Wokingham Local Easter 2024

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WOKINGHAM LOCAL Pick me up I’m free! Gourmet Delights Vacation Vibes Mindfulness
Style PEOPLE & PLACES • WHAT’S NEW • FOOD & DRINK EASTER 2024 wokinghamlocal.co.uk


Want to relax, have some fun, and some glass therapy?

No experience necessary. Book Now!


These classes are either 3 hours or a full day designed for any level of experience.

Using Bullseye Transparent and Opal Art glass, you will learn all there is to know about fused Glass and how it works. You will create your very own stunning pieces of fused glass art using the most beautiful colours and types of glass available

Date £70 PP 11:00 – 14:00

Saturday 6th April Drape Vase

Saturday 13th April Tealight Wave

PP 10:30 – 15:30

Saturday 27th April Big Picture

Saturday 4th May Small Picture

Saturday 11th May Tealight Holders

Saturday 25th May Coasters

Saturday 1st June Powder Landscape

Saturday 8th June Tealight Wave

Saturday 15th June Soap Trinket Dish

Saturday 29th June Small Picture

Class sizes are limited to 7 adults to ensure you are given Gayle’s personal attention.

Price includes all materials, tea and coffee too!


Unit 5, Holme Grange Craft Village, Wokingham, Berkshire

RG40 3AW




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Wokingham Local • March 2024 | 3 Contents 06 Dinton Pastures 08 Jewel of the Adriatic Travel Series: Part One 10 Historic Charm Visiting Hever Castle 12 Henley-on-Thames Ancient Delights 16 Business Tips 2024 20 Five Minutes With Peter from Wokingham Arts Society 23 Food Based Fun 32 Thames Path An Unforgettable Walk 36 Mindfulness 38 Caring About Care 46 Never Ending Spring 49 Clever Storage Ideas 43 Eclectic Style How Much is Too Much?


Welcome to our Easter edition of Wokingham Local magazine.

As the vibrant hues of springtime begin to paint the world, our local community eagerly embraces the much-anticipated arrival of this rejuvenating season. The air is filled with the sweet fragrance of blooming flowers, and the gentle warmth of the sun breathes life into every corner. We start this issue with Enchanting Glass Designs, and Gayle invites us to relax and have fun with ‘glass therapy’ over at Holme Grange craft village, and following beautiful countryside walks through Dinton Pastures and along the Thames Path, we can relax and unwind at the Lazy Frog on Denmark street with a delightful Thai massage. In business news, Hamilton Nash talk about conflict resolution and Melanie Curtis Accountants focus on the new tax year, with Spring HIghlights full of helpful advice. We set off with vacation vibes on a day out at Hever Castle featuring Seekers Coach Travel and go further afield to the popular city of Split on Croatia’s coast, famous for beautiful architecture and beaches, and ‘Game of Thrones’. What’s not to love?

Closer to home, ‘Gourmet Delights’ are offered by Bombay Story Indian Kitchen and Bar over on Peach Place, and we try the many delights of Indian breads - which is your favourite? Eclectic Style (featuring flowers by ClickStyle) on the front cover and in our feature asks the question - is it just busyness or is it styling? And, talking of covers, specialising in bespoke wedding and engagement rings our master goldsmith Tom, showcases his unique design on the back cover, and we finish where we started - back at Holme Grange craft village, which is where you will find Thomas William Jewellery.

With Easter just around the corner, and as we gather with friends and family, sharing laughter and feasts, with all the fun of children hunting for colourful treasures, and chocolate eggs, amidst blooming flowers and chirping birds, Easter radiates the infectious spirit of new beginnings, creating cherished memories that will linger in our hearts for seasons to come. Well, it just remains for me to wish you all; our contributors, advertisers, and local community and readership a very Happy Easter from myself, Jacqui, and all the team at Local Area Magazines, until next time - MayDay! - and all the fun of Wokingham’s MayDay Fayre and sunny Bank Holidays.

Wokingham Local Magazine, © 2024, Local Area Ltd. Reprinting any part appearing in this magazine is strictly forbidden except by permission of the publisher. All copyright of images/content remains that of its contributors. Every effort has been made to gain permission to publish copyright material. However, where efforts have been exhausted, we have published based on ‘Fair Use’ to comment factual based material whereby its use is not central or plays a significant part in the entire publication but to act as an aid for historical and educational purposes only. This publication is offered as a limited print run. The publisher, Local Area Magazines, makes every effort to ensure that the magazine’s contents are correct. However, it cannot take responsibility for any effects from errors or omissions.

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Local Magazine is published by Local Area Ltd, a company registered in England & Wales number 13415030. Registered office: Markham House, 20 Broad Street, Wokingham, RG40 1AH.
Jacqui Wokingham
Wokingham Local • March 2024 | 5 B R A N D & C O M M E R C I A L P H O T O G R A P H E R E V E R S L E Y , H A M P S H I R E
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Dinton Pastures Country Park

Dinton Pastures Country Park is a 350-acre country park, situated in the heart of Wokingham. It is an oasis of woodland, meadow, and lakes in the midst of the most urbanised part of the Thames Valley. The Country Park consists of multiple lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams, with footpaths and meadow to explore.

It is accessible 365 days of the year, with car parks open every day. Families can have fun in the Play Park, enjoy the delights of the Dinton Cafés or take a walk around the many trails and lakes at Dinton Pastures, which is located at Davis St, Hurst, RG10 0TH. There are a range of facilities available including public toilets, accessible toilets and changing rooms.

There are many events scheduled throughout the year including a huge range of outdoor, adventurous and educational activities and events for all ages. From large events like the popular open air cinema nights and Marvellous music festival, to water based adventures such as boat hire on Black Swan Lake, there is something for everyone.

From the 29th March to the 12th April is the Easter Egg Hunt, which is a fun-filled adventure as families search for hidden eggs along a 2km trail, exploring the beautiful surroundings of Dinton Pastures Country Park, keeping an eye out for clues that will lead to the ultimate prize - a delicious chocolate treat!

The 5km and 10km fun runs known as ‘Dinton Summer Series’ commence from the 16th of May welcoming runners of all abilities and new for 2024 there is a kids 2km series. The course is a lovely off-road, traffic-free route around Dinton Pastures Country Park. The 5km option is a 1 lap course, 10km option you go round the course twice! Either way, it’s pancake flat and if you enter more than one race you’ve a great chance of seeing your course record come down month by month.

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On the 29th and 30th of June Dinton Pastures is the location for the Great British Food Festival, which includes an artisan market, street food and bars, chef demos, live music, a ‘cake off’ and kids cookery, plus kids activities and much more for a great family weekend of food and fun!

Further details can be viewed here:


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The Jewel of the Adriatic

Part One of our Three Part

Travel Series in Croatia

Nestled on the stunning Dalmatian Coast, Split is a Croatian gem that seamlessly blends ancient history with modern charm. This coastal city, with its UNESCO-listed Diocletian’s Palace, captures the essence of Croatia’s rich cultural tapestry. In this whistle-stop tour, we’ll explore the highlights that make Split a must-visit destination.

Diocletian’s Palace: A Living Heritage ↓

At the heart of Split lies the architectural marvel, Diocletian’s Palace. Built by the Roman Emperor Diocletian in the 4th century AD, this palace is more than just a historical relic – it’s a living, breathing part of the city. Roaming through its labyrinthine corridors, visitors encounter a vibrant mix of shops, cafes, and residences. Imagine strolling through the Peristyle, the palace’s central square, surrounded by ancient columns and adorned with a sphinx brought from Egypt. It’s a surreal experience that bridges the gap between antiquity and the present day.

Marjan Hill: A Natural Escape ↑

For a breath of fresh air and panoramic views, ascend Marjan Hill. This forested oasis offers a respite from the city bustle. Hike or cycle through the winding paths to reach the summit, where a breathtaking panorama of Split and the Adriatic Sea unfolds. The centuries-old chapels and hermitages scattered across the hill add an extra layer of charm to this natural haven.

Indulge your senses in Split’s culinary scene by visiting the Fisherman’s Wharf and Green Market. The wharf, with its colourful boats bobbing in the turquoise waters, offers an array of freshly caught seafood. Adjacent to it, the Green Market entices visitors with vibrant displays of local produce, olive oils, and traditional Croatian delicacies. This gastronomic journey allows you to truly savour the authentic flavours of the Adriatic.

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Fisherman’s Wharf and Green Market: Culinary Delights

Riva Promenade: ↑

A Mediterranean Oasis

Just beyond the palace’s walls awaits the Riva Promenade – a lively waterfront stretch that serves as Split’s social hub. Lined with palm trees and dotted with cafes, it’s the perfect place for a leisurely stroll or a relaxing cup of coffee. The Riva buzzes with activity, especially during sunset when locals and tourists alike gather to witness the sky ablaze with hues of orange and pink.

Bacvice Beach: Sun, Sand, and Sea

No coastal city is complete without a beautiful beach, and Split boasts the popular Bacvice Beach. A sandy shore bathed by crystal-clear waters, Bacvice is not only a sunbather’s paradise but also the birthplace of picigin, a traditional Croatian ball game played in the shallow waters. Join in the local fun or simply unwind under the Mediterranean sun.

Game of Thrones: ↑ Westeros in Split

Fans of the epic series “Game of Thrones” will find Split’s Diocletian’s Palace familiar, as it served as the primary filming location for Meereen, the fictional city in Slaver’s Bay. Guided tours take visitors through the iconic spots featured in the series, bringing the fantasy world of Westeros to life in this incredible ancient setting.

Salona Archaeological Park: Unearthed History

Just a short drive from Split lies the Salona Archaeological Park, once the thriving capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia. The preserved ruins include an amphitheatre, basilicas, and beautiful ancient city walls. Walking through this archaeological wonderland provides us with a glimpse into the city’s past, showcasing its rise and eventual decline.

Well, we have embarked on a whirlwind journey through the captivating city of Split. From the ancient walls of Diocletian’s Palace to the sun-drenched beaches and island escapes, Split beckons travellers with a captivating blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. So, if you find yourself yearning for a destination that seamlessly weaves the threads of the past and present, look no further than Split – a true jewel of the Adriatic.

Wokingham Local • March 2024 | 9

Historic Charm Meets

Floral Splendour

In addition to its historical significance, Hever Castle offers a range of attractions, including a yew maze, a water maze, and an impressive rose garden. The castle’s grounds host various events throughout the year, from exciting jousting tournaments to cultural festivals, making it a popular destination for history enthusiasts and tourists alike.

Hever Castle stands as a testament to England’s rich past and provides an immersive experience into the lives of its illustrious former residents.

Hever Castle, located in Kent, is a historic fortress with both a rich and fascinating history. It was originally built in the 13th century, the castle is best known for being the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII and the mother of Queen Elizabeth I. The castle underwent significant renovations in the 20th century but retains its medieval and Tudor heritage.

Surrounded by picturesque gardens and a tranquil lake, Hever Castle is a stunning example of Tudor architecture. Visitors can explore its well-preserved interiors, including the Anne Boleyn’s Bedroom, where she is said to have spent her early years. The castle also features a remarkable collection of antique furniture, tapestries, and Tudor portraits.

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In spring, Hever Castle’s vibrant gardens burst with the kaleidoscopic beauty of tulips, a breathtaking spectacle. The air is filled with the delicate fragrance of these iconic flowers, painting the landscape in hues ranging from fiery reds to soft pastels. Rows of tulips stand proudly, their petals unfurling like a living tapestry against the historic backdrop of the castle.

As sunlight dances through the carefully manicured grounds, the tulips create a mesmerizing symphony of colours, captivating visitors and transporting them to a world of natural elegance. Hever Castle’s tulip display is a fleeting yet enchanting reminder of the ephemeral magic of spring.

A trip to Hever Castle combines the experience of a botanical paradise with historical grandeur.

Wokingham Local • March 2024 | 11
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The Timeless Charm of Henley-on-Thames

Henley-on-Thames, located in Oxfordshire, has a rich history dating back to ancient times. The town’s name is believed to have Saxon origins, with “Henley” possibly referring to a high or wooded area. The “Thames” part of its name indicates its proximity to the River Thames. In the 12th century, Henley became a market town and gained importance due to its strategic location along the river, fostering trade and commerce. The town’s bridge, initially built in the 13th century, played a crucial role in facilitating river crossings and further boosting economic activity. Henley’s significance continued to grow during the Tudor period, and by the 16th century, it had become a flourishing market town with a thriving agricultural and trading community.

In the 18th century, the town’s economy expanded with the development of industries such as brewing and malting. The 19th century marked a turning point for Henley with the establishment of the worldrenowned Henley Royal Regatta in 1839. This annual rowing event attracted national and international attention, solidifying Henley’s reputation as a centre for water sports. The Victorian era also witnessed the construction of notable landmarks, including St. Mary’s Church, which stands as a testament to the town’s architectural heritage.

The 20th century brought further growth, and Henley became a popular destination for both residents and tourists, drawn to its picturesque setting and cultural events.

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Today, Henley-on-Thames maintains its historic charm while embracing modern amenities. The town is known for its elegant Georgian architecture, vibrant arts scene, and the annual Henley Festival, celebrating the performing arts. Henley’s history is interwoven with its scenic landscape and a legacy of cultural and sporting achievements that continue to shape its identity.

As part of our series on visiting neighbouring towns and villages, we recently stopped off at Henleyon-Thames, as we travelled North of Wokingham through Twyford and Wargrave. This idyllic town offers a unique blend of rich history, cultural significance, and natural beauty. Henley-on-Thames is not only famous for its rowing heritage but also for its quaint streets lined with charming shops, boutiques, and traditional English pubs. The town exudes a classic, timeless appeal with its historic buildings and cobblestone streets, creating a perfect setting for leisurely strolls and exploration.

Our first stop as we alighted the train at Henley station was the destination of a new shop on Station road, where our very own Pratts Pods will shortly be opening their second mobile phone and tech repair shop, and they are proud to be Apple certified independent repair providers, which will be a fantastic benefit for locals, commuters, and visitors alike. Rory Pratt, entrepreneur and business owner, has successfully run his tech repair shop on Elms Walk in Wokingham for many years, and he tells us how excited he is to be expanding and opening the shop here, and to meeting and serving the local community.

Heading into Town, we nipped into Shellfish Cow which is a laid back, quirky shellfish and steak restaurant and bar with a relaxed and cosy vibe. Over the road there are an array of independent shops among them being Wild & Rust, an eco gift shop, which invites customers on a sustainable journey, working towards a mindful shopping experience, where styling your home and taking care of your wellbeing can be done responsibly. Next door is Tigers & Tiaras which is a children’s boutique for the earth conscious fashionista from ‘tinies to teens’.

Wokingham Local • March 2024 | 13

On into the main town square, and there is a hive of activity with several streets of well known chain stores side by side with independent shops and eateries and a combination of traditional and modern public houses. The Old Bell pub proudly states that it is the oldest building in Henley.

A walk down to the waterfront is of course a must-see on a trip to the town, and the River Thames, flowing gently through the town, adds to its allure. Boating and river cruises are popular activities, allowing visitors to experience the beauty of the surrounding countryside from a different perspective. And, whilst there an absolute certainty is a cup of tea and a slice of cake at the Chocolate cafe on the riverside.

In addition to its scenic beauty, Henley-on-Thames hosts various cultural events, including festivals, concerts, and art exhibitions. The community actively engages in preserving its heritage, evident in the well-preserved landmarks like St. Mary’s Church and the Henley Bridge.

So, what did we discover on our trip by train up to Henley-on-Thames? Well, it stands as a quintessential English town, offering a delightful blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether one is drawn to its regal rowing traditions, charming streets, independent businesses or tranquil river views, Henley-on-Thames captivates locals and visitors alike with its timeless charm.

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FIND US AT 41 Station Road, Henley-on-Thames RG9 1AT

How we can make 2024 the year of substantial growth for your business!

As we bid farewell to the old and welcome the new, it’s that time of the year again - planning for the upcoming financial year. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably itching with excitement and anticipation for what lies ahead. So, let’s dive right in and talk about how we can make 2024 the year of substantial growth for your business!

First things first, let’s reflect on the past year. What worked well? What didn’t quite hit the mark? Taking stock of your successes and learning from your setbacks is crucial for charting a course toward greater prosperity. As your local accountant, I’m here to help you navigate through the numbers and uncover valuable insights that can fuel your growth strategy.

Now, let’s talk goals. What are your aspirations for the upcoming year? Whether it’s expanding your customer base, launching new products or services, or streamlining your operations, setting clear and achievable objectives is key. Remember, goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

Together, we can turn your dreams into actionable plans and transform them into reality.

Next up, budgeting. I know, I know - budgeting might not sound like the most thrilling aspect of running a business, but trust me, it’s essential. A well-crafted budget serves as a roadmap for your financial journey, guiding all your spending decisions, and ensuring that you stay on track toward your goals. From revenue projections to expense forecasts, I’ll help you crunch the numbers and develop a budget that sets you up for success.

Ah, now let’s talk about everyone’s favourite topic: taxes. Okay, maybe not everyone’s favourite, but certainly an important one! As tax regulations evolve and change, it’s crucial to stay informed and compliant.

By staying proactive and working with a trusted advisor (that’s me!), you can minimise your tax liability and maximise your savings. Let’s work together to optimise your tax strategy and keep more of your hard-earned money where it belongs - in your pocket.

But wait, there’s more! Have you considered leveraging technology to supercharge your business operations? From cloud accounting software to digital marketing platforms, technology offers a plethora of tools to streamline processes, boost

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productivity, and enhance customer experiences. Let’s explore how you can harness the power of technology to gain a competitive edge in today’s fast-paced business landscape.

And let’s not forget about the importance of staying agile and adaptable. In today’s ever-changing world, flexibility is key to survival. By continuously monitoring your progress, analysing market trends, and adjusting your strategy as needed, you can navigate uncertainty with confidence and seize new opportunities as they arise.

Last but not least, don’t forget to celebrate your victories along the way! Whether it’s reaching a major milestone, surpassing a revenue target, or simply overcoming a challenge, every achievement is worth acknowledging.

So go ahead, pat yourself on the back and revel in your success - you’ve earned it!

“Well, there you have it, your roadmap to success in the new financial year. As your dedicated partner in growth, I’m here to support you every step of the way. Together, let’s make 2024 a year to remember!”

Ready to take your business to the next level?

Contact Melanie Curtis Accountants today to get started!

Melanie Curtis Accountants Ltd

100 Berkshire Place, Winnersh Wokingham, RG41 5RD

0118 944 3720


Wokingham Local • March 2024 | 17
Grow a better and more profitable business with Melanie Curtis Accountants Book your free initial consultation today Your local experts supporting you with all of your accounting, tax and business growth needs. Limited company experts.

Why We Can’t Help Getting Into Conflict

Nobody enjoys being in an argument. No, not even your ex! Conflict is distressing and uncomfortable. It’s bad enough at home, but conflict at work is a leading cause of stress and anxiety for employees. So why do we argue? I’m a workplace investigator and mediator, and I specialise in managing conflict within businesses. In this article, I’m going to give you a quick introduction to the four cognitive biases that predispose us to conflict.

An Introduction to Cognitive Bias

Every one of us is susceptible to cognitive biases. These arise from the beliefs and assumptions that influence how we interpret the world around us. We all have them. It doesn’t matter how reasonable or rational you think you are, nobody is immune. There’s nothing inherently wrong with cognitive biases. In fact, many of them help our brains find mental shortcuts to simplify and reduce the amount of conscious decision making we need to do in daily life. However, a side effect of this is that they can sometimes cause us to misinterpret things, or make irrational judgements.

There are many cognitive biases that affect us, but for now, I’m going to concentrate on the four that are especially relevant to how most conflicts arise and escalate.


First Person Perspective Bias

We all grow up and experience the world differently. We build up a picture of what the world is like based on our experiences and observations, our interactions with parents, teachers, friends, and so on. Our views on society, politics, economics, whether other people are fundamentally good or bad, are all founded upon how our view of the world has formed. This leads us to believe that our view of the world is the correct view. This is what causes firstperson perspective bias: “the world is how I see it”.


Illusory Superiority Bias

In order to thrive in the world and not collapse into depression, we need to believe that we can do things. The confidence to adapt to circumstances, overcome problems, learn and apply new skills, and so on. Unfortunately, we can sometimes be a bit over-confident in our abilities. You can demonstrate this effect with an experiment.

Put a hundred people in a room, each with a remote control that allows them to vote in secret (no raised hands). Ask them some questions:

“Do you have above average intelligence?”

“Are you a better than average driver?”

“Do you feel you are more reasonable and rational

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The Four Cognitive Biases of Conflict

than most other people?”

“Do you believe you are above average at your job?”

Guess what? Most people respond “YES”.

We like to believe that we’re good at what we do. Nobody thinks they do a bad job at work, yet we can all think of someone else who’s not doing well. Also, how often have you muttered to yourself about how irrational or stupid other people are on social media? This is our illusory superiority bias: “I have above average intelligence, rationality & reasoning”.


Confirmation Bias

You’ve probably heard of this one.

Confirmation bias is our tendency to pay more attention to observations that align with our beliefs, and to disregard or even distrust observations that contradict our beliefs. Or to put it another way: “all my observations confirm that what I believe is true”.

“All right-thinking people agree with me” therefore

“If you disagree with me, you must be wrong!”

“Imagine two people with different points of view, but with this same psychology. Conflict is almost inevitable!”

Okay, but what can we do about it? That’s a topic for another article. Let me know if you want me to write it!

Meanwhile, if you’re an employer and need help with conflict or grievances at work, get in touch for a no obligation conversation about how I can help.


False Consensus Bias

This bias is interesting because it is supported by the other three. False consensus bias is the belief that all ‘right thinking’ people agree with you, on the assumption that you’re point of view is correct. Now let’s put these together…

“The world is how I see it”


“I have above average intelligence and rationality” plus

“My observations confirm my views”

so surely

Wokingham Local • March 2024 | 19

“Tell me about the Wokingham Art Society?”

The Wokingham Art Society was formed in 1956 to enable local people not only interested in art but to encourage them as artists whatever their abilities and to create their art, to admire and learn from others and to mix with like-minded people. We have over 160 members, around 120 of whom are exhibiting members and we meet at the Bradbury Centre in Rose Street Wokingham on the third Tuesday evening of every month to see live demonstrations by professional artists producing their paintings in watercolour, acrylic and oil media.

There are also quite a number of workshops held throughout the year where members can learn from the professional artists and create their own works of art as well as untutored gatherings which also provide a valuable social content for the people of Wokingham and surrounding areas. Our flagship event is the Annual Summer Exhibition and Sale

Five Minutes With:

held at St Paul’s Parish Rooms on the Reading Road

Wokingham, this year being the 68th Event running between Saturday 20 July and Saturday 3 August 2024. Last year, nearly 100 of our members who include professional and amateur artists created and displayed their work including paintings, drawings, cards, sculpture and ceramics, these being available for immediate sale on the day.

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Jacqui Priestley spends five minutes with Peter Izod, Chariman of Wokingham Art Society, as he talks about the “Thriving Art Scene in Wokingham”

As items are sold, they are replaced to create a rolling exhibition with well over 100 items and more than 300 cards being sold each year. Prizes are awarded for various categories including the prestigious ‘Best in Show’ award.

“Tell me about yourself, Mr Izod?”

My background is as an Architect, having had my own practice in Wokingham since 1975. Predating the Computer Aided Design period, I have always been on a drawing board and sketched and painted over the years. I have been a member of Wokingham Arts Society for many years and am now the current Chairman. I have as an amateur artist looked forward to the demonstrations where there is always something to learn from the professionals and to taking part in the Annual Exhibition.

I am amazed by the high standards of work achieved by the exhibiting membership, none of whom are denied the opportunity to put their work on display at very reasonable prices.

Certainly, the attendance at demonstrations and the footfall at the Exhibition shows that it features on

many peoples’ calendars year after year.

“Lastly, can you tell me about the wider artistic scene in and around Wokingham?”

The Wokingham Art Society is just one of the ingredients of a thriving art scene in the Borough, several members also being involved with the Annual Wokingham Arts Trail, this year being held on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 September 2024 in local venues and studios with the opportunity to meet and discuss work with the artists.

A number of our members also exhibit their work in well-known galleries including the Mall Galleries in London from time to time. Our links to other groups including the Reading Guild of Artists and other art groups in the area also help to raise the profile for artists and art lovers.

Those interested in joining the Society are always welcomed to their meetings as guests, whether they wish to observe or to exhibit in due course.

People of all ages are involved, and the Wokingham Art Society can be contacted through their website:


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Local charity, Arts4Wokingham, believes that public art should be for all. They are continuing to fundraise for a spectacular piece of sculpture, The Arc, to be located outside Wokingham’s Carnival Hub. The Arc has been designed by internationally acclaimed sculptor, Nicola Anthony, whose works include a piece commissioned and unveiled by American film director, Steven Spielberg. It is hoped that The Arc will help to define Wokingham and offer many opportunities with which local residents and visitors can interact.

In April, the project will come some 55,000 steps nearer as local runners, Anne Reece and Stuart Ratcliff, who are both linked to Wokingham’s énergie Fitness gym, take on the Brighton marathon. That’s the estimated number of steps that have to be taken to complete the 26.2 mile course. Stuart and Anne have been training for months, and by taking on this challenge as sponsored runners wearing Arts4Wokingham vests, they hope to raise funds that will help to ensure that the installation of The Arc becomes a reality.

The Brighton marathon takes place on April 7th. More details about Anne and Stuart and how they can be supported can be found on the Arts4Wokingham website, where there’s also a link to their ‘Just Giving’ page;


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Food Based Fun

The ever-shifting patterns of what people love to eat make exploring food trends for 2024 a thrilling prospect. What might the latest food trends have in store for home cooking, popular ingredients, beloved beverages and beyond? Thanks to imaginative culinary leanings and a sense of food-based fun, there’s no shortage of tempting tastes and intriguing elements to try. Will healthful, comforting ingredients dominate the menu of new food trends in 2024? Or will indulgent delights and exotic flavours become the specials of the day? Luckily for us all, it’s a little of both! Dig into the list below and see what latest food trends await you.

Urban Farm Produce

Addressing the issue of urban food deserts, growing ultra-urban farm produce as a food trend will bring fresh foods to places where it’s needed the most. With options for local community gardens, kitchen crops and home-based hydroponics, there’s a world of novel growing methods to be explored; from rooftops to backyards to balconies. And every option provides critical access to healthy ingredients grown in responsible ways. There are a myriad of cooking classes near you to help you learn to create salads, sides and vegetable-forward dishes that sing with fresh flavour and goodness. There are also online cooking classes available that allow you to explore food trends from the comfort of your own kitchen.

Climate-Conscious Foods

Sustainability will continue as an element of many food trends this year , just as it was a key food trend of the past few years. The availability of ingredients farmed responsibly with lower-impact growing methods will expand the movement in important ways. Leading the charge: grains and other crops grown with concern for soil health, creating an easier environment for continued cultivation. Increasing interest in plantforward dining will also carry forward the idea of

careful cuisine. And the explosion of non-meat protein alternatives continuing into next year will highlight a desire for mindful options. Learning to prepare food this way may be an adjustment, but once you get started, you’ll find the options are abundant.

Island Flavours

A splash of tropical sunshine will add some muchneeded joy to our eating habits this year! Look for a fusion of traditional and island ingredients to create a latest food trend. A rise in popular picks such as pineapple and passionfruit, as well as more adventurous options like coconut curry and Caribbean spices, will help turn simple dishes into unique experiences. And beverage flavours taking a turn toward the floral and fruity will help make this year an escape to paradise.

Wokingham Local • March 2024 | 23

Pasture-Raised Meat and Eggs

Following the pattern of many other food trends, those with the means to purchase pastureraised meat and eggs may be interested in making the shift. The reason is multi-faceted: Environmentally-destructive factory farms have fallen out of public favour over the past several years, with more consumers looking to purchase meat and eggs from small, local farms where animals are raised ethically with plenty of space and natural diets. There’s also a health component. Compared to factoryfarmed livestock, pastured animals are less likely to suffer dangerous bacteria outbreaks such as e coli, staph or salmonella.

Quality is also significantly higher; FACT reports that grass-fed beef contains less saturated fat, lower levels of inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids and higher levels of vitamins than grainfed beef typical of a commercial farm. There can be a premium to buying pasture-raised, but as many folks move away from meatfocused diets, they are more willing to pay for higher quality in smaller quantities.

International Barbecue

Turning up the heat in this year, expect the latest BBQ food trends to bring the fire, too! Expanding our domestic BBQ palate, flavours from global cuisines will be lending their magic to traditional BBQ options. Regional spice profiles with smoky and peppery notes from the Middle East, the Mediterranean, South America and Asia will be rising in popularity. Look for an uptick in Korean and Thai BBQ techniques to provide some exciting fusion flash to your usual BBQ sensibilities.

Tinned Fish

Another latest food trend comes in an unlikely place: tinned seafood. We aren’t just talking about the average can of tuna, either. Taking notes from traditional Spanish conservas (topquality foods preserved in cans or jars), trendy tinned fish includes octopus, squid, mussels, mackerel and more.

You’ll often find these selections preserved in sauces or with herbs, or sometimes smoked. Not only delicious, accessible and a wonderful addition to a snack board, tinned fish can also be a health-conscious addition to your pantry. Seafood is a great source of protein and hearthealthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Shellfish such as mussels and oysters are an excellent way to up your intake of zinc and vitamin B12. Plus, since so much tinned seafood consists of smaller-bodied, nonpredatory fish (sardines, mackerel, squid, mussels, etc.), you can breathe easy knowing the mercury content is much lower than what you’d find in regular servings of large fish. Try some spread on crackers, flaked over salad or eaten alongside a loaf of good bread and a glass of your favourite wine.

With substitutes available that can stand in for eggs in both function and flavour, vegan eggs are a thrilling latest food trend. They’re practically identical in taste when used in omelets or quiche and make low-cholesterol baking a foolproof success. And if you’re comparing nutrition facts, a serving of plantbased eggs has the same calorie and fat content as a serving of traditional eggs, and only one gram less of protein. When paired with plant-based chicken, beef and pork options, they round out a conscious swing toward animal-free eating that will continue to grow in 2024 and beyond.

Butter Boards

Butter is definitely having its moment in 2024. Inspired by social media chefs, “butter boards” are perfect for entertaining and serving a crowd, letting guests swipe breads, fried dough pieces, crackers or even crudités through the flavourful swirls of butter. You can go the sweet route with honey, fresh berries, dried fruits or flowers, or jams, or opt for savoury instead with fresh herbs, chili crisp, chimichurri, crumbled bacon, roasted garlic or nuts. The combinations are limited only by your

Girl Dinner

You may have heard the term “girl dinner” online recently and wondered what it was all about. Girl dinner is an eating style based on low effort and high satisfaction. The concept is nothing new, though the name is. When you’re not in the mood to cook but want to nourish yourself, you have girl dinner, creating a personal mini-buffet of the foods you love. More than a snack plate but less than a meal, girl dinner originated last year when a TikToker responded to a video in which the speaker described the typical meal of peasants — bread and cheese — as undesirable. They responded with, “But that’s my dinner!” and she posted her own video, dubbing her simple but satisfying repast as “girl dinner.” This glorified snacking trend is going to stick around well into 2025.

Will you embrace the culinary excitement by indulging in the latest food trends? Exploring innovative flavours, textures, and global inspirations that redefine gastronomic experiences, from sustainable and plant-based delights to cutting-edge culinary techniques, these trends promise a delectable journey for your taste buds. Discovering new superfoods that promote wellness, alongside creative fusions that push the boundaries of traditional cuisine. By embracing the latest food trends, you not only satisfy your palate but also stay at the forefront of culinary evolution, fostering a sense of adventure and cultural connection through the diverse and dynamic world of modern gastronomy.

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Vegan Eggs

The Expansive World of Indian Breads

They come in various forms ; leavened or unleavened, baked, fried, steamed, or slapped across the cavernous walls of tandoor. To date, there are over 30 types of Indian breads and they differ from region to region, with each city putting their own spin on the type of flour used and cooking method applied. But what these breads generally have in common is their ability to mop up delicious curry sauces or house various types of toppings and stuffings.

It may be daunting to set out and explore the expansive world of Indian breads, so we’re here to help. Here’s a beginner’s guide (courtesy of the Michelin Guide) to seven popular Indian breads and how to eat them.

1 Chapati

The word chapat means “slap” in Hindi, giving us an idea of just how the Indian flatbread is made. The unleavened bread is formed by slapping and stretching out the dough between the palms of the cook before finding itself on a tava - a flat, disc-like frying pan. But the real beauty of the chapati is its ability to pair with virtually any gravied curry or stew. Its mild, nutty flavour, along with its relatively healthy preparation, makes it India’s common staple food; it’s an everyday bread if you will.

2 Puri ↘

Fried to a golden, crispy puff is puri, a delicious unleavened Indian flatbread that inflates once the dough hits the oil. It is best accompanied by a chana masala (thick chickpea curry), korma (braised meat and vegetables) or a dal.

Puri is a light and delicious bread that is mostly served at breakfast or as a snack during the day

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3 Paratha

One of the most popular unleavened flatbreads in India for its versatility, parathas are flaky, chewy and denser than chapatis. And unlike parottas, whose flakiness is achieved by repeatedly slapping the stretchy dough, the paratha’s flaky, chewy texture is achieved through a series of ghee-layering and folding—a technique typically employed in the making of puff pastry. Parathas are then baked on a hot tava before getting shallow-fried off. The result is a beautiful crisp flatbread that can carry and hold up well against thick curries and dry stir-fries without disintegrating.

4 Parotta ↘

This layered flatbread finds its roots in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and India’s neighbour, Sri Lanka, and is often confused with the north Indian paratha as both flatbreads share similar attributes (think crispy flakiness and layers). However, there are subtle differences between the two: the parotta, unlike the paratha, is made with maida flour, which has a higher gluten percentage. The result is a silkier, doughier flatbread. It is said that the roti prata that we know and love is derived from this South Indian favorite. Malaysians know the flatbread as roti canai, which is believed to be a nod to its Chennai roots. The bread is traditionally served during breakfast or lunch with a dal (lentil curry) but has recently seen numerous modern updates—stuffed with onions, sardines and slices of cheese, or served sweet with condensed milk, Nutella and bananas.

5 Naan

Probably the most famous of Indian breads, this delicious leavened bread is best served fresh off the tandoor with dishes like tandoori chicken and kebab. While it is traditionally made in a tandoor, it can be easily recreated in an oven or pan at home. Just remember to brush it with some ghee or butter when you’re done.

Like a puri, the bhatura is a deep-fried, golden ball of goodness. But unlike the puri—and more similar to naan—the bhatura is a leavened bread made with maida flour, yogurt, ghee and yeast. It is often eaten with chana masala for breakfast and comes served with a tall glass of lassi, a yogurt drink mixed with water and spices, which originates from India’s Punjab region.

There are two main types of bhakhris: one is cooked like a pancake on a hot tava while the other is puffed up and served with ghee. This flatbread is very typical of Maharastrian cuisine, which is known for their austere-yet-flavourful foods in India. Farmers often carry sheets of bhakri out with them to the fields at the crack of dawn alongside chutneys, baingan bharta (a dish of spiced eggplant similar to the Middle Eastern baba ganoush) and rice.

These breads, whether gracing a humble home meal or a lavish feast, weave a tapestry of joy, connecting taste buds to the heart of Indian culinary heritage.

Which is your favourite?

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6 Bhatura → 7 Bhakri ←

Lunch Offer

from £16.99



Three Ways With Oysters

Iremember eating my first oyster. I was working for Gordon Ramsey and I had never seen anything as beautiful as the colour of the shell, while the flavour was minerally - the taste of the ocean. They were once seen as peasant food but perceptions, as well as prices, have changed, and they have become a luxury. I’ve seen how time consuming it is to grow them though, so that’s largely what you are paying for.

It’s worth noting that they are one of the most sustainable sources of seafood, as they store carbon, filter the water and protect the coastline. I love eating them raw, fresh from the water with a squeeze of lemon, but equally you can fry, poach or steam them.

At my restaurant we love to drop raw oysters into a bordelaise sauce, made with red wine and shallots, and serve them on top of a beef suet pudding. Another great way to enjoy them is to deep fry them and serve with tartare sauce. Many people believe that oysters should be swallowed whole, but there seems no pleasure in that! Instead, I recommend using your teeth to break them down in order to appreciate the creamy texture and relish the flavour.

The native oyster season runs from September to April so now is the perfect time to pick some up from a reputable supplier - and enjoy!

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Paul Ainsworth is chef owner of The Ainsworth Collection in Cornwall - including Paul Ainsworth at No 6, Caffe Rojano, The Mariners and Padstow Townhouse.
“These molluscs enhance everything from fish pie to beef tartare”

Dice the oysters and then fold them through a classic beef tartare. It enhances the seasoning of the dish, providing both a saltiness and a seaside flavour to the meat.

When making homemade mayonnaise add oysters to your base for an added bit of umami. An oyster mayo goes really well with fried shellfish, such as prawns.

Try folding oysters and their juices into a fish pie mix at the last moment, before folding creamy mash over the top. They really compliment the other fish and shellfish.

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1/ Tartare 2/ Mayonnaise 3/ Fish Pie

The Thames Path Walk

An Unforgettable Experience

The Thames Path is a picturesque and diverse walking trail that follows the course of the River Thames, one of the most iconic rivers in the world. Stretching for approximately 184 miles (294 kilometers), the path traverses a remarkable variety of landscapes, showcasing the beauty and history of the Thames Valley. The route takes walkers through urban areas, charming villages, historic sites, and natural reserves, providing a unique perspective on the river’s cultural and environmental significance.

The journey begins at the source of the River Thames, nestled in the Cotswolds, specifically at Thames Head near the village of Kemble in Gloucestershire. Here, a modest stone marks the official starting point, and from this point onwards, the trail meanders through open fields and picturesque countryside, offering a serene and tranquil experience for hikers.

“Open fields and picturesque countryside, offering a serene and tranquil experience for hikers.”

As the path progresses, it winds its way through the heart of London, offering stunning views of iconic landmarks such as the Tower of London, the Shard, and the London Eye. The urban stretch of the Thames Path provides a dynamic contrast to the rural landscapes, allowing walkers to immerse themselves in the vibrant atmosphere of the capital while still enjoying the calming presence of the river.

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Continuing downstream, the path then explores historic towns and villages, including Windsor with its majestic castle, and Oxford with its worldrenowned university. The route showcases a blend of architectural wonders, cultural heritage, and natural beauty, making it a fascinating journey for those interested in history, architecture, and the great outdoors. It has been said that in particular the Thames at Windsor exudes timeless elegance, gracefully winding its way beneath the shadow of the historic Windsor Castle.

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The river reflects the regal charm of its surroundings, with swans gliding serenely on its tranquil surface. Majestic willows drape their branches over the water, creating a picturesque frame for the scene. Riverside promenades invite leisurely strolls, offering panoramic views of the castle’s medieval grandeur.

As the sun sets, the water shimmers with the hues of twilight, casting a magical glow upon the iconic landscape. The Thames at Windsor epitomises a blend of natural beauty and royal heritage, a captivating embodiment of English charm.

The final leg of the Thames Path concludes at the spectacular Thames Barrier in Woolwich, which is in East London. This engineering marvel serves as not only a symbolic end, but also a practical endpoint, as it marks the transition from the tidal river to the estuary.

The barrier spans 520 metres, and was designed to protect London from tidal surges. It is truly a testament to human ingenuity, and the ongoing efforts to manage, and coexist with, the powerful forces of nature.

The Thames Path offers a diverse and enriching experience for walkers, guiding them from the tranquil source in the Cotswolds through the bustling heart of London to the dynamic tidal estuary at Woolwich. It’s a journey that encapsulates the rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural beauty woven along the banks of the iconic River Thames.

If you would like to raise money for charity while experiencing the ‘path’, The Thames Path Challenge could be what you are looking for!

It is being organised by Action Challenge to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society and other charities, and takes place in September.

Registration is now open for fundraising and full details can be found here:


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Spring is a great time to rejuvenate and indulge in some self-care. The days are getting longer, with brighter mornings and evenings, and you can always enjoy a little Thai sunshine at The Lazy Frog with one of our wonderful massage therapies.

All the stresses and strains we put our bodies under can take their toll. Whether that’s because of an active lifestyle, working long hours, or both!

You may have experienced the classic ‘triangle of tension’ across the shoulders and up both sides of the neck . This can cause tension headaches & migraines and can also increase the chances of a neck spasm.

Our Thai head, neck and shoulder massage is perfect for relieving the tension and easing the discomfort. You’ll enjoy a good night’s sleep afterwards!

Alternatively, our authentic Thai massages can help provide fullbody relaxation. We work from your feet, up your legs to the upper thighs and from the head, neck and shoulders down your back to your waist.

We’ll also help ease mobility in your joints with limb stretches and assisted yoga positions. You can choose from our aromatic oils or try the traditional oil-free Thai massage that has been practiced for centuries!

If you need us to work through layers of tension to get to deep seated knots and tightness, why not try our Thai Deep Tissue massage? This is our more intense and focused form, which is a favourite with many of our guests.

Want to try it for yourself? Find & book a convenient appointment with our online booking system at w www.thelazyfrog.co.uk, message us via social media, or call us on 0 0118 374 3693.

We’re open from 10am to 8pm, located opposite the car park entrance in Denmark Street, Wokingham

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Mindfulness A Journey of Self Discovery

Mindfulness is a practice that involves paying attention to the present moment with openness, curiosity, and non-judgment. It can bring numerous benefits, including reduced stress, increased focus, and a greater sense of well-being. If you’re new to mindfulness, here are some simple steps to get started:


Understanding Mindfulness

Begin by understanding what mindfulness is and its purpose. Mindfulness involves cultivating awareness of your thoughts, emotions, and sensations without getting caught up in them. It’s about being present and fully engaged in the current moment.


Start with Short Sessions

Begin with short mindfulness sessions, especially if you’re new to the practice. Start with 5 - 10 minutes and gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable.


Find a Quiet Space

Choose a quiet and comfortable space where you won’t be disturbed. This could be a corner of a room, a park, or any place where you feel at ease.


Focus on Your Breath

The breath is a common anchor for mindfulness. Pay attention to your breath, observing the sensations as you inhale and exhale. If your mind wanders, gently bring your focus back to your breath.


Body Scan Meditation

Another effective mindfulness technique is the body scan. Close your eyes and bring your attention to different parts of your body, starting from your toes and moving up to your head. Notice any sensations without judgment.

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Mindful Walking

Incorporate mindfulness into your daily activities, such as walking. Pay attention to each step, the sensation of your feet lifting and landing, and the movement of your body. This can be a moving meditation.

7 Use Guided Meditations

Utilise guided meditations to help you get started. There are plenty of apps and online resources with guided sessions led by experienced meditation instructors. These can provide structure and guidance.


Cultivate Non-Judgmental Awareness

Practice observing your thoughts and emotions without judgment. Instead of labeling them as good or bad, simply acknowledge them and let them pass. This non-judgmental awareness is a key aspect of mindfulness.


Be Patient and Consistent

Like any skill, mindfulness improves with consistent practice. Be patient with yourself and understand that your mind may wander - that’s normal. Bring your attention back to the present moment without frustration.


Integrate Mindfulness into Daily Life

Extend mindfulness beyond formal meditation sessions. Bring awareness to routine activities like eating, driving, or washing dishes. This helps you cultivate mindfulness in various aspects of your life.


Join a Community

Consider joining a mindfulness group or class. Practicing with others can provide support, encouragement, and a sense of community.


Reflect on Your Experience

Take a few moments after each session to reflect on your experience. Notice any changes in your thoughts, emotions, or overall wellbeing. This self-reflection can help you appreciate the positive effects of mindfulness.

Mindfulness is a journey of self-discovery and self-awareness. By incorporating these steps into your routine, you can gradually develop a mindfulness practice that suits your needs and enhances your overall well-being. Remember, the key is regular practice and an open, non-judgmental attitude towards yourself and your experiences.

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When Do We Start to Care About Care?

It’s interesting that most older people are more likely to talk about their funeral than care, perhaps we avoid what we don’t understand, or we have a bad memory of? For many older people memories or experiences of care go back 30 years or more to their own parents and relations and it wasn’t so good back then.

Today, care offers a different experience yet so few of us really understand it, we all face funerals and frankly most of us will have a need for care, so why don’t we face up to it and learn? A taboo we need to manage. Then why is today’s care so much better?

Firstly, we have regulations, which are onerous, however do generally ensure all care providers follow the rules and apply standards. We also now know much more about the many conditions we must support and so our carers are better trained and able to do the right things.

This training is very important and often its value isn’t appreciated until someone [usually family] makes a mistake in the way they lift someone, or turn them, or get their drugs management wrong and many other things that become essential looking after those in need, these are routine for carer’s and they are trained to do it.

We also have systems, which might seem odd to mention when we are talking about care, however these systems enable us to ensure we do the right things to manage a client’s personal care plan, and that different carers are fully informed as to what happens with that client on every visit. They allow us to provide continuity of care and ensure we focus on key issues.

Systems also ensure we can support and protect our carers and we know where they are, if there is a problem, such as roadworks for example, we can contact a client if their carers are running late.

It may seem trivial, but most clients are really focussed on time for help getting out of bed, for medicines, meals, and so it’s important, which is why we pride ourselves on getting to 97% of all our visits within 10 minutes of the scheduled call.

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Picking up from a point near you

l Coastal Tours

l Theatres

There seems to be a perception that care is only for those towards the end of their days, absolutely not. Over the last year a significant number of our clients have had cancer, and most of these are not “old” people, others are post operative or needing recovery support as well as those who are just ageing and need support with getting the most from every day. You can’t avoid ageing! it happens to all of us and in many cases isn’t a dramatic change, its small frustrations and limitations, much of which is normal, however it doesn’t need to become a problem.

l Lunch Drives

l Christmas Markets

new and exciting travel company is pleased to offer you a selection of Day Excursions

l Gardens

l Historic Houses

And many more to choose from

For further details check out the website, email us or telephone our office for a copy of

Typically people think care means going into a care home, which can be the right choice, yet we know over 95% of people want to stay at home as long as they can. Home care helps people stay at home from providing simple weekly or daily tasks, companionship, to more a involved relationship where we help with full personal care, looking after medicines, preparing meals and more. For some, the solution is a live-in carer who lives with them 24/7 and supports them fully. You can find lots of advice on the web, or you can come in and talk to your local experts about your particular situation and find out how we can help make things better.

Wokingham Local • March 2024 | 39
Short Breaks
DOOR2DOOR SHORT BREAKS Including our Taxi ServiceHome/Coach/Home Tours throughout England, Scotland, Wales, Southern Ireland and Europe
Brochures Available Now www.seekerstravel.co.uk Email - info@seekerstravel.co.uk Telephone - 01252 761047
l Daily home care to support independent living l From 30 minute visits through to 24/7 live-in care l Fully tailored care plans, regulated by the CQC l We will be there when you need us, on time Our home care visits are scheduled to suit you 0118 997 7499 www.thehomecarepeople.co.uk Registered Office: Homecare People Ltd, The Overhangs, 59 Peach Street, Wokingham, RG40 1XP CARE YOU CAN RELY ON
our brochure.
Guided by the latest academic evidence, our dementia specialists support each resident to live every day to the full.
you’re considering a care home, call 0333 220 4218 or visit careuk.com/berkshire Trusted to care Bickerton House, Bracknell Parsons Grange, Shinfield Expert dementia care
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What is Eclectic Style?

A Harmonious Fusion or Chaotic Busyness?

In the realm of interior design, the term “eclectic” is often thrown around to describe spaces that incorporate a mix of styles, patterns, and elements. However, there exists a fine line between achieving a harmonious fusion of diverse aesthetics, and creating a space that appears excessively busy or chaotic. Understanding the principles of eclectic style and discerning when it veers into overwhelming busyness is crucial for creating a balanced and visually appealing environment.

At its core, eclectic style embraces a diverse range of influences, drawing inspiration from various design periods, cultures, and artistic movements. The beauty of eclectic design lies in its ability to break free from strict adherence to a single style, allowing for the incorporation of elements that resonate with personal taste and experiences. This style is a celebration of individuality, encouraging creativity and uniqueness in the arrangement of furnishings, colours, and decorative pieces.

When executed thoughtfully, eclectic interiors can exude a sense of curated charm, telling a story of the homeowner’s journey through life and design. Mixing modern and vintage pieces, combining bold colours with neutral tones, and integrating elements from different cultures can result in a visually stimulating yet cohesive aesthetic.

The key lies in finding common threads that tie disparate elements together, whether through colour schemes, textures, or overarching themes.

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However, the risk of veering into a visually overwhelming or chaotic territory is ever-present when embracing eclectic style. What distinguishes an eclectic space from a busy one is the intentional curation of elements rather than a haphazard collection of disparate items. It requires a discerning eye to strike a balance between diversity and cohesion, ensuring that the various components contribute to a unified whole rather than competing for attention.

“What distinguishes an eclectic space from a busy one is the intentional curation of elements.”

One potential pitfall of eclectic design is the temptation to overcrowd a space with too many contrasting elements. A room filled with an excessive array of patterns, textures, and colours can lead to visual fatigue, making it difficult for the eye to find a focal point or navigate the space comfortably. To avoid this, it is essential to establish a hierarchy of design elements, allowing certain pieces to take centre stage while others play supporting roles.

Colour plays a crucial role in determining the success of eclectic design. While the style encourages the use of a broad spectrum of hues, a carefully chosen colour palette can tie diverse elements together. Too many clashing colours can contribute to a chaotic and overwhelming atmosphere, whereas a wellbalanced palette can create cohesion and visual interest. Employing neutral tones as a backdrop can provide a grounding effect, allowing bolder colours to pop without inducing sensory overload.

Texture is another powerful tool in the eclectic designer’s arsenal. Incorporating a variety of textures – from smooth and sleek surfaces to rough and tactile materials – adds depth and visual intrigue to a space. However, it’s crucial to strike a balance to prevent a space from feeling too busy. Selecting a few key textures and repeating them strategically can create a cohesive and inviting atmosphere.

← This living room is both inviting and friendly, with the perfect balance of contrasting elements, colour, texture, and lots of personality.

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Furniture selection is pivotal in eclectic design, and it’s important to mix pieces from different eras and styles judiciously. A well-chosen statement piece can anchor a room and serve as a focal point, providing a visual respite amid diverse elements. Thoughtful placement of furniture, along with attention to scale and proportion, contributes to the overall harmony of the space.

Ultimately, the success of eclectic style hinges on the art of curation. Every piece chosen should have a purpose and contribute to the overall narrative of the space. Thoughtful editing is essential to avoid the accumulation of items that may tip the balance from eclectic to chaotic.

“Thoughtful placement of furniture, along with attention to scale and proportion, contributes to the overall harmony of the space.”

So, what do you think? Is eclectic style synonymous with busyness, or is it a deliberate and artful blending of diverse elements to create a unique and personalised environment? Perhaps the key is to embrace variety while maintaining a sense of cohesion through thoughtful curation, colour harmony, texture balance, and strategic furniture placement. When executed with care and consideration, eclectic design can result in a space that is not only visually stimulating but also harmoniously inviting.

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Never Ending Spring

Ah, spring – that magical time when nature decides to throw a bit of colour back into our lives, especially after what feels like an endless, soggy winter. It’s almost like nature’s way of saying, “Sorry for the gloom, have some blooms!” But let’s be honest, those gorgeous flowers popping up everywhere have a bit of a commitment issue, don’t they? Just when you get used to having them around the house: poof, they’re gone, just no staying power.

Ever considered investing in high-quality, realistic, can’t-believe-they’re-not-real artificial flowers? With these beauties, it can always be spring in your home, no matter what the calendar says.

The Magic of Never-Ending Spring

Imagine your home, constantly in the bloom of spring, with hydrangeas that don’t wilt, peonies that are always flowering, and alliums that just keep going all year round. These aren’t the old painfully obvious plastic dust collector artificial flowers from yesteryear. Things have moved on, a lot: modern-day faux florals offer up those lifelike, hard-to-find blooms that’ll stick around for the long term.

Hydrangeas: Big, bold, and not bashful about bringing a burst of colour to any room. These faux wonders don’t need you to fuss over them, and they’re ready to party in pink, blue, white, burgundy or whatever colour tickles your fancy.

Peonies: The divas of the flower world, stunning but notoriously tricky to keep around. Artificial peonies are drama-free, making your space look effortlessly elegant. Peonies come in a rainbow of hues, ranging from lush greens to crisp whites, soft peaches, deep burgundies, and vibrant reds.

Alliums: These guys are like the fireworks of the flower world, adding a pop of blue, pink, brown, or even apricot to your pad. And they won’t fade away after the show’s over, keeping your place looking stylishly sharp throughout the seasons.

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Why settle for spring just once a year? With these botanical stars, you can have the vibrancy of spring without a best before date.

Creating the Perfect Arrangement

The secret to a stunning faux arrangement is all in the numbers – odd numbers, to be precise. Arranging stems in groups of three, five, or seven isn’t just pleasing to the eye; it feels naturally right and balanced. Adding a variety of fillers, like lush foliage, vibrant berries, or grasses, brings depth, texture, and that all-important pop. It’s about letting your main blooms shine, making a simple bunch into a longlasting display.

From Zero to Faux Floral Hero

Venturing into the world of faux florals? Begin with a sweet, small assortment of 5-7 stems to bring a pop of colour to that neglected spot in your home or to perk up your office desk. Feeling more adventurous? A quaint bunch can quickly bring a warm, inviting feel to any space. And for those aiming to truly impress, a lavish bunch of over 25 stems can level up your room with vibrant hues and elegance.

Ready to kick off the faux floral fest? Mix in an array of greenery, fillers, and accent blooms. For an absolute knockout display, aim for a large, eyecatching arrangement of about 2530 stems, blending both showpiece flowers and complementary fillers.

Vase Meets Bloom: The Ultimate Pairing

The key to that effortlessly chic look is matching your vase and stems correctly. The golden ratio is your stems should be no more than one and a half to two times the height of their vase. You’re free to snip or bend the stems to fit a more petite vase; and for those opaque vessels, adding some ornamental stones or glass beads not only hides the stems but also provides a bit of stability to your arrangement.

Artificial Flowers are Low Maintenance

The added bonus of artificial flowers is they’re incredibly easy to look after. No watering, no sunlight requirements, just a quick dust-off occasionally, and they stay vibrant and fresh-looking. Offering the charm of spring without any of the upkeep; perfect for adding a splash of colour to your home, all year round.


What makes artificial florals stand out? It’s all in the details – the subtle shades and multi toned petals that mimic nature, the foliage, and realistic features such as closed buds. It’s about creating that double-take moment. Today’s artificial blooms are so spot-on, you’d need to get right up close and personal, maybe even give them a little poke, to tell they’re not the real McCoy.

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Poggenpohl Marlow 75 High St | Marlow SL7 1AB phone 01628 326 061 marlow@poggenpohl.com www.marlow.poggenpohl.com

Clever Storage Ideas

Clever storage solutions play a crucial role in maintaining a tidy and organised home. Whether you’re dealing with a small apartment or a spacious house, maximising storage space can make a significant difference in your daily life. Let’s explore clever storage ideas for various areas around the home.

Entryway ↑

The entryway sets the tone for the entire home, and is often a dumping ground for shoes, coats, and keys. Optimise this space by installing a multi-functional bench with storage underneath. Hang hooks or a wall-mounted organiser for keys and small items. Consider a slim console table with baskets or drawers for additional storage without taking up much space.

Living Room ↑

In the living room, try to strike a balance between functionality and aesthetics. Choose furniture with built-in storage like coffee tables with hidden compartments or ottomans that open up to reveal storage space. Wall-mounted shelves not only serve as storage but also add a decorative touch. Use decorative baskets or bins to conceal items like blankets and remote controls.

Wokingham Local • March 2024 | 49


Efficient storage is crucial in the kitchen, where clutter can quickly accumulate. Install pull-out pantry shelves for easy access to canned goods and spices. Maximise cabinet space with stackable shelves or adjustable organisers. Utilise the often-underutilised space on the backs of cabinet doors for hanging pot lids or small utensils. Consider installing a magnetic strip for knife storage to free up counter space.


Create a serene and clutter-free bedroom by investing in storage beds with drawers underneath. Use bedside tables with built-in shelves or drawers to keep essentials within reach. Install a closet organisation system to make the most of your wardrobe space. Consider using storage ottomans or benches at the foot of the bed for extra blankets or seasonal clothing.


Bathrooms tend to have limited space, so clever storage solutions are essential. Install floating shelves above the toilet for towels and toiletries. Use organisers within drawers to keep small items like makeup and toiletries tidy. Hang baskets on the wall for additional storage without taking up floor space. Consider a mirrored medicine cabinet to combine storage with a functional element.

Dining Area

In the dining area, choose furniture that multitasks. Opt for a dining table with built-in storage or benches that can be opened for additional space. Use a bar cart for both serving and storage, keeping items like glassware and napkins easily accessible. Consider a sideboard or buffet with drawers and cabinets for storing table linens and dinnerware.

Laundry Room

Efficient storage in the laundry room can make chores more manageable. Install wall-mounted shelves or cabinets above the washer and dryer for detergent, supplies, and laundry baskets. Use pullout bins or baskets for sorting dirty laundry. Install a fold-down ironing board to save space and keep everything within reach.

50 | Wokingham Local • March 2024

Kids Room

Children’s rooms can quickly become chaotic, but smart storage solutions can help. Use multi-functional furniture, such as beds with built-in drawers or desks with shelving. Install wall-mounted shelves for books and toys. Use labeled bins or baskets for easy cleanup, teaching kids the importance of organisation from a young age.

Outdoor Space

Don’t forget about optimising storage in outdoor areas. Use deck boxes or storage benches for patio cushions and gardening tools. Install wall hooks or racks for bicycles and other outdoor gear. Consider a shed or storage unit for larger items like lawnmowers and outdoor furniture during the off-season.

Clever storage solutions really are the key to maintaining a well-organised and functional home. By strategically implementing storage solutions in every area of your living space, you can create a more comfortable and clutter-free environment for yourself and your family. Whether it’s utilising hidden storage in furniture or maximising vertical space with shelves, these ideas will help you make the most of every inch in your home.

Wokingham Local • March 2024 | 51
Nicholls as Belle Sam Gillett as Beast Music by Al An Menken lyrics by HowArd AsHMAn & TiM rice book by lindA woolver Ton originAlly direc Ted by rober T Jess roTH originAlly Produced by disney THe ATricAl Produc Tions This amateur production is presented by arrangement with Music Theatre International. All authorised performance materials are also supplied by MTI. www.mtishows.co.uk
southhillpark.org.uk Box Office 01344 484123 South Hill Park Arts Centre Bracknell RG12 7PA /southhillparkartscentre southhillpark /shpartscentre Registered charity 265656 Tue 9 – Sun 14 April 2024 40yeArS ofTHeWilde THeATre
A South Hill Park production

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Wokingham Local • March 2024 | 53
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Next Time...

Our next issue revolves around the theme of May Day, the ancient festival that marks the beginning of Summer. Grab your wildflowers, weave your garlands, and gather around the Maypole!

54 | Wokingham Local • March 2024
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Wokingham Local • March 2024 | 55 Wokingham May Fayre Bank Holiday 6th May 2024 10am-5pm. Organised by Wokingham Lions Club. Download Programme here: tinyurl.com/woky24 Stalls ☀ Funfair ☀ Food & Drink Stage & Walkabout Entertainment Live Music ☀ Children’s Zoo Stilt Walkers ☀ Morris Dancers Elms Field & Wokingham Town Centre Registered Charity No. 1180632 Wokingham Town Council Sponsors & Supporters:
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