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VALE LIFE SUMMER 2010

P R O U D

T H E VA L E

OF

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PRICELESS

I N D E P E N D E N T

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

HOT STUFF SIZZLING SUMMER FASHION, AL FRESCO DINING COOL CUISINE AND ROCKSTAR KITCHENS RESTAURANT REVIEWS, WHAT’S ON, BUSINESS, SHOPPING

THERE’S MORE ONLINE WWW . VALELIFE . CO . UK

PLUS

ART, MUSIC, STYLE, HEALTH, HOMES AND MUCH MORE PLUS


WELCOME

Well, the forecasters promised us a scorcher of a summer and, for once, it looks like they’re right. Summer means the smell of sausages cooking on barbeques on weekends, children skipping along in shorts and pretty dresses and young ladies and ladies young at heart looking lovely in their linens and maxi dresses.

Speaking of fashion, in this issue, we’ve an insight into the life of a popular Cowbridge boutique, Lois and interviews with satisfied customers of The Queen B, Gingers and Julie T in Penarth. Thankfully, gents have ditched their socks and sandals and dodgy sportsgear and are looking much more dapper. Perhaps they’re taking note of our male style guru Russell Scott-Lawson of Hawkes Essentials. Summer is the perfect time for eating out, whether it’s a fabulous restaurant or eating al fresco. We’ve a selection of mouth watering recipes and restaurants to choose from all around the Vale of Glamorgan and a popular venue in Cardiff. If you’re like me, then you’re happier buying products on recommendation. Have we got an endorsement for you? Kitchen company Spacefittingfurniture recently designed and installed a kitchen for none other than Richard Jones, bass player with Stereophonics.

Richard and his wife Gail welcomed us into their beautiful home in Cwmaman and were happy to show us around and tell us how pleased they were with their new kitchen. There are lots of reasons to get out and explore what’s on offer throughout the Vale this Summer and definitely one for the diary is the Vale of Glamorgan Show on Wednesday 11th August. We had a fantastic day there last year. CYMRAEG

Who’s using the Welsh language?

Last, but not least, throughout August, Hamptons of Penarth celebrates its fifth birthday and have a month long programme of events featuring some excellent shows, so you’ll certainly be spoilt for choice! Enjoy the summer! Jennifer Hobbs-Roberts Editor jennifer@valelife.co.uk

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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.

THE STATE OF INDEPENDENTS Popping to the local shops, if only for a pint of milk, brings about an indefinable social connectedness. A man in the village doffed his cap to me the other day - a charming and much forgotten mark of respect that compelled me to smile.

There’s something reassuring about independent businesses, whether it’s the lively banter with the owners, or the fact that you’ve bought a pot of honey from the local bee-keeper. Each trip is memorable in a way that no supermarket can beat.

I skipped along, bought my provisions, chatted to the locals and then watched the world go by sipping a frothy coffee. The place had soul and spirit... my pennies had been put into the till of someone who cared and lived nearby. I was happier for the experience.

We are encouraged to accept responsibility in part, for the International Community and everything global. Let’s not forget that our neighbourhood is a microcosm of that whole. A sense of community and loving thy neighbour starts locally.

Local neighbourhoods are the lynchpin for values, respect and good will. The individuality, passion and personalities behind independent traders needs to be supported before it’s too late. After a holiday it’s the independent shops that we recall most for their individuality and friendliness. Yet we forget to appreciate what’s on our doorstep when we return.

“We can strengthen the local economy by supporting the independents.”

Collectively, we can strengthen the local economy by supporting the independents. We’ll create vibrant, prosperous communities, get better service and help those who struggle to

Mary Portas’ (Mary, Queen of Shops) latest TV project is to resurrect ailing independents. We need people like her blazing a trail. Why couldn’t that be each and every one of us?

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survive in the shadow of retail multiples. The alternative is one of boarded-up shop fronts, vandalism and tumbleweed. It’s our choice.


CONTENTS This issue is packed with great features to help you enjoy the rest of this fabulous summer.

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IN THIS ISSUE M USIC – ALBUMS THAT CHANGED READERS LIVES ( OUR TOP TEN ) A ROUND T HE VALE – RECIPES , ALLOTMENTS , GATES AND A BRIGHT FUTURE W HAT ’ S O N – THE HOTTEST EVENTS FROM AROUND THE V ALE F RENCH C ONNNECTION – WE GET THE R OYAL TREATMENT IN J ERSEY V ALE F OOD & D RINK – RECIPES AND REVIEWS TO WHET YOUR APPETITE U NMISTAKABLY I TALIAN – VALE L IFE GETS G IO - LOGICAL ! T HE B EAR N ECESSITY – GOOD WINES WILL COME TO YOU A L F RESCO – EATING OUT IS THE NEW EATING IN H EALTH AND W ELLBEING – NEW TECHNOLOGY , NEW TREATMENTS , NEW HOSPITAL S TATE O F T HE H EART – COMMIT TO G ET F IT AT THE V ALE R ESORT W HEN O NLY T HE B EST W ILL D O – P AUL R ATHKEY ’ S LATEST CREATIONS K EEPING U P W ITH T HE J ONES ’– S PACEFITTINGFURNITURE ’ S ROCK STAR KITCHEN C OMPETITION – WIN THIS ONE AND THERE ’ LL BE NO COMPETITION ! VALE S TYLE – SOMETHING FOR YOUR BEADY EYES W ITH T HIS R ING – ANOTHER GREAT PROPOSAL FROM RMA W ILLIAMS S UIT OF A MOUR – GROOMED AND READY FOR BATTLE T HE N EXT G ENERATION – B EN AND A MANDA - TO THE M ANOR BORN F IRST C LASS – TOP MARKS FOR S T J OHN ’ S S CHOOL B ESIDE T HE S EASIDE – P ORTHCAWL ’ S REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL P ONTYCLUN , T ALBOT G REEN AND L LANTRISANT – SHOP ‘ TIL YOU DROP T HE B OUTIQUE O F C HOICE – L OIS OF C OWBRIDGE VALE B USINESS – THE MOVERS AND SHAKERS OF THE VALE C ONFERENCE C ALL – T HE B USINESS C ENTRE PULLS IN THE CROWDS V ALE S OCIAL L IFE – GLITZ AND GLAMOUR ALL THE WAY ! B LOOMING M ARVELLOUS – S TYLEGARDENS - A HOTBED OF HORTICULTURE B EYOND B ESPOKE – PARTIES AND EVENTS WITH THE WOW FACTOR T HE L AST W ORD – SPOTLIGHT ON B EAUTY S POT

Suzanne Jaya wearing a vintage dress. Millinery by Sarah Keep, Cowbridge

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VALE L IFE WOULD LIKE TO THANK EVERYONE WHO HAS SUPPORTED US OVER RECENT MONTHS . O UR CONTRIBUTORS , OUR FAMILIES , OUR FRIENDS ( INCLUDING ALL THE NEW ONES WE HAVE MADE ) AND OUR ADVERTISERS - WITHOUT THEM VALE L IFE WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN POSSIBLE . W E HOPE YOU LIKE WHAT WE ’ VE PRODUCED AND WE ’ LL TRY TO MAKE EACH ISSUE EVEN BETTER THAN HAVE A STORY THAT YOU ’ D LIKE TO SHARE , PLEASE GET IN TOUCH .

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THE LAST AND IF YOU


MUSIC

Suzanne Jaya Miskin

Mike Martin Cardiff

Brought to you in association with newsoundwales.com This issue we asked ten people across the Vale to tell us which album changed their life and why. 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.

FLEETWOOD MAC

THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE

Rumours

Electric Ladyland

Christmas 1977. Ritual ripping of the festive gift wrap revealed Mick Fleetwood in tights and pompoms dangling provocatively. ‘Rumours’ coincided with awkward adolescence during my ‘O’ Level year. Boarding school, boys, assignations on the Malvern Hills, suggestive lyrics, classic tunes, flares and Lindsey Buckingham’s gorgeous eyes!

A timeless album that calms, lifts and touches my soul, full of tunes that you can immerse yourself in. It makes the darkest of days bright, the brightest of days incandescent and keeps me connected with the beauty and joy of life. “The magic carpet waits for you, so don’t you be late!”

Rhia StankovicJones Bridgend

Sue Stride Porthcawl

If you like acoustic, folk and alternative music, www.newsoundwales.com 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 www.newsoundwales.com If you’d like to tell us about your favourite album and why, please email us.

ALANIS MORRISETTE

PEARL JAM

Jagged Little Pill

Ten

I found this album very enlightening as a teenager when you’re fighting against the world. I spent many happy times listening to the music stressing about when we would next be going out and what we would wear. We felt we had the world on our shoulders... if we only knew the real worrying would start when we got into the real world!

For me it’s got to be Pearl Jam’s Ten. As a child of the Grunge era these songs echoed throughout my life in the early 90’s. An angsty soundtrack for my transition into adulthood - festivals, first kisses, long hair, long summers, rolling waves... ahh those were the days...

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Spiro Gauci Cardiff

Tony King Penarth

Ian Shearn Wick

OASIS

BRUCE COCKBURN

THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE

What’s The Story Morning Glory

Dancing In The Dragon’s Jaw

Are You Experienced

The sort of album you just sit back with your hifi cranked up and appreciate an album crammed with real, true classic stadium anthems! This album introduced me to a great selection of similarly guitar driven artists like Radiohead, Stereophonics and Manic Street Preachers... I highly recommend it.

I heard the unlikely single, Wondering Where The Lions Are, when I was eighteen and immediately bought the album on import. Out of all the music I own, this album changed the way I looked at lyrics and, perhaps, more importantly completely changed the way I played the guitar.

This album blew me away. Played by an electric guitar genius with dexterity never experienced before - psychedelia in full flight. Opening with Foxy Lady, followed by such brilliant tracks as Red House and Third Stone From The Sun, a near seven minute track, to carry you off to a new galaxy you did not know existed!

Jenny Rolfe Llantrisant

Matt Powell Bridgend

Andrew Hick Liskeard

SANTANA

MANIC STREET PREACHERS

THE CLASH

Abraxas

The Holy Bible

The Clash

If music be the food of love then Abraxas is, for me, the wagging finger of Nanny to “eat slowly or you’ll get indigestion.” But, fools rush in, which I did to this album, had my heart broken and swore never again to be so impetuous. Did it work? Pretty much. Every time I hear it I smile at the warning that sorted the bad boyfriends from the good ones!

This album made me realise there was actually an intelligent band in Wales. They say it was Richey Edwards’ note before he went missing. It’s dark with very deep, intelligent and meaningful lyrics. I Listened to the Manic Street Preachers right through my early days as a chef. They kept me going!

Introduced to me by a mate who I played football with in the street and had moved down from London. It introduced me to a love of both music and fashion which continues to this day, some thirty or so years later.

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AROUND THE VALE IF YOU HAVE A STORY WHICH YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE, PLEASE CONTACT VALE LIFE Banana Cake 6oz/ 175g butter 6oz/ 175g self raising flour 3oz /90g caster sugar 3oz/90g soft brown sugar 3 large eggs 2 ripe bananas Choc chips (of your choice) Sprinkling of demara sugar Mix butter, flour, eggs and sugar until nice and soft, mush the bananas and add and then add choc chips as desired (75-100 g pack)

Let them eat (banana) cake!

Line loaf tin, add mix , sprinkle demara sugar on top (makes top crunchy) and put in oven at 160 for fan oven for approx 35 -40 mins, then check. the middle should still come out slightly gooey from the bananas, but the sides when sticking knife in should come out virtually dry.

Clare from Spacefittingfurniture shares with Vale Life readers her mouth watering recipe for a banana cake to die for.

Leave to cool and dust with icing sugar. Best eaten straight away or can be warmed and served with icecream or custard.

VA L E W I D E

Spacefittingfurniture The Design Quarter, 145 Colchester Ave Penylan, Cardiff CF23 9AN 02920 455778 info@spacefittingfurniture.co.uk www.spacefittingfurniture.co.uk

VA L E W I D E

The bull at the gate is Bull Tech Established in 1999, Bull Tech are electrical contractors and installers of power distribution, lighting, fire and burglar alarms in addition to access automation which includes electric gates, rising bollards and lifting arms. We’re all aware of the benefits of having electric gates fitted to our homes for security, investment, comfort, convenience (and status) but with so many companies claiming to offer the same service, how would you know who to choose? I asked Director Mike Bull what are the costs involved in securing your home? “Automating your existing gates can cost between £1k for single leaf lightweight steel fabrication with a post mounted drive, to £5k for a double leaf, extra heavy iron or hardwood gate with a below ground system.

“A local company who understands that reputation is everything.”

To install communication from the gate post to the inside of property can vary between £100 for a simple system and up to £550 for the latest technology GSM phone systems. For multi occupancy sites the price would depend on the number of users and the technology employed. We’re happy to discuss customers’ requirements to ensure they get the right system,” says Mike. And should you want new gates, Bull Tech are happy to work with a third party fabrication or joinery company to ensure a smooth trouble-free installation or, if you’d prefer, they can manage the complete project for you. The company’s varied clients include homeowners, builders, gate fabricators, joiners and architects, as well as civil, mechanical and electrical consultants. ❧ 8 ❧

Mike says, “With Bull Tech, there’s no pressure selling. You get a free assessment of your requirements from an engineer with over thirty years experience of automation and we provide you with a free quotation, not an estimate. You’re dealing with a local company who understands that reputation is everything.” All automated gate systems we install comply with EN12453 (impact test), and all necessary sensors are fitted and tested prior to hand over. Bull Technical Services Ltd (Access Automation Division) 1 West Farm Road, Ogmore-by-Sea Bridgend CF32 0PU 01656 880187 Mobile 07971 788106 bulltech@btconnect.com


P E N D OY L A N

We love the idea of establishing a community of like-minded people at Pengelli Springs. It’s a lovely place to spend time - very peaceful and with superb panoramic views over the Vale countryside.”

Jump the queue for an allotment New local business, Grow Plots has come up with an idea to help people jump the local authority queue for an allotment - rent a private one instead! The initiative comes as demand for allotments is at an all time high. People are looking to spend more time with friends or family, getting healthy outdoor exercise and enjoying the fresh food they can produce. Grow Plots aims to encourage new ‘grow your own communities’ in green belt areas just outside towns and cities. The business has just released plots at Pengelli Springs near Pendoylan in the Vale of Glamorgan - just 15 minutes drive from Culverhouse Cross in Cardiff. Twenty three allotments are being offered for rent with the benefit of car parking area, mains water supply and state of the art composting toilet facilities. Families and friends can also enjoy the areas set aside for picnics and barbecues.

Having an allotment, it seems, is much more than growing vegetables - it’s an investment in your quality of life. One of the plots has already been pre-let to a family who were on an allotment waiting list in the Vale. Carol James of Corntown said,“We found out about these new plots from our local Council Allotments Officer. He suggested they were an alternative to waiting for a council plot to become available and we jumped at the chance. I can’t wait to get started on the plot to get it established.”

For more information contact Andrew O’Leary on 07515 353224 or email andrew@growplots.co.uk Grow Plots, Unit K5, South Point Clos Marian, Cardiff CF10 4LQ www.growplots.co.uk

Penarth-based Grow Plots Director Andrew Masters said, “I recently heard of someone in Penarth who had just got an allotment after eleven years on the waiting list! That’s a bit extreme but our solution means people can get started growing their own fruit and vegetables right away.

“It’s a lovely place to spend time - very peaceful with superb panoramic views over the Vale countryside.”

The ‘show plot’ at the new Grow Plots site at Pengelli Springs

VA L E W I D E

A bright investment with Elltec Solar Choosing solar electricity for your home is more than just a commercial decision. We talk to Vernon and Sue Hanson from Lisvane who tell us more.

“The generous terms of the Feed in Tariff, a government backed scheme which pays you for the solar electricity you make, made it an attractive investment for our savings, especially as the money you make from solar electricity is tax free. We also liked the idea of generating our own clean energy and doing our bit to reduce the carbon footprint. We looked in to it thoroughly and realised that our house, with its south facing roof, was ideal and that we would be able to generate around two thirds of our electrical needs with a solar electricity system.

“Our money is earning more interest than it would in a building society.”

We met with a number of solar companies but chose Elltec Solar Electricity for two reasons. Firstly, their price was the most competitive and, secondly, we were impressed by Richard’s technical knowledge and electrical background and felt he was someone we could trust. We liked the fact that Elltec isn’t fronted by a sales person but the same person who installs the system and knows the technology inside out. For us, a solar electricity system is an investment in every respect. Our money is earning more interest than it would in a building society and we are able to help the planet, too.” ❧ 9 ❧

The benefits of PV solar electricity panels are: ■ A vast reduction in electricity bills ■ A clean, renewable, source of micro generation electricity ■ Adds value to property ■ Works all year round during daylight hours Approved Photovoltaic ■ No maintenance Installer ELC54011 ■ Quick installation Elltec solar electricity Ltd Unit 16 Eastside Cambrian Ind Est Pontyclun RCT CF72 9EW 01443 227815 www.elltecsolar.co.uk.


H E N S O L PA R K

Vale artist creates a healthy bunch Artist, Jason Davies, based at The Model House Craft and Design Centre, Llantrisant, has been commissioned by Vale Healthcare to make over eighty new canvases for for the new Vale Hospital, now open at Hensol Castle Park. Chief Executive, Lis Neil asked the Welsh artist to develop his large flower canvas prints using, ‘Flowers of Healing’ as the theme. Lis says, “The prints give a vibrant finishing touch to the new hospital building and really helps bring the space to life.

They complement the modern surroundings and it is great to know they are the work of a local artist.” Jason says, “It’s a great boost for my profile as a Welsh artist.Vale Healthcare have been great clients and given me the artistic licence to develop the floral images into a fantastic collection of dynamic canvas prints.

When working on a project like this, it is important to make sure the work flows seamlessly through the building, linking spaces like the reception, waiting, consulting rooms and ward corridors together. Hopefully, the art will bring organic shape and a sense of ‘healing’ colour into the Vale Hospital, for both patients and staff to enjoy.”

Jason’s work can be viewed online at www.jasondprints.com Pictured above, Jason Davies and Lis Neil. The work is titled ‘Corner Fusion’ and is made up of four separate printed canvases each measuring 90cm x 90cm. B A R RY

Poster designs are real eye-catchers! Barry opticians, Arbuthnot, set a challenge to local school children aged between nine and eleven to come up with a poster to celebrate Eye Care Week. Children from Ysgol Sant Curig, Barry Island Primary School and St Athan’s Primary School were invited to enter the competition and Mark Roberts, Creative Director of Vale Life magazine was asked to judge the competition.

“The standard was very high with some really imaginative work but Tiegan Avaient’s poster stood out from the crowd with its bright colours and clever use of the spectacles,” said Mark. Tiegan, aged ten, is a pupil at St Athan’s Primary School. Tiegan will win £100 worth of art and craft supplies for her school and she will receive an Optical Illusion Science Kit, Optical Illusion Book and an Arbuthnot goodie bag. “There was only supposed to be one winner but I couldn’t resist the entry from Eddie W, aged eleven, also of St Athan’s Primary School, as this entry was in the form of a story book and

reminded me very much of the process of designing a magazine. It was very detailed and had such a good storyline that I’ve decided to award Eddie a prize from Vale Life of £10,” Mark said. Sarah Aspinall of Arbuthnot Opticians said “Arbuthnot would like to congratulate both winning entries and say a big thanks to the rest of the entries which were of an exceptionally good standard.” PENARTH

Hamptons make national finals Congratualtions to Andy and Peter at Hamptons. For the second year running Hamptons of Penarth has been nominated and is a finalist in the national greetings cards awards, the RETAS. Arbuthnot Opticians 6 Broad Street Barry CF62 7XP 01446 735551 info@arbuthnotopticians.co.uk www.arbuthnotopticians.co.uk

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The awards recognise and celebrate excellence in the greetings card industry and Hamptons is competing against four other stores in the non specialist independent retailer category. Last year they were narrowly pipped to the post by John Lewis on London’s Oxford Street and the competition is no less fierce this year.


PENARTH

VA L E W I D E

Arth Wines – the place to chill

Service with a smile goes the extra mile!

Owner of Arth Wines, Richard Silk is a man on a mission. After taking over the premises, he pulled the ceiling down and introduced a chill room for tastings.

In these uncertain times, it’s important for every business to make extra effort to ensure customers receive the best possible service. There’s an old Chinese proverb that goes something like “Man who cannot smile, should not open shop”.

He’s now adding an Ozzie style walk-in fridge and is looking to change the front windows into fold back doors to provide a central access. The first wine tasting event was held back in June and proved so popular, that a tasting every two weeks is being planned. Turn to page 25 for more details.

We’ve had good and bad service over recent months in shops and restaurants across the Vale. It’s important to reward great service and it’s important to not reward bad service so, if you have a positive experience tell them and, equally if you’ve had a negative experience, make sure you let the business owner know as it’s not always the owner who you may have received the bad service from.

“If you’re in business remember that everyone is a potential customer.” S T D O N AT S

End of the rainbow for Treasure Trove Treasure Trove is a charity which provides a week long residential project for 40 or so young people, both with and without a physical disability, aged between 16 to 25 years old who take part in a variety of activities on a totally integrated basis. This year Treasure Trove are based at the United World College of the Atlantic, St Donats Castle in the Vale of Glamorgan from the 17th - 24th July, 2010. On Friday 23rd July from 5.30pm until 7pm, Treasure Trove will be holding an event at St Donats Castle to view and experience what the young people have achieved during the project and to celebrate the charity’s 50th, and final, birthday.

Sadly, due to lack of funds, this superb charity will not be able to continue beyond 2010. “All this said, we plan to make Treasure Trove 2010 the best ever,” said Trustee of Treasure Trove, Martin Gibson. “We have been making our plans for the week as always and we’ll have got some new and exciting activities, new venues to visit and, of course, fun and friendship that has made Treasure Trove so special to us all.” The charity has plans to produce a book to commemorate Treasure Trove and is looking for participants past and present to share some old photographs or special memories of their experiences and the impact Treasure Trove has had over the years. Photographs and memories can be sent to Martin Gibson at treasuretrove@ntlworld.com or by post to 26 Coed Bach, Highlight Park, Barry CF62 8AE.

Recently I was chatting to a businessperson in the Vale who had recently spent a lot of time trawling the shops and the internet looking for a set of jewellery to complement an outfit. She finally found what she wanted in Anastasia Beads in High Street, Barry and couldn’t praise them enough and was keen to let me know how good they were, which is a fine example of how a positive experience can be passed on as well as the bad ones. If you’re in business remember that everyone is a potential customer. Anastasia Beads and Fine Gifts 8 High Street Barry CF62 7DZ 01446 400793 www.anastasiabeads.co.uk VA L E W I D E

Miss Vale of Glamorgan sponsorship opportunity Sponsorship opportunities are available to be associated with the Miss Vale of Glamorgan 2011 competition? Further information on how to apply is available at www.misswales.co.uk


HENSOL

Third Hensol Castle Park show apartment launch On Saturday, July 24th the third show apartment at Hensol Castle Park will be launched after buyers have fallen head over heels for the previous three apartments earmarked as display properties. Residents of the spacious apartments which range from 1100 sq ft to 2000 sq ft in size are able to wake up to the peace and quiet of the Welsh countryside surrounded by woods, a lake and the stunning 17th century Hensol Castle.

It’s been a case of love at first sight for viewers of the luxury apartments, whose on-the-spot purchases have included everything, including the kitchen sink! The exclusive development of 59 apartments promises a unique lifestyle and superior fixtures, fittings and bespoke design features within the homes include NEFF kitchen appliances, full wifi and oak internal doors and flooring. Located in a 150-acre historical parkland setting, the luxury apartment scheme welcomed its first residents in November and has been developed and released by owners of the neighbouring world-class Vale Resort, The Leekes Group.

The apartment scheme is part of the multi-million pound redevelopment of the castle and its grounds into one of the most prestigious boutique hotel, spa and residential schemes in Wales.

www.cardiffphotographic.com

Costing an estimated £35m, the development is the conversion of ten mansion buildings within the grounds of the Grade I listed castle into two and three-bedroom design-led apartments. The apartment portfolio is priced from £290,000 to £430,000.

VALE LIFE SUMMER 2010

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I N D E P E N D E N T

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

RESTAURANT REVIEWS, WHAT’S ON, BUSINESS, SHOPPING

THERE’S MORE ONLINE WWW . VALELIFE . CO . UK

For more information please visit the onsite marketing suite or contact Julie Turner on 01443 665855 or email j.turner@vale-hotel.com. www.hensolcastlepark.co.uk

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. 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.”

HOT STUFF SIZZLING SUMMER FASHION, AL FRESCO CUISINE COOL INTERIORS AND ROCKSTAR KITCHENS

The launch of the latest show apartment will run on Saturday, July 24th and Sunday, July 25th from 11am to 5pm.

PLUS

ART, MUSIC, STYLE, HEALTH, HOMES AND MUCH MORE PLUS

Vale Life magazine. Committed to quality.

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. ❧ 12 ❧

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. 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 www.valelife.co.uk is correct and accurate. However, we accept no responsibility for any errors or


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“The apartment scheme is part of the multi-million pound re-development of the castle and its grounds.”

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 www.valelife.co.uk for special subscriber discounts and special offers.

Missed the last issue? We hold a small number of each issue in stock so if you do need a pristine copy, please telephone us or email jennifer@valelife.co.uk. 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. ❧ 13 ❧

For those of you who are not aware, Vale Life has a sister publication, City Life, which covers the city of Cardiff and its borders. If you’d like to see back copies of this publication, then you can do so by going online at www.citylifecardiff.co.uk. City Life is our second Life magazine. We seem to be on a roll, as Valleys Life will be coming out this summer.

Visit our websites www.valelife.co.uk www.citylifecardiff.co.uk www.valleyslife.co.uk

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 jennifer@valelife.co.uk ❧ Creative Director MARK ROBERTS mark@valelife.co.uk ❧ Studio PA U L S E S S I O N S studio@valelife.co.uk ❧ Vale Life Cardiff House Cardiff Road Vale of Glamorgan CF63 2AW ❧ Vale Life Website www.valelife.co.uk ❧ Telephone

0845 130 6452


WHAT’S ON

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

Summer entertainment at Hamptons 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.

T H E M AG I C O F M U S I C A L S Saturday 31st July Tickets £31

DIAMOND NIGHTS Friday 27th August Tickets £31

An evening of the best loved songs from some of the most popular musicals including Les Misérables, Cats, Phantom of the Opera,Wicked and Chicago to name just a few. The Magic of Musicals features the wonderful vocals of Kim Graham and Clare Louise Meelaw. If you like musicals you will love this show.

Celebrating the music of Neil Diamond, Diamond Nights features the brilliant Jeff Phillips who returns to Hamptons to help with the birthday celebrations. You’ll enjoy hits such as Sweet Caroline, Acapulco, and Love on the Rocks.

If you haven’t been before, 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. Each show features a five course menu and the food is everything we’ve come to expect from Hamptons delicious, freshly prepared and beautifully presented.

The fabulous birthday celebrations at Hamptons conclude with a tribute to the Queen of Motown – Diana Ross. Jacky Webbe performs a selection of Diana Ross hits such as Chain Reaction, Why do Fools Fall in Love, Touch me in the Morning and Aint no Mountain High Enough.

T H E A B B AG I R L S Friday 30th July Tickets £31

The birthday celebrations get off to flying start at Hamptons with the fabulous Abbagirls who bring the unmistakable sounds and harmonies of ABBA live to Hamptons. The Abbagirls have performed around the world in over 20 different countries and we couldn’t think of a better way to start our birthday celebrations. The songs will have you dancing in your seats – and between the tables.

M O T O W N M AG I C Saturday 28th August Tickets £32

Jacky has performed around the world and her show features the sounds of Motown as well as the music of Diana Ross. DEAN MARTIN & LEGENDS OF SWING Friday 13th August Tickets £31

LAST NIGHT OF THE PROMS 3rd and 11th September Tickets £36

Performed by one of the finest crooners in the business, Alan Becks pays tribute to Dean Martin and the nostalgic era of Swing. The show features a superb mix of classic Dean Martin songs together with unforgettable songs made famous by some of the world’s greatest recording artists of our time.

In this brand new show you will enjoy all the pomp and circumstance of the Last Night of the Proms. The show features the stunning vocals of Megan Llewellyn-Dorke (soprano), Sarah Pope (mezzo) and Simon Curtis (tenor) who perform by kind permission of Welsh National Opera.

B U D DY H O L LY & L E G E N D S OF ROCK AND ROLL Saturday 14th August Tickets £31

Get ready for some serious rock ‘n’ roll as you are taken back in time. Alan Becks performs a fantastic tribute to one of the most influential singers from the 1950’s, Buddy Holly. The second half of the show provides a foot stomping, thrilling tribute to the kings of rock ‘n’ roll with hits such as Great Balls of Fire, Dream Lover, Blue Suede Shoes, Shake, Rattle ‘n’ Roll and many more. ❧ 14 ❧

Hamptons 10 Ludlow Lane, Penarth CF64 1EA 029 2070 5391 www.hamptons-design.co.uk


VA L E W I D E

Vale of Glamorgan puts on a great show For a full day out for all the family, there’s no better day than The Vale of Glamorgan Show on Wednesday 11th August, 2010. Expect lots of parading and judging of cattle, sheep and horses, fields full of trade stands, home produce and horticultural exhibits and thousands of visitors (especially if this good weather holds). The event will be held once again at the beautiful grounds of Fonmon Castle in Rhoose. Put this date in your diary now and pray for a sunny day. See you there! There’s much more information available on the Show’s website at www.valeofglamorganshow.co.uk.

S O U T H WA L E S

St David’s Polo rides again this summer This year, the St David’s Polo website promised to raise the bar for quality and entertainment for the 2010 event. The ‘sport of kings’ returned to the beautiful grounds of Fonmon Castle and raise the bar they certainly did. A very glamorous crowd watched the Wales v Italian teams in glorious sunshine. Great food, great wine, great polo - who could ask for more? True followers of this fast, skillful and exciting game will be delighted to hear that Wales v South America will be playing at the Monmouth Showground on 30 August and Wales v Spain at Coopers Field, Cardiff on 19 September. Tournament Director, Geoff Lloyd said, “Fonmon really was a fantastic event and we intend to repeat its success in Monmouth and Cardiff later in the summer.”

St David’s Polo 34 Cathedral Road, Cardiff CF11 9LE

The game of polo is very fast, skillful and exciting and due to the close proximity of the play to the spectators it can only be described as a genuine ‘adrenalin rush’.

029 2066 6091 geoff@stdavidspolo.co.uk www.stdavidspolo.co.uk

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To say that my husband and I were pleasantly surprised with our time spent on Jersey would be an understatement. Armed with the preconception that time on the island had more or less stood still since the 70’s, I was amazed to discover how wrong we had been.

FRENCH CONNECTION Landing at the island’s immaculate and super efficient aiport, after a very enjoyable flight with Bmibaby (which took just about enough time for us to order and drink a cup of hot chocolate), we hired a smart little silver Ford Ka from Hertz and drove the short distance to our hotel, The Jersey Club Hotel and Spa (The Club) nestled in the island’s capital of St Helier. Because of the short journey time, we didn’t feel the usual stresses associated with travel and were immediately ready and willing to venture into town to see what was on offer. If you’re looking for a shopping mecca then, in all honesty, St Helier isn’t going to blow your mind – it has the usual national brands that you’d find in any large mainland town, with a smattering of restaurants, cafés and coffee shops. As you would expect of an island known for its VAT free status, it does have several quailty jewellers displaying pricey diamonds and high end brand watches. There are also a few independent boutiques, but we honestly expected a few more.

No town would be complete without a local market and St Helier’s Victorian Central and Beresford markets are no exception and rather charming they are too. There’s a great selection of local produce and fresh fish. Here’s where we got our first introduction to the language used on the island. Jersey is 100 miles south of mainland Britain but only 14 miles from the Normandy coast of France. Until the 1960’s the official language was French is still used by the court and legal professions but there’s also a mix of English, Latin, Breton, Norman French and Jersey Norman French or Jerriais (Jersiasis) as it’s known by the locals but pretty much everyone we talked to spoke English. We continued our walk through the town and came upon the Jersey Museum. Now I’m not one for museums as a rule, (my husband often refers to me as a ‘pleasure model’ whose only interests are shopping). So it was with some trepidation that I agreed to enter the building. I was so glad that I did. Had I not, I wouldn’t have learnt all about the history of the island. During World War II the Channel Islands were the only part of Great Britain to be occupied by the Germans. This lasted for five years until Liberation on 9th May, 1945. Needless to say, it was a difficult time for the islanders, many of whom either left prior to occupation or were deported. On a lighter note, there were also two other interesting exhibitions. One on the talented Jersey illustrator Blam (Edward Blampied), which appealed to my husband, and the other on Marilyn Monroe. A local Jersey resident by the name of David Gainsborough Roberts has amassed a large collection of Marilyn memorabilia over the years, including items of her wardbrobe. No prizes for guessing which exhibition held my interest the most! We finished our first day with a lovely meal at a restaurant adjoining the museum and then headed back to our hotel for the night. ❧ 16 ❧

As real foodies we’d decided to stay at the Jersey Club Hotel and Spa (The Club). This luxurious five star hotel boasts eight suites and 38 luxury bedrooms with a smart, contemporary feel while retaining a friendliness that sometimes hotels of this kind seem to lose. It has the finest feather mattresses with frette linen, stylish granite bathrooms with seriously strong power showers and L’Occitane products, flatscreen TV, DVD/CD player, Bang and Olufsen portable telephones and a private bar plus a well placed town centre location.

The hotel also boasts a luxury spa, an outdoor freshwater swimming pool with waterfall and an indoor salt pool with hydrobench, Rasul mud chamber, salt chamber, monsoon shower, herbal steam room and sauna and treatment rooms offering every imaginable therapy available. Oh, and did I mention the Michelin starred, four AA Rossette restaurant Bohemia, headed up by celebrity chef Shaun Rankin? Yes, The Club was a good choice. After a pleasant night’s sleep, we enjoyed our first continental breakfast of the trip and then headed off to the capital as the city was celebrating Liberation Day. We were so pleased to have been visiting the island at such an important time. The islanders and visitors were out in full enjoying the festivities including food stalls, the sounds of the Jersey Big Band, a drive by of army vehicles and much more.


We then jumped in the car and took the coastal road to check out the island and were amazed at the coastal scenery. The sea was a beautiful sea green (funnily enough!) and we thought Jersey would make an ideal beach holiday - there were so many coves to choose from. This might be a good time to mention the weather. We’d left Cardiff in the rain and were now enjoying a sunny, much milder climate. We’d heard that the island hadn’t seen rain for weeks. En route, we came across the army vehicles again and pulled in to see them in more detail. We viewed the vast collection of German occupation items in a military bunker run by islander, Damien Horn, who had been collecting the items from the war since a very early age. It was truly fascinating.

We continued the military theme with a visit to the Jersey War Tunnels, an underground complex which thousands of forced labourers from all over conquered Europe, working under the harshest of conditions, created an amazing construction of more than a kilometre of chambers and corridors herwn from the sold rock and immune to attack by land or from the air. It certainly gave you a feel for what the island and its inhabitants endured during those times. Another attraction not to miss is the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust owned by the late, great naturalist Gerald Durrell. We spent hours here in the company of flamingos, snakes, meerkats and orangutans.

This is no zoo, (I can’t abide those places anyway). You can tell that this place was built with the wellfare of animals in mind. Back to our hotel and a quick wash and brush up for our reservation at Bohemia. As you’d expect from such a highly rated chef, the food, service and surroundings were impeccable. We managed to pack in quite a bit into our short trip but there are many other attractions that we would like to have visited that our time couldn’t allow for. Our time in Jersey went far too quickly. Our journey home to Cardiff took less than an hour as, thankfully, there are no passport control queues. To sum up, Jersey is the perfect getaway for young couples, couples young of heart and young families. We wholeheartedly recommend you visit! You can get more information on what’s to see and do at www.jersey.com. Flights can be booked through bmibaby at www.bmibaby.com

The Club Hotel & Spa Green Street, St. Helier Jersey JE2 4UH 01534 876500 reservations@theclubjersey.com www.theclubjersey.com

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VALE FOOD & DRINK EACH ISSUE WE BRING YOU THE BEST IN THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN

PENARTH

Sugo - a taste of Covent Garden in the Vale Friends of ours have recently introduced us to a great little restaurant in Penarth called Sugo. I’ve eaten at its sister restaurant, Cibo, in Pontcanna and have always been impressed.

We’ve eaten at Sugo three times over recent months and have been impressed not only by the food but also the atmosphere. Each time, we’ve enjoyed a particularly chilled and relaxed atmosphere. Recently we were there in the early evening, the sun was shining and the doors were open on to the road with people walking by - just for a moment it felt like being back in Covent Garden and, like Covent Garden, there are some great little shops nearby and free parking is just around the corner. You can also take your own wine on Tuesdays to Thursdays which is an excellent idea and Arth Wines (see page 25) is conveniently situated just five minutes away if you need help with your selection. This is definitely one to try. Tell them Vale Life sent you.

DINAS POWYS

The Huntsman Summer dessert recipe Hilary Rice, owner of The Huntsman answers a reader’s cookery question.

I’m hosting a summer dinner party and I’m looking for a dessert recipe using my favourite summer fruit, the strawberry. I want something that’s not only delicious but has that WOW factor. Can you help? I have the perfect dessert. Strawberries with Balsamic Syrup, Pimm’s Sorbet and Lavender Shortbread. It’s our most requested dessert on our menu. I’m sure it’ll WOW your dinner guests. Pimm’s Sorbet 250ml Pimm’s No 1, 250ml lemonade, 125ml water, 200g granulated sugar, 3 egg whites. 1. Make sugar syrup - dissolve sugar in water bring to the boil for 3 minutes - cool. 2. Reserve a cup of syrup to make balsamic syrup. 3. Add Pimm’s and lemonade to the remaining syrup. 4. Place in a plastic container in the freezer overnight. 5. Whisk egg whites until stiff.

6. Fold into partially frozen Pimm’s mixture - return to freezer. 7. After 3 hours, remove from freezer and mix again. 8. Freeze for 24 hours before serving keeps for weeks. Balsamic Syrup 1. To the saved syrup add few drops of vanilla extract and half teaspoon balsamic vinegar. 2. Mix well with a little whisk - keep in airtight jar in the fridge until required. Lavender Shortbread 150g softened butter, 100g caster sugar, 100g plain flour, 125g cornflour, 3 egg yolks, flowers from 6 heads of English lavender - not French as this cannot be used in food. 1. Cream the butter and sugar with the lavender flowers. 2. Beat in the egg yolks. 3. Mix the flours into the mixture 4. Press into a greaseproof lined 8 inch loose bottomed cake tin 5. Bake Gas 4 - 400f. - 200c. for 20 min 6. Sprinkle with caster sugar when cool, slice and keep in an airtight tin until required. Serve fresh strawberries drizzled with the balsamic syrup with a scoop of ❧ 18 ❧

Sugo 1 Royal Buildings Penarth CF64 3EB 029 2070 9955

Pimm’s Sorbet and slice of shortbread garnish with freshly picked lavender and mint for the ‘restaurant look’ Tucked away behind the Star Inn, with ample car parking facilities, The Huntsman, set in a charming barn conversion provides home cooking at its best. For more gastronomic tastebuds, the restaurant also holds Gourmet Dinners with an eight course menu at a very affordable £45 per head. The Huntsman Restaurant is celebrating its 17th anniversay this Summer and are offering 10 per cent off the total bill to Vale Life readers throughout July. Just mention Vale Life when booking.

The Huntsman Station Road Dinas Powys CF64 4DE 029 2051 4900 www.thehuntsmanrestaurant.co.uk


PENARTH

Mediterraneo - a taste of the Med in the Vale Mediterraneo’s location on Penarth seafront, overlooking the beach, with views across the water to Somerset, is one that many restaurateurs would covet. I’ve had lunch there several times over the last year but had never ventured in for dinner. My visit this time was prompted by a recommendation from a friend who’d eaten there recently and enjoyed it greatly, so a table was duly booked. I have to say, I like the building. It’s a little quirky inside, but it works. On arrival, we were welcomed by friendly staff (as always) and shown to our table upstairs. At this point I should mention that they have a rather clever wireless waiter call system. If you need service you simply press the button on the table. After a busy week, neither my wife nor I were in the mood to rid the planet of its wine stock so we wimped out with a couple of glasses of Prosecco and soaked up the view. Initially I wasn’t going to order a starter, but was easily persuaded and my decision was rewarded with a beautiful cured beef starter that, I have to say, was superb and would have made an excellent light lunch with some lovely fresh bread all on its own. Talking about bread, we weren’t offered any straight away as is the norm elsewhere but when it did arrive it was beautifully fresh. My wife tucked in to five big juicy prawns in a spicy chilli sauce which was very good indeed (I did have to try one after all!). Our young son doesn’t eat a huge amount so he chose a small bowl of mussels and dipped his bread into the liquor which he really enjoyed.

“If you like seafront dining and you love Mediterranean food you’ll love Mediterraneo.”

Personally, I’d have preferred a smaller amount over the fish and a serving jug to the side if I’d wanted more. It wasn’t a major issue – just an observation. The mains were accompanied by some oven baked small potatoes and some nicely al dente green beans. We rounded off our meals with some desserts. For me, a classic tiramisu which was excellent and for my wife, after deliberating for several minutes, she chose the crème brûlée which was exceptionally creamy – bang goes the diet yet again!

As we waited for our mains we were chatting about the ambience. It’s very pleasant upstairs as they’ve resisted the temptation to cram as many tables in as possible and, as it became busier, the room developed a nice atmosphere. We sat sipping our Prosecco watching the boats and ships gliding up and down the Bristol channel. Bliss. Our mains arrived and we tucked in. I had chosen hake with a cream and baby prawn and crayfish sauce and my wife had chosen sea bass with white wine, lemon, green peppercorn and rosemary. Both pieces of fish were perfectly cooked and they were both good size portions. Both dishes tasted wonderful but (and I did mention this to the waiter), there was too much sauce. These were two beautifully cooked pieces of fish and just didn’t warrant the quantity of sauce. ❧ 19 ❧

If you like seafront dining, then you’ll love Mediterraneo. If you like Mediterranean style food, you’ll love it too. It’s a great place for dinner and, equally good for lunch. Just remember to book - it always seems busy and deservedly so.

Mediterraneo at The Boat House The Esplanade, Penarth CF64 3AU 029 2070 3428 Open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner www.mediterraneopenarth.com


P O N T YC L U N

Being a great fan of vegetarian food, I was keen to try the mixed vegetable Tom Yam Chow Mein – a Thai style noodle dish, which to be honest was a meal in itself.

A deliciously tempting Taste of the East My usual tendency on a Monday evening is to put my feet up in anticipation of the remaining week. Mondays are usually ‘non-events’ – a sort of practice run for what lies ahead, so normally an evening out would be rare. However, like most of us, I battle with the ongoing challenge of finding time to catch up with friends, so on this particular Monday I relented. Not wanting to venture too far, my friend and I plumped for my local village of Pontyclun. In all truthfulness, I drive on auto-pilot through the village on a daily basis, taking little notice of any of the eateries en route. But as supporters of local community enterprises, we were keen to try out Taste of the East Oriental restaurant, which has been under new management for the past eight months.

And so to the food – and conversation, which in my mind is a marriage made in heaven! I confess to being a spice addict, so Benny suggested that we opt for the Thai and Malaysian main dishes that offer an extra ‘kick’ not normally associated with traditional Chinese cuisine. Wanting to take our time, we ordered the special mixed platter of Chinese Hors D’oeuvres which are prepared for a minimum of 2 people. Ling presented our selection with great care on white china and between us we polished off the crispy seaweed, sesame prawn toasts, chicken satay, spare ribs and spring rolls.

Monday evenings, being quieter than normal, gave an enthusiastic Benny plenty of opportunity to tend to our needs. He recommended some dishes and shared with us his ideas for the restaurant. His passion as a restaurateur is obvious.

With an adequate respite between courses, we eagerly awaited the main dishes. We weren’t disappointed. Chopsticks at the ready, we started with steamed rice and the delicately spiced Rendang Daging – a Malaysian style curry of King Prawns infused with lemongrass and curry leaves in an aromatic blend of coconut milk and spices. We slowly built up to the Kung Po – a much hotter dish of chicken, spring onions and ginger, with the smokiness of dried red chillies adding the punch.

The hardest thing we had to do all evening was to choose from the extensive menu. After that we relaxed while Benny served our perfectly chilled and very pleasant house white – a crisp Sauvignon Blanc that provided the perfect partnership to the meal that followed and at a reasonable £11.90 a bottle.

“The trademark Endless Banquet Table Buffet offers fantastic value for money for a family or those who like variety.”

Formerly a pub of notoriety, it was converted into a restaurant a couple of years ago and has recently come into its own since September last year when Benny Wong and his lovely wife Ling took over the reins.

What struck us was the welcome lack of greasiness often associated with Chinese food and we completed our meal feeling comfortably replete. Now into the third hour of our meal (my friend and I had a lot to catch up on), we declined dessert, instead opting for locally supplied Ferrari coffee to round off. Taste of the East caters well for vegetarian diets. For anyone wanting something a little more adventurous I spied ‘Specials’ such as Sea Bass and Squid. However, not wanting to sound repetitive, it was Monday night and we were happy with the more mainstream dishes, leaving opportunity to visit one weekend to sample the Chef’s Specials. Their trademark Endless Banquet Table Buffet is popular with diners, which although not our style, offers fantastic value for money for a family or those who like variety from the menu. The overall ambience is traditional enough in the right measure without being over the top and is spacious, yet welcoming. Easy-listening music at a polite volume provided an antidote to the day’s stresses without detracting from our eager conversation. By our own admission, my friend and I we were pleasantly surprised. All too often we fail to see what is on our doorstep and we’re glad to find a quality restaurant in the local area. My friend who waxed lyrical the whole evening, walked out with a pile of cards and menus to pass on. There is off-road parking and it’s conveniently situated near the train station in Pontyclun. For those who don’t want to venture far, a takeaway and local delivery service is provided and the restaurant has the added bonus of being licensed to sell wine out – very convenient, if like me, you opt for a Monday evening in! All in all, a lovely night out with the promise of returning very soon. Restaurant review undertaken by Suzanne Jaya Raghavan Personal Stylist & Image Consultant www.suzannejaya.com

Taste of the East 1 Llantrisant Road Pontyclun CF729DP 01443 229 390

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YA L B O T G R E E N

La Trattoria’s a real Italian treat! Whenever we go on holiday, I like to find out where the locals eat. It’s usually the best food in the area, the most authentic and, more often than not, it’s reasonably priced. I like the idea of dining out, off the beaten track - finding a family run restaurant where the food is superb and the atmosphere is really friendly and relaxed. Somewhere, quite honestly, I wouldn’t really want to share with anyone else. Well, La Trattoria in Talbot Green is an excellent example of just that kind of restaurant. With its unassuming frontage, you’d be forgiven if you missed it driving past. Talking about driving, the first thing I’d say is that we found parking outside quite easy as there were plenty of spaces along the road. We had arranged to meet some friends there from Penarth which is roughly twenty minutes away (up the link road a quick dash up the M4 and off at junction 34 and head towards Llantrisant). Inside, the restaurant has a homely, authentic feel with plenty of memorabilia from Italy. Owner Saverio Florimonte and his family have a house and an olive grove there and they import their own olive oil into the UK and very nice it is too. I can testify to this as we enjoyed a selection of homemade breads and olive oil to get our taste buds going while we scanned the menu. Looking around La Trattoria, as we considered our choices, it struck me that the restaurant was quite busy for a Wednesday evening (busy mid-week, that’s always a good sign).

We ordered a Prosecco (Casabianca) at £19.90 to freshen our palates and a silky smooth Merlot (Terramere) at £14.50 to see us through our main course. To start, I ordered charred Calamari with oven baked tomatoes which was beautiful. My wife enjoyed Funghi al Gorganzola – Portobello mushrooms with Gorganzola cheese, pine nuts, sultanas and spinach. Our friend Roger had the Melanzane alla griglia e taleggio (a vegetarian option) which consisted of aromatic taleggio cheese wrapped in aubergine and Debs chose the Timballo di Gamberetti, a salad of rock prawns and crab, with watercress and beetroot juice. We all agreed the starters were superb and couldn’t wait for our mains. My wife usually chooses steak but this time she was hooked by the Monkfish with spinach, mashed potatoes and artichoke sauce (Coda di rospo royal) although, I suspect, after seeing Debs’ Filetto di manzo al pepe – a beautifully cooked fillet of beef with peppercorn sauce, served with grilled field mushrooms and hand cut chips, she had second thoughts.

Roger plumped for the Vitello al marsala e funghi - Veal escalopes with a sweet masala wine and mushrooms. I don’t usually choose chicken when I’m eating out as I enjoy my fair share of roast chicken at home but the pan roasted chicken breast stuffed with spicy Italian sausage and Taleggio cheese on a bed of spinach with nutmeg (Pollo Facrito) tempted me and it did not disappoint. Beautifully crisp skin and mouth-wateringly moist chicken, the combination of chicken, Italian sausage and cheese was sublime. Just typing this is taking me back there. To finish, I just had to go with the classic Tiramisu (Mascarpone, expresso coffee and Tia Maria). It was rich and rounded off the meal perfectly. My wife chose Rich Vanilla Pannacotta (Wildberry and Zabaglione sauce) which she finished off with enthusiasm. Our guests chose the Crème Brulee crème di formaggio, double cream, biscotti and forest fruits. Both agreed it was the best crème brulee they’d had in a long, long time. La Trattoria is exactly the kind of place you’d hope to find if you were on holiday in Italy but, thankfully, it’s on our own doorstep. And, the only thing that really betters the food and the wine at this fine Italian restaurant is the welcome. Bellissima! La Trattoria also runs a cookery school so we’ve all decided to enrol. We can choose between Franco Taruschio OBE (of Walnut Tree fame), Enrico De Vita or Saverio himself. That’s a hard choice or we could just book all three!

La Trattoria 9-11 Talbot Road Talbot Green CF72 8AD 01443 223399

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Cardiff has an abundance of restaurants and, if the weather’s right, there’s no better experience than eating al fresco on the popular Mill Lane. Vale Life chatted to restaurant owner and entrepreneur Giovanni Malacrino on what makes Giovanni’s and Gio’s so…

Giovanni’s restaurant manager Massimo Fraioli, Executive Head Chef Gaetano Monteriso and Giovanni

UNMISTAKABLY When I say ‘chatted to’ Giovanni, what I really mean is ‘mostly listened’. Giovanni can talk, boy can he talk, but in a way that you want to listen - he has things to say, passionately. This is a man who is immensely passionate about what he does.

It’s 6.30pm on a Saturday evening in July and I’m watching this big hearted Italian work the crowd. It seems that nearly everyone who enters the restaurant or just passes by is a friend, customer or acquaintance of some kind. Gio’s has a fabulous atmosphere it feels safe. I crack a joke about not needing protection with a nod to The Godfather. He chuckles. “It’s very safe here my friend”, he says with a big smile. However, Giovanni knows that at the heart of his success lie some very simple and basic ingredients, to which he owes an enormous debt of gratitude - good food, great staff and loyal customers.

I can’t help looking at the other diners four very stylish ladies, have just ordered two bottles of champagne and several plates of oysters. On the table next to me, a family of four laugh and chat while tucking into tender fillet steak and homemade lasagne. They tell me they’re here in Cardiff to catch a show at the Cardiff International Arena, just around the corner. Giovanni is away, working the room like a conductor - he has a natural gift for hospitality and so do all his staff each a personality in their own right but all in tune with the master. Giovanni’s sister Francesca, who is the backbone of the family business is nearby - she watches service like a hawk - making sure customers are well looked after.

“Giovanni’s sister Francesca, is the backbone of the family business... she watches service like a hawk, making sure customers are well looked after.” “You can come here for coffee in the morning - have a meeting perhaps. We serve food from 12 noon to 11pm and cocktails from 5.30pm onwards, he says.” It’s this passion for great service that many businesses could take a lesson from. Giovanni returns, smiling, a celebrity has dropped in with a camera crew it’s not unusual (you’ll excuse the pun). The walls of the stairs to the new fine dining restaurant on the first floor are covered with photographs of celebrities who have spent many an evening at the restaurant, including Tom Jones.

“It’s this passion for great service that businesses could take a lesson from.” ❧ 22 ❧


ITALIAN

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Giovanni says, “When celebrities come to our venues sometimes they are happy to be treated as celebrities and, sometimes, they wish to be left alone. I believe everyone has the right to their privacy.” He proudly reels off a lengthy list of A-listers he now considers friends as well as customers but I get the impression I’m not being treated any differently - to Giovanni, it appears, everyone is special. Giovanni is not one for standing still and it seems even having two of the most successful restaurants in Cardiff opposite the new St David’s 2 and John Lewis isn’t enough. “Gio’s is evolving,” he enthuses. “On the first floor, there are three areas - Gio’s Bar where champagne and cocktails are served and customers can let their hair down and dance the night away. During the re-development of Mill Lane things were tough but it was all worthwhile as I believe those challenging times made me a better businessman and put Cardiff on the map as one of the top cities in Europe.”

Conti’s are our private function rooms which customers can hire for business or special occasions and our beautiful fine dining restaurant, La Dolce Vita, which is the jewel in the Gio’s crown.” You’d think that would be enough for most people but not Giovanni – he leads me downstairs into the basement where work is well underway creating what he believes will be Cardiff’s most exclusive members club, Amici’s. “It’s going to be fantastic,” he says. “There’ll be nothing to rival it in Cardiff. Guests will enjoy champagne, Italian tapas, fine wines, ports, a great selection of premium malt whiskeys. There’ll even be an oyster bar and lobster tanks. Amici’s will be the place to be seen and meet like minded people.

Also, you can park in the John Lewis carpark in the evening for as little as a pound.” While we’re chatting, Giovanni takes a booking for a private party in Conti’s. “Conti’s is a fabulous space,” he says, “customers always have a great time here. We’re already taking bookings for Christmas.” As we climb the stairs into the daylight, Giovanni tells me that his team hopes to open another restaurant in Roath in a few months time – I wonder where they get the energy. Perhaps it’s this overlap of different people coming and going that creates the Gio’s atmosphere, perhaps it’s Giovanni and his team, perhaps it’s all of these ingredients that creates the ‘magic’ as Giovanni calls it. Whatever it is, it works and, as I sit outside in the evening sun sipping a lovely glass of red wine, I feel I’m part of it.

“There’ll be nothing to rival it in Cardiff. Guests will enjoy champagne, Italian tapas, fine wines, ports, a great selection of premium malt whiskeys. There’ll even be an oyster bar and lobster tanks.” Gio’s 10 - 11 Mill Lane, Cardiff CF10 1FL 029 2066 5500 gios@themillcardiff.co.uk www.gios.co.uk

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Wine is now part of our modern lifestyle like never before but despite it being so readily available, finding quality wines can be somewhat hit and miss. The arrival of a new wine shop on Station Approach in Penarth has ensured that, for one Penarth resident at least, quality wine is close to hand. Vale Life talks to Annie Blackburn about why, for her at least, Arth Wines is…

THE BEAR NECESSITY What do you think of the name? I’m getting used to it and I like the little bear logo. I know that Richard thought very carefully about the name and involved many of his customers in the choice by asking for suggestions. I suppose that says a lot about Richard he’s very customer focused and is always asking customers what they want from the business. I had numerous conversations with him about many of the options and why they might or might not work. I realised through the process how hard it is to choose a name for a business and particularly for a business selling wine, spirits and beer. I wasn’t sure about the final choice to begin with, but some weeks on, as I’m now getting used to it, it has a unique feel about it and has a more robust sound than some of the suggested names.

How long have you been visiting Arth Wines? Since it opened. I visited it in its previous incarnation as Wine-Rack so I already knew Sue the manager. I used to live just around the corner about a minute’s walk away. When Wine-Rack shut I actually said to Sue wouldn’t it be wonderful if someone came along and opened an independent wine shop or other business as it is such a prime location. Penarth has lost all its off licences in recent times and it seemed crazy that an area like Penarth didn’t have a wine retailer/off licence. Why do you shop there? These days, supermarkets offer a limited range of different and interesting wines. The choices are limited and, generally, the wine is produced in massive quantities which definitely influences its quality. Richard is offering a range of great wines from smaller vineyards and suppliers that make choosing a bottle of wine a pleasure and sometimes a challenge. I know that the range of beers on offer is equally interesting. Since Arth Wines opened I have seen how hard Richard is working to realise his vision for the business. Although the shop is still a work in progress it has a welcoming and surprising feel to it - it’s a bit like a Tardis! I always know that whichever member of staff is on that I will receive a warm and friendly welcome. If I want help choosing a bottle of wine it is readily available but the staff are equally good at leaving me to peruse the shelves myself.

“Richard has a particular vision for the business which he talks about with real passion.”

“Richard is offering a range of interesting wines from smaller vineyards and suppliers that make choosing a bottle of wine a pleasure.” The range of wines offered at Arth Wines means that I can spend a little more and buy a bottle for a special occasion or find a reasonably priced and good quality wine at around £5 or just under. Finding somewhere to park is never a problem. What is special about Arth Wines? Richard has a particular vision for the business which he talks about with real passion. It has a really dynamic feel - it feels as though it is evolving and that that process will continue rather than the business becoming a once and for all entity. ❧ 25 ❧

Arth Wines Old Masonic Buildings Station Approach Penarth CF64 3EE 029 2070 1091 Opening Hours Monday to Thursday 10am - 8pm Friday and Saturday 10am - 10pm Sunday (currently) 4pm - 8pm


An abundance of Vale eateries makes it easier than ever to have a relaxing outdoor experience. Perfect for a summer evening. There’s something life-affirming about food eaten outdoors that somehow makes it taste better. Whether it’s the shade of a parasol, the hum of a bee or birds chirping in the trees, what isn’t there to like about dining ‘al fresco’. Our local restaurants, cafés and pubs are perfecting the art of providing their customers with casual, yet vibrant outdoor eating experiences. They’re in tune with our need for informality and there’s nothing better than the promise of a sunny pavement café to re-capture those feel-good holiday memories. Easting outside is a spontaneous affair, especially in our climate, where there’s no guarantee of long hot summers.

Welcome is the sight of a beer garden that beckons after a day at the beach. Or a little bistro serving delicious food after a shop-til-you-drop day out. Whatever the reason, we feel we can cut loose from the stresses of the day with a cappuccino in hand and the warmth of the sun’s rays on our face. There’s no doubt that picnics and barbecue parties are great ways of socialising in the summer months, but somebody has got to prepare the food and clear up afterwards. Hot footing it to the nearest restaurant or pub patio makes for a far more relaxing affair. There’s nothing more chichi than sipping a sundowner cocktail at a swanky bar with outdoor seating.

AL FRESCO

B A R RY

Food for Thought There’s more to al fresco dining than the weatherproof table, the tablecloths, large cushions on wicker sofas and chilled wine - it’s also about what you eat. As we’re basking in proper summer weather, there are al fresco dinner parties and barbecues every weekend. The secret to any successful barbecue or al-fresco dining is that summer food needs to be tasty. Unlike dinner parties where you just sling a load of ingredients together to make a tasty stew, eating outdoors needs preparation. This is where your local delicatessen comes in handy.

They’ve already marinated and cooked the meats, prepared the olives, cheeses and pastries and baked the bread, so that all you need to do is pop them in your basket.

Food for Thought delicatessen on Barry’s High Street is easily one of the best deli’s in the Vale. This family run business opens its doors at 7am and, from then on, the street is filled with the aromas of their infamous freshly made delicacies. There’s everything you need here to stock your basket and your cupboards. You must try their invidual cheesecakes – to die for! It’s a shame that these heatwaves come but once a year. Let’s hope the weather holds out long enough for us to enjoy more al fresco meals before the clocks go back. Picnic hamper provided courtesy of Miss Holmes

“Food for Thought deli on Barry’s High Street is easily one of the best deli’s in the Vale.” Food for Thought 12 High Street Barry, Vale of Glamorgan 01446 735711

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P O N T YC L U N

The Ivor Arms If it’s a really warm welcome and tasty home-cooked food that you’re after, then head to The Ivor Arms in Brynsadler, Pontyclun. The Ivor, as it’s affectionately known, is a family-run pub conveniently situated on the main Cowbridge Road through the village. Doors lead from the restaurant onto the outdoor terrace which runs around the front and side of the pub. It is perfectly positioned to take advantage of warm summer days and the sun setting on a balmy evening. The Ivor Arms has been a landmark public house for generations and still attracts a regular following from its locals, as well as visitors from all over South Wales since its recent refurbishment. The hearty traditional Sunday roasts are a firm favourite with couples and family members of all ages. Plus, regular diners rave about their three signature dishes - Tiger Prawns, Filet Steak and Lasagne. It is the perfect watering hole for thirsty walkers who have worked up a hunger rambling in the nearby Ivor Woods, or a much-needed pit stop for weary travellers on their way home.

The Ivor Arms Cowbridge Road, Brynsadler Pontyclun CF72 9BT 01443 222287 www.theivorarmsinn.com Visit our Facebook page theivorarmsINN

COWBRIDGE

What customers say...

Oscars Bar and Grill perfect al fresco dining If you fancy a spot of peoplewatching, continental style, then Oscars Bar and Grill is the place to see and be seen. Ideally situated on the High Street in the market town of Cowbridge, this cool and stylish Café provides the perfect pavement location to sip and enjoy a relaxing latte. For those who prefer less obtrusive alfresco dining, there is further outdoor seating in the courtyard area at the rear of the restaurant. Open from 10am for breakfast, lunch and dinner, there is ample opportunity to relax with a pastry and coffee while reading the morning newspapers.

“I like Oscars. It’s a great place to meet for lunch. I have a business meeting there at least once a month.” “There’s no better place to be seen and to see friends and sometimes local celebs. It’s a great place to people watch.” “Great cocktails, great food, great atmosphere. It just gets better and better.”

For an informal lunch choose from the varied menu of delicious seasonal dishes and classic favourites such as Caesar Salad, their signature Oscars Burgers and Deli Sandwiches. An extensive wine menu provides something refreshingly chilled on a hot summer’s day. Dinner is special, as night-time sees a change in mood and the bar becomes the focal point. Whether yours is a Manhattan or a Mojito, the bartender will mix your favourite cocktail or serve you champagne. Enjoy!

“The perfect pavement location to sip and enjoy a relaxing latte.” ❧ 27 ❧

Oscars 65 High Street, Cowbridge CF71 7AF 01446 771 984 www.oscarscowbridge.co.uk Monday 10am - 5pm Tuesday to Saturday 10am - 11pm Now open for Summer Sundays


HEALTH & WELLBEING Take good care of yourself with Vale Life’s guide to healthcare in the Vale B A R RY

Arbuthnot’s... The eyes have it! In their efforts to lead the way in optometry in the area, Arbuthnot Opticians of Barry are showcasing two new state of the art pieces of equipment The Visioffice and OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography). Vale Life talks to Arbuthnot’s about this innovative technology. What is Visioffice? No two eyes are the same and besides your prescription, numerous factors contribute to making each eye what it is including physiology, anatomy and mobility. Until now, you have had access to an array of high quality lenses – but none that take into account just how unique your eyes are. Using eyecode data, Arbuthnot’s can offer lenses that are customised for each of your eyes. With the new 3D eye measurement, Eyecode, up to twenty different factors can be added to your lens calculations. How does it work? Your head posture and eye movements are filmed and analysed. There is no physical contact with your eyes at all during the examination. What happens next? Once the measurements have been taken, Arbuthnot’s can then record your unique personal eye, frame and behaviour data. These measurements are then applied to the design of your lenses for true personalisation. Your lenses can even be engraved with your initials. Recorded benefits are instant and effortless vision. Providing lenses that are five times more optically precise, whatever your gaze direction.

OCT screening Optical Coherence Tomography The health of your eyes is a good indicator of your overall health, which is why Arbuthnot’s are offering a new way to check for potentially serious conditions that can affect not only your eyes, but your overall well-being. Using a state-of-the-art 3D OCT camera, our optometrist will take both a digital photograph and a three dimensional cross sectional scan of the back of your eye in one sitting. This allows us to instantly diagnose a number of common conditions. The scan is noninvasive, painless, simple and quick. What’s more, this image will be stored on our computer - so we can monitor for changes to the condition of your retina with every eye test you take. This gives you an invaluable ongoing record of the health and condition of your eyes.

WHAT CAN THE SCAN CHECK FOR?

OCT is an extremely advanced health check for people of all ages. It is very similar to Ultrasound, but OCT uses light rather than sound waves to illustrate the different layers that make up the back of your eye. We also capture a digital photograph of the surface of your eye to cross reference areas of concern. There is an additional charge for our OCT scan, but the benefits are clear.

Age Related Macular Degeneration Macular degeneration causes the gradual breakdown of the macular. OCT can not only identify this condition and its type (there are two types, Wet and Dry) but also monitor its progress. Unfortunately the risk of developing macular degeneration increases with age, and it is the most common causes of vision loss in individuals over the age of fifty.

Vitreous Detachments As we get older the vitreous, the jelly that takes up the space in our eyeball, can change. It becomes less firm and can move away from the back of the eye towards the centre, in some cases parts do not detach and cause ‘pulling’ of the retinal surface. The danger of a Vitreous detachment is that there is no pain and your eyesight will seem unchanged but the back of your eye may be being damaged. Macular Hole A Macular Hole is a small hole in the macular. The macular is the part of the retina which is responsible for our sharp, detailed, central vision. This is the vision we use when we are reading, sewing or using a computer, for example.

So, enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your eyes are in great condition. Call Arbuthnot Opticians today for your peace of mind.

“The health of your eyes is a good indicator of overall health, which is why Arbuthnot’s are offering a new way to check for potentially serious conditions.”

Arbuthnot Opticians 6 Broad Street Barry CF62 7XP 01446 735551 info@arbuthnotopticians.co.uk www.arbuthnotopticians.co.uk

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S WA N S E A

Fire, ice baby with Sancta Maria Let’s face it, most guys are absolute pants when it comes to any sort of facial routine. Yes I know that it’s a fact that guys now have as many products in the bathroom cabinet as the girls but, if you’re like me, your morning facial consists of dragging a lump of exfoliator across your face until it’s raw, then rubbing in a dollop of moisturiser. A bit more pampering is definitely in order. The Sancta Maria Hospital in Swansea is the only place in Wales providing the Fire and Ice Facial. It was developed in Los Angeles and is also known as the Red Carpet Treatment because so many A-list celebs have treatments leading up to the Oscars and let’s face it, even Brad doesn’t look like Brad without a bit of help! The Sancta Maria Hospital is tucked away in a leafy avenue and the reception is more hotel style than ER. The staff are very friendly and I was introduced to Heather Thomas who was to take me through the procedure. Heather is a nurse and still works in the health service and is one of the few practitioners trained in this procedure. Unlike many other treatments, the Fire and Ice Facial involves no needles, fillers or extreme chemicals, so I was loving it already. One treatment takes just over twenty five minutes - perfect for you impatient boys! Heather explained that the treatment is perfect for both men and women and that most of her clients are those who have a special day coming up and want their skin glowing with health to complement the special occasion.

The first part of the treatment involves a cleanser which feels fab. This is followed by the Fire Masque, which contains camomile, vitamins and salicylic acid. Don’t be put off by the acid bit - it’s an anti inflammatory made from willow bark. The Masque is clay based and tingles rather than stings and removes all of the dead stuff. After five minutes, Heather removes this gently with water then cleanses your skin once more. The second Masque is a cooling one containing aloe vera, green tea extract, grape seed and rosemary. It smelled gorgeous and felt wonderful! This stays on for eight minutes and, once removed, Heather applied a serum to re-hydrate and sooth the skin. Treatment over, Heather produced a mirror... was it going to be George Clooney or the Elephant Man?

“The general consensus seemed to be that I looked fantastic, I had a healthy glow and my skin looked really great” ❧ 29 ❧

The results were actually very surprising for such a short treatment. My face certainly felt softer and cleaner and there was no doubt that my skin was smoother. A series of treatments would, over the course of time, remove fine lines, pigmentation and generally give the skin a smoother appearance and texture. It could also help with acne scarring. I headed back to work to see if anyone would notice, and they did! The general consensus seemed to be that I looked fantastic, I had a healthy glow and my skin looked really great. I’d certainly think about returning for a course of treatments. It was easy, painless and Heather was absolutely delightful. Prices start from £100 per treatment but, for a limited time only, The Sancta Maria Hospital are offering a course of five facials for £200 which works out at only £40 a session. Go on treat yourself… you’re worth it!

The Sancta Maria Hospital Ffynone Road, Swansea SA1 6DF 01792 479 040 www.sanctamaria.co.uk


HENSOL

The Vale Hospital a new healthcare choice June 2010 marks the beginning of a new era in healthcare choice for South Wales. The Vale Hospital, which opened to patients on June 1st 2010, is a new purpose built hospital – located in 3.4 acres of rural parkland adjacent to the Vale Resort, in Hensol. This stunning new build provides a new choice for private healthcare in South Wales, and enables patients to have a say about where they would like to be treated – should they wish to go private for their medical treatment. Located in the Vale of Glamorgan, just off Junction 34 of the M4, The Vale Hospital provides great access for patients travelling from the Vale of Glamorgan, Cardiff, Rhondda Cynon Taf, and further east and west throughout Wales. Services and facilities at The Vale Hospital include ■ 25 private bedrooms with en-suite ■ Two high-dependency beds ■ Two custom built digital operating theatres which are the most technologically advanced theatres of their kind in Wales. ■ Six consulting rooms serving a range of specialties ■ Newly appointed French Head Chef Stephane Trinci and his catering team, serving up the very best food for patients, visitors and staff.

“This additional facility aims to ensure that consultations and treatment are within easy reach of patients.”

Home to the best consultants in South Wales, The Vale Hospital is an addition to Vale Healthcare’s multiple sites across South Wales including the existing Cardiff Bay Clinic, and Vale Physiotherapy Clinic (located within the Vale Resort, at Hensol). Vale Healthcare’s Cardiff Bay Clinic will continue to operate alongside the hospital, providing outpatient appointments and day-case surgical facilities as well as on-site MRI, ultrasound and mammography. This additional facility aims to ensure that consultations and treatment are within easy reach of patients, and that patients often have a choice about where they can see their consultant.

Services and clinics at The Vale Hospital include ■ Orthopaedics – Hip, Knee, Shoulder, Foot & Ankle, Hand & Wrist ■ Spinal surgery ■ Cosmetic surgery and treatments including breast augmentation and breast reduction, tummy tuck, nose re-shaping, prominent ear correction, Botox and fillers. ■ General Surgery, Gastroenterology and Colorectal Surgery ■ Ear Nose and Throat – including treatment for children over 3 years old ■ Gynaecology and Urology The Vale Hospital is open to all including patients with medical insurance and those who self-pay. Visit www.vale-hospital.com to find out more about The Vale Hospital, and Vale Healthcare’s additional locations – the Cardiff Bay Clinic, and Vale Physiotherapy Clinic.

The Vale Hospital Hensol Castle Park Hensol, Vale of Glamorgan CF72 8JX 029 2083 6700 enquiries@vale-healthcare.com www.vale-hospital.com

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People join health clubs for many reasons - for peak fitness, to tone up for a special occasion, get into a swimsuit for a holiday, or simply to de-stress and socialise. Whatever the reason, whatever the goal, The Health Club at the Vale Resort offers a range of affordable memberships. Vale Life talks fitness with manager Mandy Boulton.

STATE OF THE HEART What facilities are available The Health Club features a large-state-ofthe-art-gymnasium with the very latest computer-aided fitness equipment, a luxury 20 metre indoor pool, fitness studios (offering over 50 classes per week), plus squash and tennis courts, sauna, steam room and whirlpool bath. The large, spacious gym features the very latest computer-aided fitness equipment hosting an impressive stock of 80 cardiovascular and resistance machines as well as a good selection of free weights. All treadmills, exercise bikes, step machines, cross-trainers and rowers, are well positioned so that you can view one of the 10 televisions playing music channels along with the usual network stations designed to keep the mind occupied whilst the body works out in the gym. You can choose to use the facilities on your own or have a fitness suite personal programme designed for you by one of the club’s highly qualified fitness consultants, who will devise a programme for you and monitor your progress with each visit to ensure you reach your goals.

Fitness Classes With over 50 fitness, aerobic and exercise classes per week, there’s bound to be a fitness or exercise class to suit you. Choose from lively and funky aerobic classes such as Aero Attack, Salsa Aerobics and Pump FX to the calming effects of Yoga, Pilates and Body Dynamics. If you’re looking for a more rigorous workout, then XBiking, Box Fit Core Fitness and other dedicated exercise classes are the ones for you.

THE MEMBERSHIPS

Individual/Joint. Membership includes use of the Gymnasium, Various Classes, Swimming Pool, Steam Room, Sauna, Whirlpool Bath, plus Tennis and Squash courts anytime the Club is open.

What else is on offer? Health club memberships are available in a number of options for all needs and budgets. The Club’s dedicated membership team can assist you with enquiries, answer any questions about gym membership and offer a comprehensive tour of the extensive health club facilities. Holding a Health Club membership will not only allow you to benefit from a healthier and fitter lifestyle but also entitles you to receive member benefits across the resort, as well as exclusive offers from marketing partners. All leisure club members receive:

■ Technogym key to track your

wellness programme Off Peak. Membership includes all of the above between the times of 6.30am and 5pm on weekdays.

■ 10% off all beverages throughout the

Junior. This membership includes use of Junior Activities, Swimming, Junior Classes, Squash and Tennis Court. Over 16’s are able to use the Gymnasium accompanied by an adult. We only charge a junior fee for the first two children in the family, plus under 5’s have free membership. Little ones are also encouraged to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Available at the health club for our younger members is a fully-loaded junior activity programme, day nursery and crèche with NNEB qualified staff, supervised gym sessions and an excellent swimming programme.

■ Additional 5% discount on food and

Commit to Keep Fit at The Health Club

If you refer a friend who takes up a leisure club membership, The Vale Health Club offers exclusive referral gifts as a thank you for introducing a new member to the Health Club.

Resort ■ 10% off all bar and restaurant food

throughout Resort

Whether you want to lose weight, tone up, de-stress or simply start on a path to a fitter and healthier you our six week trial membership for £69 is the perfect start! For more information or to join phone 01443 665821/23/24 or email memberships@vale-hotel.com. ❧ 32 ❧

drink when you credit your health club membership card with £100 or more ■ 20% off all individual spa treatments ■ Subsidised golf membership fees for those also wishing to join the golf club ■ Discounts on supervised holiday period Children’s Camps ■ Birthday card and gift ■ Exclusive discounts on accommodation at the Vale Resort ■ 50% discount on room upgrades ■ No annual fixed contract

The team also organise a number of exclusive member social events throughout the year which include Christmas parties, shopping and theatre trips and their ever popular November 5th firework celebrations.


Vale Life talks to Amy Angharad Jones, 24, a member of the The Vale Health Club, to find out how membership has worked for her. Why did you choose The Vale Health Club to workout? I wanted to add some variety (and a touch of luxury!) to my training. I didn’t intend on becoming a fully fledged member but I enjoyed it so much I joined after the 6 weeks trial.

Is it value for money? When you think that the monthly membership includes use of the gym, swimming pool, sauna, jacuzzi, steam room, tennis and squash courts, and all the classes it’s actually pretty good value for money.

Exclusive offer... Day Pass for two worth £24 Call the Vale Health and Racquets Club and quote VLS789. This will entitle you to an exclusive Day Pass worth £24. Phone 01443 665800 today to arrange your Day Pass.* *Voucher is for two people for one day. Vale Health & Racquets Club membership terms and conditions apply. On presentation the bearer will have free use of all of the facilities at the Vale Health Club, with the exception of the Spa. Please telephone to confirm your arrangements with the membership team in advance, as certain time restrictions may apply for non-members. Vale Health & Racquets Club opening hours are: Mon – Fri 6.30am – 10.30pm. Sat/Sun/Bank Holidays 8am – 10pm

What facilities do you use? I use the gym, swimming pool, sauna, jacuzzi and steam room, as well as going to the classes. I’ve been to Boxercise Blast and Boxfit Core which were really good fun and a great workout. I’ve also been to some of the X-biking classes and yoga a number of times too. I’ve even tried the fencing. Are you enjoying the experience? I’ve really enjoyed training at the Vale Health Club. The classes, in particular, are really good and there are plenty to choose from. It’s nice to relax in the jacuzzi after a workout and the facilities are always clean.

Vale Resort Hensol Park, Hensol CF72 8JY 01443 665 800 www.vale-hotel.com

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WHEN ONLY THE B EST WILL DO WHEN ONLY BE ❧ 34 ❧


ESPOKE

When Wick couple Iain and Suzi Maxted were planning their barn conversion, they were looking for a company that could offer a bespoke, real wood kitchen. Little did local craftsman Paul Rathkey realise, that from designing and installing a kitchen he would spend the next nine months working on the property.

WILL DO â?§ 35 â?§


“I am passionate about wood and the making of bespoke furniture. I get a sense of immense satisfaction when achieving beautiful pieces. I love the feel of the timber and when the furniture is completed.”

What’s your background Paul? Rathkey’s has been trading for nine years. I went to Rycotewood College for my diploma in furniture and design. I was head hunted by David Linley Furniture Limited, the owner of which is Viscount Linley, the Queen’s nephew. I worked there for the next ten years making bespoke fine furniture for a number of famous people. The furniture manufactured was fine inlay work and precise cabinet making. How do people find out about you? There’s an element of advertising involved but, luckily, most of my work comes from word of mouth through satisfied customers.

How did you get involved in Mr and Mrs Maxted’s property? Initially, Mr Maxted contacted me to design and install a bespoke kitchen in his barn conversion. He must have been impressed with my work as he then asked me to design and install a staircase, cupboards in alcoves, wall panelling and cupboards, drinks case and hi fi cabinet, flooring, doors and skirting architraves, the study, a dressing room off the main bedroom, cupboards in the bedroom and even the bed! What wood was used? The kitchen was completed using oak and pippy burr oak, as were all of the wood panelling and the panels in the bedroom. The stairs were in oak, the study in American black walnut and the flooring in European oak. How many people did it take to work on the job? We had four people on the job and it took about eight months in total. I didn’t anticipate spending so much time at the property. It just escalated from the kitchen. What was the most challenging part of the job? It would have to be the curved doors in the kitchen but I believe that it was worth the time and effort as it makes the kitchen. ❧ 36 ❧

What other services do you offer customers? I can now offer building works as, very often, when designing and fitting a kitchen walls may need to be knocked down to fit that design. It’s all part of the process. What else is in the pipeline? Our order books are pretty full at the moment with a number of building and design and fit work in the local area and in London. How does it make you feel when a job is finished? I am passionate about wood and the making of bespoke furniture. I get a sense of immense satisfaction when achieving beautiful pieces. I love the feel of the timber and when the furniture is completed, I get an immense sense of pride seeing the faces of satisfied customers, many of whom have become firm friends. Rathkey’s Cabinet Makers of Distinction Ltd 29 The Woodlands Llandow CF71 7PF 01446 772931 admin@rathkeys.co.uk www.rathkeys.co.uk


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As celebrity endorsements go, it doesn’t get much better than one from Richard Jones, Cwmaman resident and bass player with the Stereophonics and his lovely wife Gail.

KEEPING UP WITH THE JONES’

“We wanted our new kitchen to be a mix of modern materials with classic tones.” When we met Gail and Richard in the Welsh valleys, it was only the second weekend they’d spent in their newly built home. As the house has impressive large ceilings and is finished in white, the couple wanted furniture that would complement the space. We asked Richard and Gail why they chose Spacefittingfurniture to design and install their new kitchen. Why did you decide to use Spacefittingfurniture? We’d visited some other showrooms and got the feeling that they didn’t offer that personal touch which we feel is pretty important. We felt that after visiting Steve and Claire’s showroom, the combination of their great ideas and perfect products could turn our vision into reality.

Did you have specific ideas on how you wanted the kitchen to look? We had a fair idea and with Steve’s help and knowledge, we got a really great design together. Steve was very good at turning our ideas into reality. Were you both happy with the finished product? We wanted our new kitchen to be a mix of modern materials with classic tones. We’ve only spent a limited time using the kitchen over the last couple of weeks, but we’ve found that it’s practicality and spacious storage is something that we have fallen for. Will it be a family kitchen or one used for entertaining? We will be using it as a functioning family kitchen which also doubles as an extension of our entertaining area.

Would you recommend Spacefittingfurniture? Definitely. We were really impressed with the service we received and would certainly use them again

Spacefittingfurniture The Design Quarter, 145 Colchester Ave Penylan, Cardiff CF23 9AN 029 2045 5778 info@spacefittingfurniture.co.uk www.spacefittingfurniture.co.uk

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WIN!

B A R RY

Keep on running with The Running School Leading specialist sports training company, The Running School® has created an exclusive partnership with top luxury world-class sports and health resort The Vale Resort, near Cardiff.

Q

Who is the founder of The Running School?

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A free analysis and five one hour coaching sessions at the Running School Centre in partnership with The Vale Resort worth £250 for adults and £200 for children.

The Running School® provides its specialist training programmes for both recreational private club members and other elite athletes and national teams and clubs that train at the Vale Resort. Mike Antoniades, founder and Director of The Running School® says, “Most of us haven’t been taught the correct way to run, but have adopted a running style that our body has got used to, irrespective of whether it is efficient or not. I have spent years analysing people’s running techniques and helped them to run more efficiently. The Running School® has identified a number of similar running characteristics with recreational runners and have placed them into different categories.”

“The Running School® concept was created by Mike Antoniades, a well respected performance and rehabilitation coach.” ❧ 40 ❧

“I have spent years analysing people’s running techniques.” Mike Antoniades is a well respected performance and rehabilitation coach who has worked with thousands of athletes and professional sports teams in the UK, Europe and the USA and The School provides on-going coaching, motivation and training programmes to clients of all ages and abilities. All clients participating in The Running School® have improved their running technique, running speed and coordination. It has proved a huge success with parents and kids and, in particular, within some academic schools where it is being used as part of the weekly school programme.

For more information on The Running School® please see www.runningschool.co.uk Or phone 020 8563 0007 for a franchise information pack.


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You can win too! 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 1 June 2010. Winners will be notified within 14 days and prize must be taken by 30 June 2010.

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VALE STYLE Handmade beads, summer weddings and jewellery B A R RY

Owner Lin Messer supplies beads and findings from around the world to a growing army of costume jewellery makers across South Wales and the UK. Here you can find every bead from turquoise to Austrian crystal and the colours of the beads shine and glisten everywhere you look. Yes they repair, renovate and re-string favourite pieces of jewellery but it’s the one-offs laid across the work table that catch your eye.

Anastasia Beads offers something unique Walk into Anastasia Beads on Barry’s popular High Street and you’ll find some truly stunning gifts with brand names such as Classical Glassware, Dream Light, Bomb, Lily Flame and Nemesis but walk a bit further into the shop and this is where the magic begins.

Lin can create designs to lift any outfit from good to absolutely gorgeous. Now with the wedding season upon us, the call for unique pieces of jewellery are high in demand and Lin’s workshops are proving to be a big success, with classes often at capacity. Classes are offered three times a week and allow participants to learn the art of costume jewellery creation and design, which is a very therapeutic and inexpensive hobby and gives participants the satisfaction of creating something unique and of their own making.

Russell Scott-Lawson of Hawkes Essentials answers your style and fashion queries.

Russell set up his popular men’s outfitters Hawkes Essentials in Cardiff’s Morgan Arcade some 14 years ago and has an extensive experience in the world of men’s clothing. He’s often approached by men with various sartorial problems which he’s happy to resolve. Here, Russell shares with us some of the most commonly asked questions regarding wedding attire and general wedding etiquette. What should I wear to a summer wedding? At Hawkes, all we want you to be concerned with is what flower to put in your button hole, so when it comes to weddings all you need is a sleek black morning coat, a grey backless waistcoat, pressed black and grey

Photograph Huw T Walters

HAWKES EYE

striped trousers, highly polished black Oxfords, woven silk tie and a crisp white poplin shirt, fresh out of the packaging. All of which are available at Hawkes Essentials. If you’re lucky enough to be invited to the Queen’s enclosure at Ascot. I’ve been invited to a wedding in the rural Vale? What are my options? Unless the invitation states morning dress, then I think a well-cut singlebreasted suit in a light blue or beige would be perfect. Try and do something a little different and keep away from anything that looks businesslike. What is the correct length for a well-fitted jacket? I see other men in different length sleeves and I’m confused. Stand with your arms straight by your side; the correct length of the jacket is determined by where your half closed thumb finishes. If the jacket comes below your thumb, it is generally considered too long and above your thumb too short. This is where rule of thumb comes from! If you’re in any doubt, pop in and I’ll explain in more detail. If you’ve already bought a jacket from elsewhere, tut, tut, I can alter the length if needs be. ❧ 42 ❧

“Here you can find every bead from turquoise to Austrian crystal.” For the Little Divas among us, Anastasia Beads also offers classes for children as young as five and encourages the creative side to children’s personalities. Commissions for unique pieces are proving to be very popular. VA L E L I F E E XC L U S I V E O F F E R ! Call into Anastasia Beads with this editorial or ring with reader offer ABVLS and receive 10% off your custom made jewellery order.

Anastasia Beads and Fine Gifts 8 High Street Barry CF62 7DZ 01446 400793 www.anastasiabeads.co.uk

We’re getting married at the end of the summer, at home in a marquee. We want a garden party theme and are not sure what the groom should wear. Please can you advise on this? We could be in for an Indian summer if the forecasters are correct so the late summer months could be very warm. I would suggest wearing a light coloured, lightweight suit with blue shirt and pink tie – always a winner! Russell Scott-Lawson opened Hawkes Essentials following extensive experience of the world of men’s clothing. He is a regular contributor to Vale Life, City Life and Valleys Life magazines on style and etiquette matters. If you have a wardrobe or etiquette issue, Russell would be happy to try and solve it. Just email your question to jennifer@valelife.co.uk. Only questions relevant to this section will be answered.

Hawkes Essentials 37-39 Morgan Arcade Cardiff CF10 1AF 029 2037 3780 www.hawkesessentials.com


P O R T H C AW L

RMA Williams Jewellers Rings Porthcawl’s premier jewellers RMA Williams is certainly one business that seems to have the Midas touch when it comes to selecting and creating collections that are in tune with their customers. Vale Life talked to owner, Mellissa Williams about their stunning new summer range of engagement and wedding bands.

WITH THIS RING... I hear you’re stocking some new engagement and wedding rings We have a new range of wedding and engagement rings from Bien starting from a very affordable £100 as well as others by Domino, Stephen Tyler Bands of Desire and Clogau Gold. Our wedding bands are available in 9ct and 18ct Gold, Platinum and Palladium in a variety of finishes and widths from 2mm and upwards and can be plain, patterned or set with diamonds. We also offer shaped bands to fit a larger stone.

“You can choose your own stone and we can set it in a style of band of your choice.”

Can you source diamonds specially for customers? Absolutely. We source diamonds of different carats, cuts and clarity, with certification which means you can choose your own stone and we can set it in a style of band of your choice. Our customers are finding this a very exciting and, surprisingly, cost effective way of buying an engagement ring! Why do you believe couples come to you for their engagement and wedding bands? I think it’s because we’re friendly and helpful and offer that personal service that perhaps you don’t get in a chain jewellers. We also offer a 10% discount when both rings are purchased at the same time and most of our customers are grateful if they can save money, as we all know, weddings can be very costly these days. Are there any change in trends? What is proving very popular with men at the moment are our Palladium rings. Palladium is part of the Platinum family but is often compared to 9ct Gold in price. It’s been around for years but recently has received a hallmark so it’s gaining popularity. Men like the fact that it stays pure white and is very hard wearing. Ladies like small bands set with diamonds and plain rings are a classic and never seem to date.

RMA Williams Jewellers 35 John Street, Porthcawl CF36 3AP 01656 786007 sales@rmawilliams.com www.rmawilliams.com

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PENARTH

Stepping out with The Queen B When Penarth resident Mrs Elizabeth (Liz) Thorney and her friends were picked to appear on This Morning Bus Pass Beauties of the 60’s feature, they couldn’t believe what would follow. The five longstanding friends were taken to London and treated to a special outfit, a new hairdo, makeup and nutrition advice. The feature was to show ladies how good they could look without going under the knife. As Liz had been shopping at The Queen B on Stanwell Road since it opened last year, she knew that she could find the finishing touches to her new look there. “The staff at The Queen B are so welcoming. They treat you as a person, not just a customer. The advice they offer is second to none. They suggest things that you wouldn’t think of and it always works,” says Liz. The dress that This Morning’s Jason Gardener chose for Liz was a beautiful silk patterned fitted dress, which suited her figure and colouring perfectly. The predominent colour was a bright pink with gold accent colours.

“Jodie and her team go to great lengths to get it just right.” Hairdresser to the stars Daniel Galvin transformed former blond Liz into a stunning redhead which complemented the outfit perfectly. The hot pink shoes with pom poms were the obvious choice but what about the bag? “I might have gone for bright pink again but the staff all agreed that this might be overkill and that I should go for a subtle gold clutch instead. They were right of course, it did,” said Liz. Would Liz recommend The Queen B to her friends? “I have done and will continue to do so. I know they will get a good service. Jodie and her team go to great lengths to get it just right. You can bring your outfit to the shop and they will suggest the perfect pair of shoes and bag to complement it. Where else would you get that level of service? The prices are so reasonable, you truly can afford to ring the changes.” The Queen B 8 Washington Buildings Stanwell Road Penarth CF64 2AD 029 2071 1100 S T D O N AT S

Courtenay is newly crowned Miss Wales Courtenay Hamilton, a 20 year old classical singer from St Donats in the Vale of Glamorgan is the new Miss Wales. Courtenay won the title at the competition grand final on Saturday 26 June at St David’s Hall in Cardiff. Fortynine young women competed for the crown and the opportunity to represent Wales at Miss World later this year. Fluent Welsh-speaker Courtenay, has ambitions to follow in the footsteps of Wales’ best loved female singer, Katherine Jenkins. She is also a crew captain with the RNLI and describes herself as an ‘adrenaline junkie’ who loves adventure. She said, “I am extremely excited about becoming Miss Wales and hope to use the title to inspire other young people to take life’s opportunities. I’ve already got plans in my head of confidenceboosting adventure camps for kids.” The competition was sponsored by Wales leading supplier of evening wear and promwear Dress Stop.com. ❧ 44 ❧

Event organiser, Paula Abbandonato of Vibe, said, “Once again, we have a fantastic Miss Wales. I hope Courtenay enjoys the year ahead and makes the most of every opportunity offered to her and continues to do her best for The Joshua Foundation.” As part of her prize, Courtenay will enjoy a number of overseas visits with the charity including going to Lapland at Christmas and Australia in the summer of 2011. The Miss Wales competition has grown to such a size in recent years, that now regional heats are being run as qualifiers in every local authority area in Wales. This year the competitions generated nearly £70,000 for The Joshua Foundation. The first heats for the 2011 title begin in September this year. Further information on how to apply is available at www.misswales.co.uk and www.misterwales.co.uk

“I am extremely excited about becoming Miss Wales and hope to use the title to inspire other young people.”


PENARTH

In the winter, Ginger’s also stock jackets by Sahara which are very eyecatching and unusual in their design and colour. The accessories in Ginger’s are numerous and colourful, Mint being my absolute favourite.”

Look good, feel great at Ginger’s! It’s easy for a shop owner, and an editor of a magazine for that matter, to rave about a certain business so here at Vale Life, we’d rather speak to a real customer and ask them what makes them shop where they do. We also get to meet some lovely people into the bargain.

Jo added, “Cathy and her staff are always so welcoming and helpful without doing ‘the hard sell’. It’s a real pleasure to shop here. They get to know their clientele and can advise on what might suit them best as soon as they walk in.

My friends shop here too and it’s also very handy to have Annie on hand to alter garments whenever that’s needed. Annie has altered several garments for me and I’ve always been completely satisfied with the finish and service. I’d happily recommend Ginger’s and Belle for its friendly service and fantastic staff who are always ready and willing to offer assistance and honest advice.”

Josephine Shan Jarman (or Jo to her friends) is no exception. We met Jo at Ginger’s to ask her why she shops there. “As a sixty-one year old woman, (and I don’t mind you quoting my age!) I like to look fashionable and stylish and, while I might not be a stick thin model, I like to look my best. I’ve shopped at Ginger’s and Cathy’s new boutique Belle, just a few doors away, since they opened.

I particularly like the brands that they have with Sahara and Adini being amongst my favourites. Linen and cotton are my favourite materials and both these designs suit me and my lifestyle during the summer months. There are always plenty of garments to choose from.

Ginger’s Stanwell Road, Penarth 029 2070 9773

“I’d happily recommend Ginger’s and Belle for its friendly service and fantastic staff who are ready and willing to offer assistance and honest advice.”

PENARTH

I’ve made many recommendations to friends as the clothes are special and different and the whole shopping experience is fun and enjoyable. There, my secret is out!”

Dress to the max with Julie T Penarth resident Rosemary Richards freely admits she loves to shop and although Rosemary’s a woman in her sixties (though you’d never believe it), she likes to look smart and a little bit individual. So where does she shop? I asked Rosemary to let me in on her special boutique find.

Julie T 1 Windsor Terrace Penarth CF64 1AA 029 2070 8784

Rosemary said, “I’ve been shopping at Julie T’s for many years now. I just buy what suits me - no specific brand, but I really love the French garments and Peppercorn.

Shopping at Julie T’s is like having a personal shopper on your doorstep and there’s always an outfit there to suit any occasion. Julie takes care in finding clothes that are that little bit different. The atmosphere in the shop is very friendly and uplifting and I can relax in the knowledge that I will be told the truth when I come out of the changing room. My friends shop here too and if there’s anything I need altered, then that’s no problem, as Julie is a professional seamstress and any alterations are done in a jiffy.

Debbie Vowles, owner Julie Turner and Rosemary Richards

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Russell Scott-Lawson is as enthusiastic today as he was when he first opened Hawkes Essentials in Cardiff’s beautifully preserved Morgan Arcade over fifteen years ago. It’s not difficult to see why his enthusiasm, good taste, and thorough knowledge of tailoring have translated into the clothing emporium that well-dressed men from near and far choose to visit. With the wedding season now truly upon us, Russell is busier than ever.

SUIT OF AMOUR With the wedding and events season in full swing, why should you choose Hawkes Essentials for gentlemen’s formal wear? If you look the part, you’ll feel the part and will, more likely, enjoy yourself. At Hawkes, we’re happy to guide you in your choice of outfit for the event.

What’s so important about having a suit specifically tailored? Most people don’t need a made-tomeasure suit. Spectacular results can be achieved with a suit that’s off-thepeg if it’s properly altered. At Hawkes, we carry six different shapes of suit and can generally get a fit spot on.

My advice is to keep things simple - less is more. Don’t throw too many colours together when a standard repetition of colour will do. A black suit, white shirt and silver tie looks stylish and classy because if you mix black and white, what colour does that give you?

However, if you do feel like treating yourself to a bespoke suit, it will look fantastic and you’ll get exactly what you require such as slim lapels or pink button holes. In fact, I think we can even make you a pink suit within our 300 strong choice of swatches. How long does the process take? On average it takes about an hour to measure you. We discuss your choice of cloth, linings, style and the event it’s required for. The next six weeks will be spent cutting the cloth by hand for a perfect and lasting fit. Any style or size can be accommodated and we fit customers from 38 short to 50 long. The result is a perfect fitting and highly individual garment made to your exact requirements. Do you offer accessories? We like to support British and European brands, so our shoes are mainly from British sources such as Jeffery West, R M Williams and Grenson, all of which are handmade in this country. ❧ 46 ❧

The images in this article are for illustration purposes only and have been kindly supplied by Sian Trenberth. www.sian-trenberth.com

At Hawkes Essentials we have a range of exquisite accessories including ties from Van Buck, as worn by John Snow on Channel 4 News along with Jonathon Ross and Stephen Fry. Our leather bags are often admired by all at many a station and airport. I hear you are the official sponsors of the Glamorgan Cricket Team. Yes, in line with Hawkes Essentials propensity to provide clothing for every occasion throughout the year, sporting or otherwise, it is a natural fit for us to be an official supplier for the Glamorgan Cricket Team, which we deem a great honour. The boys also use us for many other events, having suited Shaun Tait and Jamie Dalrymple for wedding suits recently.


Describe your career to-date? I had my first job at 14 and I’ve had one ever since, from a fisheries manager, outdoor pursuits instructor, chef, and architect’s assistant but retail has always been in my blood. The former owner of Hawkes was a Harry Fentons Regional Manager who sold me the business ten years ago, having owned seven shops at

its peak. I’m now looking to expand Hawkes to Cheltenham, Taunton and maybe even Bath. What do you think makes Hawkes Essentials so special? Genuine old school service without being pushy and we won’t sell you anything that looks unsuitable. Also, we believe in offering customers the highest quality - it’s what our reputation has been built on over the years. Hawkes Essentials As well as running a successful business, Russell is also recognised as an authority on designer menswear and is often quoted in the press.

Photography by Sian Trenberth www.sian-trenberth.com ❧ 47 ❧

37-39 Morgan Arcade Cardiff CF10 1AF 029 2037 3780 www.hawkesessentials.com

Photograph Huw T Walters

What’s your background? I was born in London and brought up in Exeter, Devon. I wasn’t much of a stickler at school, with most of my reports saying Russell who? as I spent much of my time fishing. I finally took some O levels and A levels later in life but owe my success to a book called Rich Dad, Poor Dad and all the mentors in my life.


It must be a daunting prospect taking over the family business when your mother and father are Leah and Colin Rosenberg and the business is Miskin Manor. Not so, say Amanda and Ben, who have now taken over the helm. Vale Life caught up with...

THE NEXT GENERATION When did you take over from your parents in the running of the hotel? AMANDA We started taking over the reins about eighteen months ago, but were officially made partners in April 2010. Since then, we’ve invested much time evaluating what is needed for the business to develop and grow. We’re now in the process of implementing our ideas and, with the support of our excellent team, are already seeing the benefits.

How do your mum and dad feel about the changes you are making? BEN Actually, they’ve been really supportive and enthusiastic about the whole process. I suppose it was inevitable that we would end up at the helm but they have been exceptionally patient and have always allowed us to go off and do our own thing. AMANDA I suppose they understood that it would only happen if and when we were ready. The transition has been very smooth and we’re both extremely excited about developing the business but we’re completely conscious of what Miskin Manor stands for, so it can only get better. What are your roles here? BEN Over the last fourteen years we have both been involved in the business at different stages and have worked in different areas within the hotel and health club to gain our experience to enable us to understand the business inside and out. There is a difference in our ages which has meant we have enjoyed varied life experiences but that contributes positively to our input into the business. These contrasting perspectives, we believe, make us a good team, enabling us to work together and understand each other’s areas with myself concentrating on the front of house operations and Amanda managing all aspects behind the scenes. Both roles are vital to the efficient running of Miskin Manor.

What was it like growing up with your mum and dad at the helm? AMANDA They are true entrepreneurs and growing up in that environment has obviously had an impact on Ben and I. It has always been a family goal for us to work together as a team. Both of us have different qualities that suit different situations and it is understanding and accepting this, as our parents had to when they were building the business, which is important to appreciate if we are to work together as a team.

What do you think is special about Miskin Manor? BEN The business is wonderful - what is there not to like about it? The grounds are superb, the location is ideal and the ambience is completely relaxing. Not a day goes by without a nod to how lucky we are. Miskin Manor is special to us and we want every visitor to have the same feeling about it as we do and to feel just as special. If we achieve that, then we have done our jobs well.

AMANDA It’s about not resting on our laurels. We’ve developed and refurbished the health club over the last eighteen months with a significant investment in the building and equipment and this has resulted in a remarkable increase in our membership, which we’re really proud of. Being around Miskin Manor for so many years, are you still excited about the business? BEN Absolutely. With a solid background in running a hotel passed down from our parents and our own creativity and ideas, we’re both very excited about the future and continuing to build the good name that the hotel has earned over the years. What’s next for Miskin Manor? AMANDA Our aim and goal is to continuously improve the quality and service that we deliver to our customers and to ensure that Miskin Manor Hotel and Health Club is one of the best four star country house hotels in Wales.

What qualities do you think you bring to the table? AMANDA Valuing each other and our parents and listening to all opinions with consideration and respect. We’ve both gained experiences outside the business which has allowed us to develop as individuals. We have regular board meetings, so there is quite an open forum for discussions and plans, development and direction. We always assume there’s more to learn. BEN Miskin Manor has a reputation as one of the premier wedding venues in South Wales and we both believe that this is something we can develop further. We have exciting ideas that will be developed over the next two years which will make the experience even more special. ❧ 48 ❧

Miskin Manor Country Hotel and Health Club Miskin, Nr Cardiff CF72 8ND 01443 224204 www.miskin-manor.co.uk


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St John’s School in Porthcawl has a reputation for not only providing boys and girls with a superb academic education, but it also prides itself in offering a welcoming and nurturing environment where children are encouraged to develop their personalities as well as their intelligence.

FIRST CLASS Vale Life went back to school for a morning and talked to St John’s Head, Carol Clint, one of its Governors Karen Jones, several of the happy children and their parents about what makes St John’s such a brilliant school. What makes St John’s so good? I love the fact that within the school we have pupils of such a range of ages, 2½ to 16 and a good mix of boys and girls. Also, because we are a small school, there is a real family feel about the place, with children and staff knowing everyone. We operate as a small community where we encourage traditional values and mutual respect and my favourite sort of days are when we have an event such as a concert or a house competition. Everyone gets involved and it is good to see pupils supporting their peers and mixing with both younger and older children.

I also really enjoy seeing the confidence that our children develop through being in such a supportive environment where we celebrate success. To me our independence as a charitable trust is very important and, within this system, I appreciate the support given by our local governors.

How does St John’s compare with other schools? I began my teaching career in a state primary school in England before moving to a prep school in the independent sector. That school grew to be much larger than St John’s is. Being here, I really appreciate the small community and teachers who are prepared to be very generous with their time. The high expectations from staff of how pupils should behave is of great importance. We operate an ‘open door’ policy at St John’s and there is always a welcome awaiting visitors, pupils and parents. It is easy to contact the office, the bursar, a teacher or myself and I believe this is important in the very personal service we offer. Where do pupils come from? We do have a large number of local pupils but we also operate a transport scheme. This uses our fleet of three minibuses with our own drivers who are also part of the school team. Each morning there are pick-ups along routes that go from Porthcawl out to Neath, around Bridgend and out to Pencoed and Cowbridge, and these runs go out from school at the end of the day too. This service is really popular now with all ages of pupils using it. What achievements has St John’s enjoyed recently? We regularly achieve excellent results at GCSE, comparable with other good independent schools. We recently have enjoyed success in UK maths challenges and some excellent results of full marks for several pupils in GCSE Science modules. A large number of pupils have taken part in a variety of sports fixtures and have enjoyed success in tennis, cricket and rounders. Many children learn to play musical instruments and regularly achieve very pleasing results in their examinations.

“It just felt so right... the best decision we made for our boys was sending them to St John’s.” ❧ 50 ❧

Governor, Karen Jones and Head, Carol Clint

Have you had any famous pupils? Probably the most famous and wellknown is Eddie Izzard, who attended St John’s as a boarder with his brother when aged just six and seven. They moved to the school for a while just after their mother passed away. Eddie paid us a surprise visit recently and impressed pupils with his knowledge and passion for science. Another now famous face is Rob Brydon who was also a pupil and Graham Roope, the cricketer. What are your aspirations for the future at St John’s? I am very happy as Head of St John’s and look forward to many successful years for the school in the future. Our numbers have increased recently which is really pleasing in the current economic climate and we aim to maintain our family style environment and small class sizes. Last year we improved our facilities with a brand new building for our Early Years and Pre Prep classes and in the future we will continue to update and improve other parts of the school. Extra projects are often supported by the Friends (our parents’ association) who also form a valuable part of our community. I am confident that we will continue to achieve in every area of the school - academic, sporting, musical, extra-curricular activities and in developing confident young people who are aware of, and can work to, their potential - and often succeed beyond expectations!


“We operate as a small community where we encourage traditional values and mutual respect.” Vale Life spoke to Karen Jones who is one of the school governors and asked her what brought her to St John’s. What brought you to St John’s? My younger daughter Sophie, came to the school in year 10, having had a miserable time at our local Comprehensive. She was struggling academically and emotionally. The two years that she spent at St John’s changed her life, she passed her GCSE’s and went onto college and passed her ‘A’ Levels and has just finished her first year at the University of Gloucestershire. I can honestly say that St John’s saved her. Tell us about your role as one of the school governors I am a newly appointed Governor at St John’s and I have been given the task of fundraising. Having worked as a fundraiser for a charity before, I know how difficult this can be, but I look forward to meeting the challenge. What do you like about St John’s? Where do I begin? I would say the most important thing is a sense of belonging it feels like a family. St John’s has fantastic teachers but it is also the pastoral care which is provided that I think is very important.

What pupils think of St John’s

What parents think of St John’s

Adi age 8 I like St John’s because it’s fun. There are lots of exciting things like sports day, swimming gala and charity days. I travel on the minibus or car from Bridgend. I think the teachers are brilliant and I am happy in school. When I grow up I want to be a sportsman or a doctor.

“St John’s came highly recommended by neighbouring parents. When we visited the school ten years ago we were impressed with the whole atmosphere which was extremely happy yet well disciplined. The excellent academic results that St John’s achieve were also an attraction and having visited a number of other schools we knew at once that St John’s was undoubtedly the best.”

Iskander age 8 I love doing science experiments and finding out about things. I do chess as an after school club and enjoy it a lot. I love geography because it’s fun and I like using globes and finding out about landscapes. I want to be in the Olympics when I grow up. Sophie age 9 What I like about St John’s is that we work as a team. We are kind and friendly to each other and it’s as if we are a big family. When I am older I would like to be a teacher. Luca age 11 I was four years old when I started at St John’s. The thing I like about the school is that it is a nice small, friendly place. One of my favourite subjects is art because you can express yourself and your feelings. ❧ 51 ❧

Mrs Catherine Perkins

“It just felt so right, from the moment we visited the school. The best decision we made for our boys was sending them to St John’s.” Mrs Pam Bennett

“St Johns is a true family environment. The staff and teachers are always on hand to talk about your child’s development and education.” Mrs Clare Skalitzky-Newman

St. John’s School Newton, Porthcawl CF36 5NP 01656 783404 enquiry@stjohnsschool-porthcawl.com www.stjohnsschool-porthcawl.com


The town of Porthcawl is growing in status as a destination for fashion and lifestyle boutiques. Combining the spirit and informality of coastal living this really is the place to shop this summer.

BESIDE THE SEASIDE Photograph, Martin Phillips www.martinphillipsphotography.com

Divine Jewellery No outfit worth its salt is ever complete without that all important statement jewellery. Divine in Porthcawl prides itself on offering affordable, fashionable accessories with a difference. Since opening its doors last Autumn, Divine has seen customers returning for more. This success and an emphasis on customer service led owners Michelle Smith and Marie Jones to open a second store in Cardiff Bay’s Mermaid Quay. Gorgeous scarves, bags, hats and necklaces are some of the items that vie for attention. With options for girls of all ages – including the little ones, you’ll find it hard to resist. 28 John Street, Porthcawl CF36 3BA 01656 784428 www.divineuk.com

Whites Letterpress

Truly Scrumptious

Walters Shoes

If you’re looking for unique stationery for your forthcoming wedding, social occasion or business then look no further than Whites Letterpress.

Prepare to be wowed by designerowner Lorraine Stone’s exquisite bridal designs at Truly Scrumptious. Lorraine’s 20 years’ experience in the business ensures an attention to detail that is second-to-none.

If you’re looking for a shoe shop with history, then look no further than Walters Shoes on Porthcawl’s High Street.

Established in 2006 by Susan Strides and Helena Reimann, they offer elegant design and quality to customers looking for something special, that can’t be bought off the shelf, using traditional printing techniques that takes time to make. This summer’s weddings have seen more requests for dual language invitations, and they have designed a new range of Deco inspired invitations, black card with coloured print being especially popular for party invitations Call Susan on 01656 782044 or email orders@whites-letterpress.co.uk

You can choose from the season’s collection of ready-to-wear gowns or her bespoke couture designs, crafted to suit every style and figure. Gorgeous tailoring is available for all members of the Bridal party and Bridesmaids, Mothers of the Bride or Groom can truly shine in outfits that are perfectly designed and fitted. 85 New Road Porthcawl CF36 5DH 01656 788 080 www.trulyscrumptiousonline.co.uk

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Offering brands such as FitFlop, Rieker, Seibel, Lotus, Vandal, Caprice, Sirco bags to name a few, the shop was recently taken over by the fifth generation in this well known family owned business. You’ll find great, friendly service, the biggest range of FitFlop sandals in Wales, plus a new website with free delivery. FifFlop sandals are the latest ‘must have’ item, combining style while also toning legs and bottom and with so many styles to choose from, you’ll be spoiled for choice. 38 John Street, Porthcawl, Pen-Y-Bont 01656 783609 www.waltersshoes.co.uk


P O R T H C AW L

Thomas Sabo at RMA Williams Jewellers Thomas Sabo is internationally recognised, having developed from what was originally the secret preserve of fashion insiders. Vale Life talks to Mellissa Williams of RMA Williams jewellers in Porthcawl about this exciting iconic Bavarian brand. Why is Thomas Sabo so popular with your customers? It’s fun and ‘always in fashion’! The Thomas Sabo range is designed and produced to the highest quality but offered at a good price. The glossy magazines feature the charms and jewellery on a regular basis, and it has universal appeal from the seasonal collections that follow the current fashion trends, to the classic and the unisex Rebel at Heart collection. The charms and charm bracelets make great affordable gifts at prices from £15.95. We find they’re really popular for special birthdays such as 18th, 21st and 40th in particular, and also for saying ‘I Love You’ or ‘Well Done’. Have you extended your range? We have taken on the jewellery collection in the last couple of months and it is selling really well – it’s so, so popular. We have a website and the quirky pieces like the Thomas Sabo Diver Pendant are selling very well online.

Special RMA Williams Summer offer! When you subscribe to RMA Williams Jewellers’ mailing list on their website you get 10% off your first online order. Definitely worth checking out!”

Any new ‘must haves’ in the range for the summer? The new collections feature bright bold flowers and nautical designs such as sharks and submarines. The Starfish pendant is a summer ‘must have’ as well as the Submarine and the VW camper van that’s going down well with the festival goers and the dreamers. The Strawberry locket is absolutely beautiful and is on my own wish list for summer! Does Thomas Sabo appeal to all age ranges? We think so. We’ve had more mature customers buying charm bracelets for Christenings, little girls seem to like the Disney and Barbie charms and big girls love the jewellery collection. RMA Williams Jewellers 35 John Street, Porthcawl CF36 3AP 01656 786007 sales@rmawilliams.com www.rmawilliams.com

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Only five minutes from Junction 34 of the M4, the village and small town appeal of Pontyclun and neighbouring Talbot Green and Llantrisant makes for a worthwhile day out. Here are Vale Life’s selection of fantastic shops and businesses that bring real character and charm to the area. Llantrisant market

PONTYCLUN, LLANTRISANT & TALBOT GREEN I don’t know about you, but at this time of year, treading the pavements of the big Metropolis in the summer heat can become a little wearing. After a while I begin to long for a village where I can just potter and amble about in unhurried fashion.

What’s more, any place that has banks and a Post Office in close proximity to independent shops certainly has ‘heart’. The bustling and thriving village of Pontyclun can be described as a community with heart. It’s hard to believe that this once farm land with only four or five houses grew through the Victorian industrial period to the village it is today.

With easy road access to Cardiff and the Vale, it is served by mainline rail links connecting the village to Cardiff in just 20 minutes and adequate bus routes. The neighbouring villages of Talbot Green and Llantrisant provides locals and visitors alike with a selection of small shops, hairdressers, restaurants and businesses; and the nearby Talbot Green Retail Park caters for all other needs. There is ample parking and this town is the main gateway for buses serving the Valleys, Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff.

Miss P

The Delicatessen

Pink Zebra

With brands including Ralph Lauren, Gant, Joules, Lego, Emile Et Rose, Sarah Louise, Animal and many more, it’s no wonder that parents head to Miss P on Cowbridge Road in Pontyclun to clothe their children.

If you’re passionate about food then the friendly charm of Jayne Watts and her team will have you returning to The Delicatessen for more. That and their courtyard café serving tea and coffee from beautiful china cups.

This gorgeously girly boutique perched atop the hill in Llantrisant is a destination not to be missed.

From newborn to age sixteen, Miss P can ensure your little ones look unique. Expect to rub shoulders with local celebrities as this boutique is a regular haunt. You can also find a great range of babies shoes, hats and gorgeous accessories. Owner Paula Haley offers a friendly and knowledgeable service which, she confidently believes, is unrivalled elsewhere.

It’s an obvious partnership that complements their existing offering of delicious homemade quiches and cakes, continental meats, antipasti, local eggs, cheeses from Wales and beyond, artisan bread and groceries typical of a Deli of this quality. They’re a one-stop shop for tempting treats and culinary staples that would grace any kitchen, dinner party, picnic or lunch.

14 Cowbridge Road, Pontyclun 01443 224477

24 Cowbridge Road, Pontyclun 01443 225579

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“With easy road access to Cardiff and the Vale.” A real treat awaits shoppers in the ancient hill town of Llantrisant. It is generally known for its association with the fabled and infamous Dr William Price, who pioneered the legalisation of cremation in the British Isles. Nowadays, Llantrisant is a quirky destination for fashion, interiors, arts and crafts and a fabulous little coffee shop.

Owner Sam Reed’s success lies in the colourful, eclectic and affordable range of handbags, jewellery and stylish clothing. It’s the perfect place for fun, funky pieces. With the popular Yankee Candles and Big Baby acrylic jewellery, you’d be hard pressed not to find something for every budget and taste. Stockists of Darling, Desigual, Uttam and Yumi this is clothing at its feminine best. Also, the hot trend for component jewellery means you’ll find Balala Beads to create unique customised bracelets. 7A Swan St, Llantrisant 01443 449058 www.pinkzebrallantrisant.co.uk


Francis-Trowe solicitors Established almost ten years, Francis-Trowe Solicitors consists of Helen, her partner, Alan Havard Jones, and support staff. Helen has been qualified for twenty three years and has worked for nineteen of those in Talbot Green. Alan has been qualified thirty five years, thirty four of those in Talbot Green. With such a long history in the village, it’s no wonder that they know the area and clients so well. As well as providing Wills and Probate Services they have a large Residential and Commercial Conveyancing Practice. Helen specialises in acting for developers on acquiring land and the sale of new build properties. Clients come from all parts of South Wales and further afield. Some clients work in the Talbot Green area and choose to instruct solicitors closer to their work place rather than their home for the sake of convenience.

They also have clients from other parts of the country which currently include as far afield as London, Devon and North Yorkshire.

“Clients come to us for our expertise as all files are dealt with by a Partner - they appreciate our friendly, approachable service. Both Alan and I have many years experience acting for clients in the area and a large number of our clients are repeat business and recommendation which both of us take as a compliment.

When I decided to set up my own Practice it had to be Talbot Green as it would have been a wrench to leave the area,” says Helen. “The village has a great sense of community, with friendly people and the Talbot Green Retail Park is such an asset. It has put Talbot Green on the map. I tend to have short lunch breaks but I often visit the Learning Curve Café next door for lunch as they’re friendly and efficient and their food and garden area are lovely.”

“Clients come to us for our expertise as all files are dealt with by a Partner - they appreciate our friendly, approachable service.”

Helen is hearing impaired and to assist Helen and any clients who visit the office, a loop system has been installed in the office. Francis-Trowe Solicitors 56 Talbot Road Talbot Green CF72 8AF 01443 231555

John Hughes Butchers

The Art Workshop

The Flower Pot

It’s clear to see why John Hughes Butchers attracts customers both locally and as far afield as Swansea, Brecon, Cowbridge and Barry.

It’s definitely worth taking a walk to the end of Lanelay Road in Talbot Green or you’ll miss a real treat.

If you’re looking for a florist with a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the business, look no further.

With its fine selection of cooked meats, homemade pies, pasties, faggots and award winning sausages (the latter made by Lewis Padden for the last eight years), John and his five members of staff are equally well known for their personal service and happy banter that’s served along with his locally sourced produce.

A specialist picture framing service, they also sell ready-made frames, cut mounts, original paintings and home interior gifts. With over ten years experience in the framing industry, Hayley discusses room colour and gives design advice. The artworks you’ll see in the shop are created by Hayley and are inspired by Welsh landscapes as are many of the home interior gifts which make unusual and very desirable gift ideas.

Owner Lynda and her team (Louise and Sue) are bursting with creativity and can create bouquets and displays to suit all tastes and budgets and for any occasion including parties and weddings. They are in-house florists to Canada Lodge and also supply to a number of hotels including nearby Vale Hotel. Customers come from near and even abroad - their reputation extends that far! Their creativity doesn’t stop at floristry as they also design bespoke fascinators for special occasions.

1 Lanelay Road, Talbot Green 01443 224514 hayley3482@hotmail.co.uk

49 Cowbridge Road, Pontyclun 01443 223643 the-flowerpot@hotmail.co.uk

A genuine, old fashioned family butchers which is a real find and well worth travelling for. 31 Cowbridge Road, Pontyclun 01443 225225

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Design Inspiration If your home needs a little TLC this summer, we have just the thing for you. Design Inspiration, situated on the fringes of Pontyclun, can offer you a first class design service from their extensive range of designer products, found in their gorgeous showroom.

Designer Discount Sale

Well worth a trip to find that something different, the beautifully displayed showroom offers an unrivalled range of unusual gift ideas, including jewellery, handbags and products for the home. Free gift-wrap service also available. Teamed with this, the owners, Wendy and Rose, offer a professional design service and beautifully made bespoke soft furnishings, with wall coverings, paints, flooring, lighting, furniture, and accessories.

Over thirty five years of experience ensures that each client has a unique scheme tailored to them, their home, and their budget. Design Inspiration provide attention to detail, quality and customer satisfaction is guaranteed, which is why clients return for their next design project and are pleased to recommend the service to friends and family. It really is a onestop shop to furnish the whole home.

Design Inspiration 77 Llantrisant Road Pontyclun CF72 9DP 01443 449955 info@designinspirationltd.co.uk www.designinspirationltd.co.uk

Just Because Coffee

Castle Cloaks Bridalwear

Appletree Kitchens

There’s a new buzz in Pontyclun with the arrival of a brand new, fun and exciting addition to Just Because Coffee Shop.

The bustling village of Pontyclun is home to this family-run business. It has grown steadily from its roots of providing custom made cloaks and stoles into a boutique selling stunning dresses for brides, bridesmaids and prom queens.

For a traditional or contemporary kitchen for your home, visit Appletree Kitchens, Cowbridge Rd.

Owner Lisa Samuel has introduced a fun area at the rear of the shop for boys and girls of all ages. Crafty Kids offers an exciting range of ‘make it yourself’ crafts including porcelain painting, textiles and bags, wood painting and decorating, jewellery making and much more. A new menu of sandwiches, paninis, jackets, soups, salads, scrumptious cakes and daily specials are available, all using fresh and local ingredients. Just Because also offers buffets, parties and working lunches. 15 Llantrisant Road, Pontyclun 01443 449539

Owner Sally Davies is mindful of the needs of busy people. To this end she offers out of hours evening and weekend appointments for customers who prefer an exclusive, unhurried shopping experience. Stocking a range of jewellery, tiaras and shoes, this is a one-stop shop for all your bridal needs. Men need not feel excluded as a dinner suit hire service is available. 14a Cowbridge Raod, Pontyclun 01443 228203 www.castlecloaks.co.uk

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The ‘Designer Discount Sale’ will run from 17th July to 28th August 2010. Save up to 20% on Fabrics & Blinds.

Their promotional message is ‘Where Quality and Service Matter’ and this is evident from the welcome you receive. From sleek contemporary to traditional wood, there’s plenty of choice in this well planned and immaculate showroom. The company offers a free measuring and design service, a huge selection of styles and designs, excellent choice of appliances, complete fitting service, full deposit and insurance protection with value for money pricing. Call in today to discuss your new kitchen requirements. 33 Cowbridge Road, Pontyclun 01443 226804 www.appletreekitchens.com


Superior Travel

Charizma

Free to Explore Beauty

Talbot Green is an up and coming area with new, quality businesses. One such new business is Superior Travel on Talbot Road.

Owner Helen Button opened this unisex hair salon twelve years ago and, with her team of nine, offers a truly unique service in their large, modern salon.

Boasting award-winning products such as La Clarée, Zoya and Lavera, indulge your body and mind at the specialist Organic and Natural Salon, Free to Explore Beauty.

With up to date styles, they can also offer New Human hair extensions, fashion piercing, Creative Nail extensions, chemical straightening, waxing, fillers and beauty treatments. You’ll also find a private new bridal suite offering bucks fizz and canapés, cut and styling to would be brides and their guests. The party’s make-up artist can also be invited to complete the offering. Charizma proudly believe that this service is unique to the area.

Owner Miriam Holcombe and her team have personally selected the products for their ingredients, performance and eco status. So if you’re after a wrinkle-diminishing moisturiser or a blissful aromatic facial you can be assured of quality. Step out this summer with a perfect, natural looking tan using their paraben-free Sienna X products and complete the look with a juicy coloured nail polish.

Since its recent opening, the response has been fantastic with bookings being made every day. Their unique concept of displaying over 150 live availability offers in-store, including long and shorthaul holidays, flights, city and short breaks, UK and abroad coach holidays, theatre trips and cruises – it’s easy to understand why. Call in to Superior Travel and leave your well earned holiday arrangements in their very capable hands. Danygraig House, 45b Talbot Road Talbot Green 01443 445844 www.superior-travel.co.uk

11 Llantrisant Road, Pontyclun 01443 228484

Giles Gallery are currently holding an exhibition by artist Paul Crow, ‘Return of the Poppy man’, and will be hosting the local photographic club exhibition in September, as well as a Giles Gallery students class exhibition later this year in September. They are also planning to have a ‘preloved books’ sale for a week in August. Please phone for more details.

45a Talbot Road, Talbot Green 01443 224148 www.freetoexplorebeauty.co.uk

Additionally, they have some great half price deals on Windsor and Newton supplies and lamp glass charm bracelets. Giles Gallery are currently the only outlet for popular local Rhondda artist, Elwyn Thomas, with some beautiful new original work by the artist, as well as limited edition prints. 1 Cerdin Avenue, Pontyclun 01443 228638

Giles Gallery Run by talented local artist Beth Giles and her mother Sheila, this great little gallery exhibits, promotes and sells the work of new and local artists from around South Wales and the Midlands. Media includes paintings, sketches, jewellery, ceramics, metal, woodwork and textiles. The gallery also boasts a very large and wide range of art and craft materials, from beginners starter packs, to specific niche items. An art gallery as well as a venue for art classes, Giles Gallery holds a range of weekly events, including an art club and life drawing classes as well as taking bookings for other art and craft courses.

“This great little gallery exhibits, promotes and sells the work of new and local artists.” ❧ 57 ❧


Sue Marshall, owner of Lois boutique on Cowbridge’s fashionable High Street must be doing something right as she’s just opened a new boutique offering fabulous brands and is reinventing the original Lois boutique as the place to shop for shoes and rainwear. Vale Life talks to Sue about what makes Lois…

THE BOUTIQUE OF CHOICE Here at Vale Life, we like to champion the independent boutiques (the good ones anyway). Lois is one such boutique where customers are known by name and where owner, Sue Marshall, prides herself on offering what she believes the high street chain stores simply can’t - great customer service. Vale Life spent a happy hour talking shop. How long has Lois boutique been established? The original shop at number 27 was owned by Marjorie for over thirty five years. I took over this shop three years ago as the business under the previous ownership had such a good reputation that I decided to keep the name. Why did you choose Cowbridge? I was brought up in Cowbridge and as the town is known for its mix of fabulous boutiques, coffee shops and antique shops, it made perfect sense to set up here. I think Cowbridge has a picture box quality about it that is hard to beat in South Wales.

What brands do you stock? My aim with Lois is to offer women a great range of clothing from smart casual to occasion wear and cruise wear. We don’t follow trends here but rather offer fashionable brands that will make every woman feel good about themselves.

What was the reason for opening a second boutique? Number 27 has always been on the small side and I wanted something larger to show the garments off to their full potential. With a background in merchandising, I appreciate the value of giving garments room to breathe and present themselves properly and I wanted a premises that could allow me to achieve this. This property came along and even though it was a leap of faith, especially in this economic climate, I knew it was right for Lois.

Our designers are Frank Lyman, Gold by Michael H, Personal Choice (for our size 14 to 20 ladies), Olsen, Fred Sabatier and Zele (our Polish Fair Trade brand). Our jewellery is by Gabby and our bags are by Suzy Smith.

“Lois offers women a great range of clothing from smart casual to occasion wear and cruise wear.”

Do you have any brands that are unique to Lois? Yes, Frank Lyman and Zele. What do customers like about shopping at Lois? I’m bound to say it’s the friendliness of our staff and the sincere, straightforward advice that we give but it’s not just me saying that - ask any of our customers and I’m confident that’s what they would say. On average our customers are forty-something discernable ladies looking for fashionable but wearable clothing of excellent quality at affordable prices. ❧ 58 ❧

What about your staff? I wanted a team that wouldn’t treat the business as just a job but had the same passion for it as I do. I’ve been very lucky. Barbara worked in the original shop and is now in her seventies – she has so much energy and vitality – she’s amazing. Sue Jones and Jackie Pitman have worked in the new boutique since it opened and have been friends of mine since our school days. Charlotte who works for us on a Saturday is Jackie’s daughter, so it’s quite a family affair. Any exciting plans on the horizon? The original shop will be transformed in a few months into a quality shoe shop with brands such as Vandal, Reiker and Cappalini. We’ve stuck to brands that we know are popular, well made and with prices that are affordable. We will also be stocking a wide range of rainwear, matching bags and umbrellas. It’s a very exciting time. Lois 27 and 29 High St Cowbridge CF71 7AE 01446 774101 01446 772471


O

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VALE BUSINESS In association with The Business Centre B A R RY

Great moves at The Business Centre James Mason has been promoted to Centre Manager at The Business Centre in Barry. James has gained invaluable experience and knowledge working in The Business Centre over the last three years in his role as Assistant Manager. Gordon Mason, Managing Director said, “James’ promotion is an achievement he can be especially proud of. I am confident James will play an important part in the future success of our company.” James said, “I’m really excited about my new role. It’s a really important step up in my career and I want to do my very best, not only for the company, but also for all our valued clients, customers and visitors to the centre.” S O U T H WA L E S

The Media Angel spreads her wings Based in Penarth, Alison Debono’s media planning and buying business, already has an impressive list of clients across both the public and private sectors, including Keep Wales Tidy, Welsh Blood, Chwarae Teg, Cardiff Airport, including campaigns for Thomas Cook, KLM, Flybe and high end interior companies such as GW Tiles and Spacefittingfurniture. Having worked across a variety of media, including TV, radio and publications, plus with a decade of experience in the field, The Media Angel has helped many organisations choose the right media mix to use, get them the best deals for their budgets and get them positive results. The main reason clients choose to use The Media Angel is because they like to have one professional, 100% impartial contact to deal with rather than dealing with hundreds of contacts in the media.

“Using The Media Angel has proved invaluable.”

Also, Mrs Clare Power is The Business Centre’s new support receptionist and admin assistant. Clare will be providing the usual high standard of receptionist services and administration assistance. James Mason said, “Clare has joined The Business Centre from a background allied to receptionist work and administration support. We’re delighted to have her on board.” Vale Life magazine would like to wish both James and Clare the very best for the future in their new roles. The Business Centre Cardiff House Cardiff Road, Barry Vale of Glamorgan CF63 2AW 0800 6349920 enquiries@thebusinesscentreonline.co.uk www.thebusinesscentreonline.co.uk

Alison says, “My clients say The Media Angel saves them precious time so they can get on with running their business, knowing their marketing activity is in safe hands.” Cardiff Airport reinforce this. “Using The Media Angel has proved invaluable to us as her knowledge of marketing opportunities is second to none and has helped save us time and money with all of our campaigns.”

Benefits of The Business Centre’s serviced offices One monthly rental payment based on the size of the office suite covers: ■ Rent ■ Service charge ■ General and environmental rates ■ Heating, lighting and power ■ Executive furniture ■ Daily cleaning of office ■ Furnished and manned reception ■ Telephone system including handsets ■ DDI line per authorized user ■ Mail handling ■ Building insurance and maintenance ■ Fire alarm and building security ■ Free car parking ■ Free membership to on-site gym

“We were 100% happy with the end result and would strongly recommend her to any client looking for help with their advertising.”

Alison recently assisted in the launch of The Vale Hospital with a multi media campaign including forty-eight sheet posters and bus, glossy magazines, inserts and radio advertising. The team at Vale Healthcare are quick to endorse Alison’s services saying, “The Media Angel proved essential at such an important and busy time for us. With her extensive knowledge, Alison advised the best media platforms for us to use. We were 100% happy with the end result and would strongly recommend her to any client looking for help with their advertising.” So, if you’re looking for some advice, ideas or assistance with your marketing or perhaps need to insource some marketing expertise to work alongside your company it might be a lot easier with The Media Angel looking out for you. ❧ 60 ❧

The Media Angel Mobile 07793 355305 029 2070 7967 www.themediaangel.co.uk


V-BITES

RHOOSE

Hot new design for Wildfire

Wildfire will be officially launched later this year but the owners have allowed the new branding to be seen for the first time in Vale Life magazine. Branding expert, Mark Roberts described the logo as “simple but contemporary and reflecting the passion of the company’s Welsh roots.” A spokesperson for Wildfire commented, “We’re delighted with Mark’s solution. He steered us away from the usual stereotypes and has created a beautiful graphic interpretation of what Wildfire is all about.” Mark has also designed a unique font for the company’s name, and a modified and stylised W forms the centrepiece of the logo. Mark said,“The stepped ascenders of the W symbolise the philosophy of Wildfire; continuous improvement and increasing business. PENARTH

Rowley’s website wows the web Looking for great gifts? Rowley’s of Penarth recently launched its e-commerce website. Owner Petra says, “The site has been over a year in the making and is a significant investment for us but we’re delighted with the results.”

Mark has over thirty years experience providing marketing and branding advice to businesses across the UK and beyond. His clients range from sole traders right through to blue chip companies and his talents are much in demand. “I’m in the very fortunate position of being able to choose who I work for these days. Yes, I’m in business to make money - we all need to make a living, but it’s much more important to me to like the people I’m working for. That way, we all get along and the relationship is more productive and enjoyable.” Mark Roberts 01446 711811 Mobile 07766 106731

So if you’re looking for jewellery, gifts or fashion, the Rowley’s website has literally has hundreds of items to choose from but because of its excellent design is really easy to navigate. The perfect gift is just a click away. Rowley’s 110 Glebe Street, Penarth CF64 1ED 029 2070 7556 www.rowleysgifts.com

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Matt Powell’s tempting bitter chocolate mousse with wild cherry and sugared hawthorn flowers

Vale bitesize news

Vale graphic designer, Mark Roberts has designed a new logo and branding guidelines for Wildfire, a new Welsh distribution and logistics company.

VA L E W I D E

What’s cooking? Fans of chef Matt Powell (La Plie) will be pleased to know that he’s busy writing a book which will be published next year and he may pop up in a restaurant in the Vale in the not too distant future. Watch this space. B A R RY

Deli Of The Year The votes are in Popular Barry delicatessen Food For Thought would like to thank all of the customers and supporters who voted for the deli in the Deli Of The Year competition. As we go to print they’re all crossing their fingers in Barry, hoping that Food For Thought is in the final twelve. Good luck! PENARTH

New star on the horizon for Annie and Matt There’ll soon be a new arrival in the Mullooly household as Matt (Northern Star jewellers) and Annie are expecting their first child. If you have any items of clothing to be altered, I’d get over to Annie at Ginger’s in Penarth as soon as possible as I don’t know how much longer she’ll be able to fit behind her sewing machine!


The Business Centre is a real hotbed of business activity with a whole host of resident companies, partnerships and sole traders beavering away. But this thriving commercial hub is also a preferred destination for organisations looking for meeting and conference facilities. Here at Vale Life we think it’s time we put in a...

CONFERENCE CALL We talk with newly appointed Centre Manager, James Mason. Congratulations on your recent appointment James. Thanks, I’m settling in nicely - it’s very busy and certainly never dull here. Every week is different. I’m enjoying the new challenge. What do you think makes The Business Centre so popular as a conference facility? Quite simply, customers like what we’re offering. We deliver the widest range of conference and training room facilities at a competitive price. I think because we’re in business too, we understand what other businesses need. We listen to customers so we’re always improving or certainly trying to. Do you have to be a resident to use the facilities? No, not at all. The facilities are available to both residents and non-residents of The Business Centre. What sort of size conference can you accommodate? The Business Centre team guarantees your meeting will be a success whether it’s a conference or a training session we strive to be flexible. This last week has been a good example. We’ve had a series of one to one meetings where people have literally just hired a single room and we also had a seminar for almost sixty delegates. I think it’s that real flexibility that clients like. With so many delegates, can you cope with the parking? We’ve ample free parking so we make sure that clients’ can park comfortably and, more importantly, that it’s not going to cost them anything. Imagine if you were parking in Cardiff for the day. You could be looking at a delegate parking bill alone of over six hundred pounds if you were picking up the tab as an organiser.

What about hire fees? Are you competitive? The Business Centre can offer rooms ranging between one delegate and sixty two delegates and are available by the hour, half day or full day with delegate packages also available. We make sure that all delegates using the conference and training facilities are looked after with efficiency and care. Do you have catering facilities? We can offer a range of catering options from specialised buffets to a meal deal at The Coffee Zone as well as breakfast and beverage options ranging from cereals to full English breakfasts. We have a great team. What about IT facilities? We have an IT suite that can cope with most requirements. We have several companies who use us for their training courses. With fifteen laptops available and two state-of-the-art overhead projectors and screens, our IT training suite is up to the minute in terms of technology. With the latest Microsoft Office software and full hi-speed broadband internet access, we’re confident we can deliver. It’s an impressive combination of sumptuous furnishings and state-ofthe-art technology. We have great feedback from the training companies that use us. Delegates and visitors can also use our dedicated breakout areas along with the new on-site cafe, The Coffee Zone. We also have a number of calm areas and an outside picnic area with seating – very popular on sunny days. So the future is bright at The Business Centre? I’d like to think so. Things are tough for business at the moment but I believe we’re helping our clients by offering flexible, helpful solutions that make doing business just that little bit easier. ❧ 62 ❧


Please contact James Mason, Centre Manager on 0800 6349920 to experience The Business Centre conference and training facilities. The Business Centre Cardiff House, Cardiff Road, Barry, Vale of Glamorgan CF63 2AW 0800 6349920 enquiries@thebusinesscentreonline.co.uk www.thebusinesscentreonline.co.uk

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VALE

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

Ascot Day at Miskin Manor There is no greater gathering than one enjoyed in the heat of a quintessential British summer day. It provides the ideal opportunity to dress up and the ladies certainly didn’t disappoint at the annual Ascot event at Miskin Manor. It was a refreshing change to meet a resourceful and ecletic group of women, dressed in anything from designer to High Street, on-line to hand sewn vintage, pieces picked up on travels far and wide and everything in between. Style-savvy and budget conscious women know that there’s always multitude ways of reworking what’s already in their wardrobe. Here’s Vale Life’s pick of the day.

Ben Rosenberg and Kelly Jarman. Dress and shoes from Karen Millen. Millinery from Top Notch, Bridgend

Leah Rosenberg wearing outfit bought on a trip to Australia Jackie Moore. Dress by Michaela Louisa. Millinery by Jaeger

Miskin Manor Country Hotel and Health Club Miskin, Nr Cardiff CF72 8ND 01443 224204 reservations@miskin-manor.co.uk conference@miskin-manor.co.uk www.miskin-manor.co.uk The beautiful setting of Miskin Manor

COWBRIDGE

Elizabeth Haines at The Cowbridge Gallery Art lovers enjoyed an exhibition by artist Elizabeth Haines at The Cowbridge Gallery recently. Guests enjoyed wine and canapés whilst perusing the many artists on display including new works by local artist Elizabeth who was on hand to talk to guests.

Jan Edwards

Jeanette Davies, Valerie Morris both of Cowbridge

Lori Havard, Kevin Havard, Dee Comerford, Gail Mooney, all from Swansea

Anne Sharp and Titus Sharp from Cardiff

Unfortunately, since this event took place the gallery has been forced to close. In our opinion this is an absolute tragedy for Cowbridge. Local businesses need our support. Please read our comment on page 3.

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SOCIAL LIFE Sîantel James. Dress by Caprice. Shoes by Christian Laboutin Millinery from Vanessa boutique, Milford Haven Marina

Sarah Thomas. Dress from Coast. Bag by Mulberry Aimee Thomson. Dress by Kasike. Gold clutch by Lulu Guiness

Katherine Foot (Florence & Fred), Lucy O’Donnell (Debenhams/BHS)

Yvonne Jones in Body Basics and Darryl Smith

Vi Harris, Sue Flower and Jon Harris of Llanblethian

Amanda Rosenberg. Dress by L K Bennett. Deborah Haines. Dress by Adrianna Papel. Millinery by TK Maxx

Gillian Keegans in mint green from Very

Lesley Greffield-Price in a Philip Treacy hat

Karen, Tabitha (aged 7) and Nigel

If you’d like to feature your social event in these pages please contact Jennifer on 0845 130 6452 or email jennifer@valelife.co.uk Annette Kerrison and Don Kerrison of Cardiff

Elizabeth Haines, Artist

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VALE

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

St Davids Polo If you missed this year’s Polo at Fonmon Castle in Rhoose, then you really did miss out on one of the social events of the year. It was a beautifully hot day, with not a cloud in the sky, and the ladies took the opportunity to dress up in their finest. The match between Italy and Wales was extremely entertaining with exciting end to end play culminating in a closely fought four – three win to Italy. For those of you who did miss the event, all is not lost as St Davids Polo is hosting another two events later in the summer. Full details on page 15 or visit www.stdavidspolo.co.uk

S T DAV I D ’ S H A L L , C A R D I F F

Gala of Massed Male Choirs The cardiac charity SADS UK hosted a Gala of Massed Male Choirs at St David’s Hall with Rugby Union star Jamie Roberts making a guest appearance as the charity’s patron. Guests also enjoyed an evening of entertainment from The Regimental Band of the Royal Welsh and the Corps of Drums, along with beautiful soprano Elin Manahan Thomas, accompanied by Angharad Morgan and pianist Jane Samuel. Contact: Anne Jolly, SADS UK. Tel 01277 811215 email sadsuk@btconnect.com Eve Lloyd-Daughton, SADS UK Representative, The Right Worshipful Mayor of Newport, Anne Jolly, SADS UK with Patron of SADS UK, Jamie Roberts, Welsh International Rugby Union Player

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SOCIAL LIFE

The Regimental Band of the Royal Welsh

The Regimental Band of the Royal Welsh.

If you’d like to feature your social event in these pages please contact Jennifer on 0845 130 6452 or email jennifer@valelife.co.uk Russell Isaac from Sports Media Services Ltd, Anne Jolly, Jamie Roberts

Frank Jones, City of Newport Musical Director and Conductor

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VALE

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

English-Speaking Union garden party Sir Geoffrey and Lady Inkin welcomed members of the South Wales Branch of the EnglishSpeaking Union to the beautiful Castle upon Alun House. President Captain Sir Norman Lloyd Edwards and Chairman Derek Morgan presented cheques to Laura Dunn to support her internship on Capitol Hill, and to Bridgend Soroptimists who are working with colleagues in Karachi to establish an English books library in a local school. 150 members were entertained by melodies from Tinnitus, four local clinicians as accomplished with guitars and keyboard as with stethoscopes.

Captain Sir Norman Lloyd-Edwards, Laura Dunn, Derek Morgan

Carys Brown, Sir Norman, Rayner Rees, Derek Morgan

Jeremy Wright, Diane Burns, Cllr Anne Morgan, Sara Wright, Cllr Robert Burns

Professor Roger Mansfield, Helene Mansfield, Sir Geoffrey Inkin

Colonel Basil Watkins, Eraina O’Hagan, Michael O’Hagan

Bernard Rees, Iona Logan

PENARTH

Newly branded Arth Wines opens its doors Customers old and new enjoyed wine and cheese for the opening of the new wine store adjacent to the train station in Penarth. The re-naming ceremony took place in the morning with Penarth Town Mayor Councillor Mr Paul Church and Mayoress Mrs Christina Church cutting the ribbon. Miss Wales contestant Anna Murphy was also on hand to add her glamorous support. Owner Richard Silk has huge plans for Arth Wines including a wine lounge with wine tastings and other events. Watch this space! The crowd raise their glasses to the opening of Arth Wines in the sunshine!

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SOCIAL LIFE Wyn Calvin, Carole Calvin, Judith Child, John Child

Sian Copeland Roberts, Jasper Copeland Roberts, Nicola Thomas, Lady Inkin

Louise Thomas, Sheila Thomas, Nancy Cox, Colonel David Cox

David Owen, Molly Owen, Marilyn Lingard, Sue Hayes, Francis Hayes

Don Rees, Marlene Rees, Alison Rees, Elaine Noble, Roy Noble

Meriel Watkins, Lindsay Watkins, Lady Inkin

Anna Murphy, Richard Silk and Mayoress of Penarth Mrs Christina Church and Mayor of Penarth Cllr Paul Church

Mayoress of Penarth Mrs Christina Church, Mayor of Penarth Mr Paul Church and Wine Advisor, Gloria Vasquez

Town Mayor, Cllr Paul Church with competition winner Sade Bates

If you’d like to feature your social event in these pages please contact Jennifer on 0845 130 6452 or email jennifer@valelife.co.uk

Miss Wales contestant Anna Murphy with store owner, Richard Silk

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Wondering what seeds you should be sowing outdoors or what summer bedding plans you ought to be buying? Stylegardens in Port Road, Wenvoe are renowned for their quality and variety of plants, gifts and horticultural sundries, together with a wealth of knowledge. We talk to one of the owners Carl Hitchings on what he believes makes Stylegardens in Wenvoe...

BLOOMING

MARVELLOUS

When was Stylegardens established? We officially opened in 2001 and our aim was to provide a new and vibrant garden centre in the Vale of Glamorgan and I think we’ve achieved this. Who’s involved in the business? The owners are Graham Pugh, Ian Pugh and myself. Graham and Ian are also owners of Pugh’s Garden Centre in Morganstown and between the two centres, we have over seventy years experience in the gardening business. Who are your customers? With local customers and those as far afield as Swansea, Newport and the valleys, we cater to the experienced gardener and enthusiast alike, who appreciate the quality and wide selection of plants. Customers like the advice that our experienced staff can provide. People who call at the site for aquatic or equestrian products will often stop at the garden centre as well.

What makes Stylegardens different to other garden centres? The quality and the variety of our products, the experience of our staff, and the advice available. We listen to our customers’ needs and requirements and supply the plants and garden sundries they want. At Stylegardens, we have embraced the philosophy of ‘grow your own’ that has become so popular over the last two years. What other businesses are on site? We wanted to offer a one stop shop for all things garden, aquatic, equestrian and building related and are delighted to have Maidenhead Aquatics, a company selling tropical, cold water and pond fish and equipment, as part of the centre. We also accommodate Countrywide, a multinational company selling equestrian, small holding and pet products and also WTF Buildings who sell landscaping products and garden buildings.

“There’s nothing more enjoyable than drinking a cup of tea whilst watching the wildlife.” ❧ 70 ❧

You’ve recently extended the coffee shop, what has this involved? We’ve developed some of the land and created a nature conservation area. We thought that if we extended the coffee shop to include outdoor seating areas, our customers could enjoy the views and the wildlife. There’s nothing more enjoyable and relaxing than drinking a cup of tea whilst watching the wildlife. There have been occasional sightings of herons and buzzards and a family or moorhens. Customers can also pick up some delicious frozen fruit and vegetables, frozen patisserie, fresh produce including cheese, butter, soup and meats and also pickles, jams, honey, biscuits and cakes. The majority of these products are locally sourced and are already proving a huge hit.


“We offer a one stop shop for all things garden, aquatic, equestrian and building related.”

What’s new for 2010? We’re very excited to be launching our new online club. Customers can register online with us at stylegardens.qvonline.co.uk and receive exclusive money saving vouchers for plants and sundries. They will also receive details and prior notice of special events, useful seasonal gardening tips, plant of the month details and special offers. We’re expecting a great deal of interest in this as it will help us connect with customers and find out exactly what they want from us and, in turn, we will be able to reward customers for shopping in Sylegardens. I understand that you work a lot with local schools. We have many primary schools who visit us for planting demonstrations where they’re shown how to plant seasonal plants and are given the opportunity to plant their own pots, which they can take home with them. It’s great to see the younger generation take such an avid interest in plants. After all, they will grow up and be the gardeners of the future!

I hear you have a bit of a character working at Stylegardens. Yes, Guy has been with Stylegardens since the company started. He was a local retailer in Dinas Powys for many years and he can turn his hand to anything. He’s such is a valuable asset to the company. We created ‘Guy’s Garden’ where Guy demonstrates seasonal products being used in a practical way. Guy works on a Saturday, Sunday and Monday and customers often come to the centre specifically to chat with Guy. Do you stock bee friendly plants at Stylegardens? Bees are crucial to the propagation of agricultural crops. Lately colonies have been dying in large numbers and scientists seem powerless to prevent this happening. As Einstein once famously said, “If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live. No more bees, no more pollination… no more men!” At Stylegardens we encourage customers to buy bee friendly plants and have a huge variety to choose from. ❧ 71 ❧

Guy, Stylegarden’s garden guru

Stylegardens Ltd Port Road, Wenvoe Vale of Glamorgan CF5 6AD 029 2059 8118 www.stylegardens.co.uk


If you’re looking to hold an event with the wow factor, then you need to get around the table with Beyond Bespoke Events. This is no ordinary events company. They have the creative talent on board to turn any event into a jaw dropping extravaganza. Vale Life talks to its founding partners David Gardiner and Rob Griffin.

BEYOND BESPOKE What are your roles? DAVID I deal with event design, build and customer and supplier liaison. ROB I deal with event logistics, site and production management.

DAVID We’re a small team who work with some of the most acclaimed event planners, producers and designers in the UK. With a combined knowledge of over thirty years of event design and experience Beyond is still a relatively young, fresh and vibrant team, but that’s no bad thing. We strive to be the best in everything we offer. ROB We are an event management company, a tailored wedding solution and a party planning resource which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days-a-week, proving our dedication and attention within this creative industry. What can you offer clients? ROB Beyond’s team have planned and produced bespoke parties for an international and astute clientele who don’t want their guests to go to ‘another party’. Everything we do is tailored around you and our quest to create cost effective lasting memories.

What about product launches? DAVID Entering the market with a new product, venue or brand requires a definitive game plan. Marketing, timing, packaging, press and the appropriate promotion all play key roles in placing your product or service successfully into the marketplace.

ROB We create a powerful initial brand awareness campaign and together we can build upon this to a long-term recognition. DAVID Beyond Bespoke’s working party is renowned for its fresh ideas and creative thinking - everything we do is bespoke. The curiosity that we create for an event or launch is always engaging and often jaw dropping, and with specific, dedicated creative and production management we ensure every aspect of our client’s campaign is covered with an unparalleled focus on fine detail.

Who are your clients? ROB We’ve been lucky enough to work with Audi; Barclays; Blackpool Tower; Box Music Channel; Cancer Research UK; Concept Living; Diageo; Gourmet Burger Kitchen; Guinness Ghana Africa Cup of Nations; Hawkes Essentials; the Heineken Cup; Innexus; ITV; FA Cup final; FA Community Shield; Ladbrokes: live Nation; Liverpool Capital of Culture; Luminar Leisure; Marks and Spencer; Movida; Millennium Stadium; MTV; Vodka Revolution; Wembley Stadium. What makes you special? DAVID We thrive on orchestrating and encouraging the unique, elaborate and seemingly impossible elements for every event without cutting on the finest detail; it is, after all the finest of detail and value for money that has given Beyond its flawless reputation over the years. Creating a brand and a following that entertains such a discerning clientele time and time again is our forte and our proudest accomplishment; be it a soiree for twenty or a gathering for 20,000 Beyond Bespoke Events offer tailored solutions with refreshingly vibrant ideas; everything we create grows from our boutique roots.

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What clients said about Beyond Bespoke events We’re very proud of our achievements but it’s great hearing good things said about us from our clients. We’d much prefer them to speak for us.

“...and how you did that so effortlessly I will never know. I can barely get eight people to Geneva and keep them entertained let alone 180! I’ll be in touch for my next birthday.”

Beyond Bespoke Events 94 St Mary Street Cardiff CF10 1DX 0845 026 8275 hello@beyondbespokeevents.com www.beyondbespokeevents.com

Phillip Gibb, MD, Innexus Group Birthday and Party Planning Design, Dressing and Drapery ■ Catering / Bars ■ Garden Parties and Soirees ■ Wedding Planning ■ Venues / Marquees ■ Bar and Bat Mitzvahs ■ Product Launches ■ Corporate Parties and Events ■ Award Ceremonies ■ Outdoor Events ■ Lighting and Sound ■

“David a massive thank you to you and the rest of the team for creating such an eye catching install with so little fuss. Even the planners commented and you know what they can be like.” Barclays Bank

“Beyond Events provided us with an amazing party, from organising travel for the winning eight UK wide restaurants, to a fantastic venue with a top DJ, cabaret and relevant prizes. Every little detail was taken care of.” Internal press for Gourmet Burger Kitchen

“Just a little thank you for all your efforts, the party was a huge success and Rob and David really helped make a fantastic event...” Private client

“You guys were awesome, see you in Nottingham.” Tommy Marth, Musical Director The Killers

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THE LAST WORD Vale Life talks to Amanda Morgan and Lisa Beynon, co-owners of Beauty Spot based at The Business Centre in Barry about life in their popular salon. How’s business? LISA Things are going really well. Bookings are healthy. We’re obviously giving our clients what they want as they keep coming back and recommending us to their friends. AMANDA Summer’s always a busy time for us with clients booking beauty treatments in readiness for special events such as Ascot, the Polo, weddings and summer parties. What are the benefits of being based within The Business Centre? LISA As we’re not on the high street, our clients benefit from competitive pricing. There’s also plenty of free parking. As our businesses are based in the same building, our clients can have their hair done and enjoy beauty treatments in one trip. How many staff are on the team at Beauty Spot? AMANDA There are two full time beauty therapists, myself and Lisa Jenkins. Amanda Morgan, beauty therapist and owner of the beauty salon and Lisa Beynon, senior stylist and owner of the hair salon

LISA There are four senior stylists – myself, Tracy, Sam and Lucy and Kelly, our junior. You’ve taken on a new stylist, Tracy, please tell us more. LISA Tracy has fitted straight in. I’ve known her for years. She’s spent many years working for Gee & Hayes in Cardiff and it’s lovely to be working with her again. Clients love her as I knew they would.

What treatments are available at The Beauty Spot? AMANDA We have a full range of treatments and holistic therapies. We specialise in permanent makeup and will soon be offering ‘Minx’, the new craze in nails. What are the most popular treatments through the summer? AMANDA First and foremost, it would have to be pedicures with nail diamante designs, then the St Tropez airbrush tanning and waxing. We also do a lot of special occasion makeup for weddings and graduations, balls and parties. What do you feel is special about what you offer? LISA We’re keen to make our clients feel like family and have close relationships with most of them which extends beyond the workplace as they’ve been clients for over 16 years.

New stylist, Tracy Stock

“We’re keen to make our clients feel like family.” ❧ 74 ❧

AMANDA Clients enjoy the interaction between us and often call in for a coffee and a chat and to soak up the friendly atmosphere. E XC L U S I V E VA L E L I F E O F F E R

Beauty Spot offer for Vale Life readers Any incentives for new clients? LISA We welcome new clients and are offering a free Tigi product from a selection with their first visit. AMANDA All new beauty clients will receive a free file and polish worth £10 (20 mins) by mentioning Vale Life. Offer limited to first 20 new hairdressing clients and first 20 new beauty clients. Beauty Spot The Business Centre Cardiff House, Cardiff Road CF63 2AW 01446 731230


Affordably Stylish

Telephone 01446 771234 Willow Walk, Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan CF71 7EE Email info@rflkitchens.com www.roomforlivingcowbridge.com


Arbuthnot Opticians offer a range of sunglasses from high fashion to sports.

Arbuthnot Opticians 6 Broad Street, Barry CF62 7XP

The collection includes Versace, Vogue, Maui Jim, Rayban, Polo, Ralph Lauren for high fashion and Adidas and Oakley for sportswear. * Subject to availability

01446 735551 info@arbuthnotopticians.co.uk www.arbuthnotopticians.co.uk


Vale Life Summer 2010