of his trade set up ready for the artistic demonstration I was about to witness. I was particularly fascinated by open pots of intensely coloured, slightly lumpy, textured powders. These, Matt explained, were his artist’s palette. Coloured cocoa butters form an important part of his designs and they can be bought in virtually any colour. My favourite was a vibrant orange, which Matt used during my private show! There was also a range of sparkly coloured powders, also cocoa butter based, which are used to coat truffles and when melted to decorate chocolates too. On one side we have the mould polished and shiny, in the centre the chocolate which will form the designs, and then the ganache fillings. This looks like a lot of work to me and it turns out to be a true labour of love. There is a bench-mounted paint gun that allows

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Artisan food | EAT SURREY

Matt to spray the chocolate moulds with a thin layer of chocolate. This is designed for runnier paint and can be quite temperamental used with chocolate, so the key is to work fast. Normally making one style of chocolate in each tray, Matt has elected today to show how he makes all his chocolates, which demonstrates the fragility of his paint gun. Luckily he is extremely patient and nothing it seems will get in the way of a perfect result. The action starts with setting the first layer of the design. Some chocolates start simply with a spray of chocolate from a brush. Matt places some black cocoa butter in a small dish and melts it. Dipping the brush into the liquid chocolate, he flicks it deftly into the mould. For another, a small detail brush is used to place a row of small dots across the centre of the mould. Another starts with a thin layer of white chocolate placed into the paint sprayer cavity and melted with a glue gun then sprayed immediately into the mould. Time is of the essence here: the layer is thin and sets almost immediately. Matt takes a clean toothpick and draws a squiggly design. Melting red chocolate next, he sprays over the design. Each layer is built up in this way: it’s definitely a labour of love. Once the designs have been set in layers, most have three, it’s time to coat with a first layer of white chocolate. This sets the design particularly for those that will have a dark chocolate centre and won’t interfere with the intricate designs. This white tempered chocolate is poured into the mould and then tapped out over a large bowl. The mould is popped into the fridge to aid setting and at this point the different fillings are assembled. I am just so surprised at the huge amount of effort that goes into producing these chocolates. Matt says he is at the beginning of his journey (it’s only a few months since he started the business) and he has already found ways of making short cuts to speed up production, providing it does not impact on the quality of his finished product. Now he is ready to fill the chocolate cases. Fillings range from raspberry ganache made with freeze dried raspberries (shelf life is essential here), salted caramel, hazelnut praline, white peach and Champagne, strawberry, amaretto and cherry and orange fudge. Once the fillings have been levelled off, a final layer of white chocolate seals the chocolates and they go into the fridge for a final set. Whilst they are setting, Matt shows me another side to his chocolate business. He creates painted chocolate slabs of celebrities old and new: Marilyn Monroe, Jim Morrison and even Pete Docherty have been featured here. In fact Pete Docherty recently >>>

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Matt Hancock

ordered some chocolate slabs with his image hand painted by Matt for an event at which he was performing. For me, they are a world away from his individual chocolates, but obviously certainly have appeal. Matt creates these designs by printing images and working over them in chocolate on a sheet of food grade plastic with a small pointed stick. This is then covered in chocolate which lifts the design when it is set. I also noticed on Instagram the other day that Matt had made a sculpture out of chocolate too! He is, as he says, combining chocolate with art to create his designs. When it was time to sample I was feeling a tad destructive, but tasting as good as they look, the guilt of destroying a work of art quickly passes. My favourite was salted caramel. I loved the fact that after the salted caramel had been placed in this chocolate, Matt sprinkled on a few tiny flakes of good sea salt before sealing. It’s little details like this that set these chocolates on a pedestal. Currently Matt has been selling chocolates to Ghyll Manor for weddings and corporate events. They are for sale also via his online shop on his new website. Matt showed me the full range of his packaging as he also creates slabs of chocolate studded with his chocolate creations and seasonal products such as Easter eggs. He can also provide wedding favours, mini packs of chocolate to present on a wine bottle and any number of variations. His prices, considering the huge amount of work that goes into production, starts at an affordable £3.50 for two chocolates, £10 for 8 and upward. essence INFO Websites: www.choctopia.net and www.eatsurrey.co.uk Shirlee Posner is a food writer and blogger at www.eatsurrey.co.uk and provides social media management, web copyrighting and food photography.

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MANGO, PASSION FRUIT AND COCONUT CAKE The taste of summer on a plate, with a tropical twist, this moist sponge has a sour cream tang, layered with a light passion fruit frosting and chunks of fresh fruit topped with some toasted coconut to add extra crunch. Use a 23cm cake tin, or why not make some elegant mini sized loaf cakes as we have here: perfect portions for afternoon tea on the lawn.

Ingredients w 175g unsalted butter, at room temperature w 215g caster sugar w Three eggs, lightly whisked w 200g self-raising flour, sifted w 50g dessicated coconut w Half teaspoon baking powder w 175g sour cream w One small mango w Two passion fruit w Extra shredded coconut for decoration For the passion fruit frosting w 250g unsalted butter w 500g icing sugar w 150g full fat cheese w Three ripe passion fruit

Method w Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease and line a round 23cm cake pan (or mini loaf pan as we have used here) with butter or cake release spray. w Mix butter, sugar, egg, flour, coconut, baking powder and sour cream until smooth. Roughly chop the mango fruit and stir gently into the mix along with the passion fruit seeds, keeping a little back for decoration. Spoon the mixture into the pan and smooth the surface. Bake for around 35-40 minutes, depending on oven, or around 20 minutes if using a mini loaf pan, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside in the pan for five minutes to cool before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely. w Place the extra coconut in a non stick frying pan over medium heat and cook gently for about five minutes or until toasted. Set aside to cool. Or, if short on time, buy toasted coconut flakes from the supermarket. w To make the frosting, beat the butter until pale and softly whipped. Add the icing sugar and mix until smooth, then add the cream cheese and mix again. Sieve the juice from the passion fruits, reserving the pulp and seeds. Add the juice to the icing. w Split and fill the cake(s) with some of the frosting, then swirl the icing on top and decorate with seeds of the passion fruit, pieces of chopped mango and toasted coconut. Take a bite, close your eyes and feel the sun shine!

essence INFO

TOP TIP: If making and eating the cake the same day, substitute the cream cheese frosting for whipped cream for a less sweet treat.

Website: www.jenscupcakery.com Telephone: 07751 553106 Email: mail@jenscupcakery.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/jenscupcakery Twitter: @jenscupcakery Blog: www.ilovejenscupcakery.wordpress.com

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Literature | REVIEW

Ibiza Rocks

People In Cars


Ibiza Rocks is a stunning hardback photographic book by acclaimed French photographer Jérôme Ferrière. Curated by Dawn Hindle, creative director and co-founder of live music brand Ibiza Rocks and co-owner of Pikes Hotel in Ibiza, the book is filled with over 100 rebellious, irreverent and iconic images. These images document Ibiza’s fresh new live music scene and encapsulate the magic that is Ibiza Rocks, it’s a visual feast. The electric essence and edgy spirit of Ibiza’s live music shines through each picture, and the book is peppered with original quotes from many of the artists included. A definitive homage to millennial subculture and a showcase of stunning original black and white photographs of literally everyone who’s anyone. From Nile Rodgers to Liam Gallagher to Rag N Bone Man, Kylie, The Libertines, Lily Allen, Happy Mondays, FatBoy Slim, Boy George and (rock ’n’ roll hall of fame member) the legendary Marky Ramone, as well as global icons such as Idris Elba and Howard Marks. Many of the portraits were taken in Ferrière’s mobile studio just minutes before and after each artist’s appearance on stage to capture that moment of explosive tension and adrenaline-fuelled energy. All the images have been shot on film using a classic Hasselblad to produce a crisp, black and white camera technique. Shot, developed, scanned and devoid of digital photography, the images contain the true grains of film photography.

Artist and photographer Mike Mandel grew up in the San Fernando Valley and as a child in the 1950s could walk just about everywhere he needed to go: to school, or later down the street to the open field to collect rocks or catch lizards. All his friends lived on his block, so he didn’t think too much about the time he spent in cars. But by the time he reached twenty in 1970, he realised how large a role the car would play in his life, and so began to photograph the inhabitants of 1970s’ California in their cars. As Mandel explained: “In contrast to how this project might play out today, it seemed then that people enjoyed being recognised by the camera and readily participated in the playfulness of the moment. It was warm outside, the car windows were open. It was the window that framed and instilled these portraits with the language of the automobile environment.”

Forty five years ago, the studio album Transformer launched Lou Reed from the underground way up to Mars, with a little help from Starman Bowie. Mick Rock was there to capture Reed’s flight on film, beginning with the iconic album cover and continuing through the wild side of the seventies. Images from throughout the decade chronicle Lou’s transformation from the unique perspective of a close friend. Transformer presents Lou’s choice of images from the famous to the never before seen. In 2013, Lou Reed, rock icon, artist and poet, collaborated with legendary photographer Mick Rock in one of the most visually exciting books Genesis Publications ever produced. Now, for the first time since Lou passed, this limited edition is available again. The large format edition (290mm x 390mm) is presented in a slipcase with Mick’s annotated contact strips inset. In addition to the original edition, the book now comes with a new booklet presenting 25 previously unseen photographs and a 2,000-word essay by Mick Rock.

By Jérôme Ferrière RRP: £50 Launch date 8 June, available at www.rockettstgeorge.co.uk

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By Mike Mandel RRP: £35 ISBN: 9780995555549 Published by Stanley Barker www.stanleybarker.co.uk

By Lou Reed & Mick Rock RRP: £295 Published by Genesis Publications Available autumn 2017: www.genesis-publications.com

Treachery and Retribution England’s Dukes, Marquesses and Earls: 1066–1707 This is the history of England’s turbulent times, told through the stories of the country’s nobility. The book begins with the Norman Conquest in 1066 and ends with the union of England and Scotland in 1707. The nobility fought wars against Scotland in the north and against France on the Continent. They conquered Ireland and Wales and then had to deal with the rebellions that followed. Learn how Henry VIII introduced new problems when he appointed himself head of the Church of England. Successive monarchs switched between the new church and the Catholic Church. Then there was the challenge to Charles I’s rule in the Civil Wars. The story ends with the creation of Great Britain in 1707. It was also the end of the period of treachery and retribution which had plagued the English crown for nearly 650 years. Author Andrew Rawson has thirty history books to his name covering a wide array of subjects ranging from medieval times to the modern Iraq War. By Andrew Rawson RRP: £12.99 208 pages • Paperback ISBN: 9781473876248 Published by Pen and Sword Books www.pen-and-sword.co.uk


Baby boon

Businesswoman and mother Aman Raithatha recently launched The Baby Service which provides an appointment-only shopping experience for expectant parents. Aman explained the service to essence. Q Aman, what does an appointment with The Baby Service cover? A Through a stress free consultation we are able to concentrate on just the client. We will listen, advise and help put together everything needed for the baby. From a pushchair to a complete nursery, or a mother’s hospital bag, we take care of all of their requirements and put their minds at ease.

Q What products are on offer? A We have a range of beautiful products and everything is priced at the recommended retail price. From gorgeous furniture from Kidsmill and Bloom to luxurious Stevenson Brothers’ rocking horses, Her Majesty The Queen particularly favours them and is known to own two. We also offer a beautiful range of baby clothing, such as traditional pram outfits from Mini-la-Mode to soft cashmere blends from Love in Kyo, Belle Enfant and Tartine et Chocolat. We like to think that there is enough variety for everyone allowing us to make sure every requirement is fulfilled. Parents can expect to have everything selected by the end of their consultation, which will last two to three hours. Q Do you charge a fee? A Yes, but the consultation fee is free when meeting the minimum spend requirement.

Q Where does this appointment take place? A Consultations take place at our quiet and comfortable showroom, full of gorgeous products on display. We showcase both leading brands and also smaller independent gems. With plenty of seating (and lots of tea!), we take a client through all the items needed and provide full demonstrations. Upon request, we will also deliver and assemble all chosen items to a named delivery address. Q What experience and advice can you offer? A The Baby Service is officially partnered with local independent midwives allowing us to provide parents with professional advice along with items that have been approved by them. Teamed with our experience and passion, both parents can feel assured knowing they are in good hands. Shopping in department stores and via the Internet can be overwhelming and often parents will end up purchasing items they will never use. We put together a clear list of essentials that are needed and then tailor it to the parents’ exact requirements.


essence INFO

Website: www.thebabyservice.com Email: info@thebabyservice.com Telephone: 01276 423452

Free £150 consultation for

essence readers

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Robot rights and regulation Fiona Moss, Associate at Mundays Solicitors, examines the complex legal issues surrounding Artificial Intelligence. What is Artificial Intelligence? Artificial Intelligence (AI for short) is broadly used to refer to man-made computers and systems which can be made to act in such a manner we would call intelligent, i.e. that can make decisions based on sentiment rather than logic and essentially ‘think’.

Fiona Moss, an Associate at Mundays LLP, specialises in corporate and commercial law and is a franchise specialist. She deals with acquisitions and disposals, joint venture/shareholder arrangements and investment as well as general corporate governance and compliance and procedural issues. On the commercial side, Fiona covers general commercial agreements, distribution, licensing, consultancy and is a franchise specialist acting for franchisors and franchisees alike. Fiona can be contacted by telephone on 01932 590611 or by email at fiona.moss@mundays.co.uk.

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Does Artificial Intelligence affect me? Artificial intelligence promises to change our lives in a multitude of different ways, from cleaning our homes, driving our cars to diagnosing disease before doctors. Is this not just science fiction? No! A lot of the more ambitious AI projects are still some way off. But there are plenty of AI offerings already in use. Are you now talking to Siri? Does your phone recognise faces in photos or automatically tag them? Many websites now offer customers the opportunity to chat with a customer support representative while they’re browsing – but not every site actually has a live person on the other end of the line. These, along with computer games which respond to your actions, are all forms of AI which we use daily. The reality is that AI machines will make

decisions based on pre-programmed code. Machines learn to do so based on a set of fixed rules decided by a human and, as the technology develops, the need for regulation is being considered across several countries. Regulations Earlier this year, the European Parliament’s legal affairs committee voted to begin drafting a set of regulations to govern the development and use of AI and robotics. The European Parliament’s report suggests that robots, bots, androids and other manifestations of AI are poised to “unleash a new industrial revolution, which is likely to leave no stratum of society untouched.”(!) What is clear is that the European Parliament is taking AI seriously. Will robots have legal status? Included in the report is preliminary guidance on what the European Parliament calls “electronic personhood”. The granting of some form of legal status makes it easier to deal with concepts such as liability and ownership. We are familiar with companies being given the status of a corporate ‘person’ and this is similar to what has been suggested for AI.

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Will robots be able to own things? Yes. If AI is granted a separate legal status, a machine will be able to own physical property in the same way that a company can. When it comes to ownership rights of machines in things they produce, i.e. reports, articles, creations and derivations of software or other ‘works’, we apply existing copyright laws. In England and Wales, copyright arises without registration and belongs to the author (unless it is ‘made by’ an employee in the course of their employment, in which case the employer is the first owner). Legislation specifically states for computer-generated works that the author is the person who makes the arrangements for the creation of the work. For now therefore the law is clear: any text written by a machine will be owned by the author of the computer programme. Will robots have other rights? Whilst AI will be able to own things and enter into contracts if given a legal status, the extension of any application of human rights was not considered in the European Parliament’s report. This may be a step too far at this stage of technological advancement. What about liabilities? There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to robot regulation. If a machine is given legal personality it can take part in legal cases as both claimant and respondent – that is, to sue and be sued, but there is no legal framework that applies to AI. In the absence of such a legal framework, robots are treated as almost like complicated pieces of machinery and, depending on who uses them and for what purpose, different regimes will apply. So for example, a drone delivering parcels will need to comply with civil aviation laws and responsibility for non compliance would likely fall with the person giving the instructions. Such laws would not be applicable to a handwriting recognition appliance for example. Decisions still need to be taken as to which person is the most appropriate to be pursued where AI has caused damage. Take the example of the self-driving, fully autonomous car: who should be liable in case of an accident where there is no human ‘driver’?


Should the manufacturer be responsible or the owner, or perhaps a producer of any navigation system it is following? The European Parliament takes the view that selfdriving cars are “in most urgent need of European and global rules” and warn against fragmented regulatory approaches. They also call for new mandatory insurance scheme and compensation funds to cover damage caused by their robots. How does AI impact on data privacy? Much of the development of AI requires the gathering of personal information and arguably data protection legislation is behind the game when it comes to AI. Are we aware of how our personal information is being used to develop AI? Have we consented to its use? For example, face recognition software by its nature will involve the gathering of imagery much of which may be unknown to the person who is being tracked. The Data Protection Act 1998 has been in force for 18 years and, whilst it has been flexible enough to adapt to developments in

technology such as mobile apps and cloud computing, whether it can adapt suitably to AI is yet to be seen. The difficulties may be heightened when the new EU General Data Protection Regulation becomes law in May 2018. What happens next? The European Parliament’s report is the first time the European legislature has considered AI/robots and their potential impact on society at all and this paves the way for European legislation to be put into place. There are likely still to be a couple of years to go before any new legislation is in effect however. Of course, post Brexit, our government will not be required to adopt the laws, but may follow the example in implementing an AI framework. 

essence INFO

Mundays LLP Cedar House 78 Portsmouth Road, Cobham KT11 1AN Telephone: 01932 560500 Website: www.mundays.co.uk

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Young and enterprising The future of the UK will be influenced greatly by how entrepreneurial the next generation proves to be. Simon Lewis CEO at Partridge Muir & Warren has found good reason for optimism.


or anyone who appreciates the importance of business to the UK economy, the run-up to the General Election has been particularly depressing. All political parties have attempted to gain favour with the electorate by promising to bash business and penalise success. It is a peculiarly British disease. Such anti-business rhetoric is particularly alarming because it is business that creates the majority of the wealth that in one way or another, finances the taxes that allow the State to operate. This is how a capitalist society works. Given the uncertainty regarding how the UK will fare in its Brexit negotiations, it is pretty short-sighted of politicians of all persuasions to contribute to the uncertainty. Politicians should be thinking about where the next James Dyson or Richard Branson will come from. It is such people who are creative enough to have a good idea and figure out a way to create wealth on the back of it, providing both employment and wealth for many in the process. The Government needs to provide a positive message to those tempted to start a business and encourage inspiration rather than suppress it. Thank goodness for Young Enterprise. I didn’t know much about this charity until I was asked to join a panel of judges at their 2017 North Surrey Company Award finals, but I

“It was amazing to see how innovative and well executed their business ideas were and it was refreshing to see how passionate each team was about their company.” 54 essence-magazine.co.uk | JUNE 2017

have discovered something that all involved should be proud of. Young Enterprise is the UK’s leading charity for empowering young people to harness their personal and business skills. They achieve this by making the connection between school and the world of work, in a way that enables young people to develop the knowledge and attitudes they need to succeed. The key skills that they encourage are: • Communication • Confidence • Financial Capability • Initiative • Organisation • Problem-solving • Teamwork • Resilience The charity is supported by over 6,000 business volunteers who give up their time to share their experiences in the classroom and contribute to local volunteer boards. The company competition is aimed at encouraging entrepreneurship in young people aged 15–19 and runs throughout the course of an academic year. Students from schools across the country were invited to participate in regional heats with the potential to compete nationally. To be part of the competition students were required to raise enough money to pay the entrance fee and fund the development of their product/service. They were then responsible for running all aspects of the business and ensuring they work together to achieve their company objectives.

Finance | PMW

As a judge at the North Surrey Finals I was required, along with my fellow judges, to assess 14 companies by analysing their report and accounts, their trade stands and their presentations. I must admit that I was genuinely surprised at how good the entries were. It was amazing to see how innovative and well executed their business ideas were and it was refreshing to see how passionate each team was about their company. Whilst there had to be winners at the end of the process, every team had achieved plenty to be proud of. In particular, with seed capital limited to just £500, it was admirable that most teams managed to post a healthy profit and some of the entries clearly have the potential for their businesses to keep growing. The finalists stood out because as well as having an innovative idea that was well executed, they were also able to demonstrate that they encountered problems that they had managed to solve and made mistakes from which they had learned. Of the entrants here are a few of my favourites: Reformed Retro had the idea of taking old vinyl records and moulding them into funky music amplifiers and clocks. They are striking products and their success is evident in their ability to secure deals with two local retailers.

Reformed Retro

Coasters Combined

Stick Safe produces reflective equipment for cyclists. Practical safety gear is combined with a strong road safety message and modern brand to encourage cycling safety in young audiences. Their promotional video was outstanding and saw them win the award for best promotional video. Coasters Combined came up with an innovative modern take on the traditional coaster. They are able to use a personal image of your choice and print it onto a laminated board ‘jigsaw’ place mat or coaster. The idea is that the coasters can be combined to create a larger place mat. At the beginning they encountered problems producing an acceptable image quality, but they soon overcame these to develop a first class product. What was particularly impressive was their understanding of reducing costs and increasing profit margins.

Stick Safe

They realised that by using the waste material from their larger coasters to create a mini version of their product they were able to extend their product offering and generate more profit. They have already signed a contract to produce branded coasters for the local head office of a large quoted company and have been selected to compete in the South East Final. It was refreshing to see so many young people receiving the support and guidance needed to lead the next generation of Britain’s entrepreneurs. Next time I listen to a politician drone on about how they are going to squeeze more money out of business I will think about the young entrepreneurs I have witnessed in action and be reminded that the future is something to be positive about. To find out more about Young Enterprise please visit: www.young-enterprise.org.uk. v

essence INFO

Simon Lewis is writing on behalf of Partridge Muir & Warren Ltd (PMW), Chartered Financial Planners, based in Esher. The Company has specialised in providing wealth management solutions to private clients for 48 years. Simon is an independent financial adviser, chartered financial planner and chartered fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment. The opinions outlined in this article are those of the writer and should not be construed as individual advice. To find out more about financial advice and investment options please contact Simon at Partridge Muir & Warren Ltd. Partridge Muir & Warren Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Telephone: 01372 471 550 Email: simon.lewis@pmw.co.uk If you would like to receive similar articles by email please visit: www.pmw.co.uk

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Education versus exams Michael Connolly, Headmaster of Cranmore School, examines the issue of chasing assessment and examination results, and the effect it can have on a child’s overall education and wellbeing.


The emphasis on exam performance has deterred many talented children from developing their skills in sport, music and drama as these pursuits can be easily marginalised in school.

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here was a time when schools were seen as institutions that nurtured children and provided them with an education. So what has changed? Increasingly articles in the media regarding schools focus on testing and exam results and, in particular, the stress they can create for children. This is not an entirely new phenomenon. In 2013, Professor Tanya Byron, a well-respected commentator on mental health for young people, raised her concerns in The Telegraph. Professor Byron said some pupils at top schools in London experience so much expectation from schools and their parents to do well they have developed a fear of going to school. The cycle of constant exams and targets is leaving children “shattered by fear of failure,” and she says she is treating more young people for anorexia, depression and self-harm than ever before. Two years earlier, in 2011, The Telegraph had already flagged what was becoming a significant problem: record numbers of students, aged 16-18, have already sought professional advice ahead of their exam results. Lucie Russell from YoungMinds, a charity which helps young people with mental health issues, said: “Every year we get calls from parents asking for advice on how to help their children cope with exam stress.”

Given this trend, which some commentators feel has become a crisis, the question is often asked: who is to blame? It is true that schools must shoulder some responsibility. Ever since the introduction of league tables there has been an ‘arms race’ as many schools drive everything towards results at any cost to maintain their relative position in the hierarchy. Common sense tells us that such a culture cannot be beneficial for the pupils and nor is it compatible with the broader aims of education. Of course, in their defence, school leaders will state that this pressure for exam success is driven by the parents themselves who are too quick to grade a school based upon results rather than the wider educational attainment. One hopes that the pendulum will eventually swing back so that schools can really concentrate on doing what they do best – giving young people a broad, stimulating education which prepares them for adult life. This is not to suggest that assessment and exams have no place in education. Of course, we must assess children to ensure they are making progress compatible with their innate abilities. Also, we want young people to be resilient when faced with challenges and this must include exams too. However, it’s clear there is an imbalance at present which is

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One hopes that the pendulum will eventually swing back so that schools can really concentrate on doing what they do best – giving young people a broad, stimulating education which prepares them for adult life. causing havoc by undermining the development and nurturing of children at school. The emphasis on exam performance has deterred many talented children from developing their skills in sport, music and drama as these pursuits can be easily marginalised in school. What is the remedy? We need teachers to

recognise that their primary purpose is to educate children which is not synonymous with jumping through exam hoops. Indeed, if we get the educational programme right by offering a balanced and engaging curriculum, we can be more confident that pupils will perform better in exams as a result. At Cranmore School we take academic study very seriously and we ensure that pupils have the benefit of a broad curriculum. For example, our children study French, Spanish, Mandarin and Latin with many taking on Classical Greek too. However, a large part of their time is devoted to sport and music and it has been our experience that these two aspects of school life play a vital role in developing each child’s true potential. In conclusion, I have some advice for parents who are in the process of selecting a school for their child. Do not be blinded by a

school’s boasts about their academic profile in exams. Whilst that is obviously important, it is not the full story and one should investigate what ‘added value’ a school can genuinely provide in developing the whole child – this is something that first-class schools understand and do really well.

essence INFO

With an impressive academic record, underpinned by strong pastoral care, Cranmore School is a community where each individual matters and pupils develop a long lasting love for learning. Children study the standard subjects as well as a stimulating curriculum which includes French, Mandarin, Spanish, Latin, Greek and a wide selection of extracurricular activities. The excellent facilities include a golf course, swimming pool, fitness suite and Forest School. Website: www.cranmoreprep.co.uk Telephone: 01483 280340

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Cornwall means so many things to so many people: a place for childhood beach holidays, a county brimming with coastal boltholes perfect for a seaside escape or romantic sojourn, and a gourmand’s paradise, writes Chantal Borciani.

The Greenbank Hotel


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Leisure breaks | CORNWALL


Dippy egg starter at The Greenbank's Water's Edge bar and restaurant


n the era of the great staycation – where more families and couples are choosing to stay at home rather than see their pound dwindle abroad against the ballooning euro – is Cornwall the holy grail of holidays? Whether you’re a hopeless romantic looking for a coastal paradise on your (almost) doorstep, or a family in search of a multigenerational break, Cornwall’s secret gems do not disappoint.

peppered with cafes, local art galleries, bespoke jewellers and gorgeous harbour-side restaurants overlooking bristling sails. The ancient seafaring village of Polperro, meanwhile, clings to the majestic Cornish cliffs and has a clutch of the oldest pubs in the region: its smuggling heritage can’t help but set the imagination on fire. For families in need of activities and the idyllic, Falmouth is a cracking For activity hunters Some of the pleasure of a holiday in Cornwall is simply picking your way base to enjoy time on and off the water. Take a day trip boat to idyllic through the villages and towns, stopping for waterfront lunches, cake and St Mawes or relax on Gyllyngvase beach and then motor around the scones and a bed for the night. To the north the wide sweeping surf countryside to little inlets and coves. It’s more of a hub than some of the beaches await, while the south is a haven of picturesque harbours, pretty smaller south coast enclaves, with a few high street shops, but its colourful ports and belt-busting cream teashops. Fowey, for example, has views to bunting still keeps the seaside feel at the fore. The four-star Greenbank Hotel sits right on the water’s edge of Polruan and Daphne du Maurier’s historic house at Bodrinnick and is Carrick Roads, looking across to the chocolatebox houses of Flushing. A historic Falmouth residence, the property dates back to at least 1640, but now is home to a seaside hotel that sits in-between romantic lodging and family friendly Falmouth base rather well. There are large family rooms with adjoining bunk-bed rooms, suites with balconies and rooms with huge picture windows – watching the boats bob and zip across the estuary is positively mesmeric. The only hotel in Falmouth with its own pontoons, it’s a great place for water babies. Gylly Adventures runs paddleboard and kayak trips from The Greenbank and plan to offer paddleboard yoga this summer. It’s a stunning place to learn and explore and with the estuary your oyster, it’s a great activity for all ages. The Greenbank’s Water’s Edge bar and restaurant is particularly inviting thanks to the cool, coastal theme and hues of blue and white. The chandeliers are made from collections of decanters while Breton stripe cushions adorn sofas – ideal spots to relax with a cream tea or the Sunday papers. The Water’s Edge restaurant is a real treat, and thankfully reasonably priced. The entire >>> Fifteen, Jamie Oliver's restaurant at Watergate Bay in Cornwall PHOTO COPYRIGHT: SIMON WHITE

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Leisure breaks | CORNWALL

explains the hotel’s modus operandi best: “My family has been running hotels for over 100 years and it’s really important for us to be more than a restaurant with rooms. We are traditional luxury. One of my greatest pleasures recently has been taking out four generations of the same family on Alice Rose. It’s an institution, it’s a family and our return guests come back year after year.” Scheduled sailings take place, weather permitting, on Tuesdays and Saturdays for hotel guests, where up to eight guests can enjoy the boat for the day. The £85pp price tag is well worth it; you simply can’t find a better vessel to explore these waters and the on board lunch is absolutely delectable. Poolside at The Nare PHOTO COPYRIGHT: THE NARE

The Nare, overlooking Carne Beach PHOTO COPYRIGHT: THE NARE

frontage is glazed to make the most of those spectacular harbour views and the menu includes fresh fish, a fabulous and playful ‘dippy egg’ starter and a bounty of Cornish produce, including local lamb, freshly caught crab and homemade ice cream. Step back in time Across the water, the Roseland Peninsular is an achingly beautiful crisscross of rolling pastures, patchwork fields and glittering waterways not to be missed. Festooned with blooming rhododendrons in the spring and wild flowers in the summer, it’s a fantastic spot for walkers, hikers, cyclists and those who enjoy a slower pace of life. National Trust gardens, stately homes, romantic villages and cream teashops are the order of the day here. For Roseland visitors looking to step back in time and enjoy a quintessential English hotel, The Nare is as distinguished, well heeled and traditional as it gets. Family owned and run since 1989, The Nare overlooks the stunning marigold sands of Carne Beach. It’s the kind of hotel (now increasingly uncommon) where the staff will know you by name before you arrive, where you can call upon the in-house shoe shining service, where a complimentary homemade afternoon tea is served for guests daily and the tea is always loose leaf, where pre-dinner drinks are an event taken in the sea-view lounge and served on a silver platter and where ties and jackets are worn at dinner – which, incidentally, is four courses, to make room for the show-stopping fish course (our local lobster was a triumph). There are the classic comforts: a choice of duvets and blankets, sloe gin on the nightstand, and the décor is firmly English country house, but it’s not dowdy. There are power showers, an indoor and outdoor pool, a small gym, a spa solely open for guests and a hot tub with one of the finest views in the whole of Cornwall. The piéce de résistance is without a doubt, however, the classic 37ft wooden Cockwell’s launch, Alice Rose, which is available for private charter, sunset trips around the Roseland and weekly scheduled boat trips for guests of up to eight. There is simply not a better way to explore the captivating reaches of the Helford River, the harbours of St Mawes and Falmouth and the beautiful Fal estuary. The Nare’s fabulously affable and enthused owner, Toby,

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Non-residents can stop off for afternoon tea in the Quarterdeck restaurant while hotel guests can expect formal, fabulous menus packed with fresh produce – from local black pudding to lobster and succulent Cornish beef – and classic styles in the Quarterdeck and dining room – plus panoramic views of Carne Bay. With the lashings of charm and Englishness on offer at The Nare, it’s little surprise overseas guests and well-heeled clientele favour the hotel. A great pick for mature motherdaughter getaways, father-son trips and multigenerational holidays, it is a quintessential country house on the sea. The fact that you don’t have the more modern hotel hoardes descending on this Cornish gem is possibly one of its secret weapons – the hot tub is never full, you can expect to have the pool pretty much to yourself in shoulder season, and the beach is empty and idyllic. Sure, this is not a place for minimalists or modernists, but truth be told as soon as we left we missed the splendid staff, the cushy sofas, walls adorned with maps and artwork, the billowing cakes and cream teas, the distinguished ambience, the silver service and taste of tradition. It’s all so wholesomely heart warming.  essence INFO Rooms at The Nare start from £290 per night. Website: www.narehotel.co.uk Rooms at The Greenbank Hotel start from £99 per night. Website: www.greenbank-hotel.co.uk or call 01326 312440 New for 2017: Night paddling – guests visiting The Greenbank Hotel this summer are able to discover the beautiful Cornish coastline at night, lit by a LED stand up paddleboard. Group and private sessions are available, booked via the hotel, all leaving from the hotel’s private pontoon.

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Sir John Betjeman's statue at St. Pancras Station

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Theatre interview | EDWARD FOX

Edward Fox as Sir John Betjeman in Sand in the Sandwiches


Mr Fox


Al Senter interviews distinguished actor Edward Fox OBE, star of The Day of the Jackal and A Bridge Too Far, as he appears in the one-man play Sand in the Sandwiches exploring the life and work of John Betjeman, running at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking in June.


ohn Betjeman (1906-1984) is probably the best-loved of our contemporary poets, a man who wrote about the ordinary emotions and everyday experiences which we all recognise. In Sand in the Sandwiches, the new play by Hugh Whitemore, Betjeman is brought vividly to life by Edward Fox, one of our most popular actors. His extensive CV includes a number of poetry recitals among the many stage plays, television dramas and films which he has made during his long years as an actor. But you sense that Sand in the Sandwiches is a particular labour of love. Ironically, Fox needed to be persuaded to take on the challenge of playing Betjeman. ”It was an idea of Hugh Whitemore’s and we first began talking about it four years ago,” recalls Fox. “Hugh suggested that I play Betjeman, but I wasn’t convinced. I pointed out that I neither looked like Betjeman nor sounded like Betjeman. Hugh disagreed with me. He argued that it’s who he was that is important and which has to be conveyed. We worked on it for a bit and then we did a reading for Betjeman’s daughter, Candida, and I think we all felt that it had reached a certain stage of being good. All the people I met who had known Betjeman said much the same thing. They warned me not to be fooled by his apparent devil-may-care attitude and light-heartedness. Underneath, there was hard steel and his passions ran very deep. We continued to work on the development of the play, gave a performance of it at Chichester and now we feel it’s rather good. I’d like to think our audiences will say to themselves: I’m enjoying this. I’m glad I bought a ticket.” To his regret, Fox never met Betjeman, but he rates him very highly in the hierarchy of poets.

“He is both a young man’s poet and an old man’s poet and his work is completely accessible. He has the human touch. He is so perceptive about life. He sees the truth in something and in a single line he can make it completely comprehensible. His insights can make an audience sense they are connecting with a feeling that might have long lain dormant somewhere in their subconscious. He was a great satirist, conjuring up the kind of people we’ve all met in just a couple of lines.” The play opens with a reading of A Subaltern’s Love Song, one of Betjeman’s best-known poems which has all the qualities one associates with Betjeman’s work; his charm, his romanticism, his nostalgia for an upper middle-class world that was fast disappearing, his affection for his characters. As a leading light of the Victorian Society, he fought many battles to preserve the great monuments of the nineteenth century from developers and town planners. He lost the campaign to rescue the Euston Arch, but was instrumental in saving the Gothic splendour of St. Pancras Station. He had the great gift of communicating his enthusiasms for country churches or domestic architecture to a much wider public and he was a natural for television. He loved being in the public eye, a taste for the limelight which earned him the disapproval of his wife, Penelope. In an unlikely open marriage, she shared her husband with his long-time companion Lady Elizabeth Cavendish in an arrangement which seemed to satisfy all three. Fox has enjoyed a long friendship with Hugh Whitemore, the author of Sand in the Sandwiches. “We met at RADA and we pursued the same girls,” says Fox with a smile. “Then I played the Prime Minister Harold Macmillan in Hugh’s play A Letter of Resignation which ran for a year in the West End.” >>>

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Theatre interview | EDWARD FOX

Edward Fox as Sir John Betjeman in Sand in the Sandwiches


Does Fox have a favourite Betjeman poem? And how would he describe Betjeman’s work to somebody who didn’t know it? He considers the questions. “I think it is difficult to categorise him. You could argue his work is mainly light-hearted, although Slough is both comic and very tough. I don’t really have a poem which I like more than the others, although I admire his ability to say no more than is necessary.” It seems that Fox is perfectly happy to work on a solo show without the aid and comfort of his fellow-actors. He cites previous examples of one person shows. “I saw Emlyn Williams as Dylan Thomas and Max Adrian as Shaw and another one based on Trollope’s Barchester novels which wasn’t exactly the talk of the town. However, I enjoyed the Trollope and what it suggested to me was that it was perfectly possible for an audience to be very happy simply listening to one man.” Should anything go awry during the performance, Fox only has himself to get out of trouble, but he is undaunted by the prospect. “Technique can help and I find that learning the lines is a pretty straightforward task provided you work methodically at it. People outside the business don’t realise that most of an actor’s work takes place in the home, learning the lines. Margaret Thatcher once asked me: “Do you have an office, Mr. Fox?” I replied that I had – on the streets and in the field. I don’t think she was very impressed.” Fox and his companion, the actress Joanna David, have two children, Emilia, star of Silent Witness, and Freddie, who recently played Romeo both in Sheffield and London. “Neither Joanna nor I ever suggested to them that they should go on the stage or not. It was their decision and as

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“Technique can help and I find that learning the lines is a pretty straightforward task provided you work methodically at it. People outside the business don’t realise that most of an actor’s work takes place in the home, learning the lines. Margaret Thatcher once asked me: “Do you have an office, Mr. Fox?” I replied that I had – on the streets and in the field. I don’t think she was very impressed.” children of actors they knew that it is not a glamorous profession. It does worry me, however, that young actors these days no longer have the ability to train at one of the regional repertory theatres where we learned our craft. They leave drama school, acquire an agent and they go into television or are cast in a film. It is a very makeshift way to start.” Given the list of Fox’s credits outside London, it is no surprise that he has a number of associations with the theatres Sand in the Sandwiches will visit. “Joanna and I met in Chichester, I worked at Salisbury Rep under Reggie Salberg and appeared in a play at Oxford with Sybil Thorndike, and I have known Jamie Barber at Guildford for a number of years.” Fox returns to the subject of John Betjeman. “He wanted to be a poet from a very early age and Betjeman regarded the writing of poetry as a duty and as a service. He was popular with the public, but not with the world of academe who were rather snobbish about him, and he had enormous periods of depression when he doubted the worth of his poetry. He saw himself as a sieve, sorting out words and ideas so that people could understand. He was quick-minded, witty and very human and he generally wrote about the more positive aspects of life. Working on this play, I’ve been both stimulated and invigorated by the man and I hope that audiences will feel the same.” Sand in the Sandwiches first premiered at Oxford Playhouse on 25 October 2016 and went on to enjoy a sell-out tour. The production returns this year with a strictly limited run in the West End at the Theatre Royal Haymarket followed by a national tour until 15 July 2017, including a run at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking from Friday 16 to Saturday 17 June.  essence INFO UK Tour info www.sandinthesandwiches.com and New Victoria Theatre, Woking www.atgtickets.com/woking

See Love in Idleness at the Apollo Theatre and dine at Brasserie Zédel for £59.50 Following a sold out run at the Menier Chocolate Factory, Terence Rattigan’s brilliant comedy Love in Idleness is now playing at the Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, for 50 performances only until 1 July. This brand new production marks Trevor Nunn’s exciting return to Rattigan’s work, following the huge success of Flare Path. Returning from Canada after a four-year absence during the war, eighteen-year-old Michael is full of youthful ideology and leftist leanings. But he is shocked to find his widowed mother Olivia is now the mistress of cabinet minister Sir John Fletcher, enjoying a comfortable society life. When Michael and John clash, sparks fly and relationships are tested as everyone learns some difficult lessons in love. Love in Idleness stars the Olivier Award winning Eve Best (A Moon for the Misbegotten, Hedda Gabler and Nurse Jackie), Anthony Head (Six Degrees of Separation, Merlin and Buffy The Vampire Slayer) and Edward Bluemel (The Halcyon). ‘Witty… Marvellous… Perfection!’ Independent Brasserie Zédel, just a short stroll from the Apollo Theatre, is a grand Parisian brasserie transported to the heart of London, serving traditional French food in a beautiful setting. This £59.50 package includes a Band A ticket (usually up to £57.50) and a pre or post-theatre three-course meal from the Formule menu at Brasserie Zédel including coffee, water and a glass of house wine, valid for Tuesday to Thursday evenings and Tuesday and Thursday matinee performances until 28 June. To book, call 0330 333 4809 or book through NimaxTheatres.com and use promo code LoveZedel when prompted. Terms and conditions: this package is valid for Tuesday to Thursday evenings and Tuesday and Thursday matinees until 28 June, subject to availability. Guests must pre-book their table directly with the restaurant. No cash alternative to any elements of the package. Alcohol for over 18s.


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essence events

spotlight on... Hampton Court Palace Festival Hampton Court Wednesday 7 to Saturday 24 June The Hampton Court Palace Festival marks its 25th anniversary in 2017 with a stellar line-up of musical talent appearing in the Tudor Courtyard. Top international stars this year include Bryan Ferry (7 and 21 June); Amy MacDonald (9 June); Will Young (14 June); Van Morrison (15 June); Jools Holland (16 June); Björn Again (17 June); Corinne Bailey Rae (20 June); Rick Astley (22 June) and Michael Ball and Alfie Boe (23 June). The Festival concludes with a spectacular Fanfare and Fireworks evening on 24 June with a performance from the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra. The Palace’s East Front Gardens will open each evening at 5.30pm and festival-goers are welcome to bring picnics and enjoy the open-air bars and gourmet street food on offer.

Information: hamptoncourtpalacefestival.com

Richmond Theatre Richmond Monday 12 to Saturday 17 June Jane Eyre Innovative retelling of Charlotte Brontë’s classic tale. Monday 26 June Dr Lucy Worsley: Jane Austen at Home Two hundred years since the death of Jane Austen, Worsley brings her favourite author back to life. Tuesday 4 July Eddie Izzard: Believe Me, A Memoir of Love, Death and Jazz Chickens An evening with Izzard reading extracts from his new memoir.

and personality of John Betjemen to life in this one man show. See interview with Fox on page 62 of this month’s essence. Monday 26 June to Saturday 1 July A Judgement in Stone Ruth Rendell’s classic thriller. Monday 10 to Saturday 15 July Grease Great feel-good musical. Tickets: 0844 871 7645 or atgtickets.com/woking

New Wimbledon Theatre Wimbledon Saturday 17 June Kevin and Karen Dance: The Live Tour Strictly professionals on tour. Information: 0844 871 7646 or atgtickets.com/wimbledon

Tickets: 0844 871 7651 or atgtickets.com/richmond

Cranleigh Arts Centre Cranleigh

New Victoria Theatre Woking Tuesday 6 to Saturday 10 June La Cage aux Folles New production of the classic musical starring John Partridge. Friday 16 to Saturday 17 June Sand in the Sandwiches Edward Fox OBE brings the poetry

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Monday 12 June An evening with Virginia McKenna OBE, hosted by Paul Jones A fundraising event as Centre patron Paul Jones hosts an interview with Virginia McKenna, actress and founder of the Born Free charity. Information: 01483 278000 or cranleighartscentre.org

Bryan Ferry. Image courtesy of Hampton Court Palace Festival


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essence events Drama at Deepdene

Haslemere Museum

The Deepdene Trail, Dorking


Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 June Live Shakespeare Al fresco performances of scenes from Shakespeare’s plays set in the Trail’s gardens. The Rough Mechanicals Theatre Company performs, and the Bard’s most famous characters will be found around the site. Tickets available from Dorking Halls’ box office.

Saturday 10 June Outdoor theatre: The Commercial Traveller A new play performed by The Rude Mechanicals Theatre Company in the beautiful Museum grounds.

Information: 01306 881717 or



Saturday 10 June Rich Hall’s Hoedown A mash-up of music and comedy from this famous grouch. Friday 16 and Saturday 17 June Ignition Dance Festival A stunning array of new and diverse choreography.

Thursday 22 June As You Like It, by the HandleBards Outdoor Shakespeare from the world’s first cycling theatre company.

Rose Theatre

Information: 01252 745444 or

Information: 020 8174 0090 or



Gag House Comedy

Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

The Star Inn and Komo, Guildford


Saturday 17 June, 8pm Guildford Gag House The best stand-up at The Star Inn. Wednesday 28 June, 8pm Komo Gag House The cocktail bar hosts its own club.

Monday 19 to Saturday 24 June Don’t Dress for Dinner Comedy of confusion with Sara Crowe. Tuesday 4 to Saturday 8 July Death of a Salesman Arthur Miller’s Pulitzer Prizewinning masterpiece.

Information: gaghousecomedy.com

G Live

Information: 01483 440000


or yvonne-arnaud.co.uk

Monday 12 June Sons of Pitches Unique show from virtuoso singers. Tuesday 20 and Wednesday 21 June We’re Going on a Bear Hunt A wonderful swishy swashy adaptation set to a lively score. Information: 01483 369350 or glive.co.uk

Guildford Shakespeare Company Racks Close, Quarry St, Guildford Thursday 15 June to Saturday 1 July A Midsummer Night’s Dream The GSC’s 12th annual open-air theatre season starts with a performance of this magical play in Racks Close, a wooded wilderness located behind Guildford Castle.

Photo credit: The Rude Mechanicals Theatre Company


or therudemechanicalstheatre.co.uk

The Rude Mechanicals Theatre Company, Haslemere Museum (previous production image)

music Yolanda Brown, Farnham Maltings

Boileroom Guildford Throughout June A creative community hub for music, the arts and events. Music acts during June include Martha Tilston on Friday 9, Sweet Baboo on Monday 12 and The Sugarhill Gang on Thursday 15. Information: theboileroom.net

Electric Theatre Guildford Friday 23 and Saturday 24 June La Bohème From The Black Cat Opera Company.

Information: 01483 304384 or

Information: 01483 444789 or



Photography by Chris Nash

Farnham Maltings

Information: haslemeremuseum.co.uk

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spotlight on... David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation Wildlife Artist of the Year, Mall Galleries, SW1

Communal Stripes by Sarah Soward

Wednesday 28 June to Sunday 2 July Launched in 2007 to raise awareness and funds for endangered wildlife, the DSWF Wildlife Artist of the Year brings together talented wildlife artists and explores seven categories ranging from Earth’s Beautiful Creatures to Urban Wildlife. Over 160 works have been submitted and artists this year include Tom Shepherd, Catherine Ingleby, Sarah Soward (whose original work Communal Stripes is shown on the left here) and Carrie Cook. with Saturday 1 July designated as a family day. In addition to the competition works, all of which are for sale, the Threadneedle Space at the Mall Galleries will play host to The Bigger Picture, an exhibition of art, photography and film, which weaves a visual tale of life as part of an anti-poaching ranger team in Zambia captured over a month on the ground in February.

Information: mallgalleries.org.uk and davidshepherd.org

Epsom Chamber Choir

One Live

St Martin’s Church, Epsom

Stoke Park, Guildford

Saturday 24 June, 7.30pm By Popular Request Jazz-inspired music, including Bob Chilcott’s A Little Jazz Mass. Information: 020 8672 5495 or

Saturday 8 July Music festival supporting Supervet Noel Fitzpatrick’s vision of ‘one medicine’. The line-up includes Melanie C and The Boomtown Rats.


Information: onelivefestival.co.uk

Epsom Playhouse

Opera Foundry


St Mary’s Church, Guildford and Richmond Unitarian Church

Thursday 29 June, 7.30pm The ELO Experience Tribute band celebrate ELO’s music. Information: 01372 742555 or epsomplayhouse.co.uk

Epworth Choir

Saturday 24 June in Guildford and Saturday 1 July in Richmond German Opera German language opera including Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Information: opera-foundry.com

Trinity Methodist Church, Woking Wednesday 28 June, 7.30pm Summer Proms Tea, cake and inspiring music including works by Handel, Vaughan Williams, Elgar and Rutter. Information: epworthchoir.org

Rose Theatre Kingston-upon-Thames Saturday 10 June The Ronnie Scott All Stars An evening celebrating the music and history of Ronnie Scott’s. Information: 020 8174 0090 or

Farnham Maltings

Information: 01252 745444 or farnhammaltings.com

Information: 01483 444789 or surreymozartplayers.com

competitions, the Hoops Velo Hill Climb, racing for up to 120 licensed riders on a closed-road circuit of the town and lots more. Information: farnhammaltings.com

Surrey Music Addlestone Community Centre

Guildford Fringe Festival

Saturday 10 June, 7.30pm Elmbridge Choir and Elmbridge Ladies Choir present Razzle Dazzle Celebration of songs from stage and screen.

Various locations

The Holly Lodge Centre

Saturday 1 to Sunday 30 July Set up in 2013, the festival is an open access, multi-arts event. Expect theatre, comedy, poetry, music, visual arts, children’s shows, workshops, talks and lots of free events. See website for details.

Pembroke Lodge, Richmond Park

Information: 0333 666 3366 or

Tuesday 13 June, 7pm Reflections An evening of musical performances in the presence of patron HRH Princess Alexandra.


Information: surreymusic.org

Information: 020 8940 8730 or thehollylodgecentre.org.uk



Surrey Mozart Players

Farnham Festival of Cycling

Holy Trinity Church, Guildford

Farnham Maltings and town

Saturday 24 June, 7.30pm Season Finale Gala Concert Performances of works by Brahms, Sawyers and Beethoven, with

Sunday 2 July, 8am–7.45pm On the same day as the Farnham Bike Ride, an event to appeal to all types of rider with roller racing

Farnham Saturday 24 June, 7.30pm Yolanda Brown: Love Politics War Double MOBO award-winning saxophonist on tour.

soloist Alexander Sitkovetsky and conductor Kenneth Woods.

Guildford Summer Festival Various locations Monday 12 June to Saturday 12 August With over 100 diverse events to choose from including a craft fair, Cheese and Chilli Festival, farmers’ markets, Guildford Cricket Festival, Guildford Lions Raft Race, drama in the Castle grounds, GMES 50th Model Steam Rally and Exhibition and concerts. See website for details. Information: 01483 444333 or summerfestival@guildford.gov.uk

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essence events

Cranleigh Arts Centre 01483 278000 or cranleighartscentre.org Farnham Maltings 01252 745444 or farnhammaltings.com Odeon Esher 0871 2244007 or odeon.co.uk/fanatic/film_times/s89/esher Odeon Epsom 0871 2244007 or odeon.co.uk/fanatic/film_times/s88/epsom Odeon Guildford 0871 2244007 or odeon.co.uk/fanatic/film_times/s92/guildford The Screen Walton 01932 252825 or screencinemas.co.uk The Ambassadors Cinema, Woking 0844 871 6743 or ambassadortickets.com/cinema

Art & Soul 2017 The Artful Gallery, Haslemere Saturday 3, 10 and 17, Sunday 4, 11 and 18 and Friday 9 and 16 June Part of this year’s Surrey Artists’ Open Studios, local artist David Paynter stages an exhibition of over 100 works, including a sculpture trail. Information: theartfulgallery.co.uk

New Ashgate Gallery Saturday 24 June to Saturday 5 August Graham Dean: Dirty Yellow New paintings from one of Britain’s most powerful figurative painters. Information: 01252 713208 or newashgate.org.uk

Surrey Artists’ Open Studios Various locations

Cranleigh Arts Centre Cranleigh Tuesday 13 June to Saturday 1 July Face to Face A multi-media exhibition on the theme of what faces mean to us. Information: cranleighartscentre.org

To Sunday 18 June Surrey artists open their doors to the public in this annual event. See website for details. Information: surreyopenstudios.org.uk

The Lightbox Gallery and Museum

Guildford House Gallery



To Sunday 25 June Ruth Borchard Collection: Artists’ Self-Portraits With over 100 self-portraits featured.

Saturday 10 June to Saturday 8 July English Observations: paintings by Jane Allison A showcase of the work of nationally renowned, Guildfordbased painter Jane Allison.

Watts Gallery Compton, Guildford


To Sunday 25 June A Craft Engrained Wood engravings by Gwen Raverat and artists of today. Tuesday 20 June to Sunday 26 November G F Watts: England’s Michelangelo A showcase of the artist’s most important works.

West Street, Farnham Tuesday 6 June to Saturday 26 August Olive Edis, war photographer Images taken during March 1919 by Britain’s first female war photographer.

Lazy jazz Sundays, Polesden Lacey

Information: thelightbox.org.uk

Information: 01483 444751 or

Museum of Farnham

Mr Smith, Mane Chance Sanctuary


Image courtesy of the National Trust


Image courtesy of Mane Chance Sanctuary


Information: 01252 715094 or

Information: 01483 813593 or



70 essence-magazine.co.uk | JUNE 2017 Shadow Play by Graham Dean, New Ashgate Gallery

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National Trust properties offer perfect venues to explore during any season. We list a few here, but visit nationaltrust.org.uk for more.

Claremont Landscape Garden Esher Sunday 18 June, 10am–6pm Father’s Day at Claremont Treat dad and see a collection from Surrey Classic Vehicle Club. Information: 01372 467806

Brooklands Museum Weybridge Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 June, 10am–5pm The Brooklands Double Twelve Motorsport Festival Celebrating the 110th anniversary of the opening of the Brooklands race track with speed trials, driving tests, and the grand re-opening of the restored Finishing Straight. Sunday 16 July, 10am–5pm Supercar Sunday Enjoy supercars at close quarters, with demonstrations on the Mercedes-Benz World track and Test Hill of modern and classic cars. Information: 01932 857381 or

Leith Hill Place


near Dorking Until Sunday 29 October

Leatherhead Duck Race

Wedgwood at home

Bridge Street, Leatherhead

See the collection of Wedgwood ceramics on display.

Sunday 2 July, 2pm See a vast number of toy ducks to amuse and entertain.

Information: 01306 711685

Information: molevalley.gov.uk

Polesden Lacey

Photo copyright: Nigel Reeve

national trust

A glow-worm, Surrey Wildlife Trust

RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show Hampton Court Tuesday 4 to Sunday 9 July See more than 98 specialist nurseries on display with this year’s show aiming to raise awareness of the UK’s declining wildlife population. Information: rhs.org.uk/shows

Sandown Park Racecourse Esher

Sunday 18 June, 2–4pm Wildflowers of Kenley Common Enjoy wildflowers, orchids and other rare plants on a walk around the fields of Kenley Airfield, a World War II fighter base. Sunday 9 July, 10am–3pm Chatley Heath Semaphore Tower Open Day Enjoy stunning views and learn the history of this piece of Surrey heritage. Wednesday 12 July, 10am–3pm Bees for beginners A course for newcomers to the world of British bees held at Reigate College.

Great Bookham, near Dorking

Mane Chance Sanctuary

Saturday 8 July

Every Sunday in June, July and August, 2–4pm

Monkshatch Garden Farm

DJ Scott Mills after party

Sunday 2 July, 2–4pm

Lazy jazz Sundays

Open Sunday

Smooth live jazz on the South Lawn. Saturday 17 and Saturday 24 June, from 2pm

Take a tour of the horses and Shetland ponies with refreshments available. Pre-booking essential.

See quality racing at Sandown, including the Group 1 Coral Eclipse race, and then party in the Parade Ring once racing has finished as Scott Mills takes to the decks.

Pop-up Shakespeare

Information: manechancesanctuary.org

Information: sandown.co.uk

Scenes from the Bard’s plays enacted throughout the gardens.

The Guildford Cricket Festival

Morning Star Party Night

Surrey Wildlife Trust

ACS International School, Cobham

Various locations

Guildford Cricket Club, Woodbridge Road

Information: 01372 452048 nationaltrust.org.uk

out & about

Friday 23 June, 7pm Dinner, entertainment and auction in aid of the Morning Star children’s centre in South Africa.

Saturday 10 June, 8.30–10.30pm Barossa’s noisy nightlife An evening adventure in Camberley looking out for nightjars, woodcock and glow-worms.

Information: 01483 795440 or surreywildlifetrust.org/events

Friday 9 to Monday 12 June, 11am start – gates open 9.30am See Surrey CCC battle against Essex CCC over four days. Information: guildfordcc.com

Information: 07979 600877

Albury Vineyard

Painshill Park

Silent Pool, Albury

Portsmouth Road, Cobham

Saturday 24 June, 11am–12.30pm Vineyard tour and wine tasting.

Sunday 18 June, 10am–6pm

Information: alburyvineyard.com

Try the Gentleman’s Cream Tea.

Father’s Day at Painshill Information: painshill.co.uk

Birdworld Farnham

RHS Garden Wisley

Sunday 18 June Father’s Day Take part in the popular paper plane competition.


Information: birdworld.co.uk

Information: rhs.org.uk/wisley

To Friday 30 June Gardeners’ World at 50 In celebration of the TV show.

farmers’ markets Camberley Saturday 17 June, 10am–3pm Cranleigh Every Friday, 9.30–11am Epsom Sunday 4 June and 2 July, 9.30am–1.30pm Farnham Sunday 25 June, 10am–1.30pm Guildford Tuesday 6 June and 4 July, 10.30am–3.30pm Haslemere Sunday 4 June and 2 July, 10am–1.30pm Milford Sunday 18 June, 10am–1.30pm Ripley Saturday 10 June and 8 July, 9am–1pm Walton-on-Thames Saturday 3 June and 1 July, 9.30am–2pm Woking Thursday 1 June and 6 July, 9am–2pm

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FROM CONCEPT TO CREATION – PERFECT IN FORM AND FUNCTION www.aparattus.pt • info@aparattus.pt Space is an exclusive collection that will give elegance and personality to your home

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The Surrey basement project's entrance: a classical geometric pattern of circles and triangles, laid in Elite Stone Palissandro Classico and Noir St Laurent


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Interiors | ELITE STONE


Tetyana Kovalenko is the multilingual founder and CEO of Elite Stone, a luxury manufacturer of ornamental stone used in many exclusive interiors. Andrew Peters asked her about her company and her passion for using stone. Q Tetyana, after studying psychology, you went on to study geology and mineralogy at Rome University. What attracted you to the subject? A When I started to work for a company producing equipment for quarries, I was determined to become a true professional. I took a graduate course in geology in order to understand every aspect of natural ornamental stone, both chemical and physical. During the course of intense study, my fascination with marble and onyx, as well as quartzite, grew stronger than ever. Q Who inspired you and continues to do so? A I am devoted to luxury and beautiful things, inspired by changing trends in fashion and interior design. Outside our buildings in Verona we have installed a profile of Michelangelo’s David carved in Carrara marble.

A ground floor family kitchen, with panels designed to resemble flooring, creating a discreet transition into the adjoining family room, rather than an obvious work station

Q Can you tell us about Elite Stone and why you started the company? A I have always had the ‘gout de luxe’ (marble has, since ancient times, been associated with glamour, wealth and power). I understood that bespoke design is now de rigueur for those in search of the ‘best of the best’ with gleaming surfaces impeccably crafted in natural stone. The first Elite showroom opened in Rome in 2000, moved to Carrara in 2007 where the company has strong associations with local quarries, and finally established in Verona in 2013. Q In which countries does Elite now work? A The UK, US, Russia, Israel, the Middle East and Europe are our main markets. Q Do you work for both private and commercial clients? A Yes, we do, and provide each with the same amount of personal attention and service.

The Surrey basement spa project looks out over a Zen garden

Q The company has recently completed some very high-end projects in the UK. Is it your intention to expand here? A Of course, we have opened our new showroom to demonstrate to clients the creative potential of marble. >>>

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To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour “This poetry of William Blake expresses my passion for nature and natural stone,” EXPLAINS TETYANA KOVALENKO

An Elite Stone spiral staircase in Palissandro Classico (white) with rises and treads in Noir St Laurent (black)

Q How does the company push boundaries in the traditional use of natural stone? A Elite Stone invests in research to explore new ways of using marble. One example is in the use of extra thin stone for lining doors, showers, backlit tabletops and panelling. We have a technical department dedicated to solving what are complex technical problems. Q Which quarries supply the stone used? A Mainly quarries in Carrara: Calacatta Borghini, Statuario, Calacatta Vaglia and Caldia. We also import from other countries, including Mexico and India; wherever we can source superb quality stone. Q What are the key factors when working on a project to produce a result satisfying to the client? A Discover and understand the client’s personal vision, suggest the right stone for its purpose and ensure each project is meticulously executed. Q What is the best advice you can provide to a client contemplating using natural stone? A To appoint experienced people with technical expertise who are aware of subtle differences in stone, beyond just good looks. Kitchens, bathrooms, external surfaces: each area needs an individual approach. Q What is the E-Light System your company has developed? A E-Light is a system of backlighting panels of marble and onyx, developed over ten years by Elite Stone’s technical team. This idea offers endless decorative possibilities to highlight the beauty of natural marble and onyx, far beyond a tabletop or bathroom wall. The E-Light panel is a laminated element, compact, lightweight and durable, with a minimum thickness of six millimetres, formed by a rigid glass support a minimum of three millimetres thick, coupled to a panel in natural marble of three millimetres, or onyx of five millimetres. Each

“True luxury is all about outstanding raw materials and an in-depth knowledge of how to work with them. Marble is like a diamond: absolutely perfect when the colour is right, when it is flawless and cut properly. When one of these features is missing, it immediately loses value.” TETYANA KOVALENKO

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panel can be backlit by a bright LED light transmission system provided by two methods: either dimmable white light or an alternative system offering a choice of 16 colours. The tempering of the rigid glass support procedure amplifies the physical and mechanical characteristics of normal glass by up to eight times. Q Do you have a favourite stone? A Whites, Calacatta and Statuario are considered the most ‘evergreen’ and elegant types of marble. I believe there is no ugly stone, only ugly installation. Q What has been the highlight of your career so far? A Creating a new type of stone business where the client is looked after throughout the sale and installation processes. To be able to offer an outstanding choice of materials and design, and contribute to some of the finest interior projects around the world. Q What projects does the company have in the pipeline? A We have a real variety, including completing 50 St James’ Hotel in London, villas in Como and Majorca, and a spectacular synagogue in Jerusalem.  essence INFO Website: www.elitestone.it

Case study: Surrey basement project Elite Stone recently completed a sumptuous basement conversion for a Surrey client. The basement spa was specially constructed and comprised an indoor pool, gymnasium, Jacuzzi, sauna and Turkish bath (Hammam) looking out over a Zen garden. Materials for the ensuite bathroom were Paonazzo marble on the wall and floor bespoke Cremo Delicato inlaid with Tuscan oak tiles. Different craftsmanship skills were required for cutting and fitting the different marble types. The ‘book match system’, the outstanding decorative feature, is very difficult to achieve and was constructed in four sections. The shower wall was clad in Tigers’ Eye, a semi-precious stone, and the spa mosaic uses stone supplied from Noir St Laurent and Pallisandro. Using light, reflective surfaces, achieved with the use of individually selected white ‘book matched’ marble, the team at Elite achieved a cool, contemporary and spacious feel for the ensuite. The spa and pool area had the opposite effect by using a black and gold mosaic tiling to line the pool with underwater creatures, such as jellyfish, picked out with gold tiling. The effect was completed with a stretched ‘black fabric’ ceiling. The ‘black’ effect interacted with the dramatic ‘green' of the newly-created Zen Garden viewed through a large picture window at the end of the pool.

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Interior fittings | HOMEWOOD FURNITURE

ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES Homewood Furniture, bespoke furniture makers based in Surrey, offer guidance on creating home storage solutions for living areas, home studies and bedrooms.


espoke television and audio visual units can transform a living room into a comfortable, clutter free and beautiful relaxing space to unwind. These bespoke units can be designed and hand made to maximise storage space, provide shelving to display sentimental and attractive items and tidy away unsightly wires. Bespoke television units can be made to match existing dĂŠcor, or designed with something new in mind, the choice is endless. Fitted home office and study rooms with clean lines and innovative storage solutions can be achieved with bespoke fitted furniture. Maximise the available space, even in the most awkwardly shaped rooms, by fitting bespoke units into a recess, bay window or creating a desk to fit under a staircase. Choose from traditional or contemporary materials and finishes, the look and fit will always be unique. Why not create a compact study for younger members of the family? A dedicated study space for children can play an important part in their success at school and college. A corner of their room can be transformed with a bespoke unit providing organised space and compact units to help make a more efficient working environment. All necessary equipment can be stored neatly away when not needed, clutter free. Bespoke study units can provide a writing area within


a quiet, personalised space and can be made for even the most discerning teenager. These units can be tailor made in a hardwearing finish and to suit individual budgets. Bespoke fitted wardrobes are tailor made to individual requirements and can help tidy and solve the problem of storage. Using clever design ideas, such as roll out shoe shelves, pulldown hanging rails, full height units for additional storage, compartment racks for ties, socks, scarfs and adjustable shelving, all help to create a flexible and unique space. Hand made by skilled craftsmen in a stylish design and finish of choice: the possibilities really are endless. ď ś essence INFO Homewood Furniture produces bespoke home furniture across London, Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire. Website: www.homewoodfurniture.co.uk Telephone: 01932 809135

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Jim and Chloe Read are founders of Newgate Clocks and the recently launched Newgate Watch brand. Creative director and chief designer, Jim, discusses the inspiration behind their innovative designs and tells Jane Pople his favourite way to waste time.

The Wimbledon wood wall clock by Newgate Clocks

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Interior accessories | NEWGATE CLOCKS

Newgate’s Blip watch

Q Jim, what did you do before creating Newgate Clocks and how did that help you create the brand? A We started Newgate when both Chloe and I were very young. I had just been kicked out of art school for ‘not fitting the mould’ and Chloe was part way through a business degree. We were both hugely passionate about wanting to create our own venture. Both sets of our parents were antique dealers, which I think instilled a love of vintage in us both from a very early age. We began sourcing and repurposing vintage prints to start with, and then we chanced across a box of old clock movements at an antiques’ fair and decided we would use them to design our own quirky, vintage clocks. Chloe convinced me to sell my first car to fund our first trade show – everyone thought we were crazy! – but luckily the reaction at that show was incredible. We took orders from stockists and distributors across the world, and ‘Newgate’ had begun. Q If you could only have a clock in one room in your home, which room would you choose and why? A We actually have wall clocks hung in most of our bathrooms at home and I love the drama they create in there – probably because the rest of the space is quite minimal and pared back. I think it’s a room most people wouldn’t always think to add a clock to, but it’s a great way to add style

Founders of Newgate Clocks and Watches, Jim and Chloe Read

and create a focal point in what can be one of the less interesting rooms of the house in terms of decor. Q What is the secret to combining vintage aesthetic with a modern design across your products? A I’m always hugely inspired by the design of years gone by. I love wandering around some of Britain’s great cities, absorbing the awe inspiring architecture of different time periods, but I’m also hugely inspired by the contemporary buzz of those places, their energy and creative spirit. I suppose it’s the synergy between these two factors that I try to express in Newgate’s designs. Our latest watch collection was particularly inspired by the creative energy of some of our favourite haunts in San Francisco, Paris and New York, but also has quite a mid-century feel in the use of brass and dark colourways. I think as a designer you draw from all the things that have influenced you when you put pencil to paper and start sketching ideas. Q In today’s modern world where we no longer really require clocks to tell the time, with smart phones there ready to tell us the time, why do you think people still long for clocks to adorn their interiors? A A clock isn’t just a time telling device, it’s also a great style statement. Choosing a design that resonates with an interior scheme emphasises the style of that space, whether that’s bold and contemporary, or cool and classical. Hanging a clock is also a great way to create a focal point in a room – aesthetically we find our surroundings more pleasing if there is somewhere for the eye to come to a rest, and a clock provides that full stop for an interior, a place for the gaze to linger. On a practical note, hanging a wall clock also adds a sense of height to an interior, bringing balance to a room. Q Why do you think watches have always been such a statement of personal style, and why are they as popular as ever despite modern technology again rendering them unnecessary? A It’s the same principle of course, a watch today is as much an expression of personal style as it is a time telling device. That’s why it was so important to us to design so many different styles within the Newgate Watch collection: we saw the need for a range of watches to suit an individual’s different looks, styles and moods. We wanted to produce a collection that allowed you to put together your own capsule Newgate Watch wardrobe – a different style for each day of the week. >>>

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Mr Clarke clock

These had to be formal names – not Derek, or Stanley, but ‘Mr’ Edwards. Quintessentially English surnames that give the clocks the formality they command and deserve, and that feel very ‘mid-century’ – the theme of our new collection.

Drummer watch

Q You’ve just found a time machine that can take you to the future or the past, what year do you go to and why? A It would have to be some point in the 1950s. When we were designing our new clock collection, I was hugely inspired by that era. We wanted each clock to have a personality, an alter ego, and we imagined these characters to be based upon the names of the kind of gentlemen who would have built the original mid-century clocks in Britain in the 1950s. We could hear them talking to each other in the old factories: “Mr Edwards?” “Yes, Mr Clarke?” “Are this week’s clocks ready to be delivered to Harrods?” “Yes, Mr Clarke, they are leaving this afternoon.” “Ah, that’s absolutely first class Mr Edwards, thank you.” Putney Station wall clock

Q What is your favourite time of day – and when are you most productive? A My favourite part of any day is when I can find some time to shut myself off from the world and lose myself in the design process. When you run your own business there can Covent Garden alarm clock be so many demands on your time, but finding some creative isolation is essential for me so I can focus on each product and each collection as a whole. Q What is your favourite way to waste time? A With three children our days and weekends are pretty busy! But Chloe and I still love having a wander around a vintage antiques’ market, and the excitement of spotting and taking home some treasures. Our home is quite an eclectic mix of vintage pieces we’ve stumbled across this way, and things we’ve brought back from our travels, juxtaposed with some really contemporary pieces too. Q What is the best advice anyone has ever given you? A ‘Be prepared to work harder than you ever imagined possible’. Q Where do you see yourself and your company in five years’ time? A The watch collection is a hugely exciting new part of Newgate. Having been a part of the interiors’ industry for so many years, it’s really interesting to move into the fashion arena as well. We’ve just launched two new watch collections and we have more new lines in the pipeline for later this year. The reaction to the watches so far has been fantastic, so we’re really excited to share more designs soon. We always have so many ideas up our sleeves for things to come – watch this space!  essence INFO Websites: www.newgateclocks.com, www.amara.com This article first appeared in The Lux Pad, www.amara.com/luxpad

80 essence-magazine.co.uk | JUNE 2017





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essence magazine is a premier lifestyle publication available in print and online. The printed magazine is distributed via Royal Mail to Sur...

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essence magazine is a premier lifestyle publication available in print and online. The printed magazine is distributed via Royal Mail to Sur...


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