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Issue 88 | FEBRUARY 2018

Amy Williams Golden girl

Also inside this issue: ROMANTIC CUBA Bucket list must

ALPINE CARS Maestro of the mountains

ONE OF THE BIG FOUR London’s fashion week

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contents Issue 88 | FEBRUARY 2018

6 | Interview | AMY WILLIAMS MBE

Amy Williams was propelled in to the limelight in 2010 when she won gold at the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games. Andrew Peters caught up with Amy prior to her heading out to cover this year’s Winter Olympics in South Korea.

14 | Garden design | ALLADIO SIMS

Emanuela Alladio of Alladio Sims Garden Design reminds readers to always plan ahead and anticipate problems and risk when considering a gardening project.


18 | Travel | CUBA

Romantic gestures and expressions of love depend largely on where you are in the world. If in Cuba, do what the Cubans do, as travel writer Kevin Pilley discovered.

24 | Leisure breaks | CHÂTEAU DE BERNE

Château de Berne Hotel & Spa nestles in the Provence countryside. It’s an exceptional haven of peace, as Andrew Peters found.

26 | Motoring | ALPINE CARS

True to Alpine’s heritage, the all-new Alpine A110 is a lightweight, elegant sports coupé signalling the welcome return of Alpine after 40 years. Euan Johns welcomes back a French motoring legend.



London Fashion Week and London Fashion Week Festival are now well established in the fashion calendar. essence asked two disciples what attracts them: Heart Radio’s James Stewart and television presenter Pips Taylor.

40 | Food review | STEPHANIE BROOKES

Stephanie Brookes, foodie expert and BBC Radio London contributor, offers her pick of an eating establishment for this month: El Pastor in Borough.

46 | Artisan food | EAT SURREY

Shirlee Posner introduces essence readers to a producer of healthy alternative snacks: Cut and Dried Fruit based in Ockley.

50 | Legal | MUNDAYS


Sophie Banks, a solicitor in Mundays LLP’s employment law team, discusses what employers and employees alike should look out for at the end of a working relationship.

52 | Finance | PMW

Simon Lewis, CEO at Partridge Muir & Warren, considers the cryptocurrency enigma and it’s most well-known exponent, Bitcoin.

58 | Comedy interview | SOPHIE WILLAN

It’s been a whirlwind two years for comedian Sophie Willan as she confirms in conversation with essence about her journey.

62 | Events | SURREY

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


68 | essence | PROPERTY

The pick of some of Surrey’s finest houses from the area’s best estate agents.

78 | Interiors interview | WILLIAM YEOWARD

William Yeoward is one of England’s most renowned designers. Aimee Connolly talked to him about his early career and love of colour in the home.

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essence team

Editor: Andrew Guilor Contributing editor: Louise Alexander Publishing manager: Rebecca Peters Production manager: Linda Seward Designer: Sharon Smith Senior designer: Jason Mayes telephone: 01932 988677 email: Sales director: Debbie Pell telephone: 07836 565699 or 01932 834909 email: Commercial director: Jane Barnfield-Jukes telephone: 07795 206030 or 01932 834900 email: Contributors: Kevin Pilley, Andrew Peters, Euan Johns, Simon Lewis, Sophie Banks, Stephanie Brookes, Naomi Diamond, Emanuela Alladio, PJ Aldred, Jennifer Sutton, Shirlee Posner, Linda Seward and Aimee Connolly

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 reaches 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. essence is also distributed to selected estate agents and is available at city businesses, all esa apartments throughout 17 locations in the south-east, London hotels and Heathrow airport lounges. Design and production © Maple Publishing 2018 Maple Publishing Limited, Howard House, 70 Baker Street, Weybridge, Surrey KT13 8AL

Mad world So sang Tears for Fears in the mid-eighties, so nothing is really new, as we know. Even with Donald Trump ruffling feathers, are times that different? After all, in the eighties, we had a Hollywood B actor as US president and by all accounts he did a pretty decent job pleasing most people most of the time. His modern day counterpart has done a similar job – so maybe not so mad after all. President Trump uses social media in tongue in cheek fashion, and most things on these platforms should be taken in context. Although there are drawbacks, a good thing about the increased ease of communication is it has heightened awareness of many injustices, not before time. Notable in the 100th anniversary year of women obtaining the vote in the UK, women are being heard. With the knowledge we all now possess, one has to admire our interviewee this month, Amy Williams MBE. Amy won the first women’s solo Olympic gold medal in almost 60 years. Talking to her you realise what exceptional individuals these people are – especially women who have to overcome obstacles that don’t exist for men. On the flipside, perhaps it is all mad with cryptocurrencies abounding, as Simon Lewis looks into the allure of the most well known: Bitcoin. This issue follows Kevin Pilley to romantic Cuba and Euan Johns revels in the return of an Alpine French legend. Pushing the boundaries of fashion is the name of the game at London Fashion Week and we asked fashion followers James Stewart of Heart radio and presenter Pips Taylor for their thoughts on the event. Foodie expert Stephanie Brookes visits El Pastor in Borough and Shirlee Posner explains why Cut and Dried Fruit in Ockley provides a healthy solution to snacking. As always, this issue of essence has a mix of health and beauty, legal and financial advice. Don’t miss our selection of events and places to visit, along with the pick of some of Surrey’s finest properties. The essence team

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THE NEED FOR SPEED Amy Williams MBE was propelled in to the limelight in 2010 when she won gold in the skeleton event at the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games. In doing so she became Britain’s first solo Winter Olympics’ champion for 30 years and the first by a woman in 58 years. She also set a double track record in the sport. Andrew Peters caught up with Amy prior to her heading out to cover this year’s Winter Olympic Games in South Korea.

Profile: Amy Williams Originally a 400m runner, Amy’s fearless determination and love for pushing the limits of grip and speed led her to find her calling on the skeleton track when she tried the sport at the University of Bath. After failing to qualify for the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Amy continued to pursue her dream and was honoured to represent her country at the 2010 Games in Vancouver.

Q Amy, the UK obviously doesn’t get much snow and you started out as a 400m runner. What sparked your interest in winter sports and the skeleton bob in particular? A Growing up I was into many sports and spent all my time outside. When I was 13 years old I joined a local athletics club, taking part in running events, training more and more each week as the years went by. First with the 100m, then 200m and ultimately decided I wanted to tackle 400m as I thought that was the toughest sprint on the track. I remember watching Sally Gunnell at the Barcelona Olympics winning her 400m hurdle race and seeing her stand on the podium with the Union Jack around her shoulders. I wanted to know what being the best in the world would feel like. Then, in 2002, I discovered the sport of skeleton whilst gym training at Bath University, so I took myself along to the bobsleigh and skeleton push track. Here I found I was pretty fast at pushing the sled, and so I entered into the World Push Championships in Holland where I came first in the guest category and second overall. I then joined an Army ice camp that winter in Lillehammer, Norway to learn ice sliding skills and got a spot on the British team. Since that point I decided to dedicate my life to becoming the best skeleton athlete I could be. >>>   6 | FEBRUARY 2018

Following her success, Amy was awarded an MBE in the 2010 Queen’s Birthday Honours and became the first ever female Freeman of the City of Bath. She was short-listed for the 2010 BBC Sports Personality of the Year and received the Daily Mail’s Ian Wooldridge award. Amy is a regular on the BBC Ski Sunday presenting team and her presenting roles now include shows such as 71 Degrees North, Alone in the Wild and Tour de Celeb. She presented six series of The Gadget Show from 2014-16 and has most recently been signed as part of the BBC commentary team for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeonchang, South Korea. Alongside presenting, Amy is a motivational speaker, providing exclusive insights into the world of professional sport based on her experience, knowledge and struggles. Amy welcomed her first child, Oscar, with husband Craig Ham last year.


“I’m not very good at statistics, so I didn’t realise I’m the first (individual) gold medallist for a long time. But I think it shows that if you have the determination any country can be good at any sport and you just have to concentrate and do your best.” Amy Williams

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“Overall, we have a great chance to bring home a good medal haul!” Amy Williams


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Quick five Q Tea or coffee?  A Tea. I have every type of herbal tea: Pukka is my favourite! Q Holiday. Cold or hot weather?  A Hot, I hate the cold!  Q Guilty pleasure?  A Chocolate: Lindt chocolate balls have recently come into my life! Q Best thing about where you live?  A The architecture in Bath, with the views and countryside all around it. Q Main inspiration?  A I’ve never really had a person I’ve aspired to, it’s been a feeling within me wanting to always improve and be the best I can.

Q You trained at Bath University and I remember watching a Points West news programme showing how you trained. It looked a bit basic to say the least, how did you feel about that at the time? A It was basic! Bath University had just built the skeleton and bobsleigh push track in 2002 when I first had a go. It was designed for the British team to train on before the Salt Lake City Olympics and is the same profile as the track at Park City they raced on. It’s made up of metal tracks where a wheeled skeleton or bob sled slots. It has rubber matting each side allowing sprint spikes to grip. It’s about 80 metres long, flat at the start for 20 metres, then declining with an incline at the end and a bungie breaking system. It’s a great way to practice sprint and examine the biomechanics and technique.   Q Failing to qualify for the Olympics in 2006, what motivated you to challenge for the 2010 Olympics? A I was so close to competing, knowing there was only one spot for a place to go, it was a constant battle in the year leading up to the Games. It wasn’t meant to be and I didn’t make the team, but was there as reserve while commentating for BBC Five Live radio. Being in that Olympic environment and watching the race made me want it so badly, it put a fire inside me. It made me determined and over the next four years I did everything in my power to ensure I was the athlete on the start line in Vancouver.

Q For most of us the skeleton is a frightening prospect. Overcoming the fear factor must have been key to performing, particularly in Vancouver. How did you manage this? A I always say that you don’t learn to drive a car on the motorway in the fast lane, you start on a quiet back road. Well, it’s kind of true for skeleton! You start from halfway down a track, lying on the sled, and someone will push you off, then you head further up the track until one day your sprinting as fast as you can from the top. It is scary, especially when you have crashed at a corner you can’t get right, however, doing a lot of self-talk, watching other athletes slide, writing track notes, walking the track, studying the ice, mental imagery and having your body in peak condition all give confidence.   Q Winter sports are pretty demanding on a body and I’m sure yours went through the mill. Do you have any aches and pains that you carry from your time as an elite athlete? A My body has been in better shape! I have four damaged, degenerative bulging discs in my lower back, one in my neck, and have had four major knee operations. I have been told I will need knee replacements in the future! It’s the wear and tear put on the body training two to three times a day for over 10 years. I had a few bad crashes on the track in the early years which injured my first disc and led to the others becoming damaged.   Q The first individual woman gold medallist in almost 60 years: how long did that take to sink in? A When you first win, it’s a feeling of relief that all the hard work paid off. You don’t think about the history books. But I remember Clare Balding telling me the facts in my first interview with her: the first British medal in an individual event for 30 years and first female in over 58 years, so it was an honour and amazing to be able to do that for Great Britain and have my name down in the history books. It only really sank in four years later in Sochi. I was commentating for the BBC at these Games and watching athletes win medals made me realise I had done the same.   Q Did you ever think you’d end up touring your home town of Bath on an open-top bus after winning in Vancouver? A Ha no! Never, that was a crazy, surreal day. I was so overwhelmed by it all and felt very shy with everyone lining the streets waving at me.   Q You’re now no stranger to motorsport having twice contested the Wales Rally GB as a class-winning co-driver to pundit Tony Jardine. Is this one of the ways you’ve filled the adrenaline thrill gap and satisfied a need for speed? A Tony asked me if I would compete with him in the Wales Rally GB back in 2013 and I jumped at the chance. I had to get my International Co-Driving Licence, which meant travelling around the country on the rally circuit with Tony and competing in five different national rallies. We then competed at the Wales Rally GB, which was an incredible experience, being on the same course on the same days competing with the world champions in the sport. It was such >>>

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a thrill and a buzz, yet I loved being part of a team with Tony and the whole support crew. I had my job to do as co-driver and the trust between Tony and I was a really wonderful thing. We went on to compete again in 2016. Since then I have been invited to take part in the Silverstone Classic Weekend, qualifying as a race driver, and after doing so competed in the celebrity race. It was a dream come true to move from co-driver to driver and another opportunity to get my adrenaline kick! Q Did becoming a successful commentator, broadcaster and motivational speaker happen naturally for you and was this career change easy? A I feel like I just kind of fell into it. I’ve always told myself to try everything at least once. You are in the public eye the day you win a medal, so going into schools and talking to young children, the next generation of athletes, seemed natural and an amazing thing to be able to do, to share my story, show my medal and tell them to work hard and aim high.  This naturally led into businesses and corporate talks. There are such strong links to business and sport. The way I prepared myself as an athlete, thought outside the box, looked at all the fine details, the psychology and teamwork are all important too for a successful business. I enjoy being part of broadcasting teams, going back to races and events, as watching and commentating are exciting and retain links to the sport.  

Amy’s ones to watch in Pyeongchang In the skeleton race, Laura Deas is ranked in the top five in the world, so she has a great chance to medal, yet Lizzy Yarnold won skeleton gold at Sochi 2014 and really wants to defend her title. Elise Christie, our amazing short track speed skater, could become the first Briton to win multiple medals in the 500m and 1000m events at one Winter Games. However, she will face tough competition from South Korea whose national sport is short track. James Woods and Isabel Atkin are both freestyle skiers predicted to win Team GB’s first medals on skis. For curling, the men’s and women’s teams won silver and bronze in 2014, and it is the only Winter Olympics’ sport to produce more than one medal at a single Games for GB. Slalom skier Davie Ryding won Britain’s first World Cup skiing medal for 36 years with his slalom silver in January 2017 at Kitzhuhel, so he could have a great day. Andrew Musgrave achieved Britain’s best ever Nordic skiing result by finishing fourth in the 50km freestyle at the World Cross Country Skiing Championships in March.

Q Speed was very much a factor in meeting and marrying soldier husband Craig. How long did that take? A Ha ha, this is very true! I met him a few days after returning from the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014. He came to Bath, took me out on a date and we just hit it off. It was a natural feeling of knowing you had met your equal other half. He proposed three months later and we married a year after that. My whole life I have made decisions with my gut feeling, listening to my heart and soul and knowing what feels right deep down. Craig was a good feeling! Q Winter Olympics’ skier Chemmy Alcott (essence issue 56) and yourself became mothers this year and you recently featured with her in HELLO! Magazine. Are you good friends? A It’s been an amazing experience becoming a mother. Something you can’t truly explain until you become one. Having friends go

through the same experience at the same time is really special. I never thought anything would beat competing in an Olympics and standing on the podium. However, my wedding day, then growing a baby and giving birth, becoming a mum, topped that Olympic feeling. So, having a friend like Chemmy, who has experienced the same in life, always brings closeness. We don’t catch up as much as I would like as we don’t live close and are always travelling around the world at different times, but the world of social media makes it feel like we are together more! Q Both you and Chemmy will be part of the BBC commentary team for the February Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Are you looking forward to the Games? A Every Games is a magical experience, from the opening ceremony to watching different events and then the closing ceremony. To be >>>

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part of a great team like the BBC is an honour, so I’m excited to be going to Korea. It will be an interesting place, with a unique set of challenges. I was in Korea as part of the Olympic torch relay: I was lucky to run my 200m with the Olympic Flame, a memory I will never forget. The Korean people were very friendly so I believe they will do an excellent job of hosting the Games. Q You’ve managed to stay close to the Olympics, being a torchbearer at London 2012 and for Pyeongchang. The women’s bobsleigh team has only managed to compete in the Games through crowdfunding. This has been slightly controversial as all three men’s teams have received funding. Do you get involved in this side of things? A I’m terrible at staying in touch with politics and what’s going on in the world, however, yes, of course, I heard about the bobsled girls. It’s very tough in sport at the highest level. Athletes need money to travel, buy equipment, train and live, and all these things add up to whether you can win medals. If you don’t have the money, you can’t do everything to the best of your ability and therefore winning medals can be much harder. Winter sports are expensive as we live on the road, abroad six months of the year. Each sport has to bring home a certain amount of medals to keep the funding coming in, and before an Olympics that money goes to the main big medal hopes, which makes it very hard for the other athletes who have an outside chance. I’m glad, through the power of social media, the bobsleigh girls managed to get their funding so they can still go out to compete.   Q And after the February games, what’s in store for the rest of 2018? A Well, I think getting over some serious jet lag will be the first thing! Then, soon after coming home in mid-March, it will be my son’s first birthday which will be a celebration day with his little friends and family.  I’m an ambassador for Ride the Night UK (5 May), a 100km cycle ride through London at night for three women’s cancer charities. I’ll be hitting my wattbike and the local roads as soon as I’m back. The diary will, no doubt, fill up with business, corporate and school talks, and also event hosting which I enjoy. I’d like to find more adventures and challenges in which to take part, whether for leisure, competition or for a television show or documentary. v  

Pooling resources The Cleveland Pools is the country’s only surviving Georgian lido, hidden away in Bath, on the banks of the River Avon. Once a welcome respite from the heat of the city in the summer, the pools closed in 1984. PHOTO COPYRIGHT: EUAN GUILOR

The Cleveland Pools Trust (CPT) has been working for almost 15 years to bring these wonderful baths back to life. If restored, Bath would be home to the world’s first naturally treated, heated, outdoor swimming pool.

Public appeal

Presently a revised plan is being submitted for Heritage Lottery funding. Until these are finalised The Trust is not presently looking for cash donations but welcomes pledges of support. Notable subscribers to the Baths that opened in 1815 w Captain John Parish, fought with Nelson at the Battle of the Nile. w John, William and Henry Stothert, George Stothert junior. George Stothert founded an ironmongery business in Bath in 1785. The firm made ornamental ironwork, cast iron footbridges, agricultural machinery, dockyard cranes, work that can be seen throughout Britain, even exporting to New York. w Austin Thomas, explored the Arctic in 1824–5 and had a prominent role in the formative Canadian government.

essence INFO

Amy will join the BBC commentary team for the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics (9 to 25 February). Website: Instagram: Twitter: @AmyWilliamsMBE

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LOOKING AHEAD Emanuela Alladio of Alladio Sims Garden Design reminds readers to always plan ahead and anticipate any problems and risk when considering a gardening project.


ur job at Alladio Sims as garden designers is to plan and look ahead, to think of as many variables as we can – from design brief to budget, from inspiration to practicalities and to be as open as we can with our clients and suppliers. In view of the above, for us, producing a programme and looking ahead is a necessity, no matter what size and type of project being considered. This principle applies to house and garden schemes alike, whether a project is small and straightforward, or large and complex. Anyone who has experienced a house renovation or any rebuild project knows all too well that they often bring a loss of privacy and a level of disruption that are deeply unwelcome for everyone. The distress they can cause is even more unpleasant when it lasts for longer than expected, and although no programme can ever eliminate the risk of a setback or two, it will prepare everyone involved for an easier journey. As designers, we understand that we need to be very open – it’s the only way to be. And so we are upfront and communicate from the word go any difficulties we might foresee: perhaps delays in preparing the site, working with unpredictable or poor weather, delays in planning applications, dealing with workloads and previous work commitments of chosen contractors and stock availability from nurseries. It is no coincidence that two of the busiest times for us in the office are winter and early spring, both good times to start thinking about the process of renovating a garden, when it is still not used for family

An empty square of soil and not much else is a daunting prospect at the beginning of a very time sensitive scheme, such as a garden for an RHS show. This project will require careful planning, transparent communication and constant looking ahead. IMAGE COURTESY OF ALLADIO SIMS GARDEN AND LANDSCAPE DESIGN LTD, RHS CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW, TRANSPARENT GARDEN, 2017

Co-ordinating the various suppliers and contractors, the site and weather constraints, budgetary demands and reduced timeframes all require good planning. IMAGE COURTESY OF ALLADIO SIMS GARDEN AND LANDSCAPE DESIGN LTD, RHS CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW, TRANSPARENT GARDEN, 2017

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Garden design | ALLADIO SIMS

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.

The planting looks established and the garden is ready for the agreed deadline. IMAGE COURTESY OF ALLADIO SIMS GARDEN AND LANDSCAPE DESIGN LTD, RHS CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW, TRANSPARENT GARDEN, 2017

Jon and Emanuela in the show garden they created for the Istanbul Flower Festival in 2016

Visitors enjoy the finished concept and planting and the weather turns for the best. IMAGE COURTESY OF ALLADIO SIMS GARDEN AND LANDSCAPE DESIGN LTD, RHS CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW, TRANSPARENT GARDEN, 2017


relaxation and entertainment and when plants have the best chance of establishing themselves. A garden design project starting to take shape in autumn/early winter allows a client the best chance of seeing the project accomplished by springtime, ready for when the weather suddenly turns nice and spurs us to spend more time outdoors. Of course, no planning will ever take away all risks and unexpected surprises, but the increased awareness for all parties will help prepare

for any disruption and create an easier ride for everyone during a garden project. A designer will always be open and willing to discuss the different elements to include in a comprehensive garden programme – timelines, budget and contingency sums, planning and permits, contractors and tenders, materials and plant supply, site constraints and bespoke elements’ build and supply times, poor weather, quality of contract etc. – these are just a few things to consider when getting started. If well managed through good communication and awareness, any unforeseen issues can be better resolved and a client can feel better engaged in the process and be more accommodating. Looking outside today, it’s certainly not too late yet: a little bit of forward planning will go a long way.v essence INFO

Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Limited Regional office: Lower Bourne (Farnham), Surrey Website: Email:

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The Listed Property Show 2018 The Listed Property Show 2018, organised by The Listed Property Owners’ Club, takes place at Olympia London on 24 and 25 February – a must attend event for all owners of listed property.


or those maintaining, altering or renovating a listed home – or even looking to buy one – don’t miss The Listed Property Show at London’s Olympia in February. The two-day event takes place over Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 February where owners can gather more information and expert advice in one weekend than through months of personal research. The show brings together the industry’s best, all under one roof.

Visitors can expect to find:

w Independent conservation officers available for stress-free, one-toone conversations. w Over 150 of the country’s leading suppliers and products for listed buildings. w Advice on hypothetical plans to alter a listed building. w Meet with The Listed Property Owners’ Club experts. w Exclusive ‘Ask the Experts Panel’ of leading industry professionals. w Practical demonstrations, including plaster and lead work, window restoration, lime mortar, master carvers, brickwork and paint. w Feature display of buildings in need of repair and for sale, in association with Historic England and SAVE Britain’s Heritage. w A full interactive talk programme, including subjects such as damp, surveys, house history, energy efficiency and historic garden design. essence INFO

The Listed Property Show 2018 Olympia London Saturday 24 to Sunday 25 February Opening times: Saturday 10am–5pm, Sunday 10am–4pm Telephone ticket hotline: 0844 871 8809 Website:


Profile Established in 1993, The Listed Property Owners’ Club was created specifically to provide owners of Britain’s protected buildings with information and advice on the maintenance, responsibilities and obligations of ownership. Additionally, it provides a voice in Parliament to represent the views of its members. Members benefit from a bi-monthly magazine, a dedicated telephone helpline where owners can speak to experts on conservation, VAT, law, planning and insurance, plus a Suppliers’ Directory of professionals, builders and tradesmen which is the first port of call for many listed building owners across the country.


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BUCKET LIST Romantic gestures and expressions of love depend largely on where you are in the world. If in Cuba, do what the Cubans do. Say it with lobster claws or a bouquet of flamingos. Cuba should be near the top of every couple’s bucket list, whether for an anniversary, birthday, St Valentine’s Day present, infidelity guilt trip or honeymoon, as travel writer Kevin Pilley discovered. >>> PHOTO COPYRIGHT: STUART ABRAHAM

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he emblem of Havana is ‘La Giradella’ – a symbol of love, loyalty and hope honouring Ines de Bobadilla, the city’s only female governor who succeeded her husband Hernando who disappeared looking for the Fountain of Eternal Youth. She waited patiently for him in the city’s 1558 harbour Castle Fuerze. A sculpture of her now tops its watchtower. Havana is also famous for a very modern love story. Dom and Letty (the newly wed Mr and Mrs Toretto) chose to honeymoon in Cuba at the start of ‘Fast And Furious 8 – The Fury of the Furious’. And had a great time revving up and screeching down the Malecon seawall road. Havana is the place for handbrake turns as well as salsa. “They locked down twenty blocks and brought in US cars for the first time in fifty years,” said the concierge of the new Gran Manzana Kempinski La Habana, Cuba’s first modern luxury hotel, chosen for the film’s Blu-ray/DVD launch. I happened to be there. “The movie’s like West Side Story, but with cars, not songs. Explosions rather than singing and dancing,” the porter told me. “It’s made a billion dollars.” The historic landmarks and sights of Cuba don’t change. Viejo Havana, the 60,000 classic fin sedans, Almendrones taxis and manpowered rickshaws, the Che Guevara Mausoleum in Santa Clara, 1930 Hotel Nacional at Malecon, the 1929 El Capitolio building, Hemingway’s Finca Vigia house, Fidel Castro’s Finca Biran birthplace in eastern Oriente and his final resting place, the Santa Ifigenia cemetery, and the new Kempinski. I didn’t see Vin, Jason Statham or any cyberterrorist in the glam shape of Charlize Theron. But Tyrese Gibson (‘Roman’) was puffing away hunkily on a fat, hand-rolled $40 ‘Cohiba’, taking in the views of the El Capitolio building and Vieja (old) Havana. “He wrote a book on manology,” the bar lady said, looking at him not me. Bottles of US$495 Krug circulated along with the chasers. When in Cuba do what you can do now. Lap up the luxury and live the high life. Overlooking the Capitol Building, National Arts Museum and Grand Theatre, the Kempinski is the best and most expensive hotel CUC, Cuban convertible currency, can buy. Arriving at the converted 1894–1917 Che Guevara and Fidel Castro at shopping arcade, it was a relief not to be Varadero Golf Club handed a warm, pseudo-Prosecco or be issued with a colour-coded wristband to signify what had been pre-paid and what meal plan I was on. The Kempinski’s new 246-room, fifty suite hotel is not all-inclusive, that’s what makes it so exclusive. For someone who was so outwardly anti-elitist and loathed social PHOTO COPYRIGHT: ALBERTO KORDA exclusiveness, it’s hard to know what Castro would have made of Hollywood coming to Havana. What would ‘El Barbudo’ (The Bearded One) have thought of the ‘Spa Albear by Resense’, especially its ‘targeted and lavish facials’.

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The Gran Teatro de La Habana Alicia Alonso PHOTO COPYRIGHT: STUART ABRAHAM Soroa waterfall, Pinar del Rio, Cuba PHOTO COPYRIGHT: STUART ABRAHAM



He would have been proud of the ‘pan con lechon’ (pulled pork sandwiches) and Boniato sweet potato chips. But angered by the ‘Degustation of Burgers’. Pleased by the bee hummingbirds embossed on the dining room tables – the ‘Zunzucito’ is found only in Cuba on the Isla de la Juventud where the Castro brothers were imprisoned. But he would have been saddened by the complimentary in-room Italian coffee. The former leader may have questioned, as I, why the Presidential suite is named ‘Lorca’ not ‘El Commandante’. He would’ve probably chosen a room facing the El Capitolio rather than the courtyard. He may have been tempted by the Hemingway Suite overlooking the Il Floridita bar where ‘Papa’ sank industrial quantities of daiquiris. It was the Cuban cocktails that made his face red, not the marlin fishing. Like the Fast and Furious crew, Fidel’s comrades and compatriots would’ve, of course, splashed about in the Bella Habana rooftop pool and had a mojito or two at the inexplicably-named El Suridor (The Spout) panoramic bar. You have to. It’s one of the world’s great roof terraces. Love has to be recognised and rewarded by luxury. But then, ideology restored, Fidel’s utopian romantics would’ve chucked their complimentary 100% cotton super-soft Egyptian towels

in the drop-off and condemned the £340 a night low season tariff and the whole establishment as a plaything of the idle rich. But they are dead now and Cuban tourism is alive and kicking. Cuba is revolutionising itself. There hasn’t been luxury for years. It’s back now, it’s permitted again and reinstated. And the old vintage luxury is getting a bit dated and grubby. The 1950s’ chic is left to the classic Oldsmobiles, the convertible Chevvies and open-top Cadillacs parked outside ready to take visitors to the beach, nearest domino bar or salsa club. There’s little with which to compare the Kempinski. Until Starwood performs a face-lift and make-over on the 1875 Hotel Inglaterra, the 1930 Nacional off the Malecon seawall road will never change. Down south, however, in Varadero, is Xanadu. A Cuban national monument, the 1927 four-storey, beachfront Xanadu Mansion on the San Bernardino bluff in Varadero Golf Club was built by French-American chemical magnate, Irénée DuPont de Nemours. He retired to Cuba, buying himself 180 hectares of the Hicacos Peninsula in the municipality of Cardenas at four cents per square metre. This included eight kilometres of beach. DuPont installed the largest privately-owned organ in Latin America. The $11,000 organ is still in the basement, but is no longer operational. Precious dark hard woods were brought from Santiago de Cuba for Xanadu’s ceilings, stair rails and columns. Floors and bathrooms were done in Cuban, Italian and Spanish marble. Xanadu cost over $1 million dollars to build. The gardens were planted with coconut, banana, avocado and papaya trees. Parrots and cockatoos were imported to make the Cuban version of Xanadu more tropically enchanting and to add to the privileged location and exclusive atmosphere. The golf course was laid out in 1929 and Xanadu has always stood for luxury, pre and post-Revolution. At £200 a night half board, visitors can stay in six second floor rooms – Califa, Oasis, Irenee, Samarkanda, Marco Polo and Kubla Khan. Enjoy the view of the sea and use the dark, mahogany-panelled >>>

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Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana at night PHOTO COPYRIGHT: GRAN HOTEL MANZANA KEMPINSKI

lounge and grandish staircase. Xanadu has its own extensive cigar menu: a Cohiba Behike 54 costs €40. No handicap certificate is required on Varadero’s golf course and a round costs £70. The scenic five par five, five par three, eight par four, 72 par 1998 course with shoreline holes and sea water lagoons was designed by Canadian Les Furber, protégé of Robert Trent Jones Snr. Golf is spearheading the country’s tourism drive. Following the Dominican Republic’s lead, Cuba hopes to be a major golfing destination within thirty years. Xanadu’s chef, Eduardo Lima Martin, trained in Havana’s Sevilla Hotel and Peru winning Cuba’s prestigious Pia Dorada Trophy and is considered one of the country’s leading chefs. His specialities include Lobster DuPont-style (warm Caribbean lobster salad with soya) and Canadian/Uruguayan Chateaubriand. Once Cuba had three problems – breakfast, lunch and dinner. However, a Gastro Revolution is underway in Cuba with ‘Paladares’ (private restaurants) introduced in the 1990s to enable people to profit from a burgeoning tourist market and open restaurants. At Nao in Havana visitors can dine on malanga or elephant ear balls (a mashed yellow root vegetable), pimientos de padron, yucca chips, suckling pig and buy a ‘Hemingway Did Drink Here’ t-shirt. On the menu at the renovated mansion Starbien are carpaccio and chicken sesame shaslik. There is even a sushi bar and Scandinavian restaurant. The best restaurants are Cha Cha Cha, Otea Mahera, Nazdeorie, La Guaerida and El Del Frente – The One In Front. Visitors must go to its rooftop terrace and sample the lobster tacos. But elegant fine dining options, waxing and cuticle restoration weren’t high priorities on the revolutionary agenda. I’m not the First Minister of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, but, unlike Fidel may have done, I wasn’t ashamed to indulge in the colonnaded, high-ceilinged grandeur and bask on the rooftop of the new, super-swish Kempinski. I didn’t guiltily press a button to make my bedroom window opaque so no-one could see me shedding my populist ‘Guayabera’ pleated dining shirt and slipping into my decadent fluffy bathrobe prior to my 90 minute, 140 CUC ($183) in-house European revivalist rubdown and post-revolutionary pedicure. v

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A luxurious bathroom at the Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana IMAGE PROVIDED BY HTTPS://CUBAHOLIDAYS.CO.UK

essence INFO

For further information about holidays to Cuba, visit or call 020 7644 1770. Varadero Golf Club Website: Email: Virgin Atlantic flies from London Gatwick to Cuba Website: Telephone: 0344 8747747


MEET YOUR MATCH Beautiful friendships start here

Sara Eden Introductions is the UK’s foremost dating, introduction and matchmaking agency with offices in Central London and Royal Windsor. For almost 30 years it has brought together thousands of couples that would otherwise never have met. Matchmaking is both a skill and an art.

Sara Eden Introductions is a matchmaking service which understands that professionals, academics, managers and business people can find it hard to meet the right partner for a variety of different reasons. They have the experience and imagination to understand what makes two people compatible, and to see potential couples forming loving, long-term relationships. The secret to success is simple; investing the time getting to know members personally in order to reach an informed, rounded view to find the best matches. This is a personal and very professional service that aims to take the pressure off and make the experience enjoyable, informative and above all, fun. The vast majority of new clients are recommended by couples that have met each other through Sara Eden Introductions.

“As you would expect, we are very much looking forward to Valentine’s day on February 14th, that special day dedicated to love and all things romantic. But how can one day be enough? We say make room for romance every day.” Karen Mooney, Founder and Managing Director (pictured right). essence INFO

Sara Eden Introductions London Office: 16 Old Queen Street, London SW1H 9HP Telephone: 020 7499 9626 Windsor Office: March House, 13 Park Street, Windsor Berkshire Telephone: 01753 830350 Email: Website:

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Far from the


Château de Berne Hotel & Spa, a member of the prestigious Relais & Châteaux network, is an astonishing destination. Refined and charming, it promotes luxury without any pretensions. Nestling in Provence countryside, it’s a truly exceptional haven of peace, as Andrew Peters discovered.


he Château de Berne Hotel & Spa estate lies a few miles from Lorgues at the southern end of the Haut-Var, handy for the Var uplands, the Lac de Carcès and Verdon Gorge. Also within reach is Thoronet Abbey, one of the wonders of twelfth century Cistercian architecture and still revered by architects today: it had a huge influence on renowned architect Le Courbusier. The southern French coast is about an hour away. This is a hotel that on entering guests remark: “Yes, this will do nicely – very nicely indeed.” Renovated throughout, Château de Berne Hotel & Spa has retained enough country character (tiled floors, Provençal furniture, sumptuous bedding) to remind guests where they are. Lightened and brightened for contemporary tastes, the hotel’s 27 rooms and suites are cosy, flooded with natural light and offer fabulous views. Should sunlit idleness become a threat, there’s tennis, table tennis and pétanque, plus miles of tracks across varied landscapes to walk, cycle or pound along on a quad bike. This is splendid countryside for exploring. In summer, there’s a packed diary of on-site events, including jazz picnics throughout July. Naturally, a fitness centre, sauna and steam bath await, or for those feeling less active, wine visits and wine-tasting in the winery. The vineyard – working since 1750 – produces one of Côte de Provence’s finest wines, Château de Berne, as well as Château de Berne rosé. The restaurant, winery, large swimming pool overlooking the vines and spa built in the ancient cellar create an outstanding wedding destination – a real treat for the senses guests will relish. PHOTO COPYRIGHT: CHÂTEAU DE BERNE HOTEL & SPA

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Grand Canyon du Verdon, France PHOTO COPYRIGHT: BERND REHORST | 123RF.COM

A gourmet haven

Château de Berne chef Benjamin Collombat took up the reins of the luxury wine estate’s two restaurants in 2016: the gastronomic ‘Le Jardin de Benjamin’ and ‘Le Bistrot’. Benjamin was awarded his first Michelin star last year. Le Jardin de Benjamin opens onto a vast, shaded terrace overlooking 1,000 acres of exceptional countryside, laden with wild garrigue and vines. The name Le Jardin de Benjamin perfectly illustrates the chef’s commitment to the large kitchen garden’s fresh and authentic produce. Set next to the Château’s Tasting Cellar, Le Bistrot serves local cuisine and French classics. The indoor lounge set around the fireplace can be appreciated throughout the seasons. In addition to his two restaurants, Benjamin Collombat pilots the Château de Berne Cooking School.




The estate’s vines have benefited from the favourable geographical location and, in particular, a continental microclimate. Château de Berne’s 297 acres of vines produce 750,000 acclaimed bottles from a large variety of grape types. Visitors can enjoy lingering at the Château Wine Shop (La Cave) which sells an extensive choice of vintage wines, including some exclusive blends, plus delicatessen products, regional specialities and produce grown at the vineyard. Other produce includes a rich and fruity olive oil made from the estate’s 5,000 olive trees, black truffles that grow naturally under oak trees, jams from the orchards and mixed flower honey from the hotel’s hives. Guests enjoy free access to the five star Hotel & Spa’s many leisure amenities, so there’s no excuse! The spa offers pampering with products by Cinq Mondes©, topped with breathtaking views. The Cinq Mondes’ product range consists of natural and unique cosmetic treatments, inspired by ancient beauty recipes. Specially designed for professional spa care, they are the fruit of extensive phyto-aromatic research. The Berne gardens have been redesigned by landscape gardener Dominique Lafourcade, who has created ten acres of varied oasisgardens to enhance the natural beauty of the hotel’s architecture. This multi-faceted estate is a perfect venue for getting back in touch with the simple things in life. A genuine haven of peace,

Château de Berne is available for business events and seminars enabling business to be combined with pleasure. On-site workshops include quad and mountain bike excursions, cookery classes, perfume creation, introductions to watercolour painting, treasure hunts, team games on the theme of sustainable development and maiden helicopter flights. For adrenaline junkies, there’s nearby white-water rafting and Formula 1 driving. So much or so little to do, it’s your choice. Whatever you decide, time will simply fly by. v essence INFO

Website: Telephone 00 33 494 604888

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TOUR DE FORCE The all-new Alpine A110 Première Edition is a lightweight, elegant sports coupé signalling the welcome return of Alpine Cars after 40 years. True to Alpine’s past, the car places agility and driving pleasure front, centre and just about everywhere else, without compromising everyday comfort. Euan Johns welcomes back a French motoring legend. ALL PHOTOS COPYRIGHT: ALPINE CARS


he brief was a tough one: to resurrect a long-missed classic conceived in the late fifties, born in the early sixties and put out to pasture 40 years later. Coming in at a fairly lightweight weight of 1,100 kg, the new Alpine A110 Première Edition actually is anything but. Its aim is to (and it does) hold its own against the Porsche 718 Cayman, Alfa Romeo 4C and similar. As the revived Mini echoes and pays homage to the sixties, the A110 does the same. Larger than the original, it’s still fantastic to look at whilst retaining a certain charm with a hint of retro. The car drives like a dream, the steering is light and responsive, the turning circle small, and with its compact proportions, it can go where others may fear. The engine manages a respectable 0–60mph in 4.5 seconds, matching its rivals well enough. >>>

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“It is an enormous privilege to relaunch a brand that instils such passion among sports car enthusiasts. It’s long been our ambition to bring Alpine back. Now, the time is right.” Michael van der Sande, managing director, Alpine Cars

Alpine Cars' key dates 1955 1962 1971 1973 1976 1978 1985 1991 1995 2012 2015 2016

Creation of Société des Automobiles Alpine. Launch of the A106 Launch of the A110 First victory at the Monte Carlo Rally Alpine wins World Rally Championship for manufacturers. Acquired by Groupe Renault Launch of A310 V6 Alpine wins 24 Hours of Le Mans Launch of GTA Launch of A610 Alpine production discontinued Announcement of an Alpine car project Presentation of Alpine Célébration Concept race car at 24 Hours of Le Mans Alpine relaunch announced and presentation of Alpine Vision show car

Designed and manufactured in Dieppe, the mid-engined, two-seater coupé has an aluminium platform that keeps weight to a minimum. The A110 Première Edition is powered by a turbocharged, 1.8-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine, developing 249bhp, and like all Alpines, it’s a rear-wheel drive. This car has a limited number of 1,955 – a nod to the year Alpine was founded. The Première Edition was fully reserved within five days of going on sale, but the production series A110 will follow shortly. With the A110, Alpine rekindles its rich heritage of building agile, lightweight sports cars totally in their element on winding mountain roads. The company is well known for competing at the highest level of international motorsport (see separate key dates and history boxes on this page). It’s in that same spirit that Alpine today competes in international endurance racing: its title-winning FIA LMP2 World Endurance Championship programme showcases the brand’s ambition and further commitment to motorsport. One of 2018’s most eagerly awaited launches, the price tag for the A110 looks like it’s going to come in at around £50,000 and is to be confirmed. It’s an exciting car, one of the best, and feels like a compact McLaren. But nothing’s perfect and the interior lets the car down somewhat with some tacky looking plastic, so, on that front, its German rivals hold sway. That apart, the Alpine will blaze a trail others will aim to follow and that we’ll still be talking about in another 40 years. I don’t remember the originals my Dad’s generation would have known and admired, but this one’s an absolute stunner. The legend lives on. v essence INFO

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History of Alpine Cars Alpine owes its existence to Jean Rédélé, who studied in Paris before establishing a car dealership in Dieppe, selling Renaults. A keen rally driver, Rédélé entered his Renault 4CV in various motorsport events throughout the early fifties, upgrading his car each year. Rédélé achieved a series of class wins in famous events such as the Mille Miglia and the Critérium des Alpes rally. Having identified a gap in the market, he established his sports car company in 1955, recognising that it wasn’t outright power or brute force that made a car quick on a twisty rally stage, but light weight, compact dimensions and agility. His first car was the Alpine A106 based on the Renault 4CV chassis, but it wasn’t until the A110 Berlinette debuted in 1962 that Rédélé’s fledgling company really progressed. By now, Alpine cars were being sold and serviced by Renault dealerships. In the early seventies Alpine was a major force in top-flight rally competition, and in 1971 won the world famous Rallye Monte Carlo for the first time. In 1969 Rédélé had built a dedicated factory in Dieppe, two years later Alpine was acquired by Groupe Renault. Alpine achieved its most famous motorsport triumph in 1978: overall victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The factory continued to release innovative road cars throughout the seventies and eighties, but production ceased in 1995. More than 30,000 Alpine road cars had been built across 40 years.

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FASHION ON PARADE London Fashion Week and London Fashion Week Festival are now well established in any fashion aficionado’s diary with the UK continuing to be an attractive and fertile home for an array of designer businesses. essence found out more about these two events and asked two Fashion Week disciples to comment on what attracts them: Heart Radio’s James Stewart and television presenter Pips Taylor.


ondon Fashion Week, taking place between Friday 16 to Tuesday 20 February, really is a city-wide celebration. The men’s show, staged in January, is only in its sixth year, but interest has grown exponentially with new designers such as Charles Jeffrey whose unisex fashion was retail’s answer to the debate over how we identify in terms of sexuality and gender. Of the four fashion capitals, London is the only city that hosts the Designer Showrooms in the same venue as the official British Fashion Council (BFC) Show and Presentation Space at 180 Strand, London WC2. Edward Crutchley, Autumn Winter 2018 BRITISH FASHION COUNCIL | PHOTOGRAPHER: ZOE LOWER

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Emilio de la Morena, spring summer 2018 BRITISH FASHION COUNCIL | PHOTOGRAPHER: EEVA RINNE

Located at The Store Studios, the Designer Showrooms is home to over 150 British and international designers. Presented within is a rich and diverse selection of products in a highly curated showroom raising the profile of brands as part of London Fashion Week’s edit of what to see. The international element of the Showrooms illustrates that the doors to London are truly open, with designers from Dubai, Finland and South Korea. London Fashion Week Festival follows on from London Fashion Week and offers a more consumer-orientated view, with unparalleled access to the industry to experience the best of British and international fashion. The Festival offers the chance to take a front row seat at an authentic catwalk show and watch a parade of top models showcasing spring/summer 2018 collections from some of London Fashion Week’s finest designers. In addition, inspiring presentations will reveal key styling tips and the biggest trends of the new season. Attendees can experience a jumpstart to their own personal style with wardrobe updates, all under one roof, at industry-insider prices. So, whether it’s clothing, handbags, shoes, jewellery or gifts to source, the post Christmas shopping spree starts here. v GETTY IMAGES | BRITISH FASHION COUNCIL

essence INFO

London Fashion Week Friday 16 to Tuesday 20 February Website:


London Fashion Week Festival Thursday 22 to Sunday 25 February Website: British Fashion Council Somerset House, South Wing, Strand, London WC2R 1LA Website:

Christopher Raeburn, autumn winter 2018 BRITISH FASHION COUNCIL | PHOTOGRAPHER: ZOE LOWER

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Fashion interview | JAMES STEWART

For those at London Fashion Week Men’s last June (James missed January as he was in the US), you will no doubt have seen James Stewart sat on a front row or throwing some shapes on a dance floor at an after show party. James loves fashion and lives and breathes music as a host on Heart radio. In addition to presenting on Heart, James is quickly rising through television’s ranks, becoming one of Britain’s most sought-after presenters across every platform. He’s also caught the eye of male grooming brand and barbers Johnny’s Chop Shop, where James serves as an ambassador. essence met with James to find out more. Q James, you originate from Guildford. What was the best thing about growing up there, and were you sorry to leave for the smoke? A I come from a little place near Guildford and Farnham called Upton Grey. It’s literally the tiniest village in the world, perhaps 100 people. We have a pond and a pub. I was kind of sorry to leave, but the best thing about leaving is you get to come back, and I absolutely love escaping London to go home! Q Music and fashion are now large parts of your life. Which interest came first? A Music! One of my first jobs out of university was at a record label where I worked as a public relations intern at EMI Music. It was crazy: I got to work with some amazing artists right at the start of their careers, such as Katy Perry and David Guetta. Q What was your first job? A I had a job working at Jack Wills clothing shop, on Guildford High Street, when I was 16: that was my first ever job. Q Did you always aspire to presenting? A Yep, ever since I can remember. I recall watching ‘I’m A Celebrity’ when it first came out and I was in drama class. We recreated it as part of a lesson and ever since then I knew it was what I wanted to do! Q You present on Heart radio weekly. What do you enjoy most about being a radio presenter? A It’s such an intimate form of media, that’s what I love. For me, it has to feel as if you’re just chatting to your mate, it’s me and you.


Left to right: Blood Brother, autumn winter 2018 BRITISH FASHION COUNCIL | PHOTOGRAPHER: PHIL TRENGOVE


Q Very favourite artists from the decades? A I’m a big 90s and 00s fan: George Michael was so influential, the old school Justin Timberlake stuff, TLC, The Back Street Boys, people like that, love it! Q You’re interested in male fashion and attend shows regularly. Have you spotted any trends to look out for in 2018? A I actually missed London Fashion Week Men’s in January as I was in America filming, but from what I can see, I think the 80s revival is going to be huge this year; time to get into your dad’s old wardrobe – pastels, light jeans, boxy jackets, that sort of thing. Q London Fashion Week happens again this month (16 to 20 February). What’s so special about this show for you? A I think the very fact we now have a London Fashion Week Men’s is pretty special, it’s a chance to see what’s coming ahead, which is still a new concept, so the whole thing is exciting. Q What was your worst fashion buy? A A pair of limited edition red trainers that I got talked into buying because they were a ‘one off’. Being more expensive doesn’t always mean better! Q What have you got planned for this year? A I’m heading back to Los Angeles for the Red Carpet award season, which is awesome. I’ll crack on with Heart, continue my work as an ambassador for Johnny’s Chop Shop and we’ve got some fun television ideas coming out soon too, so watch this space.

essence INFO

James can be heard on Heart on Saturday and Sunday nights (1–6am). Twitter: @MrJames_Stewart Instagram: james stew

Fashion interview | PIPS TAYLOR

essence met with television broadcaster and radio DJ Pips Taylor to find out more about her love affair with all things fashion.


Q Pips, why do you regularly go to London Fashion Week? A I have always loved fashion and been into clothes. I started off going to London Fashion Week when I first moved to London as I had a job with a company that produced all the live stream videos. This meant that I got to watch the shows first hand and see the incredible amount of effort that goes into each collection. It really made me appreciate the craftsmanship and artistry of showing at LFW and the work of a designer. I love the excitement of it all. The waiting around outside people watching before a show is well worth it. A lot of the attendees and editors are super stylish and fashion forward: it’s possible to see a bag, sunglasses or shoes and think, wow, I love that. I worked on behalf of the BFC (British Fashion Council) for a couple of seasons producing and presenting some of the front row and back stage interviews, which I loved. It was hard work trying to make it to most shows and get around in time. My team and I would just be caught up in this crazy, creative LFW bubble.

Q Can anyone gain inspiration and ideas from the event? A There’s boundless creativity surrounding LFW. Watch the live stream shows of the designers on a phone and with some designers such as Burberry it’s possible to shop the runway immediately via social media. There is so much going on around town during LFW and for those who can’t make it, then there’s a great London Fashion Week Festival with shopping and talks at The Store the week after.

Q What excites you about the event? A I love the pre-show hustle and bustle, the anticipation just before it starts... everyone’s nattering and catching up or tapping away on phones. As soon as a show does start, it’s lights, music, first look and then as soon as you see the model, the clicking of cameras is non-stop.

Q Does any of the fashion on show translate to the high street? A LFW is where the high street gets most of its inspiration for the season. Versions of what people have designed on the runway can be viewed in shops and fashion always comes back round. I mean double denim is here to stay right now... back to the future style. >>>

Q What did you see at last year’s LFW that got the adrenalin flowing? A Markus Lupfer’s presentation: he never disappoints. It’s always fun prints, stylish silhouettes and amazing dresses. He also does the staples really well: t-shirts with embellishment for instance. I love that he always adds a touch of his signature sparkle. Holly Fulton, again, uses great prints and fun jewellery too, quite big chunky statement pieces, with her looks. Ashish Gupta is another of my favourites with his use of sequins and colours. Left: House of Holland, spring summer 2018 BRITISH FASHION COUNCIL | PHOTOGRAPHER: PHIL TRENGROVE



How to effortlessly wear Ultra Violet... The colour of 2018 The Pantone Colour of the Year 2018 is the gorgeous Ultra Violet – Pantone 18-3838 – but can we all wear this very futuristic colour? Kate Nicholson, colour analyst and personal stylist with House of Colour, explains how to make it work with style.

Q What should the first time visitor to LFW be looking out for? A I’d head down to where the shows are and just enjoy the view... Soak it all up, go at your own pace and have a potter. Take a camera if into fashion as there is so much street style photography and bloggers. It’s great to be on the outside looking in, ogling at the parade. Q Which designers do you think are the ones to watch this year? A I’m hugely into my jewellery and often pop to the Rock Vault that supports emerging jewellery designers. Here they champion newcomers too. A couple of brands to look out for are V Jewellery, affordable, art deco-inspired with a new store that’s opened in Boxpark, Shoreditch. Also, Georgia Boyce Fine Jewellery shows there: she has timeless designs, diamonds for everyday and something to buy and never take off! Q Will you be back in September for the LFW autumn/winter? A Of course, I hope to make some shows and do a bit of people watching. essence INFO

Pips has fronted documentaries including the hard hitting BBC TWO programme ‘I Never Said Yes’ which served to highlight the number of unreported rape cases in the UK. Pips became a patron for the charity Rights of Women. Pips’ other UK and international hosting duties have included The X Factor for its online platform, V Festival, Rimmel, MTV Spain, Sport Relief and TedxTeen’s global FACEBOOK livestream interviewing speakers and broadcast to 150 countries. Website: Twitter: @Pipstaylor Instagram: @Pips_taylor

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The colour purple has been associated with wealth and royalty for centuries. There is a huge range of purples, so everyone can find the right one for them. Here are some tips to help find the right one for you. Violet and purple are amazing colours with which to create a statement, and wearing them head to toe, or in a colour block dress, can offer a striking look. There are plenty of purple and violet coats in the shops now, and watch out for blouses, capri trousers and skirts making an appearance. For those not quite ready to go full on, a pop of purple packs a punch, so try a violet or purple bag paired with neutral colours and then, for maximum style points, wear flats, heels or boots in violet or purple from your season’s palette to offer an exciting accent colour to complete a look. A scarf or necklace that combines violet or purple with other accent colours from your palette will enable an individual to stand out from the crowd. Another great way to wear the colour is with nail polish or eyeliner. Brown eyes are always enhanced by violet eyeliner, but be careful, noone suits the bruised look, so use a steady hand! For most of us, less is more when it comes to violet and purple make-up, so start by applying a little and then build to the depth of colour required.

essence INFO Located in Horsham and Worthing, Kate Nicholson is one of a network of consultants with House of Colour. To find out more or make a booking, contact her on 07885 541742 or email To find your nearest consultant, visit or call 01923 211188.

Maurizio and Katka Ferraro met in 2008 whilst both working as senior stylists at the same company and immediately

struck up a rapport. Over a 10-year period Maurizio climbed through the ranks to

become manager, picking up multiple

awards along the way. Katka, also very

successful sought a new challenge and

moved to another salon within Surrey in 2013. Throughout this time the couple’s aim was always to own their own salon. In 2017

the opportunity arose at the perfect location in Baker Street, Weybridge. In October last year

their vision, Mirra Hair Salon, became a reality. Maurizio has combined his and Katka’s amazing

hairdressing talent and business acumen to make Mirra Hair Salon a success. Katka’s passion

for creation means she is always challenging

herself, and she is currently preparing for the

demands of London and Paris fashion weeks. All the while their young daughter remains the

light of their life and their motivation driving them towards their goals.

“We are passionate about what we do and want to make people feel good and happy

about themselves. We believe in building long term relationships and pride ourselves on giving our clients the ultimate salon experience.” 01932 849988

Quote essence20 to receive 20% off your first visit

Aesthetics and wellbeing | SURE AESTHETICS

Not just for vanity!

Many of us have aspects of our bodies we would like to change. For some that manifests itself into a limiting obstacle prompting correctional treatment from Sure Aesthetics. essence found out more.


ure Aesthetics is the only clinic in Surrey and Sussex run by a qualified laser trainer, Sarah Horwood. The clinic’s longstanding laser expertise has helped children, trained Harley Street consultants, beauty consultants and worked with war veterans.  It was whilst working as Cynosure’s lead clinical specialist that Sarah assisted the brave veterans at RAF Headley Court. The plastic surgeon there had identified the damage to confidence and rehabilitation that some seemingly ‘small’ problems were having on patients, so laser treatment was a simple, easy resolution. To have lost a limb or to have had extensive skin grafts is tough enough without any added complications.  Ingrowing hairs can become infected when trapped under a prosthetic and skin grafted on to the palms of hands grows hairs, causing reluctance for the patient to shake hands. For Sarah, being able to ensure the laser treatment minimised further discomfort was an honour. Sure Aesthetics clinic has recently launched an Isagenix Body Club which works on many levels. For those looking to lose weight, have better sleep, improve sports performance, gain weight,


have more energy or improve health, the Isagenix range provides the products and supplements for nutritional cleansing, health and wellbeing to help the individual. For more information on Isagenix and treatments available at Sure Aesthetics, see the essence info below.

“I have seen and spoken to so many anxious laser patients, I wanted to provide a secure, safe, welcoming environment with a touch of luxury.” Sarah Horwood, Sure Aesthetics

essence INFO

Sure Aesthetics Horsham Road, Capel, Dorking, Surrey RH5 5JU Telephone: 01306 770180 Email:    Website:


Wedding planning For a bride, looking her best on her big day requires forethought. Sure Aesthetics offers the following common beauty treatments and associated timescales to ensure a more radiant, confident glow: Removal of unwanted hair – begin six months in advance Many women do not want to shave their legs/ underarms/bikini lines or anywhere else whilst on honeymoon and permanent removal of leg, underarm and bikini line hair is a favourite for many. However, the treatment takes several sessions to complete to ensure full hair removal, and having had the treatment, skin is sensitive to light for a few weeks. The procedures are therefore best started in autumn, winter and spring.

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Removal of scarring and blemishes – begin four months in advance Many women have scarring from acne, chicken pox, spots and thread veins or blemishes they are very conscious of and would like removed, especially if on the face. Sarah regularly provides treatments to reduce and remove these which allows make-up to sit better and look smoother in photographs of the big day and then afterwards for life. Permanent make-up – begin eight weeks in advance This treatment enables the bride to appear made-up with eyeliner and perfect eyebrows without the worry of make-up smudging or running in an emotional moment. In addition, pool and sea activities can be enjoyed on honeymoon without worrying about make-up.

I offer a mobile beauty service to Surrey. I would be delighted for you to book an appointment with me to visit you in the comfort of your own home, or if you prefer to get away from it all you can come to my beauty room at my home near Fetcham village. You will enjoy my professional approach, premium product range and affordable spa menu. Please contact me with any enquiries or to book an appointment:

07495 878833 • Manicures and pedicures • Gel polish • Facials • Spa body treatments • Body exfoliation and brushing • Swedish massage • Spray tanning • Waxing • Eye lash lift • Eyebrow shape and tint • Pamper parties I hope that I have a treatment to suit your needs. Remember to keep an eye out for my seasonal offers and loyalty reward schemes on my Facebook page.

Bringing the spa to you!

Be a Valentine beauty

It’s February, so forget the January blues and start to look forward to Valentine’s Day. It’s time to show ourselves a little love says Naomi Diamond of Epsom Skin Clinics.


ots of us now favour beauty products that are organic, or made from natural ingredients, and are not as invasive. Swisscode is an innovative brand that has been recognised for its quality concentrates designed to rehydrate skin, improve texture and smooth fine lines. Each concentrate is comprised of hydrogel so one drop covers the entire face, but do not be fooled by the small amount needed: these home treatments pack a powerful punch! With the Swisscode Pure range, each product contains one ingredient in its purest, highest concentrate and most stable form. Just one example is Pure Genistein, a concentrate containing a natural phyto oestrogen that mimics the drop of oestrogen in skin as women mature. More impressively, studies show that users can see a 53% increase in the stimulation of collagen after using this product for 28 days. However, for those who cannot wait that long, there is a quick fix solution. Swisscode Pure Dynalift HYA gives an instant lift to skin for more than four hours. Rich in sucrose, the product creates a tightening and lifting effect on the skin and within five minutes from time of application users’ skin appears more luminous.

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The Swisscode Bionic range utilises the power of active stem cell concentrates. The products use the power of nature and demonstrate how it has endured evolution and protected itself from ever changing environmental factors. The three concentrates in this range are suited to different concerns. Stem Cell Age Control, for women and men, is an antioxidant nearly three times more effective than vitamin C, boosting skin luminosity by 300%. It also helps with the visible signs of ageing and collagen loss. Epsom Skin Clinics are now offering Swisscode as a booster to any treatment. For those wishing to use a more natural product to treat the skin, Dermlux uses LED phototherapy to treat many different skin concerns, including acne, eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis and rosacea. Cells that have been damaged by inflammation, ageing or trauma cannot heal themselves normally and therefore can remain damaged. Dermalux uses nonthermal, normal UV light energy to trigger the body’s natural process to repair and rejuvenate therefore promoting healing. It is suitable for all skin types and there are no side effects. As a bonus, the treatment promotes relaxation and


Visit the website for seasonal offers and packages and sign up to the newsletter. 0% finance available. because the light therapy increases serotonin levels, relieves stress and tension. Previously I have discussed Accent, a radio frequency treatment that helps to target unwanted areas of stubborn fat and can help with skin tightening. For those concerned with sagging skin around the face and neck, Accent will stimulate natural collagen production whilst leaving the skin feeling warm and tight. Alternatively, laser skin tightening can have the same effect offering a subtle lift for those of us looking forward to celebrating Valentine’s Day. Epsom Skin Clinics are now stockists of Jane Iredale Mineral Makeup in both our Epsom and Surbiton locations. With a wide variety to choose from, Jane Iredale’s range is more than just makeup: it actually cares for the skin. Each product has been created to give incredible coverage with the least amount of touch ups needed and offering a soft finish. Not to mention that it does not clog pores or cause spots, is anti-irritant and contains all natural preservatives. With a wide range of blushers and bronzers, customers can obtain a warm and loving glow to suit every skin tone. Perhaps for the time of year the most appropriately named Jane Iredale blusher is ‘In Love’: a pastel pink with a hint of shimmer. essence INFO

Epsom Skin Clinics Website: Telephone: 01372 737280 (Epsom) or 020 8399 5996 (Surbiton)

Your recipe for great skin, founded by MasterChef finalist Angela Langford A Little Lift 30ml £31.00 Plumping and firming face serum pumpkin, frankincense and electric daisy Botanical super ingredient electric daisies are mixed with frankincense, pumpkin seed, argan and hyaluronic acid to nourish, refine and hydrate the skin. Angela says... “This is your recipe if your skin is losing elasticity or tone, in need of plumping or firming.” Thirsty Work 50ml £37.50 Ultra-hydrating, anti-ageing moisturiser raspberry, rosehip and Q10 Rosehip, raspberry and chia seed protect skin from future damage. Vitamins A and C are blended with Q10 and arctic blackcurrants to repel wrinkles, whilst hyaluronic acid keeps skin hydrated. Angela says.... “A hero product, this is perfect for dry, dehydrated or mature skin. This is your recipe for improved hydration and elasticity.” Bloom & Glow 15ml £20.50 Radiance restoring face oil chia seed and sea buckthorn Chia seed and sea buckthorn are blended together to deliver high levels of essential fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants. This oil improves skin’s elasticity, calms inflammation and restores radiance. Angela says... “Perfect for sensitive, easily inflamed or generally out of kilter skin. This is your recipe for gorgeous, glowing, radiant skin.” As a predominately online skincare brand, we realise you may not have previously seen our products. We therefore encourage new customers to try products by using our Skincare Sample Pack Service.

essence INFO

Website: Telephone: 01460 929596 Email:


FEBRUARY 2018 | 39


MY MONTH IN FOOD Stephanie Brookes, foodie expert and BBC Radio London contributor, offers her pick of an eating establishment for this month: El Pastor in Borough.


he New Year brings a whole host of revised food decision-making for many, notably, the question of how to alter daily eating habits postChristmas binge. As a foodie, I’m often baffled by the annual set of rules thrust upon our culinary life, as many of my contemporaries are either juicing their way through the beginning months or eschewing restaurants altogether. This kind of thinking has always been alien to me as I see it more as an opportunity to switch up my culinary routine, rather than forego foods I love. Come the New Year, my appetite is drawn towards lighter dishes, with fresh ingredients, while still packing a punch on flavour. Enter the highly addictive offerings of El Pastor. This rather unassuming restaurant, which I’ve passed many times while venturing into Borough Market, is the kind of place that attracted buzz and a continual stream of diners from the beginning. Opened in 2016, El Pastor is the brainchild of the Hart Brothers (of Barrafina fame), as well as Crispin Somerville. Together, their ethos of freshly-made dishes, focusing specifically on the irresistible offerings of tacos and quesadillas, has been a sure-fire hit. I’d rather hoped we might have visited on a day where we could happily nab a table straight away, however, I was now in that crowd of people I’d seen many times before, deciding whether to just head to Borough Market for food, or wait. As reservations are not taken – an increasing trend I’m not wholly on board with

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– we decided to wait at the nearby Wheatsheaf pub. You could, of course, have a wander around Borough Market, but the temptation to order a duck confit sandwich – almost directly across from El Pastor – might pull you in a different culinary direction altogether. We remained steadfast for the eager hoards to dissipate, as our minds were already fixed on the promise of freshly prepared tacos. Venturing inside El Pastor, exposed brick walls, fuss-free tables and seating give an instant impression that ‘food comes first’ at this restaurant, and with a flurry of servers back and forth with platters of small taco plates, our decision to persevere with the no-reservation rule was already looking like a good decision. The first port of call, if you haven’t made the vow to detox for the first part of the year, is to order the house Margarita with immediate effect.


The deliciously sour, ice-cold hit of fresh lime juice, orange sherbet and Tequila El Jimador is the kind of drink, served either frozen or on the rocks, that blows away any New Year blues. We followed up drinks with a welcome selection of tacos which arrive as and when they’re ready. For each order, two tacos per portion are received, but be aware, they’re fairly dainty in size. The server can advise on how many plates should satiate a dining party – just let them know how hungry you are. Our first order began with the chicken and chipotle-cumin adobo rub with salsa taquero. The soft, just-made tortilla gives way to a perfect mound of smoky chicken, balanced well with the sweetness of salsa. Now, salsa is something they do very well at El Pastor, in fact, an entire portion

of its menu is dedicated to this much-beloved accompaniment. Try the zesty Mexicana made with coriander, lime, white onion and tomato. As quickly as the first order of tacos was devoured, new plates arrived, with the welcome addition of the twenty four hour marinated pork shoulder, guacamole taquero, white onion and caramelised pineapple. The tender pork, glazed with the sweet, treacly fruit and herbal hit of coriander, made this dish the clear winner of the day. We ordered further portions just to clarify our stance on this. Try the vegetarian option of mushroom, caramelised onion, oaxaca cheese and coriander: the earthy mushroom parcel was promptly devoured in two, hearty mouthfuls. It’s very easy to keep the plates coming, and order we did, and when washed down with El Pastor’s generous cocktails, make for a highly satisfying dining experience. And if the promise of the house Margarita doesn’t have you patiently waiting for the next available table, El Pastor’s tacos certainly will. essence INFO

El Pastor 6–7A Stoney Street, Borough, London SE1 9AA No reservations, walk in only Websites: and Email: Twitter: @stephbrookes

FEBRUARY 2018 | 41

Adverts Issue 68_Layout 1 03/02/2016 15:12 Page 4


Door to the New World February thankfully, sees the end for many the very ‘dry’ month of January and as a Brit for once I’m definitely not talking about the weather. The 1853 wine shop in Weybridge has just the remedy with spring not too far away.

Riedel Veritas Sparkling Wine and Champagne Glass Masterclass: Valentines 14th February The masterclass explains that the Champagne saucer and the flute are not good vessels for smelling and tasting Champagnes or similar sparkling wines. In fact, we want to show the future of Champagne enjoyment with Riedel’s Veritas range. Maximilian Riedel’s goal is to make Champagne flutes ‘obsolete’. The evening tasting will show three different wines with different glasses, plus some light food to enhance the wines. The two Champagne and two New World Pinot Noir glasses used during the event per person are included in the price to take home.


he shop is the northern hemisphere cellar door for the new world global wine producer Accolade Wines who own many famous wineries and brands. These include Hardys, Mud House, Petaluma, St Hallett, Leasingham and Grant Burge. A friendly, specialist team are on hand to talk and taste you through the range of wines that includes many older treasures. In the pipeline for early summer are plans to launch a wine club. Through the club you will obtain access to wines that are unavailable on the high street. You’ll also have the chance to meet some of the most talented and respected wine makers in the World. If you would like to be involved please contact us. February is the month of romance, and a very special evening is planned with probably the most famous name in glassware, Riedel.

Glassware total RRP £110 per person. Tickets are £120 per head, £200 per couple, £360 per group of four people. Buying tickets in advance is essential as places are limited to 40. Contact Gautam and Raz at 1853 on 01932 428604 to purchase tickets between 11am and 7pm Tuesday to Saturday, or pop in.

essence INFO

The 1853 Wine Shop The Coach House, 2 Heath Road, Weybridge KT13 8TB

FEBRUARY 2018 | 43

Seasonal and local food offers taste, health and even economic benefits. Each month Crates Local Produce highlight the best on offer in our region.

At their best right now 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 Follow on Twitter @crateslocal or Facebook page Crates Local. PHOTO COPYRIGHT: MARGOUILLAT | 123RF.COM

Jerusalem Artichoke

A vegetable that perhaps has the most misleading name of all. It is neither a type of artichoke nor has any connection with Jerusalem. It is one of the most interesting looking of all root vegetables and was first cultivated by native Americans. As part of the daisy family, the flowers resemble sunflowers and early Italian settlers named it girasole, Italian for sunflower. It is thought this changed to Jerusalem, whilst the other part of its name is thought to have been coined from its artichoke-like taste. With such a nutty and sweet flavour, artichokes make a brilliant addition to any collection of roasted vegetables. As with other root vegetables, they can also be fried, sautéed, mashed or puréed to make delicious soups. Unlike potatoes, Jerusalem Artichokes contain very little starch and are rich in fructose which make them a healthy choice for diabetics and is what gives them a sweet flavour. Resembling ginger root, the vegetable will store well in a cool environment and can be either just scrubbed or peeled before cooking.

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Milk is hardly seasonal but with dairy farmers being under considerable pressure hitting current headlines, it’s worth reminding ourselves of quality and type. Most supermarket milk is homogenised and pasteurised. Long gone is the delicious milk we may remember on our doorstep with the creamy top. Whilst that milk was pasteurised to eradicate bugs, it was rarely homogenised. This additional process eradicates any cream layer by blasting the remaining fat molecules into a smaller size. Some studies suggest homogenisation has led to an increase in heart disease as fat globules too small to digest clog arteries, others believe it has led to increased milk intolerances in children. Counter studies do not always support these effects but whatever may be true, it’s undeniable that the taste of milk has changed through the process. Non-homogenised and single farm milk is still available from specialist food shops. It’s well worth rediscovering: on its own, in tea and especially in coffee, and worth every penny more than the mass produced, multi-farm milk abundant on the shelves.


Winter root gratin

Crème caramel

Ingredients: 700g Jerusalem Artichokes One small to medium size celeriac 200ml double cream 200ml whole milk 50g hard cheese: Cheddar or Parmesan 40g butter Two cloves garlic Fresh nutmeg Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients: Five eggs, fresh as possible 120g caster sugar 500ml milk, semi or whole Two drops vanilla extract For the caramel: 150g caster sugar 50ml water


Method: w Pre-heat the oven to 170°C/ gas mark 3 before preparing the root vegetables. w Peel or scrub the Jerusalem Artichokes, slice thinly and place in a bowl of cold water with some lemon juice to prevent browning. Peel the celeriac and slice to same thickness as the artichokes and set aside. w Mix together the milk, cream, grated nutmeg and seasoning. w Grease an ovenproof dish with around half the butter and arrange the drained artichokes in layers interspersed with layers of celeriac, adding crushed garlic and seasoning to each layer. w Pour over the milk and cream liquid, add small dabs of the remaining butter and finish with grated cheese. w Bake for at least one hour and ten minutes and allow the top to golden. Serve as a delicious winter main or side.


Four medium dariole moulds or ramekins to serve. Method: w Pre-heat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3. w Whisk four of the eggs plus just the yolk of the fifth egg with the caster sugar to form a smooth paste and mix in the milk and vanilla. w Once mixed thoroughly, sieve this into a bowl and set aside. w In a small, heavy pan, boil the sugar and water without stirring until it forms a syrup and darkens slightly in colour to a golden brown. Pour this into the moulds or ramekins, then add the egg and milk mixture. w Place these into a large roasting tray or tin and fill to around halfway up the moulds with boiling water to create a bain-marie. w Place in the oven for 40 minutes, remove and cool. w Turn out the moulds onto plates for an easy and delicious custard dessert covered in rich caramel sauce.

essence INFO

Crates Local Produce 24a Carfax, Horsham, West Sussex RH12 1EB Telephone: 01403 256435 Website: Follow on Twitter @crateslocal or Facebook page Crates Local Winter root gratin

FEBRUARY 2018 | 45

The best guilt-free snacking Shirlee Posner introduces essence readers to a very timely and healthy producer of alternative snacks – Cut and Dried Fruit based in Ockley.


n a garden nestled in the Surrey Hills is a purposebuilt kitchen. The back wall is home to a row of small commercial dehydrators. Each dehydrator contains tray upon tray of fruits and vegetables slowly drying at 50°C. The low heat gently evaporates moisture to leave layers of perfectly crisp, nutrient-packed vegetable and fruit crisps. Packed, sealed and delivered to farm shops in Surrey and sold direct at Ockley Farmers Market, Cut and Dried Fruit’s small business has slowly been gathering speed and this year it’s ready to blossom. The world is full of crispy, salty snacks that those of us wanting to follow a healthy diet try to avoid at all costs. Cut and Dried Fruit has resisted the urge to deep fry and spray on salt and sugar-laden flavour powders; instead the company set itself the task of producing a range of 100% fruit and vegetable crisps which are dried over a 24 to 36 hour period resulting in colourful, flavour-packed crisps that are, well, just cut and dried. Fruits and vegetables have a high water content, so the yield is 20g of dried product for around every 200g of fresh product. This represents a pretty efficient way of packing in an individual’s five a day! Drying carried out at low temperatures over a long period means the nutritional integrity of the food is retained too. Once water has been removed, the products crisp up giving a crunchy texture and satisfying mouth feel. I came across this company nearly six years ago when Cut and Dried Fruit was the subject of one of my first blog posts. Well overdue for an update, I caught up with owners Claire and Mike Esposito and was delighted to find that whilst the packaging and logo might have changed slightly, the ethos behind Cut and Dried Fruit has not budged an inch. For the original article, I visited the garden kitchen which had just been installed with a small business grant. The spotlessly clean kitchen had a workbench for preparing raw product and was kitted out with a food processor, sink, prep area and a wall of dehydrators. I visited on beetroot prep day, one of the messiest vegetables of

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Mike Esposito with Cut and Dried Fruit’s delicious produce

all time to prepare (plastic gloves are a must), and is the only product in the company’s range that has an extra ingredient: vinegar, which Mike says gives an added layer of desirable flavour. All the products are washed, peeled and sliced prior to drying with the food processor offering consistent slice thickness and speed. The most labour intensive element of the task is single layering the raw product, preferably not overlapping, so it dries out and maintains shape. Strawberries and pears seem to behave themselves better than parsnips, carrots and kale, which curl up and form unruly twists and swirls. After drying, products are removed from the machines, cooled completely, packed and labelled. While I watched Mike cutting and layering, he told me that he and his wife Claire had started a similar business in South Africa before fleeing from unrest in 1991. It was just before the referendum and there had been attacks on families and farmers close to where they lived. With both Claire and Mike having British parents, they also had British passports. Leaving all their belongings behind, they arrived with just two suitcases to start a new life. Claire says they were driving in the Surrey Hills near Dorking after seeing a rental property and just fell in love with the area. At the start, the couple fitted their business around full-time jobs and two young children. However, when

Artisan food | EAT SURREY

Beetroot, thyme and Feta muffins I love savoury muffins and these contain two of my favourite ingredients, beetroot and feta. Earthy, salty and with a hint of thyme in the batter, these are perfect served with fresh homemade soup. I use gluten free flour here as most of the people I know seem to prefer it, but use regular if it’s not an issue for you. Everything I bake nowadays is gluten free and luckily flours and mixes today are so good the results are never compromised. I add beetroot crisps into the mix and reserve a few for the topping too! Makes 12 large muffins Ingredients 350g gluten-free self-raising flour One teaspoon baking powder One teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 250ml milk 250ml plain yogurt Three eggs 100g butter, melted and cooled 40g cut and dried beetroot crisps (reserve a few for the topping) 100g diced cooked beetroot (not in vinegar), drained on kitchen towel 200g Feta, chopped into small pieces Two dessertspoons of chopped fresh thyme Sea salt and ground black pepper Method w Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4. Place 12 large muffin liners into a muffin tin. w Place the flour, baking powder

and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl and combine. w In a large jug or bowl, whisk the milk, yogurt, eggs and melted butter. Then add this to the flour mixture. Stir everything together well and season with salt and pepper. w Mix the grated beetroot, beetroot crisps, Feta cheese and chopped thyme into the mixture. w Divide the mixture among the muffin cases, making sure that some of the pieces of cheese sit on the top of each muffin. Break up the beetroot crisps and add some to the top of each muffin. w Bake the muffins for 20–30 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm or cold. w These will keep for a couple of days, but are best, of course, served on the day they are made, preferably when they have cooled. Shirlee Posner,

Mike’s contract ended, he decided to concentrate on Cut and Dried while Claire carried on working. During my first visit, I got to know the products and I would not have been surprised that in the difficult economic climate small producers have faced in the last few years that this small business might have been a casualty. I am delighted to see it hasn’t and I get the feeling this might be Mike and Claire’s time to flourish. There has been a growth in plant based diets and a trend towards clean eating has been accelerating rapidly over the last couple of years. It seemed timely that my first article for 2018 should tap into the ‘New Year, New You’ health drive. In the few weeks leading up to Christmas, I noticed that Cut and Dried Fruit had a new Instagram feed and a lot more posts on social media. Meeting up with Mike at a food fair last November, he explained that his wife Claire, who helped him start up all those years ago, was now working full time with him. They have revisited their product range, changed the logo and added new lines. The business is in a new phase of evaluation and the future is looking rosy with both of them now for the first time focusing on growing the business. Cut and Dried Fruit’s unique selling points are that the products are low in fat and calories, high in fibre and preservative free. This is guilt-free snacking at its finest as the crisps are great to serve with dips and are also gluten free and vegan. Perfect for use in lunchboxes, at picnics, for snacking, garnishing soups and topping salads, they can also be added to baked goods (see the featured recipe for beetroot, thyme and Feta muffins), dipped in chocolate or just eaten straight from the pack. Claire, more recently, has started to create a product line using the dried fruits and vegetables. In January, the couple launched gluten free quiche for their most local farm shop (Village Greens) in three delicious combinations: spinach and mushroom, spicy butternut squash and carrot and Mediterranean mix, also using local eggs and cheese. Other new products include granola bars, chocolate dipped fruit, fondue sets and Claire says there are plenty more ideas on the way. All the products made by Cut and Dried Fruit are small batch and a great example of true cottage industry. For the fruits and vegetables, the flavour does vary somewhat batch by batch and during the season, but we can live with that, it’s the way of nature. For details of stockists, see the website (details below) or meet the producers Mike and Claire at Ockley Farmers Market on the first Sunday of each month. essence INFO

Cut and Dried Fruit 2 St. Aubyns Cottages, Coles Lane, Ockley, Surrey RH5 5SX Telephone: 01306 711587 Website: Shirlee Posner is a food writer and blogger at and provides social media management, web copywriting and food photography.

FEBRUARY 2018 | 47


Gluten free chocolate, pistachio and sea salt brownies for Valentine’s Day Nothing says I love you like a gooey chocolate brownie. One of Jen’s Cupcakery’s new range, this gluten free chunk of gorgeousness is made with coconut flour, packed with pistachios and a tang of sea salt, though readers could just as easily substitute with fresh raspberries or cherries. Use a heart shaped cookie cutter for added romance, or simply slice and serve with a dusting of icing sugar or a dollop of crème fraiche... Ingredients (makes around 16) 250g unsalted butter 200g dark chocolate 70g coconut flour (buy on line or in good health food shops) One teaspoon gluten free baking powder 360g caster sugar 100g pistachios, chopped into small pieces Three large eggs, lightly beaten 80g cocoa powder One teaspoon sea salt for the mixture plus a little extra to sprinkle on top Method w Preheat oven to 180°C/gas mark 6. Grease and line a 20cm square tin with non-stick baking paper. w Melt the butter and chocolate in a glass bowl above a pan of simmering water. Give the mixture a stir every now and again to help it along and then remove from heat and leave to cool slightly. w Whisk the eggs and sugar together until a creamy mixture is achieved. This will take at least five minutes

in an electric mixer, more if whisking manually. w Sieve the coconut flour, baking powder and cocoa powder into another bowl and mix until all ingredients are combined. w Gently fold in the melted chocolate and butter into the egg mixture and then do the same with the flour mix – do not over mix, it is fine if it looks a little ‘clumpy’. Follow with the chopped pistachios and the sea salt and pour into the tin. w Bake for about 25 minutes (or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out mostly clean). The brownies should be squidgy in the middle, so don’t overbake!

essence INFO

Website: Telephone: 07751 553106 Email: Facebook: Twitter: @jenscupcakery Blog: http://ilovejenscupcakery.

TOP TIP: Before slicing through the cooked brownies, put the knife under hot water for a few seconds; it will make cutting the gooey brownies easier.

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Since its opening two years ago, the much raved-about South Kensington-based Maître Choux (@maitrechoux), has sold out almost every single day. The world’s first choux pastry specialist patisserie has amassed a cult following among locals and celebrities alike who have been queuing in front of the rainbow-coloured display. From private celebrations through to A-lister events by way of iconic institutions such as Fortnum & Mason, Chiltern Firehouse, and Blakes, the freshly-made wondrous eclairs, choux and chouquettes have surprised and delighted all who sample them. In a move set to delight the fans, Joakim Prat, the three Michelin star-experienced chef behind Maître Choux, is opening a second location on Soho’s Dean Street this October. A bigger site than South Kensington, Maître Choux Soho will also have a more spacious seating area, allowing additional guests to accompany their confection with a cup of the finest quality tea and coffee, or a thick hot chocolate made from a legendary Basque recipe provided by Joakim’s grandmother. Maître Choux Soho will offer the same core range of hand-crafted, MAÎTRE CHOUX – THE WORLD’S FIRST CHOUX PASTRY SPECIALIST PATISSERIE decadent, one-of-a-kind designs featuring show-stopping eclairs 15 HARRINGTON ROAD • SOUTH KENSINGTON • LONDON SW7 3ES like lemon meringue & bergamot, Spanish raspberry and hazelnut & MAÎTRE CHOUX SOHO milk chocolate treasure, as well as 60 DEAN STREET • SOHO • LONDON W1D 6AW Orders taken for bespoke designs, both corporate and private.


How tough are your cuffs? Sophie Banks, a solicitor in Mundays LLP’s employment law team, discusses what employers and employees alike should look out for in their contracts of employment when post-termination restrictions are involved.

Sophie Banks is an experienced employment lawyer with a background in advising large commercial and public sector clients. She provides clear and pragmatic advice to clients to help find solutions that balance both legal and commercial requirements. Sophie deals with all types of Employment Tribunal claims for employers and employees. In addition, she advises on a broad range of employment law issues and documents (such as settlement agreements and contracts), drafts all types of employment-related documentation and presents seminars on a variety of employment law issues. Sophie can be contacted on 01932 590581 or

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t’s quite rare these days for someone to have the same employer for their entire working life. People leave jobs for many different reasons such as career progression, better pay, family commitments, health issues, redundancy or relocation. Whatever the reason, employers will often want to ensure departing employees do not use the confidential information they have come across and contacts and connections they have built up throughout employment to damage the employer’s future business interests. The usual way employers try to achieve this is by including post-termination restrictions (otherwise known as ‘restrictive covenants’) in an employee’s contract of employment such as: w Non-compete clauses – preventing a former employee from joining a rival employer or setting up a competing business for a defined period after termination (often with a geographical restriction). w Non-solicitation clauses – preventing a former employee from contacting a customer/client of the employer, or making an initial approach, with a view to obtaining their business.

w Non-dealing clauses – preventing a former

employee from dealing with customers/clients of the employer that approach the employee. w Non-poaching clause – preventing a former employee from soliciting other employees. Employers can also include restrictions protecting their business from outgoing employees interfering with prospective business opportunities or prospective customers. It is a common misconception that posttermination restrictions are ‘not worth the paper they are written on’. The legal position is that they could be enforced against an employee if the employer can prove they have a ‘legitimate proprietary interest that is appropriate to protect’ (e.g. trade connections, stability of the workforce or client relationships) and the protection sought is ‘no more than is reasonable having regard to the interests of the parties and the public interest’ (e.g. the restriction is not too long in duration or too wide in scope). Unfortunately, there is no definitive guidance setting out which type of post-termination restrictions will be enforceable and which ones will not, as this will depend on factors such as


the employee’s seniority, the strength of their relationships with key customers/clients and employees, and the confidential information they had access to as part of their role. Any attempts to restrict an outgoing employee’s freedom to trade must consequently be for a limited time only. An employer will need to consider how long it will be before competitive activities by the ex-employee represent less than a material threat to the employer’s business. This will of course vary, and should be carefully considered for each employee. If the restriction is found to be unreasonably long, it will be unenforceable. When considering a non-poaching of employees restriction, an employer must consider factors such as how long after termination the ex-employee’s influence over certain employees will remain. Again, if it is found that no such influence exists, or it does but the length of the restriction is unreasonably long, it will not be enforceable against the former employee. There is also the question of whether an employer would test their enforceability before the courts. Some employers may choose to include restrictions in their contracts to try and deter employees from joining a competitor or poaching staff, but don’t actually take any action against the individual if they do, other than perhaps getting their solicitors to send the employee and their new employer a strongly worded letter threatening legal proceedings. On the other end of the scale, some employers will take legal action to protect their business interests, most commonly by way of an injunction. However, obtaining injunctions can be extremely costly and time consuming, so an employer will need to weigh up the benefits of such action against the likely damage the employee’s proposed actions could do to the business. If an employer does apply to the court for an injunction, the consequences of an employee breaching a valid restrictive covenant can be severe and costly. Of course, the best time to seek advice on the enforceability of post-termination restrictions (whether you are an employee or an employer) is at the outset of the employment relationship, before signing any contract. Perhaps you might have a client following that you are bringing to a new employer and

Is a restriction enforceable? Issues to consider when deciding if post-termination restrictions are enforceable: COPYRIGHT: w Are they contained in a signed contract PHOTO KATARZYNA BIAŁASIEWICZ | 123RF.COM of employment or subsequent signed employment document? Employers have been unable to enforce such clauses against individuals when the employee has not signed the contract, or the restrictions are hidden somewhere in the middle of the staff handbook.

w Are the restrictions reasonable in their scope and duration? The employer should impose a restriction that is no wider than reasonably necessary to protect a legitimate interest. This will need to be assessed on an individual basis. A senior employee may have more involvement in, and knowledge of, the employer’s affairs than a junior employee; or two employees on the same level may have differing influences over customers and have varying knowledge of confidential information.

w Is there reference to personal contact? Restrictions should also be limited to those customers, employees etc. with whom the employee has had personal dealings or about whom the employee has had other relevant knowledge in the recent past.

w Are any geographical restrictions reasonable in the circumstances? A clause restricting an employee from working within a ten mile radius could be reasonable for a solicitor that works in a small town, but unreasonable for a banker working in the City of London.

w Has the employee received something in return? If the employee has been asked to sign up to such restrictions at a time later than the start of employment, have they been given any economic benefit in return, e.g. a pay rise? If not, the restrictions may be void. Issues to consider if they are likely to be enforceable: w Has the employer breached the employment contract? If the contract has been breached, the restrictions will not be valid. This often occurs when an employer makes a payment in lieu of notice on termination when they don’t have the contractual right to do so.

w Could the employee negotiate to be released from the restrictions? Employers may release employees from restrictions in some circumstances, such as in a redundancy situation or to maintain a good relationship with an important client that the employee wants to go and work for.

want to ensure that you can still deal with these clients should the new employment relationship not work out? Our specialist employment team at Mundays would be happy to advise on such terms before you sign on the dotted line. If you have post-termination restrictions in your existing employment contract, it is important you understand their implications, and where necessary take advice if you anticipate they may have an impact upon your next career move. If you are an employer, don’t forget

to check the restrictions in the contracts of prospective employees before recruiting them to avoid employing someone who can’t carry out the full range of duties their role requires. v

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Mundays LLP Cedar House, 78 Portsmouth Road, Cobham KT11 1AN Telephone: 01932 590500 Website:

FEBRUARY 2018 | 51

Bitcoin – fairy tales don’t always have a happy ending Simon Lewis, CEO at Partridge Muir & Warren, discusses the cryptocurrency enigma and it’s most well-known current exponent, Bitcoin.


“Warren Buffet, the well-regarded and highly successful long term investor (the World’s third richest man) once said: “If you don’t understand it, don’t invest in it.” which is sage advice.”

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y children have in turn been fascinated by an oversized and elaborately decorated shiny silver coin. “Is it treasure Dad?” I am afraid that I have provided many misleading answers over the years, attributing the coin to the result of some unsavoury early-life career choices, including pirate, bank robber and international jewel thief. Some might say that ‘financial adviser’ represents a natural progression. Anyway, my point is that to a 4-year old, such tales are a source of wide-eyed wonderment, with the result that the coin has survived to be handed down and sit proudly in successive treasure boxes. In truth, the coin has no value, except in the Las Vegas casino Circus Circus, where you could exchange it for a $5 chip, perhaps to take a chance at the roulette wheel. Scepticism typically develops at around age 7. “You’re too fat to have been a jewel thief Dad because you couldn’t climb in through a window” is one of the more flattering responses to my tales of daring do. But even as we get older and a lot more sceptical about everything, the child lurks within us all. I am not saying that everyone who has recently bought Bitcoin is child-like but there has definitely been a wide-eyed wonderment and lack of understanding that has driven many otherwise sensible investors into an irrational frenzy. Warren Buffet, the well-regarded and highly successful long term investor (he is the World’s third richest man) once said: “If you don’t understand it, don’t invest in it.” which is sage advice. What is Bitcoin? (otherwise known as the ‘geeky’ bit) Bitcoin is a ‘cryptocurrency’, which is best described as a digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the

generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank. Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency (although many others have followed in its wake) and was created in 2008; perhaps in response to the global financial crisis and concerns over the safety of money deposited with banks. As a decentralised currency it has no single administrator and operates without an intermediary via a peer-to-peer network, with transactions taking place directly between users. In essence, it is a ledger based system known a distributed ledger; full copies of the ledger exist in around 6,000 locations (nodes) around the world and these ledgers continually synchronise. This creates a method of recording ownership that is less prone to corruption. If this sounds interesting it is worth finding out more about the ‘blockchain’ technology on which cryptocurrencies are based because it offers many exciting applications for the future. Other things worth knowing are that the value of the currency fluctuates according to the principles of supply and demand and there is a rules-enforced limit to the amount of Bitcoin currency that can be issued. Also, Bitcoin is an accepted method of payment in over 100,000 establishments around the world and last year there were around 6 million unique users of cryptocurrency, the majority of them with Bitcoin stuffed in their digital wallets. Digital wallets allow holders of the currency to store it confidentially. As a consequence, although transactions are transparent to all, the identity of the transaction participants is not recorded. Let’s return to the Bitcoin ‘story’. Fool’s Gold? There is a compelling theory that underpins the belief that, in the long run, the only possible


trajectory for the price of Bitcoin is upwards. That is because there is a finite limit (not yet reached) to the amount of Bitcoin in issue. Once the limit is reached, the price must rise as the world gets richer because of the principles of supply and demand. On 16 January 2017 Bitcoin was valued at $827. At midday on 19 January 2018, Bitcoin was valued at $11,686 with the highest recorded value in December 2017 at $19,498. Even though the price has fallen by 40% from its peak in less than a month, those speculators who purchased Bitcoin in January 2017 are still sitting on a handsome profit. However, there is a good chance that there is further to fall so it is worth remembering that a profit is not really a profit until it is crystallised. Those speculators that bought Bitcoin at or close to its peak should seriously think about cutting their losses, particularly if they cannot afford to lose any more. The below representation of an archetypal bubble might prove instructive. Money laundering and fraud If the prospect of price volatility has failed to deter you, consider that the trading of cryptocurrencies is currently an unregulated activity. The fact that many cryptocurrencies can be purchased, traded and used anonymously means that they are the perfect instrument for money laundering and tax evasion. In other words, the growth in use of unregulated cryptocurrencies is an existential threat to government because a government cannot maintain law and order if it cannot

regulate the flow of money and it cannot finance itself if it cannot reliably raise revenue. It seems likely that legislation and regulation will soon follow and as a consequence, those using Bitcoin for illegal reasons will divert their funds elsewhere, reducing demand and price accordingly.

In December 2017, Slovenian based Bitcoin marketplace, NiceHash, suspended operations following the theft of nearly $64 million in Bitcoin. In 2014, Japan based Mt. Gox was forced to shut down, following a breach that resulted in the theft of 850,000 Bitcoin. That’s worth around $10 billion today.

Beware of hackers Another risk of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is that a hacker might find a way to access your digital wallet and steal your Bitcoin. If that happened there is no guarantee that your money would ever be returned because there is no regulation to protect you and no compensation scheme to bail you out. It is important to remember that hackers are not all teenagers misbehaving from their bedrooms. Many countries (allegedly) have substantial and sophisticated state funded hacking operations, notably (again, allegedly) Russia, China and North Korea.

I don’t want to tell you fairy tales There have been times when I have been tempted to jump on the bandwagon but I have resisted. I honestly think that although cryptocurrencies generally, and Bitcoin specifically have a bright future we have many years to go before their price behaves rationally. If I wanted to speculate, it might be more fun to return to Circus Circus clutching my magical shiny silver coin... v

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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 49 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: If you would like to receive similar articles by email please visit: Note: The views expressed in this article should not be taken as investment advice. They are the views and opinion of the writer only.

FEBRUARY 2018 | 53



Make haste to minimise tax liability

With the 2017/2018 tax year coming to an end, now is the time to take a look at personal tax allowances and reliefs to ensure any tax liability has been efficiently minimised before 5 April 2018. Gillian Everall shares some pointers on how to benefit fully from the allowances available.


o start, the new dividend allowance introduced in 2016 enables up to £5,000 of tax free dividends. Spouses and civil partners should maximise this by utilising the allowance between them, to prevent one paying dividend tax if the other has an allowance remaining. Couples can also maximise the available tax reliefs and allowances between them. If one is paying higher rate tax on savings and dividends and their partner has unused savings, dividends or £11,500 personal allowance, assets, including cash savings, may be transferred between them without incurring capital gains tax, making the income more evenly allocated. Potentially, there is also tax relief for gross pension contributions of up to £40,000 each year, although earnings over £150,000 reduce

54 | FEBRUARY 2018

this allowance to £10,000. However, pension relief may be carried forward for three years, and unused relief from 2014/15 can therefore still be used before it expires on 6 April 2018 to allow scope for further contributions. Tax benefits may also be received from pension contributions for non-working spouses and children. With ISAs, taxpayers can invest £20,000 tax free in either cash or shares each year. In addition, for 30 per cent and 50 per cent income tax relief respectively, the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and Seed–EIS (SEIS) schemes should be considered. Both allow deference of (EIS) or partially exempt (SEIS) tax on capital gains made on other assets and capital gains exemption also applies to the new shares taken out. For non-domiciled individuals resident in the UK for 15 out of the past 20 years, from April 2017 you are now deemed to be UK domiciled for all taxes. Therefore, any worldwide income and gains is subject to UK tax and you are liable for UK inheritance tax on any worldwide assets as you cannot claim the remittance basis. However, a number of transitional reliefs are available and we can help minimise the impact. Finally, always remember that further reliefs could be available, depending on personal circumstances, and Everfair Tax would always be happy to discuss these options.

essence INFO

Gillian Everall is Managing Director and Head of Private Client Tax Services for Everfair Tax based in Weybridge. Everfair Tax specialises in UK, US and Expatriate Tax and provides a unique tax advisory and compliance service to help manage personal or international complexities and the changing of family or business circumstances.  Telephone: 01932 428536 Email: Website:

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Reading lounge EDITOR’S PICK

Darkest Hour:

How Churchill brought us back from the brink The story behind the motion picture. From the prize-winning screenwriter of The Theory of Everything, this is a cinematic, behindthe-scenes account of a crucial moment that takes us inside the mind of one of the world’s greatest leaders to provide a revisionist, more rounded portrait of his leadership. May 1940 and Britain is at war. European democracies are falling rapidly and the public is unaware of this dangerous new world. Just days after his unlikely succession to Prime Minister, Winston Churchill faces this horror, a sceptical King and a party plotting against him. He wonders how he can capture the public mood and does so, magnificently, before leading the country to victory. Author Anthony McCarten captures the gripping day-by-day narrative and in doing so revises the familiar view of Churchill. Through those turbulent and dangerous weeks, he was plagued by doubt, and even explored a peace treaty with Nazi Germany. It’s a scarier and more human story than has ever been told. By Anthony McCarten RRP: £8.99 • 336 pages • Hardback ISBN: 9780241340936 Publisher: Penguin Books

Mindful thoughts for Gardeners

Sowing seeds of awareness Embracing gardening as a spiritually enriching activity lovingly reconnects us to nature everyday and this beautifully illustrated little book reminds us how to do it. Rooting each blossoming thought in deep ecology and conscious living, we unearth the power inherent in mindfully lifting the soil; it lifts our souls as well. Mindful thoughts for Gardeners sows a series of meditations about tending the Earth wholeheartedly. Author Clea Danaan explores the interconnectedness of nature in this carefully-crafted small volume that any green-fingered grower will want to dig into.

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Clea Danaan is a gardener and teacher living in Colorado, USA. She trained in Somatic Psychology and Creation Spirituality and has an MFA in Creative Writing. Author of Sacred Land, Living Earth Devotional and Voices of the Earth, Clea regularly blogs on engaging with the soul of nature. By Clea Danaan RRP: £5.99 160 pages • Hardback ISBN: 9781782405269 Publisher: Leaping Hare Press


The Greek Myths Retold No one loves and quarrels, desires and deceives as boldly and brilliantly as Greek gods and goddesses. They are like us, only more so – their actions and adventures scrawled across the heavens above, from the birth of the universe to the creation of humankind. Stephen Fry retells these myths for our tragic, comic, fateful age. Witness Athena born from the cracking open of Zeus’s great head and follow Persephone down into the dark realm of Hades. Experience the terrible and endless fate of Prometheus after his betrayal of Zeus and shiver as Pandora opens her jar of evil torments. The Greek gods are the best and worst of us, and in Stephen Fry’s hands they tell us who we are. Mythos is the retelling we deserve by a man who has been entertaining the nation for over four decades. A true polymath, Stephen Fry is a British comedian, actor, writer, presenter and activist whose writing includes everything from novels to a guide to poetry; he is also the voice of the Harry Potter audiobooks. Amongst his best-known works are the novels The Hippopotamus and  The Liar, the biographies Moab is My Washpot, The Fry Chronicles  and More Fool Me as well as The Ode Less Travelled. By Stephen Fry RRP: £20.00 432 pages • Hardback ISBN: 9780718188726  Publisher: Penguin Books

Literature | REVIEW

London Buses 1970–1980

A decade of London Transport and London Country Operations The 1970s were among London Transport’s most troubled years. Prohibited from designing its own buses, LT was compelled to embark upon mass orders for the broadly standard products of national manufacturers, which for one reason or another proved to be disastrous failures in the capital. Despite a continuing spares’ shortage, combined with industrial action, the old organisation kept going, with the venerable RT and Routemaster families still at the forefront of operations. At the same time, the green buses of the Country Area were taken over by the National Bus Company as London Country Bus Services. Little by little, and not without problems of their own, the mostly elderly but standard inherited buses gave way to a variety of diverse orders, some successful, others far from so, until by the end of the decade we could see a mostly NBCstandard fleet of one-man-operated buses in corporate leaf green. Matthew Wharmby is an author, photographer and editor who specialises in London bus history. John Laker was born in Ruislip and began to take an interest in London’s buses in the late 1940s. Today he is known for his involvement with J & K Video DVDs which feature his work. By Matthew Wharmby and John Laker RRP: £25.00 • 160 pages • Hardback ISBN: 9781473872943 Publisher: Pen & Sword Books Limited


A New History of Modern Architecture

This exciting new reading of modern architecture is a must for students and architecture enthusiasts alike. Organised largely as a chronology, chapters necessarily overlap to allow for the discrete examination of key themes, including typologies, movements and biographical studies, as well as the impact of evolving technology and country-specific influences. Colin Davies is Professor at London Metropolitan University and the author of a number of books including High Tech Architecture (1988), Hopkins: The Work of Michael Hopkins and Partners (two volumes, 1996–2004) and  Prefabricated Home (2005).

The Chalk Man

Fire and Fury

We all have fears we hide from. But in the end they will find us... The Chalk Man is coming... None of us ever agreed on the exact beginning. Was it when we started drawing the chalk figures, or when they started to appear on their own? Was it the terrible accident? Or when they found the first body? At the heart of this accomplished debut lies a shocking crime stumbled upon by a group of teenage friends. It is a discovery that shatters their innocence and haunts the whole community. Now, twenty years later, someone is sending anonymous letters – chalk drawings of a stick figure with a noose around its neck – someone who hasn’t forgotten what happened in the woods all those years ago. The past is very much alive in this book where memory is unreliable and old secrets fester, threatening to turn as odorous as a rotting corpse. Author C.J. Tudor’s sharp eye for detail and ear for dialogue lend the childhood scenes an immediacy and authenticity that completely convince.

During the Second World War, Allied air forces dropped nearly two million tons of bombs on Germany, destroying some 60 cities, killing more than half a million German citizens, and leaving 80,000 pilots dead. But the terrible truth is that much of the bombing was carried out against the expressed demands of the Allied military leadership, leading to the needless deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians. Focusing on the crucial period from 1942 to 1945, Fire and Fury tells the story of the American and British bombing campaign through the eyes of those involved: the military and civilian command in America, Britain, and Germany, the aircrews in the skies who carried out their orders, and civilians on the ground who felt the fury of the Allied attacks. Here, for the first time, the story of the American and British air campaigns is told and the cost accounted.

By C.J. Tudor RRP: £12.99 352 pages • Hardback ISBN: 9780718187439 Publisher: Penguin Books

The Allied bombing of Germany, 1942–1945

By Randall Hansen RRP: £16.99 368 pages • Paperback ISBN: 9780451227591 Publisher: New American Library

By Colin Davies RRP: £50.00 500 pages • Hardback ISBN: 9781786270566 Publisher: Laurence King Publishing

FEBRUARY 2018 | 57

Taking care of

BUSINESS It’s been a whirlwind two years for comedian Sophie Willan with her own BBC Radio 4 series commissioned, as well as appearances on As Yet Untitled (Dave), hosting Fresh from the Fringe for BBC Radio 4 Extra, Loose Ends (BBC Radio 4) and Lemn Sissay’s Origin Stories (BBC Radio 4). Sophie is currently developing a factual show with a major broadcaster and appearing in her own show, Branded, at the Farnham Maltings this month. Sophie spoke to essence about her journey. Q When did you decide to become a comedian and how did you get into the business? A I have wanted to be a comedy writer and performer since I was a child. My recently divorced gran and I went to Ibiza when I was eight. She was out bopping away at Café del Mar in a zebra print catsuit. I got cast as the Crying Clown and got a standing ovation! After that I had the bug. As a child I loved Victoria Wood, Alan Bennett, Les Dawson, Caroline Aherne and Julie Walters. I related to their backgrounds and wanted to follow in their footsteps. Q What do you do when you’re not doing stand-up? A It’s hard to answer this question without it sounding like a conversation between two exchange students: I like to go swimming, J’aime socialiser, J’aime le football... Nothing that out of the ordinary really... It’s not like being Spider-Man or anything – by night jumping off buildings and bringing down villains, by day you’re a socially awkward photographer.   Q You are also an author having contributed to a book for care leavers. Can we expect an autobiography soon? A Not at the moment, no. I created the Stories Of Care book because I feel really passionately about creating work that empowers, inspires and represents Care Leavers and Looked After Children. I also love children’s books: growing up I found great comfort and joy in the stories of children that were from similar varied backgrounds to me (without parents), but as an adult I wanted to see those stories being written and told by the people who have lived the experiences. I wanted to remind Looked After Children they can do whatever they want and there’s lots of people in the world like them... I also

58 | FEBRUARY 2018

Comedy interview | SOPHIE WILLAN

“The political and personal intertwine effortlessly... It’s her talent, not her identity, that makes Branded well worth seeing.” GUARDIAN HHHH


FEBRUARY 2018 | 59


Profile Sophie Willan works as an educator in many different contexts including Key Note Speaking, Panel Speaking, Facilitating Creative Workshops and Mentoring Artists. In 2015, she secured over £100,000 in funding to create the dynamic multi-platform project, Stories of Care, with its own children’s book launched in July this year. The work Stories of Care does with Care Leavers across Greater Manchester has become a national talking point, establishing Sophie as one of the UK’s leading ambassadors for Homeless and Care Experienced Young People.

wanted to work with Care Leavers to give them creative tools to share their experiences through the vibrant, imaginative joy of children’s fiction. I want Care Leavers to feel they can tell their own stories and become creative leaders rather than having their story told to them or having people demand their story for their own means or gains. The book is a vibrant anthology,  inspired by our experiences and fired by our imaginations. It’s called Tales of the Weird, the Wild and the Wonderful. (See essence literature review). Q You deal with topics that certainly aren’t traditionally comedic. Was that ever a challenge for you or does it feel quite natural just to talk about your own experiences? A It feels natural. I use my own experiences to talk about things in society that I think need discussing. For example, I have been particularly passionate about challenging the demonisation of working class welfare recipients, mental health users and social service users. The blaming and shaming culture that seems to have got particularly worse since the economic crash and Tory government needs to be discussed and antidotes need to be made.

“An outstanding show – this perfectly constructed hour is shot through with rare sensitivity and intelligence.” THE TIMES HHHH

As someone who has grown up with a heroin addict for a mother, it’s so important to me to share my experiences and tell who people like my mum really are. Q Lastly, what is it like on a night out with Sophie Willan? A I used to be a real wild child. It runs in the family. My grandad’s the same and he’s over 70! Last time I saw him in Mallorca, we went out to grab a punnet of tomatoes, ended up in a pub that has a bookie, won a fortune, woke up next morning and I’d arrived home in a police car and grandad was found asleep on the kitchen floor, clutching a stick of salami.  Now I’m a bit more sensible – just a casual Monday evening that ends with six double gins and lassoing my knickers above my head in a Wetherspoons now (joke...ish)! v essence INFO

Sophie Willan will be bringing her show Branded to Farnham Maltings on Wednesday 28 February. Websites: and PHOTOS COPYRIGHT: STEVE ULLATHORNE

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We believe in a different perspective.

Our Chichester kitchen, painted in Shell. Carter table ÂŁ1,590 & bench ÂŁ450 Neptune Weybridge, 10 Church Street, KT13 8DX, 01932 901234

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17/01/2018 09:53:06

Spotlight on... Bill Bailey – Larks in Transit Tour New Wimbledon Theatre, Wimbledon Monday 12 to Tuesday 13 February The incomparable Bill Bailey presents a compendium of travellers’ tales from his twenty years as a touring comedian. This entertaining and intelligent man tackles politics, philosophy and, of course, the pursuit of happiness. Described by the Daily Telegraph as “the brainiest comic of his generation”, Bill also manages to perform a symphony from a ringtone, relates the real story of Old McDonald and reimagines the Stars and Stripes. Bill will be touring nationwide during 2018 with 51 dates so far announced and returns to Surrey in May when he performs at G Live.


Theatre Richmond Theatre Richmond

Monday 12 to Saturday 17 February Strangers on a Train

See listing under Richmond.


Monday 19 to Saturday 24 February Flashdance – The Musical

Wednesday 7 to

Great choreography and score.

Saturday 10 February The Jungle Book

Tuesday 27 February to

A new adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s much-loved family classic. Monday 12 to Tuesday 13 February Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales

Colourful characters from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.

Saturday 3 March Beautiful – The Carole King Musical

True story of this talented singer/songwriter.

New Wimbledon Theatre Wimbledon


Monday 19 to

Wednesday 7 to

Saturday 24 February Strangers on a Train

Thursday 8 February Ellen Kent’s La Traviata and

New production of this Patricia Highsmith thriller.

Madama Butterfly

Tuesday 27 February to Saturday 3 March The Weir

Award-winning, modern play.

New Victoria Theatre Woking


Performances of Verdi’s La Traviata (Wednesday) and Puccini’s Madama Butterfly (Thursday). Monday 12 to Tuesday 13 February Bill Bailey – Larks in Transit Tour

See Spotlight above.

Cranleigh Arts Centre

Friday 9 and Saturday 10 February Ellen Kent’s Rigoletto and


Madama Butterfly

Saturday 17 February Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise

Performances of Verdi’s Rigoletto (Friday) and Puccini’s Madama Butterfly (Saturday).

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Hoot Owl’s night adventures. For ages four to 94!

essence | EVENTS

the/diary FEBRUARY 2018 | 63

Dorking Halls Dorking


Pranksters Theatre Company

The Keep Pub, Guildford

Wednesday 7 to


Thursday 8 February Peppa Pig’s Adventure

Wednesday 7 to

Peppa and friends in a new show. Friday 16 February Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour

Short films following some of today’s incredible adventurers.

Sunday 11 February Two by Jim Cartwright

A funny, moving and poignant play set in a pub and performed in a pub!

Princes Hall Theatre

Friday 2 March Tim Vine: Sunset Milk Idiot


New show from the punmaster.

Wednesday 14 February Reginald D Hunter: Some People v

Epsom Playhouse Epsom


Reginald D Hunter


Searingly honest material from this comic genius.

Thursday 15 February Cirque Enchantment

Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

Stunning performances set to an eclectic soundtrack.



Sunday 4 March Griff Rhys Jones: Where Was I?

Monday 5 to Saturday 10 February The Case of the Frightened Lady

Stories, anecdotes and reminiscences from 44 years.

Detective thriller from the pen of Edgar Wallace.

Farnham Maltings Farnham


Friday 9 February Manwatching

A male comedian reads from a script he has never seen before. For ages 16 and over. Saturday 24 February Brave Folk

A mystical Nordic tale. Wednesday 28 February Sophie Willan: Branded

Award-winning show: see our interview with Sophie on page 56.

Tuesday 20 to Saturday 24 February Great Expectations

Powerful telling of Dickens’ classic masterpiece. Tuesday 27 February to Saturday 3 March Pressure

Written by and starring David Haig, Pressure tells the tale of two Allied meteorologists 72 hours prior to the D-Day landings.


Guildford Shakespeare Company

Dorking Halls

Holy Trinity Church, Guildford



Friday 9 February The Blues Band

Saturday 3 to Saturday 24 February Romeo & Juliet

The Company opens its 2018 programme with the Bard’s timeless love story.

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David Haig in Pressure, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales, Richmond Theatre


Front man Paul Jones and the rest of the Band celebrate 39 years. Wednesday 14 February Classic Rock Show

Pays tribute to many all-time guitar greats.

Reginald D Hunter, Princes Hall, Aldershot PHOTO CREDIT: KASH YUSUF

essence | EVENTS

Spotlight on... Butterflies in The Glasshouse RHS Garden Wisley, Woking To Sunday 4 March The wonderful Butterflies in the Glasshouse returns to RHS Garden Wisley offering a tropical treat for visitors and an intriguing escape away from winter’s chill. With more than 50 species of free-flying, exotic butterflies to meet in the Tropical Zone of the stunning Glasshouse, this is an exhibit not to be missed. Displaying stand-out colours and patterns, these butterflies are at home amongst the lush, tropical plantings, including palm trees, bananas and climbers, as well as aquatic plants that thrive in the warm jungle pool. New species of butterflies such as Graphium doson and Papilio paris will join vibrant favourites for 2018, such as Morpho peleides, Kallima inachus and Siproeta stelene. During a visit, why not explore the family-friendly Education Zone at RHS Wisley? This interactive area offers visitors the chance to learn about the fascinating life cycle of a butterfly, along with much more.

Information: Left: Tree nymph butterfly at RHS Garden Wisley ©RHS CREDIT JULIAN WEIGALL



Farnham Maltings

Guildford House Gallery

With soprano soloist Erica Eloff.



Richard Moore

Friday 16 to Sunday 18 February unravel 2018

Epworth Choir

Occam Singers



Saturday 10 February, 11am–5pm Come and Sing Workshop

Saturday 24 February, 7.30pm Italian Baroque Concert

A day’s workshop on Mozart’s Requiem, including sessions working on good singing and vocal technique. An informal performance of the work will take place at the end of the workshop.

Trinity Methodist Church, Woking

St Nicolas’ Church, Guildford

United Reformed Church, Guildford



An opportunity to hear Bach’s Clavier-Übung Part III.

Saturday 10 February Natalie Imbruglia

Southern Pro Musica

Annual international festival of knitting returns for a tenth year to the Maltings with a marketplace of diverse products from over 70 quality exhibitors and expert-led workshops and talks on a variety of disciplines. This is a much-loved knitting and crochet ‘meet’ for all ages and crafting abilities.


Haslemere Museum

G Live


Australian, multi-talented performer returns.


Friday 16 February, 7.30pm German Organ Mass

G Live


Until Saturday 10 March The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2017

See 87 works selected by a panel of leading figures from the art world.

McAllister Thomas Godalming


Until Tuesday 13 February The Winter Collection

Tuesday 20 February Erasure

Sunday 25 February, 1pm Family concert



Andy Bell and Vince Clarke perform at G Live.

Hands-on workshops and an orchestral concert.

A changing exhibition for winter by Gallery artists.

Saturday 3 March Civilisations Festival Day

Museum of Farnham

New Victoria Theatre

The Sixteen



Wednesday 7 February An Audience with Michael Bolton –

Tuesday 13 February, 7.30pm Vivaldi Gloria: Guildford

My Life Story

Including works by Vivaldi, Bach and Handel.


Award-winning singer shares.

Guildford Cathedral

A partnership between museums, galleries and the BBC to coincide with the broadcast of BBC Arts’ Civilisations series in spring 2018. The Museum will showcase a range of events including talks, object handling sessions and an art workshop for children.

West Street, Farnham Information:

Tuesday 6 February to Saturday 2 June Out of the dolls’ house: 100 years of women’s suffrage and fashion

How women’s role has changed.

FEBRUARY 2018 | 65

Cinemas Cranleigh Arts Centre 01483 278000 or Farnham Maltings 02152 745444 or Odeon Esher 0871 2244007 or Odeon Epsom 0871 2244007 or Odeon Guildford 0871 2244007 or The Screen Walton 01932 252825 or The Ambassadors Cinema, Woking 0844 871 6743 or

New Ashgate Gallery Farnham


To Saturday 24 February Sarah Shaw: Animus

Talented, prize-winning painter. To Saturday 24 February Virginia Ray: The Natural Pleasures of Mr Yorke

Beautiful North Yorkshire landscape paintings. To Saturday 24 February Eastern Influence

A group exhibition by four artists.

The Lightbox Gallery and Museum Woking


To Sunday 4 March Turner in Surrey

Explores J.M.W. Turner’s work produced on his travels locally. Saturday 3 February to Sunday 11 March Marcel Ronay’s Art: Tranquility and Stability after two World Wars

Artworks created in England during the forties and fifties.

Watts Gallery

To Sunday 18 February Diana Croft: Colour Pattern Texture

Stylised prints derived from sketches of the South Downs and Surrey Hills by this local artist. Until Sunday 4 March Emma Bridgewater: Pomegranates

Ceramics inspired by this symbolic fruit. Friday 23 February to Sunday 15 April Equestrian Energy: Reimagined in Art

Showcasing the present-day depiction of the horse in art in varied media.

National Trust National Trust properties offer perfect venues to explore. We list a few here, but visit for more.

J.M.W. Turner (1775–1851), View of Richmond Hill and Bridge, 1808, oil paint on canvas, Turner in Surrey, The Lightbox © TATE, LONDON 2016

Claremont Landscape Garden Esher

Compton, Guildford

Information: 01372 467806


Tuesday 20 February,

To Sunday 18 February Helen Allingham

11am–12.30pm Winter walk

The UK’s first major public art gallery exhibition devoted to Helen Allingham (1848–1926), the first woman to be admitted to full membership of the Royal Watercolour Society.

Join guide Hilary for a winter walk in the Garden.

66 | FEBRUARY 2018

Claremont Landscape Garden, National Trust PHOTO COPYRIGHT: NT/MICHELLE KENT

Saturday 10 to Sunday 18 February, 10am–4pm Half-term invasive species trail

Family friendly trail.

Winter ivy, Surrey Wildlife Trust PHOTO COPYRIGHT: MIKE WAITE


essence | EVENTS

Hatchlands Park East Clandon

Information: 01483 222482

Saturday 10 to Sunday 18 February, 10am–5pm Pets in the Park

Specially for half-term, discover the story of non-human inhabitants of Hatchlands over the years via a themed trail.

Polesden Lacey

Out and about Birdworld

Holt Pound, Farnham Tickets:

Monday 12 to Friday 16 February, 11am–3.30pm Penguin activity week

Information: 01372 452048

A celebration of all things penguin with arts and crafts, feeding talks and a penguin exploration trail.

To Thursday 3 May Adventures in Asia:

Brooklands Museum

Great Bookham, near Dorking

a socialite abroad


Celebrating Maggie Grenville’s travels throughout Asia in the twenties and thirties.


Saturday 10 to Sunday 18 February, 10am–4pm Half-term trail

Follow a trail around the grounds to discover Maggie Grenville’s souvenirs from travels in Asia. Tuesday 13 February, 9.30–10.30am Dog walking club

A walk of the estate with canine friends on the second Tuesday of each month.

Surrey Hills Box Hill

Information: 01372 220644

Wednesday or Friday mornings,

10am–4pm Half-term family fun


Woking Leisure Centre

Brooklands’ popular car rides will operate up Test Hill or along the Members’ Banking. In addition, Bertie the Brooklands Bear will make guest appearances, there will be an aviation family workshop and Kids’ Tours on Concorde running at 10.55am and 1.25pm each day – extra charges apply.

Tuesday 13 to Thursday 15 February Wild Woodland Camp


A great half-term is guaranteed with campfires, bushcraft, wild art, den building and more.

Sunday 11 March Call for entries

Sunday 4 March, 10am–5pm British Marques Day

Celebrating the best of British car manufacturing with action on Test Hill and club displays.

Grayshott Pottery

Join the Trust on Wednesday or Friday mornings for a free, guided walk over Box Hill.

Monday 12 and Friday 16 February Half-term pottery throwing

Information: 01483 208477

Saturday 10 to Sunday 18 February, 10am–4pm Children’s half-term trail

Go outdoors at half-term with a family-friendly walking trail. Friday 23 February, 11am–12.30pm Exploring the Arboretum

Meet at the kiosk for a guided walk around the Arboretum.


Painshill Park Cobham

Grayshott, Hindhead



Monday 12 to Friday 16 February,

11.30am Free guided walks

Winkworth Arboretum

Half-term car rides, Brooklands Museum


A fun lesson on how to throw a piece of pottery on a traditional wheel. Open to children and adults, with under 16s accompanied. Pre-booking required.

Guildford Cathedral

Surrey Half Marathon

Surrey’s largest half marathon takes place in the wonderful countryside around Woking and Guildford – see website for details of the half marathon, kids’ race and 5km race.

Sunday 18 February, 10am–12 noon Magical winter woodland walk

Surrey Scorchers Basketball

Surrey Wildlife Trust Various locations Information:

Surrey Sports Park

Meet at the junction of Woodland Way and Copse Avenue for a guided walk through Three Halfpenny Wood.


Friday 16 February and Sunday 25 February Manchester Giants and

Saturday 24 February,

Cheshire Phoenix

10am–12 noon White Downs winter welly walk

The Scorchers take on the Giants on Friday 16 and Cheshire on Sunday 25 at Surrey Sports Park.

Experience views of Leith Hill and Holmbury Hill.

Farmers’ markets Camberley Saturday 17 February, 10am–3pm Cranleigh Every Friday, 9.30–11am Epsom Sunday 4 February and 4 March, 9.30am–1.30pm


Farnham Sunday 25 February, 10am–1.30pm


Guildford Tuesday 6 February, 10.30am–3.30pm

Thursday 8 February, 7.30pm An evening with Levison Wood

Haslemere Sunday 4 February and 4 March, 10am–1.30pm

Levison will be recounting tales from his travel adventures in aid of Challengers’ charity.

Milford Sunday 18 February, 10am–1.30pm Ripley Saturday 10 February, 9am–1pm Walton-on-Thames Saturday 3 February and 3 March, 9.30am–2pm Woking Thursday 1 February and 1 March, 9am–2pm

FEBRUARY 2018 | 67

Finding your next home... Knight Frank


Join the club

Pimlico Club Chair £795 The Pimlico Club stands gracefully alone as a sculptural feature chair or with the co-ordinating low Coffee Table. Finished with solid Teak tapered legs, a deep seat cushion and scatter cushion for pure outdoor luxury. Indian Ocean was founded in 1990 and is now the specialist design-led outdoor furniture company in the UK, but also assisting clients with projects around the world. Collections are on display at Harrods 3rd Floor and seasonally at Selfridges, as well as our two London stores; Balham and Hampstead.  All you need to do is sit back, relax and enjoy.

essence INFO


John D Wood



Grosvenor Billinghurst

Beauchamp Estates

Rochard King

APW Lettings 68 | FEBRUARY 2018


PROPERTY Whitelands, St. George’s Hill, KT13 Help for that New Year’s resolution

Statistically most New Year’s get fit resolutions fail to make the end of February. The key is ensuring the stage is set for success from the outset. Located on the exclusive St George’s Hill estate in Weybridge, Surrey, Whitelands is the ultimate example of a home designed for a successful exercise regime. Behind the classic façade lies a level of luxury and attention to detail in surroundings that offer absolute tranquillity, privacy and security. The interior of this stunning six-bedroom home was designed and dressed by Alexander James Interior Design. The team’s work included an energizing and motivating basement gym, in keeping with the sense of grandeur flowing throughout. The spa area includes a steam room, Jacuzzi, rasul with starlit sky, and adjustable depth swimming pool in the ground floor. These facilities reflect the growing pursuit of wellness in the UK. While fitness is a key part of that concept, the value of relaxation (in both body and mind) is now appreciated as a core element of overall wellness. “Wellness and nature are intrinsically linked and we wanted to reflect this within the spa facilities at Whitelands. We drew elements of the colour palette from soothing natural scenes. The result is an area which inspires relaxation the moment you step into it – it’s the perfect setting for refreshing and rejuvenating mind, body and spirit.” Stacey Sibley, Creative Director, Alexander James Interior Design

essence INFO

Whitelands is available through Beauchamp Estates Website: Alexander James Interior Design 020 7887 7604. Website:

FEBRUARY 2018 | 69

Talking Frankly Adam Burlison, Partner at Knight Frank estate agency in Weybridge, discusses the current property market with essence. Q Adam, when did you join Knight Frank and how long have you been in estate agency? A I started in estate agency back in 1996: my career has covered the main Elmbridge towns of Esher, Cobham and Weybridge. I joined Knight Frank in 2010, having worked with another large corporate agency in Cobham for a few years and before that, I ran an independent agency in Esher for 11 years. Q Are there any obvious differences between independent and corporate agencies given you have worked in both? A The major difference is reach and brand awareness. The local independent will use service and customer care as its main focal point and USP, but all agents, especially in the current climate, should have this high up their priority list. As the market has become more challenging, market reach is so important, the bigger the agent the greater chance of reaching a buyer. With so much available on the web and social media channels, the days of buyers walking the high street to find a home are long gone. In the current climate, it is better to have every base covered and be sure there are no missed opportunities and this can only be achieved via a corporate agency’s reach. Q What is the current property market really like? A It is certainly a challenging market – perhaps one of the hardest markets I’ve worked in during my twenty years as an agent. However, there are still opportunities to be had if the right, positive attitude is taken. Unfortunately, there is a lot of negativity in the press, which is causing a disconnect between buyer and seller and pushing buyers to squeeze harder than they perhaps should on price, but

the sensationalist headlines should be taken with a pinch of salt. I often encourage buyers to look and buy with their heart – if they are going to live in the property for 10 or 20 years, negotiating on a tiny percentage of the price, to a certain extent, becomes irrelevant. Q Is Brexit causing the slowdown in the property market? A Although Brexit of course caused uncertainty in the market, I would say that the real slow down in the south of England is due to the stamp duty increase. In today’s market, sellers need to be truly motivated to sell, as in some cases, the cost of moving is effectively the price of a loft conversion, a new kitchen or a new bathroom, so the cost makes it seem easier to stay put than to actually move house. That said, the number of active buyers in the market is increasing, so motivated vendors do have a captive audience. Q What advice would you give sellers and buyers? A For the seller, it is simple; be realistic with your guide price and don’t market your property too high. Investigate what else has sold and at what price in your area (your agent should know this already). It is much better to be a sensibly priced, best in class property, than one of many that looks expensive and sits on the market. Buyers do their research and often have a good understanding of value, so first impressions of a guide price definitely count. For buyers, the message is easy – this could be your next family home, so remember to leave some goodwill in the deal and don’t squeeze too hard. Q Would you sell your house in the current climate? A If I were motivated to sell and wanted to move, then absolutely, yes, with interest rates still relatively low and forecast to be so for a while, this is a good time to move and lock into a fixed rate.

Castle Road, Weybridge A stunning and imposing classic Edwardian family home offering five bedrooms and presented in immaculate condition throughout retaining many character features, including fireplaces, high ceilings, spacious reception rooms and large picture windows. EPC: D Guide price: ÂŁ1,995,000

Weybridge Park, Weybridge A detached family home built by Octagon Developments, located within Weybridge Park, a much sought after private gated estate located 0.5 miles from Weybridge town centre and train station (London Waterloo 35 minutes). EPC: B Guide price: ÂŁ3,250,000


Onslow Road, Burwood Park • Guide price of £3,750,000 • EPC: B A modern mansion of enviable proportions with a bespoke design. This detached, nearly new home offers over 7,700 sq ft of living space set over three floors with six separate reception areas, in a plot of 0.43 acres.

Oatlands Chase, Weybridge • Guide price of £1,625,000 • EPC: B A five bedroom home of impressive proportions measuring in excess of 3,000 sq ft and completed to the highest standard. Pop in to view our show home, and discuss part exchange for an easy route to your new home. Now only two remaining.


APW Lettings, Weybridge 134 Oatlands Drive • Oatlands Village • Weybridge • Surrey • KT13 9HJ t: 01932 857300 e: Office hours: Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm. Saturday 9am to 5pm Firfields, Cobbetts Hill, Weybridge, Surrey KT13 £7,995 per month Short walk to Weybridge station in desirable private Cobbetts Hill, this stunning modern family home comprises large modern kitchen with central island and bright open plan family room, three reception rooms, six bedrooms, five bathrooms and attractive large rear landscaped garden with ample outdoor entertaining areas, including an outdoor fireplace and a hot tub.

Abbottswood Drive, St Georges Hill, Weybridge, Surrey KT13 £15,000 per month A striking property, set within the prestigious St Georges Hill Estate, is presented to an immaculate standard. The property comprises eight ensuite bedrooms in total and is ideal for entertaining with a lower ground cinema room, games room, gym and hot tub/steam room/ shower facilities. There is a self-contained annexe and outdoor swimming pool.


PRICE £2,195,000

In an enviable location – a private road within a stone’s throw of Oxshott Woods and 10 minutes to the station. A substantial five bedroom/four bathroom home with four receptions plus conservatory, in almost half an acre, including a significant pool and leisure chalet to enhance family living. EPC: D SOLE AGENTS


01372 843833


Burleigh Park private estate. A detached three bedroom, three reception, two bathroom house with secluded 69ft rear garden. Potential to redesign, update and enlarge with adaptable layout. EPC: D


A g

01932 864242


GUIDE PRICE £895,000

A 1930s detached character house with three double bedrooms. Side and rear extension and loft conversion potential. Secluded 122ft x 60ft south backing secluded rear garden. Short walk of station. EPC: D


01932 864242

Estate Agents in Cobham, Stoke D’Abernon and Oxshott for over 80 years


A n





St. George’s Hill


A breathtaking modern mansion extending to approximately 14,564 sq ft, approached by a long sweeping driveway and set within beautiful landscaped gardens of 2.3 acres providing privacy and seclusion. EPC C 01932 843322



A stunning five bedroom detached family home located within close proximity of Weybridge mainline station and offers accommodation approaching nearly 3,000 sq ft. Presented in show home condition, this is the perfect opportunity for those looking to move straight in. EPC D 01932 843322



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W W W. C U R C H O D S . C O M

04/01/2018 11:46:36

Adve • telephone: 01372 462211 BROOM WAY, WEYBRIDGE KT13 AND IS PRICED AT £1,895,000 Featuring a superb, approximately 130 ft, southerly aspect landscaped garden accessed via bi-folding doors from the open plan kitchen/breakfast room and situated in this highly regarded tree-lined private road in Oatlands, Weybridge, an area popular for local schools. This extensively refurbished, five bedroom, four bath/ shower room, detached property is accessed via a carriage driveway and features three reception rooms, utility room, gym, store room and an integral double garage, in around 0.25 acre. Approximately one mile from Walton-on-Thames mainline station with services to London Waterloo. EPC Rating: D

PARK CLOSE, ESHER KT10 AND IS PRICED AT £1,950,000 Situated in a private cul-de-sac located in the heart of West End village is this wonderful, detached family home. Offering in excess of 3,100 sq ft of accommodation including six bedrooms, three bath/shower rooms, lounge, beautiful open plan kitchen/dining/family room, utility, attached garage, off-street parking and mature south facing rear garden extending to approximately 120 feet. Esher town centre and main line train station are within close proximity providing access to London Waterloo in under 30 minutes. As well as the picturesque village green and renowned Garson’s Farm, the area also offers outstanding state and private schooling, easy access to international airports at Heathrow and Gatwick, along with popular leisure facilities such as Sandown Racecourse, Hampton Court Palace and Bushy Park. EPC Rating: D

Adverts_Layout 1 22/01/2018 14:21 Page 1

01932 878300

2-4 Church Street, Weybridge, KT13 8DX

FEBRUARY 77 FEBRUARY2018 2018 || 77


in the home William Yeoward is one of England’s most renowned designers. Known for his sophisticated, elegant and highly individual style, he has designed beautiful products for the home since he opened his first store in Chelsea in 1985. Following the release of his sixth book, Blue & White and other stories, Aimee Connolly sat down with William to talk about his early career and his love of colour in the home. Q William, before opening your first store in 1985, you worked at Designers Guild. How did this experience help you launch your own brand?   A It is always fascinating to see the success of growing a brand, as was happening with Designers Guild when I was working at the company. I learnt to enjoy creative energy, which I hope I always encourage at William Yeoward. My job is to find out what a person has a talent for and then develop it. Q Do you think your background as an interior designer prepared you for product design? A I feel that to understand what is required in product design one needs to have gone out looking for it. If, as was so often the case with my decorating work, if I could not find what I wanted, then I would make it myself. It was this that encouraged me to create my own products for the home and I have done so ever since. Q As a designer of products that are made to last, what do you think of this throwaway culture where interior items are so frequently replaced?  A I think it is such a shame that customers don’t look in more detail at what they are buying. I like to think that when buying a William Yeoward product our clients appreciate the detail in both the design and execution that make them treasure their purchases. Our planet cannot possibly sustain the quick disposable society that we seem to have become. Q You’ve recently published a book, Blue & White and other stories. Can you tell us about it? A My sixth book, Blue & White and other stories, is a much more intimate reflection on my recent work. The book is a mix of professional photography and a more personal ‘instagram’ approach that to me captures images in a very immediate way and provides a visual understanding of the inspirational journeys that I go on as I travel the world. These journeys do have a vital influence on my work and this book engages with this creative thought process.

78 | FEBRUARY 2018


Q The book focuses on your passion for colour in the home. What three tips can you offer homeowners uncertain of using colour in their own home?   A Don’t ask too many friends if ‘you’ve got it right’. If it feels good to you – use it. If it is wrong, then it can always be changed! It wasn’t there until you put it there! Have confidence and know yourself. Q What is the last item of luxury you bought yourself? A A fountain pen! I had surgery recently and I was so impressed by the fact that my surgeon wrote with a fountain pen. Q What is your favourite room in your home and why? A My library. I read. I love log fires and I enjoy closing the shutters and losing myself in a private world surrounded by all of my favourite pictures, books and music. Q If we were to take a tour of your home, what would we learn about you? A I do a lot of shopping and I have a lot of glasses and plates! Q What does 2018 hold for the William Yeoward brand? Do you have any exciting projects you can tell us about? A 2018 is always going to be the time to show off our new thoughts and concepts. As I write, I have half an eye on our edit for Christmas 2018. Always look forwards, never back. essence INFO


FEBRUARY 2018 | 79



A new level of luxury living has arrived in the heart of London. In an exclusive partnership with Versace Home, AYKON London One brings you the ultimate in branded living experiences. The lavish interiors are designed by Versace Home and this is the first collaboration between the luxury designer and a new residential property in London. Rising 50 storeys, the ultra-modern AYKON London One tower will stand out as a new icon on the London city skyline. Nine Elms – The best address in new London AYKON London One is nestled in the heart of new London, where a multi-billion pound investment is transforming the area into an ultra-modern residential and internationally significant business district, set to become a new centre for arts and culture in the capital. The area is close to the Vauxhall Cross rail and bus stations as well as the Underground. In addition, the new Northern Line extension and the Crossrail project further enhance its strong transport links with the rest of London.  The development will have: l Residents’ lounge; Overlooks roof gardens l Swimming pool; Mosaic Versace Palm Print walls l Hospitality; A menu from which you can choose a variety of services. l Concierge; five-star concierge services 24 hours a day l Housekeeping; discreet and thorough staff l At-home dining; selection of dining options l Valet; never worry about your car 4 Baker Street, Weybridge, Surrey KT13 8AU Weybridge: 01932 640075 l Guildford: 01483 323654 l Mobile: 07792197234





L O N D O N • T U N B R I D G E W ELL S • A S H F O R D

T. 01892 526 996

Naturally bespoke At Octagon, we have nearly 40 years experience and an unrivalled reputation for building magnificent, one-of-a-kind homes with the finest contemporary materials. Our discreet bespoke service provides expert advice, support and ingenuity throughout every step of the design and build process. We have a highly skilled in-house team of architects, interior designers and project managers, who interpret our clients’ particular style and tastes, making the journey from planning to completion an unforgettable and enjoyable experience. Whether you have a piece of land already secured, wish to replace an existing property or completely renovate your current home, Octagon Bespoke can help you transform your vision into something truly unique. Bespoke projects start from £1m.

Uniquely Octagon

020 8481 7500 | OCTAGONBESPOKE.CO.UK

essence issue 88  
essence issue 88  

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