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WELCOME ISSN 1757-1723

A big thank you to everyone for your continued support and especially for those of you have bought this copy. We do hope you like our Spring/Summer issue... we think it’s our best yet!

Due to demand, Vale Life is now on sale. We’ve put a cover price of £1.95 on each copy. Hopefully this will be affordable for all. We’d like to give something back to the community so a percentage of each sale will go into our Vale Life Better Life fund which you can read more about on page 6. You can find copies in Marks and Spencer (Culverhouse Cross), Waitrose and a number of high quality independent retailers throughout the Vale. To find out more on where you can get your copy, please visit the website at Please support your local community and buy your copy while stocks last. This issue is a bit of a fashion fest (I’ve finally got my way by introducing more fashion and beauty related features!). Not forgetting you men out there, we have a fascinating feature on carp fishing to keep a happy balance. From the positive feedback we’ve received, we’re giving you what you want but we don’t intend to rest on our laurels. If there are topics you’d like us to cover, then please email me at and we’ll do our best to bring them to you. I hope you enjoy this issue. Many thanks, Jennifer Hobbs-Roberts Editor, VALE LIFE IS WRITTEN, VALE LIFE






❧ 0845 130 6452



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G L A M O R G A N ’S P R E M I E R L I F E S T Y L E M A G A Z I N E





Art Editor MARK ROBERTS ❧ Artwork PA U L S E S S I O N S ❧

Written submissions PLEASE NOTE All contributions to Vale Life are the opinions of the writers and not necessarily those of the publishers. We cannot be held responsible for errors or omissions. ❧


Email contacts ❧ A DV E R T I S I N G ❧ EDITORIAL ❧ STUDIO ❧

Contact us ❧ WRITE TO Vale Life Cardiff House Cardiff Road Vale of Glamorgan CF63 2AW ❧ PHONE 0845 130 6452 ❧






W H AT W E L OV E D A B O U T T H E VA L E T H I S W I N T E R HAMPTONS PENARTH Fabulous food and great service. T H E S TA R I N N WICK Superb Sunday lunch. I L LT U D ’ S 2 1 6 LLANTWIT MAJOR Fabulous food any time, great welcome.


B RY L’ S B O U T I Q U E BARRY Ann has a real eye for fab fashion. VA N I L L A BARRY One of the best latté’s in the Vale. FOOD FOR THOUGHT BARRY This deli is the real deal. SIOP Y FRO BARRY A great little book shop. BAR 44 COWBRIDGE Tap into tapas, especially lunchtimes. BOUTIQUES COWBRIDGE This market town has a fabulous choice. MISKIN MANOR MISKIN Meet in style. THE ART CAFÉ P O R T H C AW L Great fun for kids and adults too! P E N A R T H A B C ( B OX I N G ) PENARTH Where winners are made. B E AC H E S A N D PA R K S VA L E O F G L A M O R G A N Get out more!

PASSIONATE ABOUT THE VALE We are independent. We live in the Vale. We are not a large publishing group pretending to be home grown. Vale Life magazine is written, designed and printed in the Vale of Glamorgan for the people of the Vale of Glamorgan. ❧ OUR PHILOSOPHY We are committed to quality. This quote by William Foster pretty much sums up our thinking. “Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.” ❧ USE IT OR LOSE IT Business is the very life blood of any community. Without business, villages have no heart, towns have no centre and cities have no soul. Please support the businesses who advertise in Vale Life - without them there’d be no Vale Life. ❧ SMALL(ISH) PRINT © Copyright Vale Life 2007. All rights reserved. Nothing in this magazine (including adverts) may be reproduced in any shape or form (in whole or part) without the express written permission of the publishers. We take breach of copyright and theft of intellectual property extremely seriously and will sue at the drop of a croissant. You have been warned (nicely); ignorance is no excuse. ❧ GREEN AS THE VALE The pulp used in the production of the paper Vale Life is printed on is obtained from sustainably managed Scandinavian tree farms and utilises an elementary chlorine free bleaching process.

Vale Rocks! ❧ 4 ❧

IMPORTANT YOU READ THIS We have made every effort to ensure that all information contained in Vale Life or on is correct and accurate. However, we accept no responsibility for any errors or omissions and can offer no compensation should we get it wrong. Please note that the opinions, thoughts, views or ideas expressed in articles contained in Vale Life are strictly those of the authors. ❧ CAVEAT EMPTOR All advertisers have supplied their own copy (and in some cases artwork), therefore Vale Life cannot accept any responsibility for disputes between advertisers and their customers. Caveat emptor - let the buyer beware. ❧ SUBSCRIPTIONS To guarantee your copy of Vale Life magazine, please send a cheque for £20.00 (four issues) made payable to Vale Life. Visit for special subscriber discounts and special offers. ❧ MISSED THE LAST ISSUE? We hold a small number of each issue in stock so if you do need a pristine copy, please email or telephone us. Hopefully we’ll have the issue you want (but we cannot guarantee it). Each back issue costs £5 including postage and packing. ❧ YES IT’S FREE! From the Spring 2008 issue Vale Life will carry a cover price and will be distributed through a wide variety of outlets across the Vale of Glamorgan and beyond. Vale Life will be sold on the understanding that we are happy for it to be lent, passed around, given to friends and generally read until it falls apart. At which point, you can recycle it and we’d be delighted if you did.

Roger Williams The Jewellery Studio

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p l at i n u m

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Wa l e s ’ N u m b e r O n e D i a m o n d E x p e rt Roger Williams, The Jewellery Studio, 237 Cathedral Road, Cardiff Telephone: 029 2022 1144 | |


Liza Kellett, Chief Executive of the Community Foundation in Wales, is delighted to be working with Vale Life Magazine to channel more funds into great causes in the Vale.

Vale Life now carries a cover price of £1.95. From each sale, 65p goes to Vale Life, 65p goes to the retailer and the remaining 65p goes to the Better Life fund towards local good causes. We are calling it the Vale Life, Better Life Fund and we hope that you’ll agree that the cost of £1.95 is value for money. We thought that less than £8 a year for four issues would be affordable for most people, especially when they knew that a percentage would be going back into the local community. Our Vale Life, Better Life Fund administrators We are working with The Community Foundation in Wales, a reputable charity that administers funds independently for many organisations. Our only requirement is that any money raised through Vale Life is distributed back into the Vale of Glamorgan to local groups and organisations that benefit the community. For example, it may be that a local club needs new kit, a school needs new equipment or someone may need special assistance. We don’t want people to have to jump through hoops and fill out lots of forms to get the cash they need and applying for funding should be relatively easy. Why are we working with The Community Foundation in Wales? We wanted everything to be above board and transparent. We also didn’t think we’d have the time to deal with all of the administration that goes into running a social fund. Also, we didn’t want a big pot of money in the bank account tempting us to swan off to the Maldives (tempting as that would be!) We are only human after all! Liza Kellett, Chief Executive of the Community Foundation in Wales says, “This is a fantastic opportunity for voluntary groups in the Vale to gain much needed support. It’s brilliant to see a new local business leading the way in demonstrating its commitment to its local area by returning a portion of their profits to local communities in such an innovative way.”

How you can help? We want to encourage donations from companies, small businesses and also private donations to help our fund grow. We appreciate that you are constantly bombarded with requests for donations but this is a fund which will help your local community. If you would like to donate, please contact the Community Foundation in Wales on their contact telephone number of 029 2052 0250. Be safe! There are unscrupulous people out there who might try to raise money pretending to be on behalf of the Vale Life – Better Life Fund. Please don’t feel embarrassed to check with us to make sure they are who they say they are. How do I apply for funding? All applications should be sent in writing to: Kathryn Hall, Development Officer, The Community Foundation in Wales, 14-16 Merthyr Road, Whitchurch, Cardiff CF14 1DG Telephone 029 2052 0250 Would you like to sell Vale Life? Obviously the more copies we sell, the more money we can give back into the local community. We have a number of outlets who are going to sell Vale Life, but if you are a retailer and would like to sell the magazine from your premises, then please get in touch to discuss the opportunities. If you would like more information, please email me at or phone 0845 130 6452. Thank you all for your support to date – long may it continue! Jennifer, Editor ❧ 6 ❧

“This is a fantastic opportunity for voluntary groups in the Vale to gain much needed support. It’s brilliant to see a new local business leading the way in demonstrating its commitment to its local area by returning a portion of their profits to local communities in such an innovative way”. Liza also stressed that other businesses and individuals that care about the Vale are encouraged to make further contributions to the fund to maximise the support available to community projects, “It is inevitable that once the Vale Life fund opens for applications we will receive many more requests for funding than we are able to support. We would be delighted to speak to any businesses, individuals, families or trusts who would be interested in getting involved by making a contribution to this fund and we applaud Vale Life Magazine for leading the way”.

For more information on the Community Foundation in Wales or to make a donation to the Vale Life Fund please contact: Kathryn Hall Development Officer The Community Foundation in Wales 14-16 Merthyr Road Whitchurch, Cardiff CF14 1DG 02920 520250

You can make a difference Your donation makes a big difference to your local community so please give what you can and encourage your friends to buy Vale Life.

Making your donation Please complete the form below selecting either Option 1 or Option 2 and return it to us at the address at the end of the form.

Want to keep this page intact? Please photocopy it or download a form from or call us on 0845 130 6452 and we’ll send you a copy of the form by post.


Postcode Telephone With Gift Aid, CFiW can increase the value of your donation by 28% at no cost to you. For donations to qualify you must pay an amount of tax at least equal to the tax that will be reclaimed. You can cancel this declaration at any time by notifying CFiW. To enable CFiW to claim gift aid on your donation just sign the declaration below: Please treat all my donations until further notice as Gift Aid donations. I am a UK tax payer. Signed


Option 1 Make a donation by writing a cheque: I herewith enclose a cheque for the amount of £

payable to: The Community Foundation in Wales

or... Option 2 You can set up a direct debit from your bank account by filling in the form below: Name of Bank Address


Please pay £


month quarter year (delete as applicable) from my account

For amount (in words) Account name Account no. Starting on (date)

Sort code Until (date)

Or until further notice (delete as applicable)

“It’s brilliant to see a new local business leading the way in demonstrating its commitment to its local area by returning a portion of their profits to local communities in such an innovative way.” Liza Kellett Please return your completed form to us at: The Community Foundation in Wales, 14-16 Merthyr Road, Whitchurch, Cardiff CF14 1DG Telephone 029 2052 0250 Fax 029 2052 1250 Registered Charity 1074655, Company Registration 3670680




World wide support for St Donats Arts Centre Hundreds of people from all over the world are supporting the St Donats Arts Centre’s campaign to save it from closure. The arts centre’s on-line petition ( has nearly 2,000 people signed up, including people from Norway, Swede, Finland, France, Canada, Brazil, Israel, Germany, Switzerland, India, Bolivia, Hong Kong, Japan, Spain, Gambia and Denmark as well as from Wales and the UK. The arts centre in south Wales was told by the Arts Council of Wales that its annual grant will be removed. The decision could close the centre and international storytelling festival, ‘Beyond The Border’, the only one of its kind in Wales and the largest in the UK. In addition, the Arts Council’s decision could bring to an end the centre’s educational storytelling events in Wales’ disadvantaged communities. Janet Smith, General Manager of St Donats Arts Centre said, “We are delighted with this huge response, although not surprised. The arts centre is highly valued by our audiences and our unique storytelling festival is well established in the lives of over 2,000 people and their families some of whom travel great distances from all corners of the world to be here.”

She attributed some of the petition’s popularity to the centre’s work throughout Wales, “I think we are being supported so strongly in part because of our important educational work in the communities of Wales. Last year, for example, we took Native American Indian storytellers to schools, prisons and other community settings. We promoted 111 educational and outreach workshops to just under 4,000 children, young people and elderly people in areas including the south Wales Valleys, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Merthyr, Newport, Barry and Swansea. Many of these locations are areas of acknowledged deprivation and for many children it was the first time they had met anyone from a Native North American Indian community.” Janet went on to say that that the decision would adversely affect local people’s lives and the economy of south Wales.“We serve a very rural community where people can become isolated. As an arts centre and a cinema, we provide the only cultural opportunity people have for miles around. Many of our audiences are older people who are not able to travel for over an hour into the city. There will also be a severe knock-on effect for the economy here. The arts centre has spent an estimated £2.5 million on local businesses in its lifetime so far. During the festival weekend alone, tourists spend an estimated £138,500 on travel companies, retailers and guest houses in south Wales.” ❧ 8 ❧

Attracting tourists is an important aspect of the arts centre’s work. This year, the centre is the only venue in Wales to successfully negotiate with the prestigious Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre to perform open-air in the grounds of the arts centre and to provide workshops for students. St Donats Arts Centre St Donats Castle Vale of Glamorgan CF61 1WF 01446 799095 The Arts Council of Wales is cutting the grant to St Donats Arts Centre. The Arts Centre Attendance: 53,000 people every year. The International Storytelling Festival Attendance: 5,500 people. The Storytelling Workshops Participants: 4,000 schoolchildren, young and older people. Please write to the Chair of the Arts Council of Wales to STRONGLY URGE him to reinstate the grant to St Donats Arts Centre: Prof. Dai Smith, Chairman, The Arts Council of Wales, 9 Museum Place Cardiff CF10 3NX AND Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM, Minister for Heritage, National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff CF99 1NA Also please sign the petition at:


Ed Evans Three Peaks Challenge Leah Jeffreys and some of her friends are attempting the Three Peaks Challenge in memory of Cowbridge man Edward Evans who sadly lost his courageous five year battle with cancer on October 2007. Leah grew up with Edward and this is her way of helping to raise awareness and money for Edward’s foundation. Edward Evans was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2001 and fought it with great courage and dignity for five years. In the period that Ed had this tumour I don’t ever recall him complaining about his situation. He was always hopeful for the future and believed that the advances being made in medical research would be able to alleviate or one day even cure his tumour. I’ve known Ed since we were in nappies and he always had a tremendous passion for life and living it. This passion became even stronger after his diagnosis. We often take life and what it offers us for granted. Since I learnt of Ed’s illness and witnessed how he coped with it, he has been constantly reminding me to live life to the full. Ed was full of surprises and I will always remember my 25th birthday; Ed came up to Liverpool to help me celebrate it. At this time Ed was undergoing radiotherapy which often left him feeling very tired, but, as soon as he arrived he wanted to know what I had planned for the weekend. Well, being a typical student I hadn’t

really thought about it. I had thought dinner followed by clubbing would suffice. This wasn’t enough to satiate Ed’s appetite for life. He woke up early on both Saturday and Sunday and cooked us breakfast. We then toured the city taking in the cathedrals and the docks - my feet ached more than a weekend of shopping! During his illness, Ed became inspired to help others with cancer and brain tumours and organised many charity events. With the help of his family and friends he set up the Ed Evans Foundation in 2006 raising over £20,000. Since his death last year his family and friends have continued to

If you would like more information or would like to sponsor Leah and her friends to help raise much needed funds for this great cause please contact Leah Jeffreys on 020 7861 1154 or on her mobile 07836 511 785 or visit

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run the foundation. Ed was a very special person and an inspiration to everyone he met and continues to inspire us today even though he is no longer with us. After Ed’s death my sister Leah, thought it would be a good idea to attempt the Three Peaks Challenge in order to keep Ed’s spirit alive and support his chosen charities trekking up and down three of the highest mountains in the UK in three different countries and all to be completed in 24 hours! Rachel Jeffreys Leah and friends will be attempting the challenge on June 21 2008.


Safeclean launches Allergy-Out We’ve featured Gareth Jones of Safeclean in previous issues of Vale Life and raved about carpet cleaning the Safeclean way. Safeclean have now introduced a new product called Allergy-Out which Gareth will incorporate as part of his carpet cleaning service. Gareth is now able to offer the organic Allergy-Out treatment, whose ingredients originate from the papaya fruit. This is in addition to Safeclean’s already popular and unique organic range of cleaning services. Gareth explains,“The number of people who suffer from allergies in the UK is increasing. We felt it was time to develop our range and come up with a treatment to help eliminate air and surface allergens. We’re really excited about this new treatment - not only is it in keeping with our organic range, it also makes us one of the few cleaning companies in the UK to offer it.” The scientifically proven treatment is a new combination of active organics which break down air and surface allergens. It will neutralise all protein based allergens such as pollen, animal dander, mould spores and dust mites Hay fever, watery eyes, runny nose, eczema and asthma can be caused by air and surface allergens and can now be efficiently neutralised by using the Allergy-Out system.


Penarth ABC’s a real knockout! Penarth ABC Boxing Club has been running since 1952 in different venues in Penarth and over the last thirty four years in St Paul’s Church. Kieran Harding (above) Neil Munn with Joe Morgan (below)

Safeclean is a well-established, nationwide, furnishing-care franchise recommended by leading retailers. It has been operating for over 30 years and has always been at the forefront of safe cleaning systems. It is the UK’s leading stain removal company and now cleans carpets, upholstery, curtains and leather with a unique organic system that out-performs conventional methods.

01656 653 746 Mobile 07917 168860 Freephone 0800 040 7933

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In the capable hands of ex boxing champion Neil Munn the club has enjoyed some amazing results. British champion Kieran Harding, 18 and Joe Morgan, 16 have both won Welsh Titles and are being entered for the Four Nations at the end of June and also the Commonwealth Games in India in October. Kieran who was born and bred and Penarth said, “If it wasn’t for Neil and Penarth ABC, my life may have taken a different course.”


Jason’s flowering success! To celebrate the arrival of the 4th RHS Spring Flower show to Wales and the flourishing growth of his brand new Pontyclun based business, ‘Home-grown’ artist Jason D. has produced this bloomin' marvellous picture. The three ft sq. limited edition printed canvas is titled ‘The Flowershow’ in honour of the seasonal horticultural event and comes in a variety of shades and colours. The artist says, “Flowers are my source of inspiration, not necessarily only the organic natural flora we find in our countryside, but also the ones we give each other to say ‘Thank you’, ‘Sorry’ and ‘I Love You’ - the ones we buy in a shop or from a stall. I felt that this was the perfect opportunity to open my doors to the public and reveal my new spring series of flower images”. He adds, “A gold medal would be perfect, but at the moment the business could do with some silver or a little bronze in the pot!” All prints are available direct from the artist, Jason D. For further information please contact: or telephone 07794 297 443


Mairlys becomes new home for Vale couple Following their global travel exploits during 2006/07, when they trekked overland through three Latin American countries, Bernard and Marian Owen left the Vale in October to set up a B&B business in Betws y Coed in North Wales. Having spent three months travelling through Argentina, Chile and Peru staying in B&B’s along the way, this gave them the idea to run their own. Meeting people was a key factor in the decision. Now at Betws, they are hosting visitors from Copenhagen, Capetown, Calgary and Cardiff. Mairlys is a slate/stone built Victorian guest house within easy reach of the village. This four star B&B offers ensuite rooms which have been furnished to a high standard. Three of the double rooms are south facing and offer great views over the Gwydyr forest.


All Saints’ Church, Centenary 2008 2008 marks the Centenary of All Saints’ Church in Barry. Built early in the 20th Century when the town’s population expanded following the construction of Barry Docks, All Saints’ Church was designated the Parish Church of Barry.

Six weeks of celebrations begin with a Centenary Service in the presence of the Archbishop of Wales on Tuesday 29th April. Other highlights in church will include a Triple Choir Concert on May 31st and a 3 day Flower Festival on 5th, 6th and 7th June. A Songs of Praise will bring celebrations to a close on Sunday 8th June. For more details visit

Mairlys offers off road parking where guests can leave their car and enjoy the picturesque village. Only a few minutes’ walk to the centre with its restaurants, specialist shops and around twenty forest and river walks, Betws even possesses a railway station with direct links to Llandudno, meaning that the village is even accessible without a car! Betws y Coed is the gateway to Snowdonia, the gem of North Wales. The region welcomes over a million tourists each year from all corners of the world who come to explore the magnificent Snowdonia mountain range with nine peaks over 3,000 feet and a mere twenty minutes drive from the village. Also within close proximity are the renowned beauty spots of both Conwy and Swallow falls. The magnificent castles of Conwy and Caernarfon are a thirty minute drive away. Closer to hand is the grandeur of the steep valleys carved by ancient rivers all in the heart of the world renowned Snowdonia National Park. ❧ 11 ❧

For further information visit or call 01690 710190


Animal magic in the Vale of Glamorgan Energetic, experienced and talented drummer, Matt ‘animal’ Thomas, seeks like-minded individuals to form a new and unique rock band... and, yes, the nickname does relate to the muppets character which should give you an idea of his drumming prowess! Matt began his drumming career at the tender age of 13, after witnessing a drum demonstration at school and decided to give it a go himself. Playing on his very first kit, which was a CB drum kit courtesy of his mum it was apparent that Matt had distinct talent and was a very quick learner. His first band, 4 Storey, was formed whilst he was still at school and Matt and his fellow bandmates played many local gigs including youth centres, Clwb Ifor Bach and Bridgend Ford open day (interestingly on the side of a lorry!) Matt’s next venture Overhead Wires achieved notable success, television and radio airplay, and they even got to produce their own music video and had massive local support. They came second out of a total of 600 bands in the national UK Battle of the Bands competition (a major achievement considering they were the highest reaching welsh band).

Most recently Matt has drummed with Bridgend rock band Fubar, who had a huge following until their unfortunate break up last year. Again, they were a familiar name on the gig scene, selling out venues such as Barfly and The Point. Now his ambition is to discover dedicated musicians who are willing to work towards creating a new and exciting rock sound with which to liven up the music scene, and achieve major notoriety.

Matt has the contacts and the equipment - he just needs to find the right band with which he can obtain the success he desires. If you think you fit the bill or know of any interested musicians please can you send a brief cv along with any demos of your work to

Above, Matt ‘animal’ Thomas is looking for dedicated musicians to create a new and exciting rock sound... get in touch!


Watts & Morgan move with the times Watts & Morgan, one of the oldest firms of Chartered Surveyors, Auctioneers, Valuers and Estate Agents in Cowbridge have had a makeover. Now they can offer extensive services on virtually every aspect of property related matters within the Residential, Commercial and Agricultural Property Markets in a new, glamorous and funky environment. Pictured left, Prunella Martin with Gareth Davies, Partner of Watts & Morgan at the newly re-furbished office in Cowbridge.

For more information contact Watts & Morgan 55 High Street, Cowbridge Vale of Glamorgan CF71 7AE 01446 773500

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“As I enjoyed cooking I was looking for a small business to provide good quality food and service in cosy surroundings.”


The Huntsman welcomes back Hilary I recently met with Hilary Rice, Chef at The Huntsman in Dinas Powys and her husband Peter in their lovely sunny garden. Hilary has been out of action recently due to illness but she wants everyone to know that she’s on the road to wellness and looking forward to taking back the helm in the restaurant. What’s the background to The Huntsman in Dinas Powys? It was an 18th Century workshop and stables attached to The Star. It was converted to a skittle alley then a restaurant in the 1970’s. It’s had various owners, then was empty for one year before we acquired it in 1993. How long has The Huntsman been going? It’s been owned by us now for fifteen years. Why did you set it up? As I enjoyed cooking I was looking for a small business to provide good quality food and service in cosy surroundings. Who is involved in the business? Myself and husband Peter and a small number of part time helpers – al keen, bright local students.

When did you become ill? I was aware of a problem at the end of September, 2007 but didn’t feel ill. Following an operation to remove a lump, ovarian cancer was diagnosed mid October. What treatment are you having? After a successful operation, I have had ten sessions of chemotherapy at Velindre Hospital in Whitchurch over a three month period, to help prevent any remaining cancer cells from reproducing.

Are you looking forward to getting back to work? Yes and no. It will be good to get back to normal but in many ways I have thoroughly enjoyed having nearly six months off. It’s given me time to spend with my friends, socialising, enjoying a spot of retail therapy, lunches out, long walks, even shopping trips. Basically doing lots of things which running a business doesn’t give you the time for. All of these things and lots of caring peoples’ thoughts and phone calls have helped with my recuperation.

How long will you need treatment? I will need further CTI scans in the future which will determine if any other treatment is required. When do you anticipate being back in work? I intend to go back on a part time basis in April and then full time by mid May. Who is holding fort in the kitchen? Peter’s brother-in-law Mathew Canning. A chef with thirty years experience. He was chef at Gibsons and Quails in Romilly Crescent in Canton. We are very grateful that he was able to step in at such short notice. How do you feel today? I feel really good. I’m pleased to have finished the chemo sessions – although I feel lucky to have had very few side effects and felt fine most of the time through it. ❧ 13 ❧

The Huntsman At the rear of The Star pub, Dinas Powys 029 2051 4900 Hours of opening Tues to Sat 7pm - 9.30pm for dinner Thurs to Sun 12pm - 2pm for lunch


We’ve received many letters from readers wanting to know a bit more about Derek Brockway after reading his new book Whatever the Weather. We met up with him and got to find out a little more.

Congratulations on your book Whatever the Weather. How’s that going? It’s going really well thanks. I did a book tour in the run up to Christmas last year including a signing at Barry Library. Loads of people came along which was really nice. Everyone was friendly and there were a few faces from the past as well. What made you decide to write this book? I was approached by Mairwen Prys Jones from Gomer books in Llandysul who said I should write a book. Jamie Owen from BBC Wales has written a few books himself and he encouraged me as well. So after some persuasion I agreed.

Where were you born and where did you grow up? I was born in Barry in October 1967 and grew up in Hillary Rise. I was born one month premature and spent the first few weeks of my life in an incubator. What can you remember about those early days growing up in Barry as a boy? The 1970’s were a great time to grow up. We didn’t have much money but most importantly mum and dad were always there for us. There were lots of other children on the estate to play with. I was a bit of a tinker as a boy and could be mischievous. I am told the neighbours would run inside when they saw me in the street! ❧ 14 ❧

Photograph courtesy of Ray Edgar

What do you think of Barry today? It’s really changing. Some things have improved for the better but others have not. It’s sad to see some shops at the top of Holton Road and Main Street boarded up and the loss of the Knap Pool. It will be a great shame too if the cinema goes after all these years. There is potential for Barry Waterfront to have a marina and restaurants and not just more houses and flats. I am glad the old town hall has finally been refurbished. The new library is great too.

When did the interest in the weather first appear? It all began during the long hot summer of 1976 when I was a boy aged 8. There was a heat-wave and drought and I became fascinated by the endless days of sunshine with temperatures soaring into the 30’s Celsius. Our water was turned off for part of the day and we had to share baths to save water. I used to drive my parents bonkers by channel hopping to catch the latest forecast on TV.

My favourite part of town these days is High Street. I love the individual shops and cafes; there is a real buzz and sense of community here. Barry is ideally positioned to explore the rest of the Vale. I sometimes go for a meal in Cowbridge or a walk on Penarth Pier and occasionally have a picnic in Porthkerry Park.

Where did you go to school, university and where did you do further studies? I went to Holton Road School, then Barry Boys’ Comprehensive. I later went to Pontypridd College and then Reading College to study science. The most important subjects to be a meteorologist are maths and physics so that you can understand how the atmosphere works.

What made you move to Miskin? I treated myself to a new car in 1998 and it was vandalised outside my house in Lundy Park on the first night, so after that incident I decided to move. I looked at a few houses in Cardiff but decided on Miskin. It’s a lovely village, close to work and not too far from Barry via the M4 or through country lanes. When I retire perhaps I will move back to Barry. I’d like a house on Marine Drive, the views are great and I could see the weather coming up the Bristol Channel.

We asked Derek what changes he’s observed in the weather over the years and the potential impact of climate change on both our planet and ourselves.

Tell us about your career history? My first job was for the DSS in Barry working briefly as a clerical assistant in the summer of 1986. I then transferred into the Met Office and was posted to Cardiff Weather Centre where I worked as a junior helping the forecasters and plotting charts. I have also worked at Cardiff Airport and Birmingham Airport making weather reports for Air Traffic Control and also spent eight months on the Falklands Islands – here I worked closely with the RAF keeping an eye on the weather at the airfield.

Earth’s climate constantly changes and has altered many times over millions of years due to a variety of natural causes like major volcanic eruptions, changes in the earth’s orbit and output from the sun. Over the last 800,000 years there have been swings in temperature from cold to warm. 20,000 years ago Wales was covered by thick ice, while during the Middle Ages it was warm enough to grow grapes. The problem now is that global temperatures are rising quickly and at a rate never experienced in recent history. Although part of this may be due to natural causes, it is thought that most of the warming, especially since the second half of the 20th century, is down to human activity such as the burning of fossil fuels i.e. coal, gas and oil. ❧ 16 ❧

Sometimes I would take a trip in a helicopter and the RAF would drop me off on some remote island where I would stay for a couple of days with a Falkland island family. I took loads of photos and the wildlife was wonderful with lots of penguins and seals etc. After promotion my first job as a forecaster was at Birmingham Weather Centre in 1995. I then took a job in London working with Sian Lloyd and it was here that I had my first taste of television broadcasting for GMTV on a Sunday morning. I spent a year in London and then worked in Bracknell for a few months at the Met Office Headquarters. In September 1997 I started working for BBC Wales as their broadcast meteorologist. During my time at the BBC I have made other programmes such as Derek’s Welsh Weather, Weatherman Walking plus Jamie and Derek’s Welsh Weekends. I never thought that I would end up making programmes for TV and radio. It has been a great privilege and I am very fortunate to be given such wonderful opportunities. A second series of Weatherman Walking is due to be shown this spring on BBC Wales. I am currently working on another book to go with the series too. How did you start working as a weatherman for the BBC? It was a case of being in the right place at the right time, plus being Welsh, a trained meteorologist and being a local boy helped too.

Since the last Ice Age, the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has remained nearly constant. However, since the Industrial Revolution, humans have been pumping out huge quantities of greenhouse gases, most notably carbon dioxide or CO2. Levels of CO2 are now much higher and increasing much faster than at any time in the last 650,000 years. Over the last 100 years, the Earth has warmed by approximately 0.75°C but about 0.4°C of this warming has happened since the 1970’s so something is definitely going on. Records are tumbling all the time and there is less snow in winter than when I was a boy. The seasons seem to be all over the place too with spring arriving earlier and autumn later. How much our climate will change depends upon our future greenhouse gas emissions.

I was working in Bracknell and one day I came home to Barry and popped into the Cardiff Weather Centre. I was told that BBC Wales were looking for a new weather forecaster as Helen Willetts was moving on. So I did a quick audition, mentioned a few welsh towns and the rest as they say is history.

Where do you see yourself in five to ten years’ time? People sometimes ask would I like to do national weather in London but I’ve worked there and now want to stay in Wales. Plus, it’s nice to be close to family and friends most of whom live near by.

What weather related phenomena would you love to witness? I would like to go chasing Tornadoes in America and see one close up but not too close! A tornado is defined as a violently rotating column of air extending from a thunderstorm to the ground. The most violent tornadoes are capable of tremendous destruction with wind speeds of 250 mph or more. Tornadoes are more common than you might think in the UK. On average we can expect 33 every year, but in 1982 there were 152! In fact there are more tornadoes per square mile in Britain than in the USA - but thankfully they are not as destructive. A tornado which forms over the sea is called a waterspout.

I am happy to do other projects such as Weatherman Walking but my bread and butter job is weather forecasting. I’ve worked in TV for over 10 years now and hope to keep working for BBC Wales TV and Radio as the face and voice of Welsh weather for several more years yet.

If you weren’t a weatherman, what profession would you have chosen? If I wasn’t a weatherman I would like to be an electrician. I was always fiddling with plugs when I was a boy. I once electrocuted my mother after tampering with the washing machine plug. Later when I was a teenager,I rewired the lighting circuit of my parents’ house and got a shock from a neutral wire!

Summers in Wales are predicted to become drier and hotter with more heat-waves and an increased risk of drought. Winters will become milder and wetter with more days of heavy rain and flooding. Snowfall will continue to decrease. More storms are likely too with stronger winds and severe gales. By sitting back and doing nothing climate change will only get worse and some fear it could spin out of control with disastrous consequences. Climate change is the biggest threat to face our civilisation in modern times. Only by acting together can we tackle the problem and save the planet for future generations to enjoy.

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However, I am aware that the media can be a fickle business and I am aware that although your face can fit one minute you could be out on your ear the next, so it’s important to keep your feet on the ground! Visit Derek’s Weather Station for more on Derek, and the weather. You can even download Desktop Derek to get Welsh weather updates straight to your computer! weatherstation

Chris Griffin, Red Abstract 2008. At the Washington Gallery, Penarth.

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WHAT’S ON There’s lots happening this Spring, with a full programme of events across the Vale some of which we detail here.

Richard Bowers


Cabaret, Carriages and Cocktails All aboard the Hamptons Orient Express on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th April 2008. Join us in the dining car for a relaxed evening of food and music as we travel the world. Our set menu will be presented as platters for sharing – equally good whether its just two of you or a group of friends - and will feature dishes from each country we visit. As we pull into each station our live music – by the fabulous Graham Watkins Jazz Quartet and vocalist Clare Hingott – will get your feet tapping and set the scene for the country we have just arrived in. The evening is £28.00 per person and booking is essential. Hamptons, 10 Ludlow Lane, Penarth 029 2070 5391

Jocelyn Prosser


Marginalia Part 1: How the Words Came into Being 20th April – 20th May CHRIS GRIFFIN & MARTYN VAUGHN JONES

Paintings Anna Roebuck

Ensembles and paintings (paintings, tableaux and jewellery) 2 – 31st May

Jewellery Throughout May

Vale of Glamorgan Artists (VOGA) VOGA (Vale of Glamorgan Artists) was founded by five artists who wished to encourage and enhance the awareness of contemporary visual art in the Vale of Glamorgan.

1st – 15th May




Washington Gallery, Stanwell Road, Penarth CF64 2AD 029 2071 2100

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The group now has over twenty members and produces work in a variety of media including ceramics, digital imaging, painting, photography, printmaking and sculpture. For exhibitions throughout the summer please visit their website. For more information visit

ST DONATS ARTS CENTRE Spring and Summer sees a fantastic array of events and exhibitions at this stunning arts centre within the grounds of the magnificent St Donats Castle. Georgie Fame In Concert

Watercolour and Landscape Painting

Coast 360º by Mark Johnson

Sun 20 April 7.30pm

Thurs 24 April, Thurs 15 May, Thurs 19 June 10am - 4pm

6 May – 28 July

In a career spanning almost 50 years, Georgie Fame is an icon of the British music scene. With his distinctive voice, Hammond organ skills and mastery of jazz and rhythm and blues, Georgie has consistently worked in the highest musical circles and has made his mark all over the world.

Whether you want to get the creative juices flowing or want to brush up your artistic techniques, we’ll provide the friendly atmosphere, a relaxed pace, an enjoyable day, an inspirational setting and stunning architecture all we need is you!

Tickets £21.50 (£20) St Donats Arts Centre Angels 10% off

Tickets £20. Some courses carry a small charge for materials

The beach – place to think, place to breathe. Photographer Mark Johnson captures a series of seascape moments in his first solo exhibition. This special three-month exhibition, which will change with time and adapt with the transformation of the season between May and July, explores the relationship between a series of moments captured in time by the photograph and how this is bounded by our geography.

Dave Kelly and Maggie Bell Sun 4 May 7.30pm

St Donats Arts Centre is delighted to host a very special evening with two stalwarts of the British rhythm and blues scene - two great reputations, two unique voices and a wonderful couple of hours of acoustic blues, soul and good times... no doubt lots of warmth and humour also. Tickets £16, £15 St Donats Arts Centre Angels 10% off

Rhiannon 9 May 8pm

Rhiannon follows a woman’s journey from her world into our own, from eternal youth to mortal suffering, from passionate first love to the strength of love rediscovered, from vision to understanding. The performance will be followed by book signings by the author over a free glass of wine. Tickets £6 (includes a glass of wine)

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Café Concert with Ros Evans (Soprano)

Shakespeare Film Education Day

Tues 20 May 3pm

Tues 8 July 9.45am - 2.15pm

These hugely popular matinee concerts go from strength to strength as more and more of you are enjoying the relaxed music café atmosphere of the beautiful Glassroom.

This introduction to Shakespeare features the award-winning BBC Shakespeare Animated Tales of Romeo and Juliet and Julius Ceasar.

It’s easy to see why – concerts of classical, jazz and popular favourites, free tea and cake and stunning views!

The study day includes a screening of two of the films from the series. A workshop then assists in developing the students’ understanding of setting and characterisation.

Tickets £4.00 (includes tea and cake) St Donats Arts Centre Angels 10% off

Tickets £3.50 per student, teachers free

Summer concert with Emma Kirkby

Café Concert with Rory Russell

Sun 8 June 7pm

Tues 15 July 3pm

‘Honey from the Hive’ with the worldrenowned soprano, Emma Kirkby and lute-player Anthony Rooley promises a beautiful, champagne-fizzed summer evening of songs, airs and dances from the Elizabethan Royal Court by John Dowland. No two performers have done more to bring alive the music of the Elizabethan period. Emma Kirkby paints vivid musical pictures alongside Anthony Rooley's skillful technique.

An Atlantic College graduate, Rory has won many competitions including the John Fussell Trust Fund Competition at the Swansea Festival and has established himself as a leading young classical guitarist and chamber musician.

Potted Potter A Parody by Dan & Jeff Sat 17 May 3pm

All the Potter books in sixty minutes? Watch comic double act Dan and Jeff take on the ultimate challenge with the help of endless costumes, brilliant songs, ridiculous props, and a generous helping of Hogwarts magic. This fantastically funny show features all your favourite characters, a special appearance from a very frightening firebreathing dragon, and even a game of Quidditch involving the audience! Ages 6 and up Tickets £12, £10, children £6 Family ticket £34 – 2 adults, 2 children, concessions £30

Tickets £4.00 (includes tea and cake) St Donats Arts Centre Angels 10% off

Supported by The Mousetrap Settlement Trust Tickets £20, £19 concession (includes champagne and strawberries reception at 6pm)

St Donats Arts Centre Box office 01446 799100 Minicom 01446 799102 On-line booking

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MODEL HOUSE There’s lots to see and do at Model House. Visit their website for a full list of events and workshops for both children and adults alike. PA U L S C O T T



Cumbrian Blue(s)



A fascinating show of artworks in ceramic and printed form bringing home some of our current concerns with rural agriculture, the environment and global politics. Paul Scott’s ceramics involve the digital manipulation of printed motif, pattern and image from industrial ceramic archives. This exhibition shows Paul’s contemporary take on classical blue and white patterned china using nostalgic or romantic visions and combining them with the reality of contemporary events.

A group weaving exhibition featuring both sculptural and functional pieces from a hand picked selection of some of the country’s leading weavers including Susie Vaughan who specialises in hedgerow baskets, Rachel Max who is inspired by Japanese and Finnish basket making particularly using fine cane, paper string and wire and Alison Fitzgerald who uses the subtle blends of natural bark colours to create her elegant and modern baskets which are inspired by traditional and functional forms.

Cardiff-based woven textile artist and designer, Laura Thomas creates vivid cotton, silk and Lurex threads that are encapsulated in acrylic resin. Her dramatic work features wall panels and freestanding sculptural objects that capture the unwoven warp threads on a loom.



Circling the Earth

Tin Tableaux

An exhibition of small bronze reliefs called art medals, an art form more usually associated with commemorations and prizes. Ron Dutton has taken landscape studies, the sensation of flight and encompassed the wonder of the earth, its land and creatures using the art medal to celebrate our enjoyment of those moments of wonder.

Melanie creates wonderful one of a kind, limited edition printed tin automata primarily based on folklore and fairytales and particularly the alternative and mysterious world found in stories from Eastern Europe.

19 April – 1 June

23 April – 3 June

6 June – 20 July

24 July – 31 August

18 July – 31 August

Model House Bull Ring, Llantrisant CF72 8EB 01443 237758

THE COPTHORNE HOTEL Visit the Vale’s best kept secret, and enjoy their latest menu. The quietly stylish and seriously gourmet, award winning Raglans Restaurant enjoys a glorious lakeside setting within the elegant Copthorne Hotel and is lauded for its superb fine dining. Raglans offers the perfect setting, from making the right impression at business lunches to romantic dinners and family get togethers. STOP PRESS... STOP PRESS... We are celebrating being awarded our second AA rosette. Celebrate with us with 10% off your total bill for the month of May*

What people are saying about The Copthorne

*subject to availability - terms and conditions apply

“The performances just keep getting better and better. I will be most certainly recommending the Copthorne Theatre as an ideal evening.” C Newman

Don’t forget Fathers Day

15th June £19.95 adults, £9.95 children under 12

“The food, venue and entertainment were all excellent, providing the perfect ingredients for a memorable evening.” A Milburn

Treat your dad to a live musical theatre lunch. “Lights, Camera, Action” including a 2 course lunch this is entertainment for the whole family.

“Eat your heart out Cardiff and The Vale... the food, the staff, the atmosphere... Raglans has it all and it doesn’t get much better” Vale Life

Summer Ball Keep this date free! 18th July 2008

Copthorne Dining Theatre Shows performed on Wednesday to Saturday evenings and Sunday lunchtimes. Tickets £27.50 include a three course meal with live musical theatre show. There is no need to drink and drive... just relax and enjoy yourself. Ask about our special accommodation rates if you are attending one of our events (subject to availability). Five minutes from M4 Jct 33 and Cardiff Bay. FREE PARKING.

The Copthorne Hotel Culverhouse Cross, Cardiff CF5 6DH To make a booking or an enquiry please call 029 2059 9100

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This issue, we feature a selection of books from Gomer Press and Siop y Fro, Barry. S T D O N AT S A R T S C E N T R E


Book Club with Ian McMillan Mon 12 May 2pm

Ian McMillan is one of the UK's best known contemporary poets and a performer of great wit and charm. Aside from his books, you’ll have heard his ‘fruity Barnsley accent’ on BBC radio (recently listed the 22nd most powerful person in radio) as well as his weekly hit show The Verb on BBC Radio 3.

This special Book Club event is the culmination of ‘Looking Over The Hill’ as part of Gwanwyn – the Wales festival of arts and creativity for older people. A variety of groups have taken part by writing short pieces of poetry or prose on the subject of the present and the future. If you would like to submit a piece contact Phil Thomas on 02920 431540. Tickets £4, £3 (includes free tea and cake)

Books are available from Siop y Fro, Barry. There are more reviews on the Vale Life website

From East to West and Dawn to Dusk: Photographs of the Glamorgan Heritage Coast £18.99 ISBN 9780955726309

Rob Hudson portrays the journey along the Glamorgan Heritage Coast, from Aberthaw in the east to Porthcawl in the west. The 18-mile of seashore and footpath is revealed from stunning cliffs to ancient castles. Always taken at either dawn, sunrise, dusk or sunset, the photographs reveal the landscape in a new light. Siop y Fro 5 Island Road (off High St) Barry 01446 420729

Gomer Press is Wales’s largest independent publisher, supplying books from Wales, about Wales, in both Welsh and English language. They publish over 120 new titles every year, for children and adults, in both languages. For more info visit Use it or lose it! Please support your local book seller. If you find a book you like online ask your local bookshop to source it. You’ll be supporting a local business and, in turn, helping to preserve the quality of our high streets.



The Urban Turbans

A Nod from Nelson

£3.99 ISBN 9781843238072

£5.99 ISBN 9781843238133

Megan hates music, at least the kind made by her music mad family.

A Nod from Nelson is Falklands hero Simon Weston’s first novel for children.

It takes a move to the big city to make Megan realize that not all music is the same. Drawn to the magical sound of the Urban Turbans, a band of Indian drummers, Megan is enchanted. She fulfils her dream by joining Mr Singh’s drum class, but soon her worries begin. She may be passionate about her drumming but can an eleven year old Welsh girl really be an Indian Drummer? Dahlian Kirby lives in the Vale of Glamorgan. She was inspired to write the book after watching children enjoy Indian Drumming in Cardiff. ❧ 24 ❧

Full of warm-hearted characters and laugh-out-loud humour. When Mike the Milk has problems operating his new milk float, faithful carthorse Nelson finds himself called out of retirement. With an oil spill heading towards the pond, Nelson and the other animals must find a way to halt its progress before disaster strikes. But can a talking horse, an undercover frog, a couple of rats, a duckling rugby team and a lost pigeon really save the day?




Love and Longing

On This Mountain

Place Names of Wales

£7.99 ISBN 9781843238157

£19.99 ISBN 9781843239161

£29.99 ISBN 9781843239017

A poetry collection to tug the heartstrings and stir the soul.

In this stunningly beautiful book, ten writers share the secrets of the mountains that are dear to them.

Have you ever been intrigued by a place name in Wales?

With contributions from Wales’ leading poets including Gillian Clarke, Grahame Davies, Christine Evans, Catherine Fisher, Gwyneth Glyn, Rex Harley, Chris Kinsey, Julie Rainsbury, Susan Richardson, Owen Sheers and Jenny Sullivan. The poems all grow from the central theme of love, from teenage heartbreak to a connection to nature, exploring every aspect of love and longing.

Rugby hero the late Ray Gravell, birdman Iolo Williams, and mountainclimber Jim Perrin are among the contributors. All love a certain tract of mountain and know it secrets. And yet, fascinating though their stories are, the stars of the show are the mountains themselves: pictures from awardwinning photographer Ray Wood make this collection of essays and images a delight.

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Have you wondered where the name of your city, town or village comes from? If so, then the Dictionary of the Place Names of Wales is just the book for you. Thousands of place names from across the country fill over 500 pages of this sumptuous hardback book, with their derivation and meanings carefully explained. So if you’d like to know where Sully, Wick, Ewenny and numerous other names originated, pick up a copy from your local bookshop and find out today.

“The High Street is striving to create a premium shopping centre for Barry and I believe that this is being achieved with a friendly and professional group of traders offering a first class service and I’m proud to be one of them.” Karen Short, Balance the Body




Siop y Fro Read all about it!

Pamper yourself with Balance the Body

Francis Kestle Photography

Siop y Fro is the only bookshop in Barry and is bilingual selling a wide range of new and used books covering all the main categories.

Balance the Body has been a beauty and holistic therapy salon for five years. The last year has been under the ownership of Karen Short.

Francis Kestle’s studio caters for all photographic needs including weddings, portraits, portfolios and functions and special occasions.

They also have a number of Welsh music cd’s and dvd’s for adults and children, together with locally produced arts and crafts and hand made Welsh and English greetings cards. They also provide a book ordering service which is available to individuals, schools and societies. Siop y Fro have been in business for 14 months and have many loyal customers who say local shops are more helpful than their town centre counterparts. Siop y Fro 5 Island Road (off High St) Barry 01446 420729

The studio offers a passport photo service and is also suitable for ID’s. Francis has many years’ experience working with adults, children, babies and people with disabilites. Francis is a keen traveller and on a recent trip to Venice took some wonderful carnival images which are available for sale. Catering for young and not so young, male and female, they offer a wide range of beauty and holistic therapies, including Barry’s only hydrotherapy pool. Their therapists are fully qualified and treatments are undertaken in a calm and relaxing environment. Whether receiving an eyebrow wax or one of their exclusive pamper packages, clients leave feeling special. Balance the Body 6 High Street, Barry 01446 722350

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For those of you who love all things Venetian, give Francis a call to arrange an appointment to view these wonderfully colourful and vibrant images. Francis Kestle Photography 3 Broad Street Parade, Barry CF62 7AN 01446 726717 Mobile 07976 236 736


Food for Thought We spoke to Dave Keeble about what’s made his deli so successful. Please describe your business? We are a family run delicatessen and are proud to be celebrating our 25th anniversary this year. My wife Lynda, myself and my son Nathan and his wife Sarah all work in the business. I believe when it’s your own business, you put your heart and soul into it and we certainly do. Who are your customers? We have customers from all over the Vale and I would say that 70% of whom are regulars. They come for many reasons. Lunchtimes it’s for our freshly made baguettes and home made salads. Then there’s our wide selection of dried nuts, fruits and pastas as well as our breads and cakes. We also supply restaurants with our range of continental meats and cheeses. Which would you say are your best sellers? Definitely our home made pasties which have quite a following and our home made chicken tikka salad which people travel for miles for.

Do you support local producers? We make the majority of our living from local customers and we feel it’s only fair to give back and support local producers as much as possible. Food for Thought 12 High Street Barry 01446 735711

“We are a family run delicatessen and are proud to be celebrating our 25th anniversary this year.” Dave Keeble, Food For Thought


Smolanny’s Smolanny’s is a baby boutique owned by Cathy Lane for over two years. She named the boutique after her children Sam, Molly and Anny. Customers who visit Smolanny’s are expectant mums looking for prams, clothes and nursery products and those looking to buy gifts. Designer prams include Bugaboo, Maclaren, Out & About, Phil & Ted’s and I-Candy plus many other brands. You can also find traditional wood toys, books, designer clothes, nursery furniture and more. Smolanny’s caters for ages 0 to 12.

Anything new or exciting happening at Smolanny’s? We are really excited about our new website which will showcase all of the products we offer. There’ll be a helpful online service where customers can enquire whether we have a particular item in stock, which will give an even better customer service. Do you have time for any hobbies? We like to spend time with our children. When we have time we like to socialise and when we do, it’s usually in Streets Brasserie on Broad Street, just around the corner.

We asked Cathy a few questions about life on the High Street.

“Our customers are looking for something that’s unusual, or a bit different from what you can find in larger towns or shopping centres.”

What do you like about High Street? I like the interesting mix of people who visit from all over the Vale and beyond and the real community feel that exists here in High Street. What do you think is special about your business? Our customers are looking for something that’s unusual, or a bit different from what you can find in larger towns or shopping centres. ❧ 27 ❧

Smolanny’s Nursery Equipment 1 High Street, Barry CF62 7DZ 01446 738884 Open 6 days 9.30am – 5.30pm


Allsta Motors are all stars! Allsta Motors are a family run motor vehicle repair and MOT station in Barry which was established 36 years ago. They offer vehicle repairs, servicing, engine diagnostics, tyres and MOT’s and have many loyal customers which is testament that they are giving the customer what they want. Allsta enjoy working in this area of Barry because over the years they’ve got to know other traders very well.

In fact, many of them are customers and, because there are so many different businesses in the area, this makes life interesting and attracts a diverse range of customers. Allsta is a family run business who are determined to provide good service to customers and Vale Life can confirm this as we are satisfied customers ourselves and would have no hesitation in recommending Allsta’s services. Allsta Motors Market Street, Barry CF62 7AS 01446 740358

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“I would have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending Allsta’s services to readers of Vale Life.” Jennifer Hobbs-Roberts Editor Vale Life



Guiding Light Centre

Waterlily A magpie’s dream!

Christine O’Neill well known Medium Clairvoyant has set up the Guiding Light Centre as a training centre for Mediums and Pyschics. The Centre offers foundation courses in Mediumship and Pyschic Skills, leading onto Intermediate and Advanced level courses. Tarot and Numerology workshops are held at weekends. Workshops in Angel healing and training, Reiki, Yoga, Inner Journey and more are also available. Tarot readings are available from Christine O’Neill, the centre also offers Tarot with Julie, Danny and Maria. Guiding Light Centre offers therapies in Crystal Therapy; E.F.T.; Emotrance; Reiki; Aromatherapy; Indian Head Massage; Counselling Services; Therapeutic Yoga and Hypnotherapy. Studio/Rooms are available for rental by the hour/day which are suitable for therapists and small workshops. ‘An Evening with Christine O’Neill’ is held once a month

Crystal Energy at the Centre. Crystals have been used in therapy for thousands of years to help balance our life force and achieve optimum health. Crystals are placed on and around the body to suit your specific needs, the benefits of which are both mental and physical, helping to restore your body’s natural balance of energies. Crystal therapy can also help with pain removal, setting goals and much more. Lynne is also a practitioner in Meridian and Energy Therapies these include E.F.T. (Emotional Freedom Technique) and Emotrance. Lynne will guide you as you address your emotions, releasing blocked energy, helping you attain a free flowing energy system enabling you to live a healthy, relaxed happy life. Blocked energy systems can cause mental and physical problems. We also have a large range of Crystals, Crystal & Silver Jewellery, Tarot Cards, Angel Cards, Books etc.

Guiding Light Centre 90 High Street Barry CF62 7DY 01446 735691


You’ll fall in love with Amorette Amorette opened its doors in August 2007 launching exciting new ranges of handmade and bespoke jewellery and accessories for men, women and children. Being individual, creative and owning something that has that personal touch are the three things that set Amorette apart from other boutiques. Amorette has an onsite jewellery designer/maker who is available to create that perfect piece whether it’s a gift for a special occasion or just for spoiling yourself!

Other designer/makers sold at Amorette are Tanya Igic, Zelda Wong, Sophie Banks, Emma Gordon, Foxy Originals and Azuni. Amorette also sells and encourages local talent such as bag designers Very Minnie Mary and Helen Smith and jewellers Let Them Eat Cake. Come in and absorb the creativity, chat to the owners Sophie and Rhiannon and spoil yourself with a piece of handmade delight!

Looking for cards, jewellery, gifts and much, much more? Waterlily definitely has it all. Director Kerrie O’Carroll certainly has an eye for collectables. For the magpies out there, this shop’s for you! Waterlily is the only local stockist for Truth traditional charm jewellery. You can create your own unique bracelet giving you the chance to truly express yourself.

Waterlily 4 High Street, Barry CF62 7DZ 01446 738600

Jewellery making Puppet building Bag designing/making Ceramic painting Interactive story telling Also drop in sessions in the school holidays. For more information please phone the number below.

Recently launched in 2008 is their Little Love Creative Parties, where a world of creativity and imagination awaits your child.

Amorette ‘Little Love’ 96 High Street, Barry CF62 7DY 01446 400322

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Ann Bryl tells us, “Retail is my life.” So we popped down to High Street in Barry to see just what exactly makes...

Where do you live in Barry? I have lived in Barry all of my life. My home at Porth-y-Castell was built in the 1920’s and was once owned by Major Edgar Jones. The Major was awarded an OBE and the Freedom of the Town. His son worked for Lloyd George and was killed by Chinese bandits, even though his family sent the ransom money! Who do you live with? My husband, Ken and three children Natasha, 28, Lousha, 25 and Lewis, 23. Where did you go to school? Barry High Street girls school. Have you always worked in retail? Yes, prior to owning my own shops, I managed retail shops in Cardiff. When did you open? I used to own a children’s designer wear shop in High Street called BB’s and have always had a love of fashion. After a break from BB’s, I opened Bryl’s Boutique selling contemporary womenswear, bags and jewellery. Why did you choose High Street? I missed the buzz of owning my own shop and seeing my regular customers on a daily basis. As I feel passionate about Barry it was an obvious choice. I wouldn't have wanted to open anywhere else. Who are your customers? They come from all over the Vale of Glamorgan, Cardiff and beyond. They are looking for designer labels that are both wearable and affordable. At Bryl’s Boutique they can find the perfect outfit for that casual look or something for the evening. What brands do you stock? I have an amazing range of clothing from French Connection, Nougat, Great Plains, Sticky Fingers, Sandwich, Chilli Pepper and Religion. We have sizes ranging from 8 to 18. I have regular deliveries which give women the perfect excuse to keep popping in!

A BRYL How do you know what to stock? When you love fashion as I do, it’s not difficult to look out for new designers and new collections! When something catches my eye, I immediately know that it will be right. What else do you sell? We have a great range of bags from Nougat, Suzy Smith and French Connection. Nothing completes a great outfit better than an amazing piece of jewellery and we have beautiful pieces in silver and semi precious stones by local deisgner Melinda Mulcahy. What’s special about your business? I let customers browse in their own time but give honest advice when needed. Do you always look for a challenge? I’m always willing to take on board any new challenges that come my way. Do you daughters want to go into the fashion industry? Not really, although they have a love of fashion. I’m very proud of my daughters. One is a solicitor and the other is in recruitment. They do enjoy helping me out in the boutique whenever they can. What’s your favourite Vale place? I love Monknash for the scenery and the sense of tranquility that envelopes me when I’m there. How do you like to relax? I like nothing more than having a good meal with friends. What’s your favourite food and place to eat it? Definitely fish at Gilby’s.

If you weren’t selling fashion, what would you be doing? I’d always be drawn to fashion.

Do you have any secret talents? I’d like to think that I’m a good cook. I’m passionate about how the table is laid, how the food looks on the plate and that there’s a good mix of colours. It must be the creative side of me. Favourite way to spend Sunday? Relaxing with my family. All my money goes on... My children. The most recent item I bought for my home was... A new kitchen. My philisophy is... Enjoy it! The best lesson that I have learned in life is… Not to judge people on first impressions. What do you think is ‘the look’ for the spring/summer season? The black and white or ‘mono’ look is very in this season as are neutral colours such as taupe, frappaccino, macadamia, wheat and sandalwood with highlights of blue and pink. Grey and paprika orange also have a strong presence. There are lots of prints that include spots, bold geometric and very feminine florals. Linen is always popular in the summer and is so easy to wear with a bejeweled kaftan and strappy flats. Bryl’s Boutique 7 High Street Barry CF62 7DZ 01446 748246

“When you love fashion as I do, it’s not difficult to look out for new designers and new collections!” ❧ 30 ❧


Ann is wearing a Sherbet Lemon dress by French Connection as worn by Amanda Holden on GMTV.

Nina Chivers, of Nina’s Estate Agents, Barry is setting the estate agency world alight. Vale Life surveys the situation...

SOLD! When did you set up? In January 2006, and have had over 12 years working in the Estate Agency industry working with other agents.

What range of houses do you offer? Prices range from £79,950 to half a million. Clients may be investors, first time buyers or families.

Do you have any secret talents? Skipping, as I skip very fast, hoola hooping and, believe it or not, I can plaster walls very smoothly!

Why did you set it up? I had been in estate agency work for a long time and plucked up courage to set up on my own. I was determined to offer house sellers and buyers in the Barry area an unrivalled level of personal service based on professionalism, integrity and local market knowledge.

What do you think Nina Estate Agents provide that other estate agents don’t? Patience, support plus friendly and reliable service during what can often be a traumatic time.

Favourite way to spend Sunday? Dropping my children to their various activities like rugby and dancing, then cooking for my family! It’s the only day that I properly see my mum whom I adore. She always says she needs an appointment to see me as I am so busy!

Why did you choose Broad Street? It’s the newest place to be amongst the hustle and bustle of the café quarter of Barry and we’re in an original building with its own car park, which is a must if anyone knows High Street! Tell us about the building. It was built in 1800 for the London and Provicial Bank I believe. How many staff do you employ? Five plus myself. Helen and Diane have years of experience and we all worked together in another local estate agent. Helen deals mostly with sales chasing and is currently on maternity leave. Diane is in charge of the smooth running of all administration. Paula is my sales negotiator whose background is holistic therapy - great for calming any irate customers! Vicci is my newest member of staff. She has over five years estate agency experience and has qualifications recognised by the NAEA. Last but not least Rob, my husband. What role does Rob play at work and how did this come about? Rob is a multi tasker, in charge of accounts, is my top salesman and extremely patient! He had a major career change a year ago and left his job specialising in chimneys to working with women!

What is your unique selling point? Staff with local experience, and every one of our properties are advertised in the newspaper every week. What can sellers do to help their homes sell? Leave a key with us for any unexpected last minute viewings, be realistic on price and have a clean front door! What do you like about living in Barry? I love Barry - I wouldnt want to live anywhere else. I feel happy and safe being around the people that I have grown up with. My great great grandfather who was a seafarer, docked in Barry from a small island in Greece called Tinos, met a girl and moved to the town. The Foscolo family is one of the oldest in Barry. They had one of the very first taxi companies and a men’s outfitters in Thompson Street. Another thing I love is the Knap beach. It’s fantastic and my family and I enjoy ourselves by taking a dip in the sea. The style of my home is... Very retro and minimalist! I am a bleach fanatic and have endless bottles randomly placed in various corners of my house! If you weren’t an estate agent, what would you be? An agony aunt, as you often need to deal with the three D’s - death, divorce and debt, when selling a house. ❧ 32 ❧

All your money goes on? Clothes... I do love buying clothes! The most recent item I bought for my home was? Red leather settee, and fitted wardrobes. What’s your favourite food? It would have to be crispy duck wrapped in pancakes and hoi sin sauce. My philosophy is... Life can unexpectedly stop at any time, so enjoy it and live life to the full! The best life lesson I’ve learned is... Judge everyone the same, regardless of age or background and always be a good listener. Best business decision you’ve made? 1. Buying such a grand building to use as an office. 2. Setting up business on my own. 3. Having my husband working with me as its great to spend most of my day with him (aah!). 4. Having fab staff, we’re a really good team and also very good friends which customers often comment on. Nina Estate Agents 1 Broad Street, Barry Vale of Glamorgan CF62 7AA 01446 736888

We recently caught up with Jane Hutt, AM for the Vale of Glamorgan. Jane is Minister for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning & Skills who lives and breathes what she believes in.


Where were you born? I was born in Epsom and grew up in both England and Africa.

Who do you most respect and why? My mother, for her compassion, resilience and commitment to family.

Where did you go to school? England and Eldoret, Kenya.

What are the most important qualities for a politician? Integrity and courage.

What jobs did you do when you left school? I was a community worker. Where do you live now? Barry. What made you go into politics? A passion for social justice.

At what age did you realise you wanted to be a politician? Thirty one. Is there one achievement in your career that you are most proud of? Securing the UK’s first Children’s Commissioner with children and young people on the interviewing panel.

Describe your ideal job apart from the one you’re in. A general practitioner (GP).

How do you relax? I listen to music.

What motivates you? Making a contribution to our society and showing that devolution can work.

What’s your favourite food? Roast Welsh Lamb from my friend’s flock in Mountain Ash.

Who would be your ideal dinner companion? Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury. What is your favourite wine and where would you prefer to drink it? Sancerre in my garden in Barry. The view overlooking Barry Harbour lifts my spirits. What do you like about the Vale? Barry Harbour and the Heritage Coast. What one thing do you not leave home without? My pass to the Assembly. If you could go back, would you do it all again? Yes. Is there anything about your life you would like to change? No. Best advice you’ve ever been given? Have the courage of your convictions and don’t worry about tomorrow. What advice would you give to people who want to succeed in politics profession? Know why you want to go into politics and don’t get pompous or too big for your boots. When do you plan to retire? When I run out of steam and then I’ll spend more time with my husband. Is there anything you would like us to highlight in Vale Life? The importance of the re-generation of Barry as part of the wider prosperity and beauty of the Vale of Glamorgan.

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In February I went to Uganda with my husband and sister in memory of my father, Professor Michael Hutt who played a leadin role in medical research at Makerere University in the 1960’s in Kampala, where we lived for 8 years. An international Medical Conference on Burkitt’s Lymphoma drew many forma colleagues and family friends back to Kampala and we joined them for a few days. I was also able to visit Mbale in Eastern Uganda to make contact with the schools linked to the PONT project in Rhondda Cynon Taf, in my role as Education Minister, to strengthen the partnership as part of the ‘Wales for Africa’ programme. We were greeted with the words “Thank you for re-investing in us what we invested in you.” This visit has had a profound impact on my outlook and vision for the place of Wales in the world and the contribution we can make as well as the lessons we can learn from the courage of the people of Uganda.

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RESTAURANT REVIEWS Each issue we review a selection of Vale restaurants.




It was with real interest that we set out to Hamptons, Penarth to have dinner on a Saturday night. As regular visitors to Hamptons we had eaten at their excellent Blue Pelican café during the day, had shopped for furniture, cushions, candles and objets d’art in the sumptuous shop, but had not yet eaten there during the evening. Now that Hamptons is open on Friday and Saturday evenings for food, we went along - interested to see how their vibrant and efficient café would transform itself into an evening eatery. Greeted with the customary politeness and friendly service that regulars have come to expect from Hamptons, we studied the menu and its variety of dishes from across the world with the emphasis firmly placed on sharing, tasting, internationalising the tastebuds! The setting is informal - you can dress up or down depending on your mood - the atmosphere is relaxed and encourages good talk and socialising and ingenious lighting on the adjacent shop floor light up the ceiling of the lovely old building, giving the impression of having dinner under the stars. With the efficient and unobtrusive service, the soft jazz music and the silhouettes of palms you could, in fact, be sitting in a warm Spanish square or a Greek Taverna.

We chose a mix of dishes to share for our main course including humous served with warmed pitta bread and chicken breast with a satay dipping sauce, mini salmon fishcakes in a garlic mayo dip, beef and caper salad and filo parcels. They say we eat with our eyes first, and in this case this was certainly true. Each dish was perfectly presented with a similar attention to detail and we were delighted to hear that all the ingredients are locally sourced. We enjoyed an excellent and very reasonably priced bottle of Chardonnay with our meal and were astonished to find that we’d finished it without realising - no-one is bothered or moved on, but allowed to enjoy their meal at their leisure.

The evening was a great success and we have already booked our passage on Hampton’s Orient Express Evening, where guests take a culinary tour across Europe and back with a live band accompanying your journey. Hamptons also run other special nights throughout the year, usually with live music, many already booked up due to word of mouth. The difference with Hamptons is the level of thought and the care that goes into getting it right the owners care about their customers and that is all too rare these days. The restaurant is honest and it provides exactly what it sets out to achieve, which is a perfect mix of great food, excellent service and a relaxed atmosphere - all at a competitive price. We’re already looking forward to our next visit and to spending another perfect night in Paradise!

The menu is a mix of platters to share and individual dishes and the menu takes you on an international culinary tour around Europe, Asia, South America and the Middle East. You are free to order as many or as few dishes as you like depending on your appetite and your powers of resistance! For those who prefer a more traditional eating style, there is a good choice of main courses and a wide ranging but uncomplicated wine list complements the menu. For a starter, we opted for ‘The Italian Job’ - a platter of Italian starters to share which was a beautifully presented mix of Italian meats, olives, buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes and basil and warm crusty bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The tiny sweet peppers stuffed with feta cheese were particularly inspired and tasted sublime.

Tamsin and Mark Carey-Lang Hamptons 10 Ludlow Lane, Penarth CF64 1EA 029 2070 5391 The Store and Café are open 9am - 5pm Monday to Saturday The Café is also open from 6.30pm Friday to Saturday Average prices of starters from £1.95 and platters at £10.99. Cakes and desserts are also available.

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Raglans Restaurant new Spring Menu Raglans Restaurant at The Copthorne Hotel, likes to see itself as ‘Cardiff’s Best Kept Secret’, and I must admit, Culverhouse Cross wasn’t the first place I would have considered for dining out. That was until I tried Raglans. I am delighted to say that I wasn’t disappointed with the experience, and I think it’s time to let the secret out!

As my wife was in Malaysia on business I went with a good friend who, like me, hadn’t eaten at Raglans before, although both of us had been to a number of excellent conferences held at the hotel over the last few years. We received a very warm welcome from the friendly restaurant staff who helped us choose an excellent Chablis from the well stocked wine list. The Head Chef was away when we visited, but the Sous Chef did not disappoint! Raglans has an exciting and imaginative menu, and the starters and main courses were particularly good.

I started with a particularly good terrine of chicken, quail and guinea fowl, and followed this with a roasted Chepstow duck breast which was as good as any I’ve tasted and, in my opinion, was cooked to perfection. My friend had carpaccio of beef to start, which, judging by his reaction, was at least as good as my starter. This was followed with guinea fowl as his main course which was also an excellent dish. Raglans offers a good choice of desserts, but I think that a selection from the well stocked cheese board would be an excellent way to finish. To sum up, Raglans Restaurant is a comfortable, friendly yet formal dining experience. A good place to eat with family and friends, it has live piano music on Friday and Saturday evenings, but is also an excellent place for more formal business meetings. I would certainly recommend you give it a try, and I will definitely be returning. Mark Carey-Lang Raglans Restaurant The Copthorne Hotel Culverhouse Cross 029 2059 9100


Vale Bar and Grill Restaurant We’ve been pleasantly surprised recently by the quality of food and service we’ve received whilst dining out at hotels. So, you can imagine our expectations were high when we visited the new Vale Bar and Grill restaurant at the Vale Hotel Golf and Spa Resort in Hensol. A quick stroll through the bar area took us into the restaurant which has just been added to the hotel’s facilities. The design was contemporary and the kitchen was open so that diners can watch the chefs at work (which I like). We were greeted by our waitress for the evening, Sarah, who also happened to be one of the chefs. When asked why she was waitressing, she replied that she liked a change and wanted to see what it was like on the other side of the grill. Her enthusiasm was infectious as Sarah talked us through the menu, emphasising how the hotel liked to source its produce locally. She even had a sound knowledge of the wine list and after asking what type of wine I usually chose, suggested a lovely deep rosé which was just how I like it.

We were offered a selection of freshly baked breads while pondering the menu. Sarah returned to take our orders. A baked, Welsh Pant-Ys-Gawn goats cheese was my choice while my partner opted for the grilled spiced king prawns. Both were hot, tasty and plentiful. No complaints there! On to the mains; fillet of Welsh Black beef for me and the seafood pie for my partner. We also chose hand cut chips and seasonal vegetables. The steak was as good as it gets - fat, juicy and cooked just to my liking of medium rare but more on the rare. The seafood pie was packed full of a variety of fish and the sauce was thick and creamy, all topped off with a mouth watering cheese crust. Another winner was the plentiful assortment of vegetables which were perfectly served al dente. We were now ready for our desserts of bread and butter pudding, which came with an egg cream and vanilla custard, laced with Penderyn whiskey and sticky date pudding, served with a rich warm, butterscotch sauce. Sarah asked if we were happy with our desserts as I had left a fair amount on my plate. All was well, I assured her, I was just a little full... pointing to my partner’s empty plate, which had no traces of pudding, yes, all was well. ❧ 37 ❧

Vale Bar and Grill Vale Hotel, Golf and Spa Resort Hensol Park, Hensol CF72 8JY 01443 667800

Georg Fuchs, owner and chef at Illtud’s 216 in Llantwit Major, shares his family recipe for apple strudel - you really must try this at home!

FROM THE CHEF’S TABLE APPLE STRUDEL Recipe for approximately ten portions

Ingredients for the dough These ingredients make about one sheet stretched strudel dough, 1m x 50cm. ■ 200g plain flour ■ Pinch of salt ■ 1 tablespoon oil ■ 1 egg ■ About 60ml water ■ Oil for brushing ■ Clarified butter Making the dough ■ Put the flour on a work surface or in the bowl of a mixer with dough hook attached ■ Work the salt, oils and egg ■ Add the water and knead to smooth, supple dough ■ Brush with oil and rest Rolling and stretching the dough ■ Cover a table with a cloth, preferably one that drops over the sides ■ Sprinkle generously with flour Sprinkle extra flour on the dough to absorb the oil brushed over it ■ Put it on the table and roll out finely with a heavy pin ■ Keep the dough moving and turn regularly It should roll out to about 2mm thick ■ Brush with clarified butter To stretch the dough, the palms should be facing down – if the fingers are pointed up, they would poke through it. Ease the hands under the dough towards the middle. Lift them, pulling them a little apart (in a kind of breaststroke motion) and back towards the edge of the dough. Take them out from under the dough, go round to another side of the table and repeat. Continue to work your way around the table stretching it until the pastry becomes transparent. Experts don’t tend to make holes, but don’t worry if you have the odd tear on yours.

Depending on the size of the table, the fully stretched dough will drop over the edges. Trim the edges of the dough with kitchen scissors. Rest for 15 minutes. Note – the trimmings may be kneaded again and used for extra strudel pastry or, as in Austria, dried and grated into soups.

Suggested wine for Georg Fuch’s Apple Strudel by Christopher Rogers of Falernian Wines To go with this rich and fruity dessert I would choose one of the best dessert wines in the world, a Tokaji from Hungary, in particular the Crown Estates Tokaji Aszú, 5 Puttonyos 2000.

Ingredients for the apple mixture ■ 50g clarified butter ■ 150g breadcrumbs fried in butter ■ 1 heaped teaspoon of cinnamon ■ 600g (prepared weight) apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced ■ 100g sugar (or to taste) ■ 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest ■ 80g rum soaked sultanas or raisins ■ 80g finely chopped walnuts ■ 60ml sour cream ■ Icing sugar

This wine is from the oldest delineated wine region in the world and has a long and proud heritage. Sweet Aszú wines are made using winemaking techniques dating back to the 1630’s. A base wine is made in September from sound grapes. From mid October raisinlike, sugar rich Aszú grapes are hand picked into ‘puttony’ tubs and are lightly crushed. 3, 4, 5 or 6 ‘puttony’ (25 kg) of Aszú grapes are then added per 136 litres of base wine. The wine is then aged in small oak barrels for a minimum of four years and a further nine months in bottle before release.

Making the apple mixture ■ Combine the cinnamon, apples, sugar, lemon zest and sultanas or raisins ■ Sprinkle the fried breadcrumbs over one third of the dough, length only, leaving the edges uncovered ■ Spread the apple over the same area as the breadcrumbs, sprinkle chopped walnut on top ■ Drizzle the sour cream over the fruit To roll the strudel, lift the corners of the tablecloth behind the filled end. Continue to lift it and the pastry will start to roll up like a Swiss roll. Once it has formed a complete cylinder encasing the apple, thicken the ends and transfer to a prepared baking sheet. Brush with clarified butter. Bake in a preheated oven (200°C 220°C) for about 40 minutes until golden brown. Cool slightly and dust with icing sugar before serving. To carve portions, slice on a slant rather than directly across the log. Recipe courtesy of Georg Fuchs of Illtud’s 216, Llantwit Major. Phone 01446 793800 or visit

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It’s an enormously complex wine and is yellow gold in colour with a nose of Seville orange and marmalade with layers of citrus and lime and honeyed fruit and flowers. Searing acidity underlying the intense flavours on the palate, make it ideal for richer dishes.

“Tokaji Aszú - one of the best dessert wines in the world.” .

Apple strudel should be served warm with vanilla sauce or ice cream

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There’s an excitable buzz going around Llantwit Major since Illtud’s 216 unveiled the intimate hidden treasure that is the Chef’s Table. For those of you who wish to enjoy the luxury of totally private and exclusive dining, Illtud’s 216 promise a truly memorable dining experience. Located via a separate entrance and above the restaurant, this intimate dining room can provide for eight people seated and twenty people for a buffet.

The venue is suitable for any special occasion from intimate family gatherings, meetings, corporate events, brainstorming events, cocktail parties, elegant dining and is already a haven for local celebrities looking for a gastronomic affair in total privacy. The Chef’s Table can be booked for breakfast, lunch or dinner.


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The kitchen is in the expert hands of owner Georg Fuchs, formerly Executive Chef of the five star St David’s Hotel in Cardiff. Georg has a passion for fresh, seasonal local produce and strives to support the best local and regional suppliers. Menus can be tailored to meet the personal tastes of diners. Georg is ably assisted by his team which includes wife Einar who ensures that all of the requirements for your event are met. With her expert knowledge, Einar can assist you in the choice of wines to complement and enhance your selected menu. The Chef’s Table is equipped with all that you’d expect from a conference meeting room with broadband internet access, computer, overhead projector, clipboard and even pads and pens!

The venue is suitable for any special occasion from intimate family gatherings, meetings, corporate events, brainstorming events, cocktail parties, elegant dining and is already a haven for local celebrities... ❧ 41 ❧

Illtud’s 216 Church Street, Llantwit Major 01446 793800


Take time out at Tempus Fugit There are so many reasons to like Tempus Fugit Tapas Bar and Restaurant. Could it be the amazing sea view or it might be that it claims, and its clients endorse this claim, that it serves the best pizzas in the world? Did I mention the view? But seriously, where else can you enjoy great, freshly cooked food, accompanied by a glass of fine wine or a chilled bottled beer while you enjoy the sunset from its bar terrace with stunning sea views across Hardy’s Bay and Ogmore by Sea? It really doesn’t get any better. We particularly like the fact that you can watch the chefs cook your pizza and tapas in the open plan kitchen right before your eyes. Tempus Fugit is a magnet for customers from Ogmore by Sea, Bridgend, Cowbridge and Llantwit Major and has regulars as far afield as Cardiff. Now that the cat’s well and truly out of the bag about how fabulous this place is, the phone will be ringing off the hook for reservations.

Be prepared to reserve a table, though as Tempus Fugit is a popular venue and even during mid week it can be fully booked.

Tempus Fugit Tapas Bar & Restaurant Ogmore by Sea Bridgend 01656 880661

So if you’re looking for: Freshly cooked food – check ■ An intimate, cosy atmosphere – check ■ A well thought out, award winning wine list – check and, oh yes, did I mention the view...

Closed Monday 12pm - 3pm Sunday 12pm - 2.30pm Tuesday to Saturday 6pm - 8.30pm Tuesday to Saturday

Tempus ticks all the boxes.


The Star Inn shines so brightly What do you do when you’ve already got a successful restaurant that demands a huge amount of your time and energy? Easy, you open another one! Lisa Linton and partner Shaun Fletcher don’t let the grass grow under their feet. As soon as they heard that The Star in Wick was available, they jumped at the chance to bring what was described many years ago as ‘the place to go for food’ and turned it into a gastro pub providing good quality, reasonably priced food. The Star needed a lot of work to bring it up to standard and with a new kitchen, new electrics, comfy sofas and a real fire, plus complete redecoration, the inn now has an inviting, cosy feel.

The Star is fast becoming a firm favourite for local celebrities wanting a quiet and relaxed ambience, far from the madding crowds so don’t be surprised if you see some familiar faces.

After trying out a couple of chefs who didn’t work out, Shaun took over the helm and they can now chart their success from that point. With Shaun’s passion for high quality dishes using only the best locally sourced produce and Lisa’s almost obsessive knowledge of good wines, they complement each other perfectly.

Their Sunday lunches have to be tasted to be believed and have created a following of their own. Here at Vale Life we can certainly count ourselves amongst The Star’s fans. Shaun and Lisa’s dream of turning The Star into a gastro pub worth driving to, is a successful reality. ❧ 42 ❧

The Star Inn Ewenny Road, Wick CF71 7QA 01656 890519


The Crown at Celtic Manor A chef’s table with direct video link through to the kitchen is the piece de resistance at a thrilling new restaurant which has opened at the exclusive five star Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, host of the 2010 Ryder Cup. The new restaurant marks the forging of a special link between Wales’ top hotel and Wales’s premier restaurant, the Michelin star Crown at Whitebrook, near Monmouth. Executive chef James Sommerin, whose dextrous culinary skills will be among those on screen for the chef’s table diners, has extended his expertise by taking overall charge of the kitchens at both restaurants. James has been appointed Executive Chef for both establishments, The Crown at Whitebrook, where he gained his first Michelin star in 2007 and which he retained this year (2008) and the new restaurant, The Crown at Celtic Manor.

The Crown at Whitebrook Director, Jonathan Davies, said: “There was a real buzz about the place in the lead up to the opening of The Crown at Celtic Manor which is a stunning addition to culinary excellence in Wales. We now invite customers to come and find out why we are so excited at what we have created here at five star Celtic Manor Resort.” The Crown at Celtic Manor has fifty four covers, including the exclusive Chef’s Table. For reservations please telephone 01633 410262

“The quite superb quality and standard of cooking at The Crown at Celtic Manor will be as high as that at The Crown at Whitebrook.”

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f you’re anything like me, you’ll be delighted that winter has gone and Spring is well under way. Not only does it mean longer evenings and the promise of sitting outside with a glass of wine or two but, here at Falernian, it gives us the chance to try a raft of new wines and new vintages of old favourites.

I’m often asked what my personal favourite wine is. It’s impossible to say as there are many things that affect our perception of how good a wine actually is! Your mood, who you’re with, what you’ve eaten and many more all go some way to framing that particular wine or moment in your memory.

There are always some that stand out though and, recently for me, those have been the Two Hands range of wines from Greenock, in the Barossa Valley in Australia. One of their wines, the Two Hands Canny Butcher, has made it into my case but there are many more available to choose from and we supply them exclusively in South Wales. Both the US and UK markets have been blown away by the purity of fruit, concentration and attention to detail that is lavished upon every one of their bottles. With the pick of the best barrels, exceptional fruit and gentle,




Pinot Grigio IGT Delle Venezie Casa Defra 2007 £5.49

JB Adam Pinot Blanc ‘Tradition’ Alsace 2006 £8.99

Cousiño-Macul Antiguas Reservas Chardonnay, Chile 2006 £8.99

I’ve included many of these in my choice of case that perfectly suits this time of year. Everything from light, zingy whites for those warmer days, to big reds full of character and flavour for the occasional chilly night.

The wines of Puglia have never received as much interest as they do now, and it is easy to see where this new found enthusiasm has come from. The wines are powerful and complex, yet easy drinking and have attracted many new converts to Italian wine. A deep, velvety red in colour and enormously attractive on the nose, with aromas of dark, bitter cherry and mature red fruit. The palate has all these flavours and more, with deliciously earthy fruit and a wonderful vein of acidity that prevents the wine from being too heavy or overpowering.

Founded in the 17th Century, the house of JeanBaptiste Adam has a vineous heritage second to none. They use this knowledge to fine effect with this lovely example of Pinot Blanc, expressing all the fresh blossom and peach flavours. Best on its own or as an aperitif, this pure, fruitdriven style is also lovely with warm chicken and bacon salad.

Family owned since 1856, the estate extends to some 267 hectares of vineyards and has attached racing stables. Always at the forefront of quality wine and wine development they are now considered a ‘1st growth’ of Chile. Steeped in history, bottles in the cellars date back to 1927, this forward looking estate has a fantastic reputation worldwide, and after tasting the wine, which is beautifully balanced between fresh melon fruit, gently, toasty oak and lively acidity, you can see why.




Rosso di Puglia San Mario (Negroamaro) 2006 £5.49

Nostros, Reserva Carmenère Chile 2007 £6.99

Cousiño-Macul Antiguas Reservas Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile 2005 £8.99

The wines of Puglia have never received as much interest as they do now, and it is easy to see where this new found enthusiasm has come from. The wines are powerful and complex, yet easy drinking and have attracted many new converts to Italian wine. A deep, velvety red in colour and enormously attractive on the nose, with aromas of dark, bitter cherry and mature red fruit. The palate has all these flavours and more, with deliciously earthy fruit and a wonderful vein of acidity that prevents the wine from being too heavy or overpowering.

Now the wine producers in Chile have got their heads around this old Bordeaux variety they are making some rich and luscious wines. Late picking and the best slopes are crucial top get as much fruit character and complexity as possible. Attractive plum purple in colour with a rich, spicy nose with red and black berry fruits predominating. Medium palate with soft, approachable tannins and lots of sweet berry fruit balancing well with the acidity and a touch of vanilla.

This spectacular wine comes from an estate on the outskirts of Santiago The wine is aged for one year in the best French oak with further ageing in bottle to add complexity and allow the wine time to begin its full expression. Traditional, almost European, in style with excellent blackcurrant and cassis flavours, and subtle toasty oak.

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stylish wine-making this is a tremendously exciting range of wines. Labelling is original, classy and compelling. The wines have been described by Jancis Robinson as “exceptional, densely charming, gently oaked style.” Fragrant, textured, supple and juicily ripe the wines are of fantastic quality. Parker commented on the “near perfect” 98 pt 2002 Ares whilst Matthew Jukes places Two Hands wines in his Top 100 two years in a row. Along with a whole host of other reviews and accolades, these are wines to be taken seriously indeed.

However, no matter how seriously they have to be taken, we must not forget they are made to be drunk and enjoyed!




Zephyr Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough, New Zealand 2007 £9.99

Sancerre, Domaine Crochet Loire, France 2006 £11.99

Santa Rosa Syrah Rosé Argentina 2007 £5.99

After its great write up in the Observer Magazine, demand for this wonderful wine has gone through the roof. Once you’ve tasted it, though, it’s easy to see why. Pale straw in colour in a green hue, this wine has an aroma which is a complex mix of bell pepper, lime and passionfruit with some mineral and floral tones. It is medium bodied with classic varietal flavours that linger on a persistent finish. Fabulous!

Falernian Wines 11 Parc-Y-Bont Brynmenyn Industrial Estate Bridgend CF32 9SZ 01656 755755

Robert and Marie-Solange are descended from two families with long associations with Bué, a village 4km from the town of Sancerre itself and with a great and long standing reputation for producing some of the appellations best wines. A complex, concentrated example of Sancerre with well balanced, crisp gooseberry and blackcurrant fruit overlaid with hints of honey and mineral. The finish is elegant and long with tinges of flint and ripe apple.

Argentina has been described as a sleeping giant for many years now, but they now seem to be coming good on their promise. Santa Rosa is a landmark estate bringing modern technology and fanatical vineyard management to the superb climate and winemaking conditions. A vivid, bright pink with all the ripe, juicy fruit one would expect. Soft, well rounded and amazingly drinkable, this is the perfect accompaniment to long sunny days. Soft red fruits and an inherent spiciness give this wine all round appeal. The acidity is well balanced and finish long and succulent.




Two Hands Canny Butcher Grenache, Australia 2004 £12.99

Brancaia Tre, Podere di Brancaia Tuscany, Italy 2005 £12.99

Skuttlebutt Shiraz/Merlot Rosé Western Australia 2005/06 £8.49

Few producers in Australia can claim to have had the meteoric rise that Two Hands have witnessed. Right from the start, we knew that Two Hands were destined for great things but no-one could have predicted the staggering array of reviews and points that have come their way. Luscious McLaren Vale Grenache with a dash of Shiraz for a little more weight makes a sensuous, silky smooth wine with hoppers full of juicy yet savoury fruit and a brilliantly complex finish.

Tre’s success lies in the careful selection of the fruit in the vineyard. The wine is a blend of Sangiovese (80%) Merlot (10%) and Cabernet (10%) sourced from the estate’s three main vineyard sites in Chianti and Maremma. The blend is then aged for 12 months in second year French oak. The joy of the wine is that it represents a fantastic introduction to the often complex world of Tuscan wines, especially the famed ‘Super-Tuscan’ genre that are usually stratospheric in price and not at all approachable young.

Despite the theory that Australians only ever choose names for their wines when they’ve had a few themselves, this wine is part of the celebrated Stella Bella range from Western Australia. This is a vibrant strawberry filled concoction laden with ripe exotic berry fruits with hints of spice and turkish delight, crisp zingy and enticingly moreish. The perfect summer rosé!

VERITAS ❧ 45 ❧

Continuing our Exposure series, this issue we chat to Kate Barnard of Cowbridge who tells us a little about her life and passion for photography.

EXPOSURE What’s your background? I’ve loved photography for many years and because friends knew of my passion I was constantly asked to take photographs at their weddings or of their children. I am so lucky to have turned my passion into my job I cover weddings, model portfolios and lifestyle portraiture, the latter includes the popular ‘baby and bump’ sessions.

What do you do differently from other wedding photographers? The quality of the bride and grooms experience is paramount and having beautiful pictures taken on your wedding day should be fun and enjoyable. By offering a pre-wedding shoot clients get to know my friendly, efficient way of working, confident they will receive images they love without missing out on their party. Even when we go to a venue I am familiar with, I work hard to ensure the couple have unique, distinctive photographs which are then displayed in a fabulous, modern album.

Trends in wedding photography are very much influenced by the USA, the latest of which is something called ‘Trash the Dress’ where the bride literally trashes her dress! Understandably most brides are reluctant to walk into the sea or rip their designer gown, so I have toned this down to offer the ‘Post-wedding shoot’ which is proving very popular. This gives the bride a chance to wear her dress again after the honeymoon and have a series of images taken that we simply wouldn’t have time for on the wedding day. Beaches, castles, fields, woodland and favourite cafés are popular location choices. This service is free to clients or I offer it at a small charge if I was not the wedding photographer. Any other trends we should be looking out for? Pregnancy photography is very popular at the moment and being a female photographer helps here for obvious reasons! Clients are never asked to do anything they are uncomfortable with and always comment on how good it makes them feel about themselves. This is then followed up with pictures of the new baby in the first year, all in the comfort of your own home.

Do you follow the latest trends? I think it is very important to move with the times. I make regular trips to Annabel Williams for contemporary photographic training. I am also greatly inspired by the work of Damien Lovegrove and Brett Harkness, both of whom I have also trained with.

Tell us about your lifestyle photography. I offer clients a choice as not everyone wants studio photographs. Being outdoors or at home tends to make people more relaxed and the images more natural and individual. I love working outdoors – it can be challenging but very rewarding – and we are certainly spoilt with the variety of locations here in the Vale. ❧ 46 ❧

When is the best time for a lifestyle shoot? Many people think you should wait for the summer, but with deserted beaches, a low winter sun, woolly hats, scarves and children in wellies, we can get some really lovely pictures at this time of year. I am very excited about the bookings I have for families in bluebell woods this spring. Any time is fine if you want something different. What if the weather is bad? The weather in Wales can be difficult, however the only time I had to reschedule last year was in July! The weather is rarely so bad we can’t do photographs at all. I only do one shoot a day. This way I can be flexible on timing and give the client my undivided attention. What is your work motto? Exceed client expectations. What are your plans for 2008? Hopefully moving as I need more workspace and a studio as my business expands. Spring is looking busy with some special offers – see my website for details. For a chance to win a free Lifestyle shoot plus a 16x14 frame why not enter the competition on page 64.

Kate Barnard Photography 01656 890202 Winner in category Child Portraiture for SWPP monthly image competition October 2007.

“...the perfect wedding photographer...” Katherine and Ben, February 2008

Interior Design Sales and Operations Manager, Dawn Llewellyn Jones of Leekes, Llantrisant talks to Vale Life about the job she loves and design trends for this coming season. Dawn, what is your background? My background is predominantly in sales with 12 years experience at Leekes. Before joining the company I worked as a self employed Interior Designer. How long have you been employed at Leekes? I have worked for Leekes for over twelve years and I love my job!

What service do you offer to your customers? The Interior Design Studio provides a personal service which combines design with practical advice. Our design teams are supported by furniture, home textiles, kitchen and bathroom experts and highly trained installation teams for more complex projects. We provide the customer with a comprehensive service, from design to purchase, through to installation. All via one main point of contact.

The service has been designed to assist customers in seeing their home in a different light, providing alternative ideas and solutions to help them bring their homes to life. What are the current trends for spring/summer? The coming season is all about injecting colours more commonly found in your fruit bowl to your interior schemes, so think oranges, lemons, limes and even a touch of kiwi.

LEEKES YOU’RE Why did you choose Leekes as a place of employment? With Leekes being a prosperous family business I felt that they would provide me with good career prospects and a chance for development, which has certainly been the case. After starting my career as an Interior Designer within Leekes at Llantrisant, I am now in charge of the service across all three stores. What does this entail? The key objective within my role is to develop the interior design service across all three branches. Alongside that I am responsible for managing project procedures to ensure that residential and commercial sales and objectives are successfully fulfilled and identifying key business sectors where we can develop successful commercial relationships. � 48 �

“Accessorising is the key to this year’s trends.”

HOME The trend is perfect for reviving your monochrome themes, the bright colours will brighten up any classic black and white décor.

Those popular plums and aubergines that made an appearance in last season’s designs will remain evident this year but in a much more exuberant and dramatic way. Accessorising is the key to this year’s trends, add extravagant gilt framed mirrors and picture frames to give a touch of glamour and style.

Leekes Llantrisant Cowbridge Road, Pontyclun CF72 8XU 01443 667350 Call 0800 970 9162 or a copy of Leekes’ latest brochure.

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What five items of furniture and/or accessories would be on your must have list this season and why? 1. Kylie Minogue’s bed linen collection is to die for, beautiful designs in luxurious fabrics. 2. Rotpunkt kitchens which is a collection new to Leekes. Rotpunkt combine great creative colour choices, such as fuchsias and lime greens with innovative features and finishes for something completely different. 3. The Kohler Sok overflowing bath is a must have for the hard working woman! 4. Handmade, bespoke tiebacks from Margam Jones, a multitude of colours, textures and designs are available for you to choose from. 5. My Weber outdoor kitchen, a barbecue that I use all year round!

There’s never been a better time just to be you and enjoy your home. Wendy Darke, designer at Design Inspiration in Pontyclun tells us...


❧ 50 ❧

Spring has Sprung, the daffodils are bouncing their golden heads in the breeze and the nights are drawing out. The garden is starting to come to life with colour slowly seeping back into it after the seemingly endless, dark, cold and grey days of Winter. Want to know the good news? There has never been a better time just to be you and enjoy your home, expressing your own style and individuality.

GOES... Break free, banish the bland browns and creams and add bold colour and design. Basically anything goes but for those of you who want to be led, rather than lead, the designers from the top manufactures have put together exciting new collections of wall coverings and fabrics. From the delicately drawn florals in muted, soft tone colour combinations, through to the bolder, uncompromising jungle/tropic designs that add ‘blocks of colour’ and feature prints, these move the fashion for ‘feature wall’ to the window for a much more modern and contemporary look. Colour combinations introduce charcoals, lime and kingfisher blue for a luscious palette, whilst chartreuse teamed with anthracite, cardinal red with slate, fuchsia, aubergine and bitter chocolate are all evident as the hot new acid bright colours to have. Stunning looks can be created using the opulent textures available to create an indulgent, tactile and glamorous feel such as metallic flock wallpapers which shimmer and shine, printed silks and taffetas embroidered with beads, deep figured chenille’s along with soft dense velvets, linens and lavish accessories, such as trims and tiebacks with beads, crystals and feathers. Colours are rich and exotic - teals, stones, scarlet, fuchsia and charcoal will lead the way. As was popular last year the influence of ‘Retro Chic’ which has striking comparisons to the 50’s and 60’s will continue to be apparent, comprising strong colours and bold geometric designs. Pattern mixed with pattern will be the order of the day - not for the faint hearted!

We happily live with an eclectic mix by blending old and new - chrome based swivel chairs upholstered in a woven, geometric design may sit with a more traditional sofa. French hand painted furniture and mirrored cabinets look comfortable with striking wall coverings, teamed with luxurious textures such as moleskin velvets and embroidered or printed silks. Walls take on a completely new light by decorating two, three or even perhaps all the walls! You may wish to surround yourself with luxury and the colours borrowed from Mother Nature’s exotic side. Organic natural forms will be prevalent such as tailing leaf designs blended with wool, mohair or linens, whilst there are touches of glitz in the form of gilt metallics. We’re seeking harmony, comfort and stability from our surroundings and the choice available has never been so vast. If you’re thinking of updating your home, the helping hand of an interior designer can be essential at this time. They will help to guide you through the thousands of products available and this is more important than ever, with so much colour and design you can so easily make an expensive mistake. A designer can help you tailor the look and give your home that individual style that you desire, creating sympathetic decor to suit your taste, whilst reflecting the current trends and times in which we live. They can bring a modern feel utilising fashionable, bold colours and designs into a period property, whilst retaining the original features. Similarly, a modern apartment can benefit from some more period pieces, for example, a traditional chair covered in a bold modern fabric can be made to look simply stunning. As for 2009, trends will move forward with bolder colour and the emphasis firmly on inspirational design. So, if you’re thinking about updating your home this season, aim to have fun and more importantly, remember that anything goes! Design Inspiration 77 Llantrisant Road, Pontyclun Rhondda Cynon Taff 01443 449955 Open Mon - Sat 9.30am - 5.30pm By mentioning this feature, Design Inspiration is offering an exclusive 10% discount to Vale Life readers on made to measure furnishings. No other offer applies/expires 31 May 2008.

Trends will move forward with bolder colour... ❧ 51 ❧

Room for Living in Cowbridge has built a fine reputation for offering kitchens for the discerning customer. Mike McNabb introduces us to their new Miele range. The company has now added the outstanding kitchen and appliance manufacturer Miele as its flagship product and is proud to be the only Miele dealership in Wales. Congratulations on acquiring the Miele dealership. Thank you. We are absolutely delighted. We pride ourselves on being able to supply quality and affordable kitchens and being able to offer Miele kitchens and appliances, along with our other brands, will really set us apart from other suppliers. How did that come about? We had several meetings with representatives from Miele at Room for Living and we visited their headquarters in Germany. We were completely blown away by the scale of Miele’s operations. Their floorspace is easily three times the size of Cowbridge. Miele’s representatives were very impressed with our showroom and our philosophy to the business and I believe that’s the main reason we got the contract.

Can you explain more about Miele and their philosophy? Miele is a German manufacturer of high quality domestic appliances and commercial equipment. It was founded in 1899 by Carl Miele and Reinhard Zinkann and has always been a familyowned, family-run company. Since the beginning, the Miele motto has been ‘Immer Besser’ or ‘Forever Better’ and this philosophy is still reflected in the legendary quality and longevity of the products. They pride themselves on having the best products with unsurpassed quality that really set out the Miele difference. What do you think sets their kitchens and appliances apart from the rest? Miele have been leading the market for 100 years and consistently comes out on top when tested independently in many products categories. They produced the first ever electric dishwasher, the first ever fully automatic washing machine, and the first ever washing machine, tumble dryer and dishwasher to be controlled by microprocessors.


“They pride themselves on having the best products with unsurpassed quality that really set out the Miele difference.”

L Due to their high design life, Miele products don’t need replacing as often as many other types of appliances. They also care for the environment as all of their products lead the market for energy and water efficiency. It’s really all about quality and reliability in that all of their products are designed to last twenty years and are subjected to rigorous endurance testing during development. Every product goes through an end line test before passing quality control and many of their products are then randomly checked against further quality criteria. I’ve heard that Miele are big on design and innovation. Is that so? Absolutely, their designs are mostly contemporary and very stylish.

They have invested in technology to make complete carcasses. We don’t offer flat packed kitchens at Room for Living and that aspect particularly appealed to us. That and the attention to detail such as touch drawers and special lighting effects. Miele’s kitchens reflect what we’ve always strived to offer at Room for Living which is the concept that the kitchen is the centre of any household. It’s far more than the place where you cook. It’s more a place to eat, relax and entertain. It’s a room for living! Who are your typical customers? We have local customers and also customers from further afield such as London, Lampeter, Llandeilo, Abereiron and Tenby. They might live in a barn conversion or a more contemporary home. ❧ 53 ❧

Do they have their own design ideas or can you help in that area? Some have a good idea of what they want but we offer free design as part of the Room for Living service. We also have the expertise to re-design the layout of a customer’s kitchen which might include knocking down walls, re-tiling and underfloor heating. With Miele’s motto of ‘Forever Better’ and ours of ‘Exceeding Excellence’, we have a winning formula. Room For Living Willow Walk, Cowbridge Vale of Glamorgan CF71 7EE 01446 771234 email

The prestigious and luxury development of Waters Edge on The Knap, Barry has opened the doors of its exclusive new show apartment in the Vale of Glamorgan. Leading property advisers Savills have teamed up with agents Knights in Barry, and will be responsible for selling the remaining twenty coastal apartments that make up the exclusive and highly desirable development by The Knap, Barry LLP and Icon Developments Limited. The designer two-bedroom, twobathroom show apartment boasts enviable views across the Bristol Channel from a large, private balcony. The development itself has a mix of one, two and three bedroom apartments set in an iconic, art deco style building in the exclusive area of The Knap.

“Some of the apartments have their own balcony or roof terrace with views over the magnificent coastline and its cliffs, which only add to the appeal. We think the development will be a huge hit with those looking for a second home in particular as the location is so striking and will be especially nice in the summer months.” Angela Fulgoni Williams of Knights estate agents in Barry said, “This is a particularly exciting development to be selling. These are amongst the most desirable homes in Barry and there will be a lot of interest. We are looking forward to working as a team with Savills to sell all the remaining homes as quickly as possible.”

Lisa Howells is Head of New Homes at Savills in Cardiff. She said, “High specification homes like these, in an extraordinary location like The Knap are hard to come by, so we are anticipating a very high level of interest in these apartments.”

LIVING AT These are amongst the most desirable homes in Barry and there will be a lot of interest. ❧ 54 ❧

THE Michael Fitzgibbon from Icon Developments Limited said, “Barry’s history has always revolved around the waterfront. In fact, the Romans are thought to have built a supply depot near The Knap for their Bristol Channel fleet. As a seaside town, the waterfront is the life blood of Barry with everything from Barry Island Pleasure Beach to Barry Yacht Club being firm favourites, not just with the locals but for miles around. Waters Edge at The Knap will keep Barry’s strong bond with the waterfront alive and ensure that more people can enjoy the stunning scenery that Barry has to offer from their own homes. It’s a very exciting project.”


“As a seaside town, the waterfront is the life blood of Barry with everything from Barry Island Pleasure Beach to Barry Yacht Club.” Prices Prices for Waters Edge start at £139,950 for a one bedroom apartment. Two bedroom apartments range from £224,950 to £400,500. Three bedroom apartments start at £249,995. All will have secure parking. Viewings at Waters Edge are strictly by appointment only.

“Waters Edge at The Knap will keep Barry’s strong bond with the waterfront alive.” ❧ 55 ❧

For more information about Waters Edge, please call Lisa Howells at Savills on 02920 368931 or email Savills Cardiff is located at 12 Windsor Place, Cardiff. Alternatively call Angela Fulgoni Williams at Knights on 01446 709933 or email

Brocastle Manor’s exclusive development of luxury apartments and houses offers superior accommodation for those with time to enjoy life.


Brocastle Manor combines the highest specification in design with beautiful surroundings and a unique standard of living. Specifically designed for discerning homebuyers aged 55 and over, owning an apartment or house at Brocastle Manor gives you the freedom and independence to make the most of life but with the peace of mind of added security features and discreet personal assistance available should you need it.


Location, location

Time for you

Brocastle is steeped in history and this exquisite new development tastefully combines the Estate’s rich and distinguished past with everything you need for secure, luxurious and independent living.

Just ten minutes outside the historic and picturesque town of Cowbridge, thirty minutes from Cardiff and Swansea, and 90 minutes from Bristol, Brocastle Manor is an ideal location for those with a passion for life.

As if its beautiful setting in one of Wales’ historic gardens and convenient location were not enough, Brocastle Manor boasts a superb range of unique on-site facilities which means that everything is to hand to pamper yourself or to enjoy a regular exercise routine.

Set within the beautiful grounds of the historic Brocastle Estate, Brocastle Manor offers unrivalled access to the Vale of Glamorgan, the Heritage Coast and local rail, air and road transport links. Whether it’s a round of golf at one of the nearby clubs, dining with friends in Cowbridge or enjoying the breathtaking views and peaceful setting, owning a home at Brocastle Manor is an enviable way of life. ❧ 56 ❧

Brocastle Manor combines the highest specification in design with beautiful surroundings and a unique standard of living.



Peace of mind

Easy access

Freedom and independence is guaranteed but with the added reassurance of knowing that when you’re out and about or settled in at night, your home will be safe and secure. Every house and apartment is fitted with measures to ensure your safety and peace of mind.

Brocastle Manor is situated on the A48 between Cowbridge and Bridgend and just a short drive from Junction 35 of the M4.

The price of quality From £175,000 for a 1 bedroomed flat to £295,000 for a 3 bedroomed house.

Superior style Comprising one, two and three bedroom apartments and three bedroom houses, Brocastle Manor retains its history with beautifully designed accommodation in the listed farm buildings and the exquisite new homes reflecting the architectural standards of this historic estate. ❧ 57 ❧

Enquiries welcome Brocastle Manor In association with

Watts & Morgan 01446 773500

Deborah Cox is a down to earth interior designer specialising in soft furnishings. Originally hailing from Herefordshire, she recently moved from London to Cowbridge - the countryside was calling! Where is your business based? I run my business from home in Cowbridge but I’m no stranger to travelling around the UK. Recent projects range from a barn conversion in West Sussex to a hotel in Shropshire. The variety of projects and locations keep me on my toes and makes sure I tailor my way of working to each individual client. Who are your clients? All sorts! People’s spaces are so personal and individual it’s impossible to categorise my clients. But I’d say they range from people who know what they want but need support executing their ideas to people who need the full brainstorming process to uncover their style.

What does the process involve? Initiall, an informal visit at your home. This is an opportunity to meet and discuss your tastes, requirements and also timescales. We discuss fees and, if deemed appropriate, I’ll take photos and book a full consultation. On the second visit we’ll go into more depth with sample books and talk through ideas for each room being designed. The process is very much about working with the client to achieve their ideas. I then source samples, complete a detailed estimate and create mood boards if required followed up with a phonecall or meeting to discuss the best way to bring the scheme to life.

How long have you been doing what you do? I spent five years with the Laura Ashley design service as an interior designer and a further two years as a freelancer working from London. Do you have any formal training? Following my art degree I completed a correspondence course and then went through vocational training at Laura Ashley starting as a design assistant – on the job training makes you think fast and learn from mistakes early on! What are the benefits of using a designer such as yourself? My experience helps bring ideas to life without the risk of expensive mistakes. Also, the ideas in our minds often don’t translate into the space we have available. I’m able to offer realistic solutions for your project and new ideas to inspire confidence in the use of colour and textures. I take into consideration timescales and budgets – basically I’m here to take the stress out of something that should be an enjoyable experience.

DOWN TO ❧ 58 ❧

“We moved into our converted barn four years ago and soon realised that the place needed a total makeover. Debs came to our rescue and gave us ideas that not only suited our taste but also the atmosphere of the barn. I must say, she made the whole experience very enjoyable and the makeover went like clockwork.” J Francis, West Sussex

EARTH ❧ 59 ❧

Cox Ambrey Design 07730 504870

Fonmon Castle welcomes the Rare Plants Fair to the Vale of Glamorgan.

THE FAIREST OF THE RARE Fonmon Castle was originally built around 1180 and it must be presumed that some form of garden was commenced from that time to help supplement the diet of the owners, their families and staff. However no early records remain of anything close in to the main building. Further out it is clear that the orchard was more extensive than it is today and beyond the paddocks for the domestic animals was an area for ‘harvesting’ rabbits. Earlier called the Coneygrye, it now survives, as do the rabbits, as a field named the Cernacre. The Castle itself had a wall curtilage extending to some acres which is supposed to have been for the protection of the animals and possessions of the local villagers during times of what was politely called ‘unrest’ - this normally meant the local Welsh rebelling against their Norman French rulers. Today, this forms the primary boundary of the gardens although it is not always obvious where the original edges ran owing to 17th, 18th and 19th Century alterations. The prime changes came in the 18th Century when the Castle itself was remodelled by Robert Jones III the great, great, great, great grandfather of the present owner Sir Brooke Boothby. Robert III’s changes between 1760 to 1790 left the gardens much as they are today with the one major exception being that the approach drive was moved around 1870 from the South to the West.

Therefore, today a visitor comes over the bridge crossing the modern Cardiff airport bypass to find, firstly an area of large trees acting as a protective screen from the prevailing Westerly winds. The trees are interspersed with shrubs to provide glimpses of the Castle, stables and gardens to the East. After parking, the route to the Castle passes by the old well head and through the 1870 gap in the walls. The driveway to the front door bisects the gardens into North and South. On the South side three herbaceous borders run around the stable block, itself an 18th Century conversion from the old tithe barn. Various large shrubs are interspaced with roses and climbers running up the walls. Beyond is a lightly planted area mostly of specimen trees, which used to be the old grass tennis court. Then to the South East lies the Watch Tower with the remains of the old walls flanking it and a small grass border to the North. Further North lies the Dell garden which holds typical plants such as gunnera, a collection of ferns, bamboo and bulbs. A pale Metasequoia Glyptostroides contrasts with the enormous copper beech overhanging from the upper terrace. The top of the Dell is planted with small borders backed with climbing roses and leads round to the copper beech. This exceptional specimen is thought to have been planted in about 1815 and, effectively, sits in a giant pot comprising buttressed walls on three sides and the edge of the limestone underlying the lawns on the fourth. From the copper beech a border leads back to the South front of the Castle, again with herbaceous and shrub planting. The Castle itself is partially covered by virginia creeper planted before 1900 and making a spectacular crimson sheet in Autumn. Just to the West of the South wing is a century old Garrya Elliptica, which offers fine catkins up to 30 centimetres long in early Spring. ❧ 60 ❧

The North lawn is flanked by further borders and a small shrubbery. One border is largely given over to hardy fuchsias, Clara, Lady Boothby - Sir Brooke’s grandmother being the founder President of the British Fuchsia Society (1938). Through a gate in the wall backing the fuchsia border is an intimate small walled garden with a wide variety of shrubs and an old sundial. From the North West corner of this garden a door leads through to the Scented Garden with its small summerhouse and another sundial of a different style. From the scented garden another door leads into the larger Walled Garden with a Herb Garden on the right behind a fine beech hedge. This garden is mostly given over to fruit and vegetable production and is believed to be the largest fully functioning kitchen garden in Glamorgan. A small iron gate in the North wall leads out to the orchard area beyond and a level track can be followed past the bees, through the beech grove and back across the Cernacre and the Forty Acre fields (the latter once know as the ‘Lord’s Denmesne’). Almost all the areas described are accessible by wheelchair with the Dell garden requiring some skilled ‘driving’ (although it can be seen more safely from above). Other parts require crossing grass which may be a problem in wet weather. In total there are over 1,000 cultivars in the gardens and they provide a softer and prettier counterpoint to the rectangular grey Castle and the formal lawns. There is something to enjoy at almost all times of the year, with the best periods being from April to September when the gardens are open to the public every Tuesday and Wednesday from 12 noon to 5pm. Castle tours Castle tours are available at 2pm, 3pm and 4pm on the same days.

Fifteen nurseries will be present at Fonmon this year. Come to Fonmon and have a day to remember! FONMON

Fonmon Castle Rare Plants Fair Sunday May 4th 2008 10am – 4pm

Rare Plants Fair is a company of Nurserymen and Growers who are passionate about the plants they grow. From the smallest Alpine plants to the giant Redwood trees, they have nurseries in their ‘stable’ who can advise you on any aspect of the plants you see at any of the Plant Fairs they organise. Crucial questions like position, preferred soil type, hardiness, sun versus shade are questions they deal with every day. Given a common name, they’ll give you the Latin – that’s not showing off – that’s called in-depth knowledge! ❧ 61 ❧

You can’t meet them in shops or Garden Centres – they’re too busy doing the growing, but every year they arrange to travel to various locations around the country and bring along a selection of plants that represent their individual passion. Fifteen nurseries will be present at Fonmon this year. Come to Fonmon and have a day to remember! Entrance £4. Bar, Teas and Sandwiches Available. For information call 0845 4681368. Please follow signs to Plant Fair or Castle. Please do not approach via Fonmon Village. Fonmon Castle Fonmon, Nr Barry Vale of Glamorgan CF62 3ZN Tel 01446 710206 Fax 01446 711687

CARP Richard Bennewith, an enthusiastic angler from Llantrisant has breathed new life into one of Cardiff’s lakes by opening it as a first-class fishery for the South Wales angling community. Lamby Lake is an exceptional new coarse fishery situated in Parc Tredelerch, near Rumney, Cardiff. It has opened its gates for the first time as a fishery under the new management of Richard Bennewith. Since its inception, the lake has been inundated with applications for membership from anglers who are eager to fish at Lamby. “To say I’m delighted with the initial interest in Lamby is an understatement,” explained Richard, who has been a keen fisherman for over twenty years. “Lamby is an exceptional lake and has all the features a fisherman is looking for. It is an idyllic location with a superb fishing stock, which is growing year on year.” The thirty year old web designer, based at Llantrisant’s popular Model House Craft and Design Centre, added that the support of the local community had been a major help in establishing the lake in its present form.

Richard Bennewith

“Residents and anglers have a great sense of pride in Lamby Lake. Since it opened they have been vigilant in ensuring it is maintained as a beautiful parkland and protecting the varied wildlife. This, coupled with the highquality angling offered at the lake, will undoubtedly make Lamby one of the premier coarse fisheries in the country.” Cardiff City Council were the driving force behind establishing the lake and park in 2001 but only now, thanks to the hard work of local anglers in the surrounding community, has it been recognised as an ideal location for fishing. Dug from an old river bed, leading from Rumney estuary, Lamby Lake is rich in plant and animal life, with high quality water and an excellent existing fish stock who are spawning happily. Wildlife enthusiasts have eagerly monitored the varied species now residing in Lamby, as part of the Cardiff Biodiversity Action Forum who have already identified many rare birds and insect life in the area. The ten acre lake is fast becoming known as one of the top coarse fisheries in the country thanks to the tireless efforts of Richard and his team of local anglers. One of the first major projects undertaken by the team was to bring in more aquatic plants, stock additional fish and control the bankside vegetation and weed growth. ❧ 62 ❧

The lake was stocked soon after it was dug in 2001 and has already produced many excellent specimen fish including golden rudd, tench and perch and some carp which have already grown amazingly well and are now some of the largest in the country. For more information contact Richard Bennewith Fisheries Manager 07878 831 048

LIFE! Peter Lyons, one of Lamby’s bailiffs with his capture of a massive 36lb common carp from Lamby Lake.

This issue we bring you a range of competitions with something to suit everyone!








A colour consultation worth £250

Lifestyle Shoot with Kate Barnard

Here’s your opportunity to win a colour analysis and make up consultation with Sue Brown of Total Image and Suzanne Jaya, Fashion Stylist.

Win a free Lifestyle Shoot worth £75 and a free 16” x 14” frame worth £145 by Kate Barnard.



G L A M O R G A N ’S P R E M I E R L I F E S T Y L E M A G A Z I N E






Sue will help you to project the right image for both business and personal success. Also on offer is a wardrobe workout with Suzanne Jaya, Fashion Stylist. Suzanne will look through your wardrobe to see what doesn’t work for you, what does work for you, and put outfits together using what you already have. She will also advise on what styles to look out for when you next hit the shops. See page 119 for more. To be in with a chance of winning, just answer the question in the box below and either post your entry to: Colour Consultation Competition, Vale Life, Cardiff House, Cardiff Road, Vale of Glamorgan CF63 2AW. Or email your answer and contact details to Please type Colour Consultation as the title for your email.

Kate is a photographer from Cowbridge who goes the extra mile with her clients to ensure they get exactly what they want from a photoshoot. Please see the article on page 46 or visit www.kate to see the quality of Kate’s work. To be in with a chance of winning, just answer the question in the box below and either post your entry to: Lifestyle Shoot Competition, Vale Life, Cardiff House, Cardiff Road, Vale of Glamorgan CF63 2AW. Or email your answer and contact details to Please type Lifestyle Shoot as the title for your email.




Q U A I N T WAY S S A L LY TA R LT O N Llantwit Major


Who did Suzanne and Sue make over?


Where does Kate Barnard live?



Come on Vale Life readers. You have every chance of winning one of these fantastic prizes just like the lucky winners above.

Name Address

Name Address

All competition entries must be received by July 1st 2008. Winners will be notified within 14 days and prize must be taken by September 1st 2008.

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Go for it!

If you do not wish to receive details of products and services from Vale Life or other companies, please tick the box provided.

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If you do not wish to receive details of products and services from Vale Life or other companies, please tick the box provided.

WIN! WIN! WIN! A recording session at Space Studios worth £120

A head to toe makeover worth over £250

A new logo for your business worth £500

A Space Experience voucher gives you two hours’ recording time at Space Studios in Cardiff to do with as you please! How about singing two of your favourite songs to backing tracks (provided), or recording a bedtime story for your little one?

If you want to make the right impression within the first 30 seconds of meeting someone, then this is the competition for you.

The theme of this issue of Vale Life is about image. If your company logo is looking a bit tired, then here’s your chance to give it a much needed makeover.

The voucher consists of a DVD-style case with blank CD inside which will have your final recording put on at the end of your session. See page 119 for more. To be in with a chance of winning, just answer the question in the box below and either post your entry to: Space Studios Competition, Vale Life, Cardiff House, Cardiff Road, Vale of Glamorgan CF63 2AW. Or email your answer and contact details to Please type Space Studios as the title for your email.

Gail Foley is offering a head to toe makeover with colour analysis, a style session and make up. You’ll also get a free lipstick and pashmina or a top in the right colour to suit you. See page 66 for more. Gail is offering 25% discount to anyone who books a consultation and presents a copy of Vale Life magazine or quotes the magic words, “I’m not shallow, cold and hard” when they book! To be in with a chance of winning, just answer the question in the box below and either post your entry to: Gail Foley Competition, Vale Life, Cardiff House, Cardiff Road, Vale of Glamorgan CF63 2AW. Or email your answer and contact details to Please type Gail Foley as the title for your email.

Below are some examples of Commedia’s logo design and branding work. See page 108 for more. To be in with a chance of winning, just answer the question in the box below and either post your entry to: Commedia Competition, Vale Life, Cardiff House, Cardiff Road, Vale of Glamorgan CF63 2AW. Or email your answer and contact details to Please type Commedia as the title for your email.



What happened to Jessica's eyebrows?


What was Gail Foley’s profession previously?


Where is Commedia based?




Name Address

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Name Address

Postcode Phone Email

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If you do not wish to receive details of products and services from Vale Life or other companies, please tick the box provided.

If you do not wish to receive details of products and services from Vale Life or other companies, please tick the box provided.

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If you do not wish to receive details of products and services from Vale Life or other companies, please tick the box provided.


Marvellous makeovers and gorgeous spring fashions VA L E W I D E

Dynamic duo set the style Suzanne Jaya and Sue Brown run their own successful businesses but come to together to work with clients requiring a complete makeover. They have recently worked with Jessica Morgan, Managing Director of Space Studios. Jessica had found it difficult to find the balance between wearing casual and professional attire. Her challenge to Suzanne and Sue was to transform her, so that she could present a more business-like image without compromising her need to look creative and approachable. The style duo met with Jessica for an initial consultation to discover her thoughts for the ‘new look’ which had to suit her lifestyle, career, body shape and style preference.

The transformation process started with a Wardrobe Workout and style session with Suzanne, who helped Jessica to review her wardrobe, assess her body proportions and part with items that were unflattering. Suzanne then created a capsule wardrobe to help kick-start Jessica’s new image. Later, Jessica’s waist-length hair was given the 5-star treatment by Alexis Williams from Blu Hair Design in Penarth. Alexis created a versatile look to meet Jessica’s needs as a business woman combined with her creative activities in the music industry and her social life.

“Jessica needs to be able to look professional yet jazz up her hair for the evening. We went for a free style, deep conditioning treatment and added this season’s colours of cool and warm metallic tones which blend together to add texture. The overall look is carefree yet polished”, commented Alexis regarding the makeover.

Next on the list was an express trip to Dee Dinaz for eyebrow threading to groom and give definition to Jessica’s eyes. Sue then identified suitable colours for clothes and make-up to compliment Jessica’s skin tone, hair and eyes. Jessica received a full colour analysis, application of make-up and some hot tips to try at home. Last, but not least, Suzanne, Sue and Jessica hit the High Street to shop for new clothes to complement Jessica’s existing wardrobe and to create the new, gorgeous, look for her. If you would like to book one of the services featured here contact: Suzanne Jaya 01443 229296 or 07833 780006 Sue Brown 07910 924 029 Alexis Williams 029 2070 4040 Dee Dinaz 029 2021 9650 There’s more info on page 119. Win a Makeover on page 64.

For those of you who don’t know Gail, she was a social affairs correspondent for the BBC for many years. After moving on, she now combines media training, PR, and TV presenter training, as well as radio broadcasting with her colour analysis consultancy, giving clients invaluable advice on how to dress to impress. Gail says, “I wished I’d had this kind of advice when I was a BBC journalist.” ❧ 66 ❧


There’s more info online. Visit

It’s time to dash to Pebble We found a great little boutique and wanted to share it with you. Tell us about Pebble Pebble stocks lifestyle clothing for men and women. We have two shops one in Cowbridge and one In Mumbles. Who are your customers? Our customers love ‘attention to detail’ in their clothing. Our male and female customers range in age from anything from 18 to 65+ years old. What brands do you stock? We stock White Stuff, Fornarina, Odd Molly, French Connection, Duck & Cover, Ottitude, Full Circle, Gas and Ichi. We also stock handmade jewellery and vintage bags. What do you think is special about your business? Pebble feels like the customer’s own walk in wardrobe, with something to suit any occasion. Some of Fornarinas’ designs are pretty outrageous and, in contrast, Ottitude is a sophisticated eveningwear brand while White Stuff is a safe weekend wear brand. VA L E W I D E

Colour me beautiful with Gail Foley When you meet someone for the first time you have only 30 seconds to make a lasting impression. It’s important therefore to get your look just right! I met Gail Foley at a networking event and although I think, and Gail agreed, that I dress quite well in the right colours, she suggested I pay her a visit to see how I could further improve my look. Always up for a challenge, I took her up on her offer. I met Gail at her home and was immediately put at ease. Over a cup of coffee, Gail ran through what she planned to cover. We began with Colour Analysis which consisted of laying scarves covering all of the colour palette to assess which colours suited me. Ordinarily, I would go for colours that I like rather than those that suit my skintone. The first thing I learned that day was that I suit khaki – not a colour that I would go for, but yes, I have to admit it worked well against my skin. We then went on to establish which colours worked for me and which ones worked against me.

We search high and low for brands that offer beautiful clothing that our customers will adore. We stock handmade items, in particular glass jewellery by Tanya Harris and vintage bags by UpSticks Boutique. We also stock local designers, In particular, our Bobbi bags and interiors range are made of recycled fabric. We stock SeaSalt an organic cotton range based in Cornwall. We have a seamstress that we use to tailor items such as jean leg lengths. We also stock Odd Molly which is such a sought after Scandinavian label that we have people ringing up from all over the UK searching for particular items, that we then post to them.

Pebble 5 Townhall Square Cowbridge CF71 7DD 01446 772127

73 Newton Road Mumbles SA3 4BL 01792 362366

Gail had already worked out that I was a ‘deep, warm and soft’ (sounds a lot better than shallow, cold and hard!) so instantly knew which colours suited me but the scarf test was more for my benefit really. We then discussed style. I had already got an idea of how I wanted to look. I’ve always been a bit of a tomboy and decided I wanted a more sensual look á la Dita Von Teese. I didn’t think I could pull this off but Gail assured me I could with pencil skirts and polka dot blouses. And so to make-up, where Gail suggested a gold/green eyeshadow but with a fairly dark lip colour. I always thought that as you get older, lips get thinner and a darker colour emphasised this. Fortunately my lips have not yet succumbed to the ageing process! I’m of the opinion that we’re never too old to learn new tricks and Gail gave me quite a few new ideas to consider. Gail Foley Mobile 07885 254 436 0845 087 3290

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You could win a Colour Me Beautiful consultation with Gail Foley. Please see page 65 for details on how to enter.

Juli Beynon continues to keep up with current trends by stocking the stylish Love boots made popular by A List celeb Sienna Miller... but there’s even more to love about Blushbaby.

LOVE BOOTS? LOVE BLUSHBABY! I would have to choose a pair of the Spring/Summer Strutt Couture shoe collection as a must-have this season too. The colours are strong and vibrant, fushia pink and electric blue with some snakeskin thrown in! There’s a definite Japanese influence to the styles too.

Please remind us which brands you stock at Blushbaby We stock denim by Rock and Republic, Wheels and Dollbaby, Strutt Couture, dVb by Victoria Beckham, Milly Moy, 1921 jeans, Robbie French , Jewellery by Babette Wasserman and gorgeous sheepskin boots by Love from Australia.

Victoria Beckham in the new style skinny flare

Have you got some exciting pieces in for spring and summer? We have some beautiful new dresses in for Spring and Summer by Milly Moy, lots of gorgeous colours and prints very unique. Ideal for times when you just don’t want to run the risk of arriving at a wedding or party wearing the same as someone else!

Can you tell us a little bit about the Love boots? We’ve just started stocking a gorgeous collection of hand crafted sheepskin boots by Love from Australia. I tried to buy a pair for myself last year, but they were sold out everywhere because Sienna Miller had been photographed out and about wearing a pair a month before. Since we’ve been selling them here at Blushbaby, the response from customers have been overwhelming. They continue to be massively popular, even into to the summer months when they can be worn with a mini skirt or shorts as well as over jeans.

Finally, I would choose a piece from the Babette Wasserman jewellery collection, which are great for completing any outfit. The new collection includes some gorgeous tudor cross necklaces, chunky amethyst rings, and beautiful stud earrings made using swarovski crystals. All the collections that are available in store at Blushbaby is also available to buy at our online boutique

Apart from the Love boots, what other four items are your musthaves for spring and summer. We’ve had a gorgeous collection of denim from dVb by Victoria Beckham this season, including some vintage wash pieces, white denim, capri pants, skinny flares and now also introducing some Swarovski crystals on the dVb star logo, which is going to be very stong for next season too. Any denim from the dVb collection is an absolute must for this year, and there’s plenty to choose from. The Wheels and Dollbaby collection has some cute vests and t-shirts that would look great with the dVb denim this summer. ❧ 68 ❧

Blushbaby 64b Eastgate, Cowbridge CF71 7AB 01446 771774

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Llantwit Major has a reputation for being pretty laid back. One of the reasons may be due, in no small part, to a wonderful salon on East Street that goes by the name of...

SUN KISSED! Vicki – what’s your background? I have lived in Llantwit since the age of six, attending Ham Lane Primary school and Llantwit Major Comprehensive. I moved to Cardiff in my twenties for a few years but Llantwit has a funny way of drawing you back home and I returned with my husband and young daughter. Eighteen months after opening Sunkissed my second daughter was born – it was a pretty hectic time! When did you set up Sunkissed? February, 2005 Why did you set it up? My husband thought I needed a challenge! Why did you choose Llantwit Major as the venue? Having lived in Llantwit for most of my life, it was great to have the opportunity to open a business in an area where a lot of my friends and family still live. Knowing Llantwit, I knew that it exuded friendliness, warmth and a lack of pretentiousness that I knew would be vital to the success of my business. Are all your staff local? Yes, mostly. How many staff do you employ? Six.

What services do you offer? A full range of beauty and tanning treatments. Dermalogica facials, massage (aromatherapy and Swedish), hot stone massage, Indian head massage, Hopi ear candles, reflexology, thermal body treatments i.e. wraps and full body exfoliations, injectable antiwrinkle treatments, dermal fillers, spray tanning, pedicures, manicures, nail enhancements, pamper packages, ear piercing, waxing, tinting and sunbeds. In other words, there aren’t many treatments that we don’t offer! I really think it’s important to give our clients as much choice as possible. Adjacent to Sunkissed we also have a gentleman’s barbers called ‘Nutz’ that we opened eighteen months ago. Are your staff fully trained? All our therapists are fully qualified and experienced in all aspects of beauty. Every member of staff is also fully trained with Dermalogica at The International Dermal Institute. We believe that product knowledge is an essential part of our service. What products do you offer? Dermalogica, Creative, Orly and Su-Do are our main products. Dermalogica specialises in face mapping, which prescribes the individual client with the exact products to suit their skin type. All staff have attend the training at ❧ 70 ❧

The International Dermal Institute; we also receive regular in-house training from our Dermalogica Representative, who keeps us up-dated on new products and market trends etc. What are your specialities? I would say that our speciality is giving individual attention to each client and offering them a friendly, relaxing experience. What type of clients do you serve? Our clients range from the young to the more mature client, both male and female. Are they local? We do have local clients, but also clients that travel some distance from the surrounding areas Do any come from afar? Yes, we have many clients that travel to us, as we are situated in a very easily accessible area and offer client-friendly opening hours. Are they mostly regulars? A very large percentage of our clients have been coming to us since we opened, often recommending family and friends. The majority of new clients have come from recommendations. This tells me that we’re doing something right!

The majority of new clients have come from recommendations. This tells me that we’re doing something right! What do you think you provide that other spas or salons don’t? Many of our customers comment on the friendly, relaxed atmosphere within the salon. This is what we aim to achieve.

Why do you go to Sunkissed? Quite simply it’s the most relaxed and friendly salon that I have ever had the privilege to go to and light years away from the stiff and intimidating surroundings of other salons.

Do you choose products that other salons don’t stock, if so, why? We have chosen two market leaders as our main products. Both Dermalogica and Creative are top of their field.

How did that come about? We own a local engineering company and I first called in on the off chance hoping to find an emergency spray tan and they couldn’t have been more obliging and helpful. That was two years and many tans ago!

How do you research products? I could tell you that we do all sorts of highly specialised market research to investigate new products, but the truth is my friends, family and clients let me know what kind of treatments and products they are particularly interested in. I’m always on the look out for new treatments that would appeal to my clients and of course, I’ve got to try out any products or treatments before we bring them into the salon – so I get a little bit of pampering too! Sunkissed Beauty and Tanning East Street, Llantwit Major CF61 1XY 01446 796883

Have you been back for more? Oh yes, more everything! What treatments do you have? I have nail extensions, manicures and pedicures. My daughter, Jenny, (another convert!) and I have also been introduced to a whole new skin regime. After having Dermalogica Facials with complementary samples of products, we have seen the benefits and now use a selection of Dermalogica skincare products. The staff are never pushy and are always available with welcome advice. My family will always be in debt to Sunkissed because I’ve never been so easy to buy presents for at Christmas and birthdays and they spoil me with gift vouchers. ❧ 71 ❧

So, I’m lucky enough to report first hand that the Indian Head Massage and amazing Hot Stone Therapy has to be (in my opinion) the ultimate in luxury relaxation! What do you like about Sunkissed? Every time I enter the salon, I know that I’m going to be enveloped in a warm and friendly atmosphere. From receptionist to therapist, they all have the unique ability to maintain a professional but friendly balance and over time they have become more like good friends. But don’t take my word for it, call in for a coffee and a chat and see for yourself! Linda Llewellyn

Jenny Wren’s dramatic jewellery had to really sparkle for the cover of our Spring/Summer issue of Vale Life and Martin Phillips Photography was the perfect choice. Martin’s innovative style and professional expertise made an ideal match with the talents of make-up artist Karen of Papillon Rose and the inimitable Lance of Fich and Ramous.

LIFE COVER When I met Maddie through a mutual friend I was struck by her beauty and personality. She is an all round stunner, with good posture, a positive outlook and is articulate and well mannered.

The first cover shot with Jenny Wren Jewellery required someone very special to encompass style, glamour and quality and I knew that I had found that in Maddie. The idea for the shot came to mind almost instantly and Maddie must have thought I was slightly mad when we were together as I couldn’t stop staring at her, imagining the jewellery draped over her face. What struck me about Maddie was the fact that her eyes are different colours, one blue and one brown. Because Maddie is so striking I had to play down the make-up a little so that it didn’t detract from the jewellery. My first rule on a shoot is to concentrate on what is being promoted - everything else is a prop. Instead of defining Maddie’s eyes I simply built up a natural glow to her features using metallic eye shadows. Her lips were nude to start, then finished with a gold tinged lip colour. The look was completed with bronzer and a light dusting of sparkle all over. You never know if an idea will work until you’re in front of the camera so I was very pleased when the jewellery arrived and it lit up her face instantly. The idea for Maddie to hold a jewel in her mouth gave her the direction she needed and she responded brilliantly. Jenny Wren jewellery is exciting and deserved a spectacular image to do the gems justice so I was particularly pleased that my idea worked so well on the day. Maddie couldn’t have been a better model - she turned out to be a natural on her debut! Karen Hughes

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Our cover shot model is 21 year old Madeleine Cuthew of Cowbridge. Here we find out about how she became involved in the photoshoot and her hopes for the future.

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How did you come to be involved in the cover shoot? I was working at Papillon Rose and Karen Hughes, make up artist, asked me if I would like to be involved in the photo shoot. Have you ever done any modelling before this? No What career would you like? Anything to do with the fashion industry e.g. production,make up,fashion journalism and modelling What did you think of the day at the studio? Absolutley amazing! A fabulous opportunity to work with professionals in the industry and with such beautiful jewellery. Hopefully it may provide an opening to other fantastic opportunities, it’s a proud moment in my life I can look back on. Thank you for a fantastic day!

“I’m always looking for future models of all ages, male and female, who live in the Vale. If you think you’ve got what it takes, please send a picture together with a brief description of yourself.” Karen Hughes Karen Hughes, Vale Life, Cardiff House Cardiff Road CF63 2AW or email Any modelling work undertaken for Vale Life magazine is purely on a voluntary basis but you never know where it may lead!

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The cover shoot was inspiring and although our young model Maddie was not experienced, she rapidly gained confidence in the relaxed surroundings of the studio. Maddie literally shone in her beautiful golden makeup!

“It’s a real privilege to work with such a talented and creative team of professionals.” Jennifer Hobbs Roberts, Editor

Here at Martin Phillips Photography we offer the same fabulous makeover and photoshoot service to Vale Life readers. Commercial clients are also encouraged to arrange a visit for a free and full consultation at their premises or at our studio/café. I’m proud to have won a number of awards for my portrait photography and I’m also lucky enough to work for a wide variety of commercial clients including a major pension company, a clothing company, a safety-wear supplier, a bespoke wedding dress designer, a furniture manufacturer and an award-winning kitchen design company. I also provide a comprehensive location service for architects and interior designers. ❧ 76 ❧

The Martin Phillips Photography studio is located in the Station Hill precinct of Porthcawl at the popular Art Café.

Martin Phillips Photography Art Café, 32 New Road Station Hill Precinct, Porthcawl 01656 771525

Jenny Wren, the Cowbridge based jeweller was founded over thirty years ago and has established a wide and loyal customer base, due to our friendly and professional customer service and comfortable surroundings. Jenny Wren represents a luxurious image that is both imaginative and sensual. Our collections, which are sourced worldwide, are beautifully designed and wearable. We use only the highest quality diamonds and colourful precious and semi-precious stones. Our extensive pearl collection consists of classic necklaces to modern one-off pieces, using fresh water, salt water, Tahitian and South Sea pearls.We also sell a superb range of silver jewellery, suitable for all ages. Designs include the Italian Pianegonda range and Dower and Hall of London to name just two. Not forgetting the ever popular charm bracelets by Troll Beads and Lovelinks. Jenny Wren 23 High Street, Cowbridge CF71 7AE 01446 774165 Open Monday to Saturday 9.30am – 5.30pm

When we were asked to help create the front cover of Vale Life with Karen and Martin we had no hesitation in participating, particularly when the brief was to create a style to complement the exquisite jewellery of Jenny Wren. Fortunately, our cover model Maddie had lovely long, thick hair which gave us plenty of scope to produce a look suitable for the front cover of any quality fashion magazine. After discussing several possibilites of how to style Maddie’s hair, we arrived at the winning formula. We wanted to create a canvas, a backdrop for presenting Jenny Wren’s beautiful pieces whilst also showcasing Lance’s work as a hairdresser.

As a team, we all wanted to create a strong, dynamic look for the first face of Vale Life magazine. This is a departure from the usual cover format and we truly believe that we’ve achieved our goal which was to feature someone who was both local and new to the world of modelling. Maddie’s snarling expression worked naturally and effortlessly to display the jewellery and exceeded all of our expectations! When working with professional creative people who are confident in their abilities, ideas flow, evolve and develop. Rigid boundaries are not needed, just a spark of inspiration to ignite the creative fire, the results are hot, as you can see! Claire and Lance

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“As a team, we all wanted to create a strong, dynamic look for the first face of Vale Life.” Fich and Ramous 10a High Street Cowbridge CF71 7AG (rear of Beauty Within Day Spa) 01446 775522

THE FUTURE’S With revolutionary new treatments, you could have the smile of your dreams. We chat with Dr. Peter Murray of James Hull. Implants


Dental implants is the ultimate way to replace missing teeth.

If you were ‘blessed’ with teeth which are crooked, crowded or with gaps, then Invisalign could have been invented just for you.

Here’s the science. A dental implant is a small titanium screw that can be placed into the bone where the natural tooth once was. So, what are the benefits? ■ Dental implants are made of titanium so they are light, clean and inert ■ Dental implants are strong so you can eat what you like ■ They can improve your confidence so you will feel like smiling more ■ They don't move so you will feel confident speaking ■ They can support your lips and face to improve your appearance ■ They can make your dentures firm to stop them hurting

What’s so good about Invisalign? The obvious advantage of Invisalign over ordinary metal braces is that they are invisible. So, if you need to maintain a professional image or want to feel confident when you smile, be it at work, at school or with friends then this is the solution for you. What are the main benefits? Unlike braces, you can eat and drink what you want during treatment. You can also brush and floss normally to maintain good oral hygiene.

How does Invisalign Work? You are given a series of aligners which are changed every two weeks, each of which moves and realigns the teeth gently and gradually. You will need to revisit your practitioner every six to eight weeks for checkups and to collect your new set of aligners. How long does the treatment take? The average length of time it takes to adjust teeth is around 11 months, even when you are an adult. The treatment is much more gentle than braces. And when your course of treatment has ended, you can feel more confident. You’re going to have a stunning smile!

The other great benefits of dental implants are they have an excellent appearance and are extremely strong meaning they may last for over twenty years. They don’t interfere with adjacent teeth and aren’t joined to them in any way and preserve gum and bone at the extraction site.

Invisalign is comfortable. There are no metal brackets or wires to cause mouth irritation, and no metal or wires means you spend less time getting adjustments. In addition, the Invisalign aligners can be removed for small periods of time, for cleaning or even a special night out!

Dr Peter Murray

Dr David Guppy

Dr Steve Sharma

Peter was one of the founder dentists at Mermaid Quay and until his third child was born was UK Clinical Director for the James Hull Company. He is now lead clinician and has a special interest in veneers, Invisalign and placing dental implants. Peter is also qualified to provide intravenous sedation for patients of a nervous disposition.

David qualified from Guy’s Hospital in 1987 and established a practice in London. Following further study in Scandinavia and the USA he attained Membership in Restorative Dentistry from the Royal College of Surgeons. He has been accredited Specialist status from The General Dental Council and lectures widely at Postgraduate level.

Steve has over twenty two years’ experience and in that time and placed over 5,000 implants. He is a Member of the British Society of Oral Implantologists and has taught and lectured around the world. Steve says, “I love my work and welcome the challenges that a new day brings.”

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James Hull Associates Unit 11a, Mermaid Quay Cardiff Bay, Cardiff CF10 5BZ 029 2048 1212



Mr Kunze After having re-constructive surgery to my lower jaw following an accident in 2003, all my teeth began to shift out of place.

My top set of teeth also started to overlap and all of this was extremely uncomfortable. At the time, I lived in Cardiff Bay and was out having lunch when I noticed James Hull dentists and decided to book a consultation. I met Peter Murray who was absolutely fantastic in explaining exactly what needed to be done and what options were available to me. I was particularly interested in the Invisalign treatment which would ensure that my teeth were straightened with the use of invisible aligners as opposed to traditional train tracks. The treatment was very thorough and professionally handled. I had to change my aligners every two weeks and had my progress assessed after every three sets of aligners to ensure that everything was on track. I am definitely pleased with the results and feel that I got good value for money. I was well taken care of throughout the entire treatment and afterwards. I live in Essex now but I have been back to Cardiff for a check up because of the care I receive there. I would not say that it has made a difference in my life, per se, rather that it has made it a lot more comfortable as my teeth were getting out of place but now they get a lot of welcome attention.

Thanks to Dr Peter Murray at James Hull, I now have a more confident smile and take better care of my teeth in order to keep them the way they are.


LITTLE What type of clients use your company? We work for a wide variety of clients whose interest in oak range from its traditional construction, high aesthetics and individual design. Oak construction also has a growing market due to its environmental credentials as people’s understanding of sustainable construction grows.

Where are Oakmasters based? Our saw mill and timber yard are based in Haywards Heath, West Sussex with advice, design and sales provided from regional offices with Cardiff covering Wales, the Midlands and the west of England. What do you do? Oakmasters provide bespoke oak buildings of the highest standard to traditional and contemporary designs. The buildings are constructed in west Sussex by experienced craftsman before being delivered and then erected by experienced teams. How long has Oakmasters been in business? Oakmasters has been operating in its current location for over twenty years. Who started the company? Edward Hamilton, an authority on oak construction, founded Oakmasters which is now being run by his son but he retains a day to day interest.

Our customers range from HRH Prince of Wales to Phil Collins and English Heritage to the US Navy Museum, Washington. Oakmasters has also regularly appeared in television programmes such as Grand Designs. What do you think sets you apart from other companies? Oakmasters only offer bespoke design and our experience allows us to provide a building exactly meeting the client’s requirements. What kind of projects do you do? Our projects are enormously varied, from restoration work of traditional buildings to designing very contemporary houses and extensions. The demand for traditional oak garages is strong and has grown to include many forms of garden buildings including pool houses, sports complex, garden offices and home cinemas to name a few. What kind of projects would you like to do? Anything where the client has the imagination and enthusiasm!

Where do you source your raw material? The best oak is found in England and France where Oakmasters only source from accredited sustainable sources. At the beginning of the 20th century, woodland covered around 4% of the country and was in decline. As we begin the 21st century, woodland now covers 12% of the country and continues to increase. Of this, woodland oak represents around 10% of the stock. What is your background? Following a degree in quantity surveying I spent several years with large multinational construction companies working on projects as diverse as the Hot House in Swansea and Cardiff Magistrates Court. As I always preferred smaller, more interesting projects, I set up my own construction company nearly twenty years ago working on high quality projects. Over recent years demand for green oak structures increased and having failed to find local companies offering this form of construction I approached Oakmasters and convinced them there was a market in the area and established the Cardiff office. Any hobbies or passions? My interests are rugby, classic cars, sailing and fishing. Where do you live? I’ve lived in the Vale of Glamorgan for twenty five years with my wife Caroline and children Tom (8), Harry (6) and Sophie (3) who all attend Peterstonsuper-Ely CIW Primary School. Our farmhouse has been extended by the previous owners with a green oak frame extension and conservatory. Where is your favourite place in the Vale? Sportsmans Rest, Peterston-super-Ely. I’ve been going there since I was eighteen and it is full of friends and good memories.

Oakmasters Unit 6 Fairwater Workshops Norbury Road, Cardiff CF5 3BG 029 2055 5888

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Vale resident Nic Morgan of Oakmasters talks to Vale Life about his grand designs and passion for all things oak.

“Oakmasters only offer bespoke design and our experience allows us to provide a building exactly meeting the client’s requirements.” ❧ 81 ❧

Nothing can quite prepare you for your first view of Miskin Manor.

MANOR FROM When you turn off the link road from the motorway, turn left and drive down the winding road, cross a small bridge and through the trees you get your first glimpse of the impressive façade. It’s so grand, it takes your breath away and it’s hard to believe that the M4 is literally minutes away. It’s just what you’d expect from a Manor house. Carved stone lions either side of the great wooden double doors. The reception hallway, as is with the rest of the Manor, is filled with tapestry and paintings, a reflection of the owners’ passion for art.

HEAVEN The drawing room is extremely impressive with floor-to-ceiling wood panelling, leather sofas and an enormous fireplace that is home to a welcoming log fire. This will be one of your favourite rooms but don’t linger too long here for if you walk through you’ll enter another equally impressive room which has stunning views overlooking the grounds and on a sunny day, the light floods in through the leaded windows.

The twenty two acre gardens are simply beautiful and lovingly tended by the present owners and is the perfect spot for afternoon tea on a sunny day.

All forty three bedrooms are individually designed and many have recently been upgraded. The majority have breathtaking views of the gardens and surrounding countryside.

Guests can choose from an elegant four poster bed, executive suite or quaint cottage style room, each having their own unique charming style. The award winning restaurant overlooks the beautifully manicured lawns and offers a relaxed and friendly dining experience. Executive Chef, Mark Beck focuses on modern British cooking using farm fresh ingredients supported by Head Chef, Ian Presgrave and the rest of the highly talented brigade at Miskin. We are big fans of Miskin Manor and unashamedly arrange business meetings here just to soak up the ambience but don’t just take our word for it, here’s what some recent visitors have said about their stay.

“Lovely hotel, very comfortable, excellent staff and a fabulous restaurant. We were only staying for one night but hope to visit again for a longer stay.”

“A wonderfully relaxing hotel... I’m tempted not to recommend Miskin Manor so that I can keep it to myself!”

“A wonderfully relaxing hotel. The accommodation and food were excellent and the staff were outstanding. I’m tempted not to recommend it so that I can keep it to myself!”

Miskin Manor Miskin, Nr Cardiff CF72 8ND 01443 224204

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Miskin Manor has built up a fine reputation for weddings but to pigeonhole this gorgeous manor house as merely a wedding venue, stunning as it is, does not do it justice for it has much more to offer than that.

CELEBRATE WITH US! Vale weddings in association with St Donats Arts Centre St Donats is one of the most amazing and unique locations in Wales and a perfect location to celebrate your wedding. Elspeth Harding of Penarth tells Vale Life about her special day. Choosing the right wedding venue was quite easy as my then fiancé, Steve and I both agreed that we wanted somewhere a bit different. One of our main requirements was finding a location by the sea with stunning views. On our first viewing at St Donats we knew immediately that it was the place for us, it outshone any of the other places we’d looked at, with its beautiful secluded location. St Donats gave us the flexibility to have our wedding day exactly how we’d dreamed, which we couldn’t have got from any other venue. The staff were really helpful and gave us lots of information about planning a wedding at St Donats, from recommending a fantastic caterer to calming Steve down on the morning of the wedding (I was 20 minutes late!).

Photography by Neil Bennett

Being able to have the whole wedding in one place made the day much more relaxing for us and our guests. It really was the most amazing day and the best start to our new life together. Thank you to everyone at St Donats for helping make it all possible.

The Tythe Barn theatre was the perfect setting for the ceremony, as it was dramatic and romantic at the same time. After the ceremony we were able to enjoy drinks with our guests in the stunning surroundings of the courtyard garden, although had the weather been bad the gallery would have been an excellent indoor venue. The buffet lunch took place in the amazing glass café bar, with its fabulous view of the sea, making it feel like we were still outside enjoying a huge picnic with all our family and friends, and was very in keeping with the informality of the day.

St Donats Arts Centre St Donats Castle, Vale of Glamorgan CF61 1WF 01446 799104

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The amazing glass cafĂŠ bar at St Donats

Whilst Cardiff is an amazing city for shoppers and a mecca for tourists, it’s nice to visit other cities to see what they have to offer. With a shopaholic and culture vulture to please, Bath delivers on all counts.


Bath and the surrounding area is brimming with things to see and do. Designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, it presents some of the finest architectural sights in Europe such as the Royal Crescent, the Circus and Pulteney Bridge alongside a diverse collection of museums and attractions. If you have a full day of shopping ahead of you head off to Stall Street and Union Street in the central area and you’ll find all of the large high street stores. If designer chic is your thing, head off to the Milsom Quarter, for small boutiques and galleries Bartlett Street, George Street, Saville Row and Margaret’s Buildings are where there are some hidden gems. Be prepared to be relieved of some serious money! There’s such an exceptional choice of museums and attractions that you’d really need a full week to get around them all. The most popular though are the world famous Roman Baths, the Fashion Museum (400 years of fashion), Jane Austen Centre (a shrine to the city’s most famous resident), Number 1 Royal Crescent (an immaculate 18thcentury townhouse), the Building of Bath Museum (‘see the city grow’) and Sally Lunn’s Refreshment House and Museum (the oldest house in Bath).

Speaking of the Royal Crescent, number 16 is where we decided to stay for the evening. The hotel is in the centre of the crescent and is stunning. The hotel has 45 luxuriously appointed bedrooms, including 14 suites set in beautiful gardens. At the rear of the hotel is the award winning Dower House Restaurant (more on that later) and the equally renowned Bath House which houses the spa with pool, treatment rooms. There is also a gym for the more energetic.

For lovers of art there’s the Holburne Museum of Art and refurbished Victoria Art Gallery, as well as the fascinating Bath Aqua Theatre of Glass where you can watch handmade glass works of art being created before your very eyes.

We drove to the door of the hotel and like Mr. Ben a liveried doorman came to whisk away our luggage and car. We were left to soak up the splendor of the drawing room until a lady came to show us to our suite and what a suite it was. Crammed with antique furniture and art, our sitting room overlooked the crescent and was stunning. Our sleeping area was similarly furnished with a huge bed with crisp white linen. This led into our fully tiled bathroom with a deep bath which was begging to be filled with bubbles.

Beyond Bath step back to the days of ancient Britons with a walk around the Standing Stones of Stanton Drew, a day trip to Stonehenge, or a stroll around medieval Farleigh Hungerford Castle. Below, the entrance to the beautiful spa

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As we left our room to check out the rest of the hotel, it was then we noticed our name on the door, beautifully handwritten. A nice touch. A short walk through the garden led us to the restaurant and Bath House. Had we booked for a longer stay, we would have spent some time languishing in the elegantly decorated sauna, steam rooms and pool and elegantly decorated spa but Bath’s attractions were calling. We spent a full afternoon hitting the sights and the shops before returning to the hotel to prepare for dinner. Before entering the dining room, we decided to have a cocktail at the bar and were immediately struck by the huge silver cup on the bar. On enquiring we were told that the bartender had won said cup in a prestigious cocktail competition with a concoction of his own making. Decision on the choice of cocktail made for us, we agreed his cup was well deserved. One of the many fabulous suites at the Royal Crescent Hotel

The well maintained grounds offer a tranquil retreat in which to rest body and soul. â?§ 88 â?§

We dressed in our finest clothes for the occasion and were glad we had, as we weren’t the only ones to have done so. We were shown to our table and given our menus. If we’d thought we’d sampled fine dining before, we were mistaken. This was fine dining at its very best. If we were impressed with the food, which we were, we were equally impressed with the sommelier who, after we’d said Sancerre was our preferred wine option, suggested an alternative grape which he thought would better complement our choice of food. Always keen to learn, we happily conceded. Not surprisingly, his choice of wine was superb. Each plate of food was a masterpiece. The flavours were incredible. The service from the waiters and sommelier were impeccable. We agreed that, although the hotel and room were amazing, the whole experienced centered around the food, which was no less than gastronomic heaven!

When we got back to our room, we noticed that slippers had been placed on a sheet of paper either side of our turned down bed. I have never felt so cosseted! After a restful sleep in what turned out to be an astonishingly comfortable bed, we again crossed the garden to breakfast. As with dinner, the breakfast was superbly presented, and full of flavour. Again, had we more time, we could have booked the hotel’s 1920’s river launch the Lady Sophina for a jaunt down the river but, alas, time was against us. Unfortunately it was time to leave. We felt as if we’d been in a cocoon of heavenliness and I hope that one day we will have the opportunity to return. The Royal Crescent Hotel 16 Royal Crescent Bath 01225 823333

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“We felt as if we’d been in a cocoon of heavenliness and I hope that one day we will have the opportunity to return.”



If anyone asks me where I like to take a short break, I’d have no hesitation in recommending St Ives in Cornwall. We spent many a happy weekend during our courting days (that shows my age!) enjoying what St Ives has to offer. It caters for my love of the blue seas and my partner’s love of the magic light that is a magnet for so many artists. It holds fond memories for us for happy and sad reasons. We were married in Penzance Registry Office and stayed at the Tregenna Castle Hotel in an uncommonly warm September 1996.

Things to do For what to see and do in St Ives when you visit, check out the official website of the Cornwall Tourist Board at Places to eat There are so many good restaurants and pubs to choose from. The Cornwall Tourist Board has a list of them at /site/food-and-drink

but we would recommend; Blue Fish Restaurant The restaurant is set above St Ives harbour, inside the town’s old fish net lofts. The sleek, fresh interior of the restaurant is further complemented by fabulous views of the harbour. Telephone 01736 794204

The Sloop Inn Right on the harbour, this is one of St Ives’ oldest inns. Full of character and characters! Telephone 01736 796584

Pictured left, an evening view from the Blue Hayes Private Hotel overlooking St Ives Harbour

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What’s sad about that I hear you ask? It was the day of Princess Diana’s funeral. It was touch and go whether the ceremony would go ahead but at the eleventh hour we got the green light from the Registrar in Penzance. I’m sure Princess Diana would not have wanted it any other way! We paid St Ives another visit in early spring 2008 and stayed in different hotels offering three very different, but equally enjoyable experiences.

Interesting facts about St Ives ■ Tate St Ives opened 1993. Before being renovated into an art gallery the building was a disused gaswork. ■ Tate St Ives took two years to build, costing over £3 million. ■ Artists moved to St Ives in the 1880’s. The St Ives School began in 1928 inspired by local fisherman turned artist, Alfred Wallis. ■ The Skidden House Hotel, the first hotel in St Ives, was built in 1540. It was named after the metal skids fixed to cartwheels to stop horses and carts from skidding downhill. ■ St Ives is the most popular town in Cornwall for visitors to visit. ■ St Ives was voted Guardian Seaside Town of the Year 2007. ■ The famed quality of light in St Ives which attracts artists from across the world is due to the sun reflecting off the sea and the unique composition of St Ives sand. ■ Many famous people have lived in St Ives from time to time; Turner, Whistler, Sickert, Henry Moore, Dame Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, Bernard Leach and Virginia Woolf. ■ St Ives enters recorded history with the arrival of St Ia or Hya, the Irish princess who brought Christianity to the area in the 5th Century.


Primrose Valley Hotel On our first night we stayed in this five star hotel which is situated less than one minute from the blue flag Porthminster Beach. Just a five minute stroll alongside the ocean, brings you into the harbour and the cobbled lanes of St Ives itself. The hotel is a contemporary styled Edwardian seaside villa with ten bedrooms comprising of six doubles, one family/triple, two twin/doubles and one suite. We stayed in a double room which faced the rear of the hotel. This is a family run hotel with husband and wife team Andrew and Sue Biss and Sue’s mother Rose Clegg. Sue’s impeccable taste and design flair are evident throughout the hotel as are the couple’s eco-friendly principles. The breakfast menu showed their passionate and almost obsessive emphasis on using food of the highest quality from producers and suppliers in Cornwall. It even lists where each item is sourced. So dedicated are the owners to giving something back that Andrew was on a training week with a charitable organisation which provides aid in the form of shelter to countries which have been ravaged by war or by natural disasters. What we liked ■ A mere stroll from the beautiful Porthminster Beach and a short walk from St Ives. ■ The passion and dedication to all things eco-friendly and sustainable with an armful of eco-friendly awards to prove it. ■ The most amazingly tasty breakfast using locally sourced produce.


Tregenna Castle Estate As we’ve had regular visits to the Tregenna Castle, staying in the hotel and in one of the charming cottages in the grounds, for the second night of our stay, we decided to try one of the one bedroomed apartments at the rear of the ivy clad castle which is surrounded by prize-winning sub-tropical gardens, overlooking St Ives harbour. We were very surprised by the high standard of the accommodation which consisted of a spacious lounge and fully fitted kitchen with separate toilet and shower room on the ground floor and a good sized bedroom and toilet with shower on a mezzanine. The accommodation was tastefully decorated and immaculately clean.

Primrose Valley Hotel Porthminster Beach, St Ives Cornwall TR26 2ED Tel and Fax 01736 794939

Our breakfast and dinner were served in one of the dining rooms in the castle and we also had use of the leisure facilities which included indoor pool, steam room, sauna, jacuzzi, badminton and squash courts. In warmer weather there is an outdoor heated pool. ❧ 92 ❧

There are also tennis courts, a golf course, sub-tropical gardens and woodland walks. The hotel has 81 bedrooms and 70 self catering cottages/apartments. Because of its location, the hotel is popular for weddings (it’s licensed to perform civil wedding ceremonies) and conferences and banquets. The holiday apartments are ideal if you want a base to explore St Ives from but still have sports, leisure and restaurant facilities on hand. What we liked: ■ The use of the hotel’s many leisure facilities. ■ Self catering accommodation which was tastefully furnished and spotlessly clean. ■ Fifteen minutes’ walk from St Ives.

Tregenna Castle Estate St Ives, Cornwall TR26 2DE 01736 795254 Fax 01736 796066


The Blue Hayes Private Hotel For our last night we chose to stay in the five star Blue Hayes Private Hotel. We met with owner Malcolm Herring who told us how he’d completely refurbished what was once a traditional seaside hotel into what stands today, which is a superb glowing white building with spectacular views over the bay and a minute’s stroll from the long sandy Porthminster beach.

Malcolm’s passion and pride for the hotel (and his home) was evident as we chatted. He even closes the hotel every year for a month to completely redecorate it and clean the carpets, which are white by the way. With only five suites to choose from, we were extremely lucky to have the prize one – the Master Suite with its four-poster bed and the biggest all-white, luxuriously appointed bathroom I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen a few). The pièce de résistance for this suite had to be the French doors which opened onto a private balcony, with a sweet table and two chairs, with our own private view of the harbour and St Ives Bay. We would have been quite happy to spend our time in this haven but the local pub, The Sloop was calling! A short stroll along a path fronting the beach and we were there. Our thirst for Sancerre quenched, we strolled back along the path to our ultra comfy bed and slept like logs. ❧ 93 ❧

Anyone in the hospitality business will tell you that good staff are everything. We met them at breakfast. Malcolm has a team of very personable staff who obviously share his passion for giving guests what they want – a haven for happily attached couples wanting somewhere to hide from the stresses of life and completely relax. What we liked ■ The luxuriousness of it all. ■ The breathtaking views from the balcony terrace. ■ The banter with the amiable staff.

The Blue Hayes Private Hotel Trelyon Avenue, St Ives TR26 2AD 01736 797129 email

In our third instalment of Bernard and Marian Owen’s intrepid adventures in South America we join them on the journey to Machu Picchu, often referred to as ‘The Lost City of the Incas.’


A twenty-one hour bus ride along the Pan American Highway, a thousand miles due north from Santiago across the Tropic of Capricorn, ultimately will bring you to San Pedro de Atacama. The bus, a ‘full cama’ with bed similar to some airlines, cannot be faulted. Fully air conditioned with snacks served periodically, it makes various stops along the route. It’s certainly not the quickest way to travel but it’s a great deal cheaper than by air. Additionally, you see at first hand the awesome mountainous terrain, giant cacti, and of course observe the local people.

The bus arrived in the mud and adobe square mid morning and by then the temperature was already nudging 40°c with some more to go! Located on an altiplano at around 8,000 feet above sea level the small oasis surrounded by desert and dry salt lakes is a weird place. Circled on three sides by extinct volcanoes some nudging a giddy 19,000 feet. San Pedro, an ancient Indian settlement for the last two hundred years, lies some 200 km from Chuquicamata, one of the largest copper mines on earth. The Atacama desert may look like a natural wasteland, but beneath it lies enormous mineral wealth - mostly copper but also gold, silver and zinc. Train to Machu Picchu



The Atacama desert in Chile, was brought to my attention by Michael Palin a few years ago, when, on his Pole to Pole journey he spent a few days in this, the driest place on earth. Apparently it last rained here some 100 years ago. Dust storms frequently occur when the sun is at its highest. San Pedro is a small oasis town of single storey houses with white adobe walls. It was one of the stops on the drovers’ trail in the golden days of nitrate mining. Nowadays it is a mecca for volcanologists, climbers, trekkers, and backpackers who visit the salt lakes and El Tatio, the highest geyser field in the world. Today, the oasis is well serviced with various B&Bs to suit all. ❧ 94 ❧

El Tatio geysers

M ACHU PICCHU... This is the stopping off point for visiting the Valley of the Moon, a sight best viewed at sunset when the sun’s rays light up the desert in a purple and pink hue. Sand dunes and salt statues whistle in the winds where nature is at its most raw. At 4am next morning we leave in complete darkness on a day tour of the famous Tatio geothermal field at a height of 13,000 feet with a dozen or so European and American travellers, mostly backpackers. The van crosses a dry salt lake, before climbing up bone shaking dirt tracks on the side of a volcano to reach the Tatio geysers. By now dawn is fast approaching.

After two hours we arrive on the high geothermal field as the sun begins to appear between the magnificent Andean peaks. Before us lies a sea of smoking vents and fissures. Steam gushing out with a vengeance... certainly a surreal landscape! It is akin to what one could have imagined planet earth looked like a few million years ago! Our driver prepares breakfast in one of the boiling vents, and within a few minutes we are munching on freshly hard boiled eggs, cooked naturally of course! Up here the air is thin, so much so that the contrast in temperature can vary dramatically from a bone chilling -6°c at dawn to a scorching +30°c in around two hours. ❧ 95 ❧

The high altiplano is dotted with small pink coloured lakes where flamingos feed and on surrounding land vicuna, a relative of the llama family, graze. Further on we come across an Indian village which is only habitable in the summer months. Llamas and alpacas are farmed here, bred for their soft coats and Alpaca is also eaten which is the staple diet of villagers on the altiplano, tasting sweet and tender much like Welsh lamb. Although arid and dry, water does exist here, as every Spring it flows down from the melting snow capped Andes into underground aquifers. At numerous points wells can be found, containing ice cold water fresh from the mountain peaks.

Deserts are fascinating places, but our time to move on has approached. We catch an overnight bus which takes us ten hours North over the Andes to Arica on the Pacific Ocean. Bordering Peru, this is the most northerly city in Chile and the Chileans living here often shop in Peru which is 30% cheaper, especially at Christmas time. We shared a taxi to the frontier town. This border city is nine miles from the frontier and the busy city of Tacna not a place to hang around for too long, unless you’re shopping. From here you can go to either Nazca, Arequipa or Puno. Buses to each destination are in abundance from the hectic bus terminal together with table top ‘cambio’. Chosing the latter we head towards our next destination, Lake Titicaca which is another eleven hour journey by road over the Andes. Titicaca, the largest lake in South America is also the highest navigable lake in the world at 12,500 feet above sea level. The town of Puno lies on the western shore of this immense lake, nearly the size of Wales. Here you need at least two days to acclimatise to the high altitude. You are well advised to drink plenty of water, eat small amounts and walk slowly. Frankly, you will be hard pressed to do anything else without becoming breathless! There are many things to see such as Inca burial chambers, floating reed islands and a museum of Inca treasures. The small port is the departure point for forays to this vast lake, certainly a magical place to visit where horizons seem limitless in the clear thin air. Founded in 1668, the town retains few colonial buildings and the claustrophobic streets bustle with rickshaw taxis called ‘trici taxis’. Should you visit the region, a day trip to the Uros reed islands is a must.

Although in decline these days, the few islanders left live their lives much as they have for centuries. Time permitting, a morning spent on board the Yavari, a steam ship built in England, is particularly worthwhile. In 1862 it was dismantled at the Peruvian port of Tacna and transported in thousands of pieces by mule over the Andes, taking an astonishing six years! Finally, it was re-assembled and launched on the lake in 1870. Owing to the shortage of coal, its engines were converted to run on llama dung! After five days in Puno it was time to move on by bus. Traversing the highest and bleakest altiplano at Aba La Raya, a pass at 13,600 feet, this is the highest point on the winding road to Cuzco, a little lower at around 11,000 feet. Cuzco once capital of the Inca empire is a beautiful and busy city. It is one of the oldest and continuously inhabited cities in Latin America. Massive Inca built walls line the city’s central cobbled streets. Today the Incas have long gone, but their descendants are the Quechua speaking Indians. The city, also referred to as the navel of the world, is the stopping off point for the globally famous Machu Picchu and as such it is full of tourists from all corners of the world during the summer. There is a great deal to see in the vicinity so be prepared to spend around five or six days to explore it all. The local delicacy is guinea pig, but if your appetite does not stretch to rodents, there is always a choice! Hotels are plentiful, but we opted for the cheaper family run good value B&Bs. All are within easy walking distance of the Plaza de Armas with its stunning 14th century cathedral. Tours and guides speaking a dozen languages abound as the city is the gateway to the Sacred Valley.

Thermals at Atacama

Local market

Machu Picchu is the premier reason for coming to Cuzco. However, it is also the vantage point for the Sacred Valley and ruins of Sacsayhuaman, pronounced ‘sexy woman’ but there the similarity ends! Pisac, Chinchero Puca Pucara and Urubamba, an hour or so away, are also worth a visit. Incidentally if you take in a trip to Pisac, a visit to the covered market is most worthwhile as the prices for local artefacts are cheaper than Cuzco. Of course it goes without saying, bargaining on all items is a must and its fun! Whilst Cuzco is a safe city, the street hawkers will endlessly pester you to buy their homemade wares. Everyone has to make a living and no more so than in Peru. Shops, wonderful indoor markets and internet cafes are all around. Assuming you have not arrived here by air from Lima, the altitude should pose no problem as, arriving by road, you will have already acclimatised. The rail trip to Machu Picchu starts here... there is no other way. You can get your ticket at the station a day or so in advance. The three hour journey is unforgettable as the blue train of Peru Rail slowly hauls you up over a pass before descending to the Ollantaytambo river and steep gorge. Machu Picchu town is well worth an overnight stay, although quite small it has a unique atmosphere of its own. There are B&Bs here and the rates are cheaper. Don’t forget to take your swimming costume, as lounging in the hot mineral waters of Aguas Calientes is most relaxing and helps to ease any muscle pains after a day’s climbing the ruins. Many people miss this out by choosing to return to Cuzco the same day, which is a long journey if you want to spend some meaningful time at the citadel ruins and hopefully catch the sunrise. It rained heavily when we were there from early morning until about mid afternoon. Small wonder the Incas worshipped the Sun god! When the clouds parted and revealed the mystical lofty Inca citadel, you realise that this is a spectacular, awe-inspiring location and one of the wonders of the world. Definitely a must see for any traveller to Peru! Bernard Owen

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Machu Picchu

DIVINE CREATION Following the success of their salon in City Road, Cardiff, Creation recently launched their stylish, new concept salon in Penarth. Vale Life paid them a visit to find out the secrets of their success.

Victoria and Karl Shellard, owners of Creation Concept Salons have been in the industry for 10 years. Having worked for Racoon International for three years and teaching and training in London, Vicky was also a Salon International Platform Artist Finalist for the Redken tribe. Karl has been a property developer for the past four years and also sells salon furniture. When did you first set up Creation Concept Salon in Cardiff? It first opened its doors in 2001. We decided to open on City Road as we already had a large client base in the Roath area. Congratulations on your new Penarth salon. Thank you. Penarth is starting to become a new Cowbridge and it seems to have a great community that would suit the ethos and lifestyle that we, the team and Aveda, the brand, would like to promote. A lot of our clients live and work in Penarth and used to visit our first salon on City Road so it’s a lot more convenient for them now.

Vicky, tell us about your team... I work in Penarth on a Wednesday and Friday specialising in hair extensions and have been part of the Raccoon National Artistic Team which enabled me to travel the country using my skills promoting Raccoon which uses the best human hair extensions. James specialises in hair-up including bridal hair and couture fashion styles and has fallen in love with the Aveda products and its rituals. He also has a great gents client base. Kelly has worked with Aveda for the last three years and has been hairdressing for over ten years. She specialises in colouring and has been a creative technician in city centre salons and can create a vibrant long lasting healthy colour for all types of hair. Why did you choose to use Aveda? Our manager Nick had worked with Aveda for nearly six years prior to joining the company. I took both of our managers to an industry convention and had meetings with Aveda’s reps and the rest as they say is history. With Nick on board I can relax knowing that the clients are in experienced hands. Nick told us that you are keen to support eco friendly practices. Aveda includes 97% pure plant and flower extracts in all their products and they are organic wherever possible. Aveda can trace the product and its ingredients from soil to bottle. The products also carry 80% post-consumer recycled plastic in its packaging. We also have a strict recycling policy in both salons. Our staff-room food waste is recycled and obviously plastic, paper, foil etc. In Penarth we also try and car pool where there is only one driver a day and we take each other home at the end of the day. ❧ 98 ❧

What do you think you offer that other salons don’t? Both salons have a great atmosphere and skilled personal service. Most of my team tell me that they feel that they are all part of the family and that is what we try to express in our service. There is a support that is felt throughout the company. As we’re coming into the wedding season, what can you offer the bride-to-be? You can expect a full wedding package which will include as many guests as you want - we will just borrow staff from City Road with enough notice! The package includes a bridal and make-up trial with champagne on arrival. Bridal hair-up and full bridal make-up with a free lip gloss is given to re-apply during the day as you can’t take our make-up artist with you! Price is determined after complimentary consultation. In fact, we actually have a wedding booked for May and we are closing the salon especially for the bride in the morning! Do you have any special offers running for the spring/summer? We will be offering all of our clients a 20% re-booking discount throughout the summer.

Why do you go to Creation Concept Salon? I go to Creation Concept Salon because the stylists listen to what you have to say and always take this on board. I never feel rushed, and nothing is too much trouble. Whenever I have had my hair cut, I always get asked where I had my hair done. Once was by a lady in a shop in Penarth who I had never met! How did you hear about them? I knew a stylist that worked there. What did you have done? I have my hair cut and coloured. Have you been back for more? I will be back for a blow dry. What do you have done now? A short bob. What do you like about Creation Salon? The name Creation could not be better as the staff create styles that are individual and unique. All the staff are experienced, and you are always greeted as a friend and not just a customer. The products are by Aveda and are lovely on your hair. The hand cream is also brilliant. Alison Aplin

Why do you go to Creation? I have been going to Creation for a number of years now. I lead a fairly hectic lifestyle and no matter what challenge I present them with they always go out of their way to accommodate me. How did you hear about them? A friend of mine recommended Creation to me and I have been delighted with the service ever since. What did you have done? It started with styling and now I practically live there having regular styling and colour.

What do you like about Creation? Vicky is and always has been my stylist. The service she provides is second to none. I really like the new salon in Penarth. The staff are great - as soon as I walk through the door I’m made to feel like a VIP and am greeted with a warm smile and my customary cup of Earl Gray tea. Also, since using the Penarth salon I’ve started using the Aveda products which appear to be much better for my hair.

Creation Concept Salon 47 Windsor Rd, Penarth CF64 1JH 029 2070 8111

Sian Kosinski

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“I feel very privileged to be able to live here in Penarth, the jewel in the Vale’s crown. We have a very vibrant shopping centre, a pier, a marina and beautiful peaceful parks in which to enjoy a pleasant walk.” Sylvia Godfrey, Image Boutique


Adam Framers You’ve been framed! Adam Framers is a picture framing company for general photographs and sports memorabilia, established four years ago by Simon Keating. Simon was a member of the Cardiff Devils and worked in the summer months for the owner of the business. Simon suffered a groin injury and could not continue with his sporting career. At that time that the owner sadly passed away so Simon decided to take over the business. Adam Framers’ main customers are artists needing frames for their work, galleries and sportspeople. Adam Framers is the only company in Penarth specialising in framing sports memorabilia. His clients include the Cardiff City players lounge, Cardiff Rugby players and all nine of the infamous Sports Cafe’s. Adam Framers 92 Glebe Street, Penarth 029 2070 7299


Julie T ladies boutique Julie T is a ladies boutique aimed at the discerning 30+ age group looking for something a little different, whatever the occasion – without breaking the bank! Owner Julie Turner took over the lease of the boutique some six years ago and caters for ladies who like to be offered more variety and unique pieces and take inspiration from honest advice and personal service. Since its refurbishment in February this year, Julie has introduced more French and Italian brands including an excellent range of knitwear and well cut trousers and jackets. ❧ 100 ❧

Julie T also offers a good range of wedding outfits from brands such as Gina Bacconi with a variety of matching accessories. In late summer exciting, stylish and affordable Danish brands Fransa and Cream will be available. Trained dressmaker Julie also offers an alteration service, honest advice and works six days a week to offer the personal service that regular customers have come to rely on and new customers enjoy. Julie T 1 Windsor Terrace, Penarth 029 2070 8784


Image is everything! Ask anyone in Penarth what is Image and they will say it’s either the high quality ladies boutique that’s been trading for 41 years or the hair studio above the boutique which is home to very experienced hair stylists.

Image Boutique caters for ladies from size ten to 20 looking for a smart but casual day look or those looking for an outfit for that special occasion. It’s all in a name and names are certainly in abundance at Image, with Michael H Gold Collection, Chianti, Fissue, Frank Eden and Junge satisfying those ladies looking for that special occasion outfit and Paul Separates, Emrico and Evalinka who have the smart but casual look down to a tee. Image also stock NYDJ (Not Your Daughter’s Jeans), the incredible jean that instantly make you look a size smaller.

Owner Sylvia is passionate about living and working in Penarth, “I feel very privileged to be able to live here, the jewel in the Vale’s crown. We have a very vibrant shopping centre, a pier, a marina and beautiful peaceful parks in which to enjoy a pleasant walk. We are very proud to be one of the longest standing fashion shops and retail business in Penarth, which is largely due to our ability to move with the times and our very loyal customers who have a fine eye for fashion are forward thinking and not afraid to try anything new.”

Image also has a fantastic range of hats, fascinators and costume jewellery by Gabby and Virtue to complete the look and a wonderful selection of sandals and shoes. It’s easy to see what’s kept Image at the forefront of ladies fashion in Penarth for so long with its comprehensive selection of quality clothing at affordable prices and its impeccable customer service. Alterations to chosen outfits can also be completed within two to three days.

“I look for brands, styles and products which offer the customer something just that bit different but which are affordable.” Amanda Teillet


GuiliGuili Childrenswear Established in 2006, GuiliGuili is a childrenswear shop selling funky, affordable continental clothing for newborn to eight year olds. They also offer gifts, toys and accessories. Customers visiting GuiliGuili are a real mix of parents and family members, colleagues and friends of all ages.

Image of Penarth Boutique 108 Glebe Street, Penarth CF64 1ED 029 2070 2505 Open Mon – Sat 9.30am – 5.30pm Image Hair Studio 029 2070 0190 Thurs (late night until 7pm) , Fri, Sat

What do you like about Penarth? I like the diversity of small businesses offering a wonderful shopping experience and sense of community and it’s an excellent place to spend your leisure time. What is unique about GuiliGuili? I look for brands, styles and products which offer the customer something just that bit different but which are affordable. The shop is child friendly and allows my customers to browse and shop easily. We also have the added advantage of available parking. How do you relax? Spending time with family and friends, eating out or enjoying the amazing countryside and coastline of the Vale of Glamorgan and Wales.

GuiliGuili 6 Station Approach, Penarth CF64 3EE 029 2070 5858

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The specialist harp part of its business attracts customers from all over the world. They also ship both new and second-hand harps, music and CD’s internationally.

Pencerdd is owned by Adrian and Joanna Lewis. They sell musical instruments, sheet music, CD’s and accessories such as leads, plectrums, music stands, instrument stands, stools, strings, reeds and more.

Established for six years, its customers include families buying children their first guitar or violin to professional harpists and ageing rockers buying the gold-top Les Paul guitar they couldn’t afford when they were younger. Pencerdd is the only general music shop in the UK where you can see at least four different makes of folk and concert harp alongside the conventional range of musical instruments.

They stock a full range of musical instruments from £1 kazoos to £30,000 concert harps and have a wide range of sheet music for all instruments in stock, and a fast ordering service for anything not on the shelves. Pencerdd also offer harp rental and repairs and is a fully bilingual business offering all services in Welsh or English.

It also often has interesting second hand instruments in stock; for instance at present it has a Sovereign Parlour Guitar in perfect condition made by the Oscar Schmidt company in New Jersey in the early 1930’s, a model played by the blues greats such as Blind Blake, Son House, Leadbelly and their contemporaries.

Adrian was one of the four founder members of Penarth Folk/Blues club, which brought such illustrious guitarists as Woody Mann, Duck Baker and Wizz Jones to Penarth.

Pencerdd hits the right note

They are currently awaiting planning permission for a new harp showroom at the rear of the shop which will allow more space for customers to browse all their stock in comfort.

Pencerdd will shortly be launching their updated, fully bilingual website with full e-commerce facilities.

Pencerdd 4 Station Approach, Penarth CF64 3EE 029 2070 9982

CEREDWYN COTTAGE 4 star luxury, breathing fresh air into coastal living. Situated on Colhugh Street, Llantwit Major a stone’s throw from the bustling village with its many quaint shops, cafés and restaurants. Just one mile to the beach and the breathtaking Heritage Coastline, stands this most charming 200 year old Welsh stone cottage. The cottage has been lovingly restored to reveal its Welsh stone walls and two original fireplaces by its owners Vicki Morgan and her business partner Kevin Hom Sing of Icos Building and Design Ltd. Vicki and Kevin started renovating the cottage just over a year ago and have transformed it into a masterpiece of sophisticated, warm cottage living. The whole cottage has been completely remodelled offering the following accommodation: Interior ♥ Large open plan sitting room with two original fireplaces ♥ Slate stone flooring to the whole of the ground floor ♥ Kitchen/dining room with utility ♥ Downstairs family bathroom ♥ Two double bedrooms (one bedroom with dressing area) ♥ Master bedroom offers en-suite shower room Exterior ♥ Enclosed landscaped garden with decking and lawn area ♥ Private off road parking for two vehicles

This is a rare opportunity to purchase a stunning cottage, full of character, in one of the Vale’s most desirable and sought after locations.

For Sale This charming property is offered for sale at £255,000 Please call 0845 130 6452 or email

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Ceredwyn Cottage. Home is where the heart is. Selling your property? If you are a homeowner and would like to feature your property in Vale Life please call 0845 130 6452 or email for further information.

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Celebrate with Hamptons You may know Hamptons for their fabulous homeware and gorgeous Blue Pelican café, but did you know they also design interiors, landscape gardens and design and theme events. Their talents know no bounds!

Events If you’re planning a special event, speak to the events team at Hamptons who can help ensure that whatever the occasion it will be a success. Hamptons can design and create the perfect party or wedding. From bespoke favours to decorating an entire room or suite. With years of experience, they will ensure that your event will be unlike any you’ve ever been to.

Weddings Hamptons can design and create unique décor for your special day. Parties Your idea will become a reality when you call on the experience of the Hamptons Design Team. Corporate Hamptons specialise in seasonal schemes for hotels and company events.

Hamptons 10 Ludlow Lane Penarth CF64 1EA 029 2070 5391

SELL YOUR HOME WITH VALE LIFE Having your home featured in Vale Life could add value to your property!

We’ve all heard the recent disturbing news about the global credit crunch and the effect that this is having on the housing market, but what if you still want to sell your house?

Is your property suitable? Firstly your property has to be appropriate for Vale Life. It might have some interesting history, be in a stunning location or just simply beautifully presented.

We have a number of packages available which are as follows:

As with any product, it is important to create a desirable product for the market in which you’re trying to sell. So, just imagine potential buyers poring over your beautifully presented property in the pages of Vale Life.

After an initial consultation, we would arrange to take photographys and write descriptive text to complement the images.

Gold A four page feature of your home including photography, copywriting and web pages.

If you’re thinking of selling, this is a highly effective way of promoting your home to discerning readers in the Vale of Glamorgan and is the perfect medium in which to showcase VALE LIFE your property.

Platinum A four page feature of your home including photography, copywriting, web pages and an eight page brochure which would also contain the feature pages from Vale Life.

“This is a highly effective way of promoting your home to discerning readers.”

SPRING❧SUMMER 2008 £1.95



Vale Life Cardiff House Cardiff Road Vale of Glamorgan CF63 2AW

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G L A M O R G A N ’S P R E M I E R L I F E S T Y L E M A G A Z I N E

Silver A double page spread of your home including photography and copywriting

For a free quotation, please telephone 0845 130 6452 VALE ROCKS! WE TALK TO J ANE







or email

The new spring collection at Hamptons will convince those doubting Thomases that you don’t have to go to London to find the latest in high design. In fact Hamptons was born from that very problem. The store’s founders, interior designer Andy Bradshaw and garden designer Peter Knowles admitted that they were constantly taking clients to London to view the latest collections and found it baffling as to why none of the products appeared to be available in Wales. Hamptons has changed that in a big way. The quality and diversity of products is tremendous and Hamptons has quickly established itself as one of the leading independent interiors stores in Wales. Their latest coup is securing a brand new collection from Sir Terence Conran and they are delighted to currently be the only stockist in Wales. Peter says, “We’re very excited about Content by Conran. The Conran team felt that Hamptons was exactly the right place to showcase the collection.”

“Texture is still very much a part of this year’s trend,” says Andy. “Our new range of lighting includes Mimo which has lacquered, turned bases with matching velvet shades. And for something that is pure indulgence, Desire has to be this year’s must have chandelier. Colour is definitely back with a vengeance after many years in the wilderness and while neutrals will always have their place, pattern for walls and strong deep colours for soft furnishings are appearing at all of the major shows.”

HAMPTONS AT A good example of this are the fused glass mirrors and panels by Jo Downs in Cornwall. Each one is handmade and completely unique. Jo is passionate about her work and so it’s no wonder that she was commissioned to create the ceiling for the Arcadia cruise liner.

For those who want texture in a big way, cushions by Dream Weavers from the United States come in a fantastic range of vivid colours and are perfectly complemented by a selection of matching rugs. The Pebble Rug really does look like the real thing until you step onto it!

With many high street retailers producing ranges with similar looks it’s no wonder that Hamptons has proved to be such a success with those who want to find something that little bit more unusual. “Many of our clients want the bespoke look and we feel that our carefully sourced products give them the opportunity to tap into this field” said Peter.

“Cushions by Dream Weavers from the USA in a fantastic range of vivid colours.” ❧ 104 ❧

The latest range of table glassware on offer at Hamptons follows one of the major trends this year and that is metallics. In gold, silver and copper, the Orsini champagne glasses from Polish glass designer LSA are elegant, sleek and perfectly complemented by wine glasses and delicate liqueur glasses.

And while on the subject of delicate items, Hamptons are proud to stock artificial flowers by specialists Ruckley who continue to lead the field with their stunning range of plants and floral arrangements. Orchids, peonies, lilies and tiny shot glasses crammed with spring flowers - you really have to see these close up to appreciate how real they appear, especially as the flowers appear to sit in water. And although hard to believe, the rose arrangements have a wonderful scent!

The Hamptons store also houses a wonderful range of sofas and occasional chairs available in a wide range of fabrics and finishes - and unusually, all are made in Britain.

HOME Of course Hamptons has its roots in design and the company’s design studios are housed within the store. The design team are happy to advise on any of the products on display as well as talking potential clients through the interior and garden design process. Both Peter and Andy are well recognised within their respective fields. Peter is a Royal Horticultural Society Gold Medal winner and a Registered Member of the Society of Garden Designers while Andy’s television design work has won a British Bafta and two Bafta Cymru. Hamptons is an absolute must if you are searching for well designed and unusual furnishings and accessories. And with their excellent 40 seat café bar on the first floor you can also have coffee, a glass of wine or lunch while you shop. ❧ 105 ❧

Hamptons 10 Ludlow Lane, Penarth CF64 1EA 029 2070 5391

VALE BUSINESS A round up of business in the Vale. B A R RY

Higher Rights award for J A Hughes Partner Mr Timothy G. Hackett, a Partner at J A Hughes solicitors, who have offices in Barry, Penarth and most recently Rhiwbina in Cardiff, has been awarded Higher Rights for Civil Proceedings. Mr Hackett had already achieved Higher Rights in Criminal Proceedings in November 2000. He is now able to represent clients not only in the Courts traditionally frequented by Solicitors, but as a Solicitor Advocate he can now appear for clients in the highest Courts in the land. Only a small and select group of Solicitors hold both of these awards. Mr Hackett said, “I’m honoured to have been awarded Higher Rights in both Civil and Criminal Proceedings. It means that I can not only fulfil the traditional role of a solicitor but I can also undertake work that was previously only the remit of barristers. This enables J A Hughes to provide a comprehensive service to our clients”. Barry 01446 411000 Penarth 029 2070 2449


The Copthorne thrills Girls’ Night In As part of International Women’s Day, the Copthorne’s theatre dining quartet thrilled the crowds at a Girls’ Night In event at the House of Fraser store in Cardiff, with songs from their repertiore of muscial theatre performances. You can see and hear more of their Broadway and West End style performances weekly from Wednesday to Sunday, combined with a sumptuous three course set dinner (lunch on Sundays) at The Copthorne Hotel, near Cardiff.

Ticket prices are £27.50 per person including live theatre show and three course meal with coffee. Concessions available. Shows at 7.30pm Wednesday to Saturday (12.30pm on Sundays). Shows change weekly. The Copthorne Hotel Copthorne Way Culverhouse Cross CF5 6DH For reservations please phone 029 2059 9100


Turbocharged Saab is top of its class Firmly asserting itself as a market leader and pioneer of turbocharged technology, Saab has announced the introduction of its revolutionary TTiD engine, now available at Concept Saab. The Swedish marque’s new 9-3 range features a powerful four cylinder diesel engine with a unique two-stage turbocharging system, a world ‘first’ in the premium car segment, offering exceptional levels of efficiency. The 1.9-litre, 16-valve engine, badged TTiD, produces 180 hp (132kW) and 400 Nm of maximum torque, specific power outputs that are unmatched among competitor products on the market. ❧ 106 ❧


Room for Living make a Miele of it Room for Living in Cowbridge is delighted to announce that it has been chosen as a preferred supplier of Miele high quality domestic appliances and commercial equipment. Mike McNabb of Room for Living says, “Miele have been leading the market for 100 years and consistently comes out on top when tested independently in many products categories.

They produced the first ever electric dishwasher, the first ever fully automatic washing machine, and the first ever washing machine, tumble dryer and dishwasher to be controlled by microprocessors.” You can read about the exciting Miele range at Room for Living on page 52. Room for Living Willow Walk, Cowbridge CF71 7EE 01446 771234


Leekes unveils its brand new identity Leekes, one of Wales’ longest established, leading independent retailers, has embarked upon a branding programme designed to reflect the modern, forward looking face of the company. The new brand identity includes an updated logo, a new strapline and set of brand values. The changes represent a significant milestone in the company’s 100 year history and help cement Leekes as retail innovators and experts. Emma Leeke, Commercial Director of Leekes, explains the reasoning behind the exercise and the most noticeable changes to one of Wales’ most famous companies, “We undertook a review of our brand with the objective of clarifying the essence of our brand, what we stand for and to put us in a position to appeal to a wider market audience. Our new corporate identity represents an evolution rather than a revolution. The new logo design and ‘You’re home’ strapline capture the essence of what makes us different – stores that provide customers with inspiration for their own homes, staffed by knowledgeable, friendly people who provide a first class service.”

With a combined fuel consumption of 50.4mpg for the Saloon, and an exceptionally low CO2 emissions rate of just 149g/km, this engine will also offer class-leading economy, together with in-gear performance on a par with the 2.8V6 turbo petrol engine, making it an attractive proposition for fleet decision makers and business motorists. These new reduced emissions figures improve the Benefit-in-Kind (BIK) banding with immediate effect, significantly reducing the on-the-road costs for these models as many of the vehicles now fall into lower Vehicle Excise Duty bands. As a result of the reduced CO2 emissions, customers looking to purchase New Saab 9-3 Aero 1.9TTiD models could enjoy a tax saving of up to £646 per annum.

The Saab TTiD engine is available in Aero and Vector Sport variants and is offered in all three bodystyles of Saloon, SportWagon and Convertible. Prices start from just £25,315 for the Vector Sport model.

The new 9-3 range is an attractive proposition for fleet decision makers and business motorists. To find out more about the Saab TTiD, or to book a test drive, visit Concept Saab, Penarth Road, Cardiff 029 2039 1200

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The new identity will be supported by a multi channel campaign, which communicates Leekes’ message as the ‘home experts’. The campaign breaks on TV, radio and press week commencing 21 April 2008. Customers can order Leekes’ new season brochure at or by calling 01443 667350. Leekes has department stores at Llantrisant, Cross Hands and Melksham and a building yard in Tonypandy. Customers can also buy online. Leekes Llantrisant Cowbridge Road, Pontyclun CF72 8XU 01443 667350




Home Information Packs now available

Commedia makes an exhibition of itself

New development’s grand opening

Home Information Packs (HIPs) are designed to speed up the house buying process so that the seller has information about their property ready and prepared before starting to market the property.

Commedia is a design company based in the Vale. They design all manner of things including corporate identities, leaflets, brochures, exhibition equipment, promotional items, signage, vehicle livery, websites and even interiors.

Just ten minutes outside Cowbridge, Brocastle Manor’s exclusive development of luxury apartments and houses with superior accommodation for those with time to enjoy life is having a grand opening on Thursday May 8th from 10am until 8pm.

The HIP will contain the following documents: ■ An Index of Contents ■ A Sale Statement (summarising terms of sale) ■ Where appropriate a New Home Warranty ■ Evidence of Title (for registered properties) ■ An Energy Performance Certificate Also for leasehold properties: ■ A copy of the Lease ■ Most recent service charge accounts and receipts ■ Building Insurance Policy details and payment receipts ■ Regulations made by the Landlord or Management Company J A Hughes offer their Home Information Package at a total cost of £255.00 plus VAT and can give an assurance that, from the date of instruction to them preparing the Home Information Pack on behalf of a prospective seller, it will be completed within five to ten days. Therefore, as soon as a purchaser has been found for a property the Home Information Pack is already available for submission to a purchaser’s solicitors. J A Hughes have many options in relation to ways of payment and are happy to meet the needs of each and every individual as to their preferred method. They can also advise on all aspects of Home Information Packs in order to make the whole process as efficient and stress free as possible for any potential seller.

Commedia has enjoyed its first year of success and provides a one stop shop for clients offering a full range of services. The company has its head office based in the Vale with satellite offices in Rhondda Cynon Taff and Cardiff. Commedia Cardiff House, Cardiff Road Vale of Glamorgan CF63 2AW 0845 130 1508

Brocastle Manor In association with Watts & Morgan 01446 773500



Prosper promotes a healthy business

Bryl’s Boutique saves the day

Prosper offer monthly Surgery Sessions at their Cowbridge Office from 10am until 1pm with invaluable help and advice and problem solving tips from people in business.

Dilemma... It’s your birthday and your partner asks, “What can I get you?”

They also provide bi-monthly ‘Under the Microscope’ workshops so that members can really bond by collectively supporting one another. The workshops offer new strategies for members to develop more ideas, get more customers and ultimately make more money.

J A Hughes Centenary House, King Square, Barry 01446 411000 7 Bradenham Place, Penarth 029 2070 2449 For further advice on HIPs or conveyancing matters email or

Hot news! Prosper Cardiff and Vale intends to have four Business Referral Networks established within the next couple of years that will be based in Miskin Manor (already underway), Bath (launching in April), Cardiff City Centre (inaugural meeting May 2008) and Cowbridge (launching in 2009)

For further details or to arrange a visit to a Prosper event, please telephone Cheryl Bass on 07974 762601

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Answer...“A gift voucher from Bryl’s Boutique would be fabulous, thank you very much darling.” Let’s face it, that would beat a new iron or comfy slippers any day of the week and with vouchers available from £10 upwards, they can love you a little bit or they can love you a lot!

“I have known Ann for years and enjoy going into her boutique for a number of reasons. She always manages to put me at ease and can instantly know if an item will suit me. She’ll often suggest something that I would never think of picking up and very rarely does it go back on the rail.” Jennifer, Editor Bryl’s Boutique 7 High Street Barry CF62 7DZ 01446 748246


Credit crisis! What credit crisis? Apparently, the Chinese word for ‘crisis’ is the same as the word for ‘opportunity’. China’s historic culture seems to be teaching us more than a few things these days. When economic circumstances change, it can often be the best time to seek out new opportunites and tap into new markets that would not otherwise be available in less volatile times. If this advice seems like too little, too late or the words horse, bolted and gate spring to mind then perhaps you might want to call John Milburn of Farndale Financial. John can help clients with ‘challenging’ financial circumstances Previously a bank manager, John is well placed to understand how financial institutions operate. John Milburn ACIB Farndale Financial Consultants Tel/Fax 01494 876953

Bryl’s Boutique has an amazing range of clothing from French Connection, Nougat, Great Plains, Sticky Fingers, Sandwich, Chilli Pepper and Religion.

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If you’re thinking about starting your own business, the Business Centre’s Virtual Office package could be just the thing you need to get your business off the ground.

VIRTUAL REALITY The Business Centre is the only fully serviced business centre in the Vale of Glamorgan and offers modern, flexible office space with free car parking and a range of business support services that every business needs. Based just three miles from Cardiff International Airport and five miles from Cardiff City Centre, The Business Centre couldn’t be more convenient and, if you fancy getting out of the office and working on the laptop (or simply chilling out), you’ll be just a short drive from some of the Vale of Glamorgan’s most glorious beaches. Working virtually The benefits you get from a virtual office are many. It is an extremely cost effective option - all the benefits of a serviced office without the physical office space (and the overheads!). Quite simply, a virtual office is a telephone answering service with a business address and access to a range of business support services should you need them. Creating the right impression Let’s take missed phone calls for example. It’s a fact your customers prefer to speak to a person rather than an automated answer service.

The Centre’s experienced receptionists answer calls promptly and professionally in your company name leaving your customers feeling that they are important. Your call can even be ‘patched’ seamlessly through to you wherever you are in the world. You’ll never miss a call again!

The virtual office at The Business Centre is ideal for those of you who work from home, from an industrial unit or are out on the road a lot of the time but recognise the value of having a prestigious business address and a professional reception service. Mailing address The Business Centre offers you a prestigious mailing address and handles all your incoming post. Using the unique address and postcode ‘Cardiff House, Cardiff Road, Vale of Glamorgan CF63 2AW’ gives the impression that you are an established company with your own premises. When used in conjunction with the telephone answering service, The Business Centre becomes your complete ‘virtual office’. Registered office A registered office is needed by all companies, whether private or public, large or small. For a small fee, you can use the Business Centre address – very useful especially if you want to keep your home address separate from your business.

What other benefits await you at the Business Centre ■ Free membership to an on-site gym, ■ Large, bright open ‘break-out areas’ where you can enjoy your coffee and newspaper away from the desk ■ Stylish ‘picnic’ area – a very pleasant environment to soak up those summer rays! ■ Regular in-house informal networking functions What clients are saying about The Business Centre “The kind of flexibility that The Business Centre offers is perfect for an expanding business like ours and the virtual office facility allows us to dip our toes into new business waters without the great risk that usually comes with taking on office space and all of the associated overheads.” Mark Roberts Commedia

Interested? For a virtual tour and even more information, please visit The Business Centre’s website at ❧ 110 ❧

The Business Centre’s breakout area is a great place to relax and interact with other business people


The benefits of a serviced office ■ Instant Access

Usually, you can move in to a fullyfitted turnkey office suite, within 24 hours, providing you with an immediate solution to your office requirement. ■ Flexibility

We are flexible, streamlined and trouble-free – you can expand or contract at short notice free from leasehold responsibilities and obligations.

■ Cost Effective

When all the costs of running a business are taken into account, The Business Centre offers excellent value for money. There is minimal capital outlay and no expensive legal fees. ■ Convenience

One monthly rental payment based on the size of the office suite chosen covers all of the following business essentials: ■ Rent ■ Service charge ■ General and environmental rates ■ Heating, lighting and power ■ Executive furniture ■ Daily cleaning of office ■ Furnished and manned reception ■ Telephone system including handsets ■ DDI line per authorized user ■ Mail handling ■ Building insurance and maintenance ■ Fire alarm and building security ■ Free car parking ■ Free membership to on-site gym ❧ 111 ❧

“Our aim is to offer businesses a serviced office facility that is flexible and affordable. Our family has been in business for many years, so we really understand what businesses need to function effectively.” Gordon Mason Managing Director The Business Centre Cardiff House, Cardiff Road Barry, Vale of Glamorgan CF63 2AW 01446 739911


Two of Wales’ most dynamic law firms are joining forces as Cardiff based Ergo and Mansfield Fellowes announce their merger. We talk to Vale resident Emma del Torto, an employment solicitor and Head of Employment and HR at Ergo Solicitors, based in Cardiff Bay. Emma del Torto and Michael Burne formed Ergo in mid 2007 specialising in employment and commercial law with an aim to revolutionise the way in which clients receive legal advice. Established in June 2006 by Rebecca Mansfield Fellowes, Mansfield Fellowes Solicitors specialise in commercial law with services focussed on the setting up, purchase, development, protection and sale of businesses. Prior to establishing her own practice, Rebecca trained with Eversheds before specialising in corporate law and then becoming a partner with Cardiff based Capital Law. She now becomes a Board Director and Shareholder of Ergo Solicitors. Michael Burne, Director of Ergo Solicitors commented, “Rebecca’s rapidly growing portfolio and natural desire to develop the business fits perfectly with our own business and we are therefore really pleased and excited that our two firms will now merge.

We have worked hard over the last year to develop our own business and remain keen to exploit the opportunities in this changing market. Developing our client offering to include a broader commercial service alongside our employment law team was an obvious step to take.” Rebecca Mansfield Fellows added, “This is a hugely exciting time as we merge our two businesses. We have shared values and objectives which are absolutely focussed on ensuring the strong delivery of pragmatic and commercial legal solutions for the SME market in South Wales.”

Where do you live? I live in St Nicholas, which is a sleepy village in the Vale of Glamorgan. Do you have children, if so, where do they go to school? I have two children, Bronwen, 8 and Benjamin, 6. They both attend Welsh medium primary school, Ysgol Iolo Morgannwg in Cowbridge. What do you like about the Vale? I like the fact it is in the country, but close to the city for work and other amenities. The air is clearer and I swear that the birds sing louder in our garden than anywhere else! Where would you recommend Vale Life readers go for a totally unforgettable dining experience? I like Oscars. It’s family friendly, caters for all tastes and does milkshakes for the children, whilst also providing food for the more discerning palate. What’s your favourite meal? I like a nice plate of tuna steak with roasted vegetables. Who would be your ideal dining companion? Tough decision. Rebecca Mansfield Fellowes, my business partner or my best friend, Louise Taverner, who is from Cardiff originally but now lives in the States. Favourite town in the Vale of Glamorgan and why? I would have to say Cowbridge, as it is a lovely market town, where you can get everything you need without having to venture into the big city or even to the supermarkets and shops at Culverhouse Cross. Favourite Vale of Glamorgan landmark or attraction? Tinkinswood burial chamber is rather awesome and impressive and you can walk there on the way to Duffryn Gardens.

Pictured from left, Emma del Torto, Rebecca Mansfield Fellows and Michael Burne of Ergo. Revolutionising the way in which clients receive legal advice.

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If there is one thing missing from the Vale of Glamorgan what do you think it is? The public transport links are woefully lacking, but I don’t think there will ever be an underground in the Vale! What annual event in the Vale is a must? The annual Reindeer Parade, which is unforgettable and fantastic for children and adults alike. What is your favourite music and why? Currently Amy Winehouse and Kate Nash because I am so ‘street’ and, at heart, I will always be a girl from North London! What do you do to relax? Reading a good book (as recommended by the St Nicholas Book Club no less!) or to spend some time and lots of money at Beauty Within! What gadget could you not be without and why? My laptop computer. It is a working girl’s best friend and enabled me to do work whilst on holiday in Spain and New York last year when the business had only just started. If you weren’t in your current job, what would you be doing? I would be a travel writer and adventurer. Any lifelong ambition? To have a house with a swimming pool. If someone asked you to sum yourself up in three words, what would those words be? Strong, warm, determined. Ergo Falcon Drive, Cardiff Bay Cardiff CF10 4RU 029 2050 4826


Anyone who’s in business will tell you it’s not what you know but who you know. Here at Vale Life, we couldn’t agree more!

So, how do you get to meet likeminded business people? For a start, you could join a good networking organization and in this issue we feature two such organisations who are taking the networking world by storm. But before you sign up and pay a visit to your first networking meeting, we thought we’d give you a few pointers on how to network successfully. Just follow these simple hints and you shouldn’t go far wrong. 1. Your badge – Should say what it does on the tin. Most networking event organizers give you a name badge. If none are available, make sure you’ve got your own handy. A badge has the potential to be a silent conversationstarter, which is especially helpful for those who are nervous talking to

strangers. If all you write is your name, you aren’t giving other attendees anything to work with. It’s a small thing but has a big impact. Here’s what to do instead: Think a moment before you decide what to write. Ask yourself, is my company name familiar? Does it say what my company does? If not, your tagline may a good thing to include on your badge as well. Also: ■ Make sure your name is legible and written with a thick marker, if possible, so it’s visible from afar and people don’t need to squint or lean in close to read it. For the same reason, don’t use your business card as a nametag. ■ In bold, easy to read letters, include your name, your professional designation, your company name and your title.

■ Put your web address on your badge too. Not only will it be a conversation starter, but it will plant a little seed for someone to visit your website. ■ You can even use it to ask a question about a resource you need (“Know any good publishers?”) Make it funny or unusual. Others will notice and see it as an invitation into conversation. 2. Introduce yourself with pizzaz. I used to say, “I’m a publisher.” I now realise this isn’t the best way to start a conversation. I could be a publisher of a magazine about sewers (no offence to sewer magazines out there). Now I say, “I publish magazines called Vale Life and City Life, the premier lifestyle magazines for the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff”. This usually gets a better response.

PROSPER BUSINESS REFERRAL Prosper Business Referral Network is an exclusive business network established in the Vale offering its members a whole range of business networking and business development opportunities. The network meets on a monthly basis in exclusive hotels across the UK. Membership is by invitation only, with an emphasis on quality, not quantity. The unique selling point of Prosper is that at the centre of each network is a business coach with a role to manage the network and its complementary services, thereby allowing its members to concentrate on doing business with one another.

The business coach works with members to increase business opportunities by arranging introductions, supporting their marketing activities and to signpost them for further business support, such as grants, venture capital funding etc. The monthly meetings start with networking over a glass of something, after which the networking group sit down to enjoy a delicious dinner together when members really have time to get to know one another and explore opportunities of working together. Then, over coffee they enjoy a thirty minute Business Master Class, followed by further networking opportunities.

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In between monthly meetings members can access a whole host of additional services including: ■ FREE 1-2-1 Peer Group Surgeries. Members support one another in their areas of expertise and introduce their services and solutions to one another in far more depth. The first surgery session, held by one member, resulted in him securing over £11,000 worth of business, in just one morning! ■ FREE Under the Microscope Workshops. Members can bring their business issues to a team who really help them ‘shape-up’ their idea. One workshop resulted in a member developing a new business offering even bigger than their existing business. The group shaped the strategy, marketing, strap lines and the marketing literature. ■ FREE On-line Marketing Support. Members can market what they do, their special offers and utilise the services of an on-line shop. ■ On-line and Off-line Business Referral Scheme. This is like having a huge sales force working for you, that you don’t need to employ.

NOT WORKING...? 3. Try not to let your nerves show. At most networking events, you’ll get a chance to stand up and say a little bit about what you do. If you tend to get nervous at public speaking, (as I sometimes do), my advice is to practice what you’re going to say well in advance so that you cover all bases. Another very useful trick is to imagine the audience using the loo or eating a large cream cake. Not very glamorous I know, but it takes the edge off believe me! 4. Don’t use jargon and don’t get too technical. If I want to know more, then I would have to ask a few more questions. If you’re a printer, don’t talk about pantone colours, if you’re a publisher, don’t talk about column width sizes. If you do, eyes will start to glaze over. Instead, keep it interesting and light. Concentrate on the benefits to the potential customer. Imagine yourself in their shoes and think about what would be most useful to them.

5. Always follow up. Very few people actually do! After an event, follow things up with a quick email message saying, “Great to meet you.” Are we just too busy to follow up? Or maybe we just don’t know what to say? It takes a few minutes to compose a short email message and if you don’t remember exactly what you discussed, you may assume the other person doesn’t remember either. But, no matter what you tell yourself, when you’re sitting in front of a blank screen with a stack of cold business cards, push yourself to make the effort to write a short note. That way, your email address and message is in their inbox, just in case. Here’s another useful technique I’ve found to be quite effective to prevent blank screen/blank mind. Set the foundation for a follow up while you’re talking. Note anything unusual about them or the work they do, any details or specifics that you might forget.

NETWORK Prosper offers growing businesses an opportunity to spend time in quality environments, with other businesses, where they can develop relationships and business opportunities together. Prosper founder member, Ralph Bettany of Ralph Bettany Associates, (an accountancy business based in Swansea) says, “Prosper Business Referral Networking is the future of business, in my opinion. I really appreciate doing business with people who buy into a win/win philosophy.” Membership is an investment of £450.00 per year. Each networking group has only one category of business, so gone are the days in Prosper of walking into a room where there are three or four of any one trade all vying for the same business. Prosper Business Referral Network Membership is by invitation only. Please telephone Cheryl Bass (pictured right) on 07974 762601

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Note also, right then and there, any ideas you have about follow up: the link you promised to send or the resource you want to pass along. That way, you will never be able to use the ‘blank mind’ as an excuse. One of the objectives of networking is to plant seeds for future relationships. But if all you can think of is, “What can this person do for me right now?” you’ll miss out on a lot of great opportunities down the road. Remember to give a little to get a little back. If you miss the chance to expand your network today just because you don’t take the time or don’t know what to say, you may never know what you’re missing. The executive you follow up with today may just be the person hiring tomorrow or the one who could put in a good word at a company you’re talking to. Most importantly relax, be yourself and enjoy the networking process.

4NETWORKING Vale Life chatted to Managing Director of 4Networking, Brad Burton, to find out a little more about the organisation and its future plans. How did 4Networking come about? I had been to other networking events and I was looking for something different. I don’t like rules and, as you can probably tell, I am always in a hurry and have a very low boredom threshold. For me, networking needs to be fast paced, suitable for all businesses and with as few rules as possible. I wanted networking for people who don’t wear suits as well as those who do, networking where you build the relationships within the meeting and with no hierarchy where everyone in the room get's an equal voice. When you’re employed you are surrounded by a team and resources. When you’re self-employed, you don’t have that support. Working in isolation, that’s a tough, tough gig. It impacts on your productivity and creativity. I recall one day, being devoid of both of them, running out of ideas. I watched some TV - there was no point in pretending to work. But there was little point returning to my desk as I was flat.


Blue Sky Ideals Ltd Blue Sky aims to buy you more time by providing a professional domestic management service tailored to your lifestyle needs. By organising, overseeing, and scrutinising any or all tasks associated with your household including cleaning, ironing, house sitting, carpet shampooing etc, we enable you to spend time on activities that are more valuable to you. Blue Sky frees you from wasting precious time on everyday chores. We are a trustworthy and reliable partner who will manage and execute all the arduous and undesirable jobs around the house and home giving you

I thought “How many other people in business are in the same boat watching Jeremy Kyle feeling guilty!” Then suddenly I had a brainstorm and out of that 4N was born. I wanted to bring all those people together to create a productive business community, where we could all huddle together and create one big virtual company. What makes this business different to other organisations offering networking opportunities? 4N is the only truly linked and open business breakfast network in the UK. We have 148 linked groups across the UK with a target of 250 by end of 2008. We have 5,482 members at present with 35,000 targeted by end of 2008.

Within each group time you have three, ten minute one-to-one meetings at each event. Also, passport members have full access to all the groups across the UK. So members can network four times a week wherever they want. It really is a totally different way of doing things. It’s not the old 80/20 rule of 80% business, 20% social. It’s the new 4N rule of 50/50. 50% business, 50% social because it works! Other commercial networks insist their members bring visitors, at 4Networking it’s our responsibility to make each meeting buzz. The only responsibility of the members is to bring themselves. What advice would you give to those who are reluctant to give it a go with a 4Networking? Currently, to win appointments to gain business, you’d probably use direct mail, marketing and telemarketing. Most businesses depend a great deal on the effectiveness of the face to face meeting. 4N circumvents those conventional routes to market.

more time to do the things you want to. You can rely on our smart, efficient and trustworthy team to get your household jobs done thoroughly and to the highest standards. Buying more time could not be easier. Whether you’re a business executive, a busy mother or simply don’t have the time, energy or ability to do the household chores yourself, Blue Sky can free up your life by giving you the gift of time.

“4Networking gives us a unique opportunity to meet business people with a myriad of different skills and outlooks. It’s a well known fact that contacts and relationships are what make the world go round, both on a business and personal level. What’s more its great fun! I enjoy being Group Leader of The Vale 4N group. It keeps me sane and grounded.” ❧ 116 ❧

Blue Sky Ideals Ltd 01446 754284

“It’s the new 4N rule of 50/50. 50% business, 50% social – because it works!”

I’d be as bold to say by the end of 2008 4N is going to change the entire SME/SOHO landscape forever. Some headline companies that are members are Barclays, Natwest, RBS, BOS, Lloyds BMW, Hyundai, David Lloyd Centers, Premier Travel Inn, Thistle Hotels. The list goes on. 4N has an amazing website to support its members at This allows for more networking online with its online forum. It also allows members to book their next networking event, view the


Town and Country Hotels Group The perfect choice of venue in Wales, whatever the occasion. Town and Country Hotels Group provide a range of hotels, each unique in character yet all share a passion for ensuring your experience will be a very special one. You could treat yourself by visiting The Bear Hotel Cowbridge, famed for it’s fine home cooked food, friendly atmosphere and really good ale. The Coed-Y-Mwstwr Hotel Bridgend, a beautiful country house justifiably proud of its fine reputation. Perched on a Welsh hillside and surrounded by over seventeen acres of woodland, this Victorian mansion provides a cosy and secluded hideaway overlooking the picturesque Vale of Glamorgan.

4networking map, search the list of members and read members’ articles and insert their own. If you ask me what’s the one great thing that’s come out of 4N, I’d have to say it’s the bringing together of likeminded businesspeople who genuinely want to be at the meetings, creating a relaxed environment for them to do business together and being part of a business that’s growing day by day. And, of course, not having to watch Jeremy Kyle!

The New House Country Hotel, which boasts unrivalled views over the city and beautiful Vale of Glamorgan, with open fires, exquisite furnishings, fully equipped function suites, beautifully restored bedrooms and award winning restaurant. Our venues enable you to host the perfect event, from smaller intimate gatherings to grander affairs we will look after your every need. Not forgetting Oscars Bar & Grill, on Cowbridge High Street. It’s the place for everyone. Relax and enjoy a cocktail, chilling out on the sofas, or treat yourselves to lunch or dinner in the cool and stylish dining area.

Town and Country Hotels Group 07977 465236 www.

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4Networking 0845 123 4444

“4 networking has given us the opportunity to meet businesses we may not usually come across in a relaxed and informal constructed way and let them know about our business, and we are pleased to welcome the Vale club to the Bear Hotel.”



Alpha Associates


Established in November 2006, Alpha Associates offers personal growth and enhanced performance work for individuals and businesses through one to one sessions and group workshops.

Ener-chi is a new concept in natural health, beauty and fitness. We offer clinical reflexology as one of many fantastic treatments. This ancient healing art is truly a mind, body and spirit experience. An hour of pure relaxation will leave you recharged and full of vitality.

Using a combination of Clinical Hypnosis, Psycho-analysis, NLP and coaching, Alpha Associates helps individuals to overcome limiting beliefs and behaviour and to ultimately achieve their personal and/or business goals.

Alpha Associates provides a holistic solution to managing stress and anxiety, accessing the natural resources internally to be more effective in all areas of life and to ultimately achieve the success one desires.

Alpha Associates is a private Clinical Hypnotherapy practice helping people to manage stress/anxiety, deal with negative feelings and thoughts, cease unwanted habits and overcome fears and phobias.

“Through 4Networking I have gained personal and business support and increased profile and enhanced confidence. Realising the potential for business growth from a small private practice to a larger associate company is something I attribute to my involvement with 4Networking and my alliance with some amazingly insightful and courageous business people.”

Alpha Associates works with private clients with emotional or psychological challenges and professionals with personal or business goals which are not being actualised. Clinical hypnotherapy and psychotherapy, stress management, positive thinking and public speaking workshops are all available.

D E N I S E J O N E S & J AY N E B E N N E T T

Extra Hands For You Extra Hands For You is a concierge company taking care of all the jobs you need help with. You know how precious your time is. Extra Hands For You give you back the luxury of quality time for yourself and your family, arranging everything from domestic chores, to dinner reservations, weekend break, holidays or concerts.

Alpha Associates 07988 751511

They can even assist you with house sale arrangements and managing the transaction on your behalf. Perhaps you want to re-decorate or arrange a special project like a new kitchen or bathroom. They have thier own comprehensive database of service providers and trades people who have been vetted to ensure that they provide the high level of service that you would expect. How often do you forget to send birthday cards and suddenly have to rush out and grab one to post? Extra Hands For You can provide the cards for you to sign and post them when they are due. They can also shop for presents and gift wrap them or send flowers and special gifts.

Their spacious retail area allows you to browse the exciting product ranges. Look out for Dr Hauschka Rose day cream as favoured by many A List celebs. L’Occitane’s Apple and Almond range is perfect for this season’s bare faced chic look. If time permits, stay for a luxury manicure, a rejuvenating facial or perhaps a hot stone massage.

Ener-chi, Penarth 029 2070 7356

Ener-chi, Radyr 029 2021 4012


The St. James’s Place Partnership Piers is an associate partner with The St. James’s Place Partnership, recently voted “The Daily Telegraph Wealth Manager of the Year 2007.” The Partnership is an elite group made up of many of the most experienced, able and highly regarded professionals working in financial services today.

“We are one of the UK’s leading wealth management companies specialising in providing high quality advice on a comprehensive range of wealth management services to both personal and corporate clients.”

Whatever you need, Extra Hands For You can arrange it to take the stress out of your life. Just pick up the phone and call them on 01656 661130. You’ll find them understanding, professional and fun to deal with and wonder how you ever managed without them!

Extra Hands For You 01656 661130

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St. James’s Place Partnership 01656 783614

Sue, Jessica and Suzanne

Suzanne Jaya and Sue Brown run their own successful businesses but come together to work with clients requiring a complete makeover. They have recently worked with Jessica Morgan of Space Studios. Jessica Morgan of Space Studios Ltd




What’s Your Style

Total Image

Space Studios Ltd

Established for three years, Suzanne is a personal stylist and image consultant.

Sue Brown has been a personal image consultant for two and a half years, offering business and executive coaching, training in corporate image, leadership training, and personal branding.

Space Studios is a recording studio specialising in top-quality audio recording of speech, music, sound effects. Space also offers team building and products to entice even the most nervous or reluctant musicians!

Her clients range from all professions, ages and income brackets, from small and medium business owners to new mums. Suzanne offers individual style consultations (i.e. dressing right for your shape and colouring), wardrobe workouts and personal shopping. Total makeover packages are offered in association with make-up artists and hair stylists. Suzanne helps clients to re-vamp their wardrobe by mixing together items to create outfits and combinations of colour that they would never had previously considered. She also has a background in skincare and complementary health and recognises that how we feel can influence the way we look.

Sue also offers personal image consultations and on-line style profiling for men and women which is unique to the market place. Clients range from middle and senior managers in a corporate environment to private business owners and personal clients. Sue’s 20 years’ experience in corporate training and business management roles enables her to help clients develop on a personal and business level, giving them increased skills and confidence to promote their business and manage and lead teams more effectively.

Founded in late 2005 by Jessica Morgan and her partner Chris Thomas, Space appeals to people from all professions and situations, and has a wide variety of clients, such as named professional musicians, business people, TV and film audio post-production, charities and unsigned bands. Products and packages include band recordings, gift vouchers, vocal coaching, team development, Foley (live sound effects for TV, film and radio), audio recording for the purposes of business marketing, and radio shows. Space is special because they aim to make everyone feel welcome. They work with people with physical or learning disabilities - people who need help with their performances, or people who want to take the first step into professional recording. They have successfully managed to combine development work with high-end professional audio recording, and everyone leaves happy.

“4Networking has enabled us to sell to a wider range of clients, particularly business people with whom we can combine skills. It’s good to be able to refer a client to another professional with confidence.”

What’s Your Style 01443 229296 and 07833 780006

Total Image 07515 992 502

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Space Studios Ltd 029 2046 2513

Year eleven pupils of Westbourne School, Penarth organised a fashion show in support of the children’s charity Ty Hafan.

PENARTH PROMENADE The show formed part of their preparation for developing the concept of Creativity, Action and Service, which is an integral part of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme being introduced into the school next academic year.

The concept for the Fashion Show began life as a small presentation but has grown significantly with support from retailers such as House of Fraser, United Colours of Benetton, Topshop, Gap, Quicksilver and New look as well as local support from two Penarth shops, Ronnies and Vernons.

Enormous interest had been shown in the show and staff, parents and pupils have been working feverishly over the past four weeks in preparation. Pupils from Years 9 - 11 modelled the clothes and girls from Years 5 - 8 provided the dancing. The show was co-ordinated by teacher, Lindsay Emyr, with considerable assistance from Kirstie Howells who runs a modelling agency in Barry; Liz Williams, former editor of Elite Magazine and a considerable number of parents and staff.

The whole project captured the imagination of the students who were shown how to model clothes from Kirstie who certainly strutted their stuff on the evening. However, they were very conscious that the whole event was to support Ty Hafan and, whilst the process has been a very useful learning experience, the fact that it will contribute to the work of the children’s hospice has always been at the forefront of the students’ minds. The school were delighted that the evening’s proceedings were conducted by Frances Donovan, the television presenter, who kindly donated her services to support the show.

The concept for the Fashion Show began life as a small presentation but has grown significantly.

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“This has been truly a whole schoolcommunity project and, as well as providing invaluable funds for Ty Hafan, it has been of enormous benefit to our pupils; they have grown visibly both together as a group and individually in their self-confidence. The IBO’s intention is to develop the whole pupil and this event has made a significant contribution to this aim. My sincere gratitude extends to all who have been involved.” Ken Underhill, Headmaster

For more images visit

Welcome to Vale Life magazine’s Social Life section, a veritable who’s who of the Vale of Glamorgan.



James Hull Group The James Hull Group held a get-together at the Wales Millennium Centre with music, canapés and wine to show their appreciation to referring dentists. For more information contact James Hull Dr Peter Murray and his team are featured in this issue on page 78. Pat Saunders, Mirko Barth and Rachel Sweeting James Hull Dental Practice, The Parade

Tony Beak, A.J Bhatterjee

Louise Povey, Jon Ayres, Suzanne Noorbhai Cowbridge Dental Care

Eleni Ampatzi, Thomas Bisbas Guests

Ilse Addy, Liam Addy, Alberto Fox Cardiff Dental Hospital

Paul Barkley, Rhymney Hill Dental Practice Cardiff, Gareth Jenkins & Adrian Binney, James Hull Dental Practice, The Parade

Catherine Olivery, Rachel Sweeting, David Guppy James Hull

Chris Cook, Nicola Edmunds, Jan Hewitson, Meryl Yeoman, Christine Williams, Helen Griffith Orthodontic Centre, Cardiff Gate

Catherine Oliver, Julie Andrus, Claire Evans, Faye Jenks, Chris Willis and Lyndsay Jones James Hull Dental Practice, The Parade

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SOCIAL LIFE Tony Evans and Mike Thomas

Denise and Ron Groom

Sian Rollason and Steve Cook


Ed Evans Spring Ball A great night was had by all at the Ed Evans Spring Ball held at Sophia Gardens recently. For more information contact Julie Jones, Mark Jones and Lisa Sage

Rhian Jones and Prunella Martin

Elisabeth Lubin, Sian Kosinski, Eunice Lubin, Sophie Kosinski and Rose Lubin

Tim Rice, Kimberley Jones, Gareth Crocker, Hannah Macklin and Karl Shellard

Team photo Vickie Shellard, James Parry, Kelli Bichard, Louie Lloyd


Creation Concept Salon launch Staff, customers and friends gathered to celebrate the opening of the new salon in Penarth.

Hosting an event? Please get in touch with Vale Life by phoning 0845 130 6452 or email James’s model Rick

Kelli’s model Hannah

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Social Life covers launches, parties, exhibitions, charitable events, fashion shows, engagements and weddings.



Cowbridge Fashion Week The stars were out in force to celebrate and promote this year’s successful Cowbridge Fashion Week that took place in March. The town’s boutiques opened their doors until late for customers to enjoy discounts, drinks and nibbles and a chance to rub shoulders with the stars (albeit look-a-likes!). What with Elvis, James Bond, Posh and Becks and topless male models no wonder the town was buzzing! Images For more photographs of Cowbridge Fashion Week please visit Vale Life’s website at Jon Ian – A night at the Oscars

Fich & Ramous – Hairspray and the Rock & Roll Years with Elvis

The Hair Business – A night at the Oscars

At the fashion show Esther Hitchcock Director of Jon Ian and Event Organiser and two of the models

Abi Owens – Choreographer

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Blushbaby – Bubbly with the Beckhams

SOCIAL LIFE Havana & High Society’s Sinatra and stars 1050 Hollywood party

Pebble – Tiaras and tipples

Woodcocks – Coconut and Calypso party

Cherry Hill – Chocolate party

Terminal 9 – Cocktail party

En Vogue – Live music and colour analysis

Visage – Pink party with topless waiters and mini Dior makeovers

Two of the fantastic models

Lois Fashions – James Bond and cocktails

Cowbridge Fashion Week has really put the town on the map and long may it continue!

Leigharne Phillips of The Hair Business hard at work

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The Cowbridge Fashion Show is fast becoming legendary, and this year’s event really rocked! Vale Life went behind the scenes to meet the stars of the show and see how it’s done.


COWBRIDGE Back in the Autumn of 2006, Cowbridge Comprehensive School’s PTA organised a Fashion Show to raise money for school funds. With pupils and teachers as models, and ex-pupil Abi Owens choreographing the event, what started out as a school fund-raiser soon gathered momentum and became a spectacular show involving retailers from the town plus support and sponsorship from businesses throughout the County. Could it be bettered this year? You betcha! Once again the PTA organised another fashion extravaganza which took place in March at Cowbridge Leisure Centre. and was the finale to the Cowbridge Fashion Week. Earlier in the week, the town’s boutiques opened their doors until late in the evening with the kind of entertainment normally seen in London’s West End. James Bond played it cool at Lois, Posh and Becks pouted at Blushbaby, Tom Jones belted them out at Havanna and Elvis proved he was very much alive at Fich and Ramous. If that wasn’t enough, bare chested male models paraded up and down the High Street as if it was high summer, and that’s not something you see every day in Cowbridge! The town was still reeling from the success of the night and the main event was still to come. And what a night that was! With professional lighting, sound and projection systems, Cowbridge joined in with even more enthusiasm than last time. Once again, the school’s pupils and teachers providing the models, and rehearsals which had been well under way since before Christmas came to fruition. ❧ 127 ❧

“Following the success of the show last year the pressure was on to reach the high standards achieved in the previous event. What’s different about this fashion show to others around Cardiff and the Vale is that I get the models to do dance routines. Not only am I co-organising a fashion show but also getting non dancers to look like professionals. The models did a fantastic job and I was very pleased with the end result. A big thank you to Esther Hitchcock, Sarah Dent and Matt Holloway. In the future I plan to work in events management and hope to produce more fashion shows. Abi Owens Choreographer

The fantastic talents of our students, staff, parents and friends was showcased to terrific effect at the Fashion show. Quite apart from the fact that it was great fun and really brought the community together, the money raised will be put to excellent use helping to develop state of the art interactive ICT resources which can be accessed by teachers and learners at school and from home. I would like to say a huge ‘thank you’to the Chair of our Parents’ Association, Esther Hitchcock and her very hard working team for organising such a wonderful event.” Margaret Evans Headteacher Cowbridge Comprehensive

“This year’s show was a complete triumph; the models were amazing. Abi did a fantastic job choreographing it all and I think the decision to spend more on the lighting, sound and projection systems gave the show a really professional feel. It was wonderful, and despite dominating our lives for nearly five months we all miss it now! Best of all we raised nearly £9,500 for school funds. So huge thanks to all the pupils and staff, the shops in Cowbridge and my fantastic PTA.” Esther Hitchcock PTA Chair and proprietor of Jon Ian

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COWBRIDGE For more images visit

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THE LAST WORD Matrimonial and family law solicitor, Hannah Magee who lives in Cowbridge and works for Howells Solicitors, tells us what she loves about living in the Vale. Who are you and what do you do? I am a 28 year old solicitor and I work for Howells Solicitors and specialise in Family Law. What do you most like about the Vale of Glamorgan? Living in the countryside yet only being a short drive from the capital city. Where would you recommend for an unforgettable dining experience in the Vale of Glamorgan? I would recommend La Marina in Penarth for an excellent atmosphere and great food. If desserts are your thing then the Treharne Arms is a must and for the best Indian takeaway money can buy, the Mughal Emperor in Cowbridge. What is favourite meal? Grilled Sea Bass or Butterfly King Prawn Special from the aforementioned Mughal Emperor. Favourite wine/drink? A good Rioja or a Black Russian. Who would your ideal companion be (excluding your partner)? A cross between Daniel Craig for his good looks, Jack Dee for his dry sense of humour and Jamie Oliver. A man that looks good, makes me laugh and cooks fantastic dinners every night. (Much like my husband really!). What do you do to relax? Enjoy a nice bottle of wine whilst watching a good film with my husband. Favourite town in the Vale of Glamorgan and why? It has to be Cowbridge with its fantastic boutiques and shops and Bar 44 for lunch - you can’t go wrong. If there is one thing missing from the Vale, what would it be? A permanent farmers’ market in Cowbridge. What annual event in the Vale is a must? The Vale show is a must but a very close second would be the Point-to-Point Races at Redlands Farm Bonvilston.

Favourite music and why? I enjoy all types of music from classical to rock depending on my mood and the time of day! For example I would happily listen to my Timbaland album on my way home from work but certainly couldn’t cope with that sort of music first thing the morning.

A common misconception of you is... That as a divorce solicitor I must be insensitive and cold hearted. I am not. I am a very sympathetic person. If I became emotionally involved in my clients cases I wouldn’t be able to represent them to the best of my ability.

What gadget could you not be without and why? Sadly, my mobile phone. I don’t know how I lived without one! A close second would be my wine cooler.

If you were a politician, what would you try to change? I would impose strict competition laws to limit the power of the major food retailers (naming no names). I would also ensure that farmers get a fair price for their produce.

If you weren’t a solicitor, what job would you be doing? A photographer for National Geographic Magazine. I love animals and travelling. Any lifelong ambition? Realistically my ambition would be to become a partner and be recognised and respected as one of the best solicitors in my field. If I won the lottery I would retire and set up my own stable yard. If someone asked you to sum yourself up in three words, what would those words be? Adventurous, fun and a perfectionist. If we weren’t talking to you right now, what would you be doing? Representing my clients in court, negotiating settlements and attending case conferences with clients and counsel. The most surprising thing that happened to you was… My husband’s marriage proposal on Paradise Island in the Red Sea. I wish more people would take more notice of… Disabled Parking Zones! I get really annoyed when I see perfectly able people parking in disabled parking bays because they are too lazy to walk an extra few feet to the shops. A phrase you use far too often… ‘No problem’ I find myself agreeing to all sorts of things. ❧ 130 ❧

I’m very good at… I can talk the hind legs off a donkey! I’m very bad at… Mornings. My ideal night out would be… A meal at La Marina in Penarth, followed by cocktails in Cardiff Bay. In moments of weakness I… Eat lots of chocolate. The best age to be is… 28. I can happily say I am having the best time of my life. In a nutshell my philosophy is… You only live once and don’t sweat about the small stuff. What car do you drive? I am a very proud (and lucky) owner of a Porsche Boxter S. Howells Solicitors (Head Office) Hallinans House, 22 Newport Road Cardiff CF24 0TD 029 2040 4020 Other offices in Talbot Green, Swansea, Newport and Caerphilly. If you’d like to be featured or promote your business in Last Word, please call Jennifer on 0845 130 6452 or email

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Vale Life Spring Summer 2008  

Vale Life Spring Summer 2008

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