2022.23 Vale Life Winter

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VALE L IFE

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IN OUR SIGHTS : THE TALENTED TRIO AT VALE EYE SURGEONS PLUS BEAUTY, FASHION, FOOD, INTERIORS & TRAVEL

t he vale of g lamorgan ’ s p remier l ifestyle m agazine
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PROUD TO BE INDEPENDENT PRICELESS WINTER 2022/23 restaurant reviews what ’s on , Business , shopping plus art , music , style health , homes and much more there ’s more online www . valelife . co . uk
TREAT HER TO A GIFT EXPERIENCE Show her how much you care with a treat she won’t forget this Mother’s Day www.valeresort.com/gifts Vale Resort, Hensol Park, Hensol, Vale of Glamorgan, CF72 8JY Spa Treatments | Afternoon Tea | Short Breaks | Sunday Lunch A La Carte Dinner | Gin Breaks | Pamper Days | Golf Lessons Monetary Vouchers and Much Much More... YOUR GIFT EXPERIENCE ALL WRAPPED UP... THIS MOTHER’S DAY VL.01.23

VALE L IFE

Editorial

editorial@goodlifepublishing.co.uk

www.valelife.co.uk

0845 130 6452

Cardiff House, Cardiff Road, Barry CF63 2AW

Passionate about The Vale of Glamorgan

We are a small independent publisher. 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 of Glamorgan.

Our philosophy

We are committed to quality. This quote by William Foster pretty much sums up our thinking: “Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.”

Caveat emptor

Advertisers supply their own copy or artwork, and therefore Vale Life cannot accept any responsibility for disputes between advertisers and their customers. Caveat emptor - let the buyer beware.

Important you read this

We have made every effort to ensure that all information contained in Vale Life or on www.valelife.co.uk (or our social media streams) is correct and accurate. However, we accept no responsibility for any errors or omissions and can offer no compensation should we get it wrong. Please note that the opinions, thoughts, views or ideas expressed in articles contained in Vale Life are strictly those of the authors.

Intellectual property

© Copyright Vale Life 2023. 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.

Subscriptions

Apologies, we are not accepting subscriptions at present. However, you can reserve a copy with some of our outlets across the Vale or read articles on www.valelife.co.uk

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@goodlifepublishing.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. Priceless actually!

Vale Life is distributed free through a wide variety of outlets across Vale of Glamorgan and beyond and is given away free of charge on the understanding that we are happy for it to be lent, passed on, 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.

Green is good

The pulp used in the production of the paper Vale Life is printed on is sourced from sustainably managed Scandinavian tree farms and utilises an elementary chlorine-free bleaching process.

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2022 was a funny old year. Not dissimilar to 2021 or 2020 really but let’s not dwell on that!

To be perfectly honest, I’ve had it with all the doom and gloom. Yes, it’s tough out there (and here) but what we’re experiencing isn’t, as Tom Jones would say, unusual. Every country has similar issues at the moment, and we’re pretty much all in the same boat.

I find myself looking for the good stuff more these days. Reasons to be cheerful shall we say. I live in a beautiful county. I enjoy good health. I’m in love. I have a wonderful family. We have a really cool dog that brings us joy in the bucket loads. The things that make me happy these days aren’t things (although I do like clothes, and shoes, and bags, and other fashiony type things), it’s life: kindness, love, generosity, friendship. These are the important things.

I love funny jokes, and rude jokes. I like cheeky people, and smart people. I like people that make you think and don’t take everything at face value and believe the garbage that we’re spoon fed by the media. I can’t bare all this wokery and not being able to laugh at things without someone, as my husband eloquently puts it, “losing their skirt!”

Nope I’m past it. I make sure I have people around me that enrich my soul. Life is way too short and if we’re kind and compassionate, I believe the universe, in this life or the next, whatever form that takes, rewards us. And if it doesn’t, well we’ve had a laugh along the way.

Travel Life

If you love to travel like us, you might like to visit our Travel Life Magazine website. The website’s address is TravelLifeMag.co.uk and it’s becoming quite popular. You’ll be able to read about a few of our recent excursions on pages 64 to 73. #HappyTravels

Until spring. Keep smiling, life has a way of working itself out despite our best efforts to derail it.

Jennifer Hobbs-Roberts

Editor 07766 106 701 jennifer@goodlifepublishing.co.uk uk.linkedin.com/in/jenniferhobbsroberts

Our cover stars!

Our cover is graced by the talented trio Ryan Davies, Magdalena Popiela and Thomas Betts of Vale Eye Surgeons who have recently opened their shiny new clinic in the heart of Cowbridge, Check them out on pages 8 to 11.

WELCOME VALE LIFE WOULD LIKE TO THANK EVERYONE WHO HAS SUPPORTED US OVER RECENT MONTHS. OUR CONTRIBUTORS, OUR FAMILIES, OUR FRIENDS (INCLUDING ALL THE NEW ONES WE HAVE MADE) AND OUR ADVERTISERS - WITHOUT THEM VALE LIFE WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN POSSIBLE. WE 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 THAT YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE, PLEASE GET IN TOUCH. VALE LIFE IS REGISTERED AT THE BRITISH LIBRARY AS A MAGAZINE ISSN 1757-1723. FOR TERMS AND CONDITIONS PLEASE VISIT OUR WEBSITE AT WWW.VALELIFE.CO.UK
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN’S PREMIER LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE
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Connect Resolve

Connect Resolve is a unique service working with children and parents to strengthen their relationships. Run by Cheryl, a qualified mediator with extensive experience of child and parental conflict and working with separated parents. Cheryl can also deliver training on communication and conflict.

Connect Resolve guides and enables families to improve communication and understand each other’s behaviour, when they are having difficulties. Her conversations allow parents to reflect and co-ordinate their parenting to support each other. She can also work towards reconnecting lost relationships between a parent and child.

This tailored service, depending on the age and willingness of everyone, is offered to parents or the whole family. Sessions are available online or face-to-face in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan.

Cheryl offers a free 15-minute consultation to help you decide if this support is right for you.

VALE LIFE FRONT COVERS Our shining stars

Our cover stars for this issue are Ryan, Magda and Tom of Vale Eye Surgeons. We love celebrating local people, and their stories over the last twelve months have been incredibly inspiring.

Emma was our first cover star of 2022. You can read all about her incredible life changing experience on pages 44 to 47.

Spring 2022’s cover really popped with Stacey and Carla of Coast Hair & Beauty adding a splash of pink to the season.

Nicky Bright graced our front cover back in summer 2022 and her story has now been picked up by national and international media. What a journey for this truely talented lady.

Marina and her beautiful Pom, Coco, made our autumn 2022 issue particularly gorgeous, and her story too was so worthy of a book, so she wrote one!

At this point, we’d also like to praise the great work that Sian Owen does for the magazine. All last year’s covers were taken by Sian (plus this issue’s). If you need any photography: wedding, lifestyle, portrait or corporate, please consider Sian - she’s immensely talented and extremely professional. www.sian-owen.co.uk

“Cheryl allowed us to bond and improve our relationship. Having a third person to guide us really helped. I can open up to my Mum now.”

Male, aged 15

Cheryl Edwards

cheryl@connectresolve.co.uk

www.connectresolve.co.uk

Connect Resolve

connect.resolve

jennifer@goodlifepublishing.co.uk

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“If you’d like to be a Vale Life cover star, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.”

RHOOSE Posh Pawz Salon & Spa

In the very popular village of Rhoose (the Vale’s most southerly point), you’ll find the wellestablished, and much-loved, Posh Pawz Salon and Spa.

Kath’s team of passionate dog lovers offer a large range of services and cater for all shapes, sizes, and temperaments. Posh Pawz provides a calm, clean and air-conditioned environment in which they can handle all your dog’s needs and provide a positive experience of professional grooming. The team offer the highest level of care and attention throughout the grooming process and have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the customers.

Kath highly recommends a bath and brush up in between grooms to maintain a good healthy coat and skin. All of which helps towards the wellbeing of your precious pooch.

11 Fontygary Road, Rhoose CF62 3DR 01446 710044

www.poshpawzsalonandspa.co.uk

poshpawzsalonandsparhoose

Stacey & Carla Spring 2022 https://bit.ly/392u0IB Nicky Bright Summer 2022 https://bit.ly/3PRTI34 Marina Storina & Coco Autumn 2022 https://bit.ly/3DWPCC9 Posh Pawz Salon & Spa
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Award winning construction company based in the Vale of Glamorgan, offering a total solution building service to domestic and commercial clients

We have recently had a complete renovation to our downstairs, MJ Construction ensured we were able to do this while still living at the property with minimal disruption whilst the project was ongoing. The quality of the work has been amazing, all of the team have been really friendly, tidy and joy to have in our home. .

The team’s professionalism, knowledge and enthusiasm was evident throughout. MJ Construction were committed to producing quality work while being extremely helpful in creating our vison. We would highly recommend them. .

We can help you create your dream space. MJ Construction is a professional, licensed building contractor which covers South Wales
029 2051 2768 07717 441881 enquiries@mj-construction.co.uk www.mj-construction.co.uk Follow us for inspiration @mjconstruction112 “ “

Hensol

R AISE YOUR GLASSES!

Hensol Castle Distillery’s Welsh Dry Gin named best in Wales. The ceremony, which showcases the best of the best gins from all over the globe, saw Hensol Castle Distillery’s Welsh Dry Gin win the award for ‘Best in Country’. It will now go on to compete to win the title of ‘World’s Best Classic Gin’ in February 2023.

The Welsh Dry Gin also scooped a gold medal in the classic gin category, while the distillery’s two flavoured gins, which were launched in February 2022, also made the award podium. The Blood Orange Zest Gin won a silver medal and the Wild Strawberry and Hibiscus Gin won a bronze medal in the flavoured gin category.

According to the world’s number one online resource for drinks professionals, TheDrinksReport.com, the World Drinks Awards - which runs the World Gin Awards - select, reward and promote the world’s best drinks to consumers and trade across the globe.

Hensol Castle Distillery’s range is available in Asda and Morrisons, throughout restaurants, pubs and bars in South Wales and the hospitality suites and the Principality Stadium for all rugby internationals and music events. It has also secured sponsorship deals with Cardiff City Football Club and Glamorgan Cricket to become the official gin supplier of both clubs.

CELEBRATE WITH US! To celebrate the win, Hensol Castle Distillery is offering Vale Life readers FREE postage and packing on their award-winning gins so you can try the gin for yourself. Visit www.hensolcastledistillery.com and use code FREEPP at checkout.
The
World Gin Awards announces its ‘World Best’ winners on 23 February 2023.
Castle Distillery’s Welsh Dry Gin has been named best in Wales at the prestigious World Gin Awards 2023.
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Vale Eye Surgeons is a newly formed, high-tech eye clinic in Cowbridge set up by a group of three talented eye experts: Magdalena Popiela, Thomas Betts and Ryan Davies.

ONE VISION

VALE EYE SURGEONS

Here, colleagues Magda, Thomas and Ryan tell us about their journey to setting up their dream clinic.

The three met during their ophthalmic specialty training in Wales and became friends. They each shared a dream of owning their own eye clinic. This formed the basis for setting up Vale Eye Surgeons and, in their own words, “basically came about through a series of lucky events, and hard work”.

Tom and Ryan have lived in the Vale for quite few years and saw a possibility of renting premises in the Beauty

Within Medi Spa in Cowbridge at the beginning of 2022. At that point Magda was still working in Gibraltar. Many video calls later they decided to make their dream a reality. “We set up the company, rented the premises, prepared all relevant paperwork, transported the equipment and subsequently renovated the new clinic rooms. We are all delighted with what we have achieved in such short period of time and especially proud as we all hold full time jobs in the NHS in addition to setting up the Vale Eye Surgeons.”

Obviously we wanted to find out more about their plans, so we caught up with the team at their Cowbridge clinic.

Why did you set up the clinic? What was the motivation?

We came together to open the Vale Eye Surgeons with a vision of being able to provide tailored patient care in a nice, clinical set up. We aim to offer appointments and treatments to our patients promptly and at convenient times, as well as offer services which are not available on the NHS.

Please tell us about the treatments... These would include removing lumps and bumps from the eye lids, treating cataract surgery as a procedure to get rid of the need for glasses, and facial aesthetic treatments. We also have a YAG laser in the clinic, which we use for treatment of thickening of posterior capsule. This treatment might be needed after cataract surgery. Our onestop laser clinics have become very popular with patients.

You offer cataract surgery. What are cataracts and how would you treat them?

A cataract is clouding of the natural lens inside your eye. It is usually an agerelated process, which causes blurred vison, loss of contrast or glare. Cataract can be treated by surgery during which your natural cloudy lens is removed and replaced with an artificial lens.

These days there are many artificial lenses to choose from and each provides different benefits for post operative vision.

At the Vale Eye Surgeons clinic, we can advise you on which of these lenses will fit your lifestyle best, as well as discuss options for less dependence on glasses after your surgery.

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As we get older, some of us have fairly good vison but we need reading glasses, why is that?

When our eyes mature two things happen to the natural lens of the eyeit gets stiffer and becomes cloudy.

Clouding is called a cataract and leads to blurry vison, loss of contrast or glare. Whereas loss of the lens elasticity causes reduction in the range of close-up vision and in most people, this is the reason for needing reading glasses. This is called Presbyopia and it is not synonymous with cataract.

The two processes are caused by a different issue with your natural lens. However, both can be addressed by one procedure - cataract surgery. If you are interested in glasses independence after cataract surgery, please come and have a chat with us.

What are your future plans for the clinic?

Our ultimate goal would be to open our very own eye theatre. Currently we each take our Vale patients to be operated on in established private hospitals in the Vale of Glamorgan, Cardiff and Newport. We hope to build links with other clinics in Cardiff, so we can provide eye services to a wider community. We also would like to offer a wider range of aesthetic treatments to our patients partnering with a local plastic surgeon.

VALE EYE SURGEONS

Treatments and services

n Ophthalmic consultations

n YAG laser treatments for lens polish

n Cataract surgery

n Blepharoplasty

n Removal of lid lumps and bumps

n Pterygium removal

n Botox

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MEET THE PARTNERS Thomas Betts Tom

I am a consultant ophthalmic surgeon at the University Hospital of Wales. I am experienced in providing general ophthalmology care, cataract surgery and I have a specialist interest in oculoplastic surgery. This encompasses eyelid position and cosmetic eyelid surgery, watery eye surgery and the treatment of cancer around the eye. I also deliver botulinum toxin (Botox) treatment.

I graduated from The University of Dundee Medical School in 2007 and subsequently completed general ophthalmology training in Wales. I spent two years undertaking subspeciality training in oculoplastic surgery as a Fellow at Christchurch Hospital, New Zealand.

In 2020 I returned to a consultant position at The University Hospital of Wales. I am the ophthalmic lead for Cardiff and Vale University Health Board Skin Cancer Service and an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Cardiff University School of Optometry and Vision Science.

My Vale Life...

I really love living in The Vale of Glamorgan with my young family. I am a keen sportsperson and enjoy multisport activities. Training for races in the Vale is such a treat with so many fantastic cycling and running opportunities on the doorstep. My personal highlight was completing Ironman in Copenhagen. This year I am getting into surfski paddling and the team at Pen-y-bont Surf Life Saving Club have been very encouraging.

When we get the time to eat out, I tend to head to the Bush Inn in St. Hilary. Andy and Liz have created such a welcoming family environment and the food is always delicious.

MEET THE PARTNERS

Magdalena Popiela Magda

I am a cornea and anterior segment specialist at the clinic. I also work as Consultant Ophthalmologist in the University Hospital of Wales.

Apart from general ophthalmology I look after patients who are interested in refractive cataract surgery, dry eyes and anyone with problems of the anterior segment of the eye. I really enjoy doing complicated lens calculations. I am a go to person for anyone who had refractive surgery in the past or has current problems with their cornea and now wishes to undergo cataract surgery.

I graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2007 and subsequently completed my ophthalmology training in Wales. I have undertaken a cornea and anterior segment fellowship in Southampton. My initial consultant job took me to Gibraltar, where I set up corneal services and performed the first ever corneal transplant there. In 2022 I decided to return to Wales due to work and family commitments. I currently live in Cardiff with my husband, two children and our Labradoodle puppy.

My Vale Life...

I have always loved the Vale of Glamorgan as it is so picturesque. The Vale was the first place I visited when I moved down to Wales for my ophthalmology job in 2009. I also have a distant family connection to the Vale - my maternal uncle used to live here, and my mother spent her summer holiday in The Vale of Glamorgan as a teenager. In 2009 we tried to trace her steps and came across my favourite beach in the Vale - Southerndown. I enjoy walks along the coast and paddle boarding. We are looking for a new house and I might just convince my husband to move closer to the clinic and the coast.

Our favourite place to eat in the Vale, as a group, I would have to say is the Bear hotel - it is most frequently visited for business dinners. It is so nice to walk from the clinic to the restaurant. I also like visiting Lanerch Vineyard, sitting outside among the vines and tasting the produce. I am very glad we have had an opportunity to open the clinic is such a wonderful location. I do enjoy my scenic drive to work.

“Apart from general ophthalmology I look after patients who are interested in refractive cataract surgery.”
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“I graduated from The University of Dundee Medical School in 2007 and subsequently completed general ophthalmology training in Wales. I spent two years undertaking subspeciality training in oculoplastic surgery.”

Ryan Davies

I am a general Ophthalmologist with a special interest in Paediatric eye conditions, strabismus (squints), and complex cataract surgery.

I also work as a Consultant at the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport. I enjoy all aspects of ophthalmology and being a Paediatric Ophthalmologist gives me the opportunity to maintain a broad skill set.

My Vale Life...

I have lived in The Vale of Glamorgan for the best part of a decade, along with my wife, two children and Border Terrier. We lived in St Nicholas for a period of time but now closer to Cowbridge. We are very settled here so the opportunity to open the clinic in Cowbridge was too good to miss.

My main role of course is social secretary and taxi driver for my two children. Fortunately, the Vale has more than enough activities in its vicinity to keep them entertained, weather depending of course.

Vale Eye Surgeons don’t just offer clinical or restorative surgery. The clinic also provides cosmetic surgery through association with Mr Richard Karoo. Richard tells us more.

COSMETIC EYE SURGERY AT VALE EYE SURGEONS

Cosmetic surgery can be incredibly lifechanging in the most positive of ways. Of all the facial procedures I perform, Blepharoplasty (Eyelid reduction) surgery is one of the most instantaneous on table transformations undertaken.

When we take into consideration the importance of our eyes for non-verbal communication, sharing of emotions, recognition (even when we were wearing masks) and that 50-70% of our gaze during face-to-face interactions is focused around the periorbital region. We can see why rejuvenation to this area can result in that most noticeable refreshed appearance by those around you.

Eyelid (Blepharoplasty) surgery can be undertaken to remove skin excess to the upper lids, lower lids and also help address fatty pockets which bulge forwards resulting in eyebags. Everyone’s anatomy differs very slightly and so having a variety of techniques and approaches will help achieve the optimal results.

There are occasions when a patients eyebrows sit low and heavy on the forehead, and in these instances a discussion around brow lifting techniques, be it endoscopic, open direct or internal browpexy considered only if felt appropriate.

Technically careful planning should be considered and discussed with your operating surgeon at the time of your first consultation to help achieve the optimal results. A cooling off period for you to reflect. Ensure that your surgeon is trained and experienced in this field and consider your aftercare, this is just as important as the surgery itself. Ultimately cosmetic blepharoplasty surgery really can help lift one’s confidence when undertaken in a safe and controlled manner.

Mr Richard Karoo FRCS Plast. is a Consultant Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeon.

Vale Eye Surgeons

10A High Street, Cowbridge CF71 7AG 07979 825075

info@valeeyesurgeons.com

Opening Hours

Monday to Friday 9 am – 7 pm

Saturday and Sunday 10 am - 12 noon Out of hours appointments available

Vale Eye Surgeons

Thank you

The team at Vale Eye Surgeons would like to thank Leila at King Fox and Esther at Jon Ian for ensuring they were suitably attired for the photo shoot.

MEET THE PARTNERS
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“I also work as a Consultant at the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport.”

Thornton Travel on Barry’s popular High Street opened its doors on the 8th of December, 2022. Owner of the group, Pamela Thornton, thought that as Barry is such a big town, the bustling street would benefit from a travel agency there and she’s right, they’ve been welcomed with open arms.

T HORNTON T RAVEL

The street has an abundance of good quality, independent businesses and Thornton Travel fits in perfectly. We caught up with Pam to find out more.

How have you settled into the street?

The traders have been so supportive; we have booked many of the traders’ holidays. Lots have called in to say how pleased they are having something different on the High Street and have been very welcoming.

How busy have you been since you opened?

Since opening we have been amazed how quickly word has spread and it has been lovely to see so many familiar faces that we have booked for many years. Also, it has been so nice to meet new customers that have not necessarily used an agent before now.

How has the feedback been from local residents and from those further afield?

The location of the shop allows customer to park in the same street, this has been a benefit and we have had positive feedback regarding easy access to the shop.

What are the most popular destinations that you are selling for the spring? We are selling lots of cruises, European city breaks, last minute bookings to the Canaries and tailormade speciality holidays.

What do you think makes booking with Thornton Travel special?

The team has many years of travel experience behind them so can research and compare what’s available and deliver “best value” for our customers. We offer competitive prices, friendly personal service and go above and beyond to meet customers’ needs and expectations.

Thornton Travel

83 High Street, Barry CF62 7DX 01446 393866

info@thorntontravel.co.uk

Thornton Travel Barry

Also at 8 High Street, Cowbridge

Opening Hours

and deliver “best value” for our customers.”

Monday to Friday 9.30am – 5pm Saturday 10am – 4pm

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“The team has many years of travel experience so can research and compare what’s available

www.sian-owen.co.uk

Is your home-based business prepared for increasing energy costs? Perhaps you can navigate your escalating energy overhead by choosing a flexible, serviced office solution. The Business Centre’s Manager, Emma Mills, explores the benefits.

THE BUSINESS C ENTRE

THE FLEXIBLE OFFICE SOLUTION

It’s no secret that everyone in the UK is coming to grips with the sharp rises in household energy costs planned for 2023. The biggest increase is expected in April as the government’s “price guarantee” policy falls away, effectively reducing its assistance paying for household energy.

If you’re running a small, established business from home, this could spell trouble if you aren’t able to manage escalating energy costs. Simply heating your home and using electricity in the same place you live, and work could have major implications for your business and the quality of life for you and your employees.

Does working from home make financial sense?

We can’t help but ask, is working from home really worth it? It was a necessity during the pandemic and became somewhat of a norm as many businesses adopted a remote work model. But amid energy cost rises, does it make more financial sense for small established businesses to move away from the home base and into an affordable office space where their money goes further? We believe it is, not to mention the benefits of interaction with others.

Curtail the rising cost of keeping the lights on Serviced offices, like those at The Business Centre (Cardiff) Ltd, are one way you can curtail the rising cost of keeping the lights on. It’s also the perfect option if you’re expanding and your current lease is ending. A small monthly fee covers your utilities and provides you with a fully furnished executive office tailored to your business, a range of exclusive business support services, all the necessary infrastructure, and the freedom to cancel your lease at any time after a minimum of three months. Since 2008, we’ve been reinventing the office rental sector with flexibility and financial freedom at the centre.

A one-of-kind business destination

Our flexible offices are the modern way to rent office space. We’ve created a thriving environment that inspires business growth, productivity, creativity, and freedom. This is facilitated through a range of services and amenities that make us a one-ofkind business destination.

Our newest upgrades inspire

Recently, we’ve undergone a major transformation with revamps to our key onsite facilities, including our meeting room and breakout areas. We’ve also added a brand-new showroom for businesses that want to showcase products.

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Our meeting room and breakout areas now boast a fresh new look designed to inspire your team. Whether you’re hosting a meeting, training course, conference, or networking event, you will have access to a modern, spacious meeting room that’s complete with facilities and services tailored to your business - we even include a dedicated conference coordinator to manage the event from start to end.

Our big and fully-equipped meeting room includes:

n Vibrant reception & breakout areas

n A dedicated conference coordinator

n Free reliable Wi-Fi

n Use of flip charts and overhead projectors

n Free onsite parking

n Room layout adaptation depending on your group

n Availability of in-house catering

n Complementary Twinings tea, squash, jugs of water, plus sweets and mints.

The Business Centre (Cardiff) Ltd features two vibrant breakout areas perfect for taking a break from your desk, enjoying lunch, or catching up with others. It’s your spot to network and refuel your energy and creativity. The new makeover is a big hit with our business residents, who simply love the pops of colour, geometric artistic elements, and, of course, comfortable seating.

If you’re a small, established business looking for a flexible serviced office with everything you need included in an affordable monthly fee, from utilities to reception services, The Business Centre (Cardiff) Ltd could just be your perfect fit. Get in touch with our friendly team to find out more.

THE BUSINESS CENTRE

Your monthly fee includes

n Utility bills and daily cleaning costs

n Business rates (terms apply)

n Building insurance and maintenance

n Telephone system and handsets

n Executive office furniture

n Super speedy broadband

n 24/7 CCTV and free car parking

n Call answering and mail handling

n Free in-house gym, and on-site café

n A sense of community within the centre

The Business Centre (Cardiff) Ltd Cardiff House, Cardiff Road Vale of Glamorgan CF63 2AW 01446 739911 enquiries@thebusinesscentreonline.co.uk www.thebusinesscentreonline.co.uk thebusinesscentreonline thebusinesscentrebarry
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“Working from home is fine but human beings benefit greatly from social interaction. It’s essential for our well-being.”

WHAT’S NEW AT SAMANTHA B?

“I shop at Sam’s because of the amazing service from the moment you walk in. I am always confident that I will find something I like. It’s like having your own personal shopper. That’s the reason I keep going back.” Liz

“I was one of Sam’s very first customers. She knows what suits me. There are lots of boutiques in the Vale but not many of this quality for the more mature lady. I’ve never felt pressured to buy and there are no parking charges!” Heather Jenkins

“Sam knows which clothes suit me. It’s always an enjoyable experience.”

“Such fantastic service! Every colour and fabric is covered. My favourites are Olsen, Capri, Barbara Lebek. With help from Sam, my new season’s wardrobe is sorted!” Diane

Open Monday - Saturday 10am - 5pm 4 Wick Road, Ewenny CF63 5BL Tel 01656 658388 Samantha b, Ewenny Adini • Anna Montana • Bianca • Barbara Lebek • Capri • Fransa • Ficelle • Marble • Olsen & Foil
PRICES FROM £10 S
50%
AUTUMN / WINTER STOCK
A L E
OFF

As we move out of the winter months, early spring beckons, and this is a time of great excitement for anyone with green fingers.

PREPARE FOR SPRING CROSS FARM NURSERY

March and April are the months where, if you put in a few hours in the garden, you’ll reap the rewards all year. Vale Life caught up with owner Charlotte for some tips.

Once you sense the worst of the frost is done, prune your rose bushes and climbers – this will encourage new growth. Not sure how? Pop in and ask the experts at Cross Farm Nursery. If growing veg is your thing, shallots can go in as well as early potatoes.

If you love summer flowers, then get your bulbs in the garden and top dress your tubs and containers with fresh compost. Those bulbs will soon get hungry. There are several types of compost available here and the team can give you the best advice. They will also have an excellent selection of bulbs so follow on Facebook to keep abreast of what’s new in stock.

Pick off any seedheads on daffodils and other spring bulbs but leave the foliage to die back naturally. That way they’ll grow strong next year.

If it’s a dry day, you can mow the lawn, but not too short. This is also a good time to hoe and mulch any early weeds that have popped up. Invest an hour in early spring and it’ll save you a day in summer. You can also lift and divide perennials if it’s a nice day - two for one!

Slugs will be active soon enough and it’s good to put some deterrents down. New shoots will need a little protection.

Have a general tidy up, you’ll feel better for it. Mental health and wellbeing is important and getting out in the spring sun is very good for the soul. Pop into Cross Farm Nursery, have a mooch around – everything you need to make you spring and summer garden glorious is to hand and Charlotte, Dave and Mark are super helpful and here to advise.

The gardener’s garden centre

You’ll find just about everything you need at Cross Farm.

n Bark (and decorative bark)

n Bulbs

n Christmas trees (and wreaths)

n Climbers and vines

n Composts (peat free too!)

n Feed selection

n Garden ornaments

n Hanging baskets

n Hedging

n Local honey (and eggs)

n Ornamental/statement plants

n Plant and lawn care

n Pots, tubs and window boxes

n Rock and stone

n Seed (flowers and vegetables)

n Shrubs and roses

n Succulents, Alpine and bedding

n Tools

n Trees (especially fruit trees)

n Young and starter plants

Cross Farm Nursery

Pentre Meyrick

Cowbridge CF71 7RN 07523 459949

Cross Farm Nursery

OPEN ALL YEAR ROUND

CROSS FARM NURSERY
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With Christmas and the overindulgence of the season becoming a distant memory, inevitably our thoughts turn to “New Year, New You”. But we can make good choices even if we are dining out. A Mediterranean diet is widely accepted to be one of the best. Perhaps that’s why Keyif in Penarth remains popular all year ‘round.

F EED YOUR SOUL

THE MEDITERRANEAN WAY

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One of the joys many of us miss, once Christmas is over, is the opportunity to meet family and friends and just socialise. If there’s one thing that people living in Mediterranean countries understand, it’s the importance of eating together, and with people still feeling the isolating effects of the lockdowns, the benefits both emotionally, physically and spiritually are clear.

The Mediterranean diet has become increasingly popular because the people in those countries demonstrate remarkably low rates of heart disease, chronic auto-immune conditions, and obesity (diabetes really isn’t a thing there). The focus is on good fats (fish, olive oil, nuts etc.), vegetables, fruits, lean meat, and low consumption of grains –and all of it is good quality generally. The culture is about family, being active and good rest. They must be doing something right - the stats don’t lie.

Keyif, Penarth’s Turkish restaurant, is one of those restaurants that looks and feels like it has the perfect balance when it comes to ambience, food and customer service. Mehmet and his team make everyone feel at home. I particularly like the fact that, as it’s open from noon, I can just pop in for a coffee - occasionally I’ll have some nibbles too, a light lunch here is excellent value and the quality of the ingredients is second to none. I always leave feeling better than I arrived. That says a lot. Keyif is certainly good for my soul anyway.

Whatever your nutritional life choices, Keyif’s menu has something for everyone. For the carnies, there’s a wonderful selection of meat cooked beautifully on the grill. Fish, and favourites like calamari, have their loyal fans here, and if you’re veggie, you’ll be very well catered for. If there’s one thing that Keyif does immensely well, it’s salads and vegetables.

They say we eat with our eyes and Keyif’s offerings are amongst the prettiest food we’ve ever eaten. It really does taste as good as it looks.

And yes, we can all be healthy and eat sensibly but if you do fancy something sweet (just to finish off your meal), then Keyif has all the usual authentic Turkish delights to tease you. Our personal favourite is their infamous rice pudding. It is simply divine.

So if you’re looking for a ‘relatively guilt free’ restaurant experience after the indulgences of the silly season, you won’t go far wrong with Keyif. In fact, if you missed out on meeting up with loved ones and friends over the winter, perhaps it’s time to catch up, and Keyif might very well have the perfect fusion of food, ambience and that indefinable Mediterranean feel-good factor to make your meal truly memorable.

TESTIMONIALS

What you love about Keyif

There’s always a warm welcome. Mehmet is the perfect host. The food here is truly exceptional.

I love the mixed grill – the lamb is especially good at Keyif. My wife loves a good steak and it’s always cooked perfectly.

This is real Turkish cuisine. It just feels authentic and it’s reasonably priced. We keep coming back.

Keyif 21 Glebe Street Penarth CF64 1EE KEYIF COLLECT 029 2070 2429 www.keyif.co.uk Tried & Tasted Rated 5 Stars by Vale Life For Food, Ambience & Service keyifpenarth 21

Whenever we’re looking for a family meal, inevitably we turn to our tried and trusted favourites. Those that consistently deliver on ambience, atmosphere, food (flavour) and, more and more important these days, value for money.

“We love Sunday lunch there. It’s always consistently good.”

THE HOME OF HOME COOKING

We certainly have our favourites around the Vale, and Cardiff, but if we’re looking for Sunday lunch, there’s one place that we turn to again and again.

Hilary & Iain’s By The Sea is a cool little bistro overlooking the Bristol Channel in Ogmore. We’ve been going there since it opened. In fact, we used to go to there before it was Hilary and Iain’s! It’s had several incarnations over the years - it was a really good little pizza place many years ago.

Nowadays it’s run by Hilary and Iain and, quite frankly, the food they turn out is pretty scrummy. If you’re looking for Sunday lunch, you’d be hard pressed to find better. Their lamb is astonishingly good - that’s Mark’s go-to. For Jack, our son, it’s roast beef every time. I usually opt for a steak, and I like it rare. And rare is what I always get. I usually have a couple of poached or fried eggs on top, but the flavour is really good. The boys like their veg too and it’s always cooked perfectly. All topped off with the most excellent gravy - real home cooking at its best.

At this time of year, if you’re lucky, Hilary’s legendary bread and butter pudding will be on the dessert menu. Honestly, you have to try it, with custard or ice cream, but we love the custard. Seriously, I run out of adjectives when it comes to the desserts.

As we’re talking about dessert, the Ogmore Eton Mess (strawberries, raspberries and blueberries) is incredible and if you love sticky toffee pudding, again you’ll find Hilary’s hard to beat. Crispy banana fritters, fudge cake, Belgian waffles - they’re all good here. If you follow them on Facebook, there’s always a chocolate cake pic on there to drool over. Quite cruel really when you’re stuck in work.

We love Sunday lunch there. It’s always consistently good. We must have eaten there at least fifty times - we keep going back. And not just for Sunday lunch. Iain’s steaks are excellent. The lasagne is to die for. Jack says it’s the best he’s tasted, and he’s eaten enough of them to know. They do a wicked cawl - very popular at this time of year and if you fancy a great fish and chips takeaway, then Hilary & Iain’s do that too.

Working backwards, their starters are certainly something to write home about. We love the creamy garlic mushrooms but the sticky tandoori chicken is equally as good (the minted garlic mayo makes it a winning combo). Once you’ve had those, we can highly recommend the crispy crumb Cajun wholetail scampi with sweet chili dip (it’s a lot easier to say after a large glass of the house red Merlot). Whatever you choose on your first outing, we suggest you try the others too at some point.

I think the thing we love the most is it’s unpretentious. So many places put style above substance and fail to deliver on flavour. If I had to describe Hilary and Iain’s food to anyone it would be just great home cooking. It’s relaxed there; locals come and go, families having lunch, cyclists will turn up and have a brunch outside in the spring and summer. It’s a great little pitstop for people visiting the local beaches - they are among some of the most beautiful in the Vale and the view from there isn’t too shabby, especially in the summer months.

It’s just a good vibe. Every so often they put on a music night with food. Local Vale musicians drop in for a jam - all very relaxed, but they sell out quickly so make sure you check out their Facebook page to keep up with the latest menus and events.

So if you’re looking for “feel good food”, give them a try if you haven’t already. The prices are very reasonable and, once you’ve eaten there, like a lot of their fans, we’re confident you’ll return again and again.

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Hilary & Iain’s by the Sea 87 Main Road Ogmore-by-Sea CF32 0PW 01656 880661 HilaryAndIainBySea

I’ve lived my whole life in Barry and eaten in most of the restaurants in the Vale so I can’t think for the life of me why I haven’t eaten at Mr. Villa’s Fish and Chip restaurant on The Knap before now.

M R VILLA’S THE KNAP, BARRY

Perhaps my compass was off. Honestly, I have no excuse or reason. Every time we passed it, I kept thinking we must try it, plus Mark and I love fish and seafood. I’ve chatted to people who have eaten there, and they’ve all had great experiences. As I said, I can’t explain it.

Recently a friend invited us out for dinner and, as Mr. Villa’s is a regular haunt of hers, she suggested we go there. We were excited at the prospect to finally get to try it out.

I was especially excited as I also love a good rib-eye steak, so when I heard that Mr. Villas has included more meat on the menu, I was all in.

Let’s just start by saying we loved the décor. The blue and white seaside theme reminded us of holidays in our favourite holiday in Spain. Anything that takes us back has to be good.

The menu looked impressive with an excellent selection of fish (as you’d expect). A sharing platter of lobster, king prawns, mussels and scallops fresh as can be, hake, seafood linguine, salmon, and everyone’s favourite battered cod, chips and mushy peas would all be good choices and, since last autumn, meat lovers can now satisfy their carnivorous cravings with roast partridge, beef bourguignon, chicken Milanese, calves’ liver, lamb chops and, my personal all-time favourite, ribeye steak.

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Our friend is a pescatarian so kept to the fish offerings. Starters for her and Mark were the calamari. I wanted to save myself for the steak. Both said the calamari were plumptious and plentiful, the batter light and fluffy. These came with a side dish of delicious aioli.

Mains were two orders of hake and my rib-eye. The hake went down very well with it being so fresh and the accompanying vegetables were enough but not too much to take away from the star of the dish. The sign of a good restaurant for me is whether chef can cook a steak. Most, when asked for rare, err on the side of caution and present it medium rare. Don’t ask me why but waiting staff always say they cook it that way. It bugs me. I did stress that I wanted it rare and that’s exactly how it arrived - perfect. I also asked for no veg, no garnish - just steak and eggs. It’s what I like to eat. Was it cooked as I liked it? It sure was. I didn’t really need to cut the meat, it just sliced right through without any effort. Even the poached eggs were perfectly cooked - runny yolks too - yum!

We noticed on the menu that there was a selection of vegetarian options for those who prefer to eat this way. Again, Mr Villa’s catering for all tastes which is good.

None of us wanted a sugar rush so we passed on the desserts, but had we have wanted one, there were plenty of options if you wanted something sweet to end the meal, including those prepared by Mrs Villa herself which I’m reliably informed are very, very good.

Mr Villa’s regularly post new menu changes and offers on their Facebook page, so we would suggest popping on there to see what’s new. For instance, at the time of writing this review, they currently have an offer on for a twocourse menu at £17.50.

The wine list was well put together with a nice selection of reds, whites and rosés, and the waiting staff were attentive but not overly so. It’s a good sign when waiting staff can read the room.

If you don’t want to dine in then Mr Villa’s has a takeaway option, great for when you don’t want to leave the comfort of your own home, or you just don’t fancy cooking. And, thankfully, as we head into the warmer months, Mr Villa’s has tables outside.

Honestly, we don’t know why we’ve waited so long to eat here. After such an excellent meal, it’s now on our radar and we’ll certainly be visiting again.

Mr Villa’s

3-4 Bron-y-Mor, The Knap Barry CF62 6SW 01446 730662

mrvillas2015@gmail.com

www.mrvillasbarry.co.uk

mrvillas.barry

DELI DELIGHTS GLENN GRIFFITH BUTCHERS & DELI

Glenn Griffith Butchers in Dinas Powys had one of their best Christmas’s ever. “We had a good winter,” says Glenn. “Customers relied on us a lot during the lockdown and a lot of them have kept shopping with us which is brilliant, and we really appreciate that!”

No surprise really given the quality of the produce on offer. They have a loyal following locally and an evergrowing clientele from across the Vale. But Glenn, his dad Mark, and the team haven’t been resting on their laurels. Over recent months, they have been quietly converting next door into a deli. “The opportunity came up and we thought it would complement the butchers. It’s been on the cards for a while because we knew next door were leaving at the end of the lease.”

What was an old office has been tastefully and cleverly redesigned and decorated using upcycled materials. The ceiling is clad in old coffee sacks and most of the furniture has been made by the boys. “We wanted it to have a rustic feel,” says Glenn. “You have to watch the pennies these days, so we made a lot of the furniture from old scaffolding, planks etc. We all pitched in to get it ready and we think it’s turned out well. Customers seem to like what we’ve done.”

There are also several tables and chairs where people can sit and enjoy a coffee. Yes, there’s a proper coffee machine, and yes, you can buy the coffee. “We wanted somewhere where people could take time out of their shopping, have a cuppa and perhaps a snack,” adds Glenn.

We like it. It’s “compact and bijou” as they say and there are plenty of deli-style products on offer - oils, olives, cooked meats, pasta, cheeses. In fact, Glenn and Mark have sourced a wide range of produce from Welsh companies and further afield. “We have Spanish and Italian meats and cheeses too,” says Mark. “Plus, a good selection of Italian, Spanish, Chinese and Indian larder products. It’s been enjoyable sourcing everything and we do welcome customers’ requests.”

It’s always good to see independent family businesses doing well. Glenn Griffith, the much-loved butchers in Dinas Powys has expanded next door and added a very cool deli to its offering. We couldn’t wait to pop in.
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At some point, they may put a door through from the butchers next door but, as it stands, both businesses complement each other beautifully. “The butcher’s shop has had a little makeover too,” says Mark. “We had the opportunity to rearrange things and move things around because one of the chillers has moved into the deli. It’s worked out well and we have gained space which is good.”

The butchers is selling all the usual favourites as you’d expect and now the deli is up and running, customers can try the cooked and cold meats there too.

So if you’re looking for a family run butcher that prides itself on its locally sourced produce, pop in to Glenn Griffith Butchers. And if you fancy a cuppa or want to stock up on cold meats, cheese, preserves or dry goods, then pop next door to the deli. Whichever you choose, you’ll enjoy great service and a very warm welcome.

Event catering

The team are now taking bookings for spring and summer. Their event catering is incredibly popular. No surprise really, they offer a delicious hog roast and a selection of mouthwatering curries, burgers etc.

Next door to:

Glenn Griffith Quality Butcher

5 Camms Corner, Dinas Powys CF64 4QY 029 2051 4679

www.glenn-griffith-quality-butcher.co.uk

GlennGriffithQualityButcher

Glenn Griffith Deli
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STATION HOUSE HEALTH & WELLBEING

What is the premise of Station House?

Station House Health & Wellbeing aims to provide high quality healthcare & wellbeing services under one roof. We want clients to feel safe and cared for by a team of highly qualified professionals. The space is inviting and welcoming and each professional that works here provides services that aim to improve quality of life and confidence in living a healthier and more active lifestyle.

Please tell us about the facilities... We have five beautiful rooms for healthcare professionals to hire on a flexible basis. There are two therapy rooms ideal for services such as physiotherapy, massage therapy, reflexology, acupuncture etc. There is a small gym space equipped with an assault bike, weights rack, various weights, a cable machine, and a treatment couch for ‘in-gym’ therapies. There is a small consultation room ideal for psychotherapy and one-to-one therapies.

And finally, we have a slightly larger training space which is ideal for movement-based classes, client or professional training and workshops or support groups. We also provide a warm and inviting waiting area for clients and a kitchen space for professionals. Heating and Wi-Fi are included in the cost of room hire.

Can you tell us a little of its history? What attracted you to the building? We have always loved driving through St Nicholas and were intrigued by the handsome Victorian building known as the Old Police Station. It was built in 1858 and used as a police station for decades.

There used to be a courthouse on the grounds, but this was knocked down in the last twenty years. There are cells in the basement and when renovating the building we found evidence of a small holding cell in the room that is now the gym.

After the police moved out, the building was taken over and used as the headquarters and offices of a domiciliary care business for approximately fourteen years. Just three years ago, the building was advertised as to let or for sale. John and I saw it while driving to Cowbridge one day and from that moment, we just couldn’t let the idea go. We saw it as the perfect location for a health and wellbeing centre. The place has such a relaxing and calming ambience, mainly thanks to the beautiful farmland views. We knew we had to do everything we could to secure it.

In January 2022 John and Gillian McCabe realised their vision of a hub dedicated to health and wellbeing in St Nicholas in The Vale of Glamorgan, and Station House was born.
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“There are two therapy rooms ideal for services such as physiotherapy, massage therapy reflexology, acupuncture etc.”

Physiotherapy

n Pelvic Health

n Over 50s

n Fascial Manipulation (Stecco Method)

Massage Therapy

n Myofascial Release

n Sports Massage

n Pregnancy Massage

n Reiki

n Hot Stones Massage

n Reflexology

n Holistic & Alternative Therapies

n Personal Training

n Sports Therapy

n Psychotherapy

n Nutrition & Dietitian Services

n Skin Care

n Bowen Therapy

n Physio-Led Pilates Classes

n One-One Yoga Sessions

n Mum & Baby Classes

n Antenatal Classes

n Baby Sleep Therapy

Where were you working and in what capacity prior to taking over Station House?

In the years prior to taking over Station House, we rented a small property in Victoria Park, Canton. It was a one room space for therapy. From there we grew our Physiotherapy for Women business until it was bursting at the seams!

I am the Specialist Pelvic Health Physiotherapist of the business and John provides all the graphic design and building design and maintenance services.

What made you want to strike out on your own?

Initially I worked as a physiotherapist in the NHS and loved my job there, but I was drawn to private practice through opportunity and circumstance. My desire has always been to provide the highest quality of care in line with up-to-date evidence. Station House has provided the responsibility but also opportunity to provide high quality multidisciplinary care which we know is the gold standard for individuals with healthcare and wellbeing issues.

Station House Health & Wellbeing

The Old Station

St Nicholas

Vale of Glamorgan CF5 6SH

info@gillianmccabe.co.uk

www.stationhouse.health stationhousecardiff stationhousehealthcardiff
“We have always loved driving through St Nicholas and were intrigued by the handsome Victorian building known as the Old Police Station.”

What was the condition of the property when you took it over?

The property had been empty for a couple of years before we got the keys. It was a little unloved and needed a lot of renovation. From October 2021, we got to work! We had the help of friends and family who went above and beyond to help us get the building ready for opening on 3rd January 2022. We worked tirelessly, over long hours and only took Christmas Day and Sundays off that year! But it was definitely worth the effort. The building is now a beautiful and serene place where every client arrives and immediately feels at ease.

How much work did you have to undertake to bring it up to the standard we see today?

Externally, we employed a decorator to scrape and paint the rendered walls. Internally, we installed a new boiler, new plumbing and heating, new flooring, plastered walls and ceilings, new lighting, new decoration throughout, installed sinks in the treatment rooms, furnished the rooms, including all the necessary equipment. John has also stripped the back garden of the ten foot brambles which has cleared a space, but this is an ongoing work in progress.

SKIN CARE SPECIALIST

Abbie Watkins

Abbie has a passion for skin and believes that everyone should love the skin they’re in. Abbie has undergone extensive training and is very results driven, she works closely with every client to help them reach their skin goals.

Abbie offers bespoke facials, along with treatments to help tackle acne, scarring, pigmentation, age spots and more! Abbie’s treatments are based around skin conditioning and strives to ensure everyone leaves with the knowledge they need to keep their skin healthy and glowing.

“5 stars: Had my first 6-step hydro facial and it was amazing! I was so impressed, I immediately booked in for another in 4 weeks. Abbie is so nice and friendly, and really good at what she does. Highly recommended!”

SPECIALIST MASSAGE

THERAPIST & FEMALE SPECIFIC

PERSONAL TRAINER

Lowri Culley

Lowri provides myofascial release, deep tissue massage and lymphatic flow techniques to ease tensions, aches and pains. She also brings her anatomical and biomechanical experience to help women build strength with a specific focus on synchronising their breath and pelvic floor to lift safely, build muscle and feel amazing.

Women concerned about the effects of training on incontinence, prolapse and pain will benefit from sessions with Lowri.

“I can’t really express how happy I am to have found Lowri. She is literally an angel. Her mix of skills is extra-ordinary, she is not just a PT.” Adrienne Benjamin

lowri_mindbodysoulstrength
Lowri Culley
_absoluteskincare
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“We have a slightly larger training space which is ideal for movement-based classes, client or professional training and workshops or support groups.”

What are the benefits of a therapist working from Station House?

Station House provides everything that a professional would need. Each room is warm, decorated to a high standard and includes the necessary equipment for the job.

There is also a growing network of professionals that are able to share knowledge with each other through meetings, training and a WhatsApp group. We are also able to refer clients to each other so that we can further improve their health and wellbeing.

What range of therapists are available at the Station House? Currently we have the following professions working from Station House:

n Physiotherapy - Pelvic Health, Over 50s, Fascial Manipulation

n Massage Therapy

n Personal Training

n Sports Therapy

n Skin Care

n Psychotherapy & Counselling

n Holistic Therapy

n Nutritional Therapy and Dietitians

n Pilates

Do you have capacity to take on more therapists?

Yes, we are always happy to speak to new professionals as long as they have proof of their qualifications and insurances. We would need to meet face to face initially and then receive the necessary documentation prior to accepting the request to book rooms.

Do you hold classes at the venue? If so, what type, when and how does one book?

There are a number of classes available at Station House.

Wednesday evenings we hold regular Pilates classes and these classes may increase as demand suggests.

There are also antenatal classes and mum and baby classes each week.

SPECIALIST MATERNITY YOGA TEACHER & COMPLEMENTARY THERAPIST

Michelle Lewis

PREGNANCY, BIRTH & BEYOND. YOGA – TREATMENTS – EDUCATION

n Pregnancy Yoga

n Postnatal Mum & Baby Yoga with Baby Massage

n Couples Birth Workshops

n Reflexology with tailored Aromatherapy for Fertility, Pregnancy, Post due date (when clinically appropriate) & the Postnatal period

n Postnatal Hot Stone Reflexology

Available in Station House, St Nicholas, Llantrisant & Church Village

Michelle has ten years experience as a Community Midwife, where her passion to promote normality and support women led her to create Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond seven years ago.

Michelle provides physical and emotional support, continuity and space for women to develop friendships and support networks with other new mums and mums-to-be.

“Best nights sleep of the week!”

“Classes were invaluable to exercise, relax and socialise, I can’t recommend Michelle highly enough.” B

“So relaxing, enjoy the chats with other mums over a cuppa.”

www.pregnancybirthbeyond.wales

pregnancybirthbeyondwales

pregnancy_birth_beyond

SPECIALIST FASCIA PHYSIOTHERAPIST

Libby Williams

Libby is an experienced physiotherapist and former athlete who specialises in treating fascia and is Internationally Certified in Fascial Manipulation - Stecco Method (FM). Additionally, she is qualified to offer Scar Therapy treatments.

FM is an evidenced based technique that aims to balance tissue tension throughout the body and restore gliding between tissues. Treatments can address new injuries and the effects of old injuries on current issues. It can be effective on improving chronic pain and can influence imbalances from soft tissue tension that can affect organs or the skin.

Scar Therapy treatments can improve aesthetics of scars, decrease symptoms of healing scars as well as improve the movement of the surrounding tissues.

“Fascial Manipulation has helped me maintain flexibility in my hands and wrists so I can keep doing day to day tasks normally.” Ros S.

“I highly recommend Libby to anyone with a body. Every treatment I’ve had with her was a great experience and I came away much better in body and mind.” Erin B.

07393 405 339

www.fasciaandphysio.co.uk

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“Michelle provides a journey of support from Pregnancy to Postnatal.”

To find out more, take a look at www.stationhouse.health and click on Meet the Team. This website is updated regularly as new classes and professionals are booked in.

Do you have any plans for events/ open evenings at the venue?

We have already enjoyed an open evening last year where we celebrated with the local residents and new professionals. We will advertise any events on our website and social media pages.

DIETITIAN

Soraya David-Pineda

Soraya is a Dietitian who helps people improve their daily habits and quality of food to reach their nutrition and lifestyle goals.

What are your plans for the business over the next five years?

Our aim is to fill all our rooms with amazing professionals in the sphere of health and wellbeing. At present we are renting the premises, but our goal is to be able to purchase the building and then increase its capacity for rehabilitation services.

Soraya works closely with her clients to provide 12-week bespoke weight loss plans which focus on diet, lifestyle, movement and increasing plant-based foods. You can expect to lose between 10lbs - 20lbs, have more energy, better concentration, improved sleep and mood, better digestion and less bloat. You will feel full and still be able to enjoy life. If you would like to get ready for summer now, you can contact Soraya direct via email to book a free consultation. Details are below.

“I tried for over 6 months to lose weight on my own before I turned to soraya for help. I’m now at my target weight, I feel full, and I still enjoy my weekends.” Rachel

How do clients book time with each therapist?

As Station House hires out the rooms to each professional, you would need to book direct with them. We have a list of the professionals on our website www.stationhouse.health where you can link to each individual website or contact the professional directly.

“Being a healthy eating gym goer, to then becoming a mum over two years ago lead to me losing myself along the journey of motherhood. By September last year, I knew I had to take a grip of things. Seeing an advert of Soraya’s on Station House Instagram, I thought.... this is for me!! 12 weeks later I am 19lbs down, feeling healthy from the inside out, walking a min of 10 to 12 thousand steps a day and back in the gym. Not only that but feeling mentally healthier. She has been a miracle worker. Can’t thank her enough.” Rhiannon

Soraya David-Pineda

Plant Nutrition with Soraya

soraya@pnws.co.uk

www.pnws.co.uk

plant nutrition with soraya

soraya.pineda_rd

BOWEN THERAPIST

Lottie Egerton

Lottie qualified as a Bowen Therapist in 2019 having trained with Bowtech, the original Bowen technique and is a member of Bowen Association UK.

Her journey with Bowen began with needing to help herself with sciatica and grew into a wonderful journey of helping other people.

Lottie offers treatments for a vast range of conditions including back and neck pain, migraines, sinus issues, lymphatic issues, allergies, stress, plantar fasciitis, poor mobility and is particularity interested in sports performance and mental well being.

lottie@cardiffandvalebowentherapy.co.uk

07842 945 645

www.cardiffandvalebowentherapy.co.uk

Lottie Egerton
“You can expect to lose between 10lbs - 20lbs.”
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“Lottie offers treatments for a vast range of conditions.”

How many parking spaces does Station House enjoy?

We have six parking spaces available at the premises.

What makes a treatment at Station House so attractive?

The location is by far its biggest selling point. It’s close to all main roads in and out of the Vale so it’s easy to get to. It’s quiet and peaceful with a beautiful and relaxing view. Each room is tastefully decorated and well equipped. And the cherry on the top is that every professional is warm, welcoming and experienced. You will immediately feel at ease and comfortable.

How does a therapist get in touch if they are interested in hiring a room? If you would like to find out more about our room hire at Station House, please contact us by email info@ gillianmccabe.co.uk or take a look at the available rooms on our website www.stationhouse.health. We can send you a room hire document with all the necessary information, including prices and how to book.

If you are happy to progress with room hire, you will then need to come in to view the space and meet us. We can show you how to access the building and use the facilities.

Station House Health & Wellbeing The Old Station St Nicholas Vale of Glamorgan CF5 6SH info@gillianmccabe.co.uk

www.stationhouse.health

stationhousecardiff

stationhousehealthcardiff

COMPLEMENTARY HEALTHCARE Allison Macarthur

I offer bespoke treatments to meet the individual physical and psychological needs of every client. My services include Clinical aromatherapy, Clinical Reflexology, massage therapy including hot stone therapy and Reiki. I specialise in pregnancy massage/reflexology. Additionally I am able to offer bespoke aromatherapy products that are individually made using high graded essential oils to address your needs.

I have experience working in palliative and cancer care settings and also gained 11 years experience in the NHS mental health sector, which has also given me the skills and knowledge in caring for individuals with a variety of mental health conditions.

SPECIALIST PHYSIOTHERAPIST FOR INDIVIDUALS AGED 50+

Louise Strick

Louise gives people the opportunity to learn what they are capable of doing.

Louise provides intervention to treat age related “niggles” before they become a concern and supports people to start or return to exercise.

“My knee used to prevent me from climbing the stairs, now I do it for fun!”

Louise supports people post hospital stay; those with long term conditions and or a history of falls to regain function and independence.

At your first appointment a free consultation will enable me to discuss the best treatment option/suggestion that is most appropriate for your needs.

I pride myself on offering a professional service I am friendly, easy going and offer a safe calm space to receive your treatment.

“A big thank you to Alison who made me feel comfortable and at ease. She and her treatment space are welcoming and professional. After taking a thorough history I received treatments of rexlexology and Reiki. All I can say is the results are amazing. Sleep improved, anxiety reduced and a better feeling of positive well being. I wasn’t sure what to expet but I’ll definately be back for more. Thank you.”

Maintain Function Physiotherapy

info@maintainfunctionphysiotherapy.co.uk 07902 336 017

maintainfunction_physiotherapy

BSc Hons Complementary Healthcare

Practitioner MAR

07779854752

www.allicomptherapies.co.uk

Alli comp therapies

alli_comp.therapies
“The location is its biggest selling point. It’s close to all main roads in and out of the Vale so it’s easy to get to. It’s quiet and peaceful with a beautiful and relaxing view.”
“I provide the opportunity for clients to learn what they are capable of doing.”
Available at three locations covering
and the Vale 33
Barry

CLINICAL SPECIALIST PELVIC HEALTH PHYSIOTHERAPIST

Gillian McCabe

Gillian offers assessment and management of pelvic health issues such as incontinence, prolapse, constipation and pelvic pain. She also provides support and assistance through menarche, childbirth, the postnatal period and during peri and post menopause.

Gillian offers highly specialised assessment and treatment techniques including the use of low level laser therapy and MAPLe high definition pelvic floor diagnostics, electromyography and stimulation in the management of all pelvic health conditions.

CLINICAL SPECIALIST PELVIC HEALTH PHYSIOTHERAPIST

Jilly Bond

With over 14 years’ experience in the field and involvement in international pelvic pain research, Jilly provides a highly evidencebased and holistic approach to resolving pelvic issues.

Jilly offers treatments for pelvic health issues including pelvic pain, incontinence, vaginal prolapse, painful intercourse, pregnancy and postnatal issues and endometriosis.

Jilly Bond

Jilly@jillybond.com

www.jillybond.com

SPECIALIST PILATES TEACHER

Rhiannon Davey

Rhiannon is a Musculoskeletal Specialist Physiotherapist with a special interest in Women’s Pelvic Health.

gillianmcphysio gillian_mcphysio

Rhiannon specialises in Pilates at Station House; including pre and postnatal and Pilates for performance. Pilates helps to improve strength, movement and mindset. It is a fantastic addition to rehabilitation; managing pain and improving general health and wellbeing. Rhiannon’s knowledge of movement and injury means her classes are goal-oriented and the small class size allows for individual input.

“Rhiannon was so welcoming; I feel brilliant after every class.”

Amanda Webber

Rhiannon Davey

Rhiset Health

info@rhisethealth.co.uk

rhiset_health

Jilly Bond Physiotherapy Gillian McCabe Physiotherapy for Women Physiotherapy for Women
info@gillianmccabe.co.uk www.gillianmccabe.co.uk
“Gillian offers assessment and management of pelvic health issues such as incontinence, prolapse, constipation and pelvic pain.”

KIRKER HOLIDAYS

FOR DISCERNING TRAVELLERS

Kirker Holidays creates tailor-made holidays for discerning travellers to destinations throughout Europe and beyond, including carefully-selected hotels, private transfers, flights from your local airport and the services of the Kirker Concierge to book expert local guides, tickets for an opera, ballet or concert, or a reservation at a recommended restaurant.

El Transcantabrico Gran Lujo

The most luxurious train in Spain, El Transcantabrico is a historic train-hotel formed of restored vintage carriages which have been sensitively modernised to create elegant lounges with panoramic windows, an award-winning on-board restaurant, and just 14 comfortable suites with double or twin beds, private shower room and living area. The train crosses the north of Spain, from Santiago to Compostela to San Sebastian and vice versa, in a seven night itinerary which includes the cities of Bilbao, Santander and Oviedo, the neolithic cave paintings at Altamira, and the spectacular mountains of the Picos de Europa.

Prices start from £8,896 per person for an eight night holiday including flights, transfers, one night’s accommodation at the Parador de Santiago (5*) and seven nights on the train with all meals served with wine and excursions. Selected departures from April to October.

Vermeer – Amsterdam

10 February - 4 June 2023 at the Rijksmuseum

in one of the most important exhibitions of 2023, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam will host the largest Johannes Vermeer retrospective ever held. Little more than 30 works by the artist exist today and the Rijksmuseum will complement its own four paintings by Vermeer with 24 loans from around the world including Dresden, Frankfurt, Dublin, New York, Washington DC and its neighbour the Mauritshuis in The Hague.

3 night price from £1,089 per person including Eurostar, return transfers, accommodation at a 4* superior hotel with breakfast, Kirker Guide Notes and the services of the Kirker Concierge Includes entrance to the Rijksmuseum

We’re extremely proud to be part of Wales’ leading travel agency group, as voted by TTG, 2020. Situated opposite the Duke of Wellington in Cowbridge High Street, we have a friendly, expert team who have travelled to every corner of the globe. With over 100 years combined travel experience, we love nothing more than to inspire you for next perfect trip.

To make a reservation, please contact Suzanne at Sam Smith Travel: 01446 774018 www.samsmithtravel.com

WORLD OF

I NTERIORS

Suzanne Owen, Director at Owen Associates Limited, is passionate about interior design. The company offers a complete interior design service and was established in 2015. Owen Associates has grown a reputation for stylish, contemporary interior solutions.

Suzanne works with clients across South Wales and has recently worked on projects in The Vale of Glamorgan. Vale Life chatted to Suzanne about her career and recent projects.

What areas geographically do you cover?

South Wales and, depending on the project size, further afield in the UK.

What qualifications do you have in your industry?

I have an Interior Design Diploma and two decades of experience in the industry.

What type of projects do you work on? Mainly residential, commercial and hospitality.

What do you enjoy working on most? The projects I enjoy the most are the ones where I am involved at the early design stage where I can preview the layout and offer a cohesive design solution for the project. It’s always better if we manage the project from start to finish.

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“With twenty years’ experience in the industry I have an expert knowledge and understanding of what is required to deliver a project to the clients’ brief and budget.”

Do you have a team of professionals that you work with?

I develop the design from concept to detailed design to delivery on site. I try to use as many local tradesmen as possible. I have a tested supply chain of expert tradespeople to deliver all aspects of the interior furnishing; from electrical installation, bathroom fitting, fitted furniture to the finishing touches of curtains and blinds.

What are the benefits of working with someone like yourself?

With twenty years’ experience in the industry I have an expert knowledge and understanding of what is required to deliver a project to the clients’ brief and budget. With this experience I have developed long standing relationships with local supply chains and artisans which are invaluable when working on a project.

Please tell us about the project in the Vale.

The client approached me at the Pre-Tender stage of the project. The site had an existing property in the form of a bungalow which was demolished to allow for the new build of the Georgian style house designed by Richmond Bell Architects. I was appointed early in the project that gave me the ability to influence the internal layouts.

How did the clients hear about you? Through industry contacts.

What did the project involve?

A new build of 580sqm with multiple lounge areas, five bathrooms, kitchen, boot and utility rooms and swimming pool and gym. I completed all aspects of the interior design for the project,

detailed all the bathrooms, fitted furniture which included the kitchen, boot room and utility as well as all fitted furniture in the bedrooms and lounge area.

I specified and assisted with the procurement of all the finishes including the lighting, tiling, stair details and soft furnishings.

How long did the process take?

Two years.

Did the clients have their own ideas, or did they leave the project to you?

The clients knew the type of style they wanted to incorporate; we had a shared Pinterest page where they saved images that they liked. We collaboratively took inspiration from these when developing the concept for the project.

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What was it about the project that you enjoyed the most?

Seeing my concept visuals transformed into the finished product on site. It was a pleasure working closely with my clients, striving to deliver the interiors to their high expectations.

Following the extensive modelling and visuals we created , it was satisfying seeing the detailing being incorporated throughout the project.

Were any aspects of it challenging?

I started designing the project at the start of the pandemic, we had to communicate through Zoom/MS Teams calls at the start which was much more difficult than delivering and presenting the ideas in person.

CLIENT TESTIMONIAL

Suzanne’s extensive product knowledge and attention to detail is an asset to any homeowner or company who is looking for a rewarding transformation. By taking the time to understand our aspirations, Suzanne was able to incorporate her signature design style into our home. The creative layout and choice of materials are a resounding success to the project, Suzanne’s meticulous focus on the design has delivered us a home that is also functional for our busy family of five.

Do you have availability over the next twelve months to take on new clients?

I’m am currently working on two renovation projects and an apartment hotel but am always interested in taking on new projects and have capacity moving

Owen Associates

First Floor, 18 Windsor Place

Cardiff CF10 3BY

www.owenassociates.co.uk/interiors

Suzanne Owen

Senior Interior Designer

0773 797 5031

suzanne@owenassociates.co.uk

owenassociatesinteriors

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“The creative layout and choice of materials are a resounding success.”

FACING T HE

F UTURE

It was a tough ask when I pressed Emma to open up about the serious accident she was involved in that left her massively battered and bruised. But it’s always interesting to find out what motivates people to do what they do, and how they react to life changing events. Even so, it’s not easy for many people to revisit traumatic times in their life. Total respect to Emma. I takes a brave, self-confident person to do this and, knowing Emma as I do, I knew she had what it takes.

At Vale Life, we always say “people buy from people” so we knew that many readers could relate to Emma’s story because they may also be having issues with their appearance and believe that things couldn’t be improved. It’s only when you read about someone’s experiences that you can have faith in the healing process.

Here, Emma tells the story of her traumatic accident and how that experience paved the way to her future in the skincare and aesthetic industry.

When did your accident happen?

I was driving to work on a Friday morning, had my suitcase in the car as I was flying that evening to Dublin to celebrate my brother’s birthday the following day. It was 2004. My sister was in Malaysia with her new son to meet her husband’s family. I remember this well as we didn’t tell her about me crashing until she got home, we didn’t think she needed the worry. She called the house one day while I was at home recovering, and I told her I had a bad cold. I was only six weeks into a new job, and she was admonishing me about taking time off sick so soon.

How old were you at the time?

I was twenty-five. I had moved home from Dublin about two months before. I was staying with mam and dad, had started a new job and was really enjoying being back in Wales. I had been on about four dates with David at the time.

How did it happen?

I was driving in the lanes, from St Athan to the A48. It was around a narrow corner and both mine and another car couldn’t fit through the gap. Our drivers’ sides crashed head on. My car had turned 90 degrees in the road from the impact.

Were you in the car on your own or were there passengers?

It was just me in mine and the other driver was on his own. The police told me he had whiplash but no other injuries. Drivers behind us stopped to help. I had called 999 myself and they already knew of the crash. I hung up on them to call my dad. Then a medic of some sort who was in a car behind me came into my car to hold my head and neck still. I remember looking at my face in the rear-view mirror and recoiling. I had a scarf around my neck, and I held it up to cover my face. It felt like it all happened in a few minutes.

Then the ambulance and fire engine arrived. They were fabulous. My mam had arrived by that time too, I remember talking to her through the now empty windscreen. The paramedics struggled to get a line in my veins, and I remember them cracking some jokes about it, trying to look down but getting told off for moving my head. I had to be cut out of the car and before I knew it, I was in an air ambulance on my way to the maxillofacial specialists at Morriston Hospital.

What injuries did you sustain?

I didn’t have an airbag as it was an old car. My face hit the steering wheel and the point of impact was my nose, which broke, and the tissue split into seven pieces. My skin was cut between my brows and my lips too. I fractured ribs on the seatbelt and my house keys hanging from my car key in the ignition cut my knee open.

When you realised the extent of your injuries, how did you feel?

I was pretty shocked. I’d never really liked my nose. I always joked about getting a nose job, but this was a bit extreme! I was also really thankful that the injuries weren’t worse. I didn’t damage my eye sockets or my teeth which could have been a painful and a long process to fix. Also, I was relieved to be wearing my seatbelt. I genuinely believe it saved my life. I would have probably gone through the windscreen without it.

How long were you in hospital?

I was in A&E for a few hours getting checked out for head and neck injuries, but all came back clear. There was an American nurse who was travelling around Europe and shadowing the staff. She stayed with me the whole time and stroked my hair. She had wet wipes and was removing all the blood that was in it. We talked about Obama as he had just been elected President and she was so excited about it. I was moved to a ward and my nose and face were stitched together that afternoon and I stayed in overnight.

Sometimes in life we meet people, and you’d have no idea of their journey and the challenges they have had to deal with along the way. We’ve featured some truly inspirational women in the magazine over the years and even though Emma Griffiths, owner of Vale Laser Clinic has been featured several times, it is only now that she felt comfortable sharing her story with us.
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“I remember looking at my face in the rear-view mirror and recoiling.”

My mam and dad came to get me the next day. I was hobbling with broken ribs and a bruised knee but walking out of there I remember thinking it could have been so much worse. We passed an air ambulance stand on the concourse. Dad got chatting saying I had been brought in by one, we found out they were funded by donations. I remember dad putting some money in for me.

Presumably there was going to be ongoing treatment...

I did end up back in hospital ten days later. I had severe headaches and shaking. It was at the time that the out of hours GP services were changing from your own GP surgery to a centralised system. We called three of four times over thirty-six hours. This was the worst I had felt during the whole time. I went to bed one night thinking I wasn’t going to wake up, it felt that bad.

I finally got an appointment to see a GP who took one look at me and sent me to A&E as I’d received a recent head trauma. He was baffled why I hadn’t been directed that way from my initial phone call to the out of hours team. It turns out I had low sodium levels which is a common side effect of concussion. I was monitored for two nights and allowed home.

Describe the work needed to your face...

The surgeons were keen to make sure the tissue damage was fixed first to minimise any scarring. They explained that the shape of my nose could be fixed later. “Let’s work on the tissue,” they said. I had 57 external stitches in my face and lots of internal, dissolvable ones. The tissue on the outside of my nose had split five ways and my nostrils had split open against my upper jaw.

My septum had split open too. I had some internal cuts to my lips, and it was totally split on the top left. I had also cut the skin between my brows. This looked really bad at the time as the muscles had parted; it was wide open.

I returned about five days later to have the external stitches removed. I had to keep them moist with a wax gel to prevent any marks to my skin. I remember a follow up appointment where the consultant remarked how fortunate I was to have not broken any of my facial bones.

Did you need cosmetic surgery?

I didn’t need it but opted to have rhinoplasty but that wasn’t until 2011six years later. I wasn’t happy with my nose; it was slightly bulbous on one side, which I could see in photos. It seemed like the right time for me and us as a family. In those six years, I had gotten married to David and had two children. We knew we wanted a third, and a break between breastfeeding and pregnancy meant I could have my nose done.

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“Having a simple but effective skincare routine is key to long term skin health and vibrancy.”

It sounds pre-meditated, but it wasn’t quite like that. I knew I wanted it done. David was about to start his own business; I knew things would be crazy busy when it started. Ruthyn was seventeen months old; I was at the very end of breast-feeding him and I had heard of a good surgeon based at Spire Hospital in Cardiff. I arranged an initial consultation, got the kids looked after and called David to make sure he picked them up after work from my parents. When I get home, he asked where I’d been. “I’ve been to see a man about a nose, and he can fit me in a week on Friday.” That was it - surgery booked. It was a really good experience, and I’m really happy I did it. The changes are subtle. He sculpted the bone, remodelled the tissue, and brought my nostrils in.

How long did it take you to heal?

I had lots of dissolvable stitches during the initial surgery. These usually disappear within weeks but, for some reason, my body doesn’t like dissolving them. I still have some visible in the scars in my lips. At various times my body would want to remove them like it would a splinter. Especially when I was pregnant, it was like my body said, “Oi! I’m growing a baby here, sod off!” My first pregnancy with Norah was the most annoying. I would have incessant itching in the scars within my nostrils and then one would appear, leaving an open wound behind it that would need to heel.

What job were you in at the time of the accident?

I was working for Hi-Reach Access at the time. I’d only started five weeks before. They were brilliant though. I had just over two weeks off work and then a fazed return. I also had the use of a fleet car which wasn’t being used by anyone and it was the starting step to a promotion.

Did the accident inspire you to become interested in aesthetics?

Yes, as I learned more about the healing process, I started looking into treatments to see what would improve my skin and improve recovery. So even though it was an awful experience, it did introduce me to the profession I love.

What creams/treatments did you use to help get your face/skin back to where it is today?

I used silicone pads for about two years to smooth out the scar tissue and was hypervigilant about sun exposure. I wore high SPF and didn’t sit in the sun at all with my face exposed. Before opening the clinic, I went to the dermatologist about my acne he talked about the value of vitamin A for scar improvement and that’s when I really started looking at treatments and a skin care regime to help my skin improve even more. It was my dermatologist that recommended I use Environ Skincare which is the first skincare brand we stocked in the clinic, and I still use it every day. For my scarring, both from the crash and acne (did I mention I suffered with acne?), I had regular micro needling treatments. This remodels the skin. Although they will never totally disappear, they can’t because the skin was ripped apart through trauma, they do look so much less than they have done, and I think they are still improving because of the regular treatments.

Are there any residual scars/ blemishes left from the accident? If so, what, and where?

I still have a scar between my brows, down the middle of my nose towards my left nostril and on my top lip. You can see them if you really look, but often people say they don’t notice them until I point them out. The scar on my nose is more noticeable when I’m dehydrated or tired. It’s like a hangover gauge! I also have lots of scarring within my nostrils and have regular nose bleeds because of that. I’ve lost some sensation on the bottom of my septum; do you know when it’s really cold out or you’re exercising, and your nose runs a little? I can’t feel those snot drops hanging from the tip of my nose or septum.

So you rely on friends to point out the drips?

Yes, pretty much – or a mirror check. How did the family react to your accident and recovery? They were all really supportive; especially my mam and dad who I was living with at the time. My brother came home for a few days to see me, and I caught up with my sister a few weeks later when she was home from Malaysia. She was a little shocked when she saw the initial photos, but fortunately I was healing quite fast.

Did you worry that you wouldn’t look as you once were before the accident? I was very conscious about it at first. I would bring it up with people as I assumed they were all looking; wondering why my nose was slightly swollen or marked. I took photos from the side, where you couldn’t see the bit that was more damaged. This is why I had the rhinoplasty. I don’t think about it anymore. It’s not perfect but it’s more balanced and I’m more confident for having it done.

How do you feel now that you have healed?

I’m really happy with it. I talk about it to clients all the time and post a yearly reminder of how a seatbelt saved my life. I still have scars; they tell my story of how lucky I was to walk away from it.

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“I did end up in hospital ten days later. I had severe headaches and shaking. This was the worst I had felt... I went to bed one night thinking I wasn’t going to wake up.”

Through her experiences and those of her clients, we asked Emma what treatments she would suggest that could help her clients stave off the damaging effects of the winter months. Here’s what Emma suggests.

WINTER TREATMENTS

What damage does the winter cause to our skin?

Winter is a tough time for our skin. As the weather gets colder, daylight is in shorter supply, and our skin becomes dryer and can become more sensitive. It’s a good time to add a more nourishing moisturiser to your routine.

What treatments do you suggest for this time of year?

With the reduced sun exposure, it’s a fantastic time to treat skin concerns such as pigmentation and broken capillaries with our Ilumifacials and Alumier Peels. It’s also an ideal time to have your course of hair removal treatments. These treatments can’t be done if you have a tan, real or fake, so it’s a really busy time of year for us. We have lots of clients getting summer ready through the winter.

What can clients do at home to help their skin look its best during the winter?

Coming out of the Christmas season, into the colder months, it’s good to gently exfoliate the skin with Environ’s Revival Masque. An at home, build up treatment that contains active peptides and gentle acids to visibly smooth fine lines and wrinkles.

What are your most popular treatments for winter?

Lots of clients have more active treatments as we aren’t out and about so much in the new year. Hair removal and tattoo removal, as well as our Ilumifacials are really popular. Imagine not worrying about stubble rash or shadows this summer?

It’s time to start now.

Do you currently have any offers on?

You can have a Revival masque for free when you spend £150 on skincare with us; through our website or in clinic.

Having a simple but effective skincare routine is key to long term skin health and vibrancy. Adding the masque, worth £63 can really step up your routine. We have in clinic or virtual consultations available.

Any new treatments/products that you’d like to share?

We’re really excited to bring two new services to the clinic this year. I can’t say too much at the moment, but we’ll definitely be filling a gap, so we can be more rounded in our treatment offerings as well as back up our skincare advice with physically tracking improvements to your skin. We’re really excited with what we have coming up.

“When you feel beautiful, your selfesteem increases, and so does your confidence. This increase in confidence helps you with your relationships as well as in your professional life,” says Emma. “I’m living proof of that.”

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“I learned more about the healing process, I started looking into treatments to see what would improve my skin and improve recovery. So even though it was an awful experience, it did introduce me to the profession I love.”

FINAL THOUGHTS

Change your life...

If you would like to chat to Emma about your skin concerns, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch. You might be thinking that there’s no hope; that your skin issues can’t be helped, but if you read Emma’s personal journey, hopefully you will be heartened to know that there is a solution and, if you put your faith in the right person, your issues could be resolved.

As I mentioned in my introduction, chatting to amazing women since our return from lockdown has been both inspiring and humbling. Emma’s story is truly inspirational. We all have challenges in life but it’s how we deal with them that defines us.

Laser Clinic 1A The Square, St Athan Village CF62 4PF
750880
www.valelaserclinic.co.uk emma_valelaserclinic
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Vale
01446
skin@valelaserclinic.co.uk
ValeLaserClinic

Moving from Yiannimize to Wales, by Kean Dickenson’s own admission has felt a little overwhelming. But this Lamborghini owning twenty-three year old has a dream and nothing’s going to get in the way.

K EEZY’S CUSTOMS COED CAE LANE IS A WRAP!

Readers may recall us mentioning Keezy’s in the last issue of Vale Life. Kean is now back in Wales and delighted to announce the opening of his new unit at Coed Cae Lane near Pontyclun.

You’ve now moved from Yiannimize. Are you excited about running your own shop?

The amount of customer base that has followed me is amazing. From Bristol, Gloucestershire and London, it really is phenomenal. I guess after working for the best, wrapping for companies in the whole of the UK over the past few years, and beyond, and being known on YouTube channel and TV, along with all the crazy fun racing vehicles, I’ve had the opportunity to drive, perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised.

From being in a racing car at Santa Pod against Yianni, to spinning a Lamborghini around in the Dubai desert, it’s gained me a lot of followers.

So, you don’t mind the attention?

It’s so lovely to be recognised in many places when young teenagers shout “that’s Kean from Yannimize”, my heart feels for these kids. I’ve been known to pull over and offer them a ride in my Lamborghini. I’m a humble guy and those who know me will always agree.

Do you think that engagement is good for the business?

Definitely. A customer told me last week his son loves Lamborghini. My words to him were “bring him down”. I’ll take him for a drive. The customer said “I’m blown away.” What a lovely thing to say. His eight-year-old son turned up and we drove around outside my new showroom on a Sunday of course when no-one was around. It’s private land so it’s okay.

Was he happy?

He was totally speechless. I made a young kid smile. It was brilliant. Who knows he could be a customer in the future!

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“From being in a racing car at Santa Pod against Yianni, to spinning a Lamborghini around in the Dubai desert, it’s gained me a lot of followers.”

Is the unit open now?

By the time you read this, Coed Cae Lane will be open. It’s taken a while to sort the unit. I wanted it clinical. It had to be right. Not a single hair anywhere. We have been inundated with customers asking us to PPF their cars and we are in talks with two large car garages to PPF the brand-new cars as they go out for delivery. Something other customers are requesting also, if you’re buying a car but want it a different colour, then Keezy’s Customs can change it just by wrapping it.

What is PPF and why would we PPF a car?

PPF is Paint Protection Film. Due to its unique chemical properties, PPF blocks harmful UV rays, thus preventing fading. Protective car films keep your paint free from dings, scratches, or chips.

While these are cosmetic issues, they can lead to significant problems. The imperfections may turn into vulnerabilities to the underlying car structures - rust spots for example. Why wrap a car?

When you want to change your vehicle’s appearance, you can choose between painting it or wrapping it. Both options allow you to outfit your vehicle with a new look, but there are some major differences between them.

A wrap is the ideal choice for car owners and fleet managers, whether they’re looking to save money or create a one-of-a-kind design, make a statement and stand out.

What is exciting about your business? Are there new developments in the industry? I’m so excited about this new chapter in my life. We have so many new vinyls to offer. I literally am on-point on every single new colour that arrives in the UK. If you want it, I will get it - just ask!

Wrapping a van or a car for your business, thinking of having it signwritten? Honestly, if you have an idea or want some ideas, just get in touch.

“PPF is Paint Protection Film. Due to its unique chemical properties, PPF blocks harmful UV rays, thus preventing fading.”
“A wrap is the ideal choice for car owners.”

I love a new challenge. I have a new Urus to wrap, an Audi R8, a G Wagon, an Audi A1 in shimmer glitter for a lucky seventeen-year-old. All booked in. I will be looking to employ a trainee wrapper, who I can teach to my ability.

I hear you’re also planning some training courses in the near future... We have received lots of interest in our wrap courses. They are over two to three days. This has gained lots of interest in guys wanting to learn to wrap cars. Please contact me for details. It’ll be happening soon.

How do we get in touch?

Due to technical issues, we have had our Instagram page taken down, so as a back-up page until corrected, we have created ‘Keezys Customs’. Customers can call me on 07947 224476.

COMPETITION TIME! Win a ride in a Lamborghini

Kean thought a great opening offer would be to offer one lucky reader a ride in a Lamborghini as a gift for you, your partner or perhaps to celebrate someone special’s birthday.

Or maybe a baby gender reveal with blue or pink smoke coming from the exhaust. The choices the endless.

It’s easy to enter!

Find & Like Keezy’s on Instagram (Keezys Customs) and say: “Kean, I saw you in Vale Life” and please share the page.

If you are lucky enough to win, Keezy’s will notify you and you could be featured in Vale Life magazine.

keezyscustoms

Keezys Customs Car Wraps, PPF & Training Coed Cae Lane Industrial Estate Pontyclun CF72 9HG
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C ARDIFF VETERINARY CENTRE

When was Cardiff Veterinary Centre established? And Who are the owners of the business?

Cardiff Veterinary Centre was established on the 3rd of January 2023 by Nasir Kiral. Nasir Kiral is a very experienced businessman who has now entered the veterinary sector to make positive changes. Nasir is the owner of the business and has brought his life and business expertise to create a veterinary practice that prioritises in work-life balance and the well-being of the patients and their owners. He has put together a team of highly qualified and experienced veterinarians, nurses and support staff who are dedicated to providing the highest level of care for all our patients.

How important is it that the centre is independently owned?

Being independently owned is important for Cardiff Veterinary Centre for a number of reasons.

Firstly, as an independently owned practice, we are able to make decisions and take actions that are in the best interest of our patients, clients, and staff, without the influence or constraints of outside entities. This allows us to provide the highest level of care for our patients, and to always prioritize the well-being of our patients and their owners.

Secondly, being independently owned allows us to have a close relationship with our clients, which helps us to understand their unique needs and preferences, and to tailor our services to best meet those needs.

Thirdly, as an independently owned business, we are able to invest in the latest technology and equipment to provide the best possible care for our patients.

Overall, being independently owned is an important aspect of Cardiff Veterinary Centre, as it allows us to provide the best possible care for our patients, maintain close relationships with our clients, and invest in the latest technology and equipment to provide the best possible care for our patients.

What does Cardiff Vets offer its customers?

Cardiff Veterinary Centre offers a wide range of services to its customers, including but not limited to:

n Routine check-ups and preventative care

n Emergency services

n Diagnostic testing

n Surgery

n Dentistry

n Vaccinations

n Microchipping

n Nutrition and weight management advice

n Behavioural consultations

n Laboratory services

n Flea and worm control

n Pet insurance plans.

Our facilities are equipped with stateof-the-art technology and equipment to ensure that we can provide the best possible care for your pet. Our team of highly qualified and experienced staff is dedicated to providing the highest level of care for all of our patients and their owners. We understand that your pet is a beloved member of your family, and we strive to make every visit as comfortable and stress-free as possible for both you and your pet. With a wide range of services and our commitment to the well-being of our patients, Cardiff Veterinary Centre provides the best possible care for your pet.

Serving Cardiff and The Vale of Glamorgan, Cardiff Veterinary Centre is a new practice aiming for the top for customer and pet care. Practice Manager Emily Price tells us more.
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“Our facilities are equipped with state-of-the-art technology and equipment to ensure that we can provide the best possible care for your pet.”

What pets do you cater for?

At Cardiff Veterinary Centre, we cater to small animals as a general practice. This includes a wide range of pet species such as dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets, birds, and other small mammals. Our team of highly qualified and experienced veterinarians, nurses, and support staff provide the highest level of care for all of our patients, regardless of species. We are equipped with stateof-the-art technology and equipment to ensure that we can provide the best possible care for your pet. Our goal is to provide comprehensive, compassionate, and personalised care for all of our patients, and we welcome all small animal species to our practice.

Are you able to offer specific surgery procedures?

Yes, at Cardiff Veterinary Centre we are able to offer surgery procedures. We have two dedicated theatre rooms that are equipped with state-of-the-art technology and equipment to ensure that we can provide the best possible care for our patients. Our team of highly qualified and experienced veterinarians are trained in a wide range of surgical procedures and provide the highest level of care for all of our patients. Additionally, we have an in-house laboratory which allows us to perform diagnostic tests and analyse results in a timely manner, which is essential for certain surgical procedures. This enables us to make accurate diagnosis and provide appropriate treatment in a timely manner.

Who are your vets and what are their qualifications?

We have three full time permanent vets:

n Lorenzo Carta MRCVS

n Laura Bouhelier MRCVS

n Gabriela Pop MRCVS

Who are your nurses and what are their qualifications?

We have four full time permanent registered veterinary nurses:

n Nikki Smart RVN our head nurse

n Aleksandra Glabicka RVN – known as Ola, our senior nurse

n Natalie Grunewald RVN

n Stephanie Castano Reyes RVN.

What is your role in the business Emily?

As the practice manager of Cardiff Veterinary Centre, I play a crucial role in the overall operation and management of the business. I am responsible for overseeing the dayto-day operations of the practice, including staffing, finances, marketing, and client relations. I work closely with the veterinarian team to ensure that the best possible care is provided to the patients and their owners. I also play an important role in maintaining the high standards of the practice and ensuring that all policies and procedures are being followed and implementing new technologies to improve the overall efficiency of the practice. Overall, as the practice manager, I believe I play a vital role in the success of Cardiff Veterinary Centre.

Does the centre have any offers/ loyalty schemes running at the moment? If so, what are they and how long do they run for?

Yes, Cardiff Veterinary Centre currently has an offer of a 15% discount for first-time clients. This discount can be applied to any treatment or surgical procedure. This offer is a great way for new clients to experience the high-quality care and services that we provide at a discounted rate. It is a great way to welcome new clients and help them make the most of their first visit. It is important to note that this offer is only available for a limited time, it would be helpful to inform the clients when this offer will end.

The centre has separate kennels for cats and dogs. What is the reasoning behind this?

The reasoning behind having separate kennels for cats and dogs in a veterinary practice is likely to reduce stress and minimize the risk of disease transmission between the two species. Cats and dogs have different behaviours, social structures, and health concerns, and keeping them in separate areas allows for more specialized care and attention. Additionally, some cats and dogs may have aversions or allergies to the other species, and separating them can help to keep them more comfortable during their stay at the veterinary practice.

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Do you offer Pet Insurance Plans?

What types are available?

Yes, at Cardiff Veterinary Centre we understand the importance of having a good Pet Insurance plan.

That’s why we work with trusted and reputable pet insurance companies to provide our clients with a variety of options to choose from. Our team will be happy to discuss the different options available and help you find the best plan to suit your pet’s needs and budget. We believe that having a good pet insurance plan in place is an essential part of responsible pet ownership, and we are proud to offer this service to our clients.

What makes Cardiff Veterinary Centre special?

Cardiff Veterinary Centre is a top-ofthe-line veterinary practice that is dedicated to providing the highest quality of care for all of our patients. We pride ourselves on our reputation for excellence, which is built on our team of highly qualified and experienced staff, and the wide range of services that we offer. From routine check-ups to emergency surgeries, we are equipped to handle all of your pet’s needs. We understand that your pet is a beloved member of your family, and we strive to make every visit as comfortable and stress-free as possible

for both you and your pet. Our stateof-the-art facilities and cutting-edge technology allow us to provide the best possible care for your pet, and our commitment to their well-being is second to none. At Cardiff Veterinary Centre, we truly believe that every pet deserves the best.

What has been the response to the centre since it’s opening?

The response to Cardiff Veterinary Centre since its opening has been overwhelmingly positive, with the general public expressing amazement at the level of care and service provided. It’s great to hear that the public is impressed with the center and it’s a good indication that the center is meeting their expectations in terms of quality of care and services provided. It’s important to keep up this good work and continue to provide excellent service to the clients and their pets.

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TESTIMONIALS

What customers say

Griff’s first visit today, he’s a very wriggly dog but the staff were so good with him. We were given a tour of the amazing facilities and introduced to all of the team. Great customer service and lots of parking. Thank you.

Been there with my over reactive German Sheppard dog for vaccination. Everything went much smoother than expected. Do recommend.

Mateusz

Took my young Welsh Springer puppy for his initial vaccine, absolutely delighted with the staff, all so friendly and welcoming, made a huge fuss of the puppy. Gabriela was super with him and gave him a good check over and explain vaccinations in depth. Thank you all.

Amazing local practice. Top facilities, lovely staff. Won’t be taking my two boys anywhere else.

Cardiff Veterinary Centre Unit 2, Link Trade Park, Penarth Road Cardiff CF11 8TQ 029 2002 3800

Cardiff Veterinary Centre cardiffvets

Opening Hours Monday to Friday 8.30am - 6.30pm Closed Saturday and Sunday

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“Great customer service and lots of parking.”

NEW H AIR, NEW M E!

They say to grow out a pixie cut takes approximately six to nine months, at least if it’s to grow into a bob (the kind of the style I’m aiming for now). It also takes up to fifteen months before I’ll be able to tie it up into a proper ponytail (that’s not something that just looks like a tufty stub of hair! Not a good look.

It’s definitely a painful process, I’m not going to lie. Ok, first world problems aside, it’s not great when people say I’m looking more and more like my mum now that I’m growing my hair out. Let’s be clear, my mum is amazing for her age. She looks far younger than her 86 years but, even so, she is 86 and to be compared to her when I’m 60, whilst complimentary, is not quite where I would like to be right now.

This is where Michila of The Wig Shop in Porthcawl comes into her own. Michila helps women who just want a change of style or, more importantly, are going through hair loss caused by chemotherapy, taking certain medications, or going through the menopause - this is where a wig is a transitional saviour.

I’ve had a pixie cut for over thirty years and have tried many times to grow it out. I’ve never managed it. Patience is a virtue and that’s not something I’ve been gifted with.
“I was surprised to find that now that I am 60, I couldn’t quite pull off the sleek bob I donned when I got married in 1996.”

I wasn’t quite sure what style I was looking to achieve so arranged a morning with Michila to try out different styles – both in colour and length. It was an interesting experience.

Michila said I had the shape of face to take either a straight, choppy or wavy bob or a fuller, more lengthy style so I tried quite a few options. I didn’t have any pre-conceptions; I just went with the flow.

I was surprised to find that now that I am 60, I couldn’t quite pull off the sleek bob I donned when I got married in 1996. I knew that as we aged our face shape changes as does our skin tone. So when I tried on a few sleek bobs in the hair shade I had way back then, I found that they didn’t suit me at all. I felt that they instantly aged me.

We both agreed that a more tonal, lighter colour suited me better. We also found that a fuller look, for me anyway, was less ageing. Michila said that the full, more bouncy looks could be tamed by smoothing out the wig or by pulling hair back and clipping them at the sides. They were so versatile and could suit different looks, outfits and seasons.

Also, to help with the transition, Michila suggested a clip on hair piece. I wasn’t convinced at first, but once she’d found the piece that matched my hair colour perfectly and attached it, I was hooked. I regularly have to attend events, and I thought this would fit the bill perfectly. I also thought it would be great for a wedding or special event. What a find!

Michila is a joy to work with. There’s no awkwardness with her. She gives you the time to try on as many wigs you like until you find the one. She suggests wigs that you wouldn’t have thought of. No surprise really, she’s been in the industry for many years and has worked with so many women of various ages, face shapes and circumstances, that you can trust her to come up with the wig that suits your needs perfectly.

My morning try on and choosing a wig was for pure fashion purposes, and why not? If you’re looking to try a new style for 2023 or if you have medical reasons why you might want to visit The Wig Shop, then give Michila a call to book a try on session. It’s a surprisingly enjoyable and empowering experience.

I left with a wig that gave me the transitional look that I was needing, plus the confidence that this new look gave me and, thankfully, helped me look more like me than my 86 year old mum!

The Wig Shop 9a Well Street, Porthcawl CF36 3BE 07401 663581 michilalee@gmail.com www.michilaharriswigs.co.uk mlharris hair consultant 57

T RIED & T RUSTED: WE H EAR YOU

We chatted with one happy client, Gail Holmes, and her mum Nita, to listen to their experience with Marina.

How did you hear about Clear Hearing Solution?

To be honest, I can’t quite remember now. I know I was speaking to someone about my mum and husband’s hearing issues, (Barry is a small village and everyone talks!) and Clear Hearing Solution’s name came up as being a company I should call.

What issues did your husband Michael have with his hearing? He needed his ears de-waxed and as Boots in Pentwyn was on our doorstep, I enquired about this treatment there, but was told they didn’t do it. I didn’t even consider other clinics in our area. He had hearing aids from Boots, which were bequeathed to him from a friend who had unfortunately passed away, but they really were not fitting very well or giving what they needed, hence the call to Marina at Clear Hearing Solution.

Did you find it easy to get an appointment with Marina?

Yes, after we contacted the clinic, Marina was very quick to get back to us and arrange an appointment to suit us all. I would also add, we really like the location - there’s plenty of parking nearby and a lift that takes you right up to virtually outside her clinic. It couldn’t be more accessible.

How did you find working with Marina?

Marina is very professional and clearly passionate about what she does. She’s direct, clear and concise, and I like that. It’s what you need when you’re dealing with health issues. But, more importantly, she was lovely with mum and Michael, putting them at ease.

My mum is 92 and Michael is 79, and obviously they were having issues which was quite concerning but Marina is excellent at explaining everything. I also have to say the clinic is spotless –she’s a real professional.

I find Marina kind and very respectful. Both mum and Michael are of advanced years, so obviously they

both needed guidance on all counts, which Marina gives them. She is extremely patient and caring. She also gave them confidence that the advice and instructions she provides will work. They trust her, which is the most important thing when people are dealing with health issues.

What issues did you mum have with her hearing?

Well, both mum and Michael needed full examinations and better fitting hearing aids.

Are they pleased with the advice and hearing aids they were given?

Yes, they have worked perfectly, with a little bit of tweaking, as you would expect with something of this nature.

How often do you visit Marina?

We visit every six months. The aftercare is ongoing and excellent.

Would you recommend Marina and Clear Hearing Solution to others?

Yes. I have recommended her to my family and friends. They have gone and had their problems solved. I’m happy to share the knowledge.

They say that there’s no better recommendation than word-of-mouth and that’s certainly the case with Clear Hearing Solutions, Barry. Owner Marina Storina has a number of very happy customers that have visited her because of the personal experiences of others.
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It’s always nice to talk to people and find out a little more about them and their lives. One of the lovely things about Marina’s work is that she meets so many people. It’s the one thing we like when we’re interviewing or chatting to people. So, over a cuppa we found out a little more about Gail and her life.

Where do you live?

We live in Oxford Street in Barry and my mum lives 200 yards down the road.

What did your parents do for a living?

Mum was a ‘stay at home’ mum and her job was to look after me as I grew up. We were a traditional family and that was important to her and my father. My father owned and ran a garage, W F Holmes in Evans Street, Barry. It still remains to this day. He ran that from 1948 until he passed on the reigns.

How about you?

I worked for BP on Sully Road as an administrator since 1970. I loved my job, but when it got taken over by another company, I stuck at it for a while but then decided to retire.

How do you and Michael spend your time now?

We enjoy each other’s company. We like to take a stroll to Romilly’s, The Knap, for a coffee. We also enjoy a meal at our favourite haunts, Mr. Villa’s, The Knap or The Little Olive on Broad Street. My husband has known Christine Villa for many years so there’s history there, plus we love the food and the vibe!

You’re a very smart lady, where do you like to shop for clothes?

I like to buy quality clothes. When you buy cheap, you buy twice in my opinion. I look after my clothes, and they serve me well. I like to shop at Samantha B in Ewenny, and good old Marks & Spencer. I used to enjoy shopping at Jaeger but since they closed locally, I tend to stick to Sam B and M&S whenever I need something new.

How would you describe your personality?

As I’ve said previously, I’m a straight talker. I value honesty and quality. I believe you reap what you sow. When I want something of quality, I seek it out, value you and reward positive, quality behaviour and service.

Describe yourself in three words. Positive, straight, giving. My mantra for life is “You reap what you sow”.

Unit 32, Goodsheds

Hood Road, Barry CF62 5QR

Clear Hearing Solution
Friday 9am
Saturdays
Thursday
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On the 2nd floor, next to the lift 01446 688 450 info@clearhearingsolution.com www.clearhearingsolution.com Opening times Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday &
- 6pm by appointment only
and Sundays closed
no appointments
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If Pembrokeshire is Wales’s Cornwall, then Carmarthenshire is certainly its Devon. This verdant county has rolling hills, beautiful woodland and seemingly endless meadows. In winter, evidenced by its countless rivers and streams, Carmarthenshire is wet, so why on earth would we entertain a mini break?

L IGHT BREAKS, WHERE NO SUN SHINES

Actually, the title is a bit misleading. I’m merely quoting Dylan Thomas - tenuous I know. Carmarthenshire does see its fair share of sunshine - it is particularly beautiful. Like our home county of The Vale of Glamorgan, it has the best of both coastal and countryside worlds.

Carmarthenshire also has its fair share of quality hotels, B&Bs, guest houses and AirBnBs, and on this occasion we were looking for a touch of luxe. Location was also important; somewhere that would be a good base for exploration - but not too far.

After a little online research, we chose Picton House in Llanddowror. It’s four star and has great TripAdvisor reviews. Llanddowror has its own claim to fame, being the home of Griffith Jones, who, in 1731 proposed a Welsh school in the village. When he passed in 1761 it was recorded that 3,495 schools had been set up, with over 200,000 people learning to read in schools organised by him throughout the country.

National Botanic Gardens

On our way to Picton House we visited the National Botanic Gardens at Llanarthne, which features the world’s largest single-span glasshouse. The last time we dropped by was over fifteen years ago and what a difference. The grounds are established and there are plenty of things to see both inside the magnificent glasshouse and around the beautiful grounds.

We had the opportunity to experience a birds of prey demonstration which was brilliant – highly recommended. Later we enjoyed a wonderful afternoon tea in the glasshouse. If you haven’t visited before, or been for a while, you really must.

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Picton House

Well, what a find. Its website does not do justice to this cool little boutique hotel. We stayed in room 6 - it’s been tastefully decorated relatively recently along with some of the communal rooms. In room 6, a decent size television has Prime and Netflix on tap, so you’ll enjoy all the viewing comforts of home. The hotel also has a bar if you’re feeling sociable. We bumped into a few other guests and locals during our stay which made for very good conversation.

On the second night of our two-night stay we were tempted by the menu and enjoyed a couple of seriously good steaks (Jennifer’s with plump, spicy prawns – mine with equally plump mushrooms and an excellent peppercorn sauce). Both were divine. All finished off with a superb cheesecake and scrummy cheeseboard. If you’re a foodie, you’ll love this place. The food is top notch – it punches well above its weight. And, if it couldn’t get any better, our hosts Holly and Gareth were just brilliant. The bar was our go-to once the day’s travels were over and they are very good company indeed.

CARMARTHENSHIRE

Places to visit

Ammanford

You may have seen the Coaltown Coffee ads on television. They even have a café! However, the day we visited, the grinder or roaster, or both, were in full swing. It was a touch noisy, so we gave it a rain check.

Llandeilo

We’ve visited Llandeilo many times over the years. If Narberth is the Cowbridge of Pembrokeshire, Llandeilo is its equivalent in Carmarthenshire. There are some great little boutiques, galleries and plenty of good places to grab a bite.

While dodging the showers, we ended up in Flows – as we were having a meal later, a drink and a snack would suffice. A glass of Malbec for the lady and good coffee for the driver; the snack being one of the best home-made sausage rolls this side of anywhere. It was unbelievably good. And the adjoining deli (Pitchfork & Provision Deli) will probably be open by the time you read this. They will be selling the best local produce: chocolate, jams, cheese, and Welsh goodies.

Laugharne

The world-renowned, home village of infamous Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. He once said, “I hold a beast, an angel and a madman in me.” He pretty much nailed himself with that spot of prose. Laugharne is quite lovely though. There are several eateries here and there’ll be something to suit most tastes. You can visit the castle and Dylan’s Boat House. Well worth a drive in our humble opinion.

Gwili Railway

It wasn’t running when we popped in, but we picked up a leaflet promoting their afternoon teas. The idea of an afternoon tea on a steam train definitely appeals, so we shall return again in April. Incidentally, they do have train rides and events all year ‘round so check out their socials and website.

Hungry for more?

Carmarthenshire’s new Larder Trails provides great ideas to enjoy a feast and foraging trip to south-west Wales. There are three trails and each one offers suggestions under distinct categories, including best places for produce and market shopping, morning coffee, lunch, treats, hands-on tasting experiences, take homes, dinner dates and places to stay. It’s a great resource if you’re planning a visit.

One last thing…

We’re very keen walkers and Carrmarthenshire has some of the finest coastal and country walks in the UK. This trip was about “us time” and our tummies, but we’ll be visiting again with our walking boots, definitely.

Picton House Llanddowror, St Clears

Carmarthenshire SA33 4HJ 01994 231333 or 07946 078979 stay@picton-house.co.uk

www.picton-house.co.uk

Carmarthenshire Larder Trail https://bit.ly/3W4XGIq

Useful links www.botanicgarden.wales www.coaltowncoffee.co.uk

www.gwili-railway.co.uk

Flows in Llandeilo are on Facebook www.facebook.com/flowsonmarketst

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Looking for a two-night break not too far away, we decided to divide our break across the bridge between Cheltenham and Bristol. It’s amazing what you can squeeze into 48 hours.

OVER T HE BRIDGE

BUT NOT SO FAR AWAY

We like Cheltenham a lot, and the Montpelier area very much. It’s a lovely part of this gorgeous spa town and has some beautiful shops, boutiques and eateries. Perfect for strolling and window shopping.

We didn’t get away as early as we’d like (work sometimes gets in the way) but were happy to get there in time to have a good few hours in the afternoon before our meal at the hotel later.

We had booked ourselves in at the four star Delta by Marriott Cheltenham Chase Hotel. Very reasonably priced and its location just outside Cheltenham bordering the beautiful Cotswolds countryside seemed to fit the bill.

There was snow on the ground, but the roads were fine, and we just had to be a little careful walking along the icy pavements. Well worth it though, Cheltenham has some beautiful shops.

The Montpelier area is particularly classy. There’s a distinct lack of plastic signage, and wooden facias, gold leaf and original signwriting contribute to an ambience that just makes you feel a little better about the world. Yes, it’s a romantic view of retail but it’s also reassuringly authentic – if there’s a benchmark for a beautiful high street, Montpelier is it. Two or three hours flew by, punctuated by a coffee break, until it was time to head for the hotel.

Dinner was pretty good. The restaurant is very stylishly designed, and the staff couldn’t do enough to make us feel relaxed. A warm welcome is just what you need on a cold, winter day.

The food was good - there’s an extensive menu and the chef here certainly knows how to cook a steak.

Our room was excellent value for money – it even had a bath which is always nice when you’re away. Nothing ends a chilly winter day better than a hot bath. This one happened to have a large glass of Baileys with ice on the side which seemed to complement it well.

The next morning, after a lovely shower (it was excellent) we enjoyed a hearty, full breakfast with good coffee overlooking a snow-covered field. Soon we were on our way to Bristol for part two.

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“The restaurant is very stylishly designed, and the staff couldn’t do enough to make us feel relaxed.”

Clifton Village

As we were doing “Brizzle”, we thought we’d visit an old haunt of ours, Clifton Village. We like Clifton. Its twin in the Vale would be Cowbridge. Lots of quaint independent shops, boutiques, galleries and eateries (it even has Bar 44! Though, sadly, here in the Vale, Cowbridge doesn’t anymore – Penarth is still operating thankfully).

Clifton is a village within a city and it really is an absolute joy to spend an hour or two pottering around there. It boasts great architecture and a creative, bohemian, retro vibe - it feels very much like London in the sixties. If you’re in Bristol, it’s well worth a visit. Although there’s permit parking everywhere, a couple of minutes tootling around the back streets will reward you with a space - it’s more accessible than people make out.

Central Bristol & Harbourside

The Mercure Bristol Holland House boasts a central location and is in walking distance of a mix of award-winning attractions. We weren’t sure what we were going to see but, after checking in, we headed down the gentle hill to cross a bridge and explore the harbourside. Fortunately, although it was a very grey day, it wasn’t snowing or raining.

Bristol is impressive. The harbourside especially so. There’s so much to see and if you love being near the water, this city will certainly tick all your boxes.

After a mile or so, we happened upon the SS Great Britain. Wow! We’re so glad we did. If you visit one attraction visiting Bristol, it has to be this one. It’s quite brilliant. You could spend four hours there and not be bored - it is truly fascinating and has a remarkable history. We have to compliment Ryan on reception who was an absolute mine of information and a joy to talk to. He described Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the designer of the ship, as the Elon Musk of his day and the S.S. Great Britain as his Tesla.

Honestly, even if you have no interest in history, the story of Brunel and his ship will enthral you. As a tourist attraction, the S.S. Great Britain is a visual and engineering triumph. No surprise it’s won so many awards. We doff our bobble hats to everyone involved. It’s rare for an attraction to literally blow us away but this one certainly did.

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“Splitting a two-night break between two locations seems like perfect sense. Feels like two breaks in one!”

We continued our walk along the harbour – there are so many boats, ships and bits of history to see that the time seemed to fly by. And we hadn’t really seen 10% of what’s there. Soon we realised we had walked for about five miles and the light was going so we popped into a waterside pub to have a pre-dinner drink and the landlady called a taxi (eight pounds to get us back to the Mercure). We could have walked in about half an hour but had no idea where we were, and our phone batteries were completely dead which meant so was Google Maps - amazing how we’ve become so reliant on these things.

Our dinner at the hotel was as good as its sister hotel in Cheltenham. And after a couple of decent rib-eyes it was off to bed. An enjoyable mini-break in two great locations. Cheltenham has always been a favourite of ours and Bristol is definitely on our list for a return visit.

Our hotels

The Delta by Marriott Cheltenham Chase and Mercure Bristol Holland House are both part of The QHotels Collection. They are both four star and offer the same food menu. The staff in both were excellent and are a credit to The QHotels Group.

Would we stay there again? Absolutely. Both hotels are in the perfect locations if you’re visiting Cheltenham, Gloucester or Bristol. They are tastefully and stylishly designed and, very importantly, spotlessly clean and well turned out.

Shurdington Road

Brockworth

Gloucester GL3 4PB

www.thecheltenhamchase.co.uk/offers

Bristol BS1 6SQ

www.bristolhollandhouse.co.uk/offers

Cheltenham Chase Hotel Mercure Bristol Holland House Redcliff Hill Redcliffe
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Readers will recall Nicky Bright’s inspirational story from last summer. Nicky was our cover star and besides her interior design talents, Nicky also runs Nicky Bright Holidays. So, fancying a quick weekend break we booked one of her cottages.

SOUTH WEST WALES

WITH A TASTE OF NEW SOUTH WALES

“We love the quirky design details and it immediately felt like a home from home.”

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If you visit Nicky’s website, you’ll find several to choose from with three in Pembrokeshire alone. We chose The Old Stables in Pembroke. The images of the bath online sealed it for us.

The leisurely tootle from the Vale to Pembroke was just under two hours and, listening to various podcasts along the way, it felt like we were there in no time at all - with Nicky’s excellent directions, it’s really easy to find.

The cottage backs on to a field and the babble of the brook behind just added to the cottage ambience. I imagine in spring and summer when the wild flowers are in bloom, it would be postcard perfect. Pembroke town centre, with its amazing castle is a leisurely ten minute walk away.

The cottage is beautifully designed. We love the quirky design details and it immediately felt like a home from home. As a self-catering cottage, it works beautifully. Literally everything you need is to hand (including a wine fridge) and there’s a handy manual in place along with plenty of info on what to see and do in the area.

For our two nights, it was just the two of us but the cottage, with its three bedrooms, can easily accommodate a much larger family. It’s very children friendly without immediately appearing so. It’s a great place for grown-ups and a cool place for kids. You will notice, when you enter the property, a hammock covers an open space in the ceiling. This is a chill out place - perfect for children, although Nicky says a few parents have ended up in there too. No surprise. Here you can take time out to read, sleep, listen to music, watch TV or gaze at the stars through the skylight.

Pembroke has plenty of indie retailers, bars and a night club and we’ve visited there before. However, this time, we would be heading for Tenby, Saundersfoot and some of our favourite coastal haunts: Freshwater West (and East), Angle, Barafundle Beach and Broadhaven.

After a great night’s sleep (the beds and duvets are sublime), we headed west to take a leisurely drive along the coastline. It was a bit blustery, but the upside is the seas are a lot more interesting with big waves crashing on to the shoreline. We got to Tenby around eleven and, with a gap in the clouds, enjoyed a lovely couple of hours walking the town, around the harbour and down on to the beach. We expected it to be quiet, but it had a lovely bustling buzz about it. It was the last weekend before the children go back to school – but, listening to the different accents, it was clear there were plenty of visitors in town, even in the depths of winter.

Having not had breakfast, and with a shower beginning, we took time out in Caffi Llew on the high street for a full breakfast. We do like to support the independent businesses. Inside we got chatting to a couple on the next table who were staying in Tenby. They had brought their dogs down from Stratford for four nights (did we mention The Old Stables is dog friendly?). They said they were having a lovely time. The lady hadn’t been to Tenby before and was really impressed. “It’s so pretty here!” she remarked. We got the impression they would certainly be returning at some point.

As it was mid-afternoon, we took a little drive five minutes down the coast to Saundersfoot. We like Saundersfoot and hadn’t been there for years. We had a nice walk around the harbour and up through the town where we came across The Kookaba, an Aussie themed restaurant. We do like our steaks and the menu looked great with plenty of meaty choices. We also recalled that The Kookaba was on Nicky’s recommended list in her manual back at the cottage.

A brief check on TripAdvisor (4.5 stars and approaching 1,100 reviews) and we confirmed our booking for later in the day. We headed back to the cottage for a couple of hours relaxation and a freshen up. Our table was booked for 6pm.

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The one thing I would say about The Old Stables is that it promotes relaxation. We were only there for two days but it was very good for our souls – we both agreed it had a sense of calmness about it. When, not if, we visit again, we would definitely book for longer.

Evening arrives and after a twentyminute drive, we’re parked up outside Kookaba. The restaurant oozes Aussie charm by the creek load. Staff are welcoming and friendly, and the antipodean vibe was palpable. We expected Mick Dundee to walk through the door any minute. Seriously, this place hits the spot visually with cool design nods to the oceanic lifestyle, surfing and its indigenous people. There are cool bits of Aboriginal art and imagery on the walls but not too much to become clichéd. We liked it a lot, but could they deliver on the tucker?

Well, the simple answer is yes. The food is unbelievably good. The chef, apparently, was on leave, but that didn’t stop them delivering some truly sublime starters. The Creamy Garlic Mushrooms were some of the best we’ve tasted and Kangaroo ‘Skippy’ Skewers which, if I had to rate them, would be a perfect ten. Wherever the chef is sunbathing, clearly, he’s relaxing knowing his kitchen is turning out amazing quality food.

The two rib-eye steaks that followed, with fries and peppercorn sauce, were equally excellent. Perfectly cooked, tender, and melt-in-the-mouth tasty. They source their meat locally and the quality of produce in west Wales is second to none.

If you are of vegan or vegetarian persuasion, you’re catered for too. The menu was excellent with plenty of options. Whenever you book a restaurant, no matter what its reputation, you never really know what it’s going to be like until the food arrives. Well, The Kookaba delivered, big time. If there’s a fan club, we’re officially members.

So after a great meal and a relaxing stay in a very cool cottage, our Pembrokeshire mini break comes to its conclusion. The Visit Pembrokeshire website suggests you’ll make great memories here, and they’re not wrong. We certainly have, but we’ll be back to make more.

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Make great memories

Pembroke is a tranquil paradise for walkers and nature lovers. The luxury cottage is within two miles of some of the most beautifully scenic beaches in the UK.

The Old Stables in Pembroke is ideal for families sharing of all ages, two upstairs bedrooms, two bathrooms (ground floor bedroom with disabled access to wet room).

A short drive will take you to top attractions:

n Fresh Water East Beach

n Oakwood Theme Park

n Folly Farm

n Dinosaur Park

n Tenby Beach

n Saundersfoot Beach

n Milford Haven Marina

n Haverfordwest

n Pembroke Dock

With its beautiful coastal walks, stunning beaches and coastline, castles, attractions and beautiful towns and villages, Pembrokeshire really is a place to make memories.

To find out more

www.visitpembrokeshire.com

The Old Stables Grove Hill, Pembroke Pembrokeshire SA71 5PT 02920 001 480

hello@nickybrightholidays.com www.nickybrightholidays.com

The Kookaba High Street, Saundersfoot SA69 9EJ 01834 813814

Kookaba@hotmail.com www.thekookabasaundersfoot.com

PEMBROKESHIRE
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F UTURE PROOFING

When Kathy Annandale, awardwinning businesswoman, actor and author experienced all of the above (and more for good measure), she was starting to think that all she’d worked for could be lost. But going to a networking meeting and the subsequent introduction to financial expert Bethan Beemer meant that there was, for once, the light at the end of a tunnel, and it wasn’t a train coming.

How did you hear about Bethan?

It was via Zoom during lockdown. I’m a member ‘I Am Woman’, a networking group for women in business. Beth was a new member introduced to me by the founder Cheryl Bass. Beth impressed me as, while consummately professional, her manner was warm, friendly, patient and understanding. Unlike many other financial consultants I’d come across over thirty years in business, she made no attempt at the hard sell or indeed promote any particular product.

What made you want to contact her?

I had a number of complex problems following a combination of a messy divorce, where teasing out pension entitlements had defeated both my barrister and the judge, and business losses due to the pandemic. Basically I was in financial limbo with assets I could not realise and poor growth, combined with what seemed to be excessive charges, especially frustrating when I was desperate to set up as an author.

A combination of Brexit, lockdowns and a possible recession had also made me realise that I needed to consider going in a new direction with much lower overheads. The clincher for me was when Beth looked into a pension issue I knew in my heart was unfair, took my current providers by the throat and wouldn’t take no for an answer.

With her expertise, she got justice for me where top legal professionals had given up. And as if that weren’t enough, in conversation with Beth I learned that she had once been involved in publishing and, talk about going above and beyond, she offered to proofread my first darkly comic crime novel ‘For Whom The Goats Bleat’ and get it ready for submission to a literary agent. In many ways she’s been a mentor as well as an adviser.

Sorting out financial matters, especially pensions, can be quite frustrating. I imagine it was a great relief to have her in your corner... Absolutely. I was being frustrated by the complexities and intransigence of my existing pension managers who were behaving like rabbits caught in headlights when it came to changing anything. I was getting poor to no advice and being charged an extortionate amount for researching every enquiry.

I had got to the position of realising that in real terms I was not going to benefit from my pension or property. This was causing me a considerable amount of stress. Now instead of discussing woes, we’re discussing investment strategies. Life is exciting again.

What tangible advice and assistance did Bethan give you? She gave me hope. She outlined how my pension could be restructured allowing me the flexibility to continue writing and drawing on some of my pension while changing direction in my life.

What was particularly impressive is that she undertook to research exactly what my current situation was, set out clearly my options then acted swiftly, efficiently and very effectively.

How did that make a difference to your financial situation?

The change in my circumstances and the complete relief from stress was nothing short of a game changer for me. For the first time in my life, I felt that I was in total control of my financial affairs and I could start planning ahead, how I was going to finance my new lifestyle, pay for repairs and improvements to my property, then move ahead to setting up a realistic income stream, without a monthly panic over a sclerotic financial situation where all attempts at moving forward seemed to be strangled at birth.

Are you happy with the advice given?

Overjoyed would be nearer the mark. Basically, it is thanks to Beth that I can now look forward to developing further my new life as an author. The combination of her financial advice and friendly editorial direction has elevated her from being a lot more than a useful contact but a truly valued friend.

I’m guessing you’d be very happy to recommend Bethan to friends and family...

That is a given. Beth stands head and shoulder above all the other so called financial advisors I have encountered throughout my life. She’s a breath of fresh air.

Financial matters can be complex at the best of times, but throw in a divorce, a business battered by lockdown plus the frustrations of dealing with pension problems that can be difficult to navigate, and you have a recipe for disaster. Thankfully, there’s always hope if you know where to look.
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To receive a complimentary guide covering wealth management, retirement planning or inheritance tax planning, contact Bethan Beemer on 07715 940827 or email Bethan.Beemer@sjpp.co.uk

Let me pose a scenario; you’ve had the best idea! It’s amazing. It’s going to change everything. You tell people. You plan. You’re excited. However, this idea stays as an idea. It never develops into that ‘something.’ Does this resonate with you?

GIVERS & TAKERS

It may not be a big idea. It may be a thought or a plan to get something organised with friends. But, it just doesn’t materialise. Have you considered why this is your pattern? Why doesn’t this action actually happen?

Have you considered what’s zapping the energy from you so that you no longer have the energy to do all the things you would like to do? Imagine you have a battery at the top of your head and each day you receive, let’s say £100 worth of energy. How do you use that energy?

n Eating junk food

n Overworking

n Not exercising

n Sitting in clutter/mess

n Sitting at a desk/in front of the tv for too long

n People pleasing

n Worrying

n Thinking about the past

n Too much time on social media

n Being in ‘auto pilot’ for much of the day

If you’re just not getting things done, and you can resonate with many/all the above, then this is where you’re spending your energy. These are the activities or lack of activities that are zapping away your energy.

You are in the position to change this. What can you do? What can you change so that you’re using this £100 of energy on enhancing your day and your life? Do you want to get things done? Consider swapping to doing the following:

n Spending time in sunlight, and the fresh air - go to the park, the forest the seaside

n Exercise

n Drink water regularly

n isten to music

n home cooked, food which nourishes you

n Rest, sleep

n Meditate

n Take deep breaths

n Live in the present, enjoy and be fully present today

n Spend time with the people you cherish and love

Choose one of these to do this week and add another next week. Be kind to yourself, but with the purpose of making regular changes for the better.

If you’re looking to be back in the driving seat of your body, please get in touch with me today to see how I can help you.

Angharad Evans Therapïau Naturiol Angharad Natural Therapies by Angharad 07739 210291 www.angharadevans.cymru AngharadsNaturalTherapy
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For
when... You feel like it’s time to try something new & experience a new take on life, Hallmark Care Homes is here for you! Life within Shire Hall, means building new friendships, exciting new experiences & moments to cherish. 02920 600130 | Cardiff, CF10 5NT hallmarkcarehomes.co.uk/shirehall Residential care | Dementia care | Nursing care | Respite care
times

Struggling to find that ultimate gift for the man in your life? You may still be, even after reading this. But hey, we can dream…

Tag

The Monaco became famous thanks to its leading role in the film Le Mans. Steve McQueen wore the classic automatic Monaco with a blue dial on his wrist. The Heuer Monaco offered here is powered by the Valjoux 7736 manual winding movement and is even rarer than the 1133 automatic version. The reference 73633 is known in three different versions: the blue Monaco with white sub-dials, the completely gray version and the gray-black version shown here. The square shape of the case is the main symbol of the Heuer Monaco. It was designed by Ervin Piquerez and was the first waterproof square case ever made although WoW can’t confirm this particular watch is waterproof.

£9,950

0% interest free finance available www.watchesofwales.co.uk

If you’d like to promote your products or services in our Man Cave section, please contact Mark on 07766 106731.

£72

www.uk.loccitane.com

M AN CAVE

Eau de Toilette 75ml

£54

www.uk.loccitane.com

Swole Panda’s Recycled Woven Belts are the perfect addition to any outfit. Completely adjustable without the need for holes, these elasticised belts offer a precise fit and ultimate comfort. They have broken new ground, being the very first company to make them from Repreve®, a material composed out of recycled plastic bottles recovered from the ocean. Each belt contains the equivalent of seven plastic bottles that had previously been discarded.

£35

www.kingfoxmenswear.co.uk

See more of King Fox’s clothing on pages 8 to 11

Sax Purple Logo

Pre-loved

A lovely example of this highly sought after instrument. There are some signs of usual wear and tear, but otherwise in excellent condition. This Yamaha YTS61 Tenor Sax Purple Logo (preloved) been checked over and plays magnificently as you would expect.

£1,800

Finance options available

www.penarthmusiccentre.com

Classic red belt by Swole Panda Yamaha YTS61 Tenor Cap Cedrat Homme Olivier 75ml Heuer Monaco 73633
win a watch!
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AVI-8

Hawker Hunter Atlas Dual Time

This timepiece pays tribute to arguably the most celebrated and utilised fighter jet in military aviation history, the Hawker Hunter. In 1953, renowned British fighter ace and test pilot Neville Duke famously broke the world air speed record when he flew a Hawker Hunter at 727.63 mph.

Impressively, that is not the only record broken by the Hawker Hunter; the “Black Arrows”, the RAF’s display unit, set a record that still stands today by looping and barrel rolling 22 Hawker Hunters in formation. Since its inception, this extraordinary aircraft has served 22 air forces globally.

The Hawker Hunter Atlas Dual Time Chronograph is housed in a contemporary, utilitarian and robust 12-sided stainless steel case echoing the Hawker Hunter’s flight instruments.

£290

Available from www.AVI-8.co.uk

The publisher or the retailer cannot be held responsible for any error or omissions. All offers are subject to availability and price changes.

2022 was an amazing year at Davies Motors, the Cardiff company has repaired some truly amazing cars. By owner Sean Davies’s admission, the car park has looked a little like an episode of Top Gear on occasions.

T HE PERFECT F INISH

We caught up with Sean to find out a little more about the company’s impressive performance over the last year and his hopes for 2023.

Sean, how are things at Davies Motors?

Brilliant. We’ve had a really good couple of years. We’ve been constantly improving and streamlining our business and that, combined with our growing reputation, means we’re much more on the radar especially with the owners of the supercars and hyper-cars.

Why do you think these owners are coming to you to repair and renovate their vehicles?

We’ve developed, and earned I believe, an excellent reputation for quality and finish. Brands like Bentley and Aston Martin are incredibly choosy when it comes to who does their bodywork repairs. They have exceptionally high standards and there is absolutely no cutting corners ever.

This year we’ve seen some truly gorgeous cars come through and, I must confess, it can be hard to see many of them go once we’ve worked our magic.

You say magic, but really it’s hard work and skill that produces such beautiful work…

I agree. I have a fantastic team of really talented people working here. They’re as passionate as I am about producing beautiful work, and nothing gives all of us more pleasure than seeing cars leave the building in perfect condition and the owners’ beaming smiles.

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You work on a lot of exotic cars but do you do work on what we’d call ‘normal’ cars?

Absolutely. The vast majority of our work is the usual brands that we all drive every day. And it’s important to add that those customers receive exactly the same quality of service as a driver of a Rolls Royce or Lamborghini. Many people don’t realise that they don’t have to use their insurer’s nominated repairer. You can choose your own and it’s important you do. If you’ve had the misfortune of having a bump, you want to be confident that the car that returns will be as good as it was previously. That’s not always the case with the so called ‘bucket shop repairers’.

What’s your car of the year?

We’ve had the pleasure of restoring some beautiful vehicles this year. We’re very proud of those. Honestly, we’ve had so many through this year that it would be impossible to choose a favourite – they’re like your children.

And for 2023? What are your plans?

It’s brilliant being out in front when it comes to quality and service but I suppose it’s a little like gaining a Michelin star if you’re a restaurant. You have to maintain it. So if we end 2023 producing the same or better standards of work, that’ll be a win for us.

Davies Motor Company Hadfield Close, Leckwith (off Hadfield Road - behind Mazda) Cardiff CF11 8BD 029 2039 4407 sean@daviesmotorcompany.co.uk www.daviesmotorcompany.co.uk Davies Motors
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“Many people don’t realise that they don’t have to use their insurer’s nominated repairer.”

T HE L AB R EPORT

MOBILE SOLICITORS

It can sometimes be difficult or inconvenient for clients to come to our offices in Barry and Llantwit Major. We are happy to come to see you at your home or place of business, or other suitable meeting place. We visit clients all over Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan.

Visiting clients is nothing new. One of our predecessors Thomas Rees, 19th Century Solicitor and former Mayor of Cowbridge, would write to his clients and say “I shall ride over to see you next Wednesday afternoon”. We don’t ride to see you anymore, but we can probably get to you more quickly than next Wednesday.

Arthur does not usually get personally involved in client visits - unless specifically requested by the clients. He was recently invited to visit a client in Ogmore which concluded with a run on the beach. He is often invited when client consultations take place in dog friendly pubs. He likes that.

Most days we call to see clients in Cowbridge, Rhoose, and villages throughout the Vale - even the wilds of Wenvoe or Dinas Powis and beyond. We are often called into nursing homes and hospitals to help clients with Powers of Attorney and Wills. With laptops and portable printers, we can finalise the paperwork at one visit. This can be an enormous comfort to clients who might be worried that they have left these arrangements too late.

Our mediation work takes us further afield, with property disputes beyond Swansea and Carmarthen.

We deal with many property sales and purchases and occasionally an issue may arise over a boundary or access or other problem. Often the best solution is to get out from behind the desk and go and look at the issues. Time is of the essence in property transactions, and we will endeavour to find a fast solution to any problem.

Clients in business often find it difficult to get away and we are regularly out at farms, shops, pubs and small businesses. As Business & Professional Members of the Country Landowners Association we have access to generic advice on all aspects of rural business ownership.

We are also members of the Law Society’s Lawyers for your Business scheme. This offers new clients a free consultation to talk through the issues their business faces and helping business owners understand that consulting a solicitor early on can save them time and money.

Vale Solicitors have been assisting individual and business in the Vale of Glamorgan since 1867. Whatever legal issue may concern you please give us a call. Arthur may take the case.

Vale Solicitors Advocates & Mediators 102 High Street, Barry CF62 7DS 01446 792535 and 07771 803639

Also at 1 Boverton Road, Llantwit Major CF61 1XZ 01446 792535 mail@valesolicitors.com www.valesolicitors.com

In his regular Lab report Arthur the black Labrador at Vale Solicitors has been explaining that his Solicitors often need to be mobile and need to get out and see their clients.
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You & Ince, in any case With you, when and where you need us. Whether you need a simple legal service or something more complex, we can help. With deep sector specialisms, including in agriculture, and conveniently based in Cardiff city centre, we offer a broad range of services for individuals, including farmers and landowners, and businesses. Our team of lawyers, consultants and financial advisers can provide you with a single solution to meet all your advisory needs, supporting you every step of the way. • Private client, including wills, probate and trusts • Private wealth, tax and investment advice • Residential property • Commercial real estate • Dispute resolution, including contentious probate • Family and matrimonial matters • Corporate and commercial law Contact us today and find out more: 029 2010 0950 | incegd.com/Cardiff

What does it take to make a good event great? A vivacious and glamorous host? Fabulous entertainment? Canapes? Bubbly on tap? Apparently, all these things, and a half-naked Santa.

L IGHTS C AMERA ACTION

Guests experienced all this and more at “the event of the year” at Venetia Steele Boutique in Bridgend, in the run up to the Christmas festivities.

On arrival, Nicola’s very good friend, Erica Montgomery, greeted guests with a table full of tasty goodies and a glass (or two) of bubbly. That certainly got the evening started and everyone in a great mood.

Speaking of good mood, who could not have had their spirits raised after having their photo taken with Thomas Ninnis Jnr, who welcomed everyone with a ho, ho, ho, and the opportunity of a selfie or “elfie” as they were called on the night. Thomas braved the cold and wore only a pair of bottoms and a hat (plus some bronzing, courtesy of Nic!) and this didn’t go unnoticed or appreciated!

Whilst the ladies were enjoying browsing the rails and trying on some of the latest stock, there was plenty more to see and do. Make up transformations were courtesy of Jules Colley, Tom Ford make-up artist. Janet Shambler had a stall promoting her lovely knitwear brand ‘Nitty Noo Noo’ and also promoted her late father’s paintings. We featured Bryan’s work in an earlier edition of Vale Life, and Tom A C Godsall showcased his fabulous hand-made make-up bags (check out his Insta page @bespoke_by_tom).

The event was in aid of Hope Rescue (www.hoperescue.org.uk), a registered charity dear to Nicola’s heart, that saves stray and abandoned dogs in South Wales. Nicola is a dog owner and Hope Rescue is her chosen charity. The boutique managed to raise an impressive £677.50 on the night from the raffle alone.

Meryl Sparks, Corntown Nicola has clothes to suit all shapes and sizes
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Darren Ledbury
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Jackie Gauci, Rita Cross (Cardiff) Nicola has totally different styles to suit our age. We don’t like to be like mutton dressed as lamb. We hate shopping as a rule but love shopping here!

With Nicola’s seventeen years with Monet Jewellery in a past life, she is delighted to announce that she is having a mini refit for a new department within the boutique which will showcase a stunning range of jewellery, leather bags and scarves.

“I feel with my experience in the industry, I’m going back to my roots and bringing out the glamour in quality accessories that help make an outfit really stand out,” says Nicola. “So far, the response from my customers has been amazing. They love the bags and jewellery that I was able to showcase on the night.”

“Like sleigh bells, the till was ringing all evening which was great, but what pleased me more was how much my clients loved my new bag and jewellery ranges. They really do add the finishing touches to any outfit. I’m not keen on the phrase “one-stop-shop” but I have to admit it fits the bill perfectly. My customers can now come in and, together, we can choose an outfit for daytime through to evening and add those all-important accessories.”

“I’m already working on my next event and plan to have a range of different events throughout the year, so please, everyone, keep an eye on my Facebook page for more information and book those tickets! They really do go like hot cakes, and I wouldn’t want anyone to miss out,” Nicola added.

Nicola wants to send a special thank you to: Thomas Ninnis Jnr for being a fabulous Santa sport. Jules Colley. Tom Ford make-up artist, Erica Montgomery. Rachel Lewis (Hope Rescue). Beverly Rosser-Smith. Dave Edwards of Lanelay Hall for his kind donation of 2 Spa Day Tickets for the raffle. Andy Kykohszyn (music man), and Zara Evans. With their kindness the event raised an impressive £677.00 for the Hope Rescue charity.

Sue Gerrard, Bridgend

Nicola always has something to suit my taste and figure. She’s a great hostess. She knows my preferences with colours and style. She always suggests something fabulous which takes the stress out of shopping. I also love the fact that she supports local charities.

Erica Montgomery, friend Janet Shambler (Nitty Noo Noo)
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Venetia Steele Boutique

Kensington House 30-32 Caroline street

Bridgend CF31 1DQ 01656 856670

venetiasteele.co@gmail.com

www.venetiasteeleboutiques.com

Open 10.30 - 4.30

Monday to Saturday

BoutiquesVenetiaSteele

The Ivy Girls Marcia, Avril, Jean, Sheila and Anne We
love everything!
Nicola has got such a good eye! Beverly Rosser-Smith Michelle Riley Sarah and Lily Thompson

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Thanks to Garolla’s transparent costs it’s never been easier to price up a new home improvement project. Available to view on the company’s website the price includes measuring, fitting and VAT. Your local installer will even dispose of your old door completely free of charge.

Customisable, with 21 different colour options, Garolla roller garage doors make a stylish statement that will make your neighbours green with envy. With the power to modernise your home’s exterior appearance, the time to invest in a Garolla roller garage door is now.

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BARRY ISLAND LOST & FOUND

The page now boasts over 1,400 followers and has regular posts from Islanders, Barry residents and visitors.

Over the last year or so, sets of keys have been found, so many cats (they do stray), diamond rings, jewellery, clothing, hats and caps, phones, handbags, wallets and purses, dogs, watches, toys; you name it, the group has managed to return so many things to grateful owners.

There is also a small band of metal detectorists who regularly post their finds on the page. Several have even gone out of their way to find lost jewellery that has special emotional and sentimental value, and with some success. “It’s always lovely to reunite them with their owners,” they say.

There are a few obvious rules to engaging with the page: no advertising, or spamming, and the post must be related to being lost or found on Barry Island.

You don’t have to have lost something to join the group. The very fact you could share a Facebook post might assist someone finding a lost ring, a phone or a set of keys - it all helps.

The Barry Island Lost & Found Facebook page was set up to help reunite lost items with their owners, and it’s proven to be a real success story.
Search: Barry Island Lost & Found www.facebook.com 90
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BARRY ISLAND LOST & FOUND

1min
pages 90-91

GAROLLA

1min
pages 88-89

L IGHTS C AMERA ACTION

2min
pages 84-87

T HE L AB R EPORT

2min
pages 82, 84

T HE PERFECT F INISH

1min
pages 80-81

M AN CAVE

1min
pages 78-80

GIVERS & TAKERS

2min
pages 76, 78

F UTURE PROOFING

3min
pages 74-76

SOUTH WEST WALES

5min
pages 70-73

OVER T HE BRIDGE BUT NOT SO FAR AWAY

4min
pages 66-70

L IGHT BREAKS, WHERE NO SUN SHINES

3min
pages 64-66

T RIED & T RUSTED: WE H EAR YOU

4min
pages 58-64

NEW H AIR, NEW M E!

2min
pages 56-57

C ARDIFF VETERINARY CENTRE

6min
pages 52-55

K EEZY’S CUSTOMS COED CAE LANE IS A WRAP!

3min
pages 48-51

FACING T HE F UTURE

12min
pages 42, 44-48

I NTERIORS

3min
pages 37, 39-41

El Transcantabrico Gran Lujo

1min
page 35

STATION HOUSE HEALTH & WELLBEING

12min
pages 28-34

DELI DELIGHTS GLENN GRIFFITH BUTCHERS & DELI

2min
pages 26-27

M R VILLA’S THE KNAP, BARRY

2min
pages 24-25

THE HOME OF HOME COOKING

2min
pages 22-24

F EED YOUR SOUL THE MEDITERRANEAN WAY

2min
pages 20-22

PREPARE FOR SPRING CROSS FARM NURSERY

2min
pages 19-20

WHAT’S NEW AT SAMANTHA B?

1min
pages 18-19

THE BUSINESS C ENTRE THE FLEXIBLE OFFICE SOLUTION

2min
pages 16-17

T HORNTON T RAVEL

1min
pages 14-16

COSMETIC EYE SURGERY AT VALE EYE SURGEONS

1min
pages 11, 14

ONE VISION VALE EYE SURGEONS

6min
pages 8-11

R AISE YOUR GLASSES!

1min
pages 7-8

VALE L IFE

6min
pages 3-7
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