Kudos issue 28

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Your free lifestyle magazine for Kent and East Sussex

Issue 28


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Welcome to the May/June issue of Kudos It was actor W.C. Fields who said you should never work with animals or children. He would have changed his mind if he’d been on our children’s fashion shoot for this issue. All our models were little stars and beautifully behaved both on and off set. I must confess to one of those stars being my 18-month-old son, Leo (pictured with me, right). He enjoyed his moment in the spotlight, as did all the other children – see the results on page 37. From children to their dads, we’ve come up with some gift ideas for Father’s Day on 17th June. If you’re a fan of the TV programme Man v. Food, which involved one man and very large portions of food (think groaning plates of burgers, ribs, lasagne...), you’ll be pleased to know the food challenge is alive and well in Kent and East Sussex. Eat your fill on page 53. Plus, we’ve rounded up the goods to create the perfect man cave – and we meet businessman Angelo Mastropietro who has designed a real man cave in Worcestershire, where you can spend a romantic break. From a cave house to a splendid Georgian-style home in Kent. See how owners Marianne and Richard Baxter created more space with an extension cleverly linked to the rest of the property by a stylish glass structure. We also interview two men on the road. Britain’s Got Talent Golden Ticket winner Daliso Chaponda is coming to Tunbridge Wells with his new show, What the African Said. And comedian, writer and actor Tom Allen is at Hever Castle with his new show, Absolutely. Mums get a look in, too. We talk to Giovanna Fletcher, wife of McFly’s Tom, who has just published her first non-fiction book, a personal account of motherhood, and to sisters Laura Swann and Natalie Mcilveen about their events business, Mum’s the Word. Hope you enjoy the issue.

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kudoskent Web: www.kudoskent.co.uk

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Managing Director: Robin Tucek Publishing Director: Hannah Tucek Editorial Director: Ann Wallace Creative Director: Neil Constant Sales Director: Meral Griffith Fashion Editor: Sally-Ann Carroll Photographer: Matt Harquail

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While every care is taken to ensure accuracy, the publishers, authors and printers cannot accept liability for errors or omissions. All rights reserved. Prices and details correct at time of going to press. No part of this publication may be produced in any form without the written permission of the copyright holder and publisher, application for which should be made to the publisher. Opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publisher.


74 Love education 86 Love family 92 Love business 94 Love charity 98 Love heroes

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Mermaid Street, Rye


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Taken by Matt Harquail

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5 Things we love this issue

1. Cabbages & Roses new tuberose & ylang range is a romantic blend of fragrance oils with notes of tuberose and ylang combined with orange blossom, pink pepper, sweet red berries, jasmine, sweet nectarine and sandalwood to create a heavenly aroma. Candles are £30 and diffusers £34 www.cabbagesandroses.com

4. Get one of your five-a-day in the form of Nim’s Fruit Crisps – fruit and veg, thinly sliced and air-dried, with nothing added or taken away. Because the full fruits are used, the crisps are also jam-packed full of fibre. Nim’s Pear, Apple and Beetroot & Parsnip Crisps are available in Tesco stores nationwide. £1 per pack. www.nimsfruitcrisps.com

2. The unusual Spinner Wishbone pendant holds a secret message which is revealed when the pendant is spun. The pieces are all handmade and available in silver, gold and rose-gold. £80 www.my-wishbone.com

5. Sulphites are added to all wines as a preservative. Now you can filter them from your glass with the revolutionary Üllo Wine Purifier, which uses Selective Sulphite Capture technology to filter sulphitesuls and sediments, bringing wine back to its natural state. £69.99 www.uk.ullowine.com

3. Wellness guru Mary Beth Janssen’s The Book of Self-Care is a collection of simple strategies for taking care of ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually, providing tips for eating and sleeping well, ideas for reclaiming some ‘me’ time every so often and simple meditation and breathing practices for managing day-to-day stresses. Published by Sterling, £14.99; £6.95 Kindle edition. www.amazon.co.uk 8

6. This Wild Beauty Balm Concentrate #30 glides on to your face and neck like silk, melts to the touch and is charged with 10 active botanical oils and five essential oils to deeply hydrate, soften and rejuvenate your skin, promoting skin health and a glowing, youthful complexion. £42 www.asapoth.com K U D O S M A Y/ J U N E 2 0 1 8

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Upfront What’s new and happening How remarkable

New book and exhibition celebrates the unusual characters of Tunbridge Wells A new book and photographic exhibition is shining a light on the eclectic mix of people living in Tunbridge Wells today – and it’s full of surprises! The Remarkable Characters of Tunbridge Wells exhibition comprises 40 portraits and inspiring stories from local artists, musicians, volunteers, founders of community projects and entrepreneurs ranging from six to 92 years old. The project is a collaboration between natural-light photographer Mark Wilkinson and writer Anne Wagstaff, who both have a curiosity about people and what makes them tick. Together they have created a vivid and thought-provoking portrait of the town through images and words. Local residents who feature include six-year-old Beau Lane-Winch who has won awards for looking after the local Commons; Will Bayley, Paralympian gold medal winner in Rio; reformed heroin addict Maxine Hallett who turned her family’s life around and now supports other struggling families across Kent; Ringpull Man, a mysterious caped crusader on a mission to recycle for good causes; and Yvonne Vinall, life model in her eighties. The Remarkable Characters of Tunbridge Wells book (price £18) can be purchased online from www.remarkablecharacterstw.com and from local stockists across Tunbridge Wells including Waterstones, Halls Independent Book Shop and Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery. Proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to Fegans, a local charity which provides children’s counselling and parent support services across the South East. The exhibition at Woods Restaurant is open daily and will run until 9th September 2018. Entry is free, but there will be an opportunity to make donations to Fegans and buy tickets for a “Remarkable Raffle”.

What a Corker!

Celebrate May bank holiday with a party – and everything you need to create the perfect patch Join the party at Corker Outdoor Living and Landscape Supplies on Monday, 7th May as it celebrates its first birthday since rebranding from Small Loads Ltd. To mark the occasion, Corker, on the A228 near Paddock Wood, will be unveiling four new show gardens, bringing the grand total to 13. There will be a gourmet assortment of BBQ food from Will Devlin, Head Chef and Owner of The Small Holding, refreshments (including beer, prosecco and freshly ground coffee cart), plus 10% off on the day and over the May bank holiday weekend. The family-run business offers both the products and inspiration needed to create your dream garden, with 4,000 square metres of inspiration. The show gardens have been designed and built by local garden designers and landscapers, and there are large displays of Indian sandstone and Italian porcelain, plus a wide range of paving, turf, soil, sleepers, decorative aggregates, outdoor furniture and more. The business is operated with old-fashioned values of outstanding quality products at competitive prices, coupled with a relaxed, professional and friendly customer service. Mick Corkery, Managing Director, said: “The season has been a bit late starting for us with all of the unusual weather this year, but we can’t wait to celebrate Corker turning one after the huge re-brand. We’re also excited to show off the new show gardens and further inspire all of our visitors, both old and new.” Tel. 01892 833 325 www.corker.co.uk 10

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Giving autism a voice

New venture by Tunbridge Wells mum to support autism awareness A range of clothing and accessories designed to raise awareness about autism is due to be launched in May by Tunbridge Wells mum Trish O’Dwyer. Her seven-year-old son has non-verbal autism, and Trish has first-hand experience of what it is like living with and caring for a child who perceives the world differently. She also knows what it feels like to be judged when she is out with her son by people who do not have a clear understanding of the condition. Trish explains: “Autism is not visually recognisable so how would anyone know that someone is autistic in the first place? If they did know, how could they tell if that autistic person doesn’t like to talk, or doesn’t like to be touched, or loves to talk at length about his or her special interest?” This is what gave her the idea behind Autism Threads, a subtle yet recognisable brand with discreet messaging that will provide a cue to an observer about how best to interact with the wearer. Trish hopes that as people begin to recognise the brand and understand autism a little more, they will become more comfortable around autistic children and adults, and their carers, which will help to make them feel more accepted. Trish’s son will need care for the rest of his life. She has set up the business in part to raise awareness for autism and in part to fund her son’s ongoing needs, but is also keen to support the valuable work of The National Autistic Society by pledging a proportion of her profits to the charity once Autism Threads is up and running successfully. Autism Threads products will be available to purchase from the website www.autismthreads.co.uk from 15th May. In the meantime, you

can find out more about autism and Trish’s personal experience with her son by following Autism Threads’ social media feed @autismthreads on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. More information about autism can be found at the National Autistic Society www.autism.org.uk

Kitchen cabinet

Trevor Mottram in Tunbridge Wells is the only place to go for anything and everything to do with cooking and dining Trevor Mottram’s cookshop opened its doors for the first time in December 1975 on the beautiful and historic Pantiles. Its aim was to satisfy almost every need for both cooking and dining, with a wide array of quality products in a range of price points. It certainly succeeded. It has been recognised as one of the best cookshops in the country and has won a number of trade awards over the last 18 years. It is currently the proud owner of the Cookshop and Housewares Best Independent Retailer 2017 award, voted for by industry peers. Independent retailing is about going the extra mile, and Mottram’s does just that, adding highly-trained and motivated staff to the mix. Who else stocks a Sea Urchin Opener, 12 different oyster knives, a Bot de Gigot, French Chocolate Pots and a Turbotier alongside over 20 ranges of kitchen knives? Says Managing Director Sarah Wood: “If you set your stall out as Mottram’s has, you have to have everything and at every retail level – Madeleine tins from eight suppliers and tart rings on display long before Raymond Blanc used them. We have regularly had to have items made or sourced for customers. Good, better, best and a few more beyond is our motto. “If you can’t get it here, it probably doesn’t exist” is a regular comment from visitors. “Sometimes it feels more like running a marathon, but the customer appreciation when they find something they’ve spent years looking for is well worth it.” Having been one of the first pure cookshops in the country, inspired by Elizabeth David, Trevor Mottram still retains a very traditional cooking atmosphere and ethic, but continues to explore new and innovative products to keep their customers in line with modern cookery trends. The intention is to live by their motto: Trevor Mottram – Inspiring you to cook. Anyone who has visited their shop can’t fail to agree. 12

Says Sarah, “We’re looking forward to seeing you all at Pub in the Park at Dunorlan Park, Tunbridge Wells, 6th-8th July!” Tel: 01892 538 915 www.trevormottram.co.uk K U D O S M A Y/ J U N E 2 0 1 8


Pack it in!

Family business Wanted on Voyage has the solution to your travel packing problems, whether you’re flying long haul halfway across the world or off on a day’s bike ride, as owner Rachel Drinkwater explains With the harsh winter weather that struck at the beginning of March now just a distant memory, thoughts turn to longer evenings, days out and summer holidays. For many people, the most stressful part of any day out, journey or holiday involves packing; squeezing all the “essentials” into the car, the cabin luggage or the backpack, only to find that when there’s no room left, there are still things to pack. We certainly found this over many years of travelling with two children, two dogs and half the contents of our house and, in part, it was the inspiration to start our own business. Wanted on Voyage is a family-owned travel store in Heathfield, East Sussex, stocking a wide range of innovative travel goods from Thule, LifeVenture, Fjall Raven, Trunki, Vango and Eastpak. We offer you the opportunity to look, touch and compare the products you need to make travel easier. Whether you’re travelling the world living out of a backpack, flying short or long haul, taking the car on holiday packed to the rafters, or just taking your bike for a ride in the country, let us help you transform your journey into an adventure. On May 26th, we will be showcasing much of our range at the Heathfield Agricultural Show. The show, in it’s 71st year, attracts up to 18,000 visitors with its farmers’ market, livestock competitions, vintage tractors, terrier racing and the famous sheep show. The main event this year is the Imps Motorcycle Display Team with their unmissable performance, including their combination crossover routine and billowing fire jump (not to mention their smart red uniforms!).

With more than 200 trade stands selling everything from shoes to sheds, this year you can even order your roof racks, roof box and cycle carriers from Wanted on Voyage! Tickets for the show are available online at www.heathfieldshow.org/tickets and at various retail outlets including Wanted on Voyage. Visit us in store at 71 High Street, Heathfield, East Sussex, or online at www.wantedon.voyage where you’ll find a great range of travel kit for any adventure.


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Out and about with Kudos

Tonbridge for An American in Paris The Tony Award-winning Broadway musical about love, hope and living your dreams, has taken the West End by storm. You can catch this breathtakingly beautiful show at the EM Forster Theatre at Tonbridge School on Thursday, 7th June, at 7pm.

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Comedy and music in town

Some Mothers do ’Ave ’Em and The Rutles come to Tunbridge Wells Everyone’s favourite 1970’s classic TV comedy, Some Mothers Do ’Ave ’Em is back, with Joe Pasquale starring as the loveable accident-prone Frank Spencer, Sarah Earnshaw as his wife Betty and Susie Blake as his disapproving mother-in-law, Mrs Fisher. The most successful sitcom of the decade gave us the hapless Frank and his long-suffering wife Betty with catchphrases galore and a never-ending list of disasters with roller-skating escapades and runaway chickens. The Rutles were originally formed as a spoof Beatles band by Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band songwriter and musical genius Neil Innes and Monty Python’s Eric Idle for a sketch in the cult TV show Rutland Weekend Television. They later became an actual group which toured and recorded, enjoying two UK chart hits. Their best-known songs include I Must Be In Love, Cheese And Onions, Pigg y in the Middle, and With A Girl Like You. The Rutles’ tribute band will be bringing their own unique brand of musical “Pork Pies” to Tunbridge Wells. Catch The Rutles at the Assembly Hall Theatre on Tuesday, 8th May, at 7.30pm. Some Mothers Do ’Ave ’Em will be showing from Tuesday, 29th May to Saturday, 2nd June. www.assemblyhalltheatre.co.uk

Painting the past

Superheroes, retro sweets and tin toys are all subjects of artist Nigel Humphries’ fun, quirky paintings Nigel Humphries is an award-winning UK artist who has steadily built a reputation for producing oil paintings of modern and retro sweets, chocolates and toys. Intensely detailed with a light hearted feel, Nigel’s work is inspired by comic books, movies, soundtracks, music and all things nostalgic. His unique approach stems from years spent devouring the art of others in order to form a style that, in his own words, is “traditional, but with a quirky element’’. Nigel hopes to spread happiness through his work. “Although I love doing the single figure paintings, it was great fun to do the doubles as it allowed me to introduce some bad guys into the scenario which helped create a bit of narrative within the piece,” he says. “I always have the seed of an idea before I begin. First, I doodle and do several quick thumbnail sketches to determine the best overall composition. I then go on to flesh out the design in greater detail. “Whilst some of the paper backgrounds look simple, they can sometimes be the most challenging element to create. I see them as the equivalent of a stage set. The white paper allows the characters to stand out. “I thoroughly enjoyed painting these pieces and watching the characters come to life. It’s a real privilege to spend my days doing something that I absolutely love.’’ Nigel’s pint-sized superheroes charmed the directors, gallery staff and visitors at Castle Fine Art’s Summer Exhibition in 2016. 16

All of his original pieces sold out, and he was swiftly offered a publishing agreement by Washington Green. He has delighted collectors ever since. Castle Fine Art will be releasing five brand-new boutique limitededition prints this spring. For further details, please head to your local Castle Fine Art gallery or visit www.castlegalleries.com K U D O S M A Y/ J U N E 2 0 1 8


Join in the fun at Hever Castle

From a May Bank Holiday Festival to Father’s Day festivities and fabulous flower displays, Hever has a calendar of events planned – and you’re invited Hever Castle & Gardens has some fun events planned for May and June. Start by celebrating May Day over the early May Bank Holiday on 5th-7th. Join the Lord and Lady of the May on the castle forecourt and see the crowning of the May Queen. Visitors are invited to dance around the maypole, intertwining its brightly coloured ribbons. This age-old custom is followed by demonstrations of May Day dancing accompanied by 16th-century music and a playlet about the traditional story of the battle of the seasons. You can also meet the mythical Jackin-the-Green and follow the Green Man from folklore in a traditional May Day procession through the gardens as he wakes up the plants for summer with the help of children and their magical May bells. During May half term, you can meet costumed characters from the Edwardian era and play traditional games of the period in Edwardian Life from 26th May-3rd June. Visitors can enjoy a traditional Punch and Judy show with a Tudor twist (look out for Henry VIII and his six wives!) as well as try their hand at games from the period including a coconut shy, tin-can alley and bean bag race, or a leisurely game of croquet on the lawn. Learn about the study and collection of butterflies and moths from Hever’s colourful resident lepidopterist, meet costumed characters from the era as you explore the awardwinning gardens, and look out for visitors arriving in full Edwardian dress with prizes for the best dressed boy and girl each day.

Father’s Day Weekend on 16th-17th June is the chance to say ‘thank you’ to dad with a memorable day out and meal. There will be classic cars on display and children can make a carthemed keyring in a free craft workshop. Discover what life and work was like during the Second World War at Hever’s Home Front event on 23rd-24th June. Visit the tea-dance tent, explore vintage stalls and learn to swing-dance. Come in 1940s dress and round the day off with a traditional afternoon tea. During Hever in Bloom from 26th June-1st July, experience the quintessential English Rose Garden at the height of its summer beauty, with guided tours of the award-winning castle gardens. Many of the castle rooms will be filled with English floral arrangements created by Hever’s florist. www.hevercastle.co.uk

Literary festival at Chiddingstone

Three days of talks, performances and workshops Set in the glorious house and grounds of Chiddingstone Castle, the Literary Festival returns for a third outing, from 6th-8th May. With three days of talks, performances and workshops, its growing stature can be measured by the impressive line-up of authors this year. You’ll find an eclectic mix of renowned writers of everything from biography and medicine to fiction, poetry, politics and children’s books, to guarantee that there is something for everyone, of all ages and interests. There will also be children’s theatre performances, puppetry, life drawing, modelling and creative-writing workshops, and visitors can tour the castle’s collection of art and antiquities and enjoy delicious food and drink throughout the day. A Festival drinks party will take place on Saturday, 5th May, to launch the festival, with guest of honour Ian Rankin. There will be an opportunity to meet him over drinks and canapés and enjoy a stroll through the beautiful bluebells and rhododendron. Sunday, 6th May, is Adult Day. Expect wit and wisdom on topics ranging from Dr Zhivago to the life of a junior doctor, revelations about Royalist women and Detective Inspector Rebus, culinary inspiration, the consequences of crime for police and perpetrator, award-winning poetry, Anglo-American husband-hunting and the power of persuasive writing. There will also be a whole day of life-drawing classes. Monday, 7th May, is Family Day, with discussions on the future of science and AI, politics and post-truth, plus a festival exclusive with the launch of Kate Mosse’s new historical trilogy. Little ones can meet lovable bear Hugless Douglas and Lauren Child, creator of Charlie and Lola. There will also be a musical puppetry performance, Early Man model-making with Aardman Animations and story-writing workshops. Tuesday, 8th May, is Schools Day. Treats are in store for local pupils with visits from several award-winning, bestselling children’s authors, an hilarious two-girl theatre company and an acclaimed comedian who will give away the Seven Secrets of Storytelling. www.chiddingstonecastle.org.uk/literary-festival

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New art trail for Tunbridge Wells

arTWorks: a new way to see and buy art this June Local artists plan to exhibit their work for sale at shared venues across Tunbridge Wells from 2nd-10th June, under the banner of arTWorks. Venues are all free to enter and will host at least three artists, each displaying art in a variety of styles. Visitors can expect to meet artists and have the opportunity to ask questions about their creative process. Venues will be open across a week and two weekends, so there is no pressure to rush a serious buying decision. If you are tempted by a one-off original piece, you can go home and measure up then head back another day. And to tempt you further, many venues will be offering home-made refreshments, usually for a charitable donation. The art scene in Tunbridge Wells seems to have erupted in the last year or two. The CreativesTW networking group now has over 90 artist members and it is from this hub that arTWorks was created when South East Open Studios announced it would not run in 2018. Says Lucy Ames, who has helped to organise the event, “We have 10 venues, nine of which are in Tunbridge Wells and the other a well-known pottery studio in Groombridge. Over 30 of the finest artists from the area will be displaying paintings, prints, jewellery, textile art, ceramics, greetings cards and unique hand-crafted gifts. “We hope that we have made it possible for visitors to take part in an ‘art trail’, visiting more than one venue in a day (albeit in a car), as you can with Brighton or Arundel open studios who are the founders of the whole concept and do it so well. We have a prize of a hamper comprising artwork, cards and gifts for the first person to visit all 10 venues so remember to ask for your trail guide to be stamped as you visit.” arTWorks trail guides will be available at cafés and public spaces around the town from May, with all the details of who, what, where. You can also check the arTWorks website, www.artworkstrail.wixsite.com/artworks

Man of Steel

Comedian Mark Steel says everything’s gonna be alright Not long ago, it seemed highly unlikely the UK would vote to leave the EU; we had a reasonable opposition to the Tory Government; Donald Trump was a buffoon who surely wasn’t going to beat Hilary Clinton; and the famously leftwing performer, comedian and writer Mark Steel, was living the married suburban ideal. A year later, it’s all gone horribly wrong. But don’t worry, as Mark thinks Every Little Thing’s Gonna Be Alright, in his new show, which comes to Hever Castle on 25th July. Mark’s last sell-out show, Who Do I Think I Am, revealed that he was adopted in 1960 and his natural father was a world backgammon champion. Now the star of Radio 4’s Mark Steel’s in Town, and newspaper columnist of the year, is back on the road with a new show, guaranteed to make the world seem even more mental than it is. Mark started doing stand-up in 1982, around the circuit of bizarre gigs, going on after jugglers and escapologists and people that banged nails into their ear. Then came the Comedy Store and Jongleurs, followed by a regular slot on Radio 4’s Loose Ends. He has written and presented many series of Mark Steel’s In Town on BBC Radio 4 and toured it live around the UK. Mark has presented the BAFTA-nominated Mark Steel Lectures for BBC2, and is a regular on BBC One’s Have I Got News For You and Radio 4’s Newsquiz. He has also appeared on BBC2’s QI and Room 101. Mark has written several acclaimed books, including Reasons To Be Cheerful and What’s Going On, and he writes a weekly column for The Independent for which he won Columnist of the Year at the Press Awards in 2015. www.hevercastle.co.uk 20

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A load of hot air!

Fun run with a difference at Brands Hatch Thrillseekers will have the chance to roll back the years and conquer the world’s biggest fun run – featuring huge new-and-improved obstacles – at Brands Hatch on Saturday, 7th July. The Gung-Ho! Seriously Fun 5K will take adults, and kids, back to the days of Total Wipeout, Fun House and It’s A Knockout as they clamber over and through giant inflatables. The huge, fun-filled course – which includes giant mazes, walls, gauntlets and slides, amongst other obstacles – will be filled with enough air to inflate more than 75 million footballs. Thousands of pounds are expected to be raised for good causes thanks to people taking part for charity, adding to tens of thousands of pounds already raised at previous events. Participants can also go Gung-Ho! in aid of the event’s national charity partner BBC Children in Need. Runners, who must be at least 4ft tall, receive a free bib with race number, Gung-Ho! T-shirt and headband, and up to 5,000 people can take part on the day. www.begung-ho.co.uk

Band call

Join the legendary Pete Cator for a night of jazz to remember The UK’s greatest drummer and his stunningly talented 16-piece big band perform a spectacular night of jazz at Frant Church on Friday, 18th May. Pete Cater is one of the most sought-after musicians, with all the style and finesse of his heroes Joe Morello, Buddy Rich, Louie Bellson and Gene Krupa. He has worked with some of the finest musicians past and present, from Benny Carter, Harry Edison and Barney Kessel to Tom Jones, Johnny Dankworth, Jamie Cullum and many others. A British Jazz Awards winner (Band of the Year) and Critics Choice, Pete has been thrilling audiences with his swinging big band music since 1995. Tickets, £18, are available from Frant Stores, Britten’s Music Shop in Tunbridge Wells, online at www.wegottickets.com or by calling Paul Barber on 01892 750665.

Losing my religion

Medway’s Vicar’s Picnic promises stellar line-up The biggest, coolest and most adventurous line-up yet has been unveiled for this year’s Vicar’s Picnic – the family-friendly music festival on the banks of the Medway in Kent. Acts from both sides of the Atlantic will play the festival’s main stage over the two days of 20th and 21st July, when rock meets funk, fusion, hip hop and punk. Headline acts include two award-winning multi-platinum bands – Fun Lovin’ Criminals and Starsailor. Liverpool Britpop legends Cast return for a second time at the festival, along with sell-out ska and reggae band The Dualers. The all-female rockers The Sex Pissed Dolls will headline the big top stage with cult legends, Nine Below Zero, bringing their eight-piece R&B band to the big top on Saturday. Also making a welcome return are the Hiwatts, alongside other great acts and emerging talent from across the UK and as far away as New Zealand. The popular dance tent will be there, too, with an international line-up of DJ’s spinning an eclectic mix from House to Soul, mixing a splash of Ibiza with a dash of Wigan Casino! It’s going to be a festival to remember. Tickets are once again expected to sell out in advance of the event, so book now! www.vicarspicnic.co.uk K U D O S M A Y/ J U N E 2 0 1 8




A feast of nature

Wealden Literary Festival celebrates nature and creativity with a weekend of words and ideas Wealden Literary Festival on 30th June and 1st July is an enchanting weekend of words and ideas – a celebration of nature, place and creativity through literature, the arts and food. Set in the beautiful Boldshaves Garden near Tenterden and the surrounding fields and wild woods, Wealden Literary Festival brings together renowned authors, poets, artists and makers who look first and foremost to nature, wilderness and the spirit of place for inspiration. It has been endorsed by leading nature writers including Robert Macfarlane, Mark Cocker and Jay Griffiths. A sense of place is a connecting thread linking authors speaking at the festival. On Saturday, award-winning food writer, journalist and broadcaster Diana Henry will talk about her new cookery book How to Eat a Peach, a collection of seasonal menus inspired by a memory, place or mood. She will be joined by New York Times bestselling author Tara Westover discussing her debut book, Educated. This extraordinary memoir is Tara’s story of her isolated childhood growing up in rural Idaho with an un-hinged, paranoid Mormon ‘survivalist’ father who forced his family to live off-grid, while stock-piling guns, fuel and food in readiness for the end of the world. Wealden Literary Festival is family-friendly and looks after the minds and interests of young readers setting out to explore the world. Children’s author Yuval Zommer will be in the festival tent, talking about his widely-acclaimed illustrated book, The Street Beneath My Feet which takes children on a fascinating journey deep underground showing a hive of subterranean activity. Kent artist Kate Linforth is artist-in-residence at the Festival. Over the last seven years she has been working predominantly in molten Kentish beeswax and resin, creating naturalistic sculptures that feature in private collections across the globe. Kate’s love of drawing has reawakened her passion for pattern and surface design. Sketches Kate has made at Boldshaves Gardens are being manipulated to form geometric patterns celebrating elements of the gardens. During the festival weekend, Kate will host a series of workshops where participants are invited to create their own patterns. Kate’s inclusive approach to making work enables all abilities to create beautiful designs inspired by their surroundings. In addition to the programme of talks, the Festival offers all ages the opportunity to take part in a series of creative writing and art workshops as well as woodland-based activities and events such as bushcraft, foraging and wildlife spotting. It also showcases the best of local craftspeople and food producers through a pop-up market and plays host to art exhibitions and displays. An evening campfire feast will be held on Saturday for which Michael White – local woodsman, forager and wild-food chef – will source ingredients from within a stone’s throw of the Festival site. As the sun sets at Boldshaves Garden, join Michael for a simple, yet sumptuous lamb and nettle tagine cooked over an open fire. Grab a bowl, find your spot by the fire and enjoy open-air dining Kentish style. Tickets are £12 for adults and £7 for children, and a vegetarian option will also be available, along with a selection of local wines, beers, ciders and juices. Buy your tickets via the Booking Office. www.wealdenliteraryfestival.co.uk


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That’s entertainment Latest releases on screen

Make the most of the better weather with screenings under the stars during May and June at Moonlight Drive-in Cinema May screenings

Truth or Dare

A Quiet Place

Avengers: Infinity War

Olivia, Lucas and a group of their college friends travel to Mexico for one last getaway before graduation. While there, a stranger convinces one of the students to play a seemingly harmless game of truth or dare with the others. Once the game starts, it awakens something evil – a demon which forces the friends to share dark secrets and confront their deepest fears. The rules are simple but wicked – tell the truth or die, do the dare or die, stop playing and you die.

A family lives in ‘A Quiet Place’, isolated from anyone else. They never make any noise, communicating entirely in sign language, because something’s out there that attacks at any sound. They don’t know what it is, but they do know how to avoid it. Never make a sound. Otherwise, whatever it is will hear and come for them. Emily Blunt and John Krasinski star in this horror about the family’s desperate struggle to stay safe and silent.

Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk and the rest of the Avengers unite to battle their most powerful enemy yet – the evil Thanos, a despot of intergalactic infamy. On a mission to collect all six Infinity Stones, artifacts of unimaginable power, Thanos plans to use them­to inflict his twisted will on reality. The fate of the planet and existence itself has never been more uncertain as everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment.

4th-10th May

11th-17th May

18th-24th May

June screenings – to be confirmed

Deadpool 2

Wisecracking mercenary Deadpool battles the evil and powerful Cable and other bad guys to save a boy’s life.

Life of the Party 25th-31st May

When her husband suddenly dumps her, longtime dedicated housewife Deanna turns regret into re-set by going back to college landing in the same class and school as her daughter, who’s not entirely sold on the idea. Plunging headlong into the campus experience, the increasingly outspoken Deanna – now Dee Rock – embraces freedom, fun, and frat boys on her own terms, finding her true self in a senior year no one ever expected.

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Through a series of daring escapades, young Han Solo meets his future co-pilot Chewbacca and encounters the notorious gambler Lando Calrissian.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Four years after the destruction of the Jurassic World theme park, Owen Grady and Claire Dearing return to the island of Isla Nublar to save the remaining dinosaurs from a volcano that’s about to erupt. They soon encounter terrifying new breeds of gigantic dinos while uncovering a conspiracy that threatens the entire planet. Please check the website for the latest screening confirmations.

Moonlight Drive-in Cinema is at The Hop Farm, Paddock Wood, Kent TN12 6PY Book on-line and print your tickets. Then park up (15-30 minutes before start time), turn lights off and get comfy. Order some food, if you wish. Tune FM radio to 106.1, adjust the volume and enjoy the film! Price: £25 + 90p booking fee per vehicle. www.moonlightcinema.com

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Pets corner

It’s time to turn the spotlight on your best friends! For stinky dogs...

Keep ’em clean and smelling fresh Yup, you stink. No, not you – your dog! Grab a pack of Hownd’s handy emergency anti-bacterial wipes for cleaning up your pongy pooch. Each pack contains five jumbo-sized pH-balanced wipes that are alcohol- and paraben-free and are brilliant at wiping off fox poo, cow dung, mud, urine, slobber and all things smelly that dogs just love. Made with orange and bergamot essential oils, aloe vera leaf juice and odour-control ingredients, these wipes are gentle on your dog’s skin, coat and paws, and on your skin, too. £2.95 a pack. The Yup You Stink range also includes a conditioning shampoo and body mist, £9 each. www.dogslovehownd.com

Smile, you’re on camera

Pet sculptures made from a photograph London-based Arty Lobster creates hi-tech sculptures from photos of a pet. Most of Arty Lobster pet sculptures are made from sandstone material. After creating a computer model, they will 3D print the pet, or other animal, in full colour using an advanced 3D printer. The result is a perfect little replica of your pet, which captures even small variations in fur or feather colour and other characteristics. £195 www.artylobster.com

Important dates for animal lovers... Hug your cat day on 4th June. As if we need an excuse to hug our moggys! Take your dog to work day on 22nd June – obviously check with your employer first! We’ll have Hannah’s beloved pooch in the office that day. Expect photos on social media. And why not send us your photos, too?

Amazing animals

Meet some of nature’s most unusual creatures The Sunda flying lemur (Galeopterus variegatus) or Sunda Colugo, also known as the Malayan flying lemur or Malayan colugo, is a skillful climber, but helpless when on the ground. Its gliding membrane connects from the neck, extending along the limbs to the tips of the fingers, toes and nails. This kite-shaped skin is known as a patagium, which is expanded for gliding. It can glide over a distance of 100m with a loss of fewer than 10m in elevation. Little information is available on the lifespan of Sunda flying lemurs, but the oldest known captive flying lemur of the family Cynocephalidae was 17.5 years old. Conservation status: Least concern • Distribution: South-east Asia • Habitat: Forests • Diet: Soft plant parts like young leaves, shoots, flowers and fruits • Height: 33-32cm • Weight: 0.9-1.3kg • Number of young: 1 • Life span: Approx 17.5 years 28

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All that glitters… He got Amanda Holden’s golden buzzer on last year’s Britain’s Got Talent and came third in the final. Now it’s all happening for comedian Daliso Chaponda. He’s currently touring the country with his sell-out debut stand-up show, he’s writing a Radio 4 series and meeting producers. Here, he talks about how much his life has changed

Words: Hannah Tucek

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How much has your material changed over the years?

It’s changed massively. When I first started, I didn’t know what I was doing. I would sit down and think, what would make people laugh, what’s funny? I was desperately covering all the things I thought people talk about to be funny. Then after many, many years, as I got better at it, I realised that I could just decide what I wanted to talk about and that I could make it funny. That was the liberating moment because trying to guess what’s funny and imitating other comedians is not the best way to develop your own voice, but it was part of the process for me. Then I watched a movie called Life is Beautiful, an astonishing comedy movie set in a concentration camp. I was like, That? You can make THAT funny? That made me respect humour more. I always used to think of humour as secondary, and I eventually wanted to become a serious novelist or a serious something, but when I saw that film I realised you can actually make anything funny. That’s when I started to tackle more painful and difficult subjects and try to find the humour in them.

When did you move to the UK?

Tell us a bit about your background.

I was born in Zambia. My father was from Malawi and a refugee in exile, so the first three years of my life involved a lot of bouncing around. First, we were refugees and no-one wants refugees, and then, interestingly, my father ended up working for the UN Refugee Agency. He went from being a refugee to helping refugees. So, first we were moving because we were refugees, then we were moving because he was a diplomat. There’s a reason why the radio show I am writing is called Citizen of Nowhere, because from birth, I’ve not been in any one country for more than two years, other than when I went to boarding school.

When did you realise that you could make people laugh?

When I was in school, I used to like funny stuff like Roald Dahl. I remember we read some of his Revolting Rhymes and then I wrote my own Revolting Rhyme which got a laugh from the other students, and it was like discovering a super power.

When did you start your stand-up career?

While I was a student in Canada, I went to an open mic night and it was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen. I had seen Eddie Murphy’s stand-up comedy film Raw but I didn’t know it was an art of its own. I just thought he was doing a one-man play. I didn’t realise that anyone could get on stage and do it! And the things people were saying out loud in front of other people was astonishing to me after the conservative countries I had been brought up in! I loved the immediacy of it, and once I discovered it, every Monday and Wednesday, when they had open mic nights, I was there. 32

In 2006. I left Canada, tried it in South Africa for a while, but I wasn’t good enough. There’s an amazing thing about the UK; I think it’s the only place in the world where you can make a bit of a living as someone who’s an opening act. In America, you can make a lot of money, in South Africa you can make a lot of money, but you have to be the main act. Here you can almost do your apprenticeship whilst being paid. So I moved here and started doing the circuit. I was living in my brother’s spare room so I was by no means living in comfort but I was living, and it was lovely.

Why did you decide to go on Britain’s Got Talent?

Over the years, I got better and better and I knew I was good in terms of the crowd – after a show, everyone comes up to you and says, “Oh you were great, you should be on telly”. Then you go for an audition and some nameless producer doesn’t want you and you don’t know why. What I liked about Britain’s Got Talent was if they didn’t like me, they would tell me why, and that to me was the most amazing thing. Also, I’m a crowd-pleaser, which is usually used as a dismissive term, but on Britain’s Got Talent, a crowd-pleaser is an asset. I had a sense that I would do well, but not as well as I did.

Were you amazed when you got the golden ticket?

Yes, because I’ve watched people over the years and generally it’s the cute kid that gets it or someone who does something impossible… I just tell jokes, anyone can do that. It was a combination of all the serendipity; it was the moment the stars aligned, I guess would be the cliché term.

Has it helped you achieve all you hoped it would?

Oh, my lord, yes! I was naïve in that I thought that the winner gets the lot, because every other competition I’ve been part of, that’s how it works. But with this, just being a finalist is enough… my tour sold out, I’m having meetings with producers, people are calling me from LA. It’s strange and absolutely astonishing, but it’s wonderful. K U D O S M A Y/ J U N E 2 0 1 8


What about your new show, What the African Said?

One thing which did surprise me was people reacting to what I said with shock and saying that I’m controversial. I was like, really? And I saw a clip on YouTube where some people were saying, can you believe what this African said? I thought, I’m not saying anything that crazy. So I started writing a show about why I shock people, what’s shocking, what’s acceptable, what’s not acceptable. And since it’s my first big show, it’s also got lots of my greatest hits from my 10 years of being a stand-up. I think we’re in a time when we don’t know what’s allowed any more. You constantly read about someone crossing the line and upsetting people, but on the other hand you have racists making comments that are totally dismissed. I find it very odd. This kind of push and pull is something I’m targeting with humour.

Your tour finishes in June, after four months on the road. How do you keep the show fresh when you’re performing so many times a week or is that not a problem for you?

Not for me because it’s my favourite thing to do. I actually have a problem in that I love performing too much! I have cancelled dates to go and perform. I love it. And I always throw in something new which makes it fresh for me. It’s like my hobby has become my job.

Tell us about your Radio 4 comedy show, Citizen of Nowhere.

I take on the role of Cultural Relationship Guidance Counsellor, helping to navigate the rocky historical waters of Britain’s relationship with Africa. It’s a big topic which allows me to go to lots of places. The first episode is about slavery and colonialism, the second one goes onto xenophobia. It’s covering very big and dark subjects but as I said before, ever since watching Life is Beautiful, I try to have a big target.

What would you still like to achieve?

I just want to keep doing it. I like people that have that continuous productivity. That’s what I aspire to, not to have one big, brilliant piece but to have people saying, “Oh he kept doing it until he was buried”.

What the African Said is at the Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells on Sunday, 3rd June, at 8pm. www.assemblyhalltheatre.co.uk / Box office: 01892 530613 @ahttw



Absolutely Tom Allen Comedian, writer and actor Tom Allen is bringing his unique style of sharp, acerbic wit and camp storytelling to Hever Castle with his new show, Absolutely Interview: Brian Donaldson

A man who has supported Sarah Millican around the world (comedically speaking), won the prestigious So You Think You’re Funny Award, and has been favourably compared to Eddie Izzard, Victoria Wood and Oscar Wilde, Tom Allen is quite simply one of the most erudite acts in British comedy. Never happier than when he’s tossing out quotes from the poet William Henry Davies or lyrics from the movie Grease, Tom is positively purring when he considers his upcoming tour of the land for new show, Absolutely. And early preparations have been proceeding most agreeably. “I like to do a preview around the house, maybe for some teddy bears: they’re a gay social grouping that I know. You want it to feel fresh and invent around it and add things and you want to be relaxed about it. Last year I talked a lot about things in my past and this time I wanted to do something about my present, which admittedly remains dogged by my past because I’m still living with my parents.” Of course, Tom is not alone in this situation with many people unable to afford their own home. He aims to capture this feeling of frustration in his new show. “As we saw in the general election, my generation and those younger than me are feeling, ‘Well, you’ve got to do something for us; give us one thing to look forward to’. I certainly wouldn’t consider myself a political comedian but it’s an interesting time, though for me it’s still combined with a heightened sense of snobbery: I still have an air about me that’s, ‘Well, of course I still want avocado on sourdough bread’ and ‘No, we’re not going to a Toby Carvery for dinner, absolutely not’.” Living at home with his parents will inevitably lead to some friction, no matter how much they love each other. “At one point, I started giving my dad some interior design advice about having the desk at a particular angle by the window and he said ‘Why don’t you get your own house?’ There’s a little bit of tension around. We decorated my room in a bid to create the illusion of me having control over my life; I took time choosing what colours to have and what lamps to go with and then mum and aunt Christine went to Dunelm Mill and bought me a lamp that they liked. It was very nice but not what I wanted, and you can’t just hide that away in the cupboard. Socially it’s very complicated, and results in lots of lying and eventually an explosive argument: it’s great value.” Still, there are some changes afoot in Tom’s life and the good news is that he’s passed his driving test at the third attempt. “I had a lovely two-to-three years of learning; it was like another degree and I feel very happy that I can drive. What I want to talk about in the show is that sense of moving forward. I think a lot of people experience those around them running ahead and sometimes, if you’re not in the same boat as them (if you’re not getting married or not owning your own home), you can feel a bit left out. For me, I 34

wonder, well, is what they’re doing necessarily better? So, I’ll talk about weddings and some hen parties that I’ve been invited to. I don’t quite know when that started, when gay men began to be invited to hen-dos. I don’t think lesbian hen-dos invite a straight bloke along so they can sit in front of Sky Sports.” You’d have assumed that having passed his driving test, a sense of liberation, freedom and extra bon vivant would have washed over Tom as he took to the open roads. Not a bit of it. “Because I couldn’t afford my own insurance on a car, I got insured on mum and dad’s Ford Fiesta Zetek, 1.5 litre engine, five doors. The boot doesn’t open, which is not a euphemism. The car is maroon which is great because it goes with nothing, and so clashes no matter what I wear. There’s moss on the back windows and the wing mirrors are being held on by gaffer tape. To quote from the song Greased Lightning, it’s a real pussy wagon.” As someone who is on the road a lot, heading to various theatres, comedy clubs and arts venues to perform his own learned brand of stand-up, Tom is now able to get himself around rather than rely on lifts or use public transport. “One of the things I get anxious about is getting petrol on my hands: what if it burns? So, I put the gloves on when I’m at the petrol station, and there are those tissues you can use. I like to avail myself of all the accessories. But when I did so, my friend openly mocked me.” Motoring issues aside, as someone who clearly has a deep love of language, you can imagine Tom joyfully revelling in the discovery of new words. “I do like words. I learned the word esoteric just the other day: ‘That which is created or delivered for a specific audience or an audience with a specific reference point’. I don’t know if I’m esoteric; I think I’d like to think I am, but in reality I’m actually very ordinary. But isn’t that the thing, the game we all play, the secret we all hide? That we’re actually the same as everybody else. I do say the word ‘absolutely’ quite a lot and last year I called my show Indeed. They’re just words for saying yes, and it is important to say yes to things and to live life to the full as much as one can.” Tom Allen’s Absolutely Tour will be at The Festival Theatre at Hever Castle on 1st June at 8pm. www.heverfestival.co.uk K U D O S M A Y/ J U N E 2 0 1 8


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On the small side

Sally-Ann Carroll with Team Kudos spent a fun-packed day with the coolest kids in town. Thanks to a super selection of sunny clothes from Childrensalon and the odd balloon or two, our little people looked a million dollars

Best buddies

Buddy wears blue and white shorts set, ÂŁ23, by Everything Must Change Leo wears red and blue shorts outfit, ÂŁ31, by Mayoral

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Child’s play

Margot wears blue floral shortie, £70, by Hucklebones London Her brother William wears blue and white shorts set, £36, by Mayoral


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Girl’s only

Amelia wears fluorescent orange dress, £41, by Deux Par Deux

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Two of a kind

Ivy wears blue and lemon dress, £40, by Everything Must Change Her brother Alfie wears blue check shirt, £20, by Mayoral and denim Bermuda shorts, £30, by Everything Must Change 40

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Double trouble

Xander wears striped cotton shirt, £35, by Paloma De La O. Denim jeans with braces (not shown), £27, by Mayoral His brother Eden wears blue cotton ‘Luke’ shirt, £25, by Joules. Navy cotton shorts and belt (not shown), £24, by Mayoral

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Leo wears blue and red two-piece shorts set, ÂŁ32, by Mayoral (red shorts not shown)


Fashion Editor: Sally-Ann Carroll Photographer: Matt Harquail www.mattharquail.co.uk All clothes from Childrensalon (www.childrensalon.com) All shoes from Stampede, 6B Camden Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 2PT. Tel No: 01892 511651 (www.stampedeshoes.co.uk)


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Our deodorants will deodorise, soothe, detoxify and nourish while boosting your confidence. Suitable for adults, teens and children. Its formula is rich in minerals, vitamins, essential fatty acids and easily absorbs into skin cells without blocking the pores. So let’s chat anti-perspirant and conventional deodorants. They aren’t great. Here’s why…

People say the nicest things about us... Our deodorants work with the skin, not against it. We don’t believe blocking the sweat glands is healthy. Don’t clog your pores… let them breathe.


“I have tried them all... Other “natural” deodorants haven’t worked. This cream disappears completely and works like a charm for me. It’s the best I have ever used!”

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Not just a label This issue, we look at the story behind Relax Baby Be Cool – an exclusive, ready-to-wear range with its roots in Estonia

Relax Baby Be Cool is a premium, ready-to-wear brand for men and women created by a mother-and-daughter team. The collection marries colour and themes from the Far East and Europe, with signature bold, clashing prints a feature for both men and women. Exquisite tailoring is in evidence in suits, shirts, dresses and skirts designed to be worn together. Handmade in exotic cotton, trimmed with leather, the collection is bespoke in nature, and no more than 20 of each piece is made in any particular print because of the limited availability of the fabric. Relax Baby Be Cool is all about colour, individuality and confidence.


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1 3 2 4 5 Beauty notes The latest products and news 1. Glossier’s Balm Dotcom is a hydrating, long-lasting lip balm and skin salve that’s packed with antioxidants and natural emollients to nourish and repair dry skin. Opt for Original, or choose from Birthday (with subtle shimmer), Rose (with a barely-there pink tint), Cherry (with a sheer, juicy red tint), Mint and Coconut. £10 each, or three for £25 www.glossier.com 2. I nspired by the wild beauty of its Saint Lucian cacao plantation and rainforest spa, Hotel Chocolat has crafted a delicious beauty range like no other. We love their Cacao and Wild Honey Hand Cream, £7, Cacao Almond and Coconut Three Shell Scrub, £16, and Cacao and Shea Butter Body Lotion, £16. A true indulgence for all chocolate lovers – and almost good enough to eat! www.hotelchocolat.com 3. OK, we couldn’t resist Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream partly for its name. But this fast-absorbing body cream (inspired by the Brazilians’ favourite feature) is rich in guaraná caffeine to help stimulate


circulation, as well as cupuaçu butter, açaí and coconut oil, and contains just enough mica to add a perfect Brazilian glow while the signature pistachio and salted caramel scent will leave you smelling incredibly tasty. £18 www.feelunique.com 4. Iconic London’s Illuminator Drops is the must-have product everyone is raving about – from Khloe Kardashian to Jourdan Dunn. These shimmer drops allow you to bump up the highlight factor of any product in your makeup bag – just add to foundation, primer, moisturiser or use on its own for a super-highlighted golden glow. £30 www.iconiclondoninc.com 5. Fitness Body Contouring Gel is formulated with caffeine and dragon eye extract to help shape and protect from the accumulation of fat deposits for a more sculpted-looking figure. Black elder extract helps improve microcirculation and decongestion of the skin tissue, while lemon, cranberry and orange water, full of vitamin C, boost the production of collagen, leaving skin smooth and glowing. Available exclusively in Holland and Barrett. £15.99 K U D O S M A Y/ J U N E 2 0 1 8

WIN! A bottle of Juno Skincare’s Joie Face Oil, worth £60 Plus, 10% discount for Kudos readers

We just love local brand, Juno Skincare. Developed by Brighton-based Julie Johannsen, the company evolved from her belief that what you put into and onto your body should be natural and chemical-free. Named after the goddess Juno, protector of women, all Juno ingredients are 100% natural and, where possible, organic. Juno Skincare prides itself on its in-depth knowledge of the ingredients used, their scent and their therapeutical qualities, and the role they have played in history. With thoughtful experimentation and development, Juno Skincare has harnessed and created combinations which deliver products that make you feel amazing inside and out. They also smell utterly divine! We particularly love the Joie Face Oil and we have a bottle to give away to one lucky reader. For the chance to win, send an email with ‘Juno’ in the subject line with your name, address and contact number to editorial@badbettymedia.co.uk before the closing date of 30th June, 2018. We only have one bottle to give away, but all Kudos readers can get 10% off their orders online by using the discount code JUNOKUDOS10. The code will expire 30th June, so hurry!

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5 3 4

Cool man stuff Perfect gifts this Father’s Day

1. Available in Papa, Mama and Cub designs, these vintage blue Bear Hugs pyjamas make a fun family statement. £29.99 each for Mama

and Papa pyjamas sets and £24.99 for Cub pyjamas


2. Every father deserves the very best in life, and a Sport of Kings watch will be a perfect gift this Father’s Day or, indeed, to mark any special occasion. Sport of Kings watches are handmade and feature unique design elements. Pictured is the elegant Dark Horse. £289 www.sport-of-kings.com K U D O S M A Y/ J U N E 2 0 1 8

3. Write, sketch, plan and design all at your fingertips with the Boogie Board Blackboard, featuring Liquid Crystal Paper. Just like writing on the real thing but without the excessive reams of paper. £44.99 www.thefowndry.com 4. T he Truefitt and Hill Regency collection contains the Double Wire Razor and Brush stand with bowl, an elegant and practical way to display/store your Regency Mach III Razor and Super Badger Shaving Brush. It’s made from the finest steel with a chrome finish. The bowl is ideal for creating the perfect lather for the wet shave enthusiast. Available in Ivory, Horn and Ebony. £160 www.truefittandhill.co.uk 5. T he My Superhero 03 Pantone Super Blue framed print makes a brilliant piece of artwork for any fan of the Man of Steel. It comes in a black wooden frame in either A3 or A2 sizes with a shatter-proof Perspex cover. From £47 www.redcandy.co.uk 49


It’s never too early to eat healthy Healthy kids’ food is on the agenda at The Plant Base wholefood café in Tunbridge Wells, as owner Geff Stone reports We’ve always catered for kids at The Plant Base but we’ve now launched a special kids’ menu, rather than just the usual half portions of everything. We’ve got things on toast, like beans, banana, nut butters and homemade houmous on soldiers, along with children’s versions of our salad bowls. We want to stay true to our healthy ethos, so we don’t serve the sugar-filled foods that you find on many children’s menus. Most parents want to feed their kids the same sort of healthy foods that they eat themselves, rather than filling them with rubbish. We also have a new range of kids’ smoothies that are smaller but also don’t have all the posh ingredients like matcha and acai berry which are a bit of an acquired taste. So, there’s banana, chocolate, strawberry and blueberry – flavours you’d expect to see anywhere, but with us they’re made from real ingredients, real fruit. Take our banana smoothie. We blitz frozen bananas and the result is rather like ice cream, so children think it’s the best day ever and parents can have a small smirk to themselves that their children are eating healthily. We never really made a specific effort to cater for children. It happened organically as a lot of our customers have kids. We’ve become the place that a lot of people come to after, say, their Mummy and Me yoga class. If you are a parent that eats healthily then you naturally want your children to follow you. On another subject, we recently held a special evening for our one-year anniversary which went so well – bookings were sold out in a week – that the idea now is to roll it out regularly. It was quite a casual and informal evening, and we created a completely different set menu, all tapas and sharing plates – each table got eight different dishes in stages. The idea was to show our guests that this sort of food isn’t as restrictive as people

might think and that there is a lot of variety. We had some tagines and a celeriac and oyster mushroom dish, and we served our own homemade fermented cashew cheese, which is the best vegan-friendly cheese I have ever had. A lot of vegan cheeses are quite bland and don’t have the best reputation, although they are better than they used to be. But to my mind, you can’t beat anything that’s homemade. So, keep an eye out on our website, Instagram and Facebook pages for news of the next evening. See you there! FB & Instagram: theplantbaseuk www.theplantbase.co.uk

How does your garden grow? The redesigned garden at The Mount Edgcumbe in Tunbridge Wells makes this popular gastropub even more of a hit Imagine… a warm summer’s day and a cool beer or glass of chilled wine enjoyed in a beautiful garden filled with flowers and the relaxing sound of water. Sound tempting? You’ll find it at The Mount Edgcumbe, the family-run gastropub with rooms in Tunbridge Wells. The large beer garden has always been popular in the summer months, and it’s easy to see why. Surrounded by woodland and Tunbridge Wells’ natural rocks, the views are beautiful and it feels as if you’re in the heart of the countryside, even though it’s the town centre. Robert Hogben co-owns The Mount Edgcumbe with his wife Sally Hignett. He says: “As soon as the sun comes out, we just know we’re in for a busy time!” Now The Mount Edgcumbe is set to get even busier as the garden is lovelier than ever. “We’ve just completed renovations to the garden,” says Robert. “We’ve extended the patio area and now have a lovely water feature in the middle, surrounded by a colourful flower bed.” Robert designed and carried out the work, with the aim of dividing the area and creating a restful ambiance with the relaxing sound of water. The team love the new space because it’s easier to maintain and keep tidy. Theo, one of the managers, describes it as a kind of oasis because of the colourchanging lights inside the water feature and the attractive flowers, while David, another of the managers, says the garden is less segregated now and there is more of a natural flow throughout the area. Says Robert: “The garden is an ongoing project and there will be much more to come over the next few years!” www.themountedgcumbe.com 50

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Man v. Food:

Are you up for the challenge? You’ve probably watched the TV series, but did you know that Man v. Food challenges can be found throughout the region? If you fancy taking on a super-sized meal or something that will blow your head off then read on…

Take the challenge at Papa Joe’s Café Open seven days a week, Papa Joe’s on Ashford Road, St Michaels, Tenterden serves all-day full English breakfast, light snacks, homemade cakes and soup, toasted sandwiches, pancakes and fresh filtered coffee. But that’s not all... The Torpedo Challenge A French stick stuffed with six eggs, six sausages, six rashers of bacon, six hash browns. All for £15 for one person. The 10Terden Terminator As the name suggests, it contains 10 of everything – sausages, bacon, fried eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms and hash browns, as well as generous helpings of toast and beans. You can swap out any of the ingredients for onion rings, bubble and squeak, black pudding and chips. The breakfast costs £28, but any two diners able to finish the whole thing will get their meal for half price. It can be adapted for the number of people taking part, so for example, if there were three people then there would be 15 of everything. Anyone who fails, however, earns a place on the café’s Facebook wall of shame. Vegetarians don’t escape – non-meaty options are available.

Gut-busters at the 7 Hotel Diner Based on London Road in Halstead, there are four challenges for you to try. If you win, your food is paid for, if you lose, you have to pay for it. Win or lose, your face goes on the wall of fame/shame. K U D O S M A Y/ J U N E 2 0 1 8

7 Wonder Waffles Thirty minutes to polish off 7 homemade waffles covered in strawberry and chocolate sauce, topped with 7 different flavour scoops of ice cream, whipped cream, sprinkles, wafers and a cherry. Fail, and it’s £24.95. Deputy Dawg Thirty minutes to wolf down two feet of homemade Cumberland sausage in a baguette, covered with chilli, cheese and onion strings served with a pound of fries and a milkshake. Fail, and it’s £24.95. 7 Deadly Wings Double wings served in a 7 deadly special hot sauce. Finish within 7 minutes with a two-minute after-burn and they are free, but if you fail it’s £14.95. Man Vs 7 Forty-five minutes to devour a 40oz burger smothered in cheese, bacon, BBQ beans and onion strings served with fries, coleslaw and a milkshake. Fail, and it’s £29.95.

Mighty meat at the Bouverie Tap Hosted at the Bouverie Tap, Folkestone, Thursday-Saturday each week, the Mammoth Burger Challenge is made up of a 32oz bacon and cheese burger, onion rings, homemade coleslaw and two bowls of chips for £30. Free if you finish it by yourself within 45 minutes. 53


Space invaders Reconfiguring Marianne and Richard Baxter’s Kent house has created an open-plan layout and stylish rooms that flow seamlessly in what is now a stunning home

Photography by Matt Harquail

When Marianne and Richard Baxter moved into their beautiful, Georgian-style home in Kent, they decided a simple single-storey extension with a glass link would allow for a new utility room and living area. But that turned out to be just the start. The property had been used for a number of different functions down the years, including housing for nurses, before becoming a private home. Said Richard: “It was built in 1952 after the house that originally stood on the site was hit by a Doodlebug in the Second World War. Modern extensions had been added over the years with the result that it didn’t flow well. It had lots of small rooms downstairs and a couple of largely unused rooms to one side which had been knocked through into an old garage and didn’t really sit with the rest of the house.” Lee Fletcher (www.ljfletcherbuilders.co.uk) was the man brought in to do the job. “Initially, we were asked to construct the single-storey extension and link for the new utility and living room,” he says. “This led to the removal of some structural, load-bearing walls on the ground floor to give a more open-plan feel. “As the project progressed, the Baxters asked if we could carry out further works to the first and second floor, and to the façade of the property, including alterations to the roof and full landscaping.” Lee produced a programme of works for the main portion of the 54

project, as the Baxters were still occupying the house while some of the work was carried out, and Lee needed to schedule when they were going to need to temporarily move out. “The Baxters were very involved from the start and throughout the whole build, along with landscape, interior and lighting designers and, of course, the architect,” said Lee. “We coordinated all the aspects of the work throughout the project so everyone liaised with one central point rather than numerous contacts. “The main challenge with regards to the construction phase was the structural features to the extension. There were a number of steel elements that had to be measured and were tricky to visualise and transfer from drawings to reality. The glass-to-glass corner in the new sitting room, for instance, has over two tonnes of hidden steel framework to support it.” The project was constantly evolving as the build progressed and the Baxters could better visualise the finished result. They were able to implement more of their own choices and that of their designers into the works. So did the build stay on track? “The main works we carried out in the original programme ran over by four weeks,” said Lee. “This was due to unforeseen elements in the main house and a long lead time for glazing parts, which added around six weeks to the timescale.” K U D O S M A Y/ J U N E 2 0 1 8

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It was worth the wait. “The project has come out really well,” said Lee, “and has been enhanced by all the landscaping elements. The extension fits in and the glass link is a real wow factor!” Said Richard: “The big space we’ve gained has been a brilliant new living room, with high vaulted ceilings and large glass corner windows looking straight onto the garden, as well as a generous utility area and drying room. That’s allowed us to fully open up the kitchen by knocking three areas into one and use the old living room, which was quite small relative to the rest of the house, as a snug. The L-shaped open-plan kitchen and dining room is a bright, functional space. The kitchen has grey units contrasted with a bold, blue-painted island, while the dining area has floor-to-ceiling windows which flood the room with light. The kitchen leads to the new glass link, a stunning space with a wall of glass at one end and a large skylight adding yet more light. It marries a wall of natural brick with a wall of Cole & Sons iconic Woods and Pears wallcovering in cream and black with metallic golden pears that glimmer and catch the light. From here, you access the new, contemporary sitting room, which has a pitched roof and views of the garden through the floor-to-ceiling corner windows. The focal point is a suspended rotating Gyrofocus fireplace. There is also a large utility and drying room. Colour and striking design is a theme of the house: the study, for instance, has deep blue walls with orange accents in the rug, wall art and cushions. The downstairs loo is a vision of flamboyant A Shade Wilder Flamingo Beach wallcovering, and one of the five bedrooms has the Woods and Pears wallcovering from the glass link in the copper woods colourway, with metallic chocolate pears on a bitter chocolate background. The result is a stunning home that blends a period façade with a colourful, contemporary interior. K U D O S M A Y/ J U N E 2 0 1 8



Home notes Fresh ideas and style tips on the home front

Secret messages

If you’re fond of word puzzles, then you’ll be thrilled to receive a piece of acrostic jewellery. The dictionary definition of acrostic is ‘a poem, word puzzle, or other composition in which certain letters in each line form a word or words’, so with acrostic jewellery, the first letter of each gemstone used combines to spell out a secret message. In this country, acrostic jewellery appeared during the Georgian period and increased in popularity through the Victorian era (the Victorians being well-known for their sentimentality), but it is believed to have originated in France. Jewellery designer Jean-Baptiste Mellerio (1765-1850) started with a ring using gems that spelled ‘J’adore’ (‘I love’). He became a favourite of Marie Antoinette, as well as Napoleon Bonaparte, who commissioned jewellery for both of his wives and some very famous acrostic pieces commemorating major events. Whilst not as desirable as it once was, it is still possible to buy modern acrostic or ‘code’ jewellery. One of the most popular messages of the Victorian era is shown in the pendant illustrated (sold for £440 by Gorringes Auctioneers), which is set with ruby, emerald, garnet, amethyst, ruby and diamond. Work it out for yourself! www.gorringes.co.uk

Award-winning kitchens


Having just celebrated their ninth birthday, the team at Jones Britain have been looking back at some of their favourite kitchens. For Managing Director Dan Stronge, designing an oast house kitchen in Northiam, East Sussex, has been a real highlight – not least because it won him Kitchen Designer of the Year at the prestigious KBSA Designer Awards. The kitchen is a real showstopper, with virtually every unit curved to follow the shape of the room – a nod to the unique design features of the building originally used for drying hops. The kitchen has been praised for its attention to detail, with storage for over 300 bottles of wine and ornate features that make it really stand out. At the other end of the spectrum, a stunning kitchen in Esher, Surrey, for which Dan was a finalist in the KBB Review Awards 2014 for his spectacular design, is the epitome of luxury modern living which required some radical, outside-the-box thinking to produce an innovative installation. With clever lighting, state-of-the-art appliances and unexpected curves that give the large room a whole new dynamic, this project showcases a modern yet timeless style that will remain tasteful in years to come. Looking to the future, Dan is confident that Jones Britain will remain at the forefront of kitchen design through their innovation and adaptability to the ever-changing needs of homeowners. “We recognise that a kitchen is a big investment for anybody, which is why our design team is focussed on helping clients to tick all the boxes to ensure that they have a kitchen that works for them for years to come.” www.jonesbritain.co.uk



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Update for much-loved range

Neptune’s Suffolk collection is known and loved for its simplicity, its less-is-more approach and its Shaker influence. Whether it’s the kitchen cabinetry or the freestanding pieces for the rest of the home, customers appreciate its ability to suit any style of house. Its pared-back nature lets it act as a blank yet beautiful canvas. But Neptune wanted Suffolk to do more, so they’ve gone back to the drawing board. New features include a laundry cabinet with nothing but adjustable oak shelving inside – a simpler version of the broom cabinet and a scaled-down version of a larder; countertop cabinets to create a deconstructed larder; new base cabinets with increased functionality; two new sizes of tall, glazed wall cabinets; and a range of accessories that can be added to plain drawers. In the new Suffolk, colours have moved on from the country style of Honed Slate and Dove Grey to Driftwood and Silver Birch, a finish that’s much more subtle and suitable for any type of home, from townhouse to city apartment, and any style of interior, from country to contemporary. So, Suffolk has a new lease of life, nothing too radical, just pared back and poised. Perfect. www.neptune.com


Best room in the house From simple planks of wood, Rencraft creates the most beautiful kitchens, unique to each client…

There are not many companies nowadays that will literally build your kitchen from planks of wood on their premises. But if you visit Rencraft’s showroom and workshop in Sevenoaks (they also have a showroom in Tunbridge Wells), you will discover that’s exactly what they do. Situated in Chart Farm, not only will you find their head office and showroom with some of their beautiful kitchens on display, you’ll also find an expanse of workshops where each kitchen is built from scratch. Says owner John Stephens, “You can come and see the sawdust, the shavings, the pieces of wood and everything that’s created from those things. We literally do make each job for each client, which is a really nice way to work. It gives us complete flexibility, allowing us to tweak certain elements to give our clients exactly what they want. For example, recently we were working out the design of a kitchen and our client wanted a particular finish. I was able to go out to the workshop, machine up a moulding, place it loosely around the door and give her exactly what she wanted. And the beauty was that she was actually able to see it there and then; it wasn’t a question of looking at a magazine and saying, “Well, this is what I think I want”. “That’s one of the advantages of having your own workshop. Another nice thing is being able to tinker and play around. We’re not waiting on the company we’re buying it from to do something new and say this is our latest 2018 catalogue. If someone comes in and they want something different, we can either source it or make it ourselves. “Our experience also benefits our clients by allowing us to add value. I’ve had a client come in and show me their architect’s plans and felt that they had the kitchen in the wrong part of the house. My suggestion to change the location meant that they ended up 60

with a very big space that opened out onto the patio at a 90-degree angle. The room they had planned for the kitchen became a den for the children.” Rencraft offers the full package. They have a solid name locally, excellent customer service and a reputation for delivering on time to their clients. “We’ve never let a customer down yet,” says John. Their ethos is that their products will last and stand the test of time. “A Rencraft kitchen will last 20-plus years,” says John. “That’s something I strongly believe in.” The introduction of 3D visuals has revolusionised the kitchen industry. “We’ve invested in a 3D package that we’ve adapted so it’s bespoke to us,” says John. “It’s a true representation of our key products, so when it’s printed off, the detail of the cornice is our cornice, not a generic one that the CAD company has produced. So you can physically see a 3D render that is exactly what your finished room is going to look like. That’s been a great aid for clients. It helps them make decisions that bit easier and quicker. They can visualise the end and feel reassured with their choices.” A good designer is key and Rencraft have a fantastic team of designers that John is really proud of. “Our designers will listen to a brief and then expand it beyond our clients’ original expectations. They work closely with the client because, ultimately, the client knows what they want and the style of living that they want to achieve, but they won’t necessarily be aware of what’s current and what’s available to them. So our designers need to take all of their own knowledge and combine it with their client’s wishes to come up with the perfect kitchen for them.” Once the designer has agreed the final plans with the client, they then get turned into a format that the workshop is used to seeing, creating a cutting list where everything is broken down K U D O S M A Y/ J U N E 2 0 1 8


into components – doors, frames, drawer boxes, carcasses and so on. Rencraft have 15 members of workshop staff, each with slightly different roles. Rencraft buy materials in as big pieces of timber, so there will be someone who cuts them into smaller, more manageable pieces to be processed, someone else who cuts the carcass material into the correct size pieces that will then turn into the boxes, someone else who makes all the frames that plant onto those boxes, and so on for all the different production stages. Each kitchen goes through different areas in the workshop, from the mill to the production area. When all the components are made, they then go into the spray shop for the correct finishes and they are then put together to a degree. Everything is checked over, wrapped and labelled with a number correlating to the plan and with the client’s name. There’s a section in the warehouse where the orders are stacked and ready for when the client needs them. “We generally have an order ready a week to 10 days before its due to go out, just so we know it will go out on time,” says John. “Any appliances that are needed are ordered in and worktops are booked in – we have everything here to meet that agreed date. If a client has opted for a hand-painted finish, then that is done onsite once the kitchen is fitted. This means that customers can choose the colour right at the end of the process, once everything is in. Sometimes it’s good to see the kitchen in situ before you make a decision on the exact shade you want. And the beauty of a hand-painted kitchen is that after two, five or 10 years, you can repaint it and tidy it up, or even paint it a different colour, add new handles and suddenly you have a completely different kitchen.” K U D O S M A Y/ J U N E 2 0 1 8



So what have been the biggest changes to kitchens over the last 10 years? “Originally, the space was a kitchen and a dining table,” says John. “Now the space is so big, nearly every kitchen we do has an island, whereas before you’d be lucky if there was one in 20. The island is where it all happens. From cooking and washing dishes, to doing your homework and sitting having a meal. Islands started off being less than two metres, but now that kitchens are getting bigger and bigger, with walls being knocked down to create more open-plan spaces, they can be at least three metres long, some even five metres. Big larder cupboards are also very popular now, replacing the need for a separate pantry. “Downdraft extractors have probably been the biggest change. Before, if you could have an island in a room you would always have a ceiling extractor that came down, but now downdraft extractors are built into the worktop. So instead, all our islands have lovely pendants hanging over them. Bora produces a range of three hobs with downdrafts and we’ve fitted a lot of those. Most people who are coming in to buy a kitchen today wouldn’t have had the option of a Bora last time they did their kitchen.” Kitchens aren’t just ‘kitchens’ any more, either. They are multi-use spaces for everything from cooking, eating and entertaining, to relaxing and doing homework. The space isn’t the kitchen, it’s the space that’s got the kitchen in but also everything else. “When I come home from work, I spend most of my time in the kitchen,” says John. That’s not surprising. John – if I had a Rencraft kitchen, it would definitely be my favourite room in the house! Rencraft welcome you to visit them and have your own tour of their workshops. Call 01732 762682 for details. www.rencraft.co.uk


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The ultimate man cave Every man dreams of having the perfect man cave, a place where he can put his feet up, relax, and do whatever he wants. It could be a spare room, the attic, cellar or even a garden shed. Wherever the space, we’ve come up with some ideas for the ultimate space that will take your man cave to the next level. So go on, make father’s day!

Listen up

A completely new approach to sound – Bang & Olufson’s BeoSound Shape – is a wall-mounted wireless system for design conscious music lovers, delivering immersive sound, a customisable design and integrated noise dampers for improved room acoustics. Unlike any other speaker system you can define the size, shape, colour – even the sound performance according to your preferences. The modular tile concept behind BeoSound Shape is based on a single geometric shape, the hexagon. Each tile serves a function as either speaker, amplifier or acoustic damper and can be pieced together in endless combinations and sizes, to serve rooms both big and small. High-quality fabric covers complete the aesthetic. Prices start from £2,695 www.beoshop.co.uk/beosoundshape

Speak up

BeoSound 1 is a portable wireless speaker system with an impressive 360-degree sound performance, a rock-solid aluminium exterior crafted for mobility, integrated access to Spotify, Deezer QPlay and TuneIn, battery power for a trip outside – and the Multiroom Technology that connects your Bang & Olufsen products in one wireless system across your home. £1,085 www.beoshop.co.uk/beosound1

Seeing is believing

Bang & Olufsen’s BeoVision Eclipse is the definitive TV featuring the latest 4K HDR OLED screen technology and the world’s best TV sound. You’ll enjoy the brightest and most vivid colours imaginable from your 55ins or 65ins TV, delivered with absolute black contrast for true cinematic-quality images. And it looks amazing too. A sharp, black glass screen cuts through an aluminium body in a bold design statement. You can customise it with an elegantly crafted oak wood cover, and a fabric speaker cover that comes in a range of colours. Prices start from £8,249 www.beoshop.co.uk/eclipse www.bang-olufsen.com 64

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The ultimate pool table

This 1965 Ford Mustang Pool Table comes with working lights, real chrome bumpers, alloy rims and tyres, and actual Ford Mustang parts on the front and rear of the table. $9,995 (£6,900) www.Carfurntiure.com

Are you sitting comfortably?

Prepare yourself for an experience so comfortable, you’ll wonder how you ever watched your home cinema without one. The La-Z-Boy Premiere Home Cinema Chair reclines with the touch of a button. What’s more there’s an internal massage and lumbar heating system, which is all controlled with the handset. Either isolate a particular point you want massaged, or have a combination of up to five points massaged simultaneously! There’s even the choice of the style, speed and intensity of the massage. There’s a large-capacity storage box in the arm, to fill it up with snacks and a drinks cooler/warmer system. What more could you want? £1,274.99 www.drinkstuff.com

Double top

Every man cave needs a dart board. If it doesn’t put you off your game, Zazzle has a range of designer boards. Take your pic from different coloured boards, those with a nautical theme, Rasta, zodiac – you can even have your face printed on it – the list goes on. From £45 www.zazzle.co.uk

Play the game

Aliens Armageddon is a light gun arcade machine based on the Aliens franchise. Set in deep space, humankind is being forced to flee Earth for its own survival. The cause of the panic is a Xenomorph plague, a global pandemic that has forced human beings to seek a new home in the stars. The game unfolds over four chapters, augmented with the latest audio and graphics technology, as humans desperately try to reach the space ship that will take them to safety. Aliens Armageddon comes in two different units. There’s a regular 42ins mounted gun unit, ideal for compact spaces, and a larger deluxe arcade edition with a 55ins display. Both have unique, detailed Aliens artwork and branding. The light guns have rumble feedback, alternate fire buttons and clip reload. Each unit has lighting effects that sync up with the action on screen. £9,995 www.libertygames.co.uk K U D O S M A Y/ J U N E 2 0 1 8



Meet the real-life caveman Angelo Mastropietro bought his very own man cave, and turned it into a luxury home

Rockhouse Retreat on the banks of Honey Brook near Bewdley in the peaceful Worcestershire countryside is the perfect getaway. It was created by businessman Angelo Mastropietro from a 250-millionyear-old cave in the Wyre Forest. The incredible restoration involved hundreds of man hours and the excavation of over 70 tonnes of rock, resulting in a unique sandstone cave house that has been featured on Channel 4’s Grand Designs. K U D O S M A Y/ J U N E 2 0 1 8



Says Angelo: “I first saw The Rockhouse in 1999 whilst mountain biking with friends – it was where we sheltered from the rain, and I was completely in awe. Later that year, I moved to Australia and on a return visit to the UK in 2010, I picked up the local property supplement and there is was up for auction. I instantly knew that it was my next challenge!” He purchased the cave, part of a row of living spaces considered to be the oldest inhabited rock houses in Europe, for £62,000. With a budget of £100,000 he worked single-handedly to transform the space by excavating around 70 tonnes of rock. All the fresh running water comes from Angelo’s own bore hole, which he sank 80 metres into the ground. Angelo let his imagination serve as a guide for how to convert the space, and today The Rockhouse maintains the charm of a cave house but with modern-day luxuries like under-floor heating in the shower room, Wi-Fi, and hidden ambient LED lighting. There’s a generous bedroom with king-sized bed and wood-burning stove, a snug sitting room with fireplace, fully-fitted kitchen with a threeoven electric range with a built-in induction hob, and a large terrace for al-fresco dining around the gas BBQ or fire pit. Textured stone walls in most of the rooms help retain that cave-like atmosphere. The shower is constructed with a cascading wall of large pebbles, complete with a rainfall shower head and the basins in the bathrooms also utilise organic elements such as rock and wood. You can now rent The Rockhouse – it makes the perfect romantic retreat for special occasions or just a different weekend away. Says Angelo: “It’s the ideal balance of escaping the rat race to experience a simpler, healthier life whilst reconnecting with the wonderful, natural world around us.” The Rockhouse Retreat Honey Brook Easthams Farm Low Habberley Worcestershire DY11 5RQ www.therockhouseretreat.co.uk 68

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Garden notes All you need for your outside space

Mowing marvel

Whether you prefer to spend your time in the garden tending the borders, kicking a football with the kids or simply taking time out, it’s nice to have a lawn that looks its best. And even better if you don’t have to do it! Enter Robomow, the robotic lawnmower. Once installed, Robomow heads out and cuts the lawn for you, at regular intervals, returning to charge when needed. Super-strong steel blades cut the grass cleanly and with edging mode as standard on all models, it keeps your lawn looking neat with the minimum amount of effort. Because it mows in a random pattern, Robomow reduces wear on the ground and puts less stress on the lawn, helping to keep it healthy. No grass box to empty either, as the powerful mulching system shreds clippings into miniscule pieces before spreading them at the roots of the lawn, where they return valuable water and the maximum amount of nutrients to the soil. From £499 www.robomow.com

Perfect planter

The Stewart Garden Ivy Planter Herb Pot, which features three planting areas in each container section, helps to promote vigorous root development in plants and will suit gardeners looking to grow a choice of herbs or create an attractive floral display on a balcony or patio. Each planting area is served by a self-watering system through the interior planter, while the modular stacking system allows you to create eye-catching cascading plant effects. £13.99 www.stewart-garden.co.uk

Set in stone

It’s celebration time for Chilstone, makers of handcrafted architectural stone and garden ornaments in Tunbridge Wells, as they mark 65 years in business. They have had many things to celebrate over the 65 years. Last year alone, their stand won a five-star award at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. They also supported local charities, ellenor and The Hospice in the Weald (their stone literally supported the horse statues in the Herd of the Hospice campaign with their bespoke plinths!), and last November, Chilstone were excited to have their Kensington Planters featured in the official Royal engagement photos with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, making their stone planters world famous as the happy royal couple posed for the world’s press at Kensington Palace Gardens, between a pair of Chilstone Kensington planters. The company has delivered a huge list of orders over the years, but their most famous bespoke and restoration projects can be seen at Kensington Palace, Hever castle and Kew Gardens. Closer to home, the urns above the dipper at the Tunbridge Wells Chalybeate Spring were restored by them. On Bank Holiday Monday, 7th May, Chilstone will be sponsoring Lauren Child (of Charlie and Lola fame and current children’s Laureate) at Chiddingstone Castle for their literary festival, and after a successful 2017, from 22nd-26th May, they are exhibiting once again at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show (stand PW/607). They are also opening their grounds to raise funds for ellenor as part of their Glorious Gardens event on 14th July, with classic cars and cake. Bring a picnic and join them! Chilstone products are lasting statement pieces, suitable for gardens of all sizes. Cast stone can be engraved, coloured or antiqued to fit your garden design. They also make architectural stone for new builds, extensions or to restore original period features. Chilstone make a large range of planters, garden ornaments (including fountains) and bespoke orders for architectural and garden projects. www.chilstone.com 70

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10 things to focus on in your garden right now Tim Sykes of Gardenproud’s seasonal tips

1. Plant out summer bedding plants 2. Hoe off any weeds as soon as they appear 3. Mow your lawn every week 4. L ift and divide large clumps of spring-flowering bulbs 5. Start harvesting your salad plants and early potatoes 6. Prune any spring-flowering shrubs that have lost their flowers 7. Consider applying a summer lawn fertiliser 8. Tie in climbing and rambling roses 9. Plant out your dahlias once the risk of frost has passed 10. Don’t forget a trip to Chelsea Flower Show, 22nd-26th May For further advice or help with your garden, see www.rhs.org.uk Contact Tim Sykes at Gardenproud on 07725 173820, or visit him at www.reallygardenproud.com


Plan the perfect garden the easy way Ever considered calling in a garden consultant? If you recognise you (and your garden) here, it could be time you did, as Edward Erith of GardenEye explains… Husband: “Now, I’ve had the mower and hedge trimmer serviced, sharpened my tools and I’ve got a ton of compost coming from the farm. I’ve just got to get out there… weeding to be done, lawn to be cut, lawn edges to do, compost bin from last year to sort, roses to prune, perennials to be split into new clumps, fruit to prune back. Where are those pictures from last year? I think it was the Delphiniums and the Asters I wanted to cut in half… wish this damn rain would stop.” Wife (sighs and thinks): “Well that’s him gone for the next two months. The garden will be beautiful – but it is, er, a bit obsessive. But, you know what? He’s fit and happy. Hmmm, I might as well go and get muddy with him, join in the fun.”

I think there are lots of different scenarios when it comes to spring and owning a garden. Let’s explore a few scenarios…

So, (in my mind’s eye) the first one goes something like this: Busy Mum just back home from work. Mum: “Oh Lordy, I’ve just seen them, I can’t believe it! Where has the time gone? Daffodils! I’ve seen daffodils and that means that everything is going to go mental in the next month. Oh no, oh no, oh no!” Starts breathing in short, shallow bursts. Dad: “We still haven’t got anything done in the garden from last year. We haven’t even got a mower. We’ve got to sort this out, the garden is a complete mess. It’s going to cost a fortune if we don’t look after it. You remember how last year it took the man an entire day to strim, cut and clear the lawn because it was so completely out of control? I could have bought a mower with the amount that cost. And then there wasn’t any grass underneath. It’s a disaster, always is, and we just don’t know what to do.” Astute child enters the room. Child: “Beautiful evening… shame it’s so awful out there…” Mum: (To child) “Isn’t there anything good on telly, dear?” (To Dad) “Can you please bloody ring someone?” Dad: “I’ve rung three people but they’re all busy until mid-July.” Both: “Oh no! What are we going to do?” Child: “Granny is a good gardener, isn’t she…?” Will they ever get the garden done?

On to the other extreme…

Husband pops back home from work and bounces towards wife with a huge, beaming smile. Husband: “OMG, clocks have gone back, the daffs are out, bulbs coming up, I can see the buds on the shrubs and the trees, YEEeessss.” Performs goal-scoring/wicket-taking ritual… Husband: “Darling, we are going to have the most wonderful, beautiful garden this year. Life has just begun! I’ve got to get out there; I’m practically bursting with excitement.” Pulls out a list. K U D O S M A Y/ J U N E 2 0 1 8

And somewhere in the middle…

Husband: “Darling, on my way back from the office I noticed some daffodils. Are ours out yet?” Wife: “No, I think you mowed them down last year.” Husband: “Oh.” Wife: “It’s quite boring, our garden, isn’t it? It’s basically just grass and a hedge and a few trees and some stuff left over from our predecessors.” Husband: “I’d love to make it better, my love, but neither of us has the time these days, and it’s perfectly fine really. Pauses, sits down in an armchair in front of the TV. Husband: “Did you manage to book our tickets? Brilliant, well done, two weeks away. Can’t wait. Shut the curtains will you, dear? The sun is sooo glaring…”



A bit of fun for you, but whatever your situation, GardenEye can help you have a garden that you’ll love, whatever you want to spend or do in it! Gardens are the greatest therapy both physically and mentally, and a subtle pleasure we are lucky enough to have. Make the most of yours! It starts with a consultation to get to know you and your garden. Book via email: info@gardeneye.co.uk Call: 07831868848 Gardeneye.co.uk 73


Heads up!

Top local head teachers give their views

The French government is to ban students from using mobile phones in the country’s primary, junior and middle schools from this September. Children will be allowed to bring their phones to school, but not allowed to get them out at any time until they leave, even during breaks. Do you agree? And what is your school’s policy on mobile phones.

Mr Ed Dickie, Deputy Head

Claremont Senior School, Bodiam Co-educational day and boarding school for pupils aged 1-18 The French Government’s decision to ban the use of mobile phones in most of their schools is a bold one. The impact that smartphones have made on society at large has been profound. Just take a look around you on a train, in a restaurant or even simply wandering the streets and you’ll see the ubiquitous nature of how our methods of communication have been transformed. There are few areas of life not touched by this and it is not going to go away. In this context, the decision to ban from schools one of the key tools for 21st-century living seems on the surface as odd. Yet, as any educator will testify, there can be little doubt that the reductionist nature of digital technology is impacting on young people’s ability to analyse and discriminate information (and often not only young people!). It is only through exposure to critical arguments and considered teaching that the populations of the future will be able to make these judgements. The French, with their rich literary and intellectual traditions, are taking a step to try and ensure that future generations have the skill sets that will produce the new inventors, engineers and literary geniuses of the future. It will not be easy, as Claremont School has discovered. Our mobile phone policy mirrors the French model, with phones banned for all but Sixth Form students. We do not wish to ignore the emancipating effect that technology has had on society, simply to create one space in their lives where it is not the dominant force.

Andrew Webster, Headmaster

The Mead School, Tunbridge Wells Co-educational preparatory school for boys and girls aged 3-11 The mobile phone is rapidly becoming an artificial appendage, an inextricable extension of one’s arm and an all-consuming distraction from the world around us. I was startled to read recently that a number of major cities are now resorting to installing reflective strips onto the edges of pavements to stop their screen-glued citizens from mindlessly stepping into traffic. I am currently writing this piece whilst visiting family in Chicago. On the trans-Atlantic flight, we passed over Greenland and the sun-soaked, snowy landscape below was one of the most breathtaking scenes I have had the pleasure to witness. I’m unashamed to say I was typically teacher-like in dragging fellow passengers away from their headphones and handsets to share in the wonder. Needless to say, after a few seconds of awe, they impatiently returned to their screens. One chap even asked, “What is it that I’m supposed to be looking at?!” In short, I agree with the French government in so much as we should all be encouraged to look up and engage with the world around us. With the oldest Meadites being just 10 or 11, we are blessed in courting little controversy in establishing a no-mobile phone zone at school (staff and visitors included). However, perhaps the word ‘phone’ is a slight misnomer. The latest generation of users are barely aware of the device’s core purpose. A mobile-device policy is far more current and more than anything, it should have responsible usage, rather than limiting usage, as its central theme. 74

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Hilary Blake, Headmistress

Sacred Heart School, Wadhurst Independent Catholic mixed primary school for 2-11 In a small primary school such as ours, where children are brought to and from school by their parents, it is quite easy to impose a blanket ban on pupil mobile phones. In the very rare instance where a parent may request permission for a child to bring a phone into school, the device must be switched off and handed into the office for safekeeping until the end of the school day. We are all too aware of the risks associated with unfettered access to social media, but banning devices in school is only part of the solution. Mobile phones are here to stay – until something new comes along! We aim to educate children to be responsible online, to respect themselves and each other. We recognise the important role adults have to play in modelling appropriate usage. Therefore, to further safeguard the children in our care, members of staff are only permitted to use their phones when children are not present. It is a safeguarding model which works well in our school but the challenges for bigger primary and for secondary schools are of a different magnitude altogether. Education and self-discipline may be more effective than prohibition.

Stephanie Ferro, Headmistress

Walthamstow Hall, Sevenoaks Independent school for girls aged 3-18 I wonder if the French government have had digital spies in Sevenoaks!? The regulations they plan are a mirror image of what we practise at Walthamstow Hall where all students, except Sixth Formers, hand their mobile phones in at morning registration and have them returned at the end of the school day. Digital platforms play a key role in the delivery of our curriculum, but being an essentially phone-free environment enables our students to be fully focussed on their studies, extra-curricular activities and friendships, without distraction. The success of our model is evident not only in our students’ achievements but in their ‘real-world’ social and communication skills, their ability to speak with confidence, to listen and to read body language, invisible skills which will be invaluable throughout their lives. A colleague recently heard author Allison Pearson talking on the mobile phone conundrum. She relayed a worrying anecdote from a London nursery where some young children cannot properly form sounds because they are unable to learn from watching their parents’ mouths as parents are looking down at their phones rather than into their children’s faces! A significant warning that children’s learning is not only impacted by use of their own mobiles.

Mike Piercy, Headmaster

The New Beacon, Sevenoaks Independent preparatory school for boys aged 4-13 A few years ago The New Beacon teaching staff considered whether or not we should embrace the ‘tablet’ revolution. The key question was: would their introduction enhance learning? A considerable majority felt not. When I mentioned this to a parent, she said she sent her son to school to get away from screens and fully endorsed our decision. The use of any technology should be entered into only with considerable forethought and caution. In a school for boys up to the age of 13, mobile phones and therefore social media are more easily avoided during the school day than in a school which goes up to 18. Our boys are not allowed to bring mobile phones (or any connected device) to school. Their computer use and online activity is monitored by heavy-duty software. We think they are as ‘safe’ as they can be in school. An intrinsic part of school is social education – personal, human interaction. Mobile devices detract from that interaction. We wish to see our pupils talking, playing, learning how to make friends, patching it up when things go wrong, being accepting of those who might never be friends, managing the ups and downs of human relationships. We hope, as a consequence, such face-to-face learning will translate into their online activity. The French decision to ban mobile phones from schools for younger children makes total sense to me! K U D O S M A Y/ J U N E 2 0 1 8



Scott Carnochan, Headmaster

Holmewood House School, Tunbridge Wells Independent preparatory school for boys and girls aged 3-13 There can be no debate that technology will play an increasing role in the lives of this generation of children and, used effectively, will enhance their educational journey. However, whilst there are clear benefits, there are also clear risks and mobile phones play a key role in both. There is equally little doubt that technological skills will be vital for our children as they enter an increasingly challenging world, but I believe it is the development of their key social skills which will differentiate our children and provide them with the best opportunity for success in their competitive global workplace. Creativity, cerebral flexibility, the self-belief to challenge thinking, collaboration and international mindedness will be skills that are very much in demand for businesses as computers and robotics take over a significant percentage of the jobs which currently exist. It is for this reason that we mustn’t bury our heads in the sand when it comes to the use of technology for our pupils, but a measured balance of access to technology for this generation is essential as we enter the fourth industrial revolution! A balance which provides opportunity to master both the technological opportunities yet ensure that we nurture and value their human skills.

Christine Flowers, Principal

Bricklehurst Manor School, Stonegate Mainstream independent school for pupils aged 3-11 I agree completely with the French government on this question; there is no reason whatsoever for a child to use a mobile phone in a primary school. Schools are geared to contact a parent, guardian or nominated adult in the event of a query or emergency and therefore there is no need for a child to have a phone in school. The temptation to use a phone, if they had one, could be potentially disastrous, with photos, social media, texts or emails distracting pupils from their work. There would also be yet another pressure on parents to provide the latest model and designer phone case, I don’t doubt! Primary schools are for children and we should be ensuring that our children keep their childhood intact for as long as possible. A mobile phone has become an essential piece of equipment for an adult but should not be the same for a child, who may miss out on other aspects of growing up if left to “play” on a phone. I am astonished when watching small babies, who without exception, have all been fascinated by mobile phones before they can even crawl. Perhaps this may be due to the role models they have, spending so much time gazing adoringly at the mobile screen instead of their baby. How lovely it would be if parents could bring themselves to read more books and encourage a fascination with pictures and language instead. I hear voices chanting that we should encourage babies to learn how to use all things technological as soon as possible, which is fine. But in school, we need to focus on the basics in order to do the technology well later on.


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Viewpoint Each issue, a local head teacher gives their opinion on an educational topic. Here, David Clark, Headmaster of Battle Abbey School, talks about government interference in education


Undue government interference in education is something that frustrates head teachers on a regular basis. The use of education as a political football in the UK has become almost second nature to politicians, and educators from overseas are often intrigued and baffled by the high level of meddling from Westminster. I daresay that the UK’s obsession with class and the justifiable concerns surrounding the gulf in educational attainment between different social groups is an important reason for this phenomenon and I therefore understand why governments are keen to focus on and to launch initiatives to tackle educational inequality. The latest attempt to narrow the ‘class gap’ has seen Theresa May pushing for the creation of new grammar schools, stipulating that those schools must take their fair share of students who are genuinely disadvantaged. Needless to say, this is not new and successive governments have tried to deal with what is seen by many as an unfair and indefensible situation. Following Blair’s landslide in 1997, there were high hopes that New Labour would genuinely give everyone a ‘hand up, not just a hand-out’. An optimistic public believed that Blair would help to flatten social divisions by investing heavily in state schools and, sure enough, billions were spent on an ambitious school building programme and the launch of the now, much maligned, Academy system. At the same time, Labour education secretaries were charged with putting independent schools under pressure to justify their charitable status. Head teachers at these ‘privileged’ independent schools then had to demonstrate how their schools provided ‘public benefit’ in order to continue qualifying for what were perceived as generous tax exemptions. I remember thinking at the time that the intentions, though laudable, were potentially illogical and even counter-productive. For example, independent schools needed to make every effort to offer generous bursaries to clever children from ‘poorer’ backgrounds so that those ‘chosen few’ could benefit from the academic excellence offered in the independent sector. The policy, sadly, was desperately misguided as it meant that wealthy, successful and academically-selective independent schools got to pick the best candidates from the maintained sector. High-performing students from state primaries who would thrive and achieve great things in most state secondary schools were admitted in large numbers to independent schools and their state counterparts missed out on a generation of top talent. Had New Labour stipulated that independent schools needed to display their public benefit by only admitting not just economicallydisadvantaged students, but also those who were socially deprived, disaffected, disillusioned or disengaged from formal education, it would have made much more sense both morally and politically. So, since 1997, a multitude of independent schools have benefitted from an influx of talented, state-educated children whilst state secondaries have been badly short-changed and let down on that front. That is why I broadly support the current government thinking of ensuring that grammar schools admit a much higher proportion of K U D O S M A Y/ J U N E 2 0 1 8

disadvantaged children to their ranks. Most UK grammar schools are high performing and have an ethos and culture that could pay significant dividends for those children born or brought up on the wrong side of the tracks. My father was evacuated from a deprived borough in East London in 1940 and relocated to Dorset where two years later he attended a notable Grammar School that tackled social mobility in an admirable way. He firmly believes that his journey out of poverty was due largely to his grammar school education, and that is why I would argue in favour of this current government initiative but with certain conditions attached. For example, I would insist that new grammar schools are only set up in areas of need. Affluent Kent and Buckinghamshire are already well served with grammar schools but I daresay that parts of the impoverished coastal fringe and former industrial towns could do with the aspirational impetus that a grammar school could engender. So it is just possible that Mrs May will fulfil her ambition of encouraging social mobility whilst keeping these clever children firmly within the clutches of the maintained system. There are times then that, despite the frustrations, government intervention may be needed and may even have transformative consequences. Battle Abbey School is an independent co-educational day and boarding school for boys and girls aged 2-18 79


In the spotlight Quickfire questions for Christine Flowers, Principal of Bricklehurst Manor School, Stonegate


Sum up your own school days

The school I attended was built in the Victorian era so it was a cold and draughty place with bare brick walls painted over in various colours. The toilets, which were smelly and housed large spiders, were outside across a cramped playground of grey asphalt, which in turn was surrounded, prison-like, by tall, red-brick walls.

Which teacher most inspired you in your school days?

My memories are of being scared of the teachers; of being hit with a wooden ruler because I spelt a word wrong when it was on the blackboard, and of the hideous school lunches which were cooked in Lewes and sent across Sussex by lorry to arrive somewhat cooler in the school canteen. The leftovers were sent for local pigs and in truth didn’t look very different to when the meal had been dished up on our plates earlier.

What makes you smile?

Bricklehurst was founded in 1959 before I had even started school. It is about to celebrate 60 years of being a unique and wonderful place of learning. Today, I laugh a lot, which makes up for those early years. Considering that I disliked school so much as a child and adolescent, it seems more than strange that I ended up owning one! However, Bricklehurst is everything that my own experience wasn’t and in the 18 years that I have been there I have worked hard to ensure that children are safe, happy and well educated in all aspects of life. The school was founded by the late Elizabeth Eberlie. After her death it was discovered that she had worked as an intelligence operative during the war and had kept it a secret all her life as she had signed the Official Secrets Act. She was a woman with high standards and we have endeavoured to instil her standards into all who pass through the school.

What frustrates you?

I become frustrated at the way in which education has become highjacked by politicians who don’t seem to have much idea of what children are really like. I also hate the fact that independent schools are criticised and discriminated against as they are all so different. Bricklehurst has opened its doors to children of all abilities and it endeavours to help families afford the fees in various ways. It is a small school, but offers a wide and diverse education. We can hold our own against many of the other larger prep


Christine Flowers, Principal

Bricklehurst Manor School, Stonegate Mainstream independent school for pupils aged 3-11 schools both on the sports field and academically, where we have a long record of 11+ success to grammar schools and scholarships to local independent schools.

What do you hope that your pupils say about your school when they leave? Our Diamond Jubilee year is upon us and we would like to welcome many more to the Bricklehurst experience by way of offering scholarship opportunities. Bricklehurst children never really leave; we stay in their hearts for ever. They consistently return to do work experience and their parents stay in touch with us for years after they leave so that we are kept aware of their success in life. Bricklehurst may be nearly 60 years old, but it’s light years away from the school I attended. Thank heavens for that!

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School report

A round-up of what’s happening in the world of education

The science of life Professor Lord Robert Winston delivers talks to local schoolchildren The New Beacon School was delighted to welcome Professor Lord Robert Winston to school recently. He delivered two fascinating talks, the first to an audience of nine-13 year olds from eight local schools on the subject of “Why bother with science?” The enthusiastic audience from The New Beacon, Lady Boswell’s, The Granville, St Michael’s Otford, Leigh Primary, Chevening CofE Primary and Seal Primary schools thoroughly enjoyed the Professor’s presentation. It was a privilege to see footage of cutting-edge technology in use, such as a journey through the human digestive tract using a futuristic ‘Pillcam’. This is a tiny camera fitted with a flashing LED light, designed to show up any abnormalities inside the human body. It is swallowed like traditional tablets and takes the same route through the body as food. The children also saw footage from the Super Mouse experiment which tested two mice, one with modified DNA and one without and was an important step forward in helping us to understand how we might be able to treat diseases. There followed a very comprehensive question-and-answer session where the pupils asked the Professor some searching questions. Professor Winston told them, “I was interested in science from the age of eight and could often be found making and experimenting with things.” He advised pupils to, “Follow the thing that interests you and a good teacher will be able to capitalise on your interest and point you in the right direction to further your quest for information.” The second talk was delivered to an audience of 40 sixth-form pupils who were interested in pursuing careers in the field of science and medicine. The Professor advised them that one of the most important lessons is “to understand failure, as we cannot learn how to succeed unless we learn how to fail”. He also discussed the importance of having goals but also to be aware that they may change. Mike Piercy, Headmaster of The New Beacon, said, “What a privilege for so many students to have heard Professor Winston speak with such passion, conviction, knowledge and wisdom. He encouraged the audience to use the whole brain, to embrace the arts, to be empathic, to use their emotional intelligence to remember the value of humility. An inspiring day!”

It all adds up Maths success for Battle Abbey Battle Abbey School’s latest group of iGCSE Maths candidates have exceeded expectations with some truly amazing results – 62% of candidates scored A* or A grades with the entire group securing either A*, A, B or C grades, a record for the school. David Clark, Headmaster, said; “We predicted good results from our iGCSE cohort but the actual figures were even better than expected. Our excellent Maths Department, under the leadership of Mr Tumi, is rapidly turning into a flagship department for the school and one that is securing plaudits from across the region. Not only have our students secured these record-breaking grades, but more of them than ever are competing successfully in national maths competitions, including the internationally-recognised Maths Olympiad. “Mr Tumi is working alongside some extraordinarily talented colleagues who adopt a wide variety of teaching styles and this has really made the difference in engaging some of the pupils who have previously found maths especially challenging. As a team, they have not only made maths more accessible, they have also added some fascinating maths-related special events to the calendar including a Mission to Mars workshop day.” In addition to leading the Maths Department, Mr Tumi also heads up the increasingly popular Battle Abbey School Young Engineers Club. It boasts over 50 regular members who are involved in planning and building a range of interesting devices, including a highly popular project that involves dismantling a lawnmower engine in order to power a go kart. K U D O S M A Y/ J U N E 2 0 1 8



Choosing to learn Pupils given homework choice in an innovative new approach

The car’s the star Rosehill Motorsport team enjoys a day at the races Rose Hill Motorsport team recently made the long journey to HMS Excellent, Portsmouth, to compete in the first race of the season for the Greenpower Goblin cars. Despite atrocious weather, all the young racers were eager for the competition to start, but first the two cars had to pass the important scrutineering safety checks. A few minor niggles were noted and the team swung into action to tighten nuts and change two wheels – and they still had time to polish the cars. A brilliant first run for the Red Devil in the slalom event was followed by a very slow run in the Blue Demon. After drafting in a fresh pair of eyes, the problem was identified and rectified and the Blue Demons were back in the running. After a very full, action-packed morning of events, the Red Devil was looking fantastic after winning all six drag races and the Blue Demon was also looking quite racy. The post-lunch action kicked off with a new event called Goblin Parade which led to the Best Presented Team award. This saw all teams lined up in front of their pit garage with their cars as the technical judges walked down the line, interviewing all the pupils about their car. The afternoon race was a sudden-death, three-lap, three-car race around a circuit, with the winner of each heat going through to a semi-final. The sun finally made an appearance in time for the prizegiving and Rose Hill Motorsport were awarded Best Presented Team – this was for the attention to detail in preparing the cars and the race suits of the teams, plus the children’s knowledge about the car.

Computer says yes Sevenoaks pupil makes final of UK computing competition Talented student Jake Frankel from Sevenoaks Preparatory School was a finalist in a UK-wide computing competition, The UK BEBRAS Computational Thinking Challenge, at the Department of Computer Science at the University of Oxford. Reaching the final of the Junior age group is an impressive achievement, as 41,372 students entered the first round for the age group (10-12). Jake was among the top 60 highest-achieving students invited to the final round 84

Pupils at St Michael’s Prep in Otford, Kent, are undertaking a new type of challenge this year through a fresh and innovative approach to homework. The idea came from the pupils themselves when, during the homework review, a child commented: “Imagine if we could choose our own homework”. Deputy Head, Mary Bridges, realised that this would indeed be an exciting prospect and, with a team of staff, designed and introduced a new style of homework. The aim of challenge homework is to develop independent learning and thinking, to inspire curiosity and to enable creativity. Subjects were taken out of the homework timetable, with just English and maths as weekly tasks and reading a daily task. This has enabled the children to have the time and freedom to explore a cross-curricular topic that inspires them in greater depth. One of the most exciting aspects of this new way of learning has been the independence that the children have shown, with many writing to and interviewing people who can give them real insights into their subject. The experiences and skills that they develop will undoubtedly set them in good stead for progression into Years 7 and 8, as well as helping them with their senior school interviews by giving them something completely individual to talk about. Managing an independent project is a challenge but through this experience the children are changed into project managers, presenters and independent thinkers. Said Mary Bridges: “We are incredibly proud of this unique aspect to our curriculum and feel inspired by our creative young learners.”

in his age group, and was presented with his finalist’s certificate at a prizegiving ceremony at Hertford College. The UK BEBRAS Computational Thinking Challenge, supported by Google, is designed to get students excited about computing and computational thinking. It’s a problem-solving contest with questions inspired by topics in computer science. In the first round, students have to try and solve as many problems as possible in the allotted time. There are six age categories and the highest-scoring students from the four oldest age groups are then invited to the Department of Computer Science for the finals. K U D O S M A Y/ J U N E 2 0 1 8







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3. In The Book is a collection of personalised Disney stories, featuring your child’s name on the cover, along with a special message inside. Your child even gets to star alongside their favourite characters as they are written into the story. Prices start at £14.99 www.ijustloveit.co.uk 4. This beautiful, eight-page reusable Doodle Now & Go chalk book provides an endless landscape for your child’s creative energy. Not only will you save paper, cleaning afterwards is a breeze. £24.95 www.eatwell-uk.co.uk 5. Sick kids and thermometers don’t mix – but these convenient, fussfree, fun stick-on Fevermates temperature indicators allow you to continuously monitor your children’s temperature for up to 48 hours at a glance. £4.37 for a pack of eight. www.fevermates.com K U D O S M A Y/ J U N E 2 0 1 8


Failing at family life Auto-pilot parents are struggling to cope New research has revealed that eight out of 10 parents feel like they are on ‘autopilot’ most days. Dubbed the ‘Auto-parent’, this modern breed has declared that ‘being on auto’ is the only way to get them through a hectic day. According to research from Dorset Cereals, the average British mum spends a staggering 14.5 hours a day (60 per cent) undertaking tasks for the family, with dads just behind at 10 hours (42 per cent). The poll of 2,000 found that the rat race of the modern age has forced time-strapped parents to juggle both family life and career, leaving 71 per cent of parents feeling “disconnected” from their family due to their fast and busy lives. Over two thirds of mums and dads declared that they feel pressure to become the “perfect parent” and have everything in control like they felt their parents did. Constant cleaning and tidying emerged as the biggest bug bear, with almost half (48 per cent) saying that if they could transfer the responsibility to someone else, they would. Ironing the school uniform came second (14 per cent) followed by emptying the bins and taking out the rubbish (12 per cent). Nearly half (49 per cent) said that breakfast is the most stressful part of the day, with the daily rush to get out of the door taking its toll. Sitting down for breakfast was the norm for previous generations, but today just 8 per cent make the time to come together to enjoy breakfast.


Baby love After five fiction books, Giovanna Fletcher, wife of McFly’s Tom, has just published her first non-fiction book, a personal account of motherhood

Giovanna Fletcher, author, actress, presenter, YouTuber and wife to Tom Fletcher from McFly, also manages to fit in being mum to sons Buzz and Buddy, with baby number three due in the autumn. We caught up with Giovanna when she gave a talk recently about her new book Happy Mum, Happy Baby at the Royal Wells Hotel for Mum’s The Word, the events company hosting inspiring meet ups, talks and live events for mums and their families.

How do you find the time to write your books with two children? You’ve written five fiction books in the last five years… that’s one a year.

I’ve actually written three in one year before – although now realise that’s bonkers and I’ve decided to space things out a bit more to allow myself to breathe and live my life. I always joke that the only way I get stuff done is by not sleeping or seeing my mates. I guess I’m only half joking...

Where do you get the ideas for your novels?

Usually from something I see, hear or read. Which is why it’s so important to allow space between projects to ensure you have time to be inspired and feel your bones getting excited about an idea. That said, inspiration can hit at any time. I have a rolling document on my computer for future ideas. I go back to it whenever I’m brainstorming for the next book as it always comes up with some gems.

Did you find it easy to get the first one published?

Nope. It took a lot of hard work and, like most authors, it was sent out to a lot of publishers before Penguin came back with an offer. I think people think it’s far easier than it is but, in reality, getting work published is full of rejection and setbacks. I think that’s true of anything in the creative business, though. It forces you to assess how strong your passion is and makes you work even harder.

Do you find the writing process easy?

Absolutely not. The writing process is a mixture of emotions. Usually I start completely in love with my idea, then half way through I’ll doubt myself and the concept. I’ll think it’s the most rubbish thing that’s ever been written in the history of written words… then I somehow come through the other side and fall back in love with it. I’ve come to accept that’s how I work, so it no longer freaks me out as much as it did. 88

Did you keep baby diaries for your new book, Happy Mum, Happy Baby to remind you of everything that happened?

I had a blog with Hello!, my own vlog and my social media posts to draw from for a start, but then there were thousands of personal photos and videos to look through which helped jog my memory further. I did make notes, though. There were some bits I never wanted to forget – yet other bits I simply can’t!

What’s next? Another novel or more baby books?

I’m writing a trilogy of books with my husband, Tom. The first one, Eve of Man, is published at the end of May. It’s been interesting learning how to work together but, thankfully, it’s been going well so far.

Happy Mum, Happy Baby by Giovanna Fletcher is published by Coronet, £7.99

To find out about upcoming Mum’s The Word events, visit www.mumstheword.online K U D O S M A Y/ J U N E 2 0 1 8



mother’s day Sisters Laura Swann and Natalie Mcilveen talk about combining motherhood with their events business, Mum’s the Word Tell us a bit about yourselves.

We grew up in Tunbridge Wells. Laura’s background is in PR and Marketing and Natalie’s is in events – she worked for the Roundhouse in London for over nine years. We both have young families; Laura has a son aged nine and a daughter aged six, and Natalie has two sons aged five and two.

How does Mum’s the Word work?

Mum’s the Word is all about community. For many, becoming a mum can be lonely and you can lose your sense of self identity. We curate live events that bring together like-minded women (and their families and children), allowing them to connect, get inspired and learn something new. One of the best bits of running Mum’s the Word is seeing people make connections and friendships. Our events cover numerous topics, from growing a baby through to fashion, body positivity, self-care, flexible working and setting up your own business. We also run supper clubs, fashion events and #wild_child family dance parties, and everyone is welcome.

Where did you get the idea from?

Natalie moved back to Tunbridge Wells in 2014 and we wanted to do something together that combined our strengths of event organising and marketing. Natalie had been to some inspiring mum groups in London but couldn’t find anything similar in and around Kent, other than baby and toddler groups, so we decided to set up something of our own in January 2016 and launched our first event in May that year.

How did you get it off the ground?

Social media has been an enormous benefit to growing Mum’s the Word – it meant that we could spread the word for free to a huge number of people. We also used more traditional methods of PR in local magazines and newspapers to create awareness, and relied on the support of family and friends and lovely local bloggers like My Tunbridge Wells to spread the word. We currently operate in Tunbridge Wells, Brighton and Whitstable but are looking to grow the community further.

How do you get people involved?

Since we first launched, our followers have grown through word of mouth as well as social media. We always make sure we curate events with thought-provoking speakers, talking about topics that really affect modern mothers and women. We strive to make our events extremely high quality (not only in content, but also look and feel), using lovely venues and decorations, and partnering with brands who can provide wonderful goody bags. K U D O S M A Y/ J U N E 2 0 1 8

Natalie, front left, and Laura, front right. Photo taken by Mollie Manning

How much of your time does it take up?

We absolutely love running our own business, but if you are looking to set up your own company you should be prepared to put in the hours. We work three days a week full time on Mum’s the Word but also most evenings when the kids are in bed, and during nap times too! We don’t have any help, although we do rope in very kind friends and family for events. And we couldn’t do without our mum and dad who help us out massively with childcare!

Where do you get ideas for events?

All over the place; we’re inspired by topics we’ve read in the media, watched on TV, trends we’ve seen on Instagram. But ultimately, we put on events that we’re really interested in and would like to attend ourselves.

Where would you like to see Mum’s the Word in five years time?

We’d like to continue to grow our community and pop up in other areas around the UK. We’d also like to work with lots more inspirational speakers, charities/support groups and like-minded brands.

How do you find juggling working with being a mum?

The juggle is so hard – it’s really difficult not to feel like you’re not giving anything the time it deserves. However, working for yourself does mean that you can set your own hours and can do things like pick the children up from childminders and school and go to school assemblies.

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Business notes A round-up of local business news

Simply the best

Childrensalon makes top 100 companies to work for Childrensalon.com, the world’s largest online retailer for children’s designer fashion, has been ranked number 45 on the 2018 Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For. The list aims to build a happier, healthier workforce because people who are fully engaged at work feel happier and more secure, which makes them more productive. Childrensalon, with their core value of ‘People Before Profit’, is thrilled to have been included in the prestigious list. The company is passionate about ensuring its team progress and always invests back in its staff to create a motivated workforce, promoting from within whenever possible. Over a third of mid-level and senior management rise through the ranks from entrylevel positions. Childrensalon is also proud to be a Living Wage Foundation employer, paying well above the National Minimum Wage. Denise Hamilton, People Team Director, says, “We are so proud to be a part of the Sunday Times Top 100 Companies to Work for List for 2018 and look forward to continuing to work with our amazing team here in Tunbridge Wells to make Childrensalon the best workplace it can be.”

Nick Rodrigues of the Sunday Times with Childrensalon’s Caroline Alexander, Head of People Team, and Melissa Ferns, Recruiter

Double top

Local agency scores twice at business awards The director of marketing and PR agency Sharp Minds Communications was the only double winner at the recent annual Kent Women in Business Awards. As well as taking the PR and Marketing title, Siobhan Stirling was also named Women’s Champion for her new movement, 50 Challenges, helping her peers define the next chapter of their lives positively by completing 50 challenges across their fifties. She launched it last November by running the New York marathon the day after her 50th birthday. “It’s wonderful that the value and returns on investment that Sharp Minds deliver for our clients was recognised,” said Siobhan, “but the award that meant most was Women’s Champion. 50 Challenges is about inspiring everyone approaching 50 and beyond – men and women – but it is resonating very strongly with women. It’s been an incredible amount of hard work to get it off the ground – especially on top of running Sharp Minds and having a family to look after – so it was fantastic to have the role that it is playing in engaging and encouraging women who are going through this transitional stage of life recognised so early on.”


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What’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine Negotiation and compromise are the watchwords when dividing up the spoils of marriage, says Sarah Haywood of ThomasHaywood Solicitors


There is nothing worse than arguments over the ownership of household contents. Remember the famous scene from When Harry Met Sally, when the recently divorced Harry (Billy Crystal) urges his starry-eyed friends Jess and Marie to label their belongings? “Do me a favour – for your own good,” Harry says, “put your name in your books right now, before they get mixed up and you don’t know whose is whose. Because some day, believe it or not, you’ll go 15 rounds over who’s going to get this coffee table –this stupid, wagon-wheel coffee table!” The second-hand value of most peoples’ furniture is nominal, but what if there is value and you cannot agree on how to divide it? Legal fees for arguing over furniture can quickly become disproportionate. You could follow the example of Gladiator actor Russell Crowe and his soonto-be ex-wife who, together with Sotheby’s, are auctioning personal items valued at £1m which include his guitar collection, her jewellery and movie props. The proceeds of the sale will then be divided. (He is going to buy incubators for baby turtles in Australia). You do not want to follow the example of Frances Bean Cobain, the daughter of Kurt Cobain, who in her divorce is fighting for her late father’s six-string 1959 Martin D-18E acoustic guitar, which is currently in her former husband Isaiah’s possession. Kurt played the instrument in Nirvana’s famous MTV Unplugged session, and Frances has claimed her former husband has refused to return it since she filed for divorce. Isaiah has insisted Frances gave him the

guitar as a gift and so it is his to keep, while she insists she would never have given him a ‘priceless family heirloom’. In this scenario, the best resolution is agreement but if that is not possible, the court will look at who brought it to the marriage. However, the parties’ needs must be met and if that means the sale of a family heirloom, then the court can order that. We are often asked about engagement rings. These are a gift, so belong to the recipient. They do not have to be returned if the engagement is called off, or on divorce. However, the value of the ring can be taken into account when calculating the assets of the marriage. It is, however, the second-hand sale value of the ring that is used, not its purchase price nor insurance value. Pets are often a source of huge emotional value and consequently a source of conflict during divorce proceedings. Under English law, pets are considered property, just like cars, handbags and furniture, so their welfare is not considered in the same way as for children – even though for many people they are an integral part of the family. In Alaska, they have a law which treats pets more like children. There, the courts will “take into consideration the well-being of the animal” when deciding which party the pets go to. Their default option is to assign joint custody of the pets, like the preferred option for children. Our courts are far away from that so at ThomasHaywood we always recommend negotiation and compromise www.thomashaywoodsolicitors.com


Helping hand

A round-up of local charity news Princess for a day

Hever plays host to cancer sufferer Lea-Rose Lea-Rose Officer-Hamilton had her dream come true when she visited Hever Castle & Gardens to be a princess for the day. The seven-year-old from Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland is now back at school after undergoing four rounds of chemotherapy for stage 3 non-Hodgkin lymphoma last year. At one point she spent nine weeks in hospital. She loves Disney princesses so her family applied for her to have her dream come true to become a princess for the day through the Make a Wish Foundation. Lea-Rose arrived at Hever Castle with her mum, Amy, grandmother Kelly Sloan and her brother, Jai, 4, and sisters Katelyn, 6, and one-year-old Olivia. The family enjoyed a horse-and-carriage ride around the grounds of Anne Boleyn’s childhood home before going into the castle to meet The Little Mermaid’s ‘Ariel’ (Grace Liston from Melody’s Princess Parties) to play some games and learn about becoming a princess. Lea-Rose had her very own throne in the spectacular dining hall to enjoy a feast of chicken wraps, crisps, special glittery princess-shoe biscuits and ice-cream cupcakes. Her mum said: “She thinks she is a princess and wanted to be a princess for the day. For me, it’s good to see a smile on her face, for her to get that experience.”

Top award for ellenor

Charity recognised for its outstanding contribution Leading provider in specialist palliative and end-of-life care, ellenor, was named Care Charity of the Year at the Kent Charity 2018 Awards, which recognises the outstanding contribution charities and voluntary groups undertake to make the lives of others better. The award recognises the Hospice’s commitment to its patients and their families in delivering high-quality care and support when it is needed most. ellenor was shortlisted alongside the Kent Autistic Trust and Pilgrims Hospices. Claire Cardy, ellenor’s Chief Executive, said: “We are thrilled and deeply honoured to win Care Charity of the Year and for our personalised approach to care to be recognised as making such a difference to people’s lives. I am incredibly proud of the whole team and I would like to thank the staff and volunteers for everything they do. They help us to deliver the highest-quality care to our patients and their families and this award recognises their work tirelessly supporting others behind the scenes. My special thanks also goes to our faithful and committed supporters, who enable us to raise the necessary funds to provide our services free of charge to patients and their families.” Children under ellenor’s specialist Children’s Hospice at Home care can now access therapeutic support in a specially-designed Creative Therapies Room. This carefully designed space for children with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions allows them to engage in play and music therapy and find comfort and distraction from pain or distress. “Creating a dedicated room for play and music therapy at the hospice allows us to provide children the opportunity to access the emotional support they need. Whether the child is a patient themselves, a sibling, or a child of an adult patient, they will be able to use the space to explore their feelings in a safe, supportive, environment,” said Rebecca Scalzo, Head of Children’s Hospice Care at ellenor. The idea for the Therapies Room originated when Bright Horizons Springfield Lodge nursery was visiting a member of their staff, an inpatient at ellenor Gravesend, and saw there wasn’t a dedicated space for children to access therapeutic play and music. They vowed to create such a space and worked together with Berkeley Homes (Eastern Counties) to fund and carry out the building works and provide new play equipment, furniture and soft furnishings. 94

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ellenor’s the star of the show

Kent charity gets national recognition with new TV series Together, the TV channel that inspires people to do good, is premiering The Hospice, a new and original observational documentary series focusing on the lives of the patients, and their families, under the care of local charity ellenor. Produced by Knickerbockerglory – the creators of Channel 5’s long-running series GP: Behind Closed Doors, the first of 13 hour-long, weekly episodes of The Hospice will air on Tuesday, 8th May, at 10pm. The series will show how every single, precious moment matters as it follows the deeply personal stories of both adults and children who are receiving end-of-life care both in their own homes, and at the ellenor inpatient ward in Gravesend. Also highlighted is the remarkably inspirational way that the hospice staff and volunteers support the patients and their families. Their expertise, passion and commitment create a warm, restful and even happy environment, enabling limited time to be precious family time together. In the first episode Dr. Nikki Anne Rodwell meets Jill, 60, who has recently been diagnosed with a brain tumour. Jill says: “I knew as soon as I got diagnosed that this was the place I

wanted to be. But it’s not a service you tend to think about, until you actually need it.” Hospice UK and Together For Short Lives will be promoting the series during Dying Matters Week (14th-20th May) and Children’s Hospice Week (21st-27th May), to highlight the essential services hospices provide across the UK.

Challenging preconceptions

Jonathan Stadlen, Managing Director of Knickerbockerglory TV who made The Hospice, talks about his reasons for choosing ellenor Tell us about Knickerbockerglory TV. Knickerbockerglory is an independent production company specialising in programmes that challenge people’s preconceptions about institutions or people – from alcoholics to GPs. We are a profit-sharing company and donate a percentage of our profits to charity. What drew you to filming inside a hospice, and why did you chose ellenor? I’ve always been amazed how in life – as well as on TV – we celebrate people coming into the world, but shy away from talking about how we leave it. I wanted to celebrate the work done by hospices like ellenor to help people during their remaining days. ellenor has such a good reputation and a fantastic group of staff who it’s been a privilege to follow. What do you hope the series will achieve? I was struck by what staff said when we first came: that this isn’t a place where people come to die, but a place where they come to live. I hope the audience will come to understand that through the series, and in turn have some of their preconceptions about palliative and hospice care challenged. What reaction do you expect from people when they watch the series? Hopefully they’ll be moved and inspired. I’ve laughed, cried and been touched by the humanity of the staff and the courage of the patients. Making this programme has made me reconsider the meaning of life. There is a lot of wisdom to be learned from those who face the prospect of death every day – and from what they have discovered to be important. Your crew must have been apprehensive before they arrived at ellenor. I think many of them were nervous, but once they spent time with patients and saw the love, care and humour they shared with staff, they quickly realised it was very different to what they thought it would be. Watching the care given to a young girl with a terminal heart condition was one of the most moving experiences we have had. K U D O S M A Y/ J U N E 2 0 1 8



Ride of your life Fancy cycling across parts of Rwanda or Kenya’s Great Rift Valley in the charity trip of a lifetime? Then Sevenoaks’ John Douglas, founder of Charity (Adventure) Links, is your man...


Tell us a bit about yourself.

My wife Julia and I have three children – two daughters, one in Surrey and one in London, and a son in Brazil. I retired in 2010 from a furniture business I had started 30 years earlier, and just prior to retirement I began charity fundraising under the banner of KiliAdventures, which morphed into Charity (Adventure) Links in 2016.

In addition to EEA’s work in Tanzania, we support similarly small, efficient UK-registered charities delivering educational support in Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya. The final piece in the jigsaw is our support for Sevenoaks Area Youth Trust, a highly effective charity that offers an outreach programme for disadvantaged teenagers in what is a prosperous but often unaware community.

Have you always supported charities?

Tell us about some of the trips you’ve organised in past years.

Yes, but in a minor way with very little direct involvement whilst working. Since retirement, I have been involved in the local group of Sailability, a national charity that helps the disabled to enjoy sailing, as well as actively supporting Education East Africa. For EEA, I organised and led several fundraising climbs of Kilimanjaro and KiliRide – a cycle circumnavigation of the base of Africa’s highest mountain.

Where did the idea for Charity (Adventure) Links come from and how does it work? Following on from KiliRide in 2015, I decided to create an umbrella charity to support several small East African-focused and one Sevenoaks-focused charity, all of which are involved in education and vocational training. This was and remains the objective of Charity (Adventure) Links.

Do you run it on your own?

I am very fortunate to have three fellow trustees and a hugely competent bookkeeper, so while I deal with most of the day-to-day activity, I am very well supported.

Which particular areas does the charity support?

From several trips to East Africa prior to 2010, I became acutely aware of the pressing need to improve the quality of state schooling and vocational training. Although not an educationalist, I could see that EEA was doing a first-class job but did not have the inhouse capacity to organise and operate large fundraising events. KiliClimb2011 had the specific aim of raising money to build a motor mechanics vocational training centre in Tanzania. The challenge was successful in raising sufficient funds for the purchase of a site where a workshop and classrooms were built. 98

KiliClimb2011 was the first of my activities in which 22 men and women battled for eight tough days to reach the summit. All the team reached the top (including a youthful gentleman of 74) and a grand total of £72,000 was raised for EEA. Following this, there were further climbs in 2012, 2013 and 2014 before KiliRide2015, followed by Ride East Africa in 2017.

2019 Ride East Africa is coming up. What can people expect?

We have two eight-day East African trips planned for next year. The first in February will be in central and north-eastern Rwanda and the second in October will be riding sections of Kenya’s Great Rift Valley. Both Charity Cycle Challenges will offer exciting (but manageable) riding in stunning scenery, visits to projects supported by our fundraising and unique experiences in rural East Africa.

What are you hoping to achieve with Ride East Africa?

All of the rides we create aim to offer truly unique trips of a lifetime – experiences that can never be offered from the comfort of a bus or through the windscreen of a Landcruiser. Riders will return rich in knowledge and with the satisfaction of having given something valuable to the people they have seen – the opportunity of education.

How can people join the trip?

Before joining, any interested person will certainly wish to find out a great deal about our plans so the first thing to do is call me on 07715 042444 or email john@charitylinks.org.uk

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