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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









Simply Gorgeous

A centre of excellence 18 High St Cowbridge CF71 7AG 01446 775760

Photograph by Martin Phillips. Clothes by Katwalk

CONTENTS This issue is packed with great features and gift ideas for the coming festivities and party season...



90 20 51 VA L E L I F E






❧ 0845 130 6452












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Photograph courtesy of Burton.





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8 14 16 18 26 34 42 44 46 48 50 54 56 58 62 63 64 68 72 74 76 78 82 84 86 87 88 90 94 98

TV presenter Rhodri Owen and Peter Knowles of Hamptons

“Melanie James of the Linen Cupboard, Cowbridge’s Cath Kitson inspired stand, complete with Morris Traveller and Stella the lovable Linen Cupboard pooch won Vale Life’s Best in Show.” Blooming lovely! Super stylist Suzanne Jaya

Andy Bradshaw was mightily impressed with the produce!








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









TV presenter Lucy Owen and Andy Bradshaw of Hamptons, Penarth

The County Marquee ladies

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 produced in the Vale of Glamorgan for the people of the Vale.

Small(ish) print © Copyright Vale Life 2009. 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.

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 magazine. ❧ 6 ❧

Green is good 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. 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

WELCOME With the media reporting the green shoots of recovery in our economy, there’s a feeling of anticipation in the air and, hopefully, you’ve not been badly affected by the credit crunch. Also reported are many people are buying early for Christmas, the belief being that if you plan your spend, you’ll spend less.

Dress by Katwalk

I usually start to panic around 23rd December, run myself ragged around the shops and, yes, spend way too much. Hopefully the ideas in this our winter and Christmas issue will help you plan your spend more wisely.

There’s lots of ideas on where to eat and what to eat these coming months. I’ve never paid much attention to organic, thinking that cost would be prohibitive but, after eating a chicken from local organic farmers Oaklands Organics, I’ll never go back to my old ways! It’s a hard life being a farmer, made even harder when you’ve been affected by a life threatening illness. Rebecca and John of Oaklands share their story with us on page 68.

There were many events over the summer which weren’t hampered by the typical British summer weather and Vale Life managed to get to a few. The Vale Show attracted a huge crowd and we were there with our own Land Girls inspired marquee (see page 66). Enjoy the winter and have a happy Christmas and prosperous New Year. Jennifer Hobbs-Roberts Editor


Whilst I find it hard to believe that the shops are starting to decorate for Christmas and the Christmas carols are starting to be played, the shops have had a hammering this spring and summer with the recession so you can’t blame them for starting early. This issue is a bit of an homage to the festive season, with ideas for presents for family and friends, gorgeous winter clothes in sumptuous fabrics and daring colours and my own wish list of lovely things I’ve seen on my travels around the shops in the Vale. 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.

Who’s using the Welsh language? There are many businesses across the Vale where a Welsh language service is available. To highlight those particular businesses, we’re introducing a new feature into the magazine. Where you see the orange Cymraeg symbol, it indicates that a person within the business is happy to speak with you in Welsh.

Missed the last issue? We hold a small number of each issue in stock so if you do need a pristine copy, please telephone us or email 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! Vale Life is distributed free through a wide variety of outlets across the Vale of Glamorgan and beyond. Vale Life is given away free of charge 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. Recycling... because there is no Plan B!

Vale Life is home grown. It is written, designed and produced in the Vale for the people of the Vale. ❧ 7 ❧

T H E VA L E O F G L A M O R G A N ’S PREMIER LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE Editor JENNIFER HOBBS-ROBERTS ❧ Creative Director MARK ROBERTS ❧ Studio PA U L S E S S I O N S ❧ Vale Life Cardiff House Cardiff Road Vale of Glamorgan CF63 2AW ❧ Vale Life Website ❧ Telephone

0845 130 6452

MUSIC Reviewed by Francis Brown of


New Sound Wales aims to: ■ Keep you up to date with new bands and performers that are emerging from Wales and beyond. ■ Recommend new CD’s and music downloads. ■ Let you know which Welsh gigs are coming up in the months ahead.



Ye Gods (and Little Fishes) Son of Euro Child There is so much more to Cardiff’s adopted son than being an ex Boo Radley and writer of ‘Wake up Boo’. That was then, this is now. The songs take a while to sink in, but repeated plays reveal melodies that you realise have quietly been permanently etched into your memory banks.

Sounding like a man reborn with an album that is playful, melodic and at times inspired. There are about half a dozen songs here that are brilliantly simple pure pop whimsy. Overall this is a huge success and will help re-energise his career.

If you like acoustic, folk and alternative music, is the place to bookmark and check on a regular basis. New Sound Wales are keen to hear what you think about music in Wales, what bands you’re listening to and who you would like to see playing in Wales. For more information contact Francis at Vale Life ‘we love music’ rating system ❦❦❦❦❦ Indian summer ❦❦❦❦ Sunny with clouds ❦❦❦ Some showers ❦❦ Cold, wet and a bit windy ❦ Freezing rain, blowing a gale





Milwaukee At Last


The material here is very familiar and all previously available elsewhere with the exception of the traditional Irish song ‘Macushla’. However, the CD/DVD set is a great souvenir for die hard fans and accurately captures the sound and spirit of his recent live shows.

All of the Beatles re-masters are far superior to earlier CD issues both in terms of sound quality and packaging. This is a great set for old fans and newcomers alike. The White Album stands out as benefiting most from the exercise sounding as fresh as it did 40 years ago.

Vida has all thegoodies you need to makeyour Christmas gorgeous!

Fabulous flowers

Vida flora

Vida style!

Call now to order for collection or delivery. ❧ 8 ❧

Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 10.00 - 17.30 t: 01656 786735 32 New Road Porthcawl CF36 5DN







Infinite Light

Viva Machine

The Album

Lightning Dust is a side project by members of Canadian band Black Mountain. Down tempo and brooding this record glides along majestically. The arrangements are stunning and “Take it home” with its doom laden melody is one of the best tracks of the year.

This Swansea band have been around for a few years now and have steadily built a loyal fan base and made a reputation as a live band. The layered vocals are quite spectacular a kind of updated mid 1980s Yes. The band need time to develop but show a lot of promise.

Headliners from this year’s Green Man festival Wilco’s 7th studio album is a mixture of sounds and styles and often tinged with sadness and darkness. If you have arrived late to Wilco this album should make you want explore their back catalogue in full.







Tongue N Cheek


Christmas in the Heart

This album contains ridiculously catchy hits such as ‘Bonkers’ & ‘Holiday’. More commercial than his grime roots, but somehow he has managed to retain his credibility and in the process becomes a true crossover artist loved by hip hop fans and indie kids alike.

Somewhat subdued and ‘mellow’ compared to their first 2 releases. This album shows a band in transition and in development. There is much more light and shade here musically and they have come along way since their raucous record breaking debut 3 years ago.

Bob Dylan’s 47th album is a collection of Christmas songs! Featuring traditional songs such as ‘Little Drummer boy’ and ‘Winter Wonderland’. It may not be up there with ‘Blonde on Blonde’ or ‘Blood on the Tracks’ but the profits are going to various charities including Feeding America.

THIS CHRISTMAS join our party

Christmas is a time to be with family and friends, a time to party, a time to indulge and you’ll find the Vale Resort simply brimming with party fun and festive cheer. From comedy and themed party nights to gala dinners you can be assured of sumptuous cuisine and sparkling entertainment. For a truly unforgettable Christmas occasion the Vale Resort is the perfect destination.

“Abba Rival” and “Fake That” Tribute Party nights Comedy Party nights Essential Party nights VIP dinner party Christmas Day lunch New Year’s Eve dinner

£35.00 per person £35.00 per person £45.00 per person £62.00 per person £77.50 per person £55.00 per person

FOR A COPY OF OUR CHRISTMAS BROCHURE OR TO BOOK telephone: 01443 665803 or email: Vale Resort, Hensol Park, Hensol, Vale of Glamorgan CF72 8JY.


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There’s a lot happening this season with a whole host of events across the Vale. For more info visit

Neil Lashley-Craven

HAMPTONS OF PENARTH In addition to its superb daytime café and gorgeous interiors store, Hamptons in Penarth town centre is now firmly established as a sophisticated music venue. Its themed music and dinner events are regularly full to capacity with waiting lists for cancellations.

DIAMOND NIGHTS 10th and 19th December Tickets £29

If you haven’t already been to one of the events, prepare yourself for a surprisingly wonderful evening. If you have been you’ll know that the entertainment, the atmosphere and the food combine to create a great night out. The food – each show features a five course menu - is everything we have come to expect from Hamptons, delicious, freshly prepared and beautifully presented.

S TAG E T O S C R E E N 11th December Tickets £30

Throughout December the programme at Hamptons features seven different shows so you may be spoilt for choice. Father Christmas also appears for a special breakfast each Sunday in December and every morning in the week of Christmas. ABBARET! 2nd December Tickets £30

The first and original ABBA tribute duo, the fantastic Abbagirls bring the unmistakable sounds and harmonies of ABBA live to Hamptons. It’s not just cabaret, it’s Abbaret! CHRISTMAS SWING 4th, 18th and 23rd December Tickets £29

The brilliant Neil Lashley-Craven presents an evening of Michael Buble, Rat Pack and swing in true party style. C O C K TA I L J A Z Z 5th December Tickets £30

A show featuring songs from the Great American Songbook including hits made famous by Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole and Judy Garland. The wonderful Ivan Sadka Quartet performs with vocals from Mike Morgan.

A Neil Diamond tribute show featuring the brilliant Jeff Phillips. You’ll enjoy hits such as Sweet Caroline, Acapulco, Love on the Rocks and the up to the minute Pretty Amazing Grace.

The magic of the musicals is captured in a show featuring songs from all your favourite movies and Broadway shows. The Stage to Screen cast includes West End singers Richard Beavis, Rhian Griffith and Jack Woods. H O M E F O R T H E H O L I DAY S 12th and 17th December Tickets £29

The Graham Watkins Jazz Quartet with vocals from the fabulous Clare Hingott present an evening of festive cocktail jazz that will have you dancing in your seats. S O N G S F R O M T H E S AVOY 16th and 22nd December Tickets 35

An evening of classic Gilbert and Sullivan in a show created especially for Hamptons. With well known songs from The Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado, HMS Pinafore and many more. Our four exceptional singers perform by kind permission of Welsh National Opera. NEW YEARS EVE Tickets £60

Celebrate New Year’s Eve with a glittering party in the company of the Ivan Sadka Quartet and vocalist Chloe Heywood. You’ll enjoy a fabulous seven course dinner and throughout the evening there will be party games and dancing.

B R E A K FA S T W I T H FAT H E R CHRISTMAS Sunday 6th, 13th and 20th December from 10am to 11am and Monday 21st, Tuesday 22nd, Wednesday 23rd December and Christmas Eve from 9am to 10am Tickets for adults and children are £10

Father Christmas joins children and their families for a set breakfast. He collects each child’s Christmas letter and asks about their Christmas wishes. Before he heads back to the North Pole he will leave each child with a Christmas gift.

2010 Sneak Preview M OV I E S T O M OV I E S Saturday 16th January

Features songs and theme tunes from the Hollywood era moving through the decades to current hit movies. CHINESE NEW YEAR Saturday 30th January

It’s 1951 in Hong Kong – the year of the Tiger. The great and good are flocking to the Peacock Lounge – a haven of post war chic for a black tie celebration in preparation for Chinese New Year. You’ll enjoy a Manhattan Transfer inspired show together with a five course Chinese menu. VA L E N T I N E ’ S C E L E B R AT I O N Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th February

Two evenings of Rat Pack, Michael Bublé, Bobby Darin and some romantic crooning in the company of the wonderful Richard Beavis. Hamptons 10 Ludlow Lane, Penarth CF64 1EA 029 2070 5391

Booking for all events is essential and early booking is recommended as places are strictly limited. A 50% deposit is payable at the time of booking. Menus for each event are on the Hamptons website. Simply go to to down load a copy. To make a booking or for more information telephone 029 2070 5391

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ST DONATS ARTS CENTRE Visit one of Wales’ most beautiful arts venues located in the grounds of St Donats Castle on the spectacular Heritage Coast with stunning sea views. John Etheridge with special guest Kit Holmes 7 November 8pm (6.15pm – 7pm workshop) Concert £13, £11.50 Concert & workshop £16, £14.50 Workshop £5 (non-participating parents and adults free)

An Evening with ... Nicholas Parsons

24 October 7.30pm £19.50, £18

A lot has been said about Nicholas Parsons, mainly by the contestants of Radio 4’s Just A Minute and much of it rude! Nicholas Parsons is one of our most-loved and most dapper entertainers. After making his screen debut in 1947 he became one of Britain’s most famous actors, straight men, cabaret artists, quiz-show hosts and West End stars. After an incredible 42 years (during which he’s never missed a show), he is now most well known as the Chairman of BBC Radio 4’s Just A Minute - despite this he still doesn't seem to have a complete grasp of the rules!

John Etheridge is one of the world’s most respected guitarists. Not only was he the guitarist for the celebrated jazz violinist, Stephane Grappelli, he plays in a duo with the eminent classical guitarist, John Williams and has performed with such greats as Soft Machine, Pat Metheny, Andy Summers, Dizzy Gillespie and Nigel Kennedy. This is a rare opportunity to see John performing a solo concert featuring tracks from his highly acclaimed new album, I Didn’t Know. His special guest is singer/songwriter, Kit Holmes. Her latest album, Catch The Echo featuring the legendary double bass player Danny Thompson was given a 5 Star Review by Maverick. Her fans include Bob Harris, Andy Kershaw and Bill Bryson and she was asked to give a master-class at Paul McCartney’s LIPA and invited to play for the Anne Frank Awards at BBC Theatre in London last year.

In this very entertaining and vibrant show, Nicholas takes us on a humorous journey through the often hysterically funny memorabilia of his eventful life which began as the son of a GP whose patients included Margaret Thatcher’s parents.

In this lovely concert, the Welsh Sinfonia Chorus and pianists Steven Kings and Christopher Northam recreate the British première of one of the landmark compositions of the nineteenth century. The setting of our fabulous Glassroom combines with a small choir and its luminous piano duet accompaniment.

Christmas Twmpath, Barn Dance, Ceilidh!

5 December 7.30pm £8, £6

We invite you to kick up the sawdust with your friends and family to see the festive season in with a good old fashioned Christmas Twmpath! Twmpath (meaning ‘a hump’) signified the mound on the village green where musicians played for the community to dance. Today it means the event itself... a raucous, hot night of traditional steps washed down with a heady blend of alcohol and pheromones!

St Donats Atlantic Chorale

6 December 4pm £12, £10 (includes mulled wine and mince pies)

A double celebration in fact – not only is Christmas coming but this is the debut concert for our exciting new resident choir, the St Donats Atlantic Chorale.

Brahms German Requiem concert

25 October 7pm The Welsh Sinfonia Chorus Lucy van Gasse (soprano) Anders Falbe (baritone) Conducted by Carl Grainger £12, £10

Luckily, some very surprising visitors appear under Will’s bed setting him off on an adventure to get Plum fixed – BUT it’s nearly Christmas, Dad’s coming home and he only has one night – so they’re going to need all of your help!

Plum (and me,Will!)

3 December 10.30am Sherman Cymru For ages 3-6 £8 adults, £6 children, 1 teacher free for every 10 schoolchildren

Will is in big trouble! Ever since the arrival of Winnie, his stinky new baby sister, he keeps losing his ‘tiger temper’ and in a fury he has broken Plum, his Mum’s precious Christmas Tree Fairy. ❧ 11 ❧

St Donats Arts Centre Box office 01446 799100 Minicom 01446 799102


Miss Holmes has designs on your home The beautiful new gift and homeware shop in Barry’s High Street is already a must visit shop and, even though it’s only been open a short time, it’s easy to see why it’s proving so successful. As you enter the shop it’s plain to see that owner Nicola Holmes has a real flair for design, and that’s undoubtedly why many of her customers ask her for advice on interior design for their homes.

“I’ve always been passionate about interior design and love working with fabrics and colour and drawing inspiration from all around me. Nothing fills me with pleasure more than being able to offer advice on products I sell and how they would work in customer’s homes. It may be early days for the shop but I would like to see this side of the business develop.

“It’s plain to see that owner Nicola Holmes has a real flair for design.”

As a creative, I find I don’t like to stand still and rest on my laurels so the natural progression for me would be to offer my services as an interior designer.” It’s definitely an exciting time for Miss Holmes and we wish her all the best with her exciting new venture. Miss Holmes 11 High Street, Barry 01446 732456


Mermaid Quay. What a waterfront! A visit to Cardiff would not be complete without taking the time to spend a few hours enjoying the stunning waterfront location at Mermaid Quay. Located just a stones throw away from the John Lewis store, head south down Lloyd George Avenue (follow CF10 5BZ on the Sat nav if necessary) and you cannot fail to miss it. Just walking though Mermaid Quay you will immediately be transported to a favourite holiday as there is definitely a holiday vibe going on. They have a superb collection of interesting shops where can find quality Welsh produce (Fabulous Welshcakes and The Unusual Food Company), handmade gifts (Polka Dot), stunning textiles and homewares goods (Pethau Bychain), clothing and accessories (Zebra2 and Viyella plus CC) and even top designer sunglasses from Blink Optometrists.

You could even take time out to pamper yourself in the award winning Ken Picton Salon or take time for coffee at Coffee Mania or Starbucks and then move to one of the bars and restaurants for lunch. With a superb mix of both independent and national brands like Strada, Wagamama and Café Rouge, there’s something to suit everyone’s tastes and pockets.

“So, what are you waiting for? There is only one waterfront in Cardiff.” ❧ 12 ❧

If you decided to visit from 24 October to 1 November you can enjoy celebrations throughout the centre with fun, games, music and entertainment for all the family. Mermaid Quay, Cardiff Bay For more information, a full list of events and retailers at Mermaid Quay, Cardiff Bay, please visit their website at

city shopping

one waterfront!

Cardiff’s about to get even better. Indulge at the new St David’s Shopping Centre, then come and celebrate with us. 24 Oct > 1 Nov 09 check for details

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If, like me, you haven’t stocked up on your Autumn/Winter wardrobe yet then perhaps a trip to Bryl’s Boutique, on High Street, Barry can satisfy your desire for designer fashion.


Owner Ann Bryl has recently celebrated two years on the High Street in Barry and we caught up with her to talk about the exciting new brands that she has introduced in celebration. How have things been? Business has been fantastic actually. Much better than I could have imagined. It was our second anniversary this July and I’ve had great support from my local customers in Barry but I’ve also had lots of new customers coming in from right across the Vale, Cardiff and beyond.

Do you have any new brands? My regular brands of Nougat, Sandwich, French Connection and Ugg Australia have always been particularly popular but I’ve recently introduced Ted Baker, Not Your Daughter’s Jeans (NYDJ), Darling and Traffic People as I wanted to broaden what I was offering. The response so far has been amazing so I know I’ve made the right choices.

Why these brands in particular? They are fantastic brands which I know will suit my customers. Darling are a show stopping brand with a vintage feel but affordable prices.

Ted Baker focuses on quality and attention to detail, while Traffic People appeal to the girl or woman who longs for old time glamour. The new UGG Australia range are now in and I know that these will be really popular, especially as I’m also stocking accessories including bags and gloves from the range. These would make the perfect Christmas present. What’s happening on High Street? There are some lovely shops on the High Street and more opening up. We are lucky to have good quality gift shops, a fantastic deli, hair salons, café’s and restaurants. The High Street attracts good quality businesses which turns a trip to one particular shop into a good few hours. As there has been a demand from shoppers for a late night opening, many of the shops are now open until 7pm on a Thursday. I’ve now introduced this as I realise that a lot of my customers either work late in the local area or need to travel to get to me.

Bryl’s Boutique 7 High Street Barry CF62 7DZ 01446 748246

“Ann is very professional and she and her staff always offer an excellent service. Her collections appeal to a wide range of ages and are competitively priced.” Hilary Drew, Cowbridge

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Bryl’s Boutique has teamed up with Vale Life to offer its readers £20 off all Ugg Australia boots. Mention Vale Life to any of the staff and you will be entitled to receive your discount.

“I dislike shopping in large stores as I find them quite stressful but at Bryl’s Boutique you get the personal attention to help you choose what suits you.” Jenny Ogwen, Broadcaster

Vale Life resident garden expert Bob Priddle advises on all things horticultural

VALE GARDENS I regard myself as being very lucky to be able to combine two of my interests, gardening and cooking, on a regular basis. As the winter nights begin to draw in and the temperature starts to drop, there are few things more comforting than digging up some leeks and potatoes and making some fresh warming soup. If nothing beats the taste of fresh veg, then I believe that fresh herbs are another essential that take some beating. Herbs have been known about for thousands of years and have been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes since the time of the ancient Egyptians. In days gone by Greek athletes used bruised mint leaves to flavour bath oils to help refresh them after their excursions. In the middle ages, herbs were used to treat the cuts and wounds of soldiers coming back from the crusades. Here in Cowbridge we have the excellent physic garden which gives a clue to the use of these plants as curatives. Before we had drains and sewers people used to carry bunches of herbs to keep away the terrible smell from rubbish that was left in the streets. Old books on herbs sometimes refer to the use of strewing herbs. This is not someone miss spelling stewing, but refers to the fact that they were mixed into the straw and other material that covered the floors of castle and manor houses long before carpets came along.

These historical links give gardens a clue to their origins and their successful cultivation. Many of the more popular herbs such as rosemary, thyme, sage and bay have their origins in the Mediterranean where they thrive in poor well drained sunny sites. The main exception to this is the mints that tend to prefer damper slightly shaded locations. There is a common misconception amongst some gardeners that all plants prefer moist, rich soils and that simply is not the case. Herbs can be easily grown in containers provided they have good drainage. This is easily achieved by adding a handful of horticultural grit or sand to the potting mix. Containers make it easy to group plants together and provide the right conditions for them to grow. Terracotta pots look great but may need watering in very dry spells. Some herbs such as fennel and lovage, which have large root systems or bay trees, which are big when mature, are best grown in larger containers such as a half barrel.

“Herbs can be easily grown in containers provided they have good drainage.” In the case of mints, growing them in pots can prevent them becoming too invasive. You can also grow smaller herbs in window boxes or hanging baskets. You can plunge the plants in their pots and bury the pots up to the rim. They can be then be removed in order to make way for other plants when you want a change. One of the prettiest window boxes I’ve seen in a long time consisted of nothing more than violas or heartsease and moss leaved parsley. Even if you haven’t got a lot of space don’t be afraid to dot clumps of herbs such as chives, fennel and borage in amongst and in your herbaceous borders. Rosemary can also make a great informal hedge. In my opinion herbs are best used fresh but they can be dried and stored successfully. Although in supermarkets many are sold in clear glass jars, sunlight can bleach away much of their flavour. Try washing out you old Bovril bottles or similar brown glass jars and storing your dried herbs in them. Why not try growing your own garlic? Although you can split the bulbs that are sold in supermarkets, these may have been grown in Israel or Egypt and may not do so well in the cooler British climate. So instead buy varieties like Solent White or Marco from your garden centre which should provide a better yield. A simple guide is to start them on the shortest day and harvest them on the longest. Sow a few pots of parsley now and bring them onto your window sill or cool greenhouse when the temperature drops. On Christmas day you can then combine them with some sage, thyme and fresh breadcrumbs and make your own delicious stuffing. Whatever the size and shape of your garden growing herbs is a worthy pastime, especially if you take full advantage of them when you’re in the kitchen.

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If you would like to sign up for our weekly gardening tips delivered straight to your in-box, please send an email to with Garden Tips as the subject.

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Set in one of the most historic buildings in Cowbridge, built onto the medieval town walls.

The Market Place creates a festive feast If you read Melanie James’ review of The Market Place in the summer issue of Vale Life then you’ve probably tried this wonderful restaurant on the High Street in Cowbridge. If you didn’t read the review, visit and, if you haven’t eaten there, then perhaps the new fixed price, two course Party Menu will get your mouth watering. We chatted with head chef Tim Marriott. Hi Tim, how have things been since we last talked? Excellent, really busy - we’re getting a reputation for great food and our regular customers love the refurbishment. It’s been a big investment both financially and emotionally but we’re already making lots of new friends and many fans too. We wanted a place where diners can relax but also feel special in and it’s clear from the feedback that we’ve achieved that. Please tell us about the new Party Menu. Well, it’s a great time of the year and we wanted to do something that reflected that. It’s quite a ‘Vale’ menu if that makes sense. Plenty of hearty food – the kind of food that makes you feel good - especially as the evenings draw in and we head into Autumn and Winter. Hideaway Dining Room Fabulous ambience for that intimate private party gathering for up to 10 diners

Are you using seasonal produce? Absolutely. Rustic but with an accent of creativity. Food should play with your emotions but, ultimately, make you feel good. That’s what we strive for here. You should leave feeling better than when you arrived. So what’s for starters? There’ll be a good soup of the day on as always. We’ve doing pan roasted pigeon breast with black pudding and roasted apple or smoked duck with poached pear, blue cheese, raspberry and honey dressing if you fancy a game course. For the fish lovers, we have fillet of red snapper niçoise, black olives, new boiled, green beans and white anchovies. Our vegetarian fans can enjoy beautiful goat’s cheese and spinach ravioli, courgette velouté and roasted butternut squash. Sounds delicious. What’s the mains offering? Lamb is always popular so we have tender char-grilled lamb with fondant potato, sun blushed tomato and feta ravioli. Again for our fish lovers we have pan fried filleted sea bass, petit pois a la Francais, pickled fennel and chorizo coulis or a lovely grilled plaice, lyonnaise potatoes, purple sprouting broccoli, julienne of vegetables with pine kernel and lemon butter sauce. We’re also doing raised quail, coconut rice, seared sesame tuna with a duo of sauces – it’s quail but with a twist – we think it’s going to be very popular. there will also be succulent belly pork with spinach and feta rostî potatoes with lentil and kidney homemade sausage. As I mentioned earlier, this is heart-warming food... feel good food. ❧ 18 ❧

What about steak? There’ll be a beautiful 8oz Sirloin on the menu, with spinach, roasted salsify, shallot jus and house chips - they’re becoming quite famous now. The steak will carry a £3.50 supplement. What’s the vegetarian option? We have a tasty risotto primavera served with a parmesan curl – perfectly balanced. We have a lot of non veggies eating our vegetarian options! And if customers want a dessert? We have a great selection... crumble lovers can enjoy warm almond crumble frangipane with strawberry ice cream there’s our Italian inspired lemongrass and pickled ginger panna cotta, summer fruits and shortbread biscuits. There’s a chocolate and mixed nut brownie with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream that should keep them happy. We’ve also got a superb glazed lemon tart with amaretto ice cream. There will also be a fine selection of cheeses with grape and celery chutney and water biscuits or a selection of home-made ice creams and tuille crisps. Any other news for Autumn? We’re now offering the gallery dining room for hire so if customers want to hold a private party or business dinner, we can accommodate up to 30 guests. It’ll be great for weddings. Also, the atmospheric private dining room can serve ten guests and it’s perfect if they want something a little more intimate. The Market Place 66 The High St, Cowbridge CF71 7AH 01446 774 800


The Huntsman becomes the hunted I’d heard good things about The Huntman Restaurant from several friends and business associates who had become fans over recent years but had just never got around to booking a table. Now, after eating there, I wish I’d done so earlier. Tucked away behind The Star pub in Dinas Powys, this really is a wonderful little find. So good, in fact, that I’m almost reluctant to share it. When I say little, it’s a fair description. The restaurant is ‘compact and bijou’ as Delboy would say in Only Fools and Horses but the welcome is bigger warm, friendly and inviting. This, I have to say, is a welcome relief from many establishments where the slick waiting can be a little cold and stand-offish. Peter Rice, who owns The Huntsman with wife and chef, Hilary took our drinks order and ran through the menu. As we browsed, several diners arrived and it was clear, because of the happy banter, that these were regulars which I think is always a good sign – people generally don’t return unless they’ve had a good experience. We made our choices and were then shown to our table. The ambience was perfect, low light, soft music - not stuffy in any way - just relaxing. It seemed quieter too – so many places we go to these days seem to be loud to the point where you can’t hear yourselves think. In this respect, The Huntsman was a welcome change. The kind of place that you could go for a romantic dinner or just to get away from the crowds.

Our starters arrived. My good lady had chosen the night’s special; scallops which were plump and perfectly cooked, resting on a fresh salad. I had chosen from the menu (very wisely as it transpired) - a light, creamy Chicken Liver Pate and toast, beautifully complemented by Apple Chutney delicious and with tummies suitably cheered up, we waited for our mains.

And so to puddings, well pudding… Jennifer, was watching her figure, as she so eloquently put it, so declined on this occasion. However, with such a tempting array, I felt it would be bad form should one of us not surrender to the pudding board. I wrestled with the many choices but, in the end, decided on the bread and butter pudding which was simply excellent.

Now with an 8oz Welsh Fillet Steak on the menu, I thought Jennifer was going to be a slave to the usual but, for a change, she opted for Roast Breast of Duck with Plum and Port Sauce and what a sauce. Light, fruity but not overpowering in any way, it was only bettered by the melt in the mouth duck that was cooked to something above perfection (if that is possible). I, on the other hand, had fallen in to the trap of choosing what I always seem to choose; Guinea Fowl - and how I fell... moist and tender, although I would have liked the skin with a little more crisp (but that’s for me to ask for next time). Drizzled with wholegrain mustard and cream sauce the taste was divine. Both dishes were accompanied by selection of seasonal vegetables that were cooked perfectly al dente.

We rounded off the evening with coffees and reflected on what was an entirely enjoyable experience. If you’re looking for flash, arty food, go elsewhere. However, if you want beautifully home-cooked style food in surroundings that bring an air of calm and relaxation to your meal then look no further. I suspect as its reputation grows, this particular Huntsman will become the hunted.

I was driving so declined to drink but my good lady had a glass of white with her scallops which was beautifully light and complemented them perfectly and an equally good glass of house red with her duck. I have to say, the wine list is excellent - if I hadn’t been driving, I would have succumbed to a bottle of the Sancerre. Peter is very proud of his wine list and so he should be - it’s an intelligent selection and with a good range of Champagnes, should you be feeling a little flush or in a celebratory mood, you won’t be spoilt for choice.

“Peter is very proud of his wine list and so he should be - it’s an intelligent selection and with a good range of Champagnes...” ❧ 19 ❧

“We rounded off the evening with coffees and reflected on what was an entirely enjoyable experience.”

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

His last restaurant was ranked the highest Michelin Guide entry in Wales, so when Kami Soroush says he still loves cooking after a twenty five year career, you know he’s passionate about it.

CHRISTMAS Vale Life dropped in to The New Red Lion in Pendoylan to see what Kami has in store for lucky diners during the festive season.

WITH KAMI I understand that The New Red Lion attracts a host of celebrities. What do you think brings them to you? Yes, we do get our fair share but I think besides the good food, good atmosphere and good wine, the fact that their privacy is respected and that they are not disturbed plays a big part. I would like to say that we treat everyone as if they are special.

“Kami’s a great chef and an even better host.” How are you Kami? I’m very well, I have been very busy recently – there’s lots going on at the moment. My wife Azi and I have been running around like headless chickens (laughs). Are you looking forward to Christmas? Absolutely. We love Christmas. There is a fantastic atmosphere here at The New Red Lion. Friends and locals drop in all the time, so it’s a good time to visit us if you haven’t been before. I love all the seasons here but Christmas and New Year are very special.

What’s new on the menu for autumn/winter? I do change the menu regularly and not only try to use seasonal vegetables but also local ingredients as well. For winter I’ll be putting on a lovely casserole. I think they are highly underrated. I think I’m going to do something special like venison with port and orange or shank of lamb with sun dried lime, port and tomato with a hint of cinnamon (anyone who knows me knows I like my port). And, of course, there will be a good selection of fresh fish and some beautiful beef I have sourced specially. Why would customers come to you for Christmas? Our place is very homely and has a wonderful feel to it as one of my very good customers put it, “It is as if you are wrapped in a blanket and pampered as you walk in.” Are you doing anything special for the new year? We have a fantastic two course hot and cold buffet with fish platter which has proved very popular and successful during the past couple of years and, of course, we will be partying until the early hours. ❧ 20 ❧

The New Red Lion Gastro Pub Pendoylan Vale of Glamorgan CF71 7UJ 01446 760332

“The New Red Lion has a fantastic atmosphere over Christmas. I would cheerfully move in if Kami’d let me. It’s the kind of place that genuinely makes you feel at home.”

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A selection of dishes from River View Chinese Restaurant Wah Li, head chef at River View Restaurant in Cowbridge, is a creative culinary genius in our eyes. Under the direction of owners Wing Chan and Neng Chan, Wah creates dishes that not only look stunning but are fresh, light and full of subtle flavours. Vale Life features just a few of the dishes on offer at this popular restaurant for the forthcoming season. M E AT B A L L S


The meatballs with crispy skin are called Chinese dragon pearl. Mash the chicken and prawns together, add some coriander, roll the meat into little balls, and roll the meatball with some flour. Then put the balls in the vegetable oil and fry for a few minutes. Chinese dragon pearls are available on the Christmas menu.

The steamed Chinese leaf wrap, pork, chicken and duck wrap in Chinese leaves served with Szechwan sauce.


Flavour and roast the duck, hang the roasted duck up for an hour to drain off the fat. Fry in vegetable oil to crispup the skin. It can be served with either orange sauce, plum sauce, or fruity Cantonese sauce. Roast duck is available on the normal à la carte menu. CUTTLEFISH

The cuttlefish is stir-fried with homemade ‘Jeen Fone’ sauce. This sauce is authentically Cantonese and made up of soy sauce, sugar, lemon, chilli, and Gib Jap sauce (similar to Worcester sauce). It is available on the Christmas pick and mix menu.

This dish will be available on the Chinese New Year celebration menu on the 15th and 16th February, 2010 and will include lobster, bass and live Lion Dancing by a Kung Fu specialist. For the Chinese New Year, the dishes are special and they are different every year. The majority of dishes are not available on our à la carte menu. The price will be £39 per person. All sauces are freshly home made. CHRISTMAS MENU

River View will be offering a Christmas Special Pick-and-Mix menu for £15.50 per person where you can choose a maximum of three starters and three main courses between two people or a maximum of four starters and four main courses for three people. You can also choose from the Christmas Special Party Menu for £23.50 per person. For parties of five or more, one person eats for free! River View’s Christmas Menu is available from 23rd November 2009 to 2nd January 2010. Normal à la carte menu is also available during Christmas and the New Year period.


“Christmas and New Year at River View Chinese Restaurant is a truly sumptuous experience.”


Chinese New Year is the most important of the Chinese holidays, and is a time of feasting with the family, celebration, fireworks, and gift-giving. It is a fifteen day holiday, beginning on the first day of a new moon and ending with the full moon on the day of the Lantern Festival. The Chinese calendar is based on the lunar year, so the date of Chinese New Year changes every year. The Chinese calendar follows a twelve year pattern with each year named after an animal. There are various stories which explain this. The simplest is that Buddha (or the Jade Emperor) invited all of the animals to join him for a New Year celebration, but only 12 animals turned up. To reward the animals that did come, Buddha named a year after each of them in the order that they arrived, starting with the Rat, followed by the Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat (or Sheep), Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. Depending on the year you are born, you are believed to have the various character traits of that year’s animal. 2010 will bring in the year of the Tiger.

River View Chinese Restaurant Unit 1, Britannia House Penny Lane, Cowbridge CF71 7AD 01446 771668

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Taking its lead from the new wave tapas revolution evolving in Spain, Tapas at Bar 44 has pushed the boundaries of most people’s perceptions of Spanish food but if you think this is just another gimmicky fad, think again. Tapas is here to stay and Tapas at Bar 44 is…

RAISING THE BAR Over the last seven years, Bar 44 has gained an enviable reputation for its fine food, drink and service and has become a must visit destination not only for people in the Vale, but much further afield. Vale Life talks to Director, Owen Morgan about what makes this Cowbridge favourite so special.

Why do you think Bar 44 has become such a social hub in Cowbridge? I think through sheer hard work really. We’re always striving to do better. We understand that we’re in the hospitality business, we’re here for customers. Quite simply, without them we don’t have a business so our philosophy is to treat customers well and provide them with good food and drink in an environment that they can relax in.

“The kitchen sources only the finest Artisan produce from particular regions of Spain. From superb olive oils, vinegars, pulses and Saffron to the finest black puddings, it’s about the quality of the ingredients.”

Why tapas? Tapas is fun! What inspired us was the style of modern Spanish food - a simple manner of cooking, relying on superb produce and the quality of ingredients. Spain is probably leading the world in culinary terms at the moment, so this was our inspiration, and to bring something different to Cowbridge! There is a lot of poor tapas around these days, often just re-heating of food. Our aim is a lot higher.

You pride yourselves on the quality of your offering. What do you think sets you apart? The kitchen sources only the finest Artisan produce from particular regions of Spain. From superb olive oils, vinegars, pulses and Saffron to the finest black puddings, it’s about the quality of the ingredients. For example we bring in whole Serrano and Ibérico Jamóns and then there’s the charcuterie, farmhouse cheeses and our olives - the very best we can find. Also, we source a Spanish frying flour for our fresh squid. The art is to keep it simplemake food with great flavour, and present it beautifully and simply. So do you think quality ingredients is the key? Absolutely, everything begins with that, but we’re lucky in that we have a superb team in the kitchen to turn the ingredients into fantastic food and our front of house staff are excellent. ❧ 24 ❧

We try to create a relaxed but professional ambience. I think that’s why we’re becoming so popular. Our drinks offering to go with our food is also key.

You also do cocktails. Does that work with the tapas? Yes, it’s funny, the two seem to work so well together. We have a great selection of beers, wines, sherries and spirits but the cocktails, like the tapas, is fun so I think they complement each other. It is becoming quite popular these days to pair cocktails with food and our bar team mix a huge range of cocktails, from classic to cutting edge to bespoke - it’s up to you. They’re all made from our extensive collection of ultra premium spirits behind the bar, created with fresh fruit, home-made infusions and, most importantly, a smile! There is a growing trend at the moment of using wine and Spanish Sherry in cocktails, which work wonderfully with food. So fun seems to be at the core of what you do… Customers are customers but they’re also friends. We want them to have a good time - to get involved. We want to know what their favourite ingredients are, to interact, to be creative, to create new drinks, to have fun! Life is stressful, especially these days, we’re here to help people unwind, to relax, that’s what we’re for. That’s the Bar 44 ethos.

Tell us about children’s tapas… We’re so excited about this. Tapas is perfect for children – and why not? Children love fun food and it doesn’t get more fun than tapas – they love the choice and it’s a great way to introduce them to new flavours and foods. It’s great having children here, they bring a nice atmosphere to Bar 44. Parents bring them in after school – it’s really good to see and the parents know we only use the very best ingredients.

We serve it in your favourite way, all day, every day, alongside a selection of traditional and herbal teas and our famous hot chocolate.

You’re also open for breakfast, can I have a breakfast cocktail? We are licensed from 10am, so we can mix your favourite tipple from then! We make a mean bloody mary with fresh horseradish and a dash of port!

So things are going well… Oh yes, but business is never easy and we never take anything (especially customers) for granted and you can never stand still. We will always strive to improve, and listen to customers feedback, but I think we have a good balance right now.

Can I just get a coffee? Of course, we serve fresh smooth Illy Espresso, which has always been our favourite coffee.

We do get a lot of people who just come in for a quick coffee and a piece of home-made cake. We even have customers from local businesses who use our takeaway hot drinks service – it’s very popular, they call ahead and we have it waiting for them to collect.

We’re doing our best but always trying to improve – that’s the Bar 44 way.

“Customers are customers but they’re also friends. We want them to have a good time.” ❧ 25 ❧

Bar 44 44 High St, Cowbridge CF71 7AG 01446 776630

LIFE COVER We hope you enjoy reading about our Vale Life Cover Shoot as much as we enjoyed working on it. The idea came about following an offer from Richard Case of Porthcawl offering us the use of his family’s Showman’s Wagon. A big thanks to Leigharne and her team at The Hair Business, Cowbridge, for their support and hard work on the day. Nick Marshall for his outstanding make-up skills. Melanie Rhoden at Forever Vintage, Penarth, for supplying such fabulous vintage clothing. Helen Pick of Katwalk, Llanharry, for providing the glamorous outfits. Miss P in Pontyclun for supplying the beautiful children’s clothing and Jane Egan of Designer Desires for the evening wear. No photoshoot would be possible without our wonderful models and we’d like to thank Lucy Jane Grant, Sara Cafaro, Madeleine Cuthew, Leanne Martlew, Danielle Anne-Marie Williams, Jonathan Edward Lane, Rebecca Seage, Cherry Hinam, Craig Rice and James Stock and, not forgetting Claudia and Sophia. All of this would not be possible without the photography and many thanks to Martin Phillips Photography, Porthcawl for his creativity and awesome camera skills. It was a great pleasure working with all of you and we look forward to working with you again.


Get made up with Nick Marshall Having the right people on board for our photoshoots is paramount to us at Vale Life. We’ve been lucky enough to work with some amazing local talent along the way, none more so than freelance make up artist Nick Marshall. Nick has worked in the beauty industry for seven years and his professionalism and happy go lucky personality won him much respect on the day, plus many new friends. Nick was trained and began his make-up career in Manhattan, New York at the Aveda Institute. There, he was privileged to be a fashion make-up artist for several years at events for New York Fashion Week. After years of applying his makeup skills in New york, he relocated to London and began a career with Aveda Institue London, becoming one of the few official Aveda National Make-Up artists for the United Kingdom. Such was his success and popularity, he was sought after and trained other make-up artists in London and Ireland for Aveda, and even now trains new make-up artists throughout the country.

Nick uses many well known brands such as Nars, Benefit, MAC, Clinique and of course, Aveda and these brands were used to great effect on the Life Cover photoshoot. We had several looks to create – vintage, old world glamour, monochrome eveningwear and even showman children and Nick nailed each look to perfection, working with the Leigharne and her team from The Hair Business, Suzanne Jaya, Stylist, Martin Phillips, Photographer and the Vale Life crew to make sure each look was achieved and to time. As the day can be quite fraught, having to catch the light to order, Nick’s dry sense of humour came into its own and the models were putty in his hands.

“Nick trained and began his make-up career in Manhattan, New York.” Nick is available for bridal make-up, wedding parties, hen parties and events such as fashion shows and events.

Check out Nick’s website for more information at or call him on 07931 203575

We were delighted to feature the stunning showman’s Living Wagon kindly loaned by owner Richard Case, who thought it might make a good backdrop for a photoshoot. How right he was. I think you’ll agree that it is a stunning piece of craftsmanship. However, it didn’t always look this way as the following potted history shows. The Showman’s Living Wagon was built in 1897 by Philips of Newport for Mr William Ford. He settled in Brynmawr but shortly afterwards gave the wagon to his daughter Margaret when she married Mr Alfred Deakin. Their three sons and daughter were born in it. The Deakins gew into the biggest fair in South Wales with large rides, many lorries and much larger caravans, but the little wagon always went along for ‘luck’. The wagon was sold after the death of Mrs Deakin in 1974 to a collector in Kidderminster. When it came up for auction in 1994, Richard Case (great grandson) and Robert Deakin (grandson) brought it back home to be restored by Ted Atkinson in Somerset to near original condition.

For more pictures of the wagon, including before the restoration please visit ❧ 28 ❧

A big thanks to Richard and his family for allowing Vale Life to feature this beautiful piece of history.


Designer Desires gets the party started As the party season approaches, it’s time to think about your party outfits! The typical response to an invitation might be to don the little black dress but with so many other colour choices out there, why not consider something different this year? Designer Desires provides savvy shoppers with an online destination to buy designer clothes and accessories at discounted prices. Customers can purchase leading brands including Armani, Gucci, Escada and MaxMara with significant savings compared to average retail prices or alternatively you can turn unwanted designer items into cash by finding a new, appreciative owner. Have a browse through the easy to navigate website and select your party look. With animal prints to monochrome outfits in stock, plus beautiful evening bags to give your outfit a touch of sparkle, at a fraction of the high street cost, we know that you won’t be disappointed with what you find.

“Customers can purchase leading brands including Armani, Gucci, Escada and MaxMara with significant savings.”

Designer Desires 07917 691576 or 01656 773323







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









Would you like to be our cover model? Vale Life magazine is looking for male and female models aged from 16 to 65. If you think you’ve got the look and would like to be featured in Vale Life then please send a recent photograph, your age and vital statistics to Vale Life, Cardiff House CF63 2AW or email








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








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







Name Age Address

Postcode Phone Email Remember to include a recent photoof yourself, details of your vital statistics. Unfortunately we cannot return any photographs so please ensure they are not originals.

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“Most of Pia Michi dresses are worn by celebrities and are regularly featured in OK magazine.�

If you want to stand out from the crowd in an outfit which has the WOW factor, then Katwalk can answer your prayers.

KATWALK What has changed with you since you were last featured in Vale Life? Things have been pretty hectic. I have extended the premises as business really picked up. I decided to double the size of the building, so I now have a full room of evening/cruise and prom wear from Pia Michi. These sizes range from size 6 to size 24. Most of Pia Michi dresses are worn by celebrities and are regularly featured in OK magazine. I only stock one dress of each design, so that my customers are assured that no one has the same. There’s nothing worse than buying an outfit for a special occasion from the high street only to see that very same outfit on someone else! Since expanding, I can hold much more stock and can accommodate more customers.

It sounds like you’ve been busy. Really busy. I’ve even had customers leave at 10pm at night. Choosing clothes can be quite stressful but not here. Customers can browse at their leisure over refreshments and can be assured of honest advice when needed. I would rather people leave with nothing, than something that doesn’t suit them. Even if they didn’t find anything on the first visit, it’s unlikely they don’t on the second or third. Customers always tell me how they have enjoyed my honesty and personal attention, especially the mother-of-thebride and guest as this is such an important decision to make. I want people to say, “wow where did you get that dress, you look amazing”, not “oh my god who sold her that!”

I am also now able to accommodate a few ladies who want to make a day of it and have the premises to themselves. I now have more mother-of- the-bride with sizes up to size 26 and can supply the hats and bags. Upstairs you’ll find the casual section with catwalk collection dresses and also smart casual clothes and cruise wear from classy tops and beautiful evening trousers to match. There are also stunning basques that look great with Jeans and trousers for that special party.

What do your customers require most frequently? If it’s prom season, then I tend to sell lots of prom dresses as the girls have come to know that no-one will be wearing the same dress and that my prices are more reasonable than the high street. My real passion is the mother-of-the-bride and am often given a photograph of the mother in her outfit on the day as they are so pleased with it. I even go to the church if I have sold lots of outfits for the wedding, as I love to see them all together. Husbands even comment how enjoyable a visit to Katwalk is as they can sit with a cup of tea or glass or beer while poring over a magazine. The wives and girlfriends can then try on in peace, popping in and out for nods of approval from their partners. Are you offering any new brands? My new brands are unique. I have spent time sourcing these from around the world to be up to date with the latest designers, including the all new stunning Arrey Kono. Also, my new mother-of-the-bride designs are by Cabotine - beautiful silks that are funky and glamorous. I can’t wait until these arrive. John Charles has fabulous new colours out this year such as platinum, silver and orange. Lime green is going to be a popular colour next year. I wish I could order them all in my size! ❧ 31 ❧

And for the curvier ladies? I now stock up to size 26 evening gowns for mother-of-the-bride and mother-of-the-groom. Customers were ringing me and for larger sizes. I stock up to size 22 in trousers and fabulous tops from Dusk, Frank Usher and Gina Bacconi. What about accessories? I have bags to match outfits including the popular Nigel Raymond , silk bags, bags with beautiful crystals and the perfect size day bag with jewellery to match. I also have brand new umbrellas to match any outfit, plus scarves, and silk gloves. You clearly love what you do I love that a customer can buy a present for someone, safe in the knowledge that they can return it if not suitable. I offer a free gift wrapping service which adds that special touch. I also love the fact that I have built a good reputation for giving honest advice, providing excellent customer service, all in the strictest confidence. Many of my customers have turned into friends and we often sit with a glass of wine relaxing in the two acres of landscaped gardens that surround the studio. Shopping should be enjoyable and I do my best to make it just that.

Katwalk Llanharry, Vale of Glamorgan 10 minutes from Cowbridge and 5 minutes from Pontyclun Please phone Helen Pick to make an appointment on 01443 225482 Mobile 07973 463460 (arriving soon)

A goldmine of classic treasures, at Forever Vintage, Penarth, you’ll always find something distinctive and a bit unusual and with the new season’s stock now in store, you’re sure to find something a bit special for those forthcoming festive occasions.

FOREVER VINTAGE If you’re looking for clothing that’s superiorly made, that’s one of a kind, at the height of fashion, will save you money and help save the planet, then vintage is for you. We caught up with owner Melanie Rhoden to see why Forever Vintage is going from strength to strength since she opened in 2008.. What can we find at Forever Vintage? The shop has often been described by customers as a real ‘treasure trove’. We aim to source and provide customers with vintage and antique clothes from bygone eras ranging from Victorian through to 1970’s. The most popular decades have been the 50’s and 60’s. We stock a range of accessories, from antique and vintage bags and purses, jewellery, hats and much more. The shop is also great for lovers of vintage linen, lace and haberdashery items and also collectables. Who are your customers? They range from teenagers to ladies in their eighties, female and male. Mini dresses aren’t just for the youngsters, they can look just as good on more mature women over jeans. What woman doesn’t like to play dress up? Better still, dress up with your friends?

“Women will be looking for that unique dress for the Christmas party or winter wedding.”

I have a large dressing area at the back of the shop which is often full of a bunch of friends trying all sorts of things on. Buying clothes should be fun and you come away with something that’s unique and beautifully made

Who shops for vintage clothing? Anyone who wants to set themselves apart from the mainstream. My customers know that vintage clothing is of better quality because better materials and techniques were used in the past. Clothes had to last longer as people didn’t have the money to buy new clothing as we do today. There was a lot more done by hand in those days and you’ll find that adding buttons and details were hand stitched as opposed to being done by machinery. What about ethical reasons? We’re all concerned about our planet and as vintage clothes have already been used once, by wearing them again, you are recycling them. People who buy vintage don’t contribute to fuel for shopping, energy to produce each item and they are not contributing to pollution from emissions from factories. Also the items are not going into a landfill.

What do you think will be your best sellers this season? For the Festive season I believe that vintage party dresses and accessories will be the most sought after items. Women will be looking for that unique dress for the Christmas party or a great vintage bag or purse. We also offer a fantastic range of vintage jewellery and hand designed jewellery made from sterling silver and antique beads which are already selling well as gifts. As winter weddings are very popular, I get many women coming in for a unique look – something that cannot be found at chain stores by the thousands. Each garment is one of a kind so yes, all eyes will be on the bride’s gown, but a vintage outfit will also make you stand out from the crowd. How about male customers? Yes, men don’t miss out either. As I have frequently been asked to stock ranges of vintage clothing for men, it’s an area that I have been expanding. Do you offer customers other ways to shop at Forever Vintage? We offer evenings for private bookings for parties of ten people or more. Women like the idea of the shop opening just for them and a group of friends for a different shopping experience and evening out. It’s great fun to spend time with friends dressing up in vintage clothes as well as purchasing any item they like. Do you rent outfits? We rent dresses for very reasonable rates, which is an affordable option. We’re all still watching the pennies even though the economy is picking up but with the rental option, you can still look stunning for less. At the time of going to press, owner Melanie Rhoden had a bout of ill health and, regrettably is having to close Forever Vintage. I’m sure you will agree that this will be a great loss to Penarth. I’m sure that, along with us, you will want to wish Melanie well.

HEALTH & WELLBEING Take good care of yourself with Vale Life’s guide to healthcare in the Vale My hands are really starting to show the signs of ageing, with veins and wrinkles becoming more visible. I’ve heard there are non-surgical treatments that can improve volume and look more rejuvenated. Can you suggest any treatments, and what are the results like? A lot of women (and some men) spend a lot of money on creams, moisturisers and sometimes even plastic surgery to give the appearance of being younger. Many concentrate on the face but a quick glance to the back of the hands usually tells you a person’s true age. A range of non-surgical hand treatments are now available, aimed at skin rejuvenation at a deep cellular level. The treatments aim to replace hyaluronic acid which is lost during the ageing process, hence rehydrating the skin and instantly improving its elasticity and tone. The lost hyaluronic acid is injected into the skin using micro-fine needles (with some fillers having in-built local anaesthetic). For optimum results, I’d recommend 3 sessions 3-4 weeks apart, with maintenance treatments every 4-6 months if required. The treatment cost depends on the area treated and the type of dermal filler used, but ranges from £200-£300 per session or a flat rate of £500-£800 for all 3 sessions. The results, like most cosmetic procedures are dependant on who is providing the treatment. At Vale Healthcare we use only qualified medical professionals to administer these treatments thus ensuring the highest level of care. Mr Kelvin Gomez Consultant General & Breast Surgeon

I’m experiencing palpitations but understand this is a common problem, should I be worried?

There seems to be more and more coverage around breast screening and it’s benefits/risks. I wondered can I self-refer for a mammogram? A mammogram is an excellent way of checking the breast tissue but it involves radiation, albeit a very low dose. It is therefore very important that it is used appropriately which is why a GP or consultant referral is required. Referral for a mammogram will depend on several factors, including your age. In younger women, the breast tissue is more glandular and dense, making subtle changes less apparent on mammograms. Therefore, other imaging tests such as ultrasound and/or MRI are used first in younger women.

“Referral for a mammogram will depend on several factors…” For a full evaluation of any breast problem, it is essential that imaging findings are interpreted together with clinical breast examination findings, plus any other tests that the specialists determine are necessary. If you have any concerns you should see your GP or visit a consultant - Vale Healthcare run a Rapid Access Breast Care Clinic where you can receive a consultation and any appropriate diagnostic tests within 48 hours. Dr Philippa Young Consultant Radiologist (specialising in breast imaging and diagnosis)

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Heart problems are a great source of anxiety and worry for individuals of any age, but palpitations are very common and usually benign. If there is no other cardiac history, there is usually nothing to worry about; they may just represent an extra heart beat which is normal. If the palpitations are frequent or prolonged, or if they are associated with light headedness, breathlessness, chest pain or blackouts then you should see your GP as you may be referred to a Cardiologist for further investigations. These could include blood tests, electrical heart tracings, heart rhythm monitors, and/or echocardiograms (ultrasound heart scans). In some cases palpitations are completely curable through drug and/or ablation treatments. Vale Healthcare offers a Rapid Access Cardiology clinic - Appointments can be made within 24 hours enabling a full cardiology consultation and access to any necessary tests, all delivered on-site at the Cardiff Bay Clinic. Dr Richard Anderson Consultant Cardiologist

Vale Healthcare Cardiff Bay Clinic, Celtic Gateway, Dunleavy Drive, Cardiff CF11 0SN 029 2083 6714


Gynaecological problems can affect women of all ages, and include a range of symptoms and conditions. Some issues can be difficult to discuss with family and friends, but if you are experiencing a problem it's crucial you seek professional advice.


At the Cardiff Bay Clinic we offer a Rapid Access Gynaecology Clinic, for expert consultation, diagnosis and treatment, and with no waiting list. Treated symptoms and conditions include: • • • • • •

Problematic periods Endometriosis Pelvic pain Urinary incontinence Pelvic floor prolapse Hormonal disturbances and premenstrual syndrome (PMS/PMT)

Vale Healthcare is open to patients with medical insurance & those who self-fund. Contact us to book a consultation

for info call: 029 2083 6714 Working in partnership with

Thursday 12 November

Thursday 28 January 2010

Mr William Dickson: discussing body re-shaping and all cosmetic breast surgery

Mr Mark Cooper: discussing all aspects of cosmetic surgery

Light refreshments will be provided from 6.30pm followed by presentations at 7pm

The Health Diva in Nolton Street, Bridgend is a haven of calm and tranquility, allowing you to explore the many lotions and potions on offer in this fab and friendly health shop.

THE HEALTH DIVA Vicky Perks (The Diva), with the support of her husband Darren, and Team Diva (Jennifer, Rachel and Laura) run this amazing little Health Shop, sharing their knowledge and helping you along on your life journey. Natural Beauty Care is something we specialise in. The Diva knows it’s not easy being beautiful, my public expects the best of me! However I have a few beauty secrets that I am willing to share, because it’s you, and I know you won’t divulge my secrets! The Diva only recommends products good enough to eat using only the finest ingredients, gently fragranced with essential oils. Well, you never know who might be nibbling at your skin... dinner with George Clooney, breakfast with Leonardo DiCaprio! The Diva prefers her bunnies in fields or made of chocolate, certainly not wearing her make up. The Diva only uses cruelty free beauty products, and demands high standards from the cosmetic companies she recommends... Organic Paraben free skin care made with love by companies such as Burt’s Bees, Faith in Nature, Antipodes, Lavera, Green People, and Weleda. Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, along with Viridian’s Ultimate Beauty complex ensures I get my daily vitamins and minerals. Eicosanoil added to my breakfast provides omega 3, 6, and 9, essential fats to moisturise my skin from the inside out. Finally, I always remember to cleanse the day away. I am currently loving Antipodes Hallelujah Lime and Patchouli Cleanser. It’s simply heavenly!

Why The Health Diva? Well Diva by name Diva by nature! Your Diva is the naughty pixie who wants to dance on tables and zing with energy. It’s finding your inner confidence to become who you want to be. In everyone (men and women) there is a Diva waiting to be unleashed! For more specific dietary advice pop in The Health Diva, our fully trained staff, are happy to help you discover the best diet, vitamin, mineral, or herbal remedy to help you feel tip top and bursting with energy. Tell us a little more about yourself. I am a fully qualified nutritionist and have a Masters Degree from Exeter University in Complementary Health Studies. Also, The Health Diva store was voted in the top six independent health food shops in the UK in 2009 by The National Association of Health Stores. Anything new and exciting happening for the Diva? The official launch of our website is on Saturday November 28th from 10am until 4pm. To mark the launch, we are having a celebratory Health Show at The Heronston Hotel, Ewenny Rd, Bridgend. ❧ 37 ❧

Who will be there? We’re very excited to be featuring guest speakers, Stuart Fitzsimmonds, Medical Herbalist, Nutritionist Vicky Perks, Lisa David, Indian Head Massage and Reflexology, Maria Phillips from The Foot Clinic and many others. What else will be on offer? You can come along and sample the many goods on the many stands such as, Burts Bees, Weleda, Crystal Therapy, Solgar Vitamins, Viridian Nutrition, Swiss Herbal Remedies and lots of food goodies to sample. Come and unwind with a cup of Pukka Relax Herbal Tea, whilst we massage your cares away. It’s going to be a great event and one well worth visiting! The Health Diva 18 Nolton Street, Bridgend CF31 1DU If you want to hear a friendly voice please contact The Diva on 01656 661441 Open 9am to 5pm, Mon to Sat Don’t forget The Health Show at The Heronston Hotel on Saturday Nov 28.


Getting in shape is as easy as ABC With Winter approaching, our thoughts naturally turn to the party season and that all important little black dress or perhaps, suit. For some, a simple diet of air and water does the trick to shed unwanted flab. However, we’re not all that lucky. For the rest of us more drastic action is required which means regular trips to a gym. If you’re fortunate enough to live near Penarth, then you could enlist the services of personal trainer, Neil Munn. Neil runs Penarth ABC from St. Paul’s Church, so if you’re looking for a trainer that delivers results, then Neil is your man. At this point, I feel it is appropriate to warn you that Neil doesn’t suffer fools, so be prepared for a little blood, lots of sweat and, in my experience, a few tears. The road to perfection is not easily travelled, but of all the gyms I have been to over the years, this one certainly delivers. Call Neil Munn on 07773 550401

“The road to perfection is not easily travelled, but of all the gyms I have been to over the years, this one delivers.” Mark Roberts

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SHOWCASE YOUR HOME IN VALE LIFE Featuring your home in Vale Life can help to sell your property!

With the green shoots of recovery on the horizon and the positive effect that this is having on the housing market, now is an excellent time to put your property on the market.

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.

“A feature in Vale Life is a highly effective way of promoting your home to discerning readers.”




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





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





or email

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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DAISY DAY NURSERY When our son was younger, we needed to place him in a private nursery. As I was an older mother with no other mums my age to ask advice on such matters, we were left in a bit of a quandary...

We had to ‘do the rounds’ of all of the nurseries in the area and in the end went with our gut instinct, but it would have been much easier and less time consuming had we had the lowdown and feedback from a parent who’d gone through the process and come out the other end with a happy child and peace of mind. Daisy Day Nursery in Llanishen has built up an enviable reputation. So much so, that the demand has called for a sister nursery in Barry. We spoke to Daisy Day Nursery owner and Managing Director, Abeer Bafaqih on what makes an excellent nursery. How long has Daisy Day Nursery been established? Nearly five years. What is your background? I was a secretary but knew my calling was in childcare.

“We like to get as much feedback from parents about our service to them and their children.”

How many staff will you employ in the new nursery in Barry? Our Barry team will consist of Ceri Lynch (Manager), Maria Loddo (Deputy Manager), Megan Roach (Senior Nursery Nurse) and Jessy Lou Sherlock (Nursery Nurse). The rest of the team is yet to be appointed – we are holding a group recruitment event very soon.

What’s different about Daisy? We like to get as much feedback from parents about our service to them and their children. For example, we hold a parent’s night out once or twice a year where we can all have a get together and share some experiences and get their feedback in a relaxed, fun environment.

What training have they undertaken? Many members of our team are qualified to the high standards of the CACHE Diploma, whilst others are qualified to NVQ. This qualification takes two years to achieve and covers all the theory behind child care as well as giving the student 26 weeks of practical experience in a variety of childcare settings. Continual training and education is vital to us at Daisy Day Nursery because it gives the team confidence to look after the children and enables the staff to support parents with any queries regarding the care of their child. Additionally, many of our team are mums with their own childcare experiences.

We also ask them to provide feedback a month or so after join us and every year they are with us. We have used this feedback to shape the future of the nursery in Llanishen.

Why do parents choose you above other nurseries? We have very high standards of cleanliness – this is not something we take lightly and have a team dedicated to that in each nursery. All our staff are trained the ‘Daisy Day Nursery way’ when they join us so they go that extra mile for our big and little customers!

Good nutrition is high on your agenda. Can you tell us more? At our Llanishen site we have the Gold Healthy Snack Award in recognition of our healthy snacks. We will also strive to achieve this in Barry. All our meals are homemade and cooked right here on the premises each day using fresh produce. The children also eat together in their groups promoting social interaction and good manners during meal times. Following a survey of parents who revealed that food was on the list of top priorities, Daisy Day Nursery serve up homemade lunches. The food bill is much higher than normal, but if you want bright, happy children, then good quality food and a nurturing environment is a good place to start. With a sample menu including beef and vegetable medley or beany vegetable medley with herby rice, apricot and sultana flapjacks with crème fraiche for lunch and cheese on toast and fruit fromage frais for tea, it’s easy to see why the children at Daisy Day Nursery are happy and contented.

“It’s easy to see why the children at Daisy Day Nursery are happy and contented.” ❧ 42 ❧

When does the new nursery in Barry open? It opens in December and we’re all really excited. Where is it based? Just outside Sully, so it is really convenient for people living in Barry, Sully, Dinas Powys, Penarth and Wenvoe. What ages will you be accepting? We accept children aged 0-5. What level of interest have you had so far? Places are already being reserved so if anyone’s interested I would recommend they book early to ensure they get the days they want. How does an interested parent take things forward? Initial contact should be made on the Llanishen number and we’d be delighted to arrange a tour of the Barry nursery and discuss individual requirements. What are your plans for the future? To provide the best childcare, customer care and to continually review and improve our high standards throughout the nursery.

Vale Life spoke to Lisa and Jeff Burton, who were extremely happy with Daisy Day Nursery as the preferred choice for their young children. Why did you choose Daisy Day? As a result of an incident at a previous nursery, we lost confidence in the care they were providing. In our search, we felt that we were looking at everyone with mistrust. However, at Daisy Day, they were immediately welcoming, the staff were able to confidently answer our questions and their whole set up inspired confidence. Daisy Day is superb. Are your child's emotional, dietary and educational needs being met here? Our children love Daisy Day. They are always happy to go, and still ❧ 43 ❧

happy when they are collected. They eat well there. The food is cooked from fresh, on the premises, and the menu is different every day. There is always something to suit their appetite. People always comment how bright, happy and confident our children are. Daisy Day has had a huge impact on their learning and educational needs. Thanks to friendly and supportive staff. Would you recommend Daisy Day to your friends and family? 100% yes. We have already done so to several friends, who are now happily using Daisy Day. Daisy Day Nursery, Cardiff 10 Earlswood Road, Llanishen Cardiff CF14 5GH 029 2075 2051 (option 5) Daisy Day Nursery, Barry next to Coconuts Play & Party Centre Sully Moors Road, Barry CF64 5RP 029 2075 2051

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








WIN! A pair of return flights to Geneva



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

Vale Life has teamed up with The Ski Lodge, Barry (see page 90) and bmibaby to give away a pair of return flights to Geneva, the airline’s most popular ski destination. The lucky reader will be able to fly to Geneva with bmibaby from Cardiff Airport and visit the plentiful slopes. The airline flies to Geneva up to three times a week on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and prices start from just £29.99 one way including taxes and charges. With the snow already falling on the slopes, the ski season is rapidly approaching and Geneva is a great gateway to the slopes, with over 35 resorts within an hours drive of the airport. For more information or to book flights please visit




To be in with a chance of winning, just answer the question in the box below and either post your entry to: Geneva Ski Competition, Vale Life, Cardiff House, Cardiff Road, Vale of Glamorgan CF63 2AW. Or email your answer and contact details to Please type Geneva Ski as the title for your email.

Last issue’s lucky winners HURST HOUSE S GORDON Llantwit Major RMA JEWELLERS M S V I V E D WA R D S Barry



Come on Vale Life readers! You have every chance of winning one of these fantastic prizes just like the lucky winners above. All competition entries must be received by 14 January 2010. Winners will be notified within 14 days and prize must be taken by 1 March 2010.

Go for it! You’ve got to be in it, to win it!

Rules 1. The winner is entitled to return travel for 2 passengers with bmibaby from Cardiff Airport to Geneva on the bmibaby network. 2. Route may vary due to timetable changes. 3. Prizes are non-transferable, non-refundable and non-changeable. Flight details, dates and times cannot be varied once they are booked. Cash or credit alternatives will not be offered. bmibaby reserves the right to provide substitute prizes of similar value should the specified prizes become unavailable. 4. bmibaby reserves the right to change its flight schedules without prior notice. 5. Travel must be taken between 5 January - 26 March 2010, excluding 12-22 February 2010. 6. Travel must be booked 14 days in advance of outbound travel date. 7. Flights are subject to availability. Availability is more restrictive during peak periods. Greater promotional seat availability is offered on off-peak and high frequency services. 8. The winner will be responsible for supplying valid passports and visa. It is strongly recommended that travellers take out adequate travel insurance. 9. All flights are subject to the terms and conditions under which they are issued including bmibaby’s general conditions of carriage for passengers and baggage. 10. bmibaby reserves the right to cancel or amend the terms of this prize promotion and without notice in the unlikely event of major catastrophe, war, earthquake, or any actual, anticipated or alleged breach of any applicable law or regulation or any other similar event. 11. By participating in this prize promotion, you grant the promoters permission to use your name and likeness for advertising and future promotional purposes without additional compensations (except where prohibited). 12.Winners are liable for any tax liability accruing as a result of this promotion. 13.This promotion is governed by English Law. 14.The judges decision is final.

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You can win too!


Who is Store Manager at The Ski Lodge?


Name Address

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

WIN! SUBSCRIBE A choker and matching earrings worth £96



To be in with a chance of winning, just answer the question in the box below and either post your entry to: Design Inspiration Competition Vale Life, Cardiff House, Cardiff Road, Vale of Glamorgan CF63 2AW. Or email your answer and contact details to Please type Design Inspiration as the title for your email.






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










Subscribe to Vale Life today and never miss an issue

A subscription to Vale Life makes the perfect gift!

Despite 10,000 copies of Vale Life being distributed across the Vale of Glamorgan, it seems they go like the proverbial hot cakes!

What better gift than one friends and loved ones can enjoy all year round. Especially if they live in another part of the UK.

We deliver to many outlets in and around Barry, Bridgend, Cowbridge, Dinas Powys, Llantrisant, Llantwit Major, Penarth, Pontyclun, Porthcawl and Talbot Green… not forgetting Culverhouse Cross and Cardiff Bay.

A subscription to Vale Life will keep them up to speed with all that’s great and gorgeous about the Vale and all for just £20. Of course, they can always visit but there’s nothing nicer than having the real thing delivered to their letterbox.

But if you still can’t get hold of your copy, then a subscription will guarantee you get your copy.

If it is a gift, make sure you complete the recipient details carefully.


Where is Design Inspiration based?

To subscribe, fill in the coupon below and send a cheque made out to Vale Life for £20 (four issues) to: Vale Life. Cardiff House, Cardiff Road, Barry, Vale of Glamorgan CF63 2AW.

To subscribe, fill in the coupon below and send a cheque made out to Vale Life for £20 (four issues) to: Vale Life. Cardiff House, Cardiff Road, Barry, Vale of Glamorgan CF63 2AW.

Here’s your chance to win a beautiful silver and real pearl choker and matching drop earrings worth £96 from Design Inspiration in Pontyclun. This set will accessorize your LBD perfectly.


Answer Subscriber address details

Recipient address details

Name Address

Name Address

Name Address

Postcode Phone Email

Postcode Phone Email

Postcode Phone Email

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.

EDITOR’S With Christmas not far away (can you believe it?), I’ve decided to create my very own Christmas wish list and, to make sure that hubby sees it, I thought I’d include it in the magazine. Sharp or what? So here’s a quick run-down...



Pamper my skin in LUX-ury

Pamper my feet in sumptuous sheepskin

Lux: The condition of being elegantly sumptuous. I’d say that this is a brilliant description for the Lux massage candles and treatments exclusively available at Ener-chi in Penarth and Radyr.

I’ve often heard that UGG Australia boots are the ‘must have’ footwear for winter (and summer for that matter) as not only do they keep your feet warm and toasty, but they look gorgeous too.

I popped in to see owner Judy Mancuso, and was greeted by the aroma of beautifully scented Shea butter candles which to my delight hold a dual purpose. Once heated, the liquid can be used as a nourishing massage oil. Sound to good to be true? Ask for a demonstration as I did and my hands and arms were massaged in the oil which left them so deliciously aromatic and soft, I just have to get the rest of my body done.

Whether shopping, partying or lounging at home, they are the ultimate fashion statement. Worn by many celebrities, they’re definitely the brand to wear, and be seen wearing. Made from Grade-A sheepskin which breathes naturally, wicking away moisture, they allow air to circulate freely. As sheepskin is naturally thermostatic, it keeps bare feet close to your natural body temperature regardless of the weather outside.

This all natural combination of Shea butter, coconut, and almond oil is a must to embrace and warm you as the winter nights draw in. Shea butter has anti-ageing and reinvigorating properties which improves circulation, almond oil, rich in vitamin E, B, and minerals, efficiently smoothing sensitive and dry skin and improving hydration. Coconut oil, nourishing and sensual makes the skin glow is fantastic for creating that spa-at-home feeling or for complete pampering, ener-chi offer the Lux massage treatment, mention Vale Life, and get a free hand and arm massage Lux candle demonstration.

I’m sold on the why’s and wherefore’s, now I just need to pop down to Bryl’s Boutique in Barry where they have a great selection of UGGS and decide which style to put aside for collection.

At only £10 for a travel tin, £25 for a unique glass holder and £35 for the super deluxe ceramic pot with lip and pouring spout, the perfect gift!

Bryl’s Boutique 7 High Street Barry CF62 7DZ 01446 748246

Bryl’s Boutique has teamed up with Vale Life to offer its readers £20 off all Ugg Australia boots. Mention Vale Life to any of the staff and you will be entitled to receive your discount.


Hot designs from a hot designer No Christmas list would be complete without a lovely piece of jewellery. I’ve already got some beautiful pieces of jewellery by designer Nanor Tashdjian’s fused glass range and when I heard that she’d introduced a new flamework range, I was so intrigued that I had to take a look at her website to see what that was all about. Nanor now uses a fuelled torch to melt rods and tubes of clear and coloured glass to make it pliable. Once it’s in a molten state, she then shapes the glass with tools and movements to create the design and, as her work is so unique that it’s unlikely that you’ll bump into anyone else wearing a similar piece. Now, which masterpiece shall I choose? Nanor Art 07974 256 622

Ener-chi 31 Hickman Road, Penarth CF64 2AL 029 2070 7356

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Each issue we’ll bring you a number of outstanding products that have caught my eye and that I’d like to share with you.


Bring on the Winter with Spyder There are two things that make me happy during the winter months – being warm and, even better, being warm in style!



Make mine an ‘It Girl’ I have an everyday watch which I wear er, every day, but just as women like to change their outfits, we also like to change our accessories and jewellery. The latest must have watch which is wowing the jewellery and fashion world is this rather gorgeous little number by Thomas Sabo. You can’t go wrong with white so this ticks all the right boxes but if white’s not your thing then you can take your pick from a staggering 59 different models from basics through to sports, from chronographs all the way through to the most elaborate designs. Split into here ranges Rebel at Heart, It Girl and Classic, there’s every chance you’ll find one to suit you. Celebrities can take their pick of the latest jewellery and it’ll come as no surprise that they’ve already been spotted on the wrists of Roisin Murphy and Alex James. To get ahead of the game, pop along to The Jewellery Studio, Cathedral Road, Pontcanna or visit their newly revamped website (see address below). Buying it online entitles you to free postage and a free Thomas Sabo charm with orders over £75. The Jewellery Studio 237 Cathedral Road, Cardiff 029 2022 1144

Hand crafted presents at Model House If your gift buying tactic is to rely on a safe list and you are the kind of person who goes out and gets the items on that list, be daring, throw it out and visit Model House Craft and Design Centre in Llantrisant, just a short 3 mile hop from Junction 34 on the M4. Perched on top of a hill in the centre of the old town, Model House’s gallery provides the solution to many a present-giver’s problem. The Christmas exhibition, Wish List, opening on 7th November, has a dazzling display of individually made jewellery (for men and women), cards, prints, sumptuous silk scarves and other textiles as well as ceramics and glass and a charming range of comfort blankets for the smallest people on your present list. You can also visit the craft studios on the upper floors and buy lamp glass beads, prints, felt kits, ceramics and even more jewellery from the resident craftspeople. It really couldn’t be easier – and when the shopping list has been completed, you can walk across the Bull Ring and enjoy a well-earned cup of coffee at The Butchers Arms Gallery and Coffee Shop. Model House is open from Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm and on Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm. In December they are open 7 days a week, 10am to 5pm. Model House Bull Ring, Llantrisant, Pontyclun, CF72 8EB 01443 237758

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These criteria would be happily met with the new Spyder ‘Rock Faux Fur’ jacket a) because the warmth is provided through thin-profile Thinsulate Supreme Insulation b) because its stretch interior fabric will hug me in comfort and will move with me equally well down the slope or through the village and c) because it has a stylish sprinkling of glittering Swarovski crystals elevating this jacket to point 10 on the glamour Richter scale. I normally stick to black but I’ve seen it in sassy hot pink which, let’s be fair, if you’re buying a jacket because you love a bit of glitz and glamour, then, it’s sassy all the way! The Spyder ‘Rock Faux Fur’ jacket is available from The Ski Lodge, Barry. Check it out on their new website at or reserve yours from The Ski Lodge on 01446 741870.



Cinderella’s favourite Spiky cushions

In a land not too far from here, in fact just down the M4, there lived a beautiful girl called Cinderella.

Now, Cinderella lived with her two step sisters who were very cruel. They made poor Cinderella do everything around the house while they went to the gym and had girly lunches. Cinderella hated housework and well, to be quite honest, the house was a bit of a tip. A few weeks before Christmas the sisters received an invitation to a bit of a do at the palace. Prince Charming was holding a ball in the hope of finding a new girlfriend - the last one had sold some rather unfortunate pictures to the tabloids.

Cinderella dreamed that she would go to the ball but her sisters insisted that she stay home and get the house ready for Christmas. Alone in the kitchen Cinderella sobbed into her herbal tea. Suddenly there was a flash and at first she thought that she had left something in the microwave. But as the smoke cleared she saw a rather glamorous looking granny in a fab frock.

Fantome clock

“Aha,” said the old lady, “I am your...” “Can I stop you right there”, interrupted Cinderella, “trespass is a crime and I do believe that they will be missing you in the home.” “Nonsense,” replied the old lady, “I am your Fairy Godmother and I am here to help transform this house into a place of great beauty.” “How wonderful,” thought Cinderella, “she must be from Sixty Minute Makeover.”

The Hamptons store smelled divine and Cinderella soon found a range of scented reeds. There were so many delicious fragrances to choose from, Linen and Cashmere, Lychee and Pomegranate, why they all sounded so exotic. But for Cinderella there was only one choice - True Romance. She popped it into her shopping basket before buying two more for her sisters whose bedrooms were far from fragrant! Romance candles

“Now, we’ll need to gather a few things,” said the Fairy Godmother. “Of course,” replied Cinderella, “I’ll get a pumpkin and some mice while you do the bibbety bobbity boo bit.” “No dear, I was thinking more of your coat and some credit cards, you’re going to need them.” “Where are we going?” asked Cinderella, bewildered.

“Why to Hamptons of course,” replied the Fairy Godmother, “where all of your Christmas dreams will come true.” And with a wave of her wand they were transported to Hamptons. Cinderella blinked and was astounded at all of the wonderful things. There were candles and cushions, mirrors and rugs, infact everything your heart and home could desire.

For the Christmas table Cinderella found the most beautiful candlesticks made in Scotland, each one totally unique. Forged in steel they were both traditional and contemporary. Topped with scented candles and a scattering of the most exquisite baubles she had ever seen they would be perfect. Knot cutlery

“Come along,” said the Fairy Godmother, “we haven’t got all day!”

White Amarylis

“Mmmm,” she thought, “Hamptons is truly the most magical place.” ❧ 48 ❧

for Christmas, even my sisters will never guess.” With armfuls of flowers, Cinderella waltzed around the store imagining what a wonderful time her sisters must be having at the ball.

Malika Grand Orio Inka Platinum Style

It was then that she noticed the Ghost Clock and thought what a super present it would make for Prince Charming. It looked just like a carriage clock but its engraved glass front and mirrored back made it so very modern.

Knot cutlery

The Hamptons happy helpers gift wrapped her purchases, all free of charge then Cinderella and the Fairy Godmother headed for home where the house was soon transformed with the help of a few twittery bluebirds and some rather cute fluffy things.

“And now,” said the Fairy Godmother, “its time for you to go to the ball and meet your true love.” “I already have,” giggled Cinderella, snuggling up into her red spiky cushion. “It’s Hamptons.” “But what about Prince Charming, the clock at midnight, the glass slipper, the prenup?” asked the Fairy Godmother. The cutlery by Culinary Concepts was equally impressive and fit for a king (or indeed a princess to be) and the dazzling array of glasses from LSA was all she needed to create the perfect table. “Well,” thought Cinderella, “that’s the dining room done, now for the living room.”

Natural throw

She found sumptuous throws in all sorts of rich colours - ideal for throwing over a tatty sofa and the spiky cushions were like nothing she had ever seen anywhere in the kingdom (and she had been around, you know). “Mmmm,” she thought, “Hamptons is truly the most magical place.”

It was then that she noticed the flowers, they were all so perfect. There were individual stems and wonderful arrangements. Cinderella was ecstatic. “I’ll let you in on a little secret,” whispered the Fairy Godmother, “they’re not real.” Cinderella gasped, “Surely not,” but true enough, when she looked closely she could see that they were much too perfect to be real.

“Why,” thought Cinderella, “I could have fresh flowers all year round. I shall buy arrangement for the spring, one for the summer and something spectacular ❧ 49 ❧

“Oh yes,” said Cinderella dreamily. “I’ll send him the clock but let’s face it, a Prince might be ok for a few years until he starts to lose his looks, puts on weight and takes up golf. But Hamptons - well that’s quite a different story and I know we’ll live happily ever after.” Jazz flutes

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


The Style Counsel with Suzanne Jaya I’ve read that women have passionate flings with Fashion but given a choice they would marry Style, because like a good partner, it won’t let you down. Fashion seduces, but the affair usually fizzles out before the next season. Wise words from an author, who over the years, has inspired me with her tales of living simply and abundantly through the 1990’s recession. Nothing changes – when money’s tight, common sense needs to prevail. As summer leaves a scent of a memory in our wake, we step tentatively into the aura of the autumn season ahead. At the time of writing this, there’s a perceptible nip in the air – the kind that has you throwing on an extra knit and furry boots for warmth but at the same time refusing stubbornly to remove your shorts or cover up a glimpse of fading suntan. It’s an attempt to embrace rather than give-in to the inevitable seasonal change; that is until we hit the shops, then quicker than you can say “moths to a candle”, a shameful majority of us become seduced by the latest in High Street fashion. Talking of moths, if that all too familiar image on the front cover of Silence of Lambs isn’t enough to have you heading for the hills then what lurks within your wardrobe should put you on red alert. Wet mild summers provide a breeding ground for increasing numbers of moths and your closet is begging for a call to action. Imagine if the little blighters start weaving their dark magic among your silk smalls, never mind your cashmere scarf. Joking apart, now is the time to review and revamp your dusty wardrobe and give it a good old workout. Assess whether last winter’s clothes tick any of this season’s boxes and whether you can make or save money. No doubt you’ve already afforded yourself a glimpse at the fashion magazines. It goes without saying that you might have an eye on a new pair of winter boots or the latest oversize coat, because clearly the stuff you’ve already got just won’t do.

Every season, I see women of all ages discard unworn clothes that amass anywhere in the region of £200 £2000. They get chucked into bin bags, sold on ebay for a fraction of their true value, deposited at a charity shop or ripped up for dusters. So why does it continue to happen? Because dear readers, in general we refuse to accept the obvious.

We refuse to buy colours and shapes that flatter, opting instead for the latest hot shade or hem length whether or not it suits us. We refuse to admit that whilst tweed may be the fabric del jour, it probably makes us look three times our normal size. There is no need to buy a new top for every night out. Shall I go on – best not! This is the time to separate the chaff from the wheat when it comes to savvy seasonal clothes shopping. If you don’t get it done now, like a magpie you’ll be drawn to partywear with not a hope in hell of getting the basics right until this time in a year! And guess what – more money down the drain. If last year’s stuff has been unworn, ask yourself why. Did it make you feel fat, frumpy or don’t you have a clue? Would the money wasted have been put to better use if you’d sought the help of a style professional?

partner. The question is how will you know it when you see it? Simple – you’ll have the money, you won’t have to try too hard, it’ll come easily and you’ll look amazing.

In the meantime, learn as much as you can about your shape, colouring and style. It’s a synergistic blend understood all too well by stylish people – they KNOW that the overall effect is greater than the component parts. It’s a partnership – a marriage – it’s about sticking around for the long-haul. The bottom line is confident people will look good in the same clothes, even if they have worn them three times that week, because they chose wisely. Be honest, does anyone really care whether you wear the same frock at two events – quite frankly you’ll be much admired for your sensible purchasing decisions. Style is steadfast. Might sound dull to some but when purse strings are tight, invest in good quality basics and inject some spice with cheaper items such as belts, scarves and jewellery. With a well managed wardrobe you’ll be able to make do and mend, buy some key new pieces, save money, evict the moths and flirt a little! Trust me – it’ll be worth it in the long run.

Be honest and ruthless. That garment you had a fling with because it made your friend look fab, was never going to look the same on you, which leads me nicely onto the marriage part of style. Thou shalt not covet your friends’ wardrobe. Affairs are giddy emotional phases that leave us flat and flat broke! In my book there should be an eighth sin... ‘not knowing what suits you!’ Believe me, I’ve seen how one fabulous frock looked different on two equally beautiful women. The fault didn’t lie with either the frock or the women. It was just a mismatch – one looked understated and stylish and yet the other looked like a lady of the night, so to speak. The total sum of the parts was a disaster for one of the girls. It’s the same as when couples are mismatched. To be blunt, if that little black dress, hat or bag is destined for another, then walk on by; something great will be around the corner much in the same way as finding the perfect ❧ 50 ❧

Suzanne Jaya Wardrobe management service, style, colour and image consultations. 01443 229296 or 07833 780006


Christmas with a warm golden glow

Clogau Gold Fairy Locket £500

Nestled in the busy John Street, Porthcawl you’ll find RMA Williams Jewellers. Run by owners Marcus and Mellissa, you’re sure to find something to suit all tastes and budgets. Gold is always a popular gift choice at any time of the year but there’s no better time than Christmas to receive a stunning piece of gold jewellery from a loved one. If you’re the one giving the present, see the face you love light up. Fresh 18ct blue and white Diamond Ring £1,700

“There’s no better time than Christmas to receive a stunning piece of gold jewellery.”

GLAMOROUS GOLD Cocktail rings continue to be big news this season. Their appearance can dress up an outfit with one fell swoop. Dazzle everyone this Christmas and make a bold statement with this blue and white diamond ring by Fresh contemporary jewellery, or this aquamarine and diamond ring by Elements Gold.

JID 18ct Diamond Ring £825

Rose gold is rich and warm, dare to be different with a rose gold ring this winter, studded with diamonds, such as the Clogau Gold Am Byth eternity ring, or this beautiful rose gold and diamond ring from JID Diamond Jewellery, based in Hatton Garden.

Clogau Gold Am Byth 18ct Diamond Ring £1,600

Classic diamonds are always popular, after all they are a girl’s best friend! She will love you forever this Christmas with this glamorous diamond necklace by JID Diamonds, or the pretty trefoil earrings by Alfred Terry. A focus on nature, the universe and the cosmos is sweeping jewellery design, this intricate Clogau Gold Fairy locket, is a beautiful addition to their autumn/winter range and it is also available in silver at a fraction of the price.

Alfred Terry Trefoil Diamond Earrings £250

JID 18ct Diamond Pendant £1,900

A stunning piece of gold jewellery will make a focal point to individualise any look. We couldn’t agree more. RMA Williams Jewellers 35 John Street, Porthcawl CF36 3AP 01656 786007 Elements Aquamarine and Diamond Ring £210

❧ 51 ❧


Emma Jane Roberts’ SEARingly hot jewellery Emma J Roberts Jewellery is a jewellery line created by designer metalsmith, Emma Roberts from her workshop in Cardiff. Emma is currently promoting her new collection, ‘SEAR’ which is made from hammered sterling silver and 9ct gold. This elegant new collection is now on display in galleries across the UK, including an exhibition at St Davids Hall, Cardiff from November 8th. For more information on Emma J Roberts Jewellery visit or call her on 07883188161.


Make technology work for you with Dragon AV To say that I’m a bit of a technophobe is an understatement. I’ve managed to get my head around texting, then those that be come up with Myspace, Youtube, Facebook and Twitter. It’s just too much! It’s the same at home. You’re probably the same, you’ve got TV’s in most rooms, sound systems dotted all around and more remotes than you can shake a stick at. It’s lucky then that I came across Tom Simonds of Dragon AV on my travels as his company can help with networking audio, visual and control systems for the home and business. I’m not on my own when it comes to wasting precious minutes searching for remotes. Here Tom gets to grips with a typical problem from a customer.


I’m at my wits end! I have several remotes for my tv, dvd, hi-fi, wii which constantly get lost and seem to clutter up my living space. I’m looking for a simple, cost effective solution to this. Can you help? This is a common problem easily solved. The control of TV, HiFi, Sky, Cable, Freeview, DVD, and home cinema systems can be integrated into one easy to use remote control. Also it is possible to hide all of the equipment out of site and still control the devices. (note PS2/3, Xbox, Wii controls are not integrateable).


Solutions start from under ÂŁ100 plus programming to over ÂŁ1000 for two way multiroom and whole house control (music, TV, lighting, CCTV and even heating can be incorporated). 7HOHYLVLRQ

“Technology should make your life easier. Call Dragon AV today and we’ll help make technology work for you.� � 52 �




Miss P Perfect clothes for kids We were delighted to include the beautiful children’s clothing from Miss P in our recent photoshoot. At Miss P you can find clothing for boys and girls from newborn up to age 16. From popular designer brands such as Ralph Lauren, Gant, Joules, Lego, Emile Et Rose, Sarah Louise, Animal and more. You can also find a good range of babies shoes and hats, gloves and scarves for the chillier months ahead. Miss P is regularly visited by local celebrities and customers wanting a unique look for their children.

“At Miss P you can find clothing for boys and girls from newborn up to age 16.� Miss P 14 Cowbridge Rd, Pontyclun CF72 9ED 01443 224477

Models, Claudia and Sophia Photography by Martin Phillips




Dragon AV offer solutions for home cinema, lifestyle entertainment systems, multi-room audio and video, and presentation and meeting solutions. Imagine having the big screen cinema experience at home, listening to your music collection in every room or delivering presentations to important clients. Dragon AV offer a full range of services or can design a complete system to meet both current and future needs, offering an easy expansion and upgrade path by installing bespoke solutions that meet all needs, budget and lifestyle.


Dragon AV can visit you at work or home to discuss the options and advise on the suitability of different options. Full technical support is provided. Design and consultancy only services are available - ideal if you’re planning renovations or a new build, allowing you to include as many unique ideas as you wish into your new home.





Dragon AV For more information call Tom Simonds on 07989 950482 or 08451 583088

Devotees of Havana in Cowbridge are in for a real treat. Owners Awen Evans and Emma Hartmann have added stylish new labels to their High Street boutique which tick all the right boxes in terms of quality of fabrics, style and femininity. If Havana’s not been on your radar, here’s a sneak preview of everything you need to be super-chic this autumn/winter.

HAVANA What new brands are on offer at Havana? Nicole Farhi, Betty Jackson Two, Ann Louise Roswald, Avoca Origins, Hoss Intropia and Bibi Jewellery.


Why did you decide to offer these brands? We love Nicole Farhi because it is so incredibly chic! The fabrics and the styling are amazing. Nicole Farhi and Betty Jackson Two are perfect for the woman who likes “investment dressing”, for the fashion conscious woman who loves stylish, classic clothes but loves something a little bit different. Ann Louise Roswald is a fabulous British designer who produces exquisite occasion wear. We simply fell in love with her designs the minute we saw them, we both have several of her dresses in our wardrobes already! We have stocked Avoca Anthology at Havana for the last few seasons, and it has been very popular, because it is a little quirky and different. Avoca Origins is a new collection for Autumn/Winter, which is a little more grown up, though still quirky and feminine. Hoss Intropia is a fabulous Spanish label that gets a lot of editorial in fashion magazines, because they always come up with different designs which suit any age. Finally, we kept complimenting one of our members of staff on her Bibi jewellery, so we decided to stock it ourselves. It’s very popular with celebrities at the moment I believe, including Cheryl Cole. Who will they appeal to? Anyone who loves to shop for beautiful stylish clothes We strongly believe that there are no age boundaries, it’s all about style, good fit and dressing to suit your own shape and personality.


arylin Moore M m o fr y d Cosy Car Who are your typical customers? Our customers are women who love clothes, and love to find something different than on the High Street. They also appreciate the fantastic service that they receive from our staff. We believe that this is the main thing that sets Havana apart, customers like to see a friendly face and staff who care about helping them to find the right piece for their wardrobe. You’re also launching a new website for Havana. Tell us more. We launched a website recently to complement our bridal shop called It has been very successful, and we have sold bridal accessories all over the world. ❧ 54 ❧

We are launching a website called which will offer the wonderful labels and the feel of our very special independent boutique, Havana, to customers across the UK at the touch of a button. Havana 87 Eastgate, Cowbridge CF71 7AA 01446 774807 Opening hours Mon - Sat 9.30am - 5pm

y Jackson Gorgeous red coat, Bett

, ck Dress a l B e l t t Li Perfect cole Farhi Ni

“We strongly believe that there are no age boundaries, it’s all about style, good fit and personality.”

Winter Warmer , Betty


Pretty in Print, Betty Jackson

Office Chic, Betty Jackson


The nights are drawing in... The central heating’s being turned on... This can mean only one thing... Christmas is closer than you think! It’s never to soon to start your Christmas shopping and with stock coming in thick and fast from October, means you can beat the crowds of the city and shop in the sublime serenity of The Linen Cupboard. So here are some great pressie suggestions and some must have items for you to drop hints to your nearest and dearest.

Gorgeous gifts for the Ladies £15 OR LESS

Cath Kidston tea towels and mug. I’ve got these in my kitchen. It’s funny to think that just adding these items to a kitchen can change the look completely. So fresh. Cath pin tin and a Cath Kidston needle case. Lovely even if you don’t sew. Cath sewing tin with threads and needles included is a bargain and looks good enough to leave out. Cath Kidston Bluebell hand cream is my favourite but we also have wild rose, together with a pair of Cath Kidston rubber gloves makes a fun but useful gift. Cath Kidston scented hearts are so pretty, a firm hit.

£20 - £40


True Grace Candles are wonderful. Made in the UK they can rival any other make on the market. Trust me. Several gorgeous fragrances to choose from as well as room sprays and scented leaves. Aromatiques are wonderful if you can’t light a candle. Don’t be fooled by other brands, these are the best. Four fragrances and refills also available.

Jan Constantine’s beautiful Christmas wall hanging is a real heirloom piece, a beautiful gift that will give you years of joy.

Bring out the little girl in you with a handmade Cinderella with her very own fairytale ball gown. I would love to get this for Christmas, Rapunzel and Little Red Riding Hood are also available. Box of 4 Rose scented hearts handmade in the UK. I’ve had these for years, so pretty. You can hang them on your favourite dress in the wardrobe and in between your silks in a drawer. One of my best sellers. Cath Kidston Rose Bunch Carry All. In practical waterproof PVC they are great for the Farmers Market or files for work. Regal Rose also in stock. Cath Kidston Bucket Bags. This is one of three designs in store. A place for everything and sits nicely on the arm or shoulder. Great gift for a girlfriend. A smaller size Jan Constantine Union Jack cushion is such good value for money. A great centre piece for a bed, sofa or chair. Other colours available but I love the rich pink version. Cath Kidston Sewing Basket is a must for any sewer. Knocks spots of any other styles out there on the market. A big gift that’s reasonably priced. ❧ 56 ❧

Jan’s Love Cushion on duck egg blue linen is my best seller. So jolly and beautifully hand stitched as are all her cushions. Jan’s Romany Heart Cushion is lovely for Christmas with the deep red appliqué work and embroidery. Also makes a great wedding present. Hug Counted Cross Stitch Kit.

Kiss Counted Cross Stitch Kit

I first saw these kits in a Sunday magazine. I phoned the designer first thing on the Monday morning to order her wonderful counted cross stitch kits. Since then I’ve sold dozens. I’m doing the Kiss and my 18 year old daughter has nearly finished the Hug. They are so addictive once you’ve started a letter just want to finish it. Cath Kidston Saddle Bag in Sea green. If you like it get it now, as these sell out so quickly. The last spot saddle bag Cath brought out was selling on an auction site for 3 times its value. Cath Kidston Handbag in Rose bunch. I’ve got this one, Love it, love it. Goes with everything. Joy. Poppy Treffry Tea Cosies are a great gift. I’ve got one on my kitchen shelf mixed in with my china. A real treat for anyone who likes a nice cup of tea. Designs vary.

CUPBOARD Fun and frivolity for the Little Ones My favourite part of Christmas when I was little was finding my stocking at the end of the bed. All those little gifts to play with. What fun. I would always admire the fact that Father Christmas did a lot of his shopping at Hamleys, judging by the amount of price labels still stuck on the bottom of my toys.

A classic Harmonica will drive you all mad, but the children will love it. Yeehaa! enough to bring out the cowboy in anyone. S N A P! I Love this nursery rhyme snap. Great fun. Every little girl simply must have a Skipping Rope.

Well, this year he could do no wrong by coming into The Linen Cupboard. So exciting. I love Christmas, I’m sure I’m still 5 at heart. Again, here is a little taste of what’s in store.

The divine Cath Kidston Rose Sprig Breakfast Set is china not melamine so it won’t bounce if thrown. Worth having just for the little case it comes in. It comes in Racing Cars too. These Cath Kidston kids dressing gowns are scrummy. Cowboys or Rubber Ducks. With matching towels also in stock and I’ve even got the bubble bath too.


These Beano playing cards are brill.

Table top ping pong. Clear the Christmas table and let battle commence.

This seasons bunnies are gorgeous and would make the perfect gift.

Classic re-conditioned BT phone. If your man has his own office then the classic phones are a must have. Black, red and cream are the best sellers. Or if they fancy pink, I’ve got one of those also. We have a two tone red and cream one at home. I love it when it rings. Jan Constantine’s Fabulous Welsh Flag cushion. These have been sent all around the world as presents. A lovely colour combination that will sit nicely in any colour scheme. Perfect gift for chaps who jump up and down watching the rugby shouting at the ref! Well all that’s left to say is have a wonderful time over the coming months and I hope to see you all soon in the shop buying all these lovely things. Just one last thing, make a note in your diary as we will be open on Sunday the 25th October, 29th November and 20th December to make life a little easier for you.

Wonderful retro for the Boys

Model aeroplanes. These take me back. Remember winding the propeller up on a rubber band.

Little girls of all ages must have the Princess and the Pea. So beautifully handmade and comes complete with the story book and even the crocheted pea.

Something special for the office

Little Girl mouse in match box. If you don’t fall in love with these, then there’s something wrong with you. Two different styles of mice, one in each match box. Little girls of all ages love them. Even if they are 42. And not to leave the boys out they even make little boy mice in a match box too. Christmas would not be complete without a game of Bingo.


Tin wind up motor bike and car, not suitable for children due to small parts but these are great fun. I’ve got a biplane and robot coming in too. Not collectors prices either. ❧ 57 ❧

The Linen Cupboard 2 Penny Lane, Cowbridge CF71 7EG 01446 771150

VALE BUSINESS In association with The Business Centre HENSOL

Luxury apartments at Hensol Castle Park The Vale Resort has already sold phase one of its exclusive new residential development based at Hensol Castle Park. The luxury apartment scheme which neighbours the current four-star worldclass hotel, golf, spa and leisure facility, the Vale Resort, is part of the multimillion pound re-development of the grade one listed Seventeenth century Hensol Castle and its grounds into one of the most prestigious boutique hotel, spa and residential schemes in Wales. Ten mansion buildings set in the Castle grounds will all be extensively redeveloped and refurbished to create the spacious apartment collection.

Why have the apartments sold so well I hear you ask? Well it could be the spaciousness of each apartment which range from 1200 sq ft to 2000 sq ft, the designer bathroom suites including wet room design, Rokpunkt designer German kitchens, full wifi and integrated sound and vision throughout, high efficiency air con and natural hardwood floors. Or it could be the views of the extensive golf courses and lake to pick from. With so many designer features and prices from £290,000 to £500,000, why not pop along to view one of the show apartments and see for yourself why they’re selling like hot cakes!


Models wanted for ‘Evening of Style’ Jane Egan of Designer Desires is looking for models of all shapes and sizes aged 20 to 50 for a Christmas Bazaar in aid of charity on the 26 November 2009. The show will take place at the Hi-Tide in Porthcawl, with tickets at £5 each. All proceeds to The Stroke Association! For more information please contact Jane at Designer Desires on 07917 691576 or 01656 773323 or email

“Each apartment ranges from 1200 to 2000 sq ft.”

The Business Centre’s 01446 731293

“We chose The Business Centre because it has excellent facilities and excellent parking. Over a weekend, we may buy over forty vehicles so the parking capacity is exactly what we need. I have to say that the reception staff at The Business Centre are brilliant, they treat customers as we would expect.”

flex ible

Norrie Penman, Manager

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Amanda Morgan The Beauty Spot Hair & Beauty Salon


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owns of d d an

“The Business Centre’s position enables us to be reached within minutes from many towns and villages which has increased our clientele and the frequency in which they visit. We find the free adequate parking a huge bonus and clients love the privacy of not having to return to their cars via busy public areas.

Although regarded as an unusual choice for a Hair & Beauty Salon we find the peaceful location ideal and an additional benefit to other businesses located at the centre who can enjoy appointments during lunch & breakfast times without leaving the building.We enjoy being part of the success of The Business Centre and feel it’s the way forward in suiting our clients busy lives.” Amanda Morgan



The Hair Business Centre of Excellence Since opening in 1992, The Hair Business has offered hairdressing, beauty and nail skills of the highest standards. Ask any of its clients and above all else, they will tell you that the reason they keep returning is because they feel valued. Leigharne, front, with her talented team at The Hair Business, Cowbridge

This is thanks to owner Leigharne Phillips and the high level of training she offers her dedicated team of staff. Her mantra is,‘what you put in, you get back.’ By respecting her team’s individuality she allows them to grow.

“The Hair Business Team is the making of the brand.”

Talk to Purple!

“Providing vehicles and vehicle finance to small businesses and individuals nationwide. The Business Centre is perfect for us. We’ve expanded and moved offices several times since coming here. The total flexibility means we can contract and expand our business to suit our requirements.”

Josh started as an Assistant Trainee. Gained his NVQ Level 2 and has now started Level 3. Won his categories and overall at Salon Cymru 2009. Nominee for Apprentice of the Year 2009. Won Assistant of the Year in 2007 and 2008. Produced hair styles for NHF events and Miss Wales Final.

Catherine is Operations Manager/Beauty Therapist and has been with The Salon for over 4 years. She holds a BSC Hons. in Sports Therapy, Diploma in Sports Massage, NVQ Level 2 and 3 Beauty Therapy, Hot Stones Massage Certificate, Indian Head Massage Diploma, and an Aromatherapy Massage Diploma.

“The Hair Business allows me to be creative and grow as a stylist.”

“At The Hair Business I’m part of an exciting and innovative team.”

Standards are vitally important to the Hair Business and the brand emerges from a team who are the foundation of its success. Leigharne is constantly looking at ways in which the staff can further enhance their skills in customer relations. The Hair Business Team is the making of the brand and Leigharne believes that she has found wonderful people to work with… from assistants to stylists, from salon coordinators to nail technicians and beauty therapists. The Hair Business offers haircutting for men and women, Great Lengths hair extensions, colour specialists, Creative nail care and beauty treatments and male grooming services.

Emma Newman, Nail Technician has been with The Hair Business for 14 years



sin ess C

“Working at The Hair Business offers an exciting, rewarding career.”

The Hair Business 18 High Street Cowbridge CF71 7AG 01446 775760

Good Life Publishing Publisher of lifestyle magazines

Deborah Newman

f busines s...

Owen has been with the salon for 4 years, NVQ Level 2, Redken and Aveda training. Owen really enjoys Mens Grooming and offers Traditional Wet Shaves to his male clients.

“This tailored system suits our requirements perfectly. We have office and meeting spaces when required and also use the Space Centre for storage along with Masons for temporary storage of publications prior to distribution. I couldn’t think of anywhere more suited to our needs.” Jennifer Hobbs-Roberts

en tr e

’s f nd a lex ps ibl u h et See us on stand E37 at the a rs erm h e sm New Start Wales Exhibition at t th u eans o you can smooth Cardiff International Arena on 13th and 14th November 2009.

AND DIVING... ❧ 59 ❧


The Dream Weaver There are event planners and then there are ‘event planners’. We’ve met and even featured a few along the way but Vale Life recently met ‘the real deal’. Think Elton John’s lavish White Tie and Tiara Ball and you’ll be on the right track. Themed performers and musicians, orchestras, opera and pop stars, circuses, you name it, this man has these resources on his speed dial. Not to mention the top caterers and suppliers of premium wines. If you’re a private or corporate customer and want to host a party which will be the talk of the town, then the only company to call is Paul Williams Events. A highly creative event management company, with a fast growing reputation for producing events that are unique and extra special, they produce the memorable, never the mundane! Every event produced is bespoke in nature and executed to the highest standards, by only working with the best industry professionals.

Add to that over twenty years of experience, an unrivalled attention to detail, a highly creative approach and a very friendly, personal service – it’s no wonder their clients – both corporate and private – use them time and time again!

Paul Williams Events 029 2081 1321 Mobile 07967 714939

Not every event has to be staged in a lavish, costly setting. Paul Williams Events can bring bespoke themed Christmas parties to the office space to save on budget. They have produced a ‘Prohibition Party’ and a ‘Jewel of the Nile’ party for a client at their prestige offices in Cardiff Bay. All entertainment, theme conceptualisation and design, catering and event management was provided by the events company and you wouldn’t have known that you were in the same office environment when they’d finished. The feedback was amazing!

bu downs of siness... The B usin ess C

“I have had an office at The Business Centre for over a year now and it has made a big difference to my business. I am a print manager so I buy print from the UK, Europe and Far East for a variety of clients from books for large Publishers to commercial work for small businesses.

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Morgan Murray Independent Financial Advisers Mortgages, pensions, investments

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Xpedient 01446 731221


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The staff here are always professional and friendly – nothing is too much trouble (especially Lynnette). We have used their meeting rooms several times and have found the facilities and catering to be of the highest standard, we have no hesitation in recommending The Business Centre.” Will Morgan, Partner

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“We relocated to The Business Centre from Cardiff about two years ago. It is fabulous not having to cope with the city centre traffic and car parking. The Business Centre is easy to get to from the M4 and there is ample car parking on site, my clients love visiting us here.

My calls are answered quickly with my company name and if I am out of the office then messages are sent to me immediately either by e-mail or text. The Centre’s address provides the correct representation for my business and deliveries are taken when I am out. When clients want to visit me, I now have a very impressive reception area, meeting rooms with coffee and buffet options if required. Clients are always impressed.” Andy Rogers, Director

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Dip your toe into the world of interior design If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about interior design, then Design Inspiration in Pontyclun has the answer for you. They’re running a series of day courses from their premises which promises to be full of interesting information covering the history of Interior design, colour theory, lighting, flooring, fabrics and window treatments, wall coverings and room planning. It’s a fun day which includes a light lunch and refreshments, all for £65 each or £120 for a couple. One attendee summed up her experience perfectly. “It was a very enjoyable day, I feel more confident at using colour in my home now.” Courses are run throughout the year. To book your place contact:

See us on stand E37 at the New Start Wales Exhibition, Cardiff International Arena on 13th and 14th November 2009.

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Design Inspiration 77 Llantrisant Rd, Pontyclun CF72 9DP 01443 449955

Compass Logistics 0845 900 0571

“We provide transport and freight forwarding worldwide. From a document to a full lorry load. The Business Centre is the perfect location for our business.” Mark Hillier, Regional Sales Manager Cabot Microelectronics 01446 704407

“The Business Centre provides a completely flexible package that suits our business requirements.” Clive Jenkins, European Quality Manager

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We take care of you while you take care of business. Visit Call 0800 6349920 or 01446 739911 ❧ 61 ❧


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The Business Centre Cardiff House Cardiff Road, Barry, Vale of Glamorgan CF63 2AW 0800 6349920

Spotting a gap in the fashion market in Bridgend wasn’t difficult for business partners Emma Nash and Cathy Davies as they had a background in retail and business management. We catch up with them as Mayhem celebrates its first year.

TOTAL MAYHEM How’s business? We’ve been going a year now and can’t believe how well things have gone. We’ve built up a good customer base of regulars and we’re seeing many new faces. Word is spreading.

Customers tell us that they’d rather not go into a large town and not always find what they want, knowing that they can call in to us and find exactly what they need. Also, our new website should be online by the time the magazine is out so customers can visit us at to see what’s available and either buy it online or call in and pick it up.

What is your background? Emma has ten years retail experience and Cathy has a background in business management but we’ve always worked for someone else, so branching out on our own was a bit of a leap of faith. Knowing how much stock to order was a difficult one for us initially, but luckily we’ve got this down to a fine art now.

Is there any other service that you offer? We’re always open for feedback and if a customer can’t find exactly what he’s looking for, he can just tell us what he wants and we’ll see if we can stock it for him.

What brands do you stock? We know what our customers like and we only choose the best pieces from those collections. The brands we ve chosen are Superdry, Henleys, K-Swiss, Henri Lloyd, Gio-goi, Lacoste, Zanerobe, Scotch and Soda and Replay.

Photography by Graham Davies Photography Graham offers a high quality photographic service. Covering weddings, commercial, sporting events, animal portraits, professional portraits and much more. To view a wide range of images and price lists for the range of product services offered visit

How about accessories? We have superb accessories such as RAY-BAN sunglasses, belts and wallets. Who are your customers? The majority are aged from 16 to 35 but we’ve got a regular customer whose in his 80’s who pops in now and again to top up his wardrobe and have a little chat. What sells well? Our T-shirts and shirts always sell well as these can be popped on over a pair of jeans for a night out. Speaking of jeans, these are always popular as we cherry pick the best of the collections. Why did they choose Mayhem? We only buy in small quantities so that it’s unlikely that our customers will bump into someone else in the same piece of clothing. It could also be our fantastic location on Dunraven place (opposite HSBC) which is also close to the car park.

Mayhem 12 Dunraven Place, Bridgend CF31 1JD 01656 769565

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“You certainly can’t go wrong with the gift of silver this Christmas.”

Silver service with RMA Williams Jewellers A stunning piece of silver jewellery can be a refreshing change to gold. At RMA Williams Jewellers on Porthcawl’s John Street, owners Marcus and Mellissa have built up an exquisite collection of silver pieces to suit all tastes and budgets. From a statement necklace to the ever popular Thomas Sabo bracelet and fantastic range of charms, you certainly can’t go wrong with the gift of silver this Christmas.

Sheila Fleet Cascade Necklet £144

SPARKLING SILVER Clogau Gold Captstone Bracelet £300

Bracelets, charms and beads are still big fashion news. Personalise your jewellery and create your own story with Thomas Sabo charms or Lovelinks charm beads. Dress it up or down with silver or leather bracelets. Mixing gold and silver is a modern trend. Clogau gold mix both precious metals, to make Welsh gold affordable for those who are proud to be Welsh. Modern designs such as the Capstone bracelet contain the subtle CG mark, and also allow you to attach separate charms. The Ivy Leaf ring is a simple pretty design that is very affordable Hot Diamonds silver jewellery is rhodium plated to keep its shine. Make a style statement with the gorgeous Driftwood Cuff, silver and gold, and studded with diamonds, or the Selene necklace.

Thomas Sabo Black Bracelet £24.95 Charms Separate

Hot Diamonds Selene Necklace £140 Fiorelli Blue Pendant £69

Capturing the dramatic shapes and colours in the beautiful waterfall at Forss in Caithness, this Sheila Fleet hand enamelled necklet is different and unique, and focuses on the autumn trend of designs inspired by nature.

Hot Diamonds Driftwood Cuff £355

Fiorelli is a company that know about design, this popular blue pendant has the Fiorelli mark and comes with matching earrings. RMA Williams Jewellers 35 John Street, Porthcawl CF36 3AP 01656 786007

Clogau Gold Ivy Leaf Ring £69

Lovelinks Leather and Murano Bracelet £325

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



RMA Williams launch Thomas Sabo RMA Williams Jewellers had two reasons to celebrate this summer with a year in business and the launch of the must have jewellery item of the year Thomas Sabo designer charm collection.

Cheryl Edwards (Mellissa’s mother) and Denzil Edwards

The fashion savvy women of Porthcawl were snapping up these pretty charms to attach them to necklaces, bracelets, earrings and even mobile phones. Owners Marcus and Mellissa served glasses of champagne and delicious cup cakes to guests well into the evening. The Thomas Sabo range of sterling silver and enamel charms include the styles, love and luck, goth and rock, birthstones, zodiac signs, Disney and many more.

Mrs Treharne-Clark and Anne Williams

Lindsay Morgan and Margaret Morgan (Lord and Lady of Kenfig)

RMA Williams Jewellers 35 John Street Porthcawl CF36 3AP 01656 786007 Margaret Wooding, Eluned Rees and Winona Pearce

Mellissa and Marcus

Allison Rossini (Waves Hairdressers), Janet Lewis (Home Emporium), Wendy Collins and Jill Nugent (RMA employee)

Create the perfect atmosphere for your event Offices in Cardiff, Bristol and Chepstow Telephone 01446 772739

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Hello Gorgeous! launches in Penarth

Elfed Evans, Amy Brooks, Lily-Rose Brooks

Kevin Clements, Mikaela Brito

The launch of Penarth’s newest hair salon was a huge hit. Guests nibbled on canapés and drank bubbly whilst admiring the décor and chatted excitedly about the latest addition to Glebe Street. It’s a family affair with mother and daughter Sharon and Ashton Brito at the helm with Keith Brito having carried out the building work. A salon to keep an eye on! Hello Gorgeous! 111 Glebe Street, Penarth CF64 1EB 029 2070 4763

Trish Hughes, Gill Jones

Sian Donovan, Gwen Thomas

Mark Collier, Chantal Collier

Kevin Brooks, Maggs Barrett

Ashton, Tammy, Sharon, Bernie

Julia Thomas, Avril Ward Henry, Louise Pedley (H.G. stylist)

Sharon and Keith Brito

Create the perfect atmosphere for your event Offices in Cardiff, Bristol and Chepstow Telephone 01446 772739

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Vale Show 2009 at Fonmon Castle Held once again in the grounds of Fonmon Castle, the show attracted thousands of people who soaked up the sun, were entertained by the various livestock, horses and ponies, demonstrations and the many stalls selling all things agricultural and much more.

Land Girls! Jennifer Hobbs-Roberts with Leanne Martlew

Our very own Vale Life marquee was a hit again this year. The handsome marquee supplied by County Marquees was very ably transformed into a WI meets village fete by the talented duo Andy Bradshaw and Peter Knowles of Hamptons, Penarth. The girls from Vale Life recreated the land girl vibe with pretty spriggy dresses, headscarves and wellies whilst the Hamptons boys were resplendant in their frock coats. All clothes very gratefully supplied by vintage emporium Forever Vintage of Penarth (thanks Melanie!) A big thanks to all who joined us in our marquee. It was lovely to see you. We’ve already got our thinking caps on for the next year!

Create the perfect atmosphere for your event Offices in Cardiff, Bristol and Chepstow Telephone 01446 772739

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August 19th was a day for the diary, a) because the sun was shining, and b) because people came out in their droves for the Vale of Glamorgan Show.

Definitely captures the spirit of the Vale Show – this lady was delightful

Create the perfect atmosphere for your event Offices in Cardiff, Bristol and Chepstow Telephone 01446 772739

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Local organic farmers John and Rebecca O’Dwyer truly live what we imagine is ‘The Good Life’, but the lives of this particular farming couple have had some real ups and downs. We caught up with Becca and John to find out more. Until I’d tried an organic chicken, I must admit I placed economy before taste and nutrition. It’s easy to be swayed by supermarkets selling chickens at three for ten pounds, especially when money is tight and, to be completely honest, I’ve never really thought too much about the welfare of the animals whose meat my family are eating and, as a result, have regularly succumbed to these offers. But, the saying ‘you get what you pay for’ comes into its own when you taste the difference between battery farmed and free range organic and, after sampling what’s on offer at Oaklands Organics, I vow to never go back.

“We wanted to farm in balance with nature...”


What are your backgrounds? We are both farmers’ children and grew up on mixed livestock farms in the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff area. John worked on the family farm since he left school, milking cows and rearing beef cattle, and we moved to Oaklands Farm in 2005 as an opportunity to spread our wings. My family have been farming in the Vale for more than six centuries and are Freemen of Llantrisant, an honour which dates back to a charter made by Hugh Le Despenser, Lord of Glamorgan, in 1346. When we got married, Dad took John to the Court Leet to make him a freeman, as it passes from father to son or son-in-law, in which case they are known as ‘petticoat freemen’. Among the entitlements includes the right to grazing your cattle on Llantrisant common! ❧ 68 ❧

When and why did you set up Oaklands Organics? Many people felt out of touch with the countryside and the way their food was produced, and this worried them. They started calling for more traceability and closer contact with producers and we could see a need for a farmer in our area to provide this service. We wanted to farm in balance with nature and produce really good meat for local people to enjoy, so it was a natural decision and Oaklands Organics was born three years ago.

Organic farming uses techniques that have been employed in agriculture for many hundreds of years. Our grandfathers would have farmed in this way with a variety of livestock and a rotation system which makes the most of farmyard manures and the magic they work on the land. The ‘agricultural revolution’ happened very late in the

GOOD LIFE timeline of mankind and brought many changes, not all them sustainable in the long term, as they take from the earth but do not replenish. How many acres do you farm? Oaklands Farm is 133 acres of pasture, wetland and ancient oak woodland. The pasture land supports a herd of Welsh Black cattle, historically known as ‘Welsh Gold’ as they were the currency of country folk in medieval times and their most valuable possessions. We also have a flock of Balwen sheep, a rare breed from the Tywi Valley which were almost wiped out during the disastrous winter of 1947. Our Tamworth pigs, the closest relatives to wild boar, range the oak woodland and chickens roam contentedly in sheltered paddocks with high hedges from dawn until dusk. ❧ 69 ❧

Ambitious industrial farmers never reached Oaklands and it is an oasis of calm with all of its habitats and features still intact. We feel honoured to live in such a beautiful place and our intention is to preserve it for future generations. We hold regular farm walks for our customers so they can share the wonderful energy here. What type of products does Oaklands Organics offer? We produce four award-winning organic meats which are available to purchase individually from our farmers market stall or delivered in good value meat boxes across the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff twice a month. Our grass-fed Welsh Black beef is dryaged for three weeks and is delicious. The Balwen lamb has a mild and sweet flavour and our pork is tremendous as the pigs spend their day rooting in the woodland. The poultry we produce bears little or no resemblance to that found in most chilled aisles nowadays, with the firm texture and taste of chicken that has lived a longer and happier life. Who are your typical customers? Our customers are from all walks of life, students to pensioners and everyone in-between. What they have in common is a desire for local food that really nourishes them and is a pleasure to eat. Now that we are more aware of the levels of anti-biotics, chemicals and other contaminants that can often be found in our food, we have the choice of buying an alternative. Many of our customers are animal-lovers and it is so important to them that the meat they eat comes from humanely-reared livestock, in fact, we converted some folk that had been vegetarian for many years but are happy to eat our meat.

You also supply local restaurants. Which one stands out ? We have some fantastic eateries in this neck of the woods and Huddarts on Cowbridge High Street is a great example of a restaurant sourcing the best local ingredients and turning them into something really special. Huddarts is a family business run by husband and wife team Andrew and Julie who support artisan producers from their region and are true local food heroes. Andrew, the Head Chef, loves our woodland-reared Tamworth leg of pork which won two gold awards in the True Taste Awards last year. They also serve our free-range Glamorgan chicken in a few of their amazing dishes. I keep my fingers crossed John takes me there for a meal on our wedding anniversary! Farming is a tough business to be in, how are you finding things? Farming is a way of life rather than a job and you can work very hard to earn a crust. The situation is compounded nowadays as less money is spent on food as a percentage of income, while the costs of production continue to rise. Supermarkets are using food as a lossleader, making their large annual profits on the cheap clothing and electrical goods they sell. Milk is a classic example of an industry in sharp decline – more than three quarters of the dairy farmers in Glamorgan have gone out of production since 1993. The supermarkets are unconcerned, they simply import milk, but with growing concern for food security that puts us all in a very worrying position. The recession has been difficult and some restaurants we were supplying went out of business, while others down-graded to less ethical produce. Customers have been watching their pennies and we’ve had strong demand

for the less fashionable cuts with people becoming more inventive with their cookery, returning to recipes that make the best of the ingredients, and make sure nothing is wasted. It was during these challenging times with the business, in August last year, that we found out John had a brain tumour. That must have been an extremely frightening time for you both. The tumour had gone cystic and John had fluid building on the brain so he was transferred to Morriston hospital for emergency surgery. There was no time to panic and no decisions to be made – he was having the surgery immediately or he would not survive! The anaesthetists were waiting when we arrived in the ambulance and started scrubbing him up. It wasn’t an option for me that John wouldn’t make it. I just kissed him and told him I would see him in a few hours, and then put all my energy into willing him through it. He was so brave and we are extremely grateful he is still here and still John. We are a year on now and he is fantastic considering what he has been through. He is a very strong and determined man and is recovering better than expected. The consultant told us two to five years but he is already back on the farm full time. Our labour bills were massive during his recovery and we still rely on part-time help as he has some bad days. Did people distance themselves from you during this time? My parents were incredible – they just picked up the reins and kept the business going for us. We’re extremely lucky to have wonderful friends and family around us, helping and supporting, and I couldn’t have got through it without them. Many customers have become friends and were deeply concerned about John in the early days. It took hours to serve at the farmers markets as everyone wanted an update on the patients’ progress! I’m sure I must have forgotten orders at times, with all the stresses and strains, but everyone seemed to understand. It is fantastic to be part of such a lovely community and we are so grateful to our regulars for encouraging us through these difficult times.

“Britain is said to have the highest welfare standards in the world and Oaklands Farm is the best of the best!” Georgina Tofteroo, Tredodridge

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Oaklands Organics’ ethos Our livestock are home-bred or purchased from Organic sources. We feed Organic, GM-free rations and do not use anti-biotics or additives routinely in the management of our stock. Homeopathy and herbal remedies are favoured in the treatment of our animals. Under organic regulations animal welfare is a priority, which means that stocking rates are low and practices such as tail docking and teeth clipping are not permitted. As a company, we are committed to protecting the environment and have an ongoing pledge to keep our impact to a minimum. We are off-grid at Oaklands Farm and draw our energy from solar and wind power, backed up with a generator and bank of batteries. All our vehicles are run on home-made biodiesel and food miles are kept to a minimum as our animals are slaughtered either on the farm or at the local EC regulated abattoir. Why are you both so passionate about what you do? Food is the most important thing in the world and we take our job very seriously. Society was not built on an empty stomach. Indigenous people use food as ceremony and families come together around a fire or table. As we reach the end of the ‘oil age’ and imported food becomes less available, people will be relying on themselves and local producers to feed the community. If we all buy local and support sustainable farming practices we will ensure food is abundant in the future. Choosing organic is a win-win situation. Your body will thank you for respecting and taking good care of it and your conscience will be clear as you are assured the highest animalwelfare standards under organic farming systems. We love our animals and see no reason for any livestock to suffer unnecessarily in the production of food. If you choose humanely-reared meat all the suffering will stop.

The farmhouse at Oaklands is a wooden eco-dwelling with a log burning stove that uses firewood gathered from our own 16 acre woodland. The ancient oak woodland, which is sustainably managed, helps us off-set methane gases from the suckler cow herd. We are striving towards a carbon-neutral existence and constantly review all elements of the business as new technological developments are made. We are currently evaluating our packaging and looking at more environmentally conscious, recyclable options – we welcome your input. Above all, we consider ourselves guardians of the animals, landscape and habitats at Oaklands Farm for our lifetime and work to protect them for future generations.

As Christmas is not far away, is there anything special that you’re offering for the season? Our customers have been asking for turkeys so we are rearing organic freerange Norfolk Bronze turkeys to order this year. We will have a special range for the festive season including decorated gammons, lamb guards of honour, beef rib joints, stuffed loins of pork and extra-large Christmas chickens. Hampers are available if you want to spoil the family!

Awards True Taste Awards 2007 Highly Commended. Free-range Whole Glamorgan Chicken Highly Commended. Free-range Glamorgan Chicken Legs Highly Commended. Free-range Glamorgan Chicken Breast Great Taste Awards 2008 Gold. Sweet-cured Organic Free-range Woodland Tamworth Short-back Bacon True Taste Awards 2008 Gold. Dry-aged Pedigree Welsh Black Sirloin Steak Gold. Organic Free-range Woodland Tamworth Leg of Pork Gold. Organic Free-range Woodland Tamworth Leg of Pork Highly Commended. Organic Free-range Whole Glamorgan Chicken Highly Commended. Sweet-cured Organic Free-range Woodland Tamworth Short-back Bacon 2008 Award for Britain’s Most Beautiful Farm Highly Commended. West & Wales Great Taste Awards 2009 Gold. Organic Free-range whole Glamorgan chicken

Oaklands Organics are once again finalists in this years’ True Taste Awards and, in particular, they are confident that their chicken will attain the coveted gold award.

“I will never eat supermarket chicken again and can’t tell you how happy I am to have found such excellent organic quality locally.” Sally Isaacs, Miskin

Oaklands Farm Bonvilston Cardiff CF5 6TQ 01446 781177

What are your hopes and dreams for the future? A healthy and happy life on the land. ❧ 71 ❧


I find that a sure fire way of knowing that Christmas is on the horizon is when the deli’s are full of fab festive goodies.

Foxy’s Deli I love Christmas. I love the lights, the trimmings, I love the fact that I can spend time with the family and for two weeks of the year, I try to turn my phone off. It never works mind you! The other thing I love about Christmas is visiting my local delicatessen. I like to get a selection of cold meats because someone’s always stopping by and it’s nice to be able to rustle up a tasty sandwich which doesn’t involve turkey. Not forgetting those yummy mince pies to go with a nice glass of sherry or cup of tea. The other thing I like about a real delicatessen is that it brings good old fashioned charm to any high street. It’s a place where you’re likely to meet a neighbour or bump into a friend you haven’t seen for a while. It’s a much more relaxed shopping experience and you can usually find something unusual to add to your basket.

Food for Thought

7 Royal Buildings, Victoria Rd, Penarth 029 2025 1666

12 High Street, Barry 01446 735711

Choose from their great selection of cheeses, charcuterie, handmade cakes and a whole host of produce from the burgeoning shelves. It’s easy to see why Foxy’s has won so many accolades including Best Deli in Wales by Observer readers, a listing in Rick Stein’s food heroes and recognition for joint-owner Sian as Vale of Glamorgan Business Woman of the Year. Not surprisingly, orders are already coming in thick and fast for Foxy’s famous hampers, carefully tailored to meet individual needs and budget. Don’t leave it too late to place your order.

This family run deli is well loved by regular customers, and for good reason. Owner Dave Keeble, wife Linda, son Nathan and daughter-in-law Sarah pride themselves on ensuring visitors have a wonderful array of gifts and produce to choose from. Food for Thought has a reputation for fabulous lunchtime baguettes (my favourite is chicken tikka), home-made pasties and homemade coleslaw. Plus a superb range of cakes. They’re already taking orders for Christmas so, as they say, book early to avoid disappointment… and the mince pies, you have to try the mince pies – scrummy!

FA M O U S AT C H R I S T M A S F O R . . .

FA M O U S AT C H R I S T M A S F O R . . .

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❆ Dave’s gorgeous cooked hams ❆ Home-made mince pies

Christmas hampers Family friendly café with kids’ specials Yummy home-made cakes The option of being served in Welsh

W H AT W E L I K E D . . .

The ever changing list of specials and produce you can’t get in supermarkets.

❆ Beautiful German advent calendars

and confectionery

W H AT W E L I K E D . . .

Friendly festive service - always smiling and nothing is too much trouble.

In this issue we feature five of the best from across the Vale and find out what they’ve got in store for us for the festive season. If you’re wondering why Farthings at Home isn’t included, it’s because owner Natalie has sold both the deli and Farthings restaurant. I spoke to Natalie recently and she said that she’s had ten wonderful years in Cowbridge with both businesses but after recently getting married, felt it was time for a change in her career. Thankfully, Natalie isn’t moving out of the area and Vale Life would like to wish her and her husband the very best for the future. I’m sure that the new owners will carry on the tradition of high quality and excellent service.

“A family oriented “Open from 7am, six café/deli and the chance days a week and does all of rubbing shoulders the things a good deli with local celebs.” should - extremely well.” ❧ 72 ❧


From hams to hampers cheese and chocolates your local deli is a must visit this festive season.

The Delicatessen

The Wild Blackberry

Home and Colonial

24 Cowbridge Road, Pontyclun 01443 225579

5 Elm Grove Road, Dinas Powys 029 2051 5509

64 John Street, Porthcawl 01656 773793

The Delicatessen celebrates its first Christmas and what a start its been. With even more in store as we head into the festive season The Delicatessen will be open on Mondays from November 2nd. They’re already taking orders for gift boxes and Christmas hampers which can be tailored to taste and budget. Also on offer is a good selection of hams, meats and cheeses (not to mention their famous scotch eggs). If you’re already a fan of the quiches and desserts then it’s only going to get better for you. Jayne will also be offering gift vouchers so you can share a little of The Deli joy with friends and loved ones.

Situated in the old village, this charming deli is a great place to relax with an excellent cup of fresh Italian coffee or warming hot chocolate. A wide range of freshly prepared salads, baguettes, sandwiches, wraps and panini are available to eat in or take away, as are jacket potatoes and delicious homemade soup. Organic bread, milk, eggs and Carmarthenshire ham are on sale here. Many delights for Christmas can be found, including stuffed olives, stuffed baby peppers, cheeses, pickles, preserves and Patchwork Pates. Here you can get personalised Christmas hampers suited to your budget, which make great presents for food lovers.

For those who have strolled through the high street in Porthcawl on a sunny Autumn day, you will not have failed to notice the freshly cooking Welsh Cakes of Home & Colonial sizzling in the window! For Christmas this year the shop is expecting a busy time and has come up with a new and canny way of offering made to measure food parcels. H&C will be offering clever ‘Platter Boxes’ made to order exclusively for customers over the Christmas period. Each sealed box looks as pretty as a picture and has a pull out tray filled with your food goodies. Alternatively you can order a glorious hamper stuffed full of chutneys, preserves and treats to die for.

FA M O U S AT C H R I S T M A S F O R . . .

FA M O U S AT C H R I S T M A S F O R . . .

FA M O U S AT C H R I S T M A S F O R . . .

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Additive free home-made freezer meals Home-made Christmas cakes Fresh coffee beans (ground to order) Did we mention the desserts? WOW!

Excellent cup of fresh coffee Friendly atmosphere, great service Quaint and charming surroundings Wide range of good quality produce

Clever ‘Platter Boxes’ Special Christmas Cheeses Hand-made cakes and gateaux Award winning preserves/chutneys

W H AT W E L I K E D . . .

W H AT W E L I K E D . . .

W H AT W E L I K E D . . .

The fabulous home-made cakes.

Warm mince pies and great service.

Freshly baked olive breads (served hot).

“The Delicatessen offer “A family business with gift boxes and Christmas a friendly atmosphere, hampers tailored to taste specialising in Italian and budget.” Lavazza coffee.” ❧ 73 ❧

“Join our Savers Club at Home and Colonial and save money this Christmas!”

With the nights drawing in and the festive season fast approaching, now is the time to start shopping for those unusual gifts for the special people in your life and we know just the place to start looking.

I can see that you have Christmas decorations Yes, you will certainly get into the festive mood with our beautiful decorations from crystal baubles and glittery stars, to table runners and decorated wine bags, along with tin soldiers and the cutest nativity sets.

Embroidered Bottle Bags £5.25

Design Inspiration may be well known for its expert interior design service and beautifully made soft furnishings, but the showroom is also a hidden gem for that inspirational gift that need not cost the earth; in fact they have gift ideas to suit all pockets, with stocking fillers from £3.50. We asked designers, Wendy & Rose, to show us some of the ideas they had for that something different, as they went on to explain.

Reindeer from £18.50 each. Two sizes available

What about the woman who has everything? Our Smith and Canova handbags are always a huge hit, soft luxurious leather, in a range of colours and designs; after all you can never have enough handbags. Or how about booking her on for a day of Interior Design Workshop, complete with lunch for £65.


Boxed Illuminated Tweezers £15

At Design Inspiration we are always keeping our eyes open for unusual products that we would love to get ourselves! So keeping the stock fresh with lots of ideas for all members of the family is what we aim to provide with our gift lines and this year is no exception, we are stocked to over flowing with lots of goodies. Just arrived are our exciting new lines for Christmas, including gorgeous scented reeds and candles from Christopher Guy, perfect for taking as a gift to a dinner party, or how about our range of coordinated journals and mugs, ideal as a stocking fillers.

“Our Smith and Canova handbags are always a huge hit... in a range of colours and designs.” What is going to be flying off the shelves this year? We have an exclusive idea from one of our suppliers, the hottest design in tweezers which illuminate your brow for precision plucking, the light is operated by a crystal button and comes complete with its own holder, available in three colours, they are what every girl needs.

Handbags from £25

Bracelet £31.50 other jewellery available from £7.50

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Do you have any ideas for the home? Of course, Culinary Concepts provide you with the perfect home gift idea, always a pleasure to receive or to treat yourself – the mini cheese forks are always one of our favourites. Another great idea to dress the festive table, is one of the stunning candelabras we have to offer, in either crystal or silver, both are equally impressive. Can you tell us what other gifts you offer? Gosh! There are far too many to list them all here, but for the youngsters we have some beautiful teddies or note books. For her, the extensive range of jewellery we offer always proves to be popular, either to dress up an outfit or as a gift and for the men we have some excellent executive briefcases or gents travel sets. Alternatively, if you can’t make your mind up, leave it to them – with one of our Gift Vouchers from £10!

Mini Cheese Knives 6pce set £32.95

ALL WRAPPED UP Champagne Cruet set £24

Do you offer a wrapping service? We beautifully wrap our gift range with complimentary bows, bags and ribbons. The men love this service as they can get the other half a wonderful unique gift with it all wrapped up.

“We beautifully wrap our gift range with complimentary bows, bags and ribbons.”

Lovers Flutes £49.95

Journals £8.25 each

Boxed Scented Reeds £25

Design Inspiration 77 Llantrisant Rd, Pontyclun CF72 9DP 01443 449955

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Penarth has a reputation for fabulous boutiques, trendy hair salons and quality gift shops. It’s the perfect location for your Christmas shopping.

Great style at Ginger’s

Take a stroll along the Promenade

Fashionable accessories at Julie T

Look good with Luella

Stanwell Rd, Penarth 029 2070 9773

13 Arcot Street, Penarth 029 2025 9773

Situated on the popular Stanwell Road is Ginger’s, a one stop shop for the mature women with a young at heart outlook to fashion.

It may be off the beaten track but Luella’s is a find in a million. Owner and beauty therapist Louise Jones and her friendly and welcoming team of staff, Charleigh Sinclaire, senior stylist and April Davies, junior stylist have definitely found their niche in this salon just outside the City of Cardiff.

Customers will be pleased to hear that new owner Kathy Evans has kept the popular brands Emireco, Poppy and Adini but has also included Steilmann, Pomodoro, Viz-a-Viz, Pret a Porter and Intown into the fabulous, fashion conscious fold. Ginger’s truly is a onestop-shop for all of your fashion needs with their array of accessories. You can choose from Gabriella bags, Pia Rossini gloves and capes and stunning jewellery from Mint, Dante, Isle of Bute, Nouv-elle and Kelevra. As Ginger’s has a reputation for the largest selection of jewellery in the area, it has been known for many a customer to go there in search of an unique piece of jewellery, only to come away with a stunning outfit to match. If hemlines are an issue, then Ginger’s have an inhouse alterations service available to all – a must to attain that perfect fit.

Luella offers the full range of hair and beauty treatments expected of a salon of this calibre but with prices that are very affordable, ensuring that clients can visit the salon on a more regular basis and not just as a treat. The salon is a popular destination for the bride to be and her girlfriends wishing to be pampered and styled to perfection prior to the big day. Students can take advantage of the 10% discount on all full price treatments as can the more mature clientele. With Christmas fast approaching, what better gift to give friends and family than a gift voucher from Luella. Why wait until Christmas, book your appointment today and you’ll be booking your next one as you leave! W H AT C U S T O M E R S L OV E . . . ■ ■ ■ ■

Take your pick at Pencerdd

Spray tans Wedding hair ups Little Miss Makeovers Hen parties (at salon, hotel or at home)

I R E A L LY L I K E D . . . W H AT C U S T O M E R S L OV E . . . ■ ■ ■ ■

Friendly, experienced staff Extensive range of jewellery Superb alterations service Gorgeous accessories

I R E A L LY L I K E D . . .

Image is everything

The great selection of jewellery ❧ 76 ❧

Non pretentious salon, completely professional and enjoyable!

PENARTH Julie T ladies boutique


Image is everything!

1 Windsor Terrace, Penarth 029 2070 8784

4 Station Approach, Penarth 029 2070 9982

108 Glebe Street, Penarth 029 2070 2505

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!

Head on down to Pencerdd in Penarth where you’ll find musical instruments, sheet music, CD’s and accessories such as leads, plectrums, music stands, instrument stands, stools, strings, reeds and more to satisfy every would-be rock legend’s dream.

Here is a business that never stands still. Personal shopping is made a pleasant experience with Sylvia and her dedicated staff. They are always on the lookout for the latest trends and colours and this shows in the Image autumn collection.

Owner Julie T knows that her customers want stylish, easy to wear labels that make you look and feel good. Brands include Peter Martin for modern tailored mother of the bride with inspiring designs, Gina Bacconi Pink label which has a younger, funkier look, Fransa for casual and work wear, Peppercorn for its casual workwear and knitwear separates, Jadore and Faust for their dressy designer tops. Julie T also has a good selection of gloves, scarves and bags to finish any outfit to perfection. Also look out for Sbelt Jeans known for their flattering cut and style. Julie T is also known for its party wear and if the glamorous outfits in the windows aren’t enough to lure you through the door, what’s inside will certainly satisfy your wardrobe needs.

Here you’ll find 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 has recently opened up the rear of their shop where you can see at least four different makes of folk and concert harp. They also offer harp rental and repairs. 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 are happy to discuss your requirements in both Welsh or English.

Image caters for fashion conscious ladies in sizes 10-20 searching for a smart, casual look or an outfit for that special occasion. Names are certainly in abundance at Image with Michaela Louisa, Michael H Gold Collection, Chianti, Oscar B and Emreco. Paul Separates complete the smart but casual look. Image also stocks Amazing Woman and Not Your Daughter’s Jeans (NYDJ), the incredible jeans that instantly make you look a size smaller. They also have a fantastic range of hats, fascinators and handbags and jewellery by Gabby and Virtue and beautiful shoes and boots making shopping a complete experience. Alterations to chosen outfits can also be completed within two to three days at very reasonable prices. Sylvia is happy to say that she’s seeing new faces daily which goes to prove the success of this very progressive boutique.

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.

Pencerdd has also launched their updated, fully bilingual website with full e-commerce facilities. With Christmas fast approaching, what better gift to give to those you love than the gift of music.

W H AT C U S T O M E R S L OV E . . .

W H AT C U S T O M E R S L OV E . . .

W H AT C U S T O M E R S L OV E . . .

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■ Amazing Woman and NYDJ for that

French and Italian knitwear Original, one off pieces Party wear Mother of the bride

Wide range of musical instruments Harp rental and repair Fully bilingual Ideal Christmas presents

I R E A L LY L I K E D . . .

I R E A L LY L I K E D . . .

Fabulous little wrap dresses that work perfectly on their own or over trousers.

Friendly, knowledgable service and a great choice of musical instruments. ❧ 77 ❧

Image also has a busy hair studio on the first floor to complete your new look.

instant slimming effect ■ Wearable fashion for every occasion ■ Beautiful shoes and boots ■ Special occasion wear

I R E A L LY L I K E D . . .

PVC macs to look trendy in the rain!

Imagine being able to choose your own stone, being involved in the design process and having your creation realised by a master craftsman jeweller. This dream can now become a reality, thanks to new Penarth jeweller Matthew Mullooly.


Northern Star Bespoke jewellery is an independent jeweller which is slightly different to the traditional jeweller in the fact that they use the latest CAD technology to design custom made jewellery.

Matt, why did you choose Penarth? Penarth is a beautiful place. I enjoy living on the coast and everything seems to be on your doorstep. Ultimately people are what make a place and there is a real sense of community here. People want to support small businesses which again gives Penarth a further sense of uniqueness. What’s your background? I studied illustration and then multimedia /3d animation at Leeds College of art. Following that I worked for a large jewellery manufactures in Leeds for five years where I began as a trainee goldsmith and followed on to specialise in gem setting. I was made redundant from the manufactures and took the opportunity to relocate to Penarth with my partner, Annie, who is local to south Wales. Annie also works locally as a seamstress in Ginger’s Boutique so we’re definitely keeping things local!

I began working for myself by carrying out gem setting work for retail jewellers in Cardiff, London, Manchester and various other parts of the UK.

Who is your typical customer? My customers are people who enjoy getting involved in the design process, and who have an understanding that it takes time to create the piece that they have always wanted. In simple terms somebody who loves an unique and individual piece of jewellery. What do you think is your unique selling point? Although we do keep some stock pieces, I see Northern star as a workshop that’s open to the public. I welcome my customers coming in and watching their jewellery being made. How do you work? For the past ten years my trade has been gem setting. I like to combine traditional bench skills with our state-ofthe-art jewellery CAD program. I think it’s a modern twist on making jewellery and enables the customer to view 3D images of their piece at every stage of the process. How long does the process take? Once the design has been agreed on, it can take anything from three to six weeks, depending on the complexity of the design. Can you work to any budget? Yes, making jewellery is no different to any other manufacturing. There are ways to reduce costs by tweaking elements of the design to fit any budget as long as people are realistic.

“My customers are people who enjoy getting involved in the design process, and who have an understanding that it takes time to create the piece that they have always wanted.” ❧ 78 ❧

“I see Northern Star as a workshop that’s open to the public.”

At Vale Life it’s easy for us to make glowing references to Matt’s skills but there’s nothing like a bona fide, satisfied customer giving praise, so we chatted to Julie Edwards, and this is what she had to say. Matt was recommended to me by my mum. They met at Glamorganshire Golf Club and he had made a number of pieces for her. She was so impressed, she suggested I go to him. I had lost a stone from a diamond bracelet, so he replaced and repaired it for me. I was pleased with his work so I went back to him with a with a couple of rings that needed resizing. Also, some of the baguettes in my engagement ring had moved, so he reset the stones for me and it looks fabulous now. I also had a Cognac diamond just under a carat, loose stone, and wanted him to create something really lovely with it in a ring. He set it in raised white gold on a yellow gold band with two diamonds in the band each side. I was blown away when I saw it, I couldn’t believe he could make such a plain stone look so amazing.

The main piece he did for me was when I took two half carat diamonds from a pair of earrings to him and again, he created a beautiful setting for a ring. I gave him a rough idea of what I wanted but told him I was open minded. He sent me a few photographs via email to let me know how he was getting on, and to make sure I was happy with his progress, and then gave me a call when it was finished. Again, I was completely blown away with what I received. It was so heavy and solid, and really had the WOW factor. It is modern and classic, but in a way that I feel the design won’t date at all. The setting of the stones was beautiful, and I loved the mixture of white and yellow gold. It is quite a stunning piece and so many people have commented on it. Matthew is a very talented, creative person and incredibly nice to deal with. I am more than thrilled with the work he has done for me and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him. I really look forward to working with him again in the near future. ❧ 79 ❧

Northern Star Bespoke Jewellery 35a Albert Rd, Penarth CF64 1BY 029 2070 9707


Centre Stage Fancy that! Ever wanted to change your career and do something you really enjoy? Well one Penarth woman has done just that and has made the switch from corporate marketing to the fancy dress business.

“After 16 years in the marketing game” said Gillian Bell, founder of Centre Stage Fancy Dress based in Penarth, “I wanted to do something I really loved – and for me, this is it.” And who can blame her. It’s hard not to be happy when you’re dressed up as Zorro or in 70’s garb with those huge flares. And in these days of economic doom and gloom we all need an excuse to smile and have a good time – and this is what Centre Stage is all about. “We only do outfits for adults as the supermarkets cater very well for children but we all need something that brings out the kid in us no matter what age we are and few things do that better than fancy dress.” It is solely an online business which, as well as selling adult costumes and accessories, provides a costume hire service to Cardiff and the surrounding

areas. So what’s different about that? Well, firstly, almost all Centre Stage hire costumes are handmade here in the UK from quality materials and come as separates i.e. not all-in-one costumes. So if you get too hot, you can take the jacket off and if nature calls – well, it’s much less of a struggle! It also means that if you are small on the top and big on the bottom (or vice versa) you can mix and match and in some instances costumes can be customised at the design stage. To put the cherry on the cake, Centre Stage deliver all hire costumes personally to you at work or at home and will collect from the same place – and this is all included in the hire price. It couldn’t be easier.

“When I have hired costumes in the past” Gillian continued, “the things that have irked me are the quality of many of the costumes, the sizes and how difficult it was to return the costumes on a Monday when you work full time and the shop closes at 5pm. We have remedied these problems and aim to provide a fancy dress hire service that is second to none in the Cardiff and Vale area.” So whether you want to be Elvis, Marie Antoinette or a 60’s hippy chick,

Centre Stage have an array of costumes and accessories to suit most needs. But things are rarely straight forward! Although they have a range of outfits in sizes 18+ they are having problems finding models for the more curvaceous costumes - and there is nothing more annoying than seeing a costume advertised for shapely ladies and the model is a size 10! So if anyone fancies being on the Centre Stage website, is a size 18/20+ and 5ft 7 or over, please contact Gillian at the number below.

Centre Stage Fancy Dress 029 20 30 21 84


Jacken, a great little toyshop in Penarth Remember the day when toys captured the imagination? When toy shops had aisles full of wooden toys, skipping ropes, dolls houses and train sets that were well made and which fired the imagination? Well, thanks to Ken and Jackie Pile’s toy shop Jacken on Station Approach, Penarth, you can be transported back to those nostalgic, bygone days. So what’s Jacken all about? Jacken is a family run business managed by Ken and Jackie Pile, aided by their children Daniel and Caroline. Their focus is about stocking toys which are kind to the environment and which would feed hungry young minds. They stock toys which develop manual dexterity and hand to eye coordination which are vital when children learn to write. Their toys stimulate a child’s imagination and improve their vocabulary.

What can I find here? A wide range of learning, educational fun toys including soft animals, puppets, games, puzzles, scientific, cards, books, wooden toys, travel toys and toys involving construction. They also have a wider range of toys which are available on their online website. What makes Jacken different from other toy shops? Good free parking close by, a train station within 20 yards of the shop and a husband and wife couple with a vast amount of experience in education, given Ken’s career in the medical technology profession and Jackie’s as a primary teacher. ❧ 80 ❧

Good reasons to shop at Jacken Friendly faces. Knowledgeable shop owners who know their products inside out and are happy to give advice. Jacken is a pleasing, stress free environment where you’ll be made very welcome to spend time choosing gifts – perfect for Christmas. Jacken 1 Station Approach Penarth CF64 3EE 029 2070 7576 Open Tues – Sat 10am – 5pm

There’s a new hair salon in Penarth that’s been causing a bit of a stir. All eyes have been on the refurbishment of the premises opposite Hamptons over the past few months and what a transformation! With its chocolate and cream décor, stunning mirrors and lighting, not to mention attractive staff, what else could the salon be called but...

HELLO GORGEOUS! We talked to joint owner Sharon Brito about her new family venture. Congratulations on the new salon, who thought of the name? It was me actually. Let’s be fair, who doesn’t want to be greeted by the words Hello Gorgeous! I want my customers to feel good as soon as they walk into the salon and look a million dollars when they walk out. It’s a family affair then..? I used to own a salon some fifteen years ago in Tennyson Road but sold it when the children were young. My daughter Ashton followed me into the hairdressing business and worked for Blu, also in Penarth, where she built up a strong client base. She has completed many hair courses including a Saks cutting course in London. Ashton and I jointly own Hello Gorgeous! So, Penarth was an obvious choice? Yes, we’ve also lived in Penarth for the last twelve years so to be able to live and work in Penarth is a real bonus.

“Who doesn’t want to be greeted by the words Hello Gorgeous!”

Who is the salon aimed at? Since opening mid October, we’ve already seen young trendsetters and mature fashion aware professionals, male and female. We’re delighted with the salon’s look and feel which was designed by Celf Creative. It’s a pleasure coming to work every day.

Who are the team? Well there’s me of course. I’ve been approached by clients from my previous salon if I’d look after them, which I’m delighted to do but mainly I’ll be managing the salon. Then there’s Ashton, my daughter, a senior stylist with six years experience, Tammy, senior stylist with ten years experience, then there’s Danielle, Kirsty and Zoe who are graduate stylists and Michelle who’s a trainee stylist. We’ve been lucky in that all of the girls have the required professionalism but are also bright and fun and good to be around.

What products will you be using? We will be the only salon in Penarth selling and using Matrix Biolage products, which are all made from natural products, all essential for healthy hair. Matrix is also the number one selling hair product in America. We also offer colour graphic hi lites which are quicker and better for the hair, not harsh like bleach and require no toner, all of which takes time. What about the younger generation? Haircuts for children aged two to fourteen will be charged by age, so a six year old would pay £6.

Are your prices competitive? Absolutely! Competitive pricing allows clients to have their hair done more often. We offer a reward card to repeat clients which entitles them to a free cut and finish on their ninth visit.

What else will you be offering? I believe that when you visit a hair salon, it should be a pleasurable experience so we also offer free hand and arm massages, shiatsu hair washes and cooling eye masks while clients are having their hair washed. Clients are made to feel special and pampered from the moment they walk in.

Hello Gorgeous! 111 Glebe Street, Penarth CF64 1EB 029 2070 4763

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With so many tiles on the market and not enough hours to search for the right one for the job, it pays to talk to the experts. Husband and wife team Rob and Jackie Thomas of Versatile, Bridgend can help you choose the perfect materials from their outstanding range of tile and stone products and see you through installation process. Their unrivalled attention to detail comes from their passion for what they do for private and commercial sectors. We caught up with the couple to find out more. How long has Versatile been established? Versatile first opened its doors in September 2007 at the start of the recession. Some might think that wasn’t a good idea and we did have a very tough start but as our reputation has grown, much of this through word of mouth, our business has gone from strength to strength. How did you get into the business? Having been in the tile and bathroom industry for many years, we wanted to offer a choice of the finest tiles and bathroom products combined with a personal friendly service. We also wanted to offer a bespoke service to clients who were unable for various reasons to attend a showroom during normal opening hours. Our out-of-hours appointment service provides clients with an opportunity to view our products whilst the showroom is closed and has proved extremely successful.

“Clients come to us with pictures they have seen in magazines or bring their kitchen door and worktop samples...”

Where do you source your tiles? From various manufacturers from around the world and we can offer a wide range of the best quality ceramic and porcelain tiles. Our Stone Studio has an excellent selection of natural stone tiles including travertine, marble, limestone, sandstone and slate for interior and exterior use. We attend at least two trade shows each year to source new and exciting products. We also offer a range of other flooring such as hardwood and polyfloor. You also sell bathrooms. Please tell us more. We have a range of quality bathroom products in a variety of different materials including stone, copper and cast iron, allowing us to meet the requirements of both residential and commercial clients. Although we do have a small selection of bathrooms on display, the majority of our products are sourced to clients’ specific requirements. Wetrooms are one area which is increasing in popularity and can be manufactured to customer specifications. We are also able to design and manufacture bespoke shower enclosures to fit into those awkward spaces such as under the eaves in attic conversions. Who are your customers? Our clients come from all walks of life and have varying budgets. The majority of our clients use us again and are happy to recommend us to their friends and families. We are able to assist with choosing the perfect tile to complete a dream project in their home. From bathrooms to kitchens, conservatories and swimming pools, we have the solution to make their vision come alive. Our product range and extensive experience covers all aspects of the public and private specification market, from architects and designers to housebuilders, contractors and other retail outlets. How does the process work? Our clients come to us with pictures they have seen in magazines or bring their kitchen door and worktop samples with them. We offer a design service using the latest CAD system enabling them to see how the tiles and bathroom products will look in their home before they make their final choice. We will also arrange to visit clients at their homes for a free, bespoke measuring and design service. ❧ 82 ❧

We will then manage the project, ensuring products are on site at the required time using our free local delivery service and liaising with installers on their behalf, making the process a far more enjoyable and stress free experience. For the commercial market, we operate a service designed to meet the specific requirements of each project. Do you have your own fitters? We use three team of fitters who are recommended by us after being carefully vetted for their workmanship by the use of photographs of completed projects and testimonials from their clients. Do you work to a budget? No job is too small or too large and all our clients receive the same high standard of service - from a small downstairs cloakroom to new build developments and swimming pools. What are your future plans? We have increased our market share since 2007. Our main priority has been to establish ourselves during the recession and our showroom is currently undergoing refurbishment and we plan to expand the premises with the addition of a newly extended bathroom showroom. The showroom is always evolving as we continue to bring in new tile and bathroom ranges offering our clients the most up to date products currently available.

Versatile Unit 6 Kestrel Close Bridgend Industrial Estate Bridgend CF31 3RW 01656 655369


“Our clients come from all walks of life and have varying budgets, the majority of whom use us again and are happy to recommend us to their friends and families.�

If you’ve never ventured up to the top end of Holton Road in Barry, (Weston Hill End), then you’re missing out.

Jolly Baker 264 Holton Road, Barry 01446 732156

When Alan Lamb was working in the merchant navy, he realised that he was missing out on seeing his children growing up. A true family man, he made the decision to leave the navy and decided to take over the local bakery at 264 Holton Road, which was then called Withers Bakery. As Alan was new to the bakery business, Mrs Withers who was of a good age, would regularly call into the shop and give help and advice which he appreciated. Today, the Jolly Baker still bakes on site using the original oven inherited from Mrs Withers. He has a regular fan base of loyal customers who just love the selection of breads and freshly bakes cakes available.

JPL Sound The Barry Music Shop

Barry Tyre Centre

The Full Monty

267 Holton Road, Barry 01446 722711

Tyre House, 276-280 Holton Road, Barry 01446 745888

284 Holton Road, Barry 07723 088521/07964 684093

If you’re staging an event both indoors and outdoors in which music plays a part, then you’ll need the services of JPL Event Sound Hire. Established for over 35 years, they have vast knowledge and a long standing track record in this area.

Barry Tyre Centre has served Barry and the Vale for over 35 years. With over 50 years joint experience in the garage trade, Stuart Kirke and Paul Goodwin have built up a strong customer base of tr ade and retail customers.

There are café’s and there are café’s. At the top end of Holton Road you’ll find The Full Monty, so called because owner Deryn believes it delivers it all – good quality, affordable food, mixed with good banter and a community spirit.

Barry Tyre Centre offers great service and competitive prices on every major brand of tyre from Michelin, Pirelli, Dunlop and Goodyear to specialist tyres such as Falken, BF Goodrich, Kumho, Yokohama, Bridgestone and Toyo. They carry large stocks of popular sizes and can order your specific requirement for the same or next day, subject to availability. Servicing is also available with a full service from £59 plus parts.

A typical day at The Full Monty starts with a hearty breakfast called... The Full Monty. This certainly delivers on its name. For those watching their weight, there are smaller versions. We then move on to lunchtime with home made curries, pies and lasagne, along with lighter options. The café is a welcoming environment for children and they’ve even introduced a Mini Monty to cater for smaller appetites. Don’t fancy cooking on a Sunday? Then the café’s Dial a Dinner option is perfect solution. Deryn is also amassing a following for her buffets either for private parties or corporates.

Unlike other companies offering the same service, JPL actually own the equipment they hire out, therefore cutting down on costs. Having worked with major event organisers, private and public sector government departments, local authorities, production companies and the private sector, JPL claim that no other service provider can offer the same quality and reliability. The other arm to the business is The Barry Music shop where they keep extensive stocks of instruments and a huge range of accessories. Also on offer is their range of pro-audio equipment, from amps, mixers, microphones, speakers and much more. With a guitar technician in-house, advice is on hand on how to take care of your guitar, carry out repairs, setups and modifications. Expert knowledge, affordable prices and customer service are just some of the reasons customers keep coming back to JPL. FA M O U S F O R . . . ■ ■ ■ ■

Equipment hire and advice Great range of musical instruments Friendly, helpful and knowledgable Quality repair service

W H AT W E L I K E D . . .

Really friendly and approachable.

“With a guitar technician in-house, advice is on hand on how to take care of your guitar.”

FA M O U S F O R . . . ■ ■ ■ ■

The Full Monty breakfast Dial-a-Dinner Sunday roasts Friday’s Pie Day and midweek roasts Bountiful buffets

W H AT W E L I K E D . . .

Allpets 255/257 Holton Road, Barry 01446 732617

A regular at the Barry Market on King Square every Tuesday is Allpets but I wonder how many of you have visited owner Mark at his shop at 255/257 Holton Road? Here you’ll find everything you need to take care of your pets including every type of pet food imaginable and a good range of accessories. Allpets can also cater for your aquaria and pond requirements. If it’s a small pet you’re looking for, then Allpets can help there too. When I visited the shop, there were cute little furry bundles just waiting to be loved, which would make the perfect Christmas present. If it’s a feathered friend you’re looking for, then Allpets does exactly what it says on the tin. ❧ 85 ❧

The happy banter between staff and customers.

“Good quality, affordable food, mixed with good banter and a community spirit.”

If you’re the kind of person who enjoys the niceties in life, then Nicola Holmes, the owner of Miss Holmes on Barry’s High Street has opened just the shop for you.

IDEAL HOLMES Beautiful items for the home, stunning gifts for loved ones, it’s all here for you. Buying gifts for Christmas or any other occasion has never been so enjoyable. Congratulations on the opening of Miss Holmes, how are you doing? Amazingly well! I’ve had such good feedback from fellow businesses in the High Street and customers alike that I know I’ve made the right choice opening here. Why did you choose High Street? Being local, I’ve always liked the High Street. It has some fantastic shops like Bryl’s Boutique, Food for Thought deli, Giorgio’s, great gift shops, restaurants and cafe’s – all you can ask for really for a good morning or afternoon’s shopping. However, I thought that there was a gap in the market here for tasteful gestures and beautiful things for the home, for customers who appreciate the niceties in life.

What’s your background? I worked as a florist for twelve years and, whilst I enjoyed that work, I enjoyed giving advice and selling the accessories that went with the flowers even more. I’ve always had a real passion for interior design, working with fabrics and colour and drawing inspiration from all around me. To be able to pass this creative flair to others give me the greatest pleasure.

With Christmas so close now, do you have something for everyone? Definitely! A customer said recently, “I just love coming in here for a browse and know that I can find a gift for every member of my family and my friends.” I’ve got beautiful gifts here to suit all tastes and budgets. My prices are affordable. I always say, “If I won’t pay it, I don’t expect my customers to.” What brands are you stocking? Most people will have heard of Cath Kidston and it sells very well here. I also stock a similar brand called Greengate, which is a more classic version of Cath Kidston. Nougat products are beautifully decadent make excellent gifts. Et Moire has amazing Christmas products that are ladylike with a boudoir/chic look. Powellcraft make gorgeous French bedding and nightware with a nostalgic feel. Their products are hand sewn with embroidery. Just stunning! Customers like the lettering by Posh Graffiti, which are perfect for hallways, lounges and kitchens – just about anywhere in the home really. They’re also popular for weddings as couples often display their names at the head table. Kat Aromatherapy potions are popular too as they use essential oils – perfect for relaxation and relieving any stress, and from £2.50 to £15, they make an affordable gift too. ❧ 86 ❧

How do you know which products to stock? I go to all of the shows and do a lot of research so that I know the products inside out and can pass that knowledge on to my customers. Are you offering anything extra special for Christmas? Yes, as I’ve been asked a few times already by customers and I’ll be offering hampers to suit all tastes and budgets. I’ll work with the customer to find out about the person’s lifestyle and tastes and then devise a hamper to suit them perfectly. I’m expecting a big call from men for this service! I’m also offering a gift wrapping service and gift vouchers. Shopping really couldn’t be more enjoyable!

Miss Holmes 11 High Street, Barry 01446 732456


Avalon Antiques

“A whole host of interesting and unusual items from Georgian to contemporary pieces.”

Porcelain Icon £165

What can customers expect when they walk in? A whole host of interesting and unusual items from Georgian to contemporary pieces. Here you can find furniture, porcelain, pottery, glass, pictures, militaria, model trains, metalware, books and much, much more. How do you source your items? We travel the length and breadth of England and Wales sourcing interesting objet d’art from fairs and auctions and private dwellings. We’ve a lot more stock in the basement at the shop and even more at home that we’ve collected over the years. How often does stock change? On a regular basis. We have customers that like to call in once or twice a week and very often see something new which might catch their eye.

Sitzendorf figure of Catherine de Medicis Femme de Henri II £375

If you’re looking for quality antiques and collectables then Penarth’s new family run antiques shop is sure to have just what you’re looking for. Gitti and Stephen Cox have both lived in Penarth for over 20 years and have been in the antiques business for the same length of time.


What’s popular at the moment? It’s hard to say. It’s a personal thing. What appeals to one person might not have the same appeal to the next.

Royal Doulton Terrier Dog £85

South African Queen’s Medal (1899) £285

Are you glad you chose Penarth? Absolutely! Gitti did trade from the Cowbridge Antiques Centre before that closed but having lived in Penarth for over 20 years, we’d always wanted to open a shop here. We’ve had fantastic support from local businesses and residents alike, so yes, the right decision.

English School Cock and Hen (1886) £425

Avalon Antiques 4 Royal Buildings, Victoria Road Penarth CF64 3EB 029 2070 8990 Monday – Saturday 10am – 5.30pm Th










19 3







Replica American Civil War Pepperbox Pistol £65

William Moorcroft Macintyre Tea Set £495

❧ 87 ❧

In 1934, at age of 22, Norman Alexander started Arbuthnot Opticians in the heart of Barry on Broad Street. Little did he know that 75 years later his business is still thriving...

A VISION TO BE PROUD OF All the team at Arbuthnot Opticians

Norman lived above the premises in Broad Street for many years before moving to Redbrink Crescent on Barry Island. Arbuthnot’s has grown steadily over the years and many new faces have joined the business. We spoke to new partner, Optometrist James Davies. Congratulations on your appointment. Thank you. I’m very proud of my new role - it’s a great business to be in. Why do you think people like coming to to Arbuthnot’s? We’ve been here a long time - we’ve built relationships with customers. Arbuthnot’s has an excellent reputation for offering a quality service. But, having said that, we don’t stand still. We’re always moving forward. What do you think Norman would say if he was here today? I think he’d be surprised at the advances that have come about since 1934. I’m sure Norman would hardly recognise the current practice. His original living quarters are now state of the art consulting optometry rooms and a hearing consulting room. Things have developed so much over recent years.

What brands do you stock? We’ve got some really beautiful eyewear in at the moment. Lindberg is considered the ultimate designer brand. Beautiful Scandinavian minimalist designs - classics in the making, All Lindberg eyewear form part of an individualised system – basically it’s ‘tailor-made eyewear’ – great for faces of all ages and shapes. Then there’s Cazal, super chic and stylish by designer Carl Zalloni - very striking. If you want to make a statement, these definitely have the WOW factor. We also stock Fleye, a Danish brand that’s taking Europe by storm. Fleye is short for Fine Looking Eye. They’re exactly what you’d expect from the Scandinavian’s - lightness combined with functionality and a superb range of colours. They use allergy-friendly, solid materials in their construction. So does that mean that Arbuthnot’s is expensive? No not at all, we have an excellent range of budget and mid-range brands. We pride ourselves on offering a comprehensive range to suit all tastes and all budgets. Because of this, we attract a wide range of customers and they make our work interesting. There’s never a dull day.

You’re getting a reputation for being very ‘clued in’ when it comes to stylish frames. How do you keep up with trends? Well, perhaps I shouldn’t say this but we do have a secret weapon. Our senior partner Sharron Hopkins keeps on top of the fashions. Sharron visits Milan at least once a year to source the latest frames and also to meet industry experts so she is right on top of the trends. ❧ 88 ❧

Photograph by Francis Kestle Photography Studio 01446 736941

Do you offer ranges for children? Absolutely, we’re selling a lot of the Zoobug’s at the moment. They’re really fun sunglasses for children - they’re designed to be super comfortable. Kids love them. It’s amazing how things change. Years ago, we didn’t realise how important it was to protect young eyes from bright sunshine. That’s where technology and research has moved the industry on. It’s quite a sophisticated industry. As Arbuthnot Opticians celebrates its 75th year in Barry, what do you think has carried it this far? It’s an easy answer actually. Team work. We have a great team of really talented, dedicated and extremely well qualified professionals. Ted’s a great driving force in the business. Sharron is always pushing to find great designs and develop the business. Our other partner and Optometrist, Mandy Barnes is specially qualified in handling low vision patients, not forgetting our Practice Manager, Suzanne, Rod, Janet, Lesley and Helen… that’s why this business is successful. So you believe you have a bright future ahead… Most definitely. And if it gets too bright (laughs), we’ll have to wear shades.

“Difficult contact lens cases, where a customer has been told that they are not suitable, or if present lenses are uncomfortable, hold no challenge for us.”

Arbuthnot’s Life through the lens Ted Arbuthnot took over the practice in 1975 when it was still a one-man-band and it’s grown steadily since then into one of the largest and most reputable independent practices in Wales. The practice now has four partners; Ted, Sharron Hopkins who has been with the practice for 27 years and is the frame and lens expert, Mandy Barnes who is the specialist in low vision provision, and James Davies from Penarth who is the newest partner and is in charge of introducing new technology. Ted puts Arbuthnot’s success down to his predecessor; he says, “Arbuthnot’s achievement has been accomplished because we’ve stuck to Norman’s principles of delivering the best quality service with the most advanced equipment and technology and giving the largest choice of frames and lenses available to patients.” Indeed, Arbuthnot’s cutting-edge technology is helping the practice to set itself apart from the competition. The practice houses digital fundus photography for imaging the inside of the eye and computerised visual field analysis. It also plans to install digital retinal scanning tomography, a tool useful for assessing Macular Degeneration for treatment regimes and detecting glaucoma. Ted believes that 75 years of continual innovation have produced a practice right at the cutting-edge of optometry, providing superlative skills, services and products, including the most comfortable contact lenses ever, the lightest titanium frames and the thinnest, lightest spectacle lenses ever made. Norman Alexander retired to Falmouth, to enjoy his passion of sailing, even sailing solo at the age of 89. Sadly, Norman passed away recently, but not before he celebrated the anniversary of his opening of the practice earlier in the year. Arbuthnot Opticians 6 Broad Street Barry CF62 7XP 01446 735551

❧ 89 ❧

Vale Life talks to Jason Jeffery and Zack Starke of The Ski Lodge in Barry about their dedication to pure snow sports and we catch a glimpse of all the latest product offerings from the world’s leading brands.

Brand: Roxy Model: Cold Play Gloves Colour: Black Plaid Price: £29.99 Womens snow glove in striking plaid print design

Brand: Roxy Model: Jet Jacket Colour: Bright White Price: £139 The Jet is fresh, fun and functional. Fusing eye-popping colours and eclectic prints, it’s made to get you noticed ! With all the technical essentials and Roxy’s legendary styling, the Jet offers fantastic comfort and performance at a very affordable price.

Brand: The North Face Model: Gravitation Triclimate Jacket Colour: Snow White Price: £299

Brand: Eider Model: Wezen Jacket Colour: White/Mandarin Orange Price: £329 Stand out in this flagship Eider jacket. Built to outlast the elements in a striking design, sharp easy-to-wear colours and comfortable stretch fabric, this is technical skiwear at its finest.


Brand: Roxy Model: Jet Jacket Colour: Black Plaid Price: £139 The Jet is fresh, fun and functional. Fusing eyepopping colours and eclectic prints, it’s made to get you noticed ! With all the technical essentials and Roxy’s legendary styling, the Jet offers fantastic comfort and performance at a very affordable price.

❧ 90 ❧

Brand: Electric Model: EG1s Colour: Kelly Green Price: £89.99

Brand: Spyder Model: Rhinestone Bug Beanie Colour: White Price: £29.99 Super soft warm hat with a striking ‘diamante’ Spyder logo, ideal for snowy slopes and cold, windy winters back home.


Jason Jeffery of The Ski Lodge talks to Vale Life How long have you worked at The Ski Lodge? Since the winter of 2001, so getting on for 8 years now! What’s your role there? My role is Designer and Marketing Manager How long have you been snowboarding? I started boarding back when I was in school... that’s a while now, around 15 years or so.

Brand: Spyder Model: Rival Jacket Colour: White Price: £349 Ideal for high mileage skiing, the Rival is a super-stylish, sporty jacket that combines striking looks and race-bred performance for the ambitious skier that demands the very best.

Did the sport come before the job or vice versa? Well in light of the above question, the sport definitely came before the job! You really have to be an active skier or snowboarder to work in this industry. How does your love of your sport help with the job? It certainly makes a day in the office more enjoyable when you have a true passion for what you do. Wintersports is a great industry to be working in with very like-minded people. If you could do any other job, what would it be? Astronaut, pilot, rockstar… no, The Ski Lodge is a pretty perfect place for me to be as it allows me to indulge in my two main passions of snowboarding and design. I occasionally get the chance to escape in the summer and do some surfing which is good for morale.

“I started boarding back when I was in school.”

TIME ❧ 91 ❧

The Ski Lodge Cardiff Road, Barry CF63 2QW 01446 741870


Zack Starke of The Ski Lodge talks to Vale Life

Brand: The North Face Model: Nuptse Vest Colour: Asphalt Grey Price: £99.99

Brand: The North Face Model: Greenland Jacket Colour: Black Price: £199

How long have you worked at The Ski Lodge? I first walked through the Lodge doors twelve years ago. What’s your role there? I am The Ski Lodge Store Manager How long have you been skiing? Well, I’ve skied from a young age, that’s going back a good few years now, nearly 30 years I would say. Did the sport come before the job or vice versa? As with Jason, the sport was definitely something I enjoyed before even considering a career in snowsports How does your love of your sport help with the job? A genuine passion for the mountains and snowsports is a vital part of my role as store manager. Projecting a true love of the sport on the shopfloor enhances our customers experience in the store.

Brand: Quiksilver Model: Drizzle Pant Colour: Atmosphere Blue Price: £84.99 This no-fuss, no-frill five pocket jeans style snowsports pant delivers protection, comfort and good looks, and it’s hard to believe all for just 85 quid !

If you could do any other job, what would it be? It’s got to be right here at The Lodge. It’s great to interact with colleagues and customers daily, who all share a common passion for the mountains. There can’t be too many roles out there that you get to talk about your favourite sport all day long with people who love it as much as you!

“I have a genuine passion for the mountains and snowsports.”

Brand: O’Neill Model: Boys Indy Bone Jacket Colour: International Red Price: from £84.99 Brand: Electric Model: EG1 Goggles Colour: Kaleidoscope Price: £79.99

The Ski Lodge Cardiff Road, Barry CF63 2QW 01446 741870

COOL ❧ 92 ❧

Brand: Quiksilver Model: Xperience Beanie Colour: Costa Azul Price: £19.99 Visor knit beanie with eye popping stripes jacquard

Brand: Animal Model: Floretta Jacket Colour: Leopard Rose Price: £99.99 The Floretta puts the fun back onto the snow, fusing eye-popping colours and eclectic prints in a youthful spirit at an amazing price.

Brand: Spyder Model: Rock Faux Fur Jacket Colour: Hot Pink Bamboo Price: £599 Stand out from the crowd with this opulent winter jacket that is signature Spyder.

Brand: Roxy Model: Girls Hopscotch Jacket Colour: White Price: from £89.99 Brand: Spyder Model: Innsbruck Reversible Beanie Colour: Red/Black Price: £34.99 Super soft warm beanie hat with a large custom Spyder design on one side and a solid colour block on the reverse, ideal for the slopes and cold, windy winters back home.

FASHION ❧ 93 ❧


Park Estates have a lot to be happy about. Not only is the housing market on the up but they’re about to celebrate 10 successful years in business. As the housing market appears to be picking up with sold signs appearing all over the Vale, we spoke to Soo and Ricky of Park Estates Estate Agents with offices in Barry and Rhoose who are seeing those much talked about green shoots and are also enjoying a celebration of their own. How’s business? SOO: Things are definitely on the up right nowand there certainly seems to be a lot more interest in the housing market at the moment. We think that investors are starting to realise that it may be their last chance to find some real bargains before prices start to rise again. First time buyers are still a little shy but they should be starting to think the same way. We could really do with some new properties for sale right now as the demand is definitely there for quality homes. Our Rhoose office is doing equally as well and is also looking for more new instructions! I hear congratulations are in order? RICKY: Yes, thanks. We’ve been here for a whole ten years... and we still all look the same! We bought Park Estates as an existing business and have been constantly improving the service we offer. We’ve gone through two sets of new, state-of-the-art computer systems since then and our printing facilities are now top notch. Our marketing has gone from black and white half pages to quality, full colour, glossy magazine adverts and, of course, extensive online advertising with our new website. We’ve seen many changes in our ten years but our core ethic has remained the same - a quality, personal and very professional service for a localised market. Also myself, Soo and Sarah have all been here from the start. To say we have knowledge and understanding of the local market is an understatement! How did you get into the business? SOO: Ricky and myself have both been in the industry for about 22 years. Before this, I helped run a family building firm. Between us there was a lot of experience and when Park Estates became available, we jumped at the chance to form a family business.

As I’m Ricky’s mother-in-law, the partnership works well and that is shown in the reputation we have built over the years. So it’s a family business? SOO: I suppose you could say that. My husband is the registered company secretary, and in the past, other members of the family have done their stints, but no others currently, although we do think of our staff as members of the family anyway. Ahhh! How many people do you employ? RICKY: Five currently although we have been up to ten in the past. How many houses roughly have you sold over the years? RICKY: I’d say a rough calculation would give us around 2000. A lot of those houses we have sold more than once as well as people coming back to us as repeat business. I understand that you offer rental properties, how’s this been going? SOO: We never really had a clue how well the rental market would work for us. Having dipped our toes before we honestly found it a bit of a distraction. But now, having the experience of a letting manager that had several years in the industry before joining us, we have embraced it as part of our working day now. It has certainly kept us busy over the past two or three years while the housing market has been quiet. Again, due to the level of interest we have in rental properties, we are looking for more potential landlords all the time. Also, we have just invested in a state-of-the-art software package to help us with the day to day running of the letting side of the business. It’s a very involved process with many potential pitfalls, so we felt this was essential to help us continue to offer a high level of service to our clients.

Have you noticed any particular trends over the years? RICKY: The main thing has been the change in the mortgage market. We used to have an income from referrals and the indemnity policies that were sold but this is non-existent now. The mortgage business has become a lot more difficult, whilst the rental market has become a lot busier as people have sold and gone to rental as the market declined, using properties that were bought by investors with ‘buy to let’ mortgages. The housing market on the whole has been a good barometer for the economy historically, and the last three years have been typical of this. What’s hot property right now? SOO: The lower end of the market generally will always pick up first as first time buyers and investors come back but the upper end has been quite busy too, with people who left the market shrewdly a while ago, getting back onto the ladder while prices are still generally low. Any new plans on the horizon? SOO: We hope 2010 will see us lift off again and plan to expand again as soon as the market develops. We scaled down operations as the credit crunch hit and closed the office we had set aside for rentals. So, we aim to relaunch this soon and to site a new office or two in the Vale of Glamorgan. Hopefully we’ll have more to celebrate! Park Estates Barry 14 High Street, Barry CF62 7EA 01446 420600 Park Estates Rhoose 11 Fontygary Road, Rhoose CF62 3DR 01446 719800

“Things are definitely on the up right now and there certainly seems to be a lot more interest in the housing market at the moment.” ❧ 95 ❧

Traditional Contemporary Elegant

Willow Walk, Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan CF71 7EE 01446 771234 email Please visit our new website at

THE LAST WORD Peter Martin of Leekes talks to Vale Life about moving to the Vale from the south east, his love of Cardiff City, Mexican food and singing in the shower! Who are you and what do you do? I work for the Leekes Retail & Leisure Group as the Group HR Director and Store Operations Director. The Group owns both the Leekes retail stores and the Vale Resort, also Hensol Castle. I juggle my diverse role in Leekes with my family commitments (running around after five children) and a nonexecutive director role in a South East based retail company, Menkind.

What’s missing from the Vale? Communal floodlit training areas. Throughout the Vale, there are fantastic junior rugby, football and hockey clubs, run by volunteers, encouraging the younger generation to exercise. However, from autumn onwards, training is restricted to weekends only, as there are very few facilities available communally which are floodlit in the evenings.

“I moved from the South East into the Vale just six years ago and I believe that it remains the best kept secret! ”

What do you like about the Vale? I moved from the south east into the Vale just six years ago and I believe that it remains the best kept secret! The combination of a fantastic sense of community, stunning countryside and coastlines, heritage and an easily accessible city centre is unique. Where is your favourite dining experience? Apart from the Vale Grill at the Vale Resort, of course, the Carne Arms in Llysworney is a fantastic place to eat with friends. Excellent fresh homemade food in a traditional pub with a terrific atmosphere and real ales. What more could you ask for? What is your favourite meal? I love Mexican food, but it isn’t easy to find a good Mexican restaurant. My fall back is usually grilled Sea Bass fillets which are healthy enough to allow a side order of chunky chips! Favourite place in the Vale? There is a beautiful walk from the Plough and Harrow in Monknash, down alongside a stream between the cliffs and onto the coast. It is a fairly sheltered walk which is as stunning in the winter as it is in the summer. It is short enough for the children not to complain too much and yet long enough to deserve a drink back at the Plough and Harrow when finished! Best event in the Vale? The food and drink festival in Cowbridge is a great social event each year which I wouldn’t miss. You can sample a huge variety of wines, pickles and cheeses all in the name of Christmas present shopping.

“There is a beautiful walk from the Plough and Harrow in Monknash, down alongside a stream between the cliffs...” What do you do to relax? I try to get down to watch Cardiff City, but that hasn’t been too relaxing recently. Do you have a pet hate? Any form of dishonesty, no matter how trivial. Favourite music? Different music suits different occasions, so I enjoy a wide range of music, from Otis Redding to the Fratellis. Favourite place to stay in Wales? The Vale of Resort. I stayed there for months while moving my family down from the South East and it is a unique resort. ❧ 98 ❧

Sum yourself up in three words? Happy, hard working and challenging. I’m very good at…? Chess, but age and a lack of practice is catching up on me. I’m very bad at…? Singing, although I am very good at embarrassing my children by singing loudly in the shower when they have had friends staying over. In a nutshell my philosophy is…? Attitude is everything. Leekes Cowbridge Rd Talbot Green, Pontyclun CF72 8XU 0845 050 8240 If you’d like to be featured or would like to promote your business in Last Word, please call Jennifer on 0845 130 6452 or email

A gorgeous bedroom for comfort and style

... another great thing about Leekes Your bedroom is your sanctuary; a place to recharge your batteries, a tranquil retreat. So if you’re considering a revamp for the space where sweet dreams are guaranteed, our collection of classic and contemporary beds and bedroom furniture means you’ll be spoilt for choice when it’s time for a change. Our bedroom experts will advise on the option that best suits your lifestyle. From divans and bed frames to mattresses, headboards and co-ordinating furniture, our collection features models from leading manufacturers as well as designs that are exclusive to Leekes.

Call 0800 970 9162 for a copy of our latest brochure And with the Leekes Price Promise we guarantee that you won’t be able to buy cheaper anywhere else*.

*Conditions apply. See in store for full details.

Llantrisant Tel 0845 050 8240







Wales’ Number One Diamond Expert Roger Williams, The Jewellery Studio, 237 Cathedral Road, Cardiff Telephone: 029 2022 1144 | |

Vale Life Winter 2009  

Vale Life Winter 2009

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