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WINTER 2010

P R O U D

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PRICELESS

I N D E P E N D E N T

T H E S O U T H WA L E S VA L L E Y 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 DINE OUT & DINE IN WITH STYLE, THE GENTILE TOUCH MISKIN MANOR, MEG GARCZYNSKA & MORE

RESTAURANT REVIEWS, WHAT’S ON, BUSINESS, SHOPPING

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

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


Fireplaces Wood Burning Stoves Interiors Stockists for Chesney’s of London for South and West Wales info@fireofcardiff.co.uk

112 Whitchurch Road, Cardiff CF14 3LY Telephone 029 2061 1881

www.fireofcardiff.co.uk


WELCOME It’s the most wonderful time of the year... How do we know? Because the Christmas TV ads are on from morning til night and I’m hearing myself humming carols around the house. I love everything about this time of year from decorating the tree to wrapping up the presents. But most of all it’s that one chance in the year to really catch up with friends and family.

One of the other benefits of the holiday season is being able to turn off the mobile phone. If you’re like me you probably can’t function without it, but it is absolute bliss to be able to turn it off and just enjoy this time with loved ones. We’ve certainly been feeling the love after our launch issue. We’ve had many messages of support and lots of emails from you praising our efforts. It seems you like our approach and this wonderful feedback has spurred us on to produce this beautiful winter edition. You’ll find much to inspire in these pages – from gorgeous jewellery to fabulous food, our latest creation has much to offer. We have a great photographic feature from self confessed Valleys fan, Meg Garczynsca. There’s also a superb feature on Matt Powell, an immensely talented chef and forager from Nantymoel. I’m so proud to be able to introduce their particular talents to our readers. I’ll never get tired of championing the Valleys’ great and the good - our region has plenty to be proud of and, over the coming year, we intend to bring readers the very best the Valleys has to offer. Wishing you season’s greetings and a very peaceful and prosperous new year to you all. Jennifer Hobbs-Roberts Editor jennifer@valleyslife.co.uk

We’re on Facebook Join us on Facebook for updates, news, opinions, thoughts and ideas. You can follow us on Facebook by visiting the Valleys Life website and clicking on the Facebook link. We’ll be using our Facebook page to keep readers in touch with what’s happening in the Valleys and beyond.

“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.” Follow our blog The Valleys Life blog is very popular. With updates, vouchers and news. Visit the Valleys Life website and click on the Blogger logo. If you add yourself to the list, you’ll have regular Valleys Life blogs sent to you as they happen – including vouchers, promotions and exclusive competitions.

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CONTENTS This issue is packed with gorgeous features to help you warm up the winter season.

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18

28

10

11 VA L L E Y S L I F E

IS WRITTEN,

DESIGNED AND PRINTED IN THE

VA L L E Y S

AND

IS PROUD TO BE INDEPENDENT

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❧ 0845 180 1234

❧ C OVER

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF WWW . CLOGAU . CO . UK

❧ P AUL

AVAILABLE FROM G ENTILE IN C WMBRAN ❧ 4 ❧


7

IN THIS ISSUE W ELCOME –

WE ’ VE HAD A GREAT RESPONSE

A CROSS T HE V ALLEYS C OMPETITIONS -

16

-

THANKS FOR SUPPORTING US

GETTING TO KNOW THE

VALLEYS

TOWNS AND VILLAGES

YOU ’ VE GOT TO BE IN IT TO WIN IT !

G LASS H OUSE -

-

V-B IZ ! - T HE

23

FORAGER AND CHEF

VERY BEST OF

VALLEYS

T HE C OOL S TORE - T HE S KI L ODGE

T IDES C WMBRAN

JUST PRAISE ALL THE WAY

C LUB C LASS - M ISKIN M ANOR ’ S H EALTH C LUB F ABULOUS F OOD -

AT

NEW JEWELLERY STORE IN

NO STONE THROWING HERE

AND

S PA

M ATT P OWELL

6 8

F OOD & D RINK - O AKLANDS , A T ASTE O F T HE E AST & T EMPUS T HE G ENTILE T OUCH – P AUL G ENTILE ’ S

3

10 12 14

IS FIT FOR PURPOSE

16

N ANTYMOEL

18

FROM

BUSINESS AND ENTERPRISE MAKES A COOL MOVE TO

C ARDIFF B AY

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VALLEYS S OCIAL L IFE -

THE CHAMPAGNE FLOWS , THERE ’ S MUCH TO CELEBRATE !

26

M EG G ARCZYNSKA -

P OLISH

28

A

T HE W ONDER O F P UGH ’ S T HE P RIVATE O PTION - F OR

PHOTOGRAPHER IN

S OUTH WALES

CELEBRATE THE SEASONS PEACE OF MIND , SOMETIMES IT PAYS TO GO PRIVATE

L AST W ORD - G ARETH N OBLE

BRINGS US CAREFULLY TO A CLOSE ... PHEW !

30 32 34

WIN!

A home dining experience worth £500. See page 8. VALLEYS 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 VALLEYS 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 THE LAST AND IF YOU HAVE A STORY YOU ’ D LIKE TO SHARE , PLEASE GET IN TOUCH . VALLEYS L IFE IS REGISTERED AT T HE B RITISH LIBRARY AS A MAGAZINE ISSN 1757-1731.

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ACROSS THE VALLEYS IF YOU HAVE A STORY WHICH YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE, PLEASE CONTACT VALLEYS LIFE

WHITE SPRINGS

Anglers Profile’s winter social nets a few pounds Many socials are held across the UK by different groups and companies, but how many socials have fifteen sponsors where every angler receives free food every day and, in the evening, gather around with all the other anglers to watch the rugby? Well this one had all of this and much more. Taking place on November 19 at White Springs Fishery, Swansea, the social included a charity match for the Cardiff Children’s Care Unit with a mix of top anglers from around the country including Alan Price. White Springs is famous for holding some really top quality fish ranging from early 10lb to large 42lb carp and, as you can imagine, everyone was itching to fish and get the chance of bagging a big fish and taking home gold.

“Plenty of bream were pulled out and carp were caught ranging between 12lb to 14lb.” WINTER 2010

P R O U D

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PRICELESS

I N D E P E N D E N T

T H E S O U T H WA L E S VA L L E Y 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 DINE OUT & DINE IN WITH STYLE, THE GENTILE TOUCH MISKIN MANOR, MEG GARCZYNSKA & MORE

RESTAURANT REVIEWS, WHAT’S ON, BUSINESS, SHOPPING

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

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

Valleys Life magazine. Committed to quality.

The event lasted for two days and it was 48 hours of pure enjoyment. Vince, the fishery owner, visited daily with his charity bucket - raffle tickets were sold, sponsorship forms were collected, White Springs really is the perfect location as it has maximum security assuring all anglers cars and gear is safe. Plenty of bream were pulled out and carp were caught ranging between 12lb to 14lb. Gareth Davies caught three and Michael Rob caught one with Gareth winning the event and pocketing £100 and lots of goodies. Michael Rob won £75 along with his goodies and third place was donated to charity.

Passionate about the valleys We are independent. We are not a large publishing group pretending to be home grown. Valleys Life magazine is written, designed and printed in the South Wales valleys. Our income is re-invested in the area. Our philosophy We are committed to quality. This quote by William Foster pretty much sums up our thinking. “Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.” Use it or lose it Business is the very life blood of any community. Without business, villages have no heart, towns have no centre, and cities have no soul. Please support the businesses who advertise in Valleys Life - without them there’d be no Valleys Life magazine. ❧ 6 ❧

Raffle prizes included products from Korda, Hinders and Pro-logic and over £1,000 was raised for the charity. During the event, main sponsor Lewis Pies gave out free pies, pasties, rissoles and sausage rolls. Other sponsors gave prizes for the raffle and winning positions and Anglers Profile would like to thank all sponsors for helping out and the kind hospitality from Vince of White Springs for the free cuppas. For more information contact Ben Phillips, Team Anglers Profile ben@fish4rum.com www.anglersprofile.com

Small(ish) print © Copyright Valleys Life 2010. 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 paper production Valleys 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 Valleys Life or on www.valleyslife.co.uk is correct and accurate. However, we accept no responsibility for any errors


L L A N GY N W Y D

MAESTEG

MERTHYR T YDFIL

The hidden jewel in the Valleys

A town in tune with its history

A strong heritage forged in iron

The government’s website describes Llangynwyd village as one of the ‘jewels of the area’ and, once seen, you will be hard-pushed to disagree.

Nestled at the top of the Llynfi Valley is Maesteg, a town very much in tune with the history of South Wales and the valleys in particular. The Bwlwarcau hill-fort around two miles to the south-west of the town is evidence of settlers in the area more than 2,000 years ago.

Merthyr Tydfil has a rich history. Evidence of Celtic, Roman, and Norman settlements precede a booming industrial age when the town became the largest in Wales and boasting considerable wealth.

Rolling hills provide the backdrop while the old stone buildings hark back to the pre-industrial age and that is precisely the charm of the place. Its church was founded in the sixth century and has been restored several times since. Buried in the churchyard are Will Hopcyn and Ann Thomas, the lovers at the heart of the Welsh legend The Maid of Cefn Ydfa. The legend says that Thomas was forced to marry a wealthy man when she was in love with Hopcyn, a poet and thatcher. Thomas tragically died while pining for her true love.

A zoom through history reveals Maesteg to be the place where the Welsh National Anthem ‘Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau’ was first performed! Maesteg’s industrial reputation has recently diminished; first with the closure of the last coal pit in 1985 and the demolition of both a cosmetics and motor component factory. Pictured below, the impressive building that is Maesteg Council Offices.

Merthyr was situated ideally for ironworking and the Dowlais and Cyfarthfa Ironworks were set up in the eighteenth century to satisfy Britain's need for iron. In 1802, Admiral Lord Nelson visited Merthyr to watch cannons being made; integral features of Britain's naval ambitions were being forged in the hills of South Wales. In 1831, Merthyr witnessed an event which is still commonplace on the curriculum of GCSE students in Wales, The Merthyr Rising. Workers rose up against unfair treatment by their ironmasters and one leader of the rebels, Richard Lewis, also known as Dic Penderyn, became a working-class hero when he was hanged for stabbing a soldier. His hanging took place on St. Mary's Street in Cardiff (now a shopping hotspot) and his last words were: ‘O Arglwydd, dyma gamwedd’ (‘Oh Lord, here is iniquity’). Merthyr today is once again a bustling and thriving community. Thanks to Sean Cahill for his assistance with these articles.

or omissions and can offer no compensation should we get it wrong. Please note that the opinions, thoughts, views or ideas expressed in articles contained in Valleys Life are strictly those of the authors. Caveat emptor All advertisers have supplied their own copy (and in some cases artwork), and therefore Valleys Life cannot accept any responsibility for disputes between advertisers and their customers. Caveat emptor - let the buyer beware. Subscriptions To guarantee your copy of Valleys Life magazine, please send a cheque for £20.00 (four issues) made payable to Valleys Life. Visit www.valleyslife.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@valleyslife.co.uk. Hopefully we’ll have the issue you want (but we cannot guarantee it). Each back issue costs £5 which includes postage and packing. Yes it’s free! Valleys Life is distributed free through a wide variety of outlets across the South Wales Valleys. Valleys 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!

Valleys Life is home grown. It is written, designed and printed in the Valleys. ❧ 7 ❧

T H E S O U T H WA L E S VA L L E Y S PREMIER LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE Editor JENNIFER HOBBS-ROBERTS jennifer@valleyslife.co.uk ❧ Creative Director MARK ROBERTS mark@valleyslife.co.uk ❧ Studio PA U L S E S S I O N S studio@goodlifepublishing.co.uk ❧ Valleys Life Cardiff House Cardiff Road CF63 2AW ❧ Valleys Life Website www.valleyslife.co.uk ❧ Telephone

0845 180 1234


WIN!

WIN!

Talented chef and forager Matt Powell is offering Valleys Life readers the opportunity to win a six course dinner cooked for them at home for up to six people.

Who wouldn’t want to be pampered in five star luxury this winter? If you’re idea of full on pampering is dinner for two at Tempus at Tides restaurant followed by an overnight’s stay including breakfast at Cardiff’s five star luxury hotel, The St David’s Hotel and Spa, then this is the competition for you. For your chance of winning, please answer the question below.

A home dining experience worth £500

You and your guests will have the opportunity to discuss the menu beforehand and Matt will create a fabulous dinner for you in the comfort of your own home. This is a superb prize and the opportunity to enjoy five star fine dining without the need to leave the house! Please see feature on page 18.

Dine at Tempus at Tides Stay at St David’s Hotel

To be in with a chance of winning, just answer the question in the box below and either post your entry to: Matt Powell Competition Valleys Life, Cardiff House, Cardiff Road CF63 2AW. Or email your answer and contact details to jennifer@valleyslife.co.uk Please type Matt Powell as the email title. Closing date 14/2/11.

For more information about Tempus at Tides see page 11. Just answer the question in the box below and either post your entry to: Tempus at Tides Competition Valleys Life, Cardiff House, Cardiff Road CF63 2AW. Or email your answer and contact details to jennifer@valleyslife.co.uk. Please type Tempus at Tides as the email title. Closing date 14/2/11.

Q

Q

Where does Matt Powell live in the Valleys?

What is the web address for St David’s Hotel?

Answer

Answer

Name Address

Name Address

Postcode Phone Email

Postcode Phone Email

If you do not wish to receive details of special offers from Valleys Life please, tick here.

If you do not wish to receive details of special offers from Valleys Life please, tick here.

If you do not wish to receive details of special offers from other companies, please tick here.

If you do not wish to receive details of special offers from other companies, please tick here.

❧ 8 ❧


WIN! SUBSCRIBE £100 of Marks and Spencer vouchers

WINTER 2010

To be in with a chance of winning, just tell us something positive about your hometown or village or somewhere in the South Wales Valleys that you are particularly fond of.

P R O U D

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PRICELESS

I N D E P E N D E N T

T H E S O U T H WA L E S VA L L E Y 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

Your entry can be as few as ten words or up to a thousand words. It’s up to you. Remember to include your name and address and the place you are referring to. We will do our best to include as many entries as possible on our website at www.valleyslife.co.uk

Or email your answer and contact details to jennifer@valleyslife.co.uk Please type M&S as the email title. Closing date 14/2/11.

HOT STUFF DINE OUT & DINE IN WITH STYLE, THE GENTILE TOUCH MISKIN MANOR, MEG GARCZYNSKA & MORE

RESTAURANT REVIEWS, WHAT’S ON, BUSINESS, SHOPPING

THERE’S

MORE ONLINE

WWW.VALLEYSLIFE . CO . UK

PLUS A RT , M USIC , S TYLE , HEALTH, HOMES AND MUCH MORE

Subscribe to Valleys Life and never miss an issue

A subscription to Valleys Life makes the perfect gift!

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

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

We deliver to many outlets in and around Bridgend, Cwmbran, Maesteg, Pontypridd, Llantrisant, Merthyr Tydfil, Caerphilly, Aberdare, Talbot Green, Treorchy, Tongwynlais, Ebbw Vale and Blackwood.

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

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

If it is a gift, please ensure that you complete the recipient details carefully.

Q

Tell us about your favourite Valleys place

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

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

To be in with a chance of winning, just answer the question in the box below and either post your entry to: M&S Competition Valleys Life, Cardiff House, Cardiff Road CF63 2AW.

Answer Subscriber address details

Recipient address details

Name Address

Name Address

Name Address

Postcode Phone Email

Postcode Phone Email

Postcode Phone Email

If you do not wish to receive details of special offers from Valleys Life please, tick here.

If you do not wish to receive details of special offers from Valleys Life please, tick here.

If you do not wish to receive details of special offers from Valleys Life please, tick here.

If you do not wish to receive details of special offers from other companies, please tick here.

If you do not wish to receive details of special offers from other companies, please tick here.

If you do not wish to receive details of special offers from other companies, please tick here.

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S O U T H WA L E S

Oaklands Organics for a free range Christmas

FOOD & DRINK

At Christmas we tend to push the boat out when it comes to feeding the family, and with such a long holiday period this year, with more meals to plan and prepare for, you want meat and poultry that is tasty, goes a long way, and provides a variety of flavoursome meal options. Oaklands Organics are a local farm in the Vale of Glamorgan that rears delicious multi awardwinning organic and free range meat and this Christmas you would do yourself well to give it a try. The ultimate centrepiece on Christmas Day is their dry aged organic free range bronze turkey and their double awardwinning free range Glamorgan chickens, which are bred large for a true festive feast. Welsh rare breed Balwen lamb is full of sweet succulent flavour providing you with the tasty options of leg of lamb, easy-carve shoulder of lamb and if you want to really impress your guests then you can do no wrong with the Lamb Guard of Honour - complete with French trimmings; this double rack of lamb is hard to beat. Another popular choice is their Triple Gold award winning bacon and pork and you can rest assured that the sweet cured unsmoked gammon will be full of flavour and easy to carve for a Boxing Day feast. No chicken or turkey would be complete without bacon trimmings and whether you prefer back or streaky, its sweetness will complement the meal beautifully.

Animal welfare is a key part of the organic process, and the animal’s diet is a major consideration – for this reason their Gold award winning dry aged, grass fed Welsh Black beef is excellent for choice cuts such as Chateaubriand fillet, the French trimmed and hand-tied wing-rib of sirloin, rump joint, or the ‘melt-in-themouth’ beef sirloin joint, which Oaklands believes is the ‘crème de la crème’ of roasts. With so much variety you’ll be hard pressed to choose, which is why the team at Oaklands have put together a luxury selection of meat and poultry for a very reasonable £99, to include a bacon joint, a Glamorgan chicken, Welsh Black beef roast and shoulder of rare breed Balwen lamb.

With your entertaining needs sorted for Christmas with delicious, humanely reared, meat right through from Christmas Eve to New Year, all you need to do is relax and enjoy. It goes without saying that in order to be an organic supplier, a high level of commitment and passion goes into the basics of understanding the food chain process and animal welfare. Much is written about organic food and a wealth of information can be Googled but nothing beats talking to someone who truly understands it with heart and soul. Oaklands Organics have organic certification under the Welsh Organic Scheme and with a string of True Taste awards including Gold for two years running, the Most Beautiful Farm award and critical acclaims from top chefs, they are proud to be serving their local community.

Oaklands Organics Oaklands Farm Bonvilston CF5 6TQ 01446 781177 contact@oaklandsorganics.com www.oaklandsorganics.com

“Oaklands Organics... delicious multi award-winning organic and free range meat.” ❧ 10 ❧

Complimentary Oaklands Organics Jute Bag for orders over £50


C A R D I F F B AY

Waterfront dining at Tempus at Tides The minute you walk through the door of a five star hotel the experience should be about seamless service. So, I was excited to be dining with friends at Tempus at Tides restaurant in St David’s Hotel and Spa in Cardiff Bay. Cocktails at the Tempus Bar beckoned and it was surprising to find that the bar area has lost the minimalisitc edge that it was previously known for, in favour of a friendlier American club styled environment with dark wood, warm tones and cosier banquette seating. The new theme continues into the restaurant and it was reassuring that the views of the Bay and the outline of twinkling lights along the shoreline have lost none of their former magic.

“All in all, we enjoyed a fabulous evening. Expect seamless and unobtrusive service - the type you hardly notice.”

It’s the little details and nice touches that you expect in a hotel of note and it’s hard to separate the restaurant from the hotel’s five star status; so when my clumsy entrance into the restaurant sent my cutlery clattering to the floor, within seconds it was scooped up and replaced with clean sparkling new ones – a tick in the box for attentive service. Menus were perused and choices made, then we relaxed while being served with three varieties of delicious home-baked bread, a bottle of Wither Hills Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and a glass of smooth oaked St Hallett Faith Shiraz. Friend One’s choice of pan-fried wood pigeon supreme with sweetcorn puree, Madeira caramel and bacon popcorn assembled upon a warmed Welsh slate plate, gave it a patriotic touch. The pigeon was beautifully tender with a balance of flavours and textures from the saltiness and crunch of the popcorn. Friend Two chose the delicate St David’s crayfish salad, lemon dressing and ground scallop roe and we all went quiet while she disassembled it with great care before tasting.

It was a light and refreshing starter with well combined flavours, leaving her with room to enjoy the main course. For me, the Welsh goats cheese baked in dukkah which is a Middle Eastern nut and spice mixture and served with tomato confit was mild and creamy with the black olive puree adding decoration and ‘lift’ to the milder flavours of the rest of the dish. Next, the Assiette of Welsh lamb with flageolet bean, rosemary puree and port sauce was devoured before remarks were made on its perfect tenderness and an endorsement that it would leave no doubt in any mind that it was Welsh lamb. Friend Two’s fish theme continued with perfectly cooked Monkfish marinated in ginger, chilli and coriander root, steamed in seaweed, with stir fried vegetables and mild green Thai curry sauce. Yours truly enjoyed the comforting option of corn-fed chicken supreme stuffed with ricotta, pancetta and served with crushed baby potatoes, leeks and mustard sauce; it looked and tasted substantial and I was delighted by what I detected as French (not Dijon) mustard sauce and cheekily asked for an extra jug of it. Seasonal vegetables were presented in small copper handled pans and cooked to perfection. ❧ 11 ❧

Dessert was a scrumptious mix and match affair so that we could all share a taste - glazed choc au pain and apricot bread and butter pudding with vanilla bean custard; home-made Welshcake ice-cream and a selection of mini chocolate treats which change on a daily basis. Unbelievably, we managed to find room for a selection of Welsh and continental cheeses from the cheese trolley, which in itself was a marvellous showpiece. All in all, I must say we enjoyed a fabulous evening. In general, the presentation and portion size was just right and the food was excellent. The restaurant is comfortable, more mainstream, and offers a relaxed, non-intimidating service. Expect seamless unobtrusive service the type you hardly notice, yet at the same time knowing that when you need to catch someone’s eye, they will be there in a jiffy. Tempus at Tides Bar and Restaurant St. David’s Hotel and Spa Havannah Street Cardiff Bay CF10 5SD 029 2045 4045 www.thestdavidshotel.com


THE GENTILE TOUCH Paul Gentile Jewellers are highly regarded as specialists in quality jewellery. Valleys Life takes a closer look at this successful family business.

Congratulations on your new shop. How have you been received? Things are going really well. We are really pleased with the way the shop looks. I personally designed both the interior and exterior which are contemporary and simplistic and the feedback has been really appreciative. Please tell us a little more about the company background? We’re a family-run business formed in 1978. We specialise in high quality jewellery and we pride ourselves in providing first class expert advice and service. We have a wealth of knowledge and pride ourselves on being one of the leading jewellery specialists. Paul Gentile is proud to be a member of the National Association of Goldsmiths, which gives our customers reassurance when they walk through the door.

What are you offering at Cwmbran? We design and manufacture our own Gentile Range of wedding and engagement rings and I am always happy to assist in helping customers design their own unique ring - just make an appointment; it’s as easy as that. We have skilled craftsmen working for us, so jewellery and watch repairs can be left with confidence. We also fit watch batteries with lifetime guarantees. We know you will be pleased and surprised at our very competitive prices. Our range of watch houses is extensive and include watches from Tissot, Hugo Boss, Guess, Citizen, Seiko, Accurist, and Sekonda including the full Seksy Range. You’ll find us in the busy Shopping Centre, which has a good variety of independent shops and free parking.

Image courtesy of Clogau www.clogau.co.uk

“For the lovers of Welsh gold, Clogau must be on the wish list.”

What are the ‘must-have’ brands this Christmas? For the lovers of Welsh gold, Clogau must be on the wish list, and, with gold prices going up, a great investment. With the recent royal engagement, love is in the air, and usually inspires other couples to take the same step. We expect to see lots of young couples showing their commitment by announcing their engagements and, here at Paul Gentile, we have a wide range of beautiful engagement rings and wedding bands to complement the occasion.

Image courtesy of Clogau www.clogau.co.uk

With three thriving jewellery shops to their name in Cardiff, Barry and Newport, Valleys Life asked family member Michael Gentile about their new shop in Cwmbran.

The popular Trollbeads are a failsafe option when it comes to gifts. These beautiful, classy and completely unique beads are intricate little works of art, each individually hand-crafted to create a truly distinctive style that stands out from the crowd.

“A family-run business, since 1978, we pride ourselves on being one of the leading jewellery specialists.”

Paul Gentile Jewellers 9 South Walk Cwmbran 01633 865556 www.paulgentilejewellers.co.uk

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“We specialise in high quality jewellery and we pride ourselves in providing first class expert advice and service.”

“The popular Trollbeads are a failsafe option when it comes to gifts.”

During December receive a £10 voucher with every £100 spent. Paul Gentile will also pricematch any genuine offer from all stores in a 20 mile radius.*

*Not to be spent in conjunction with any other offers or repairs.


They say the only way is up but, for the Ashton family, owning the house of their dreams became something of a sideways move. Valleys Life takes a closer look.

GLASS

HOUSE We first came across this stunning home when it was featured on the cover of the September 2010 issue of Self Build & Design magazine so upon reading the article, I was surprised and intrigued to see the property was in South Wales. As someone who would ultimately like to self build, I couldn’t help but admire the design and creativity that had gone into its creation. Mike and Pam Ashton had hoped to extend their existing home sideways when the 1930’s bungalow next door came onto the market in 2005. With much deliberation, they came to the conclusion that completely replacing the bungalow with a brand new home was a far more practical solution. After exploring various ideas, including building an oak framed property, the couple chose to build in rendered block-work with a natural slate roof.

The creative design includes a basement garage, workshop and den. Bedrooms are on the ground floor with a gorgeous open plan living, dining and kitchen area on the first floor which opens on to front and rear balconies framed with nautical themed stainless steel balustrades.

Mark Nayler, Managing Director of Vellacine said, “This was a wonderful project to be associated with. The tower and high level windows are glazed with Pilkington Activ Blue - a stunning blue glass that combines self cleaning properties with solar control for a cooler interior.”

One of the most striking features of the build is the glass. There seems to be acres of it. Blue aluminium-framed doors and windows from Cardiff-based Vellacine, the window and conservatory centre, ensure the light floods in, and their views over the Bristol Channel to the North Devon coast beyond are uninterrupted. Owners Mike and Pam declared, “We chose Ocean Blue coloured aluminium frames, which complement the glass, and the self cleaning coating means we don’t have to worry about reaching the higher windows.”

Mark added, “We manufacture all our frames right here at our facility in Cardiff. We work with many different types of client from schools, architects and builders and some of our contracts are very large. However, projects on the scale of Mike and Pam’s are particularly enjoyable as they’re a little outside the norm and demonstrate that frames don’t have to be simply white or black. It gives us enormous satisfaction when we see features like the one in the magazine as you see the effect it has on the end user. Vellacine is delighted to have been associated with this project.” You can’t help being impressed with Mike and Pam’s house. The stylish combination of contemporary design and natural materials; slate, glass, wood and stainless steel, has created a beautiful contemporary home and one that will be an inspiration to other self build enthusiasts. Vellacine Limited The Window and Conservatory Centre Hadfield Road Leckwith, Cardiff CF11 8AQ 029 2022 8578 enquiries@vellacine.com www.vellacine.com

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Thanks to Ross Stokes, Editor of Self Build & Design magazine and Steve Taylor for his beautiful photographs. The full story appeared in the September 2010 issue of Self Build & Design magazine. Visit www.sbdonline.co.uk for more information.


Whether you want to get into that festive party frock, find a new way to de-stress or socialise or you’ve simply decided to get in shape, joining a health club is the perfect way to achieve your goals. We visit Miskin Manor to find out more.

CLUB CLASS The Health Club and Spa at Miskin Manor offers a range of facilities and classes with affordable membership packages. Valleys Life talks to Health Club Manager Russell Edwards.

What facilities are at the Health Club and Spa? Miskin Manor Health Club and Spa is located just off Junction 34 of the M4, the Miskin Manor Health Club is easily accessible from Cardiff, The Vale, Bridgend and the Valleys. We have had an extensive refurbishment and offer state-of-the-art gym equipment, and a luxurious swimming and spa area. Our popular café proudly brews Starbucks coffee and serves a selection of hot and cold snacks. The club offers a Human Sport studio, spinning, many classes, personal training and many treatments. You’re in a beautiful location here… Yes, it is gorgeous here. There is no setting quite like the grounds of Miskin Manor. We’re set in twenty two glorious acres and blessed with timeless ambience, making it a delightful retreat to exercise, get fit, relax, unwind and socialise with friends. The location is certainly the icing on the cake.

Is the Club open to non-members? Miskin Manor Health Club and Spa is a private members club – we welcome new membership applications. We do allow non members into the club to use classes for a fee but, in the long run, a membership is better value for money. How much was the refurbishment? We’ve invested over a million pounds. We believe that this is money very well spent and our members seem to agree.

“We’re set in twenty two glorious acres... making it a delightful retreat to exercise, get fit, relax, unwind and socialise.”

What fitness classes are available? Our classes have a growing following with spin, Zumba, ballet tots, water babies, circuit training, human sport, core stability, yoga, pilates, legs bums and tums, simply box and aerobics. There’s a class here to suit every age and every fitness level.

Is the health club family friendly? Our members can add any of their children on to their membership at any time. Babies and toddlers up to five years can join for free. Children aged between six and ten join for £4.85 and children from eleven to seventeen years can join for £9.30. Costs are per month.

What about memberships? We have a gym and swim membership for £32.20 per month - it’s the only membership we sell to adults and there are no restrictions on entry times. All members pay the same and can use the club from 6.30am to 9.30pm Monday to Friday, and 7am til 8pm on Saturday and Sunday. We believe our membership is by far the best value for a health club in South Wales.

What are the benefits of gym membership? There are a number of good reasons. Some people join because they’ve been working out at home or going for walks already and want to take their fitness to another level. Others struggle to keep up with their children as they run around, or they find themselves driving everywhere, sat at a desk all day, and don’t get any exercise at all. Whatever the reasons, you’ll definitely get fitter by joining a gym. As soon as you join, you’ll start to feel better. You’ll be more conscious about what you eat, how much sleep you get and your general health will improve. You might be training specifically for an event. You may have signed up for one of the many sponsored walks or other events. Or you are looking to cycle long distance. Perhaps you want to get fit for a skiing or walking holiday and want to make sure that you’re in good shape and prepared for it. If you regularly take part in sports such as running, football, netball, swimming or rugby, then you may want to improve parts of your game or those areas where you feel you are weak.

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This might involve weight training or endurance training using an exercise bike or treadmill. You may be recovering from an operation or an injury and managed exercise might be useful for rehabilition. If you can’t safely or comfortably perform the exercises at home, why not join your local gym? It’s not just about weight loss then? You might want to join a gym for social reasons as much as the exercise and fitness benefits. You can make new friends or meet other people with similar goals or those who do the same sport as you. What many people find, however, as a consequence of combining healthy eating with exercise is that they achieve weight loss. By having a bespoke training plan specially designed for you by our personal trainers, you can realistically lose weight without under or overtraining. Many people join a gym and don’t go. What’s your advice to them? You’ll be much more inclined to go to the gym if you’ve paid for it. If you’re not normally motivated by the thought of exercise, you’ll want to make sure that you’re getting your money’s worth from your gym membership. Remember, a monthly fee at Miskin Manor Health club is approximately £1 a day. Whatever your reasons for joining our health club, you’ll be glad that you did, and you’re sure to notice the difference.

Valleys Life talks to Rebecca Rees of JNP Legal, a member of the Miskin Manor Health Club and Spa, to find out how her membership has worked for her. Why did you join the Miskin Manor Health Club and Spa? I have been a member at the club for almost three years and chose Miskin Manor due to its convenient location and good reputation. I use the gym and swimming pool regularly, and occasionally meet with friends in the coffee shop. I also go to the Kettlebell class at the club each Monday evening. Before becoming a member at the club, I attended various other types of fitness class, but in my opinion Kettlebell is definitely one of the best. How often do you visit the Club? On average, I go to the Health Club three or four times a week and I think that the club membership, as well as the additional classes that are available, are competitively priced, and offer excellent value for money. The staff at the club are really friendly and always offer a warm welcome. I have recommended Miskin Manor to friends and family who have since become members, and attended the various classes on offer at the club.

Miskin Manor Country Hotel and Health Club Miskin CF72 8ND 01443 224204 reservations@miskin-manor.co.uk www.miskin-manor.co.uk

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FABULOUS FOOD! We talk to chef, forager and all round good egg, Matt Powell from Nantymoel.

What have you been up to over the last year? I have been out and about foraging and finding locations for different wild herbs, fungus and mushrooms. After I closed La Plie I did have financial backers but there was too much money involved and we all decided the time wasn’t right. It was a great idea but just too risky in the current climate. So what will you do next? I still want to make a difference in food here in the area that I grew up in, although after I closed I found it hard to come to terms with the closure. I still believe passionately in Wales as a whole. This is another reason why I did not want to work for someone else or move away from Wales.

I have a website on the way and there’s a book coming out next year. It’s a lot of work but I’m really enjoying it. I have just started a small preserves, fine food and chutney business with the help of my local organic farm so it’s a good start. So you’re still out foraging? I am out a lot and I’m gaining a lot of local knowledge on wild foods, and working with local farmers who have kindly given me permission to pick on their land. For my next venture, I can supply myself with all my wild ingredients that I need. I will also be aiming to manage a small woodland that I have been allowed to forage on. I find rich pickings there, from porcini and wood blewits to acorns and chestnuts. Birch trees are something I have also been experimenting with.

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So what new dish ideas have you come up with? There is a new dish which is connected to the truffle, oak tree, and beech tree which will now have to wait until spring for the next part. I have already picked a lot of acorns for it. There are plenty of edible ferns on the mountains on my picking grounds and they work in conjunction with the mountain lamb as do the wild mountain herbs I pick where the lambs are grazing. I also pick the different boletus mushrooms near to where the beef cattle are. Let me just say that it is just a case of why these foods connect in a natural circular way.


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Are you ever going to set up a restaurant again? I would eventually like to set up again but not a restaurant first and foremost, but maybe a small room where people come to interact with me and others. The more avenues I have to go down the better. So the next venture will have everything from foraging to preserves, chutney vinegars and breads. It will have to have a few rooms and of course will include all sorts of foraging escapades. I am on the lookout but for the right place with the help of a few close friends. So what do you think of the economic crisis? This is a tough question because I am not a financial expert. Although at the same time it doesn’t take a genius to work it out that we are in a massive time of change, but hopefully for the better and not for the worse. What do you think can be done? People need to see that things need to change regarding how and what we eat. We need to be working more closely with what we have around us and ask ourselves what we can do to make it better, even if it is just growing some vegetables in our own gardens. From an environmental standpoint we can’t just keep taking all the time without putting something back.

What will you be doing to try to change the way you live? I am hoping to have smallholding to grow more indigenous roots and vegetables for use in my dishes or at least working with a supplier who is local. This will also set me up in good stead for when I start up again and try to be as self sufficient as possible.

“We need to be working more closely with what we have around us and ask ourselves what we can do to make it better.”

Matt Powell Mobile 07515 380 169 matt@chefmattpowell.com www.chefmattpowell.com Turn to page 8 for a chance to win a fabulous home dining experience.

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V-BIZ!

The best of Valleys business and enterprise

Jason Jeffery (Creative Manager) and Huw Sutcliffe (Director)

C A R D I F F B AY

The Ski Lodge move to new premises Customers and friends joined The Ski Lodge team as they celebrated the opening of their new Cardiff Bay store. See page 24 for more.

Zack (Store Manager) and Simon Spiller

P O R T H C AW L

Local jeweller’s qualification triumph A Porthcawl woman is celebrating after gaining the internationally renowned Professional Jeweller’s Diploma from the National Association of Goldsmiths. Mellissa Williams of RMA Williams Jewellers who spent two years studying the distance learning course, is now recognised by the Association as a professional jeweller and may use the letters PJ Dip after their name. “I am thrilled to have passed the course. I have worked so hard, as well as work full time, but I am already putting my new knowledge to use and it’s the customers who get the benefit. I can now really help them get the perfect piece of jewellery,” said Mellissa, who owns the company with her husband Marcus Williams. The Diploma, which is split into two parts Jewellery Education Training (JET) 1 & 2 is a nationally recognised professional qualification for jewellers aimed at enhancing customer service, increasing consumer confidence and providing essential product knowledge.

Daryl and Wendy Cann

The Knight Family of Cardiff

The Jordan family of Barry

Steve and Rachel Blackmore of Cwmbran

“I am thrilled to have passed the course. I have worked so hard, but I am already putting my new knowledge to use and it’s the customers who get the benefit.” Michael Hoare, chief executive of the National Association of Goldsmiths said, “I applaud Mellissa on her achievement and for her commitment to excellent customer service. Customers don’t always know who to trust when buying jewellery, but by asking if the person serving has the Professional Jeweller’s Diploma, they know that they will get the right advice, information and support.” RMA Williams Jewellers is situated in John Street, Porthcawl and specialises in silver and gold jewellery such as Thomas Sabo, Lovelinks, Ice Watches and Clogau Gold as well as Wedding and engagement rings. Mellissa will officially receive her Diploma at a prestigious award ceremony to be held at Goldsmith’s Hall in London in March. ❧ 22 ❧

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


S O U T H WA L E S

Treat the love of your life to a stylish gift

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Noble Training’s qualified, experienced instructors provide a friendly, professional service, and are able to discuss your specific training issues and offer tailormade solutions to suit your individual needs.

A gift voucher for a personal stylist could change someone’s life… There are numerous reasons for treating a loved one. A big birthday, career change or new job, weight loss celebration, recuperating, new mum or perhaps they just deserve it! Top 3 reasons why it will work ■ You don’t have to think about it perfect for Christmas or any occasion. Just call Suzanne and she’ll sort the rest for you ■ You can get it last minute, so it’s perfect for those “oops I’ve forgotten” moments ■ The love of your life – mum, spouse, partner, sister, aunt will think that you’ve been really thoughtful and will definitely appreciate it. Gift vouchers start from £45 Call Suzanne Jaya on 07833 780006 or email suzanne@suzannejaya.com www.suzannejaya.com

Gareth Noble

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Social care Health and safety Manual handling Fire awareness First aid

Noble Training’s customers include blue chip corporations along with local government, civil service and businesses across the UK. Noble Training 08081 081683 Mobile 07929 139055 noble.training@ntlworld.com www.nobletrainingsolutions.com

I think a little rest is deserved over the holiday period in readiness for February 2011 when we will see the store undergoing its long-awaited transformation. Expect the usual classic feel with some funky updates to surprise you. The plan is to trade from elsewhere in the Morgan Arcade while these exciting new developments take place. See you in store! CWMBRAN

A family run business formed in 1978, Paul Gentile specialise in high quality jewellery and pride themselves on being one of the leading jewellery specialists in the area.

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Graphic Design and Printing Copywriting Marketing and PR Website Design and E-commerce Blogging and Social Media Photography and Image Creation Online Marketing and Search Optimisation ■ Exhibition and Display Systems ■ Distribution and Point of Sale.

www.valleyslife.co.uk www.citylifecardiff.co.uk www.valelife.co.uk

Hawkes Essentials

With three thriving jewellery shops in Cardiff, Barry and Newport, Paul Gentile are proud to open their new store in the bustling Cwmbran Shopping Centre.

At Valleys Life we do more than just publish the Valleys’ premier lifestyle magazine. We also provide many satisfied clients with:

Visit our websites

MORGAN ARCADE, CARDIFF

Paul Gentile of Barry opens new store

There’s more to life than Valleys Life

For more information contact Mark Roberts 07766 106731 mark@valleyslife.co.uk

Valleys bitesize news

Professional quality and excellent value for money, they are committed to providing training courses in the following:

S O U T H WA L E S

So, if you’d like your project or publication to have a little bit of Valleys Life magic, get in touch. We’d love the opportunity to work with you.

V-BITES Photograph courtesy of Gresham Blake

S O U T H WA L E S

“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.” ❧ 23 ❧


THE COOL STORE

After a pretty hectic summer and autumn The Ski Lodge team are now settled into their new home in Cardiff Bay. Jason Jeffery tells us about the journey.

It’s been a big challenge to bring all of the good points of the original store into the new location and build upon these, but we’re all really excited now and ready for the winter season. The store is stocked with the latest fall/winter collections, and experienced staff are on hand to guide you through the ranges, translate the techy jargon or just to chat about your favourite resort.

“The store is stocked with the latest collections.”

The new location is a great step forward for us. The links alone are so much better, making it a lot easier for customers to visit us. We’re right next to one of the main routes into Cardiff now and we are currently open late until 7pm from Monday to Thursday. Moving into Cardiff is a really positive move for us. The plan was always to bring The Ski Lodge to a much wider audience and also to expand our product mix to suit a more diverse customer base in the future. We’re working really hard to add products that we may not have been able to offer in the past. We continue to offer a huge range from the world’s leading brands, but have increased our inventory in a number of key areas. Our range of accessories and leisurewear has certainly expanded with watches from Breo and audio wear from Skull Candy, among others, being added this winter. We have an incredible collection of women’s accessories from Barts, in particular, ranging from footwear to earmuffs and scarves to handbags. ❧ 24 ❧

On the technical side, we are offering more crossover products like lightweight waterproof shell jackets and layers that can be worn for a variety of activities both on and off the slopes. All supplied by legendary brands such as The North Face, Salomon and new for us this year - Under Armour. If you are looking for technical snow kit, fashionable furry footwear and anything in between, The Ski Lodge should be your destination of choice. The Ski Lodge 4 Dunleavy Drive, Cardiff Bay CF11 0SR 0800 018 6754 www.skilodge.co.uk There’s even more online in the new digital edition of the magazine. Visit us online at www.valleyslife.co.uk


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VALLEYS

Social Life covers launches, parties, functions, exhibitions, charity events, fashion shows, engagements and weddings. CWMBRAN

Paul Gentile opens new store Congratulations to Paul Gentile Jewellers on the opening of their beautiful new jewellery store in Cwmbran. Family, friends and customers enjoyed glasses of bubbly and canapes with their hosts, the Gentile family.

Abi Gentile with Kathy Glynn of Cwmbran, winner of the prize draw

Smiles all round at the new store

The new shop held an exciting prize draw and a delighted Kathy Glynn of Cwmbran was the winner drawn from the hat. Paul Gentile Jewellers 9 South Walk, Cwmbran 01633 865556 www.paulgentilejewellers.co.uk Alexis from Blu Hair Salon, Penarth and sister Abi Gentile

A warm welcome from all the team at the new store

Paul Gentile and Michael Gentile with sons Luca and Angelo

Melanie Dawson, Lisa Richard, Tori Williams

Sir Norman Lloyd-Edwards, Lord Hunt, Sir Geoffrey Inkin

Joe McLean, Anne Campbell, Lord Hunt, Anne Morgan, Dr Ian Campbell

Liz Morgan, Jill Jacobs, Anne Morgan

Graeme Morgan, Derek Morgan, Bernard Rees

CARDIFF

English-Speaking Union Lunch Former Secretary of State for Wales, Lord Hunt of Wirral, made a welcome return as Chairman of the English-Speaking Union when he spoke at the Lunch held at the Cardiff City Stadium following the AGM of the South Wales Branch. The occasion provided the opportunity for Lord Hunt to renew acquaintance with many friends made during his time in Wales and he warmly congratulated members on the way in which they had established such a thriving and enthusiastic Branch in a short space of time. â?§ 26 â?§


SOCIAL LIFE MISKIN

Steve Astbury from Laurent Perrier hosted a Gourmet Evening, with fine champagne and a sumptuous five course dinner at Miskin Manor on Thursday 21 October. Guests enjoyed a delicious meal, expertly prepared in-house by Head Chef Mark Beck and his team, complimented by fine champagne from Laurent Perrier, and rose displays from David Austin Roses. Miskin Manor Country Hotel and Health Club Miskin CF72 8ND www.miskin-manor.co.uk

Amanda Rosenberg with friends Jen & Cath

Photography courtesy of Hazel Hannant Photography

Champagne Gourmet Evening

Kelvin, Sharon and the team at Diamond Centre Wales

Steve Astbury of Laurent Perrier, William Pugh-Williams and Greg Williams of Fine Wines Direct UK

Bernard Jones with Nicolette, Marian and Michael Henderson, Sally Evans, Karen Rozier, John Rozier and Jason Evans

Leanne Cocco of Cocco Hair, Helen Pick of Katwalk, Eleri, Sherlyn King and Lynfa Davies

Amanda Archer and guests

Daryl and Gwyn of Keraton Smith Hairdressers with Lesley

Social Life covers launches, parties, exhibitions, charitable events, fashion shows, engagements and weddings. Professor John Lazarus, Vivien and Christopher Pollard

Dr Peter Beck and Lyn Beck with Dr Margaret Jones

Elenawyn Griffin and Liz Wyn Owen

Gwilym and Linda Jones, Julia Kelsall, Bev Thomas, Ian Kelsall

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If you’d like to feature your social event in these pages please contact Jennifer on 0845 180 1234 or email jennifer@valleyslife.co.uk


MEG GAR CZYN SKA What’s a nice Polish girl like you doing in Wales? I came to Wales to work, as life in Poland wasn’t, and still isn’t, easy. I was nineteen years old, so still very young, without any experience and not knowing the language. Everything was really scary and new for me. Living away from everything that you love so much isn’t easy. I left my parents and brother, and all of my friends, to come here.

So, what where you doing before you left Poland? I was studying German at university in Poland but studying over there is very expensive and not so easy like here. Full time studies are forty hours a week with loads of homework and exams, so you don’t really have time to work to earn some money to pay for basic living costs. After working here for two years I started thinking about going to university here, in Wales. My English still wasn’t good, but I decided to try. So, you’re enjoying uni life here? Definitely. In Poland when you choose courses to study you have to think very carefully what will bring some money

in the future, not what you’d like to do, so I chose a course which I enjoyed and developed my photography.

I studied and worked full time, and all three years of my BA course have been quite hard. I had to study a lot harder, as I had problems with language. I was also burgled twice and had my computer stolen which had all of my projects stored on it. I’ve had a lot of bad luck on the way, but I’m graduating in December this year, and I am very proud of that. Yay! Has the global recession affected your home country? Recession in Poland is even worse than here! Living costs are very high and wages are much less. I wouldn’t call it poverty, but it is a big struggle. Poland is very similar to Wales in many ways - it’s very green and beautiful, full of amazing places, fascinating heritage, and interesting people. Because of these similarities I’ve found it easier to adapt. In the beginning I planned to live in London, but it’s way too busy and far too depressing. Now I am happy that I changed my mind and came here. ❧ 28 ❧

What do you love about the Valleys? The Valleys are magical, mysterious and full of charm because of the heritage, industrial past and the people. For example, at Trefil Quarry located on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park you’ll find totally different landscapes next to one another. Trefil is mysterious, sad and has many abandoned buildings that are next to green hills, valleys and waterfalls. One of my other favourite places is the Rhondda – it’s like two different worlds; houses, hills, trees, river, woods and the remnants of another world underground – dark, full of coal, and dirty, dangerous work. Who and what inspires you? People and places, their stories and memories - the people who I meet everyday. I love listening to others, especially older people, they have so much to say, so many forgotten stories. One of my aims is to keep these stories alive. In terms of other artists I think. perhaps, the most influential and inspirational are John Davies, Roger Tiley and John Cornwell. Do you have a favourite photographic location? I know just a few local places in Wales, at the moment as I don’t have a driving licence yet so the only places I can access are via public transport, or those where I visit with a friend. I can’t wait to pass my driving test and buy a car… then I will spend all my free time travelling and photographing! Meg Garczynska Meg can be contacted at www.mmg-photography.com or you can email her at megus77@gmail.com


Photographer Meg Garczynska tells us about her life, her passion for photography and her love of the Welsh Valleys.

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Nature is truly amazing, yet usually we don’t stop long enough to consider it. For instance, what is the significance of winter in the natural cycle of things? It makes us take stock, nourish, replenish, wind down and hibernate in preparation for spring... yes, it’s not just for squirrels!

THE WONDER OF PUGH’S Pugh’s Garden Village in Radyr is busy preparing for the winter to make sure you get the best out of your garden and home and to help you celebrate in style during the festive season. So, what’s in store? The tree Part of the thrill and ritual of Christmas is choosing a tree with the family – just the fragrance itself is pure nostalgia and an air of festive cheer and banter is guaranteed. The team will help to take the headache out of selecting your tree with their needle-firm Irish fir and spruce trees. They can be delivered to your home anytime from the last week in November and range in size from 4 – 12 foot in height, making them ideal for both indoor and outdoor display.

The front door The entrance to your home is a real opportunity to make a statement and no front door is complete without a beautiful seasonal wreath, garland, planted container or window box. What better way to greet your guests when they arrive for the festivities than with a classic standard tree of holly, bay or box and a sprig of mistletoe to induce the folklore tradition of romance! Once over the threshold, a splash of colour and vibrancy can be provided with a bold display of poinsettias or cyclamen.

If you’re looking to theme your tree, then you will find a fabulous range of twinkly fairy lights, novelty outdoor lights, LED’s and, of course, baubles and tree ornaments. And if you like to add something new to your Christmas collection each year, then you’re bound to find something to hang on one of the branches.

Community Pugh’s Garden Village and have been supporting community projects since they opened 40 years ago. This year, they are holding a colouring competition and local primary schools will be participating in an attempt to win a Christmas tree for their school. They have provided a Christmas tree in the Capitol Centre in support of the George Thomas Hospice ‘Light Up A Life’ Campaign and also trim trees at no charge with all donations going to The Heart Foundation. Maybe this year they’ll beat last year’s total of £1,500? Visitors to the Village can select and pay for their Christmas goodies and pay up to £4 only for a hamper to put them in. This would make an ideal gift for garden lovers and foodies alike.

“Don’t leave without selecting some of the goodies available in the Farm Shop.” ❧ 30 ❧


Treats for the foodies The Café at Pugh’s will be the place to relax over a mug of steaming hot chocolate, a cup of coffee, a mince pie or a slice of chocolate Yule log. Also look out for seasonal flavoured soups and sandwich fillings. Don’t leave without selecting some of the goodies available in the Farm Shop, such as meats, cheeses, pickles, jams, chutneys chocolates and a range of festive flavours and treats. Also available will a selection of beers and ciders.

bulbs this autumn, then you will find a selection of ‘living’ bulbs which can be grown in readiness to welcome in the spring season. And for vegetable lovers, now would be a good time to prepare your crops by planting Spring cabbages, and other seasonal produce.

Gift ideas Where do we start? Favourites include pots, plants, garden benches and Chimneas which will bring a warm glow to gardens on a cold crisp winter evening. Gift vouchers are perfect for keen gardeners and packets of seeds make ideal stocking fillers for green fingers who want to ensure a riot of colour for summer gardens.

Pugh’s Garden Village Tynant Nurseries, Morganstown Radyr CF15 8LB 029 2084 2017 www.pughsgardencentre.co.uk

Spring Yes, it seems ages away, but in gardening terms you need to plan now. For anyone who has missed the window of opportunity to plant dry

Opening Hours Monday to Saturday 9am - 5.30pm Sunday 10.30am - 4.30pm

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Pugh’s also at Style Gardens, Port Road, Wenvoe, Vale of Glamorgan


The NHS does a wonderful job day in, day out, but occasionally, for those entering the system, it can appear to move very slowly and when anxiety and fear of serious illness is weighing on your mind, sometimes it pays to take...

THE PRIVATE OPTION

When a fit and healthy middle-aged woman started getting severe stomach and acid reflux, she immediately went to her GP. Two months of antacids followed with no easing of symptoms and the situation was seriously impacting on her home life and her job. Given that bowel cancer is the second biggest killer in the UK with one person diagnosed every eighteen minutes, naturally she was frightened that the pain could be the result of something more sinister. We discussed her contrasting experience with the NHS and with Nucleus, Wales’ private centre of excellence for gastroenterology.

Please tell us how this all began? I started getting acid reflux several months ago and put it down to stress from work and my diet and lifestyle. I went to my local GP who prescribed antacids, which I took for two months with little or no effect. My GP upped my dose and gave me another month’s supply. Again these proved ineffective. Then the excruciating stomach pains began, which got progressively worse.

I enquired about the price and, not being exactly awash with cash, came away wondering whether to proceed. Dr Srivastava said they could carry out the procedure the following Monday.

How did you feel at this point? I was really quite frightened! There’s a history of cancer in my family so that was always at the back of my mind.

And then? Events sort of snowballed. Another hospital visit followed as I was in debilitating pain. I was admitted, and another series of tests were carried out. Bloods, urine, stomach X-ray and observation. I was admitted to a short stay surgical ward which had five other women of differing ages and various medical conditions.

What happened then? The pain got so bad that I was rushed into hospital by ambulance. A number of tests were carried out but I was sent home with laxatives after being told I had constipation. The pain didn’t ease and I started to get really concerned. After reading about Nucleus Healthcare, I gave them a call and made an appointment to see Dr. Srivastava. He immediately put me at ease, examined my stomach and asked about the pain. He suggested I have a colonoscopy and endoscopy to find out what was going on.

I was told that I would need an endoscopy and colonoscopy but would have to be sent home and put on a waiting list which was currently standing at three to six months. I couldn’t imagine waiting that long as I was in great pain and was concerned about my family and my job. The pain increased whilst on the ward and I was then moved to another ward with three elderly and very poorly women and was informed that if I wanted the first procedure, I’d have to wait it out on the ward. There I stayed, in great discomfort, for five days.

❧ 32 ❧


“I arrived at Nucleus on the Monday and was greeted by a friendly receptionist. I was shown to my immaculately clean private room with en-suite bathroom.”

During that time parts of the ward had to be closed due to a severe Norovirus infection and I was worried that I would catch it. On the fifth day, as one of the ladies on my ward came down with the virus, I was told that theatre could fit me in for my endoscopy. I stressed to the consultant that I was fearful as I have a strong gagging reflex and he assured me that I would be anaesthetised and wouldn’t feel a thing. When I got to theatre, however, I was told that this wasn’t the case. What then followed was a horrendous procedure given my state of anxiety and I was deeply upset. I was then sent to another part of the ward where the infection had ocurred but had now cleared. I was told that the endoscopy results were normal and I was discharged with more antacids, painkillers and a stronger laxative. I received a note to say that I had been put on the waiting list for the colonoscopy. When I enquired this had a waiting list of one to three months, even if the consultant were to mark it urgent. And you were still none the wiser regarding your condition? No. I decided that I needed answers sooner rather than later and felt that my only chance of getting them would be to go back to Nucleus. Once again, I saw Dr. Srivastava on the Tuesday and was booked in for both procedures the following Monday. I told him of my recent experience and he immediately put me at ease, saying that I would be given enough sedation to be conversant but that I wouldn’t feel any pain during the procedures. He was very reassuring and I felt I could trust him.

I arrived at Nucleus on the Monday and was greeted by a friendly receptionist. I was shown to my immaculately clean private room with en-suite bathroom. My nurse went through the relevant documentation with me and I watched television for a while which took my mind off things. I was then called down to theatre. True to Dr. Srivastava’s word, I didn’t feel a thing and woke up to a lovely tray of tea, sandwiches and biscuits, which was very well received.

How do you feel now? Whilst I appreciate that not everyone can afford private healthcare, I must say that when faced with the prospect of being in considerable pain for several more months, not being able to work and look after my family, and run the risk of suffering from something far more serious which could have been treated if caught early, then private healthcare is worth its weight in gold. As for the NHS… I’m still waiting.

What was the outcome? Dr. Srivastava came to see me and told me that the procedures went well and that I was to come back a week later when he would have the results of the biopsies. However, in the meantime, he did stress that he had seen nothing that caused him immediate serious concern.

Name and address supplied

What happened then? I must confess I was apprehensive. I just needed to understand what was happening to me. My appointment came and I was greeted by Dr. Srivastava for my consultation. He immediately let me know that nothing sinister had been found. He did, however, find a small hiatus hernia, gastro-oesophageal reflux, gastritis and an irritable and over-active bowel. He explained he had tested me for H. Pylori and other bacterial infections which had proved negative. Dr. Srivastava then gave me a note for my doctor to prescribe me appropriate medication, which would, hopefully, ease the inflammation in the oesophagus and calm my bowel. I was to come back to see him in a month to see if the medication was working for me. ❧ 33 ❧

Nucleus Healthcare Spooner Close Celtic Springs Business Park Newport NP10 8FZ 01633 815900 enquiries@nucleushealthcare.co.uk www.nucleushealthcare.co.uk


THE LAST WORD Valleys Life talks to Gareth Noble, owner of Noble Training, on what his company can offer businesses with advice and training in health and safety. Tell us about your business I set my business up in June 2008 and recently left full time employment in November 2009 as a health and safety officer to pursue my chosen path. What type of clients do you have? My clients have included: ■ Priory Private Hospitals ■ Harley Medical Group ■ Cardiff Legal Services Commission ■ Cardiff Council Housing Association ■ Companies House ■ Intellectual Property Office (Patent Office) ■ Corpus Christi High School ■ Ysgol Plasmawr High School ■ Lisvane Primary School ■ Cwmfelin Primary School Anyone we’d know? Your readers would probably be aware of the Harley Medical Group. I started running courses for them in First Aid, Fire Awareness, Anaphylactic Shock and Manual Handling, in August 2009 and have been covering courses around the country for them ever since. Why would these companies need your services? With a change in First Aid Legislation that came into effect October 1st 2009, many businesses are unwittingly leaving themselves wide open for prosecution. As an HSE accredited First Aid at Work provider and assessor through the Association of First Aiders, we at Noble Training are able to offer up-to-date and current training along with advice and help to many businesses that require our services. Who would you like to work for? I would like to work for anyone and everyone, but my specialist skills and experience leans towards the health and care sector, but do have experience in heavy industry, logistics, transport, gases industries. What would you like to change? I sometimes get frustrated at the world’s problems and wish I had all the answers. Unfortunately I don’t and need to constantly tell myself that I don’t and try to relax a little.

Sum yourself up in three words? You’d have to ask my family, they probably know me better than I do. In a nutshell, my philosophy is... I’d like to move forward in my life and chosen career path, enabling myself to give a full and honest approach to any task I undertake.

“Noble Training’s work raises people’s self esteem, ensuring personal safety through the many courses.”

You may not know this but... ■ I received a bravery award in 1991

for helping a woman who was being beaten and attacked with a knife. I sustained serious knife wounds myself but, thankfully, the woman in question was safe. ■ At the age of 18, I cycled around

Wales with a friend in aid of Tenovus cancer research. The ride took us ten days and we raised approx £1500. ■ I helped a gentleman in Newport

who had decided to end his life by jumping from a bridge into a swollen river, I was able to talk to him reassure him, get him to come back over the barrier and stayed with him until the emergency services arrived. ■ I hold regular workshops in public

safety and personal awareness, have given talks and demos to Cardiff round table, Cardiff Womens' Guild, Mums Matters Community Group, amongst others.

What customers say... “Noble Training’s work raises people’s self esteem, ensuring personal safety through the many courses from Health and Safety, First Aid at Work and Positive Behaviour Management, amongst others. During our Personal and Social Education day recently, Gareth gave our sixth formers food for thought regarding body language and how to avoid being a victim of crime.” Siriol Burford Senior Assistant Headteacher Ysgol Plasmawr

■ I am an HSE accredited First Aid at

Work provider and assessor. ■ I have worked in partnership

and run courses for Career Change Wales. For more information please visit www.careerchangewales.co.uk ■ Once I had joined the training

team of the prison I set about making plans for a future in training others. We are partners with the Home Office, Know before You Go Campaign, which helps travellers. ■ I have set up and run my own

successful martial arts school. ■ I write a monthly article for a local

newspaper on personal safety and awareness. ■ I spent five years in the British

Army, with an active role in anti terrorist conflict, covert activities and intelligence gathering.

Noble Training Freephone 08081 081683 Mobile 07929 139055 noble.training@ntlworld.com www.nobletrainingsolutions.com

If you’d like to be featured or would like to promote your business in Last Word, please call Jennifer on 0845 180 1234 or email jennifer@valleyslife.co.uk


MORE THAN JUST AN EMERALD CUT

Wales’ Number One Diamond Supplier The Jewellery Studio, 237 Cathedral Road, Cardiff Telephone: 029 2022 1144 | www.jewellerystudio.co.uk

Valleys Life Winter 2010  

Valleys Life Winter 2010 The South Wales Valleys' Premier Lifestyle Magazine

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