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Food/Arts/Entertainment/Shopping/Property @BathLifeMag


ISSUE 384 / 1 – 15 FEBRUARY 2019 / £3











ABOVE: Meet 15 local couples in business, including David and Teresa (pictured) of Scout & Boo, page 26; BELOW: Refresh your home with a few beautiful accessories, page 72


worked with my partner for a good seven years, in separate departments of the same office, and then, when we moved to Bath, we just so happened to bag two roles in one office again; so that means this is the first full-time job I’ve been in without him. Everyone asks me how I coped, being with him 24/7 at work and at home, and that they would have gone ‘crazy’ being around their spouse all day, every day. Truth is, though, I loved it, and I miss him. Call me soppy (he would tell you otherwise; I’m actually quite mean, I hog the remote and I swear at him a lot) but having him around was great fun. So I’m actually pretty jealous of the 15 couples I chatted with on page 26 of this issue, all of whom have made working together work. On the theme of love, and as Valentine’s fever is in the air, on page 60 you’ll find our favourite romantic restaurants; on page 64 you’ll find gift ideas for your significant other; and on page 23 you’ll find our columnist Flats talking about that time he tried to trick his parents into thinking he was in love with his mate Dave. As an antidote to all that mushy-gushy stuff, though, we’ve been shopping for an array of home accessories with which to refresh your home (page 72); we’ve caught up with local artist James Mortimer (page 46) and we’ve eaten at the rather risqué, surprising new French bistro-come-concept-store Comptoir + Cuisine, which opened recently on George Street (page 56). Enjoy!

LISA EVANS Follow us on Twitter @BathLifeMag Instagram @bathlifemag I BATH LIFE I 3

Issue 384 / 1 – 15 February 2019 Cover Husband and wife Nick and Rebecca of Friends are Electric. See page 26 for more…

the arts

39 ARTS INTRO What does a bee sitting on the tongue

of a lion look like? Check out the beautiful sculpture

40 WHAT’S ON Get your diary out – here’s what’s

happening in February

46 the big interview Meet local artist

James Mortimer

53 BOOKS Discover the work of celebrated nature

writer Robert Macfarlane

55 Film Vintage classics, Oscar contenders and more


56 RESTAURANT Bath’s latest eaterie that may cause a

few blushes

59 Food & DrINK news Foodie events, a book

launch from Bath’s best baker, and a surprising reveal

60 Romantic restaurants Where to treat your

other half on Valentine’s Day



64 editor’s choice Earn some brownie points

with these gorgeous gifts





Issue 384 / 1 – 5 February 2019


26 BUSINESS PARTNERS The inspiring couples who

work together

69 Health & Beauty The non-surgical procedures

that are on the rise

72 interiors Soft furnishings to transform

your home

122 lives The former Noah and the Whale star chats

about becoming a Bathonian


85 business insider Breaking news from the local

business world

93 BATH LIFE AWARDS The finalists, the judges, and

all the details about the big night


113 showcase A Georgian pad bursting with colour


9 spotlight 14 society 23 a man’s world



93 Editor Lisa Evans Deputy Editor Harriet Noble Managing Editor Deri Robins Senior Art Editor Andrew Richmond Graphic Design Megan Allison Cover Design Trevor Gilham Editor’s Photo Bonnie Rose Contributors David Flatman, Sophie-Claire McLeod, Nic Bottomley Group Advertising Manager Pat White Deputy Advertising Manager Justine Walker justine.walker@mediaclash. Account Manager Annabel North Sales Executive Polly Jackson Production/Distribution Manager Sarah Kingston Deputy Production Manager Kirstie Howe Production Designer Matt Gynn Chief Executive Jane Ingham Chief Executive Greg Ingham Bath Life MediaClash, Circus Mews House, Circus Mews, Bath BA1 2PW 01225 475800 @The MediaClash © All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without written permission of MediaClash. We’re a Bath-based publisher, creative agency and event organiser Magazines Our portfolio of regional magazines celebrates the best of local living: Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter and Salisbury. We also publish foodie mag Crumbs (, @CrumbsMag). Agency From the design and build of websites to digital marketing and creating company magazines, we can help. Events We create, market, promote and operate a wide variety of events both for MediaClash and our clients Contact:




Messing about on the river could become big business


PUSH THE BOAT OUT Tourists and residents alike could soon experience the addition of boat trips travelling from Bath’s Parade Gardens, as River Avon pleasure boat businesses are being asked if they would consider running a passenger service from this popular green space. Bath & North East Somerset Council is making initial inquiries about the idea as a ‘toe-in-thewater’ to see if any boating business would want to tender for the chance to run a service from a Parade Gardens mooring. If the idea attracts interest from businesses then the council will look to set up a tendering process for a service from the council-run park. There are already moorings along the side of the river where it meets Parade Gardens and any boat on the water would need a licence with the Canal and River Trust to operate with boats carrying 12 or more passengers having to meet Marine Law regulations. “We have made initial inquiries with the Canal and River Trust as well as the Environment Agency and now we are just floating the idea to see if there is an appetite for a boating business from a mooring in Parade Gardens,” says councillor Bob Goodman, cabinet member for development and neighbourhoods. For more:

Wera Hobhouses’s Private Members Bill has successfully made ‘upskirting’ a specific criminal offence. Upskirting, the practice of taking a photograph up someone’s skirt without their permission or consent, was introduced to parliament on the 6 March 2018 by the Bath MP and, having passed its final parliamentary hurdle, now only requires the formality of royal assent in order to become law. The bill hit headlines last year after Tory MP Christopher Chope objected to it, which resulted in a national outcry. Embarrassed, the government rushed to overrule him by introducing the bill themselves. The legislation has received mass cross-party support, and is amending the Sexual Offences Act 2003 to

add upskirting as an offence under voyeurism. Offenders could face a spell of up to two years in jail. Speaking to Bath Life, Wera says,“I’m very pleased that my bill is to become law imminently. It’s a victory for women’s autonomy over their bodies, it will make it far easier to prosecute, and act as a deterrent for criminals who think they can get away with it. “I’m a great believer in working with people from other parties on subjects that we agree on. I did that here, and it resulted in progress. I’m doing the same thing on other important issues, like improving the way we treat eating disorders in this country.” The bill is expected to be granted royal assent in the next few months. For more: Wera Hobhouse, Lorna Rees and Diana Maddock outside Parliament


OFFICIAL OPENING Bath Sports and Leisure Centre has now officially opened following the successful completion of a £10 million refurbishment, which has included a new trampoline park and a ten-pin bowling alley. The refurbishment was completed to budget in late 2018, and the centre was officially opened by Bath & North East Somerset Council chairwoman, councillor Karen Walker, together with representatives from GLL and Sport England. Work started to transform the building in July 2016 after £1.5million of funding was secured from the National Lottery. “Following the refurbishment, Bath Sports and Leisure Centre is a facility that we are

proud of and will deliver a high-quality service and additional activities which many people can enjoy,” says Justine Foster, GLL Partnership Manage. The repairs, upgrades and additions include: • A new teaching and leisure pool • Transformation of the beach area of the fun pool into an interactive water-play area for children of all ages and abilities • New and improved changing spaces • An enhanced fitness suite • New double-storey soft play attraction • New studio space and party rooms • New leisure reception area and café/diner • A trampoline park • Eight-lane ten-pin bowling

Onwards and upwards at the new trampoline area

• Remodelled main reception space Work has now started on the £11 million refurbishment of Keynsham Leisure Centre. For more: I BATH LIFE I 9

spotlight Entertainment

Pal-in comparison Monty Python star and much-loved television globe-trotter Michael Palin will be coming to the Theatre Royal Bath with his new one-man stage show, entitled Erebus, Python and Other Stories. The show is part of a nationwide tour that finishes in Bath on 7 July. In the first part of the show, Palin brings to life the thrilling story of HMS Erebus, the tough little ship that took on the Antarctic and the Arctic in the 1840s, and which was the subject of his latest best-selling book. His talk will convey the triumph and tragedy of the ship’s short and doomed life, and what it was about it that made him so keen to tell its story. In the second half, Michael will chat



about his own life story, including how his three favourite subjects at school (geography, history and comedy) have shaped his life, from Monty Python to Ripping Yarns and the many television travel series that have taken him all around the world, from the North Pole to North Korea. With previously unseen footage and previously untold stories, Michael shows how comedy and adventure have been natural bedfellows during a rich and diverse career. The tour will be supported by local bookshops, and signed copies of his books will be available to buy. For more:

Lestyn Lewis, Allison Herbert, Guy Henderson, Tim Warren, Tarquin McDonald, Kirsty Scarlett, Rhys Priestland, and Peter James – judges and sponsors of the competition

Fifteen finalists have been selected for Bath & North East Somerset Council’s inaugural Our Young Stars Awards. The awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of extraordinary young people from across the district. The finalists, along with close family and friends, will all be invited to a gala awards dinner at the Apex City of Bath Hotel on 9 March, which will involve a evening of celebration including a three-course dinner and entertainment, culminating with the winners of each category being announced and awards presented to all of the finalists. All the fantastic runners-up will each receive a certificate in recognition of their achievement. “The response to our appeal for nominations was amazing and it was an incredibly tough job selecting the 15 finalists,” says Bath & North East Somerset council leader Tim Warren. “Reading through their stories it is clear we have some incredible, courageous and selfless young people in our midst.” For more:

The intrepid explorer will be in town this summer

Bath Abbey


Bath Abbey has been presented with a cheque for £175,000 towards the footprint project by well-known local philanthropist Andrew Brownsword. The Abbey’s Rector, the Reverend Canon Guy Bridgewater, met with Andrew Brownsword and Christina Brownsword to receive the cheque which forms part of The Brownsword Charitable Foundation’s pledge of half a million pounds in match funding towards Bath Abbey’s footprint project. In 2018, the Abbey raised around £175,000 through a variety of fundraising activities, including abseiling down the Abbey Tower and the Great Bath Bake Sale, that has been match funded by charity, bringing the total raised in 2018 for footprint to £350,000. “We are extremely grateful to the Brownswords for their generosity,” says the Reverend. “By pledging half a million in match funding towards the footprint appeal, they are giving added motivation and a real impetus to our fundraising appeal. For more:


The finalists who all live in Bath & North East Somerset range in age from 6 – 18 years old: Courage – sponsored by Kersfield Summer Carey Daw Bobby Lee Warman Alisia Watts Education – sponsored by YTL/ Wessex Water Skye Crouch Kieran Cunningham

Harvey Rawlings Innovation – sponsored by The James Dyson Foundation Jack Carter Callum Smith Hannah Wienburg Sport – sponsored by Bath Rugby


Edward Hayes Ruben Moxham Evie Wilkinson Unsung – sponsored by IESIS Group Ltd (Rengen Developments) Finley Brennan Hermione Tubbs Lucas Weisberg

Andrew Brownsword, Christina Brownsword and Reverand Canon Guy Bridgewater




SCENE T H E L AT E S T A DV E N T U R E S I N PA R T Y- GO I N G AC ROSS BAT H Harriet Dahan-Bouchard, Patrick Newall and Christine Newall

Claire Watson and Simon Watson Zoe Alexander and Georgia Bertuello

Sara Duncan, Lauren Atwell and Josh Macey

Lucy Bradley and Daryl Bradley Michelle Sames, Sophie Moore, Josh Tully and Chris Cook


New business Gym Design, the concept store by Gym Marine Yachts and Interiors, held a party to launch their showroom to the city. Examples of yacht fit-outs were on display, and guests took the opportunity to try out the equipment in between enjoying canapés and fizz. Photos by Nick Cole

Roy Bertuello and Edward Thomas Grace Davies-Redmond, Jo Perrett, Bethany Huff, Megan Dickerson and Lucy Ashby


Chloe A’Bear, Guy Royffe and Tatiana De Rossi

Cheryl Newman, Laura Cook and Toria Ryan


Vanessa Vaughan and Andy Trollope

David Konig and Olivia Konig

Vanessa Dutton and Anthony Dutton


Artist Emma Rose and designer Louise Rushford, of Lux & Bloom, celebrated a successful creative year by throwing a drinks party at The Art Studio of Emma Rose Art Works in Wellow. Drinks were quaed by friends and clients, surrounded by paintings, prints, lamps, cushions and silks. The merriment continued into the night. Photos by Betty Bhandari

Louise Rushford and Emma Rose

Jeremy Sell and Sarah Sell

Mike Clarkson, Debbie Clarkson and Judith Groves

Rosie Westacott, Mike Westacott, Chris May and Catherine May

Liz Peace, Alex Voisey and Rebecca Coke Prakriti Karthauser, Madeline Walters and Beth Jackson


Marcelle Speller, Gordon Lewis, Annabel Chapman and Sarah Lewis

Neil Butters, Karen Walker and David Walker


Emma Logan, Darcy Ayton, Amy Cousins and Phily Davidson

SPINNING AROUND Spin Village, the boutique indoor cycling studio, celebrated its launch with with a party for friends, family and clients. Goodness Grazers supplied some platters, while vino and prosecco were provided by Majestic Wines. Everyone had a dabble on the bikes.

Rebecca Northover, Zachary Craft and James Iberson-Hurst

Photos by Ella Cousins

Carol Moss, Gayle Taylor, Sharon Akin and Nikki Dyer

Andy Watson and Charlie Bird Kevin Bird and Matt Bollen


Stephen Newall and Ed Thomas


Ian Taylor, Richard Francis and Martin Longmore

Sian Swift and Richard Knighting

Loraine Morgan-Brinkhurst andChrista Taylor


Royds Withy King held its Year Ahead networking event at Bath Assembly Rooms. The event, which looked at some of the biggest challenges on the horizon for businesses over the next 12 months, featured two speakers: Steven Day, co-founder of Pure Planet, and Dr Rob Wortham, teaching fellow in robotics and autonomous systems at Bath University. Richard Godfrey, from Rocket Makers, also brought along virtual reality apps for guests to try. Photos by Barbara Evripidou

Becky Ricards-Small and Paul Ryder-Morris

Catherine Welch and Andy Battle

Richard Godfrey, Graham Street, Steven Day, Stuart Brazington and Rob Wortham Robert Pinheiro, Amanda Noyce and Rupert Hart


Hannah Roper, Katie Brown and Michelle Rochester Alison Fedeli and Louise Hart

Miriam Percy, Stephen Wicks and Anna Arakcheeva

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Love is Love


With Valentine’s romance in the air, Flats recounts the time he pretended he was in love with his mate Dave

“The gag was I was going to tell my parents that I was gay”


f you’re lucky enough to have a daughter or two, then I reckon Valentine’s Day could end up being rather good fun. Either that or rather dangerous. I was raised in a family of psychologists; my father has been one for ever, and my sister now has a ‘Dr’ before her name. I only mention this as I recently asked them both, independently, if I ought to acknowledge this day of plastic romance with two girls who are six and nine respectively. Helpfully, their answers were so contrasting that I actually suspected a stitch up. But no, they just didn’t agree. The chat (well, it’s 2019 so it was actually a Whatsapp message) from Dad went like this, “Yeah! Send them a little card each. It’ll be fun and you can all speculate as to which lad from school the secret admirer might be. Great fun!” I mentioned Dad’s message to my sister, and her take was different, “Lad? Is she not allowed a female admirer? Are you being neutral and fun here or are you actually steering her towards the version of romance that you want her to obey?” “Christ,” I said, “it’s only a bit of fun.” “Five years from now,” she went on, “if she does happen to want a girlfriend instead of a boyfriend, all these little firmly heterosexual affirmations will be the reason she cannot speak to you about it, and the reason she either keeps her fears inside, or takes them elsewhere. Be careful what you softly affirm.” I mean, bloody hell. Where does one go from here? I thought back to the greatest gag of all time, performed in 1997 by my friend Dave and me. Dave was – and is – a gay man. He would describe himself as “very gay indeed,” though the lads and I never quite worked out what this meant. Either way, once he’d come out, he was instantly happier and instantly dressed head-to-toe in white linen. Again, we never knew why these

two things ran hand-in-hand, but it remains his uniform to this day. Anyway, the gag. In short, I was going to tell my parents that I was gay. And that Dave and I were in love. These days, this seems less like pure comedy – well, less like comedy at all, frankly – but back then we just knew it would be hilarious. We had the plan nailed. Due primarily to my personality and physical aesthetic, I’d been single for some time (roughly for ever), and everyone knew Dave was gay (or, as my late nana would call him, ‘a’ gay), so we planned to be lying on the sofa at home, legs intertwined (NB he was a lithe, effeminate little bloke, and I, at 17, already had a neck like a tree trunk and a reputation for chinning people on Sundays), giggling as Dad walked in. It worked, only Dad wasn’t bothered. Part two was the big reveal. I can’t remember for the life of me how I did it now, but I recall Dad’s response with absolute clarity, “You’re gay? Fantastic! Well done for telling me. Hang on, I’ll call Mum. Actually, no, you do it, she’ll be thrilled.” Gag: failed. Mum and Dad weren’t bothered. They were totally perplexed – and a little disappointed in me – when I told them it was a joke, not knowing why I’d thought this a funny idea. In short, they were heroes. But they didn’t send my siblings and me pretend Valentine’s Day cards just for fun, they kept everything real. So why am I so excited about the cards I have ALREADY WRITTEN for my daughters? And actually, what am I softly confirming without knowing it? This is so complicated, do write in with any advice, as I’m bound to get it wrong. Being a dad on Valentine’s Day in 2019 is hard...

David Flatman is an ex-Bath and England rugby star turned TV pundit and rent-o-mic. Follow him on Twitter @davidflatman I BATH LIFE I 23

Nick and Rebecca have recently opened Friends are Electric

Labour of love Meet 15 local couples who have all made working together work‌ By Lisa Evans 26 I bath LIFE I

couples in business


s there’s a Valentine’s flutter in the air, we’ve been chatting to local couples who run businesses together and have found a way to combine love and work seamlessly.

Friends Are Electric Husband and wife Nick Beevors and Rebecca Rymsza, who live in Lansdown, have recently opened Friends are Electric – a café, shop and creative consultancy. Rebecca tells us more... When did you meet?

In 2005, in a pub in Manchester; we were both working second jobs there to support our salaries. Tell us the proposal story…

We’d said we wouldn’t get married, but Nick proposed one morning in Amsterdam, nine short years after we met. Why did you start working together?

Filmmakers and storytellers Sarah and Andy document the tales of communities via their business, Landlore

We have a lot of experience in common, as well as a shared vision to create a business that is a vehicle for doing good. Tell us more about the business...

It’s about introducing everyone to other creative people that are working towards a better world. For example, at the café/shop, we collaborate with Girls Who Grind Coffee – who work with female co-ops and non-profit organisations that support changes for women. Also, our table tops and bar tops – produced by Smile Plastics – are made from thousands of reimagined yogurt pots; and we use coffee cups crafted from recycled coffee grounds, which are made by Kaffeeform who cycle around Berlin collecting coffee grounds from local cafés. Favourite spots at which to spend a day off?

The Victoria Art Gallery, Cafe Walcot, Thoughtful Bakery, Pintxo and the market at Green Park. 1 Grove Street, just off Pulteney Bridge, Bath;


Describing themselves as filmmakers and storytellers, Sarah Woodier and Andy Smith run Landlore, a company which documents the tales of communities, companies and individuals. They’ve been dating for two years and live in Lansdown. Andy tells us more...

“Richard and I have sat next to each other, nearly every day, for the best part of 20 years”

How did you meet?

Eleven years ago, when we were students. We were introduced by a friend over a game of Cranium in Brighton. Living in separate cities at the time we met led to a strong friendship for almost a decade first. When did you start working together?

In 2016, collaborating on a video series for Sarah’s master’s degree in literature, landscape and environment. Landlore is now our business, bringing video and storytelling content to artists, companies and communities alike that’s both beautiful and meaningful. Our business is our way of spreading an eco message. How do you find working together as a couple?

It’s mostly very fun; we get to create things together that are so exciting and that we both care about, so there’s really nobody you would rather do that with. Favourite spots at which to spend a day off?

We’ve been enjoying Walcot Cafe and The Green Bird Cafe recently. Based in Lansdown, Bath;

Rossiters of Bath

At the helm Rossiters, a four-floor emporium of furniture, homeware and gifts, are Ann-Marie and Peter James. They’ve been together for 34 years. Ann-Marie tells us more... How did you meet?    

It was an Easter Saturday in South Wales. We were on separate evenings out and I recognised Peter’s friend as I went to school with him. The friend was later to be our best man. Tell us the proposal story…

Peter proposed on a tiny passenger ferry boat in Cornwall. It was just us and the guy steering the motor boat; very romantic. I BATH LIFE I 27

COUPLES IN BUSINESS Why did you start working together?

We lived in London for several years but moved when Peter took over a family department store business based in Wales. We had both come from retail backgrounds and, as the business expanded into more stores, one of which was Rossiters, I left my job to join the business. How do you find working together as a couple?

Peter is the managing director of the retail and property business, and I source and manage the product offer – so it works well. Favourite way to spend a day off?

Walking our dog, Dill the cockapoo. 38-41, Broad Street, Bath;


Married couple Daniel Reed Pawlyn and Nguyet (Noya) Huynh Pawlyn, who live in Bear Flat, run Noya’s Kitchen, which serves up Vietnamese food experiences, bi-weekly supper clubs and cooking classes. Daniel tells us more...

ABOVE: Steers McGillan Eves’ owners have sat next to each other every day for two decades; BELOW: Daniel and Noya serve up Vietnamese food experiences, supper clubs and cooking classes

What’s new for 2019?

It was pure chance, for around 15 minutes on an evening out in Southampton in 1993. That meeting was enough for Noya to get my parents’ phone number from a friend and call me from a phone box.

We have bought a fantastic office in Bath Riverside Development; we will be unveiling our new brand for Bath World Heritage Centre and campaigns for the Fashion Museum and The Roman Baths; and we’ll be working closely with the National Trust. Richard is also enjoying his other passion: creating custom VW campervan conversions.

Tell us the proposal story…

How do you find working together as a couple?

Why did you start working together?

What are your secrets to making it work?

How did you meet?

We were in Belize just after 9/11; I didn’t have a ring, so I wrote a poem about Noya. I read it while on a wooden jetty over the ocean, and the final line was ‘will you marry me?’. It was after our two children were old enough for Noya to think about a full-time business. We started to work together in early 2016, a couple of years after Noya started Noya’s Kitchen. It was starting to take off, and she needed help with the business side. My own work in the travel industry was flexible enough to offer me two days a week, so we became business partners that year. Favourite spots at which to spend a day off?

I’ve got a Bath Rugby season ticket, but we also enjoy heading out for brunch at Castle Farm Cafe or Velo Lounge. 7 St James’s Parade, Bath;


Husband and wife Richard James McGillan and Chloe Josephine Steers McGillan, who live on Englishcombe Lane, run an independent design consultancy which focuses on the cultural, heritage, healthcare, charity and development sectors. Chloe tells us more... When did you meet?

On our first day at Falmouth School of Art in 1991, my 20th birthday. Tell us the proposal story…

There have been three proposals: Rich proposed twice – once in Falmouth, and again on my 40th birthday – and then I proposed to him last leap year, and I think that clinched it. Life had been too busy and stressful to fit in a wedding. We finally managed it in 2016. Why did you start working together?

Our first job together, in 1999, was designing a book, Creative Futures: A Guide to Careers in Art, Craft & Design.. A large proportion of future work came from recommendations from this first job.


We have always enjoyed it; we have a very honest and open relationship. Richard and I have sat next to each other, nearly every day, for the best part of 20 years. Respect each other’s skill sets, never say no, have no fear. Corinthian, Midland Road, Bath;


Civil partners John Law and Nick Woodhouse run Woodhouse & Law, an interior and garden design business. They’ve been together 14 years and live in Weston. John tells us more... How did you meet?

It was at a bar in London. We think the planets might have been aligned in some way that night because we were both out with school friends who met that night, too, and are now married. Tell us the proposal story…

I had big plans, but when we went away one January to a tiny caravan and hut in Wales, the time was right. It was cold and there was no TV or mobile signal; if we could survive that, he was definitely a keeper. Why did you start working together?

We both retrained as designers after working in advertising. Nick’s dad passed away after a long battle and it made us re-evaluate. We left London and put everything into our own venture. What are your job roles?

I specialise in interior design, while Nick is a garden designer. We identified a need for a one-stop shop where we could deliver integrated design concepts across interior and exterior spaces.

“Respect each other’s skill sets, never say no, have no fear” © BEATA COSGROVE

Carpets - Rugs - Vinyl’s - Karndean - Commercial

Image shows Ulster Carpets Boho Collection

“You don’t have much time for actually doing couple things, like date nights”


couples in business

opposite: John and Nick’s perfect way to spend a day off is at the beach with their son;

above: When Ashley and Connie Gray got married, they decided to turn their passion for art into their job

Favourite spots at which to spend a day off?

Has to be the beach, with our adopted son – he’s amazing and we could not be more proud of him. 4 George’s Place, Bathwick Hill, Bath;

Gray M.C.A

You’ll find married couple Ashley and Connie Gray at Gray M.C.A – an independent gallery that specialises in original fashion illustration by the masters of the 20th century, and artist textiles by modernist artists, including Picasso and Matisse. Connie tells us more... When did you meet?

When we were aged 17 and 24 in London, and then again 11 years ago; our second meeting was much more successful.

Bath Country Pets

Married couple Neil and Emma Edwards launched their boutique hotel for dogs in 2018, “It’s a unique venue designed for dogs whose owners would never consider utilising traditional kennels,” says Emma. Here she tells us more... When did you meet?

Around 20 years ago, when we both worked in the health and fitness industry in London. Tell us the proposal story...

I always said ‘let’s just skip straight to marriage’, so we did, but, about five years after we were married, Neil hung an engagement ring at the top of our Christmas tree and I had to do a treasure hunt to discover it. Tell us more about the business...

It was at the end of a pontoon in the Lake District; it was a perfect evening, with mist rising off the water.

We deliver the best experience possible for our doggy guests, with carbon-filtered water, specialist meal plans, underfloor heating, designer dog beds, daily off-site excursions, enrichment and toys.

Why did you start working together?

What’s new for 2019?

Tell us the proposal story…

We both share a love of art and had been individually collecting for years. When we married, we decided to turn what we loved into what we did. What are your secrets to success as a couple who works together?

Take time out away from work; it’s amazing how many fresh ideas come when you step back for a second. 5 Margaret’s Buildings, Bath;

An extension to our shop, a grooming facility and spa, wellness camps for overweight mutts, and recovery camps for post-injury or operation. How do you find working together?

We would much rather do it this way than not. The worst bit, though, is you never really switch off – it’s the first and last thing you talk about each day, so you don’t have much time for actually doing couple things, like date nights. Shoe Cottage, The Shoe, North Wraxall; I BATH LIFE I 31

couples in business

Animal lovers Neil and Emma run a luxury hotel for dogs

David Simon Contemporary, and Article

Husband and wife David and Lucy Simon run their two businesses respectively, but from the same premises. His gallery, David Simon Contemporary – which specialises in contemporary paintings, bronze sculpture and ceramics – and her creative emporium, Article, which sells candles, floristry, artisanal homeware, are physically joined in the middle. Lucy tells us more... How did you meet?  

It was at a MediaClash arts event nearly seven years ago; thank goodness for Bath Life! [MediaClash is Bath Life’s publisher.] Tell us the proposal story…

Eight months later, David proposed to me in my favourite gallery, The Wallace Collection in London, in front of my favourite painting. This was followed by champagne at The Savoy, cocktails at Café Royal and dinner at Kettner’s. Why did you start working together?

We were looking to relocate our respective businesses – from a shop in Edinburgh and a gallery in Bristol – and we realised how wonderful it would be if we could find a suitable premises in which we could house the two businesses alongside each other. The perfect property presented itself on Bartlett Street after a year of hunting. How do you find working together as a couple?

Although we share the premises, we each have our own separate businesses to be responsible for. However, I am knowledgeable on the artists in David’s gallery, and David helps when needed in the shop – although, don’t ask him to arrange a bouquet!


“Our son is already showing signs of being a very bossy director” What’s new for 2019?

This month, we’ll be opening our second space in Somerset. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to grow both businesses. 3-4 Bartlett Street, Bath; /

Scout & Boo

David and Teresa Beswick work together at their furniture business. “We create pieces inspired by mid-century Scandinavian design with the addition of unique, statement artwork,” says David. Here he tells us more... How did you meet?

In a North London pub. Teresa was the restaurant manager and it was one of my favourite watering holes. We eventually got together, 13 years ago. Tell us the proposal story…

We were on holiday in Turkey and I asked the restaurant to set a table on the beach. And, although a proposal wasn’t my initial intention, the lovely setting got the better of me. Once Teresa had got over the shock, the sea was around our knees.

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Scout & Boo’s David and Teresa create furniture decorated with unique, statement artwork

When did you start working together?

Around six years ago, near the time our daughter, Gracie, was born. Teresa had already trained to be a hypnotherapist and had set up her practice, and I wanted a more flexible working life in order to share the early years with Gracie. We had both dreamt of having our own furniture business since moving to Bradford on Avon from London, so it seemed like the perfect time to pursue the dream. Also, in 2018, Teresa launched a meditation website ( and we make meditation tablets and tables together. Holt Road, Bradford on Avon;

Kilter Theatre

Caroline Garland and Oliver Langdon, who live in Lansdown, run Kilter Theatre together. “We now collaborate with a range of organisations and communities to create bespoke theatre,” says Caroline. “We design and produce curious and provocative events for unusual spaces to engage and empower participants in ethics, society, the environment and the future.” Here, she tells us more... How did you meet?

I first set eyes on Olly when he was ‘giving his Berowne’ at the Oxford Shakespeare Company. He was wearing a pink tweed suit and spouting blank verse, how could I resist? Are you married?

Not technically, but we’ve been wed a few times on stage. In an experimental slapstick farce at the Battersea Arts Centre, Olly ended up being the bride, while I kidnapped an audience member and got halfway to Heathrow for the honeymoon.


Why did you start working together?

In 2004 we were cast together in a play at the Bristol Old Vic. After that, we kept trying to get cast in shows together in London. In 2006, Olly decided to set up Kilter in his hometown of Bath. Obviously, he thought I would be a brilliant person to have on the adventure. How do you find working together as a couple?

It’s how we met. It’s all we know. Our son is already showing signs of being a very bossy director. What are your secrets to success?

We haven’t found a secret formula yet. Walking meetings are our latest innovation; getting away from ‘the office’ means we can think straight. Best and worst parts of being in business together?

It never ends – which is both lovely and completely ridiculous. The best ideas often turn up halfway through a bowl of Weetabix. Based above The Rondo in Larkhall, Bath;


Amanda and Simon Brown run Flamingo, an art, card and gift shop offering design-led unique work. The majority of their offering is Bath-themed or features flamingos. Amanda tells us more... How did you meet?

It was at a friend’s party 26 years ago, which happened to be on my 20th birthday.

couples in business

“The best ideas often turn up halfway through a bowl of Weetabix”

© tom ball

Kilter Theatre’s owners, Oliver and Caroline have been wed on stage a few times I BATH LIFE I 35

couples in business Tell us the proposal story…

Simon proposed in a fish restaurant in Bath called The Toxique Fish, which is where Opa now is. After I said yes, glasses of bubbly were sent to our table from other diners. Why did you start working together? 

A few years ago, Simon sold his business and was looking for something else to do when the opportunity arose to take on these premises. We had been thinking about how to sell my artwork through markets and pop-ups but wanted something more permanent. So, with Simon’s sales background and my design background, we thought it would make the perfect pairing. 7 Widcombe Parade, Bath;

Engaged couple Lottie Heynen and Ash Bailey, who live in Bath, run a business which specialises in creating a masala chai concentrate that can be used to make chai lattes, teas, cakes, ice cream and cocktails. “We currently supply around 400 cafes, delis and bars,” says Ash. “We also try to be as environmentally friendly as possible, as our business is about the future of our two boys, who the business is named after.” He tells us more... How did you first meet?

It was while working on and around George Street in Bath. Lottie used to go to Chandos Deli regularly for her lunch, and I was working at Jika Jika at the time. I had friends that worked at Chandos and would often go to see them. I saw Lottie walk in and I knew I had to be with her.

© tim woolf

Henny and Joe’s

Society Café’s Jane and Adrian have worked together for over half their lives

Tell us the proposal story…

I have two children from a previous relationship that have grown up with Lottie at their side. Every January, I take Lottie to Rick Stein’s in Padstow for a little getaway. I took her onto a beach and showed her a video of me asking the boys how they would feel if we got married. Their reactions were obviously of pure delight. When Lottie turned to look at me, I was on one knee. Why did you start working together?

I’ve always wanted to run a business. While working in the café and bar scene, I found a gap in the market and created our chai concentrate. I developed it further over the year and Lottie joined in. Brassmill Lane, Bath;

Society Café

Jane and Adrian Campbell-Howard, who have been together for 23 years and live in Bathwick, run a pair of cafés locally, both in perfect people-watching spots, which focus on speciality coffee. Jane tells us more... How did you meet?

In a hostel in San Francisco on St Patrick’s Day, 1996. When did you start working together?

In Hong Kong in ’96/ ’97. Adrian was already out there, working for a group of independent restaurants at the amazing Wyndham Street Thai. I worked in that kitchen and at Wyndham Street Deli, right next door, for a few months in between Formula One seasons where I was a chef for Ferrari and McLaren. We’ve worked together pretty much ever since then. Blimey, that’s over half of our lives!                               

“We decided to turn what we loved into what we did” 36 I BATH LIFE I

How do you find working together?

It just feels like we’re in the thick of it as a team all the time, and we absolutely love it. Even the children get stuck in – Kitty washes up and runs drinks at Kingsmead Square most Saturdays, and it won’t be long before Max starts – he’s got a few inches to go before he can reach the sink, though. Kingsmead Square and The Corridor, Bath;

Moss of Bath

Husband and wife Tim and Annie Moss, who live in Monkton Farleigh, work together at Moss of Bath, an independent television and hi-fi retailer specialising in bespoke home entertainment systems. While the business will be celebrating 57 years in Bath this year, the couple will be celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary. Annie tells us more... How and when did you meet?

It was when I visited Moss of Bath to buy my first mobile phone. I went in a few months later to get a TV remote control, and Tim asked me out for lunch (but still charged me for the remote). Tell us the proposal story...

I’m quite practical, so I suggested that Tim could buy me a new PC instead of a ring. Our good friend and jeweller Nic Wylde is still waiting to make the engagement ring. When did you start working together?

Tim has worked in the business since he was 16 (he’s now managing director), and I joined about 11 years ago as the team was too busy to maintain the website and deal with marketing and advertising. How do you find it?

I work from my home office, which means that we don’t spend all day together in the workplace. We do enjoy attending the many and varied networking events in the city together, though. n

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LET IT BEE Which is more vulnerable, the lion or the bee? The lion holds a gold bee on its tongue and, as you look closely, the lion’s mouth turns into honeycomb, a nod to the tale of Samson and the Lion. Bronze and standing proud at five feet tall, Bee Speaker has been created by Olivia Clifton-Bligh who trained at Goldsmith’s College London and won the Althea Wynne Bursary Award – which enabled her to complete this sculpture. “Bees and their declining numbers are currently part of our collective consciousness,” says Olivia. “Our own future and theirs are intertwined. Bees have been a symbol of rebirth since at least the Bronze Age. My sculpture of the lion and the bee shows a moment of transformation, from earth-bound body to airborne being.” Bee Speaker can be seen at David Simon Contemporary, Bartlett Street, Bath, as part of the Continuum exhibition, which runs from 7 February – 4 March. I BATH LIFE I 39

What’s on 2 February – 2 March

Chloe Merilla Tyghe is playing at Komedia

exhibitions Until 3 February

Elastic self This exhibition explores the theme of the alter ego. Expect a collection of painting, print, sculpture, installation and video art on display from the invited artists. One such is Cassandra Agazzi Brooks, whose own exhibition, called Elastic Self, examines similar concepts. 12am-6pm Tuesday-Saturday; 1pm-4pm Sunday; Monday closed; 44AD artspace;

Until 17 February

Nick Cudworth: Bath Night Paintings Nick presents over 20 of his Bath night paintings in the form of giclée


prints on stretched canvas. The artist’s eye for the effect of light on colour ensures visitors will want to explore the city’s beautiful buildings after dark. 10.30am-5pm; Victoria Art Gallery;

Until 17 February

ON PAPER All the artworks in this exhibition are made from paper, used as a material in its own right, rather than merely a surface to be painted or drawn upon. Among the leading artists featured are Damien Hirst, Roy Lichtenstein, Bridget Riley, Gillian Ayres and Eduardo Paolozzi. 10.30am-5pm; Victoria Art Gallery;

Until 28 February

Paintings of Bath and Morocco: Display by James F Lynch After studying at Camberwell School of Art with friend and fellow student Howard Hodgkin, Lynch embarked on a long career as an artist and a teacher and has exhibited widely. Since retirement in 1984, he has been painting full time in Bath and Morocco. 10.30am-5pm; Victoria Art Gallery;

Until 28 February

EMMA ROSE – SNOWFrosT Celebrating five years in her Walcot Street Gallery, paintings, limitededition giclée prints and cards will be on display. A large proportion of her work echoes the land, sea, sky

and the elements. Her unique work is a mix of Indian Inks and acrylics, occasionally using gold, copper and silver leaf. 10am-5pm Monday-Saturday; Emma Rose Arts Works; Upstairs at 78 Walcot Street;

Until 28 April

SHOW ME THE COLOUR All artists are printmakers and met at Marshfield Screen Print, a small print studio just outside of Bath to produce many of the prints shown here. While their styles and themes differ greatly they all share a passion for using colour and print and this exhibition will celebrate both. Monday-Sunday 8am-8pm Art at the Heart of the RUH, Central Gallery;

what’s on 7 – 14 February

Continuum This exhibition will focus on sculpture; four artists have developed a diverse body of work, with a common theme of pattern in nature, from biological Helix forms, to ideas of balance and form. See page p39 for more. 10am-6pm; David Simon Contemporary Gallery;

8 February – 6 May

GEORGE SHAW: A CORNER OF A FOREIGN FIELD Shaw’s paintings, made with enamel model paint, focus on the Tile Hill estate, a post-war development on the outskirts of Coventry where he grew up, and the ancient woods surrounding it. Steeped in modern and historic traditions, Shaw’s work alludes to 20th-century painting and photography, and the legacy of such European masters as Titian. Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm, 11am-5pm Sunday; general admission £12.50; The Holburne Museum; above: Tiger Print by Kate Clark is showing at Art at the heart, RUH left: Apartment, Oil on canvas, by Luke Samuel is exhibiting at 44AD Artspace below: Jasper’s Lunchbox will be performing at Komedia

13– 17 February

20th Century and Contemporary Works by Thomas Spencer Fine Art This exhibition showcases emerging British artists, including Ben Reader, Miranda Carins, Jess Power and Luke Samuel. 11am-6pm Wednesday-Saturday, Sunday 1pm-3pm; 44AD Artspace;

Plays/Shows 4 – 9 February

fame the musical Based on the phenomenal 1980 film, Fame The Musical is the international smash-hit sensation following the lives of students at New York’s High School for the Performing Arts, as they navigate their way through the highs and lows, the romances and the heartbreaks and the ultimate elation of life. Various times and prices; Theatre Royal Bath;

13 – 23 February

A song at twilight Bittersweet, hugely entertaining and full of sharp wit and repartee, this play, starring Simon Callow and Jane Asher, is about harbouring secrets and regretting missed opportunities. Noël Coward himself made his farewell stage appearance playing the semi-autobiographical role of Sir Hugo in the West End production of

the play in 1966. Various times and prices; Theatre Royal Bath;

14 – 16 February

THE EBBING HOUR As the sun sets relentlessly over a chilling hillside encounter, a desperate therapy session ticks incessantly to a close. Before the end of the ebbing hour, a man and a woman must reveal their truths or suffer the unthinkable consequences. Written by David Martin, this is story-telling about human fragility, loss and our enduring will to survive at its devastating best. 7.30pm; £12.50 (£10.50 concs) The Mission Theatre;

22 February

THE MINISTRY OF BURLESQUE: CABARET Described as bold, weird and witty, expect a myriad of musical comedy masters, provocative prima donnas, enigmatic exotic dancers and astonishing feats of human grace – all balanced on a contemporary knife edge. 8pm (doors open 6.30pm); Komedia;

24 February

ricky gervais – Supernature: Warm up shows The creator of The Office and the stand-up comedian will be chatting about the absurdity of superstition, magic and all unsubstantiated beliefs. Various times and prices; Theatre Royal Bath;

25 February – 2 March

ROUGH CROSSING Tom Stoppard’s play features two famous but desperate playwrights stuck on an ocean liner heading for New York, feverishly trying to rehearse their latest show before reaching land, and opening night. Various times and prices; Theatre Royal Bath;

MUSIC 5 February

Kaiser chiefs Indie-rockers responsible for hits such as I Predict a Riot and Ruby will be performing as part of their biggest tour to date. 7pm; £5; Bath Pavilion; I BATH LIFE I 41

WHAT’S ON 6 February

CHLOE MERILLA TYGHE Chloe’s music draws on the likes of artists such as Bat for Lashes, Lou Rhodes, Jeff Buckley and London Grammar and has been described as evocative, moving and romantic. 6.30pm; £5; Komedia;

twins and triplets in the indoor animal handling barn. Shepherds will be giving talks throughout the day about the lambing process and lots of super sheep facts. 10am-5.30pm; included in standard admission prices; Avon Valley Adventure & Wildlife Park

6 February

20 February

JASPER’S LUNCHBOX The four-piece band will be entertaining the crowds with their flavour of funk, rock and indie. 7.30pm; £5; Komedia;

21 February

BARBARA DICKSON Barbara Dickson and accomplished band will be performing a wonderful range of material drawing on her folk roots as well as performing globally known hits such as The Caravan Song, and Another Suitcase in Another Hall. 6.30pm doors open, 7.30pm start; The Forum;

27 February

PETER KNIGHT AND JOHN SPIERS Peter Knight, legendary violinist and ex member of folk-rock band Steeleye Span joins leading melodeon player and ex Bellowhead member, John Spiers, for a special performance. (doors: 7.30pm); door price £18, advance ticket £16; Chapel Arts Centre;

FAMILY 6 February

SHE’S A GOOD BOY Elise is often asked, ‘Are you a boy or a girl?’ the answer to this question is: ‘No’. Written and performed by Elise Heaven, this humorous show explores non-binary gender using Elise’s real life experiences. Recommended for 14+. 7.30pm; various prices; the egg;

10 February

OVER THE MOON This mini opera for little people weaves together gentle classical music with familiar nursery rhymes and games in an interactive musical adventure for babies. 10am, 12.30pm and 3pm; various prices; the egg;

16 – 24 February

LIVE LAMBING Ewes will be giving birth to lamb


FEBRUARY FORECAST Children will look at the different types of weather in various paintings and sculptures and then create a seasonal picture using a range of special materials. 10.30am-12.30pm and 1.30pm-3.30pm; Victoria Art Gallery;

22 February

TORTOISE AND THE HARE: BITE-SIZED BALLETS With playful characters and spellbinding music, this interactive ballet is sure to have your little ones dancing with excitement. 11am; various prices; The Little Theatre;

OTHER 7 February

LECTURE: CONFLICT IN THE PACIFIC: THE AFTERMATH’ Michael Pitts’ talk takes in the aftermath of the fiercest conflict ever fought in the Pacific, between the might of the US military and Japan’s seemingly undefeatable imperial forces. 9.45am; doors open, 10.30 start; £2 for non-members; Bath Pavilion;

8 February

FAUX CHANEL HAT WORKSHOP This workshop will teach you top millinery tricks while creating a beautiful Chanel-inspired button hat to take away with you. You’ll use fabrics from the real Chanel supplier, a button base, couture flowers, swooning feathers, and gorgeous trims to make a one-of-akind design. 11am-1pm; £95; V V Rouleaux;

10 February

BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S As part of the Vintage Sundays programme, the classic film about party girl Holly Golightly is being shown. See page 55 for more 2.45pm; The Little Theatre;

ABOVE: Catch The Ministry of Burlesque at Komedia LEFT: Make a Faux Chanel hat at VV Rouleaux BELOW: The Ebbing Hour is being performed at The Mission Theatre

The Guildhall Your idea, our venue, the event of the year

Maybe you have attended a wedding in our grand Banqueting Room, or had the joy of registering your child’s birth in our Georgian building. But were you aware that the Guildhall has hosted book talks, gin festivals and film screenings to name a few of our diverse events? The Guildhall has four picturesque rooms, is only a ten minute walk from the Bath Spa train station and is the only heritage venue in Bath where you can select a caterer of your choice. If you are searching for a venue to hold your unique event then come to the High Street for a new experience. To book a viewing or to find out more contact Sara Brooks, Events Manager, at • 01225 477442

What’s on 11 February

BRIAN MAY IN Bath The much-loved rocker returns with the London Stereoscopic Company to present the fifth in a series of diverse stereoscopic ventures. He will be talking about the Apollo program in anticipation of the fiftieth anniversary of the first moon landing. 7.30pm for 8pm show; prices vary; Christ Church, Julian Road;

23 February

PORTRAIT CLASSES Join classically trained Bathbased portrait artist Harriet Dahan-Bouchard as she draws from a model. Bring a sketch pad. Pop in for a free masterclass where visitors can watch Harriet drawing, and feel free to join in and pick up tips. 11.30am-4pm; Upper Gallery, Victoria Art Gallery;

27 February

Nish kumar: It’s In Your Nature to Destroy Yourselves Double Edinburgh Comedy Award Nominee Nish Kumar’s nationwide tour takes on politics, mankind’s capacity for self-destruction and whether it will lead to the end of days. 7pm doors open, 7.30pm doors open; £22.50; The Forum;

28 February

wedding fayre Bath College is holding a wedding fayre for those looking for a DIY element to their wedding. Have a chat to the local exhibitors about how you can make your wedding truly unique. There are courses you can sign up to if you want to learn how to arrange your own wedding flowers, design your own invitations, etc. There will also be refreshments, demonstrations and a bridal fashion show. 5pm-8.30pm; Bath College;

Scenes from The Passion: No. 57, 1996, Royal College of Art Collection can be seen at The Holburne Museum

Feel-Good February 10 days of events on wellbeing happening across the city 4 – 5 Feb

‘Get Real’ Wellness Retreat at Gainsborough Bath Spa A two-day retreat with spa treatments, movement and nourishing cuisine.

5 Feb

T’ai Chi on the Terrace at the Roman Baths Early morning T’ai Chi on the Terrace at the Roman Baths. Held by Paddy Nisbett, a qualified T’ai Chi instructor, the sessions take place on Tuesdays at 8am. Sessions cost £4.

6 – 9 Feb

Fed Cup by BNP Paribas at the University of Bath The international tennis event offers female players from around the world to represent their country and is the largest annual international team competition in world sport.

7 Feb

L’Occitane Reset Lunch at The Bath Priory Participate in treatment demonstrations, enjoy a three-course lunch and take home a L’Occitane goody bag. Tickets cost £55 per person.


7 Feb

Looking After Number One with Jonathan Ward His talk will explore conscious self-kindness, mindful self-compassion and how it can support you in living a happier, healthier and more courageous life. Tickets cost £15, which includes canapes and a glass of prosecco.

9 Feb

Yoga and Breakfast at The Ivy Bath Brasserie The Ivy Bath Brasserie has partnered with Sweaty Betty to host two hour-long yoga classes. Yoga sessions are complimentary and breakfast costs £20. Price includes a juice or Seedlip non-alcoholic cocktail on arrival, a breakfast or brunch dish from a reduced menu and teas and coffees.

9 Feb

Open Doors Organic Wine Tasting at Le Vignoble Discover, sample and learn about organic wines made by environmentally friendly and responsible producers. Receive a 15 per cent discount on takehome purchases of any of the featured wines.

For more details

top: A refreshing non-alcoholic cocktail at The Ivy Bath Brasserie; bottom: The cafe at Gainsborough Bath Spa


the big interview

Whether he is building a giant birdcage, painting a monkey or enjoying a pint – local artist James Mortimer couldn’t be further from the tortured artist stereotype. But while he doesn’t take himself too seriously, he’s deadly serious about his work Words by Harriet Noble Portraits by Betty Bhandari I BATH LIFE I 47

the big interview


ames Mortimer's art reveals a preoccupation with adventure. Faraway lands and exotic animals feature heavily in his weird and wonky world; his paintings, drawings and sculptures are at times humorous, yet also strangely touching, with a whiff of something historical, even biblical about them. His house and studio – on The Circus, Bath – are equally intriguing (spot the hippopotamus skull and stuffed giraffe). Life through the lens of James is anything but ordinary. When and how did you get into art?

We all do arts and crafts as children, so it would have been then, it’s just most people shrug it off quite young and find other interests. But if you’re a visual person then drawing and making things just come as a sort of compulsion, it’s like eating and breathing. You studied sculpture at the Bath School of Art – what was your experience of being a student in Bath like?

It was great fun – we were up at Sion Hill in Lansdown, which is very pretty, and were given great big studios where we spent three years doing what we liked and making whatever we wanted. The best people in any art school are the technicians, who show you how to make anything and couldn’t care less why you’d want to. I once had to build a giant birdcage out of metal, which could swing from the ceiling and hold the weight of a person – they just handed me a blowtorch without a word and we got on with it. Of course, as art students, there was usually wine lying around, and so a fair bit of the degree involved lounging in the studios and drinking by the afternoon (which sadly didn’t boost creativity). They were fun times – I think everyone should go to art school.

James relaxing with his hippopotamus skull

There is a humorous quality to much of your art work, is that deliberate?

Well art should always be slightly funny – it would be a drag if it was all very solemn and po-faced. Humour can be a powerful tool, but of course that’s just one way of engaging with people’s emotions, and I do take the work seriously. Saying that, though, I do consider it a huge success if a painting can tread the fine line between high art and a saucy postcard.

Was sculpture your first love?

Possibly – I always loved playing with plasticine. But it’s probably drawing that’s always been the most important thing, and I certainly couldn’t paint that well until fairly late on. You paint, draw and sculpt; do you go through phases of doing one or the other, or are you always doing all three?

I’m painting and drawing most the time – sculpture’s always the hardest to get right and I’ve only ever made a few that, in my opinion, particularly work, although I quite like bad sculpture. Travelling informs a lot of your art, what are the places that have inspired you?

I like anywhere with hills, mountains and jungles, but the places that stick in my mind most are some trips I went

on in my late teens to China and Crimea. Those were all very exotic to a boy from Swindon. I’m not sure why I obsessively paint palm trees and monkeys, though – probably from reading too much Tintin.

“I think everyone should go to art school”

You’ve been quoted as saying "It would be tedious to just paint what’s in front of me" – if it is not in front of you, where does it all come from?

I’m not sure I entirely agree with myself there – I do like a good still life. But, yes, creativity is about drawing on what’s going in your mind and using your imagination – if you do that then whether what you do is good or bad you’re still expressing your soul. In fact, you usually do find that outsider and amateur art, and most art made by children, is almost always very interesting – you only really get boring stuff once someone has enough skill to purge all trace of their personality from it, which is always a shame. I BATH LIFE I 49

the big interview As a Bath resident, what are your favourite spots in the city?

Other than the pub, the Bath Skyline walk, where those meadows are, offers beautiful views.   Your studio/house is on fire, which pieces of your artwork do you grab?

I’d grab a green ceramic fish-come-ashtray I made when I was 10. I’m very fond of it and, annoyingly, it’s probably better than a lot of my adult sculpture. What’s in the pipeline for you?

I haven’t got anything local soon, but my next thing is a solo exhibition, Land of Mortimer, with new works, large and small, made over the last year, which is on 8 February – 2 March, at the James Freeman Gallery, Islington.

above: James hanging

out with his giraffe;

left: Camel Woman,

works in progress, and Sheepman

What advice would you give someone thinking of becoming an artist?

Bit clichéd, but if I was forced to give any advice I’d say never to censor yourself, and to always create the piece of art you yourself want to see – if you like it, then chances are some other weirdos will as well. Do you listen to any music when you’re working?

I usually have Radio 4 on in the background, but if I get tired of that then a lot of classical music and jazz are good to work to. Can you recommend a piece of artwork in Bath that we should make a beeline for?

There’s a brilliant object in The Holburne Museum – it’s a little diorama carved out of boxwood of two men (one blind, one with no legs) entering a lion’s den. It’s very unusual and is one of my favourite objects anywhere. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?

“Sculpture’s always the hardest to get right” 50 I BATH LIFE I

I’m quite unemployable, but science was my other favourite thing in school (I was a fan of Dexter’s Laboratory) so I would have gone in that direction. We hear you like the pub…any favourites in Bath?

My local’s The Raven, but the one thing we are short on here is pub gardens, so for that aspect I’d go with The White Hart in Widcombe. n For more:

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Force of nature This week, the focus is on Britain’s most celebrated nature writer, Robert Macfarlane

“The books make you want to climb or roam or hike and experience some of what he’s experiencing”


career in bookselling is not the most natural gateway to corporate hospitality and other jollies. That said, I must admit, that when such opportunities do come your way in this world, they tend to be the kind of occasion that is a genuine joy to attend. Not like my previous office-based existence (many moons ago now) full of supposedly fun client-socialising or teambonding escapades that most people went to extreme lengths to avoid. No, the bookselling extra-curricular activities tend to be more varied and more valuable. In my next couple of pieces, I’ll report back on books I discover during six days in Albuquerque, New Mexico, attending the American Booksellers’ Association conference (in my role as president of the UK equivalent) and comparing notes with the very best booksellers from America and beyond. This evening, though, as I type, I’m en route to London for dinner with various post-Christmas demob-happy booksellers and Britain’s most celebrated nature writer, Robert Macfarlane. We’re there as guests of the publisher to celebrate the arrival in May of Underland: A Deep Time Journey (Penguin £20), Macfarlane’s seventh book, which will explore the subterranean landscape of Britain and beyond, both as it appears physically and in its appearances in myth, legend and literature. I have a copy by my side, but I’m allowed to say nothing more until nearer publication. Ooh those publisher teases! What an excuse, though, to consider the impact Macfarlane has had on the naturewriting genre since he published Mountains of the Mind (Granta, £9.99) back in 2003. That first book set out his stall as a man who could simultaneously describe geographical wonders while also investigating the way that they make us feel. Although he takes the reader on some spectacular vertiginous journeys, it’s the way that he unpicks the history of human interaction with them that really hits home. He describes his own emotional reaction to great peaks, looks at how awe-inspiring they are to most would-be explorers and then asks why humans have always been inspired to conquer or revere them. Wild Places (Granta, £9.99) followed, in which the author embarked on a mission to spend time in some of Britain’s most remote and inaccessible spots from islands far North via the

extremities of the East Anglian coast – a quest for any last remains of true wilderness in our increasingly paved nation. His other two full-length books of nature writing are Landmarks and The Old Ways (both Penguin, £9.99), the latter of which took him on a peripatetic journey along the UK’s lost byways, drovers’ roads and other unmarked, forgotten or ancient routes. Perhaps more than any other, it’s this book that can inspire everyone to get into the countryside and go beyond the manicured landscapes we spend most of our time inhabiting. It’ll make you want to climb through every broken gate you see, to follow hedgerows, to seek out holloways and to get closer to the flora and fauna that occupy the hidden corridors that surround us. In all of these books, and the new one, Robert Macfarlane’s writing is exquisite and so evocative of his surroundings. As a reader it’s difficult not to be drawn into his excitement for his subject matters. The books don’t just make you want to keep reading, they make you want to climb or lose yourself or roam or hike, and experience some of what he’s experiencing. Beyond Macfarlane’s own books, if you want to get closer to the roots of the modern nature writing boom, then you could do worse than starting with those who inspired him. The most obvious choice is Roger Deakin, the founding father of Friends of the Earth, and author of Waterlog (Vintage, £9.99) and Wildwood (Penguin, 9.99) that explore the waterways and woodlands of Britain respectively. Earlier still, though, and further afield, another of Macfarlane’s inspirations described very different and more grandiosely wild landscapes. Edward Abbey would go on to write the environmentalist novel The Monkey Wrench-Gang, but, for a while, he spent a lot of time as a park ranger in the Utah Canyonlands and he wrote about his experiences just over 50 years ago. His descriptions of summers among that burnt red rock landscape – punctuated by various dramatic hikes and quests in a vast true wilderness – appear in the stunning Desert Solitaire (William Collins, £12.99) which has just been reissued with an introduction by, you guessed it, one Robert Macfarlane. Nic Bottomley is the general manager of Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights, 14/15 John Street, Bath; 01225 331155; I BATH LIFE I 53


Breakfast at Tiffany’s is hailed as one of the best romantic films of all time; Green Book has been called Driving Miss Daisy but in reverse; Dirty Dancing has an evergreen appeal

Watch list As the season of love approaches us, we have two vintage classics to get your hearts fluttering, plus an outstanding preview and an Oscar contender for you to get stuck into Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Dirty Dancing will be gracing our screens here at the Little to celebrate everyone’s favourite romantic holiday, Valentine’s Day. Starring the outstanding Audrey Hepburn, 1961’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s is hailed as one of the best romantic films of all time, an unusual love story, glamorous, sophisticated, with more than a touch of the bizarre. Hepburn plays Holly, a woman like many others in Manhattan at the time, who dresses well and dines well. Holly is immoral but virtuous, and undergoes a change in her values after meeting George Peppard (Paul Varjak), a young writer, who convinces her responsibility is less confining than her studied irresponsibility. Interwoven into this romantic movie is chic Hollywood comedy at its finest, plus, the combination with evocative cinematography makes this classic one of the most beloved romantic films of all time. The euphoric dance numbers of Dirty Dancing make it another romantic classic that is perfect for celebrating Valentine’s Day. This immensely charming film starring Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze, whose on-screen chemistry is undeniably one of the best aspects of the film, retains its evergreen appeal. This 1987 film is a timeless classic about a summer in 1963, when Baby (Grey) goes to a mountain holiday resort with her parents and sister. There, she meets Johnny Castle (Swayze), a dance teacher at the resort, who shows her how to move and with whom she falls in love, but things are never simple. This endlessly quotable classic is perfect

for everyone during this romantic month. A Private War starring Rosamund Pike is the stunning new film based on the life of celebrated war correspondent Marie Colvin. Driven by an endless desire and passion to bear witness and give a voice to those who cannot speak out, Colvin charges into danger, constantly testing her bravery and courage. This gripping drama is a raw reminder to us as the audience, that it is not just the humanism that drives reports to take these risks, it’s their need to find the truth and tell the world. Pike plays Colvin with great conviction, addictively courting a chaos that the cinematographer, Robert Richardson, renders incredibly vivid, also as if he wanted to give us all her PTSD. Following Colvin as she battles with her conflicting fear of dying young and dying old, A Private War is a compelling drama that will open your eyes about the daily struggles of a war correspondent, both physically and mentally. At the Little, we’ll be having a special preview screening of this outstanding film, followed by a live-stream Q&A with the cast – Rosamund Pike, Jamie Dornan and Stanley Tucci, plus director Matthew Heineman – to answer any burning questions you have about the film; it’s certainly something you don’t want to miss. Lastly, we have Green Book. Already a winner of three Golden Globes and tipped to win more at the Oscars, this marvellous film is incredibly heart-warming, funny and intelligent. Green Book has been called Driving Miss Daisy but in reverse, as it focuses on the

“There is an importance to this film that still feels relevant in the modern era”

inevitable challenges in a racially divided society when an elegant black man hires an ill-mannered guy from the Bronx to drive him around the Deep South on a music tour in the 1960s. Based on the true story of Dr Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) and Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen), Green Book is a charming film that is expertly led by the two actors, making it an extremely enjoyable film to watch. Tony is in need of employment after the club he works at closes for renovations, whilst Dr Don is in need of a driver to take him through the South for his musical tour. Aware of the troubles that he might face in some of the locations due to the colour of his skin, he needs someone to act as staff but also protector. Tony is chosen despite not being the obvious choice; he’s rude and his views on race are questionable, but the two set off on their journey with a ‘green book’, as the title implies, a guide that suggests where people of colour can go and can’t go while in the South. Both men learn a great deal about each other throughout their time together, developing a bond as they understand the different struggles of their lives. It is a touching drama that highlights the importance of understanding and learning from others. There’s something about the film that feels primed to be a hit, and though some critics may say the racial aspects may be over simplified, there is an importance to this film that still feels relevant in the modern era.

Sophie-Claire McLeod is duty and marketing manager at The Little Theatre, 1–2 St Michael’s Place; 01225 466822; I BATH LIFE I 55

comptoir + cuisine

This new venture from the team behind London’s Champagne + Fromage combines a concept store with a bistro, to bring the best of French style and ingredients to the city By Lisa Evans


need to start this review with a spot of advice: arrive early for your dinner at Comptoir + Cuisine, or be prepared to stay a while after you’ve feasted. You see, these are not simply four walls in which to scoff your dinner before dashing away, it’s an emporium of delights and surprises (often of the risqué variety) that demand from you as much attention as the food on your plate. It’s one of those places in which you won’t find a bare wall or corner – quite refreshing amidst the modern minimalism that often seems to engulf us. In a word, it’s cluttered. But it’s good, titillating, intriguing clutter, all of which, by the way, is available to purchase – from the bistro’s light fixtures, made of bicycle wheels and feathers, and the underpants hanging on a line above your table, to


the cutlery and crockery you use when you’re there, or the bar stool you sit on. There’s an actual shop, too, at the front of the building, which will welcome you with its treats and trinkets, such as homeware, cookware, skincare, fabrics, furnishings and furniture. Getting through it – on your way to the restaurant or bar areas – without coveting something, will be difficult. It’s filled with French flea market finds that the business’s owners – four French expat pals, Maud, Stefano, Yann and Frank – source themselves, as well as other retro goodies. Before we even get to talking about the restaurant, I should mention the other areas of the building: there are deli counters and café areas and, probably most importantly, a basement champagne bar. The softly


lit, moody subterranean hideaway is bedecked with decoupaged walls, jewel-coloured armchairs and clusters of low-hanging lamps. There are 36 varieties of champagne served down in these depths; the owners have had a lot of experience in choosing the perfect selection because they have been delighting customers for nearly 10 years at their four London-based Champagne + Fromage locations. At the very back of the bar is a cave – complete with actual stalactites – in which the bottles are stored; we asked to be shown around inside, and we ducked our way through the vaults – my 6ft 4” husband struggled to fit inside – and even in here, a stoney cavity directly underneath the traffic flow of the cars on George Street, there is decoration. In this case, it’s two mannequins – one waving through the window to customers, and the other one, just a torso, hanging from a chain suspended from the ceiling. E.L. James may well get some ideas for a sequel from this setting. Speaking of risqué, if you’re easily offended, you’ll probably want to avoid the bathrooms, as semipornographic photographs litter the walls. This seems like as good a segue as any into talking about the food so, here we go. There are two bistro areas; the cosy one we were seated in is the simplest (by comparison) of all the rooms in the building, complete with fashionably weathered floorboards, Persian-style rugs, rustic wooden tables and framed posters. The owner encouraged us to firstly try the champagne and cheese – ideal companions. We went for the fresh, creamy, Colin Blanche de Castille along with a whole, oozy baked camembert, with figs and thyme, which we dredged up with French bread. Then it was onto the tapas menu. On mismatched, chintzy crockery came fall-apart pan-fried beef onglet with chimichurri; a not-at-all-tapas-sized burger with comté, our star dish; gratin of crozet (pasta) with Tomme de Savoie; toast piled high with mixed mushrooms; goats’ cheese and aubergine wrapped in spring roll-like crunchy parcels, which were eyes-roll-back-in-your-head kind of tasty; and chubby sweet potato chips. Too full for a sticky toffee pud or a homemade brownie, we went dessertless; although, when we saw an enormous cheese and charcuterie board delivered to the table next to us, we were salivating all over again. So if you’re a lover of champagne, cheese and tapas, and you enjoy a saucy side of curious and bizarre, then make time for Comptoir + Cuisine, which brings all that is bon about French food and style to Bath. n

“E.L. James may well get some ideas for a sequel from this setting”

Dining details Comptoir + cuisine, 5 George Street, Bath, BA1 2EJ; 01225 684733; In a nutshell A concept store, bistro and champagne bar, bringing French style and ingredients to the city We ate Baked camembert with figs and thyme; beef onglet with chimichurri; a burger with comté; gratin of crozet; mushrooms on toast; goats’ cheese and aubergine parcels; sweet potato chips Prices Sharing boards £8 – £35; nibbles £3 – £6.50; tapas £3 – £9; dessert £4 – £8 Drinks It’s all about versatile, artisanal, growermade champagne here – though there are wines, cocktails and beers if you prefer Service/atmosphere Laid-back, ultra-cool, wellstyled staff and a chilled-out atmosphere The look Surprising, curious and, at times, risqué Open for Breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner I BATH LIFE I 57

Welcome to Mantra, an Indian Restaurant in the heart of Bath, that specialises in serving progressive Indian food. Mantra is a family run authentic Indian restaurant. Our dishes are healthily packed with flavour, crunch, punch and zing offering plenty of choice to vegetarians and vegans.Inspired by seasonal ingredients, our food contains only the freshest produce prepared in a way that captures the amazing diversity of India’s regional cuisines and childhood street food memories. 5, Bladud Buildings, The Paragon, Bath BA1 5LS Tel: 01225 446 332 Email: |


Chef Josh Eggleton will be cooking up a storm


The Garden Café at The Holburne Museum

is hosting guest chefs Josh Eggleton and Rob Howell from ROOT Bristol, for a two-night dining experience that celebrates sustainable fruit and vegetable suppliers from across the West Country. The evening will also include free entry to the George Shaw: A Corner of a Foreign Field exhibition, celebrating the painter’s career from 1996 to the present. Josh is a Bristol-based chef known for his first venue, The Pony & Trap in Chew Magna, which has held a Michelin star since 2011. Ever since, Josh has evolved his collection of restaurants, opening Salt & Mal, and, more recently ROOT, with chef Rob. Josh is an advocate of the field-tofork movement and is known for promoting the importance of food sustainability. His passion for this subject goes hand-in-hand with his dedication to choosing suppliers carefully, always supporting local produce and artisanship. Dates: 14 and 15 February Time: Exhibition preview 7pm, food service 7.30pm. Ticket price: £55 per person – this includes half a bottle of wine per person and free entry to the George Shaw: A Corner of a Foreign Field exhibition. What’s on the menu? Inspired by ROOT’s vegetable-forward offering, the menu will include dishes such as beetroot tartare with a split dressing and BBQ hispi cabbage with herring roe sauce and turnip. Dessert options include sticky ale cake with walnuts and milk stout ice cream. For more:


Richard Bertinet is not bossy, he’s the boss

BORN AND BREAD Brittany-born chef and baker, and Bath resident, Richard Bertinet has a new book out, entitled Crumb: Show the Dough Who’s Boss. Fans can expect his hallmark straightforward approach to making classic bread, with recipes on seaweed and sel gris rolls, chickpea flatbreads, orange and cardamom swirls and cinnamon buns; there are also gluten-free breads and bakes to improve your gut-health. Richard will be chatting about the new book at Topping & Company Booksellers on 28 February.

For more:

AND THE BEST PLACE TO BE VEGAN IS…? Bathonians will have noticed the recent flurry of vegan openings –Rooted, and Roots & Shoots Café to name a couple – as well as the more established restaurants like Acorn. So it may come as no surprise to learn that Bath has been announced as the vegan capital of the country, according to a recent research study by weight loss specialist, The Hospital Group. So how did they work this out? Well, the study combines three data points to create a UK veganism index, including: the number of Google searches for vegan content in each city, the number of vegan restaurants in each city, and the number of social media mentions of vegan. Each data point was calculated in relation to the city’s population and combined to create an overall score. So while London may be the city in the UK that boasts the most vegan restaurants in the country, Bath wins the overall prize for the being the best place to be vegan in the UK. For more:

Vegan love is all around us I BATH LIFE I 59

The private dining room at Chez Dominique

Party for Two

© Chloe Bennett

Frequently voted the UK’s most romantic city, you couldn’t pick a better place to be on Valentine’s Day than Bath. But where to eat on the big night? We take a look...


ROMANTIC RESTAURANTS Tuck into chocolate tart with sechuan custard at Henry’s

A warming tagliatelle dish awaits at The Olive Tree

Henry’s Henry Scott, head chef and owner

beetroot, chicory, walnut; dark chocolate, honeycomb, coffee

People can expect a 4-course tasting menu with a few sweet and savoury snacks along the way and a glass of something fizzy to start the night. We really enjoy cooking for vegetarians so they can expect a vegetarian menu for the night. I love candlelight and Valentine’s is a good excuse to go a bit overboard so expect plenty of subtle low lighting and friendly service from my team in the front.

Glass of Didier Chopin Rose Champagne on arrival. Six individually selected glasses of wine available to accompany the tasting menu.

What’s happening on Valentine’s Day?

What’s on the menu?

I would prefer to keep it under my hat till closer to the night but it will involve crispy oysters, venison, winter truffle and our chocolate tart. Anything else?

I don’t normally involve flowers in the restaurant but for such a night I break tradition and call on the lovely Lucy from Article down the street who is planning a white rose theme for the evening.

The Olive Tree Owen Farr, restaurant manager

What’s happening on 14 February?

Valentine’s Day dinner at The Olive Tree, in the Queensberry Hotel, will be showcasing chef Chris Cleghorn’s sensational seven-course tasting menu. We are proud to be Bath’s only Michelin-starred restaurant, so where better to spend the most romantic day of the year, than with us.   Tempt us with a few of your dishes...

Raw Orkney scallop, horseradish, rhubarb, dil; tagliatelle, Perigord truffle, 36-month aged Parmesan. Dessert choices include Roquefort,

Anything else?

Share a mango, passion fruit and coconut dessert at The Olive Tree

The Circus restaurant Alison Golden, owner How will you be setting the mood on the night?

Marvin Gaye, Sexual Healing, plus a bit of Barry White thrown in! What’s on the menu?

£35 for a 3-course set menu starting with Cornish mussels with Thai spices, Parma ham, fig, pine nut and buffalo mozzarella salad, then 8oz flat iron steaks with sticky onions and our Café de Paris butter; Asian style duck, and our signature dish smoked haddock kedgeree. For dessert, the chocolate florentine with kirschsoaked cherries is a particular favourite. Anything else? 

It’s always an eventful evening and we’ve seen several marriage proposals in the past. With sparkling cocktails, soft music, romantic candlelight and aphrodisiac food I’m not surprised.

Corkage, Chapel Row Marty Grant, co-owner

Tell us about your Valentine’s Day plans?

Guests can expect a very warm welcome. We

are in the city centre just off Queen Square. We have no wine list and no official menus so the experience is very interactive with a chance to sample different wines before buying. What foodie treats will you be serving?

One of our distinguishing features is that we do small plates which are the perfect romantic sharing food. We also do sharing grills such as delicious Côte de boeuf, surf and turf (langoustines and fillet steak) and we will be doing a special dessert to make the occasion.

Chez Dominique Sarah Oliver, co-owner What can diners expect?

We are an intimate and candlelit restaurant, perfect for Valentine’s. We offer something for everyone with our usual menus of prix fixe and à la carte menus, and our very popular chateaubriand – a sharing dish for two. Anything else?

A carefully chosen wine list to compliment the food. Chateaubriand is served for you by one of the lovely team and comes with béarnaise and red sauce, green salad and pommes frites. I BATH LIFE I 61


Honey-glazed duck breast with pak choi, soba noodles, and pineapple, mint and chilli sauce (Gluten-free and dairy-free)

If you’d rather stay indoors and impress your partner with your culinary skills this Valentine’s Day, here is a recipe from The Circus Restaurant, Bath, that should do the trick Ingredients • 2 x duck breasts (Creedy Carver are good) • 2 teaspoons Chinese five spice powder • 3 tablespoons Kikkomans gluten-free soy sauce • 3 tablespoons runny honey • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds • 2 whole pak choi • Teaspoon of grated root ginger and a little garlic • 1 pack of buckwheat soba noodles • Half a pineapple • Small bunch of mint • Small bunch coriander • Half a red onion • Juice of two limes • One chopped red chilli, or less if you don’t like it hot


Method 1. Prep the pineapple sauce. Cut off the skin and take out the eyes from the pineapple and cut into wedges. Char in a hot frying pan until browned, keeping the juices it gives off. Chop into small pieces and add to finely diced red onion, chopped coriander and mint, finely sliced red chillies, lime juice. Season to taste. 2. Score the duck breast and rub with five spice mixture. 3. Put the duck breasts in a cold pan over a low heat rendering out as much fat so that they are golden brown. Baste with the soy honey mix below. 4. Heat equal quantities of soy sauce and honey in a small pan until blended and then baste the duck breast with this.

5. Put duck breast in hot oven for 7-8 minutes, rest it in a warm place for at least 5 minutes before carving. 6. Finely grate some root ginger and a little garlic. 7. Wash and slice the pak choi into fairly thick lengths so it still has some body when you stir-fry it in the sesame oil, with ginger, garlic and a bit of soy sauce. 8. Blanche the soba noodles and then swirl in the toasted sesame oil with some black sesame seeds. 9. To serve carve the duck breast and lay on stirfried pak choi, with a nest of soba noodles around the pineapple salsa.

CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN HEELS, £290 Calling all label lovers, head to designer resale boutique Grace & Ted for preowned treasures such as these killer Loubs From Grace & Ted 10 Kingsmead Square, Bath; www.


LENTICULAR PICTURES, STARTING FROM £180 Designer Liberty Wright hand-makes lenticular creations from her studio in Bath. As the viewer of the letter box moves from left to right, a clever optical technique is seen, showcasing, for example, a bride’s name if you look from the left, and a groom’s if you look from the right From The Letter Box Company, based at Bath Artists’ Studios, Comfortable Place;

February is the month of love, so here are some of the Valentine’s Day gift ideas we’ve discovered around the city

HAPPY HEARTS BANGLE, £2,230 This slip-on slim, dainty bangle – complete with diamond – is a discreet token of affection from Chopard From Mallory, 1-5 Bridge Street, Bath;

NECKLACE, £59 A popular range of French jewellery at Blue features a leather strap (either in necklace or bracelet form) plus a button of your choice. Change up the look by choosing a few buttons in different colours From Blue Women and Home at The Loft, 1-2 Bartlett Street, Bath;


MARIE JO BRA, £77, AND BRIEFS, £37 Treat yourself or your partner to something sexy, with this bold, scarlet, floral-trimmed set From The Dressing Room, 7 Quiet Street, Bath;

LOVE BUG SHORTBREAD (BOX OF SIX), £15 Nestled in a ribboned box is this batch of cute, glittering biscuits From Coffee @ Camden, Camden Road, Bath;

ED’S CHOICE SILVER-PLATED NECKLACE, £18 Inscribed with the sentiment ‘Love you to the moon and back’, this pendant could be given for universal reasons: be it Valentine’s, Mother’s Day or birthdays From Rossiters of Bath, 38-41 Broad Street, Bath;

VALENTINE’S BOUQUETS, FROM £40 With free delivery in and around Bath, Blomme’s bunches are created by Nicole De Villiers, who works from her home studio in the Bathwick Hill area From Blomme;

FLAMING HEART BROOCH, £175 From the graceful Audrey collection at Simon Harrison Jewellery comes this brooch, adorned with crystal flames set on tiny springs so that they flutter and sparkle Available at Alexandra May, 23 Brock Street, Bath;

NOTEBOOKS, FROM £17.50 Handmade with love, these textured leather diaries feature a metallic clasp and edging From Prezzi, 5 Northumberland Place, Bath;

READING IN BED, £140 UNFRAMED/ £195 FRAMED This print by painter, etcher and stained glass artist Frans Wesselman captures the warmth and character of a relationship From Axle Arts, 9 Leighton Road, Bath; I BATH LIFE I 65

THE INTERIOR Baby, It’s Cold Outside. It’s the time of year when we celebrate the Great British Winter by retreating into our homes with friends and family. Finding comfort in nourishing food and welcoming long standing and new friends into our private space to celebrate the simple pleasure of the like-minded and familiar. Or perhaps just a moment of quiet solitude with a book.

21 Broad Street, Bath, BA1 5LN 01225 422 220

This collection is a response from some of our artists to their interiors, real and hoped for, including work by Peter Graham ROI and David Tindle RA. Until 13 March

Saltford Building Services are specialists in providing your complete building and property development project.

Enjoy more examples of the work we are proud to present to you by visiting:

Whatever you’re planning; renovation, an extension,

kitchen or bathroom; let us make your property dreams a reality. Call 01225 874 676 / 07971 169 878 Unsurprisingly, based in Saltford and serving the Bristol and Bath area.


A range of the latest non-surgical cosmetic treatments is offered by our Aesthetic Nurse Practitioner, Cheryl Wright. Cheryl is a registered nurse, who is highly qualified and experienced in aesthetic (cosmetic) procedures. These include treatments for facial wrinkles, facial and leg thread veins, frown lines, ‘crow’s feet’, skin rejuvenation and contour reshaping for a more youthful appearance:      

Dermal fillers Lip augmentation Wrinkle/muscle relaxing treatments Dermal needling Skin care advice Sclerotherapy

All treatments are available for both men and women, and are provided with the utmost discretion and confidentiality. Please call 01225 339767 to book your free initial, no obligation, consultation.

01225 339 767 | |

Whichever your riding style, we have the electric bike (or bike) to suit you...



Face facts

Non-surgical procedures are on the rise, with people opting for less invasive treatments. Here’s a taster of what’s available in Bath Aquae Sulis Dental Practice

Cheryl Wright, aesthetic nurse practitioner

What sorts of procedures do you provide?

We offer a range of non-surgical, minimally invasive aesthetic procedures to both existing patients and those not currently registered.

Tell us about a non-surgical procedure that you do…

Profhilo is one of the most popular treatments and can be described as a ‘super skin booster’ in that it offers fantastic hydration. It also triggers collagen and elastin production, resulting in bio-remodelling of the skin. This results in improved texture of ageing and sagging skin, as well asreduction of acne scarring and pigmentation. What results can people expect?

Profhilo delivers excellent results, effectively lightening, brightening and tightening, in the face, neck, décolleté and hands in particular (but can also be used in arms and knees), both as a stand-alone treatment or in combination with other aesthetic treatments, such as dermal fillers, peels and dermal needling. How many treatments are needed?

Profhilo is an injectable, two-stage treatment (with minimal downtime, hence its popularity). Advice on skincare and sun protection is emphasised at every stage in order to enhance longevity of results. For more:

Bath facial Aesthetics

Dr Sally Antcliff

What kind of procedures do you do?

We carry out a range of non-surgical treatments including wrinkle-reducing injections, dermal fillers, genuine derma roller, and silhouette soft lift. What non-surgical procedures are people opting for?

people who have had this treatment?

People are delighted and love the fact that other people don’t notice but just remark to them how well they look. For more:

Snowberry Lane Clinic

Dr Rupert Gabriel, medical director

Tell us about your clinic?

I run a cosmetic clinic in Wiltshire alongside my wife, Ann, where we aim to increase or, in some cases, restore our clients’ confidence with minimally invasive cosmetic procedures. Our philosophy is to use our treatments to make improvements that look as natural as possible. Tell us about a popular non-surgical procedure that you do…

HIFU Doublo Gold (this stands for highintensity focused ultrasound). This pioneering treatment uses the latest cosmetic technologies to help tone, tighten and firm skin on the face, which helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and leave the skin looking rejuvenated and youthful. No scalpel, no needles no downtime.

How long does the treatment last?

At least two years.

What kind of responses do you get?

Our clients have been delighted with the minimal discomfort and downtime as well as the visible improvement and lift after three – four weeks and continuing improvement over six months. For more:

Circle Bath Hospital

Misha Badial, consultant ophthalmologist

Tell us about a popular treatment?

How many treatments are needed?

What kind of responses do you get from

These injections can halt central visual decline in nine out of 10 people and can help improve vision in three out of 10 people. Injections may not work if there is long-standing damage to

Are the results short-term or long-term?

The results take two – 10 days to appear and usually last three – five months.

One treatment is required, but we offer a review appointment to check that the patients are happy with the results and we can top up if necessary two weeks later.

Circle Bath Hospital

Why is it popular at the moment?

We provide intravitreal injections (injections into the eye) for wet AMD (AMD stands for age-related macula degeneration and involves damage to the macula which affects central vision). This treatment is very popular as currently we have nearly 600,000 people in the UK with AMD.

A popular procedure, particularly for people who have never had any cosmetic work done before, is Botox®.

Aquae Sulis Dental Practice

What results can patients expect?

Snowberry Lane Clinic

the macula, so it is very important to present as early as possible from the onset of symptoms. You can be referred to us by your GP or your optician, or you can self-refer if you are concerned that you are developing symptoms of central visual decline.

How many treatments are needed or is it a one-off treatment?

The injections are given regularly, initially given every month for three months, and then we individualise the treatment schedule depending on your eye and the progress you are making. For more: I BATH LIFE I 69


Finishing touches Adding soft furnishings into your rooms is the easiest way to bring a new look and feel into the home, without having to spend a fortune. Local experts tell us what’s hot right now By Lisa Evans


ith the changing seasons come myriad new trends, but how realistic is it, really, to repaint, redecorate and redo every room from scratch every time there’s a whiff of new in the air? Not at all. So, the easy, and significantly less expensive, way to refresh your home interiors is by changing up just a few soft furnishings now and then. Here are some of our favourite looks for the season ahead...


Oahu pendant, £398, from Anthropologie, 1-4 New Bond Street, Bath;



Whether it’s botanical prints, nature-themed patterns or just a bit of verdant fringing, green is one of the major hues of the season. It’s the colour of sustainability and the environment and can be used with timelessness in mind when creating new spaces. Just glancing around the local shops, we’ve spotted House of Hackney – at Rossiters of Bath on Broad Street – which has gone big on bold, botanical prints when it comes to its lampshades and cushions; then there are nature-inspired fabrics and digitally printed linens at Blue Lizard Textiles, a locally based online business; and there’s fauna and flora integrated into the new textile collection at OKA, on Milsom Street, where you’ll find a selection of luxury cushion covers, rugs, quilts and throws. We’ve also swooned over the fringed pendant ceiling lights at Anthropologie on New Bond Street; been captivated by Kurtz Textiles’ one-off, hand-printed lampshades, which are made by Hollie Middleton at her home in Bitton and sold on her Etsy site; and have coveted Jan Constantine’s cactus cushions – which are available at Homefront Interiors, on Margaret’s Buildings.






1. Abstract rug, £498, Anthropologie, 1-4 New Bond Street, Bath; 2. Willow lampshade, £69, Kurtz Textiles, Bitton; 3. Sanderson Samphrey curtains, £89 per metre, Dible & Roy, Bridge Street, Bradford on Avon; 4. Paradisa cushion, £148, Rossiters of Bath, 38-41 Broad Street, Bath; 5. Cactus cushion, £98, Homefront Interiors, 10 Margaret’s Buildings, Bath; 6. Rapture & Wright Medina linen, £27, Blue Lizard Textiles, Bath; 7. Mossy Pebbles lampshade, from £90, Inq, Bath; 8. Cushions, from £16, OKA, 26-27 Milsom Street, Bath;
















Multicoloured is in. According to Kim Paterson, head of interiors at Rossiters, gone are the muted tones of early 2018, and waving hello are brightly printed, designs and deep hues – which Rossiters’ furniture department reflects perfectly. “We pride ourselves on being able to arrange just about anything a customer wants in almost any fabric,” says Kim. “Everything from bespoke lampshades, headboards, ottomans, bedspreads and throws as well as the more usual requests such as cushions, curtains and window seats. We also have a huge range of off-the-shelf soft furnishings.” Sarah Howells at TR Hayes, on London Street, says she’s finding multicoloured jewellike velvets in greens, blues and oranges still very popular, particularly for accent pieces. “Adding a colourful rug creates drama – especially when other strong colours have been used. We source our rugs and fabrics from leading specialists and designer brands, and we try to keep abreast of current trends.” We’re also getting our colour-splash on with joyful, colourful lampshades from local, online business Inq. The artistic shades are handmade by the business owner, Florence Saumarez, who begins by marbling papers in her studio in Lansdown Mews; she floats paints onto a tank of water thickened with an extract of Irish moss; these paints are either left as they land or are combed into patterns; then she lays the prepared paper onto the surface of the tank to take the print. Once dry, the papers are ready to be made into lampshades. Florence says that chintz is back; but, as with every circulation of style, it will be different this time. “I’m hoping that chintz is code for a more relaxed, less designed approach to combining pattern and colour. I would like to see us embrace a pared-back flamboyance that will give us the confidence to be bold with scale and texture, but will not upset our new Marie Kondo sensitivities. We can have pieces that ‘spark joy’ and that might be a bit crazy, just not too many of them.”

1. Planet lampshade, £69, Kurtz Textiles, Bitton; www. 2. Stripe cushion, from £75, Hay, 36-38 Milsom Street, Bath; 3. Throw, £130 per metre, Rossiters of Bath, 38-41 Broad Street, Bath; 4. Floor cushion, £119, Haus, Bath; 5. Ruched cushions, from £45, Graham and Green, 92 Walcot Street, Bath; 6. Malini cushions, from £19, Rossiters of Bath, 38-41 Broad Street, Bath; 7. Blendworth Emporium Collection, TR Hayes, 15-18 London Street, Walcot, Bath; 8. Funk Triangles rug, £175, TR Hayes, 15-18 London Street, Walcot, Bath;


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1. Pineapple table runner, £58, Anthropologie, 1-4 New Bond Street, Bath; 2. Cushion covers, from £16, OKA, 26-27 Milsom Street, Bath; 3. Jarrell duvet cover, from £188, Anthropologie, 1-4 New Bond Street, Bath; 4. Rugs and runners, from £45, Graham and Green, 92 Walcot Street, Bath; 5. Fela tasseled sconce, £138, Anthropologie, 1-4 New Bond Street, Bath; 6. Seat pads, from £32, Graham and Green, 92 Walcot Street, Bath; 7. Moroccan pouffe, from £78, Haus, Bath;


Barely there, warm, earthy neutrals are a safe, calming option. For the past few years, grey has dominated the neutral interiors palette, but sandy, oatmeal, stonewashed shades are back, and proving to be anything but boring. “Dulux’s colour of the year, Spiced Honey, has set the tone for these warm neutrals, but you’ve really got to make sure you’re adding lots of visual interest with texture and interplay of materials so you don’t end up in a beige box,” says Kate Thomson, owner of Bath-based online business Haus, which sources furnishings from makers around the world – from handloomed Turkish cotton throws, to handmade cushions and pouffes from Morocco, India and Ghana. “Our fringed cushions are really textural, so they can add lots of interest to a neutral scheme. Wherever possible, I use women’s co-operatives. Most of my products are made from traditional techniques; for instance, the mudcloth cushions from Ghana are created using handwoven material which is then coloured with fermented mud (and are then thoroughly washed!).” You’ll find yet more natural hues at Marjorie Minnie – a Bath-based online business, run by designer/ maker Gabrielle Durnford, who, from her home studio in Odd Down, designs and hand-finishes heirloom products, such as blankets, cushions and soft toys, from highquality yarns. And Debbie Picken, the owner of Blue Lizard Textiles, thinks sustainability and natural materials will be very popular for the season ahead, with a move towards more fiery neutrals and pure white.   “With soft furnishings, you can constantly update your interior space without spending too much money,” says Debbie, who makes all of her cushion covers to order from her studio on the top floor of her house on the northern slopes of Bath. “It’s a great way of reflecting your taste and personality.” At Graham and Green on Walcot Street, we personally love the neutral-meets-pastel pieces. “We offer a hugely eclectic selection of soft furnishings – from velvet and linen cushions, to statement patterned bedspreads and handwoven rugs,” says Kate Vincent, marketing manager. “We work with people all around the globe to find and create unique designs to give our customers something a little different.”


Linen duvet cover, from ÂŁ178, Anthropologie, 1-4 New Bond Street, Bath; I BATH LIFE I 77



Simplicity is key when it comes to the monochrome look – probably the most enduring colour combination of them all. Use it as a sturdy canvas for brave, graphic and statement furniture, or keep it as-is for a methodical, neat, attention-demanding luxe look for all seasons. At OKA, if you’re not sidetracked by the sheer variety of colours in store (their cushion collection alone has over 200 designs to choose from) then you’ll find some gorgeous mono décor. “You can completely change the look of your scheme with a couple of wellplaced cushions, a rug or a throw,” says Sue Jones, creative director. “Cushions are one of the most simple and effective ways to instantly lift a room.” If white and black are a bit too harsh for your liking, Jill Down – at Fabric & Flair, in Marshfield, which offers bespoke soft furnishings – suggests a mixture of blues, golds and dark greys. “Shimmery velvets look good on Roman blinds and triple/double pinch pleat curtains in these colours, and wave and eyelet headings on curtains offer a modern feel.” 2



1. Aldalora throw, £118, Anthropologie, 1-4 New Bond Street, Bath; 2. Nailah tassel cushion, £35, Homefront Interiors, 10 Margaret’s Buildings, Bath; 3. Sequoia table lamp and shade, £195, OKA, 26-27 Milsom Street, Bath; 4. Cushion, £32, Haus, Bath; 5. Blanket, £65, Hay, 36-38 Milsom Street, Bath; 6. Mudcloth cushion, £54, Haus, Bath; 7. Storage baskets, £95, OKA, 26-27 Milsom Street, Bath; 8. Throw, £32, Haus, Bath;










Pantone’s colour of the year, Living Coral, is leading the way for warmer interior schemes, but there are plenty of other zingy, sunny tones beaming in too – from berry reds to zesty oranges. “With new spring collections beginning to appear, we are enjoying the cheerful colour combinations arriving in store,” says Lara Willmore at Dible & Roy, where you’ll find over one thousand pattern books, ranging from embroidered silk, to printed linens, cut-velvets to cotton cloth, all of which can be ordered in. “Coral is a key colour this year, and we are seeing it in different tones and mixed with soft blues and faded greens. “Having been trading for almost 40 years in Bradford on Avon, we have built our library collection to suit our knowledge of the local market,” she adds. “Soft accessories can give your home a cosy feel, offer an easy way to inject some colour, soften corners, provide comfort, absorb sound, link a scheme together and add a bit of happiness.”




1. Marimekko / Räsymatto tea towel, £15.50, Found, 17 Argyle Street, Bath; 2. Jaipur Rose curtains, from £69 per metre, Rossiters of Bath, 38-41 Broad Street, Bath; 3. Stripe cushion, from £75, Hay, 36-38 Milsom Street, Bath; 4. Coral vein lampshade, from £90, Inq; 5. The singulier, £189, Comptoir + Cuisine, 5 George Street, Bath; www. 6. Baby blanket, £78, Marjorie Minnie, Bath; 7. GP&J Baker cushions, from £175, Rossiters of Bath, 38-41 Broad Street, Bath; 8. Blanket, £65, Hay, 36-38 Milsom Street, Bath; 9. Bird of paradise quilt, £136, Graham and Green, 92 Walcot Street, Bath;

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interiors So that’s your soft furnishings sorted, but what about your houseplants? Cue Pilea Plant Shop, a houseplant business based in Frome, which supplies unusual greenery for the home. Its owner, Lula Oatley, holds botanical-themed creative workshops in and around Bath – upoming dates are 1, 7 and 17 March, all held at Moo and Two in Frome – and she also offers personal consultations for homeowners and office workers on which plants will work well for them. “In many shops that sell plants, the information you need isn’t provided, so you don’t know how to keep the plants happy,” says Lula. “Each plant has its own likes and dislikes; if a plant thrives in full sun and is taken home and placed on a dark mantelpiece,

it’s likely to die. It’s vital to me to educate about individual plant-care to avoid this throwaway culture; this is why each plant I sell comes with its own ‘care card’, giving information on light, temperature, watering, humidity levels, feed, propagation and repotting. “Cut-flowers are stunning, but they have a shelf life. Having houseplants to nurture definitely contributes to wellness and gives us a real sense of satisfaction. Today’s busy world is focused around so many screens and so much technology that it’s refreshing and grounding to bring nature into our homes.”

All photos © Pilea Plant Shop

Houseplant quiz

Take Lula’s quiz to find out what houseplants best suit your lifestyle and home...



















SHADE Philodendron Scandens Brasil Filters toxins.

SHADE Sansevieria (mother in law’s tongue) A top air-purifying plant which can help you sleep.

SHADE Epipremnum aureum (devil’s Ivy) A fast-growing trailing plant that’s easy to care for.

SHADE Zamioculcas zamiifolia (zz plant) Tolerates a wide range of conditions and neglect.

SHADE Maranta tricolour (prayer plant) Likes warm, moist conditions.

SHADE Philodendron xanadu Reaches heights of 4ft.

BRIGHT EAST- OR WEST-FACING Pilea peperomioides A Chinese money plant.

BRIGHT EAST- OR WEST-FACING Ananas comosus (pineapple plant) NASA claims it helps to reduce snoring!

BRIGHT EAST- OR WEST-FACING Monstera deliciosa (cheese plant) Can reach over 10ft tall, hence the name ‘Monstera’.

BRIGHT EAST- OR WEST-FACING Oxalis triangularis (wood sorrel) Stunning deep purple foliage and easy to care for.

BRIGHT EAST- OR WEST-FACING Alocasia amazonica (elephant’s ear) Requires high humidity, but do not mist.

BRIGHT EAST- OR WEST-FACING Aeonium arboreum Dormant in the summer, and actively grows through autumn and winter.

SOUTH-FACING Ficus elastica (rubber plant) It excels at removing toxins from our air, especially formaldehyde.

SOUTH-FACING Aloe vera Besides its healing properties, it releases oxygen and takes in CO2, leading to better air quality.

SOUTH-FACING Epiphyllum anguliger (fishbone cactus) Set it back from the sun in indirect light.

SOUTH-FACING Ceropegia woodii (string of hearts) These trailing heartshaped leaves prefer to be kept on the dry side, making them easy to care for.

SOUTH-FACING Begonia maculata (spotted begonia) Requires high humidity, but well worth it for the polka dot leaves.

SOUTH-FACING Crassula buddha’s temple Requires a careful watering regime and regular rotation.


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Designs for Southgate shopping area show the ‘pocket park’


SOUTHGAte to get £2.5 million transformation The plans reveal a green, family-friendly space


ath’s shopping area SouthGate will get a new look this year after a £2.5 million investment by owners British Land and Aviva Investors. The project, which starts in February, will transform the centre’s public spaces; plans include enhancements in green spaces and seating, with the creation of a ‘pocket park’ on St Lawrence Street including mounded lawns, bespoke timber seating and apple trees.

SouthGate has also partnered with Bath-based Macgregor Smith Architects and the Holburne Museum to design a new piece of public art within the city, which will be installed in SouthGate Place. The specially commissioned shadow lantern has been created following literacy workshops with local school children and will project words associated with Bath’s culture and heritage – from the Royal Crescent and Roman Baths to Bath Rugby.

At museum workshops, more than 60 pupils from Swainswick and Bathford primary schools were asked to tap into the city’s past and present to help inspire the artwork. These works follow a series of successful art installations at SouthGate, including this summer’s wisteria walkway and the famous umbrella street.   “We’re looking to create a relaxing, feel-good space in the heart of the city and have worked with the local community to

The Big Number


This is the amount a Bath company made in 2018. See page 89

bring this concept to life,” says Guy Henderson, centre manager at SouthGate. “Our partners have channelled the city and its heritage, where possible, and I’m sure we’ll be thrilled with the end result. “The improvement works represent a big investment for us, with the aim of making SouthGate an even better place to shop, eat and spend time at.” For more: 115



Art enthusiast. Guitar strummer. Chicken owner. Navy man. The chief executive of Bath Building Society, Kevin Grey, is living proof that accountants can be the life and soul of the party Did you always want to work in finance? When I was younger I had absolutely no plans to work in the finance sector at all. It all happened purely by chance. From a very young age I was attracted to service in the armed forces, and that is what I eventually did. Being a canny Scot with a natural eye for all things financial might have influenced my future direction. What was your journey into finance, and who or what inspired you? I joined the Royal Navy in 1987 and for the next five years I served mainly on nuclear submarines. In 1993, when a generous voluntary redundancy scheme was introduced, I took my chance to move on from the Navy. I wasn’t

the collective power of members’ savings. I want our colleagues to be proud of their part in our future success and to evangelise the good work that we do for our community. I am a great believer in recruiting the right senior team, and to let that team get on with the day-to-day management. The company has been going since 1904 – what do think has determined its success? The success and longevity of BBS is down to three main factors. Firstly, the relative affluence of the city of Bath makes it a good location for a business that needs deposits from savers and which secures loans against property. Secondly, the city is an attractive place to live and work and, as such, the society has never struggled to recruit talented

“A MISCONCEPTION IS THAT FINANCE PEOPLE ARE BORING” quite sure what my next step would be but, for some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to do ‘something financial’. I eventually got a job in the audit department of Arthur Andersen in Bristol, training to be a chartered accountant. I left AA in 1998 and started work at Bath Building Society. I qualified as an accountant in 2000. How do you lead and inspire your team? My job is to create a vision for the business that will inspire our colleagues. I am determined that the society should be a successful financial sector business that is fair to its customers and which focuses on changing people’s lives by providing them with homes of their own, financed through 86 I BATH LIFE I

staff. Finally, I think it has been led exceptionally well. My predecessors have massively contributed to the society having the financial strength that it has today. How do you think Brexit will impact your business? The society’s business is wholly based in England and Wales and so Brexit will have no direct impact on our business. The risk of a disorderly exit from the EU and a possible recession could impact on employment and on the strength of the housing market. Both of these would impact on us negatively. Investment throughout the economy has already weakened and this will act as a drag on future GDP growth. Even if we have a Brexit deal, I suspect that 2019 is

Kevin Grey loves his furry friends

going to be a difficult year for many businesses. What are the challenges and rewards of working in the finance sector, specifically in Bath? Financial services is a growth sector to work in and salaries are high compared to other industries. Putting money aside, it’s the constant challenge of trying to keep the society competitive and on good terms with its regulator that gets me out of bed in the morning.Working in Bath is a pleasure. Certainly, many of my peers who run societies in rather drab towns in the East Midlands are quite jealous of where we operate from. What do you think is the biggest misconception about people who work in banking or finance? That everyone working in banking and finance is greedy and only out for themselves. I’ve never worked for a bank, but over my 20 years in the building society sector I have only ever met individuals who wish to put customers’ interests first. A second misconception is that finance people are boring. No-one would say that if they had seen the BBS team dancing at Po Na Na’s in December after our staff Christmas party! What is the thing you are most proud of professionally? I was the finance director at the society throughout the last financial crisis. I am very proud of the part I played in ensuring that the society not only survived but also prospered during what was a very challenging and dangerous period. And personally? I have two daughters, one at university in London studying fine

art and the other hopefully about to go to university in London to study biological sciences. They have turned out to be good citizens and I am immensely proud of them. We hear you keep chickens and have five dogs... I keep a small flock of Pekin and Partridge bantams that produce eggs for the table. My late wife Rebecca bred dogs and showed them quite successfully at the likes of Crufts. I have inherited a pack of three Parson russell terriers and two standard dachshunds. They are my fur babies! Outside of work, what do you like to get up to? I am a keen fair-weather walker; this might only be a couple of miles with the dogs or something much bigger. In 2019, I am planning to walk two weeks on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela with my brother. In the winter, I love skiing with my daughters and I watch as much of Bath Rugby as I can fit in. What is the most surprising thing about you? I think I’m more of an artist at heart than I am a scientist or finance person. I love art galleries, acquiring original paintings and buying the odd antique. I play the acoustic guitar a bit, too. More Val Doonican than Van The Man. And finally, what are your hopes and fears for 2019? I am generally quite full of hope for the future and fear for very little. I pray to the Gods of rugby that Scotland will defeat England at Twickenham and go on to lift the 2019 Six Nations trophy.

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The need for change and innovation in 2019


Ian Lloyd, partner at award-winning accountancy firm MILSTED LANGDON talks about the need for businesses and not for profits to innovate in 2019

prominent theme for 2019 will be digital innovation. With year end tax returns behind us, now is the time for businesses to focus on the biggest change to the UK tax system in decades, which will have a significant impact for many businesses – Making Tax Digital (MTD). From 1 April 2019, businesses with a turnover above the VAT threshold (currently £85,000) will have to keep digital records for VAT purposes and provide this information to HMRC using compatible software. With our excellent tech capabilities led by our Business Intelligence team, we’ve been busy implementing systems that provide monthly management information, which will satisfy the MTD requirements, as well as provide performance indicators for business owners to assist their ongoing strategies. This will be particularly important as we see how Brexit

will unfold. Talking of Brexit, with the help of MGI Worldwide (our international network), we’re helping more clients prepare for a potential no-deal by setting up companies in Ireland and other EU countries, to continue trading with minimum disruption. At the very least companies trading with the EU should register for an EORI (Economic Operator Registration and Identification) number if they haven’t already got one. This month we are partnering with some of the region’s largest and most impactful firms to launch the South West Charity Conference. Taking place on 7 February in Bath, the event is designed to support local charities and third sector organisations look at new ways to grow and diversify. Our guest speakers will discuss the challenges of income generation and innovation in the sector, with some great examples such as

testing new digital technology like chatbots to achieve a greater impact. In other exciting news – we started the new year with a move to a larger office at 4 Queen Street. This new move will allow us to continue our ongoing growth plans and deliver more services to our clients in and around Bath. n

Our experienced team offers a full range of services to help our clients realise their business and personal goals. Email: or call the Bath office on 01225 904940

Call Monahans Wealth Management on 01225 472800 Lennox House, 3 Pierrepont Street, Bath BA1 1LB


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Our pick of the most exciting, intriguing or important local business stories right now



The Bath-based sexual wellbeing online retailer, Lovehoney, has defied the widely reported high street retail slump by having a record year, revealing profits are up by 22 per cent to £11 million, and sales up by 22 per cent to £93 million. The surge in sales has been attributed to the firm investing in international distribution; particularly impressive was a £31.6m increase in Australia and North America, a 67 per cent rise year-on-year. The festive period saw great success for the company too, with sales up by 30.5 per cent globally in the run-up to Christmas. “This year has been our biggest year to date, with record sales and profit which are both up by more than a fifth,” says Lovehoney co-founder Richard Longhurst. “Our aim is to be the world’s bestknown sexual wellbeing brand. We now have nine international websites in four languages served from three distribution centres. We are the go-to destination for people who want to discover a fun and fulfilling sex life.” For more


Momentum is building for the third Creative Bath Awards as category sponsorship opportunities become

available and businesses gear up for nominations to open on 14 February. Organisers are anticipating another sell-out celebration for this year’s awards, held on 13 June in the heart of Bath’s Queen Square in a giant marquee. The 2018 awards saw a flamboyant public celebration of creativity, filled with music, Morris dancing, sculptures and acrobats, where over 300 guests enjoyed the awards along with a further 200 at the summer party. The Creative Bath Awards celebrate creativity in all its forms, from artist to architect, dancer to designer, photographer to publisher. The awards also highlight talented students, making the event an excellent opportunity for young Another incredible creative event is just six months away

creatives to meet and get inspired by thriving businesses in Bath. For sponsorship enquiries and to benefit from the Creative Bath Awards, contact Lucy Plummer @creativebath

All smiles for the Global Cycling Network, part of Play Sports Group


Bath-based company Play Sports Group has become a subsidiary of Discovery Sports, and plans are afoot to create up to 200 new jobs. The company announced that it has recently joined the global giant that specialises in real life entertainment, with the firm purchasing a 71 per cent controlling stake in Play Sports Group. Founded in Bath in 2012 by cycling media innovator Simon Wear, Play Sports Group is the © SOUL MEDIA

Lovehoney co-owners Neal Slateford and Richard Longhurst

A new lifestyle brand selling luxury skincare and wellbeing products has launched in Bath. Ubiety – which means being grounded in the moment in one definitive space – has launched products that promote wellbeing and mindfulness through calming and empowering formulations inspired by the wild woodlands and their energy. The initial products available include hand wash, hand lotion, body salve, lip balm, facial mist and a candle, with all products being vegan and environmentally friendly. The Ubiety brand has grown out of benefitting charity Dorothy House Hospice Care; its passion for holistic wellbeing and the inspiring work of its complementary therapies team is led by aromatherapist Lisa Smith. All proceeds from products sold will go directly to the cause it supports: end-oflife care. Also instrumental to the brand have been local companies Arcania Apothecary Ltd, Limelight and Supple. For more:


home of all things cycling-related. They own and operate eight cycling video channels generating over 45 million video views every month, with 5.7 million social followers and 3.1 million YouTube subscribers. Play Sports Group also includes the cycling media agency, SHIFT Active Media. “I am tremendously proud and excited for Play Sports Group to join the Discovery family,” says Simon. “As a fan- and community-focused business we could not be more perfectly aligned with Discovery’s deep rooted history in serving passionate, specialist audiences with super high-quality content.” For more: I BATH LIFE I 89

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Bringing you the latest in sporting news

Mike Williams will be ditching the greens for the blue, black and white get-up

Club together Bath Rugby are pleased to confirm that Lewis Boyce, Christian Judge, Will Stuart and Mike Williams will join the club ahead of the 2019/20 season. The new recruits are all English qualified and are hoped to bring the quality required to challenge consistently in the Gallagher Premiership and Europe, but also bring their individual characteristics to add to the competitive environment at the Club. Lewis joins the blue, black and white following two seasons with Gallagher Premiership rival Harlequins and was rewarded with a place in the 35-man squad for England’s Six Nations campaign last year. Christian arrives in the West Country from Cornish Pirates and comes with Gallagher Premiership pedigree having spent the season on loan at reigning Gallagher Premiership champions Saracens. Front rower Will joins the club having come through the Wasps Academy, with the tighthead prop


making his first team debut during the 2017/18 season, and featured in England’s triumphant World Rugby U20 Championship in 2016. Bath will also welcome Mike from Leicester. The 27 year-old has spent the last three and a half seasons with the Tigers, appearing 70 times. At 6ft 5” and 18 stone, Williams will add a considerable physical presence to the squad. “We’re delighted to bring in four quality players, who will bring significant strength to the pack going into next season,” says director of rugby, Todd Blackadder. “They’re all players who are aspiring to achieve, and that’s exactly the ambition we share as a club.We are going to go into next season even stronger as a squad, and Lewis, Christian, Will and Mike will play a huge role for us moving forward. They have a real hunger to develop and have the traits we look for to enhance the competitive environment both on the training field and matchday.” For more:

Business matters Diary

Movers and shakers etc

From networking breakfasts to invaluable evening courses, make a note of the courses and classes that will help your business flourish

Kilver Court Designer Village, in Shepton Mallet, has announced that it experienced a significant uplift of 5 per cent in like-for-like sales during December. “It’s great to see that we are bucking the national trends of declining bricks and mortar sales and increased online shopping, proving that people are still looking to enjoy the unique face-to-face shopping experience and outstanding service they get at Kilver Court, says CEO Freddie Saul.

6 February Bath Women's Business Club Connect with successful, authentic women, who are company directors, over a healthy lunch with business talks that will leave you inspired and raring to go. 11.30am-2pm; Bailbrook House Hotel; 6 February Creative Bath Business Leaders’ Breakfast The Creative Bath Business Leaders’ Breakfasts provide an important forum for senior-level discussion about current opportunities and challenges in our sector. This month’s topic is public celebrations of creativity in business. From massive statements of immense creativity to public recognition of brilliant teams through awards. 7.45am-9am; No 15 Great Pulteney; 14 February Bright Business Group The event provides an effective forum for the various companies to establish meaningful relationships with the people that matter most to your business, while providing support, and aspirations to build stronger, fairer ethics concerning local businesses. 6.45am-8.45am; Cheese & Grain, Frome; www.brightbusinessgroup. 28 February Bath Life Awards Glitz, glamour, music and 500 people coming together for a huge celebration of the top businesses in Bath. The Assembly Rooms;

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© Visit Bath


Festive footfall

Bath BID has released data showing the footfall over the Christmas period in Bath. The results show that the busiest day in the city over the festive period was 1 December, with over 350,000 people counted in the city on that day across six locations. There was an 18.6 per cent increase in footfall on Milsom Street in 2018 compared with the same period in 2017; this has partly been put down to the extension of the Christmas market stalls in Milsom Street. “Footfall is a concern in Bath, as it is everywhere else, and we continue to work hard to make an impact for the businesses we work with,” says Allison Herbert, chief executive of Bath BID. “The BID had a busy Christmas. The rangers played a vital role in keeping the city streets clear of trade waste, mess and litter, maintaining a welcoming environment.” For more:



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bath LIFE awards preview


s deeply, wildly glamorous celebrations, the Bath Life Awards go a pretty long way. Each year, unprecedented number of companies nominate; each year tickets sell out yet faster; and each year the drumbeat of expectation crescendos to awards night itself. Truth is, you never know quite what to expect at any stage. And that’s a good thing. The nominations reveal a profusion of clever companies and organisations –

OUR SPONSORS Headline Sponsors: The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa, with its brand partner Taittinger Platinum Sponsor: Bristol Airport Lead Sponsors: Acorn, Apex Hotels, Bath Audi, Bath BID, Bath Rugby, Bath Volkswagen, Bryers, Circo, Curo, First Bath, Freestyle Design, Hawker Joinery, Hotel Indigo, Jelf, Juice Recruitment, Kersfield, Minuteman Press, Novia, Savills, Spaces, Stone King, Sub 13 and Tile & Flooring.

sometimes all-new and often barely-known; many well-known but telling of great new achievements. The judging session has clever insights as the wisdom-of-the-crowds effect means that the collective decision arrives at sound outcomes. Awards night has everything from laughter to tears to boisterous celebration, idiosyncratic-to-triumphant music, glitz, jubilation, attendees posing as cover stars, drama and just the most outré definition of überberglam imaginable. Our host David Flatman will be very David Flatman, cheerfully yomping off piste as the whim takes him. Oh, and there’ll be an after-show party through to implausible o’clock, for the socially doughty, convivially hardy and, well, to be honest, the absolutely drunk. Maybe don’t schedule too many meetings on Friday 1 March… The Assembly Rooms will be filled to its 500 maximum attendance again, with several dozen on the waiting list. If you can’t make it this time, do tune into social media on the night. Thank you to all who have entered, sponsored and judged; and to those who will attend. It’ll be a blast. If you love Bath, nothing, but nothing, beats being there…


Business is changing. Companies and organisations are increasingly focused on more than “just” profits. Profits matter. They matter to enable risk and growth. They matter to provide a decent return to shareholders and teams. And they matter to give a fair value exchange: goods and services sold in exchange for their value… Yet many realise that they both need and want to do more beyond the purely commercial. It’s good for their teams and their city. And that’s one of the reasons why we’re launching the Civic Award this year at the Bath Life Awards. The Civic Award highlights the contribution of an organisation or company which has improved Bath this year. Some new initiative which makes our city better or commitment to helping develop others or notable charitable work. So who’s going to win the very first one..?

© SoulMedia

The überglam Bath Life Awards take place on 28 February at the Assembly Rooms, celebrating the best of Bath. In this special preview, we give you a taste of what to expect…

© SoulMedia


bath LIFE awards preview


Each year there is a fresh panel of impeccably impartial and independent Judges for the Bath Life Awards. It’s a disparate group, drawn from different sectors and sizes of business. They and they alone will decide the winners‌

Amanda Brown Founder of retailer Flamingo Amanda is the founder and co-owner of Flamingo, a design-led card, art and gift business in Bath. She is behind all sourcing of Flamingo brand products which include greeting cards, home accessories and bespoke commissions.

Ian Sandham Branch director insurance company Jelf As branch director for the Bath and Swindon offices at Jelf, Ian proudly serves the local business community, advising them on their insurance, risk management and employee benefits needs.

Amy Williams Athlete, Olympian Amy Williams is a British former skeleton racer and Olympic gold medallist. She began her athletic training as a student in Bath after discovering the bobsleigh and skeleton pushstart training facility at Bath University.

Charlie Taylor Partner at Knight Frank Having been an estate agent for nearly 30 years, Charlie has a wealth of experience working across a number of different markets, including London, Hampshire, and for the last 10 years, Bath. I BATH LIFE I 99

bath LIFE awards preview

Ian Taylor Owner of hotel group Kaleidoscope An innovative, independent hotelier, Ian owns The Kaleidoscope Collection, made up of No.15 Great Pulteney, The Bird, Bath, and latest acquisition, Homewood. The Abbey Hotel was also part of the collection, which was sold early 2018.

Laurel Penrose CEO, Bath College Laurel joined Bath College in 2016 as principal and chief executive with over 15 years’ experience in the further and higher education sector. She believes in the power of education and training to transform lives.

Mel Taylor Co-director and owner of Running High Events (Bath Half) Mel is passionate about making a difference within her local community and beyond. She founded the Bath Half Charity Scheme, creating a fundraising platform which has raised over £25 million for charity since 2000.


John Ryder Director for south west property company IWG plc John is responsible for the leadership and strategic direction of the business centres including Regus and Spaces across the South West and M4. John has over 10 years’ experience in sales management.

Zara Perry Owner of Zara Perry Hairdressing With over 15 years’ experience in the hair industry, Zara has achieved the L’Oréal colour degree, been a member of the Paul Mitchell art team and opened her own award-winning salon, in the city she loves…Bath.

BATH LONDON DEVON Independent boutique on Milsom Street specialising in Italian leather jackets, handbags, exciting fashion collections & jewellery.

Discover Bath's hottest fitness community with a free trial class

Be part of it Sign up for your free class and find out more at

BATH LIFE AWARDS Emma Parker and Martin Roberts


Kicking off the celebrations with a bang Ryan Perry and Zara Perry

The Bath Carnival team

Keith Portersnell, Alexandra May, Charlotte Rodgers and Claudia Perez Jerez 104 I BATH LIFE I

Adrian Mottram and Rebecca Collett

Nela Loubalova and Emma Henderson


Nicholas Wylde and Julie Witt

Viv Godfrey, Rachel Godfrey, Richard Godfrey and Keith Walker Vicky Cresswell and Ellie Mackenzie

Carson Burnett, David Ghent and Angela Ghent Gavin McHale and Nicola McHale

Maddie Difazio-Wright and Russell Smith Carol Banwell and Loraine Morgan-Brinkhurst

David Maxwell and Beth Denny I BATH LIFE I 105


A big cheers to our wonderful guests

PHOTOS BY SOUL MEDIA David James and Melanie James

Samantha Barber, Krissy Nicol and Harriet Barber Ed Culliford, Donna Moore, Emma Chun and Dan Fallon

Kate Doyle, Alice Liguori, Mark Churchyard and Ben Tyrek

Marty Grant, Richard Knighting and Roger Jones

Simon Wainewright and Barry Montacute I BATH LIFE I 107



Alex Miller, Debbie Hicks, Nickie Portman and Tim Whelehan

James Nouch, Nicky Bragg, Emily Morrison and Jess Docherty

Frazer King and Rebecca Astrop

Harry Peckham, Jordon Thompson, Callum Rixon and Ross Mullins Emma Rose and Alex Feilden-Cook

Richard Cross and Peter Milton Simon Austin and Mark Hanks


Number Three Hairdressing 01225 443222 Number Three, 3 Saville Row, Bath, BA1 2QP





The owners of this Georgian abode have given its interiors the magic modern touch while still retaining its period magnetism By Evelyn Green MEDIACLASH.CO.UK I BATH LIFE I 141 113




eorgian interiors are often the easiest to decorate and restore. Let the attractive, harmonious proportions speak for themselves and leave great piles of furniture to the Victorians, that’s what architectural historian Oliver Gerrish says, anyway. The owners of 47 Rivers Street, a handsome Grade-II listed Georgian townhouse, circa 1776, haven’t attempt to mask the property’s 18th-century surrounds; they’ve gone with bright, light walls – along with splashes of the ubiquitous modern slate grey – to show off the space, but, possibly as a nod to the colour-loving Georgian decorators that came before them, they’ve added strong, vibrant splashes of colour in the form of furniture and trimmings. “Many period buildings, particularly in Bath, were conceived to be decorated with pattern, colour and

even gold leaf,” says Allyson McDermott, a maker of bespoke wallpaper, who owns an eponymous shop and showroom on Margaret’s Buildings, Bath. “Aspirational interiors impress guests, show off your wealth and success and make you feel good about yourself. Living in cold white or subdued spaces is a very modern concept, and this was never the way those interiors were designed to be enjoyed.” So, while the Rivers Street property – which is attributed to the architect John Wood the Younger – does pull back when it comes to wall colour – save for the interesting multicoloured tiles placed neatly along the the living room dado rail – the place is strewn with bold artworks, metallic lighting features and primary-coloured furniture and soft furnishings. It’s daring and artistic yet minimalist and fresh; it’s super stylish and spotless, but it still has a lived-in, irregular-around-the-edges feel. The current owners have enhanced the property considerably, and it now provides versatile and trendy accommodation over five floors. But carefully preserved among the renovations are the rich architectural details of chimneypieces, wide panelled doors and the elaborate ceilings of the drawing room and dining room in the Adam style. The house is entered into via an excellent size and welcoming hallway, and then flows through into a traditional arrangement of two reception rooms on both the ground and first floors, and then a French I BATH LIFE I 115


door from the dining room opens onto the garden. There is a well-appointed kitchen/breakfast room on the lower floor, with access to a rear courtyard with its useful vault/wine cellar as well as access to the back garden. To the front is a good size dining/ sitting room, currently used as a home office, and there’s access to the front vaults and to the street. The second floor comprises the master bedroom with an en suite bathroom and a further spacious double bedroom. And the third floor has three bedrooms and a family bathroom. Outside, the south-facing rear garden is walled, provides privacy and is predominantly paved for easy maintenance. There’s also an open aspect to the front with glorious views across Bath to the southern slopes of Bathwick and Widcombe. Rivers Street itself is situated in the heart of Bath, close to the Royal Crescent and The Circus (and Bath Life’s HQ!) with the shops, cafés and restaurants of Milsom Street and Margaret’s Buildings nearby.  So, although it’s a shame that this wonderfully clad home won’t come with all of the striking artwork, colour-pop furniture or plush accessories, its bare Georgian bones will offer the perfect canvas for you to make it your own, whether your taste is classic, contemporary or anything in between.


House numbers Square footage 3,980 Bedrooms 5 Garden South-facing, walled and paved

Price Where

£1.6m Rivers Street, Bath

Savills Bath, Edgar House, 17 George Street, Bath BA1 2EN; 01225 474 500;



Why buying an apartment needs more than a feeling Peter Greatorex from the APARTMENT COMPANY explains…

ave you ever made those impulse buys and then, maybe a few days or weeks later, regretted it? If it’s a top or a pair of shoes then, although annoying, you can live with it, but what if it’s a property? We want to make sure that the apartment you purchase is based on a decision made with your heart and your head.

LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT We all want that feeling, that instant spark that tells us we’ve found ‘the one’. Yet the one may not come with the wish list package that you initially imagined. When you buy an apartment you need to think about the short to long term; yes, this apartment may be perfect for you today, but what about in 12 months’ time?

LOCATION We would never want you to live somewhere that wouldn’t make you happy, but there are so many areas of Bath that you may not have discovered.

Trust our judgment; when we get to know you and have a sense of what you’re looking for and why, we will be able to match you with some fantastic apartments.

TRUSTING Yes, we are asking you to trust our experience to show you some properties that may not be right on paper. Circumstances change, you may get a new job, and your friends could move, so we need to ensure that the property we find will be a good home to you no matter what changes around you. We don’t have any mystery Jedi powers, just the knowledge obtained from years of working in the Bath apartment market.

associated costs, but every apartment is a blank canvas waiting for you to make it your home.

WHEN YOU GET THAT FEELING Should you get ‘the feeling’ when you walk into an apartment, never ignore it. It is magical and means you can really see yourself living there. Just remember to let your head have its say and you will be doing your best to ensure you will be happy in your new home for many years to come. If you would like to see a collection of apartments we feel would be perfect for you, just give us a call. ■

PICTURE PERFECT We can all make any property our home; we paint the walls a colour we prefer, we inject our own taste through furniture, and flair through accessories. Therefore, as they say, never judge a book by its cover. It’s important to be realistic about the amount of work you want to do and the

For more advice visit our blog at Sales: 01225 471144 Lettings: 01225 303870

Call us today! 01761 56 9281 077489 68010


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ASPect Window styling

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Inspiration for windows. Based in the heart of Bath, Aspect Window Styling are suppliers of top quality shutters, blinds of all types, curtains, poles, and awnings. Visit their showroom for inspiration and advice from expert staff on how to transform your windows into something gorgeous. Full design, measuring and fitting service. Tel: 01225 469559


Bear Interiors are a small, approachable company delivering quality interior solutions at affordable prices. From advice on colour schemes to renovation, from initial planning to project completion, they can help you. To arrange a free consultation please call Lynette Labuschagne on 07977548340 or email

Bath’s leading fireplace, wood burner, gas fire, chimney and flue specialist. From classic to contemporary, concept to completion, their team of experts can work with you to achieve your perfect interior. Brands include Chesney’s, Barbas Belfires, Hwam, Stuv and Jetmaster. Get in touch or visit the showroom. Mendip Fireplaces (Bath) Monkton Combe, Bath BA2 7HD., Tel: 01225 722706;

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Joel Bugg Furniture & Spaces

For over 40 years Tile & Flooring of Bath has developed its reputation as a high quality supplier of design lead materials and installation service, gaining important and long-standing relationships from discerning home owners managing their own projects to design and build professionals servicing the property industry. Tel: 01225 310561

Cheverell is set in the heart of Wiltshire with a stunning showroom and workshop, offering a full bespoke design, manufacturing and installation service in kitchens, bedrooms, and interiors. Established in 1989 it has over 30 years of experience to guide you through the whole process. Cheverell, Waller Road, Hopton Park, Devizes, Wiltshire SN10 2GH. Call: 01380 722722

claire rendall Design


From gently textured traditional interiors to gorgeous glitz, Claire Rendall Design creates quality interiors as varied as their clients. On time and to budget, both locally and internationally. Please contact; Tel: 07778 240223 for further information.


Verve is an interiors store with a difference. This creative hub is all about mixing it up: an ever-changing collection of one-off vintage pieces sits alongside locally sourced contemporary artwork and accessories, all exclusive to Verve in Bath. Pop in, a warm welcome awaits. 15 Walcot Buildings, London Road, Bath BA1 6AD Tel: 07785 332536

Joel Bugg design and create elegant, bespoke fitted furniture and interiors which are architecturally thought-through to seamlessly fit and suit your property. Working with private clients and architects, they offer a fully managed service from initial concept designs through to final installation, sourcing and providing all elements of the finished interior. Call: 07779 236242


Boniti is run by brothers Giles and Simon Lunt. Started in 2006, Boniti has grown hugely as a company and now offers a wide range of quality interior and exterior products: natural stone and timber flooring, Everhot range cookers, garden furniture and Kadai firebowls. Dunsdon Barn, West Littleton,Wiltshire SN14 8JA Tel:01225 892 200;


“Bath really seems to have venues that cater for acts of all sizes” Bahamas, to Thea Gilmore. It was produced by the legendary Nigel Stonier ( Joan Baez/The Waterboys) and I’m just really excited for everyone to hear it. After Noah and the Whale, I played 300 shows a year for three years until I was ready to make my album.... I had the

Matt Owens The former Noah and the Whale star has just moved to Bath. Here he talks local favourites, his new album, and deadly allergies In mid January, British singersongwriter and musician Matt Owens moved to Bath. He came to prominence as one of the founder members of indie-folk band Noah and the Whale – a British band which sold over a million hard copies of their albums in the UK – and for fronting rock ’n’ roll band Little Mammoths. His debut solo album, Whiskey and Orchids, is out this month. I moved to Bath a couple of weeks ago... We have two

our cockapoo, Mabel, for the last year and I’m attempting to line her up for regular babysitting so I can run riot in Bath wine bars with her daughter. I’ve always loved the city...

With Noah and the Whale, I played everywhere from Bath Assembly Rooms to Moles; Bath really seems to have venues that cater for acts of all sizes, while still being nurturing and supportive of its artistic community.

I’m a huge rugby fan... I’ve

daughters and we loved the villagey vibe and communityfeel of Weston as a place to bring them up. Also, from a touring perspective, Bath’s really well positioned geographically to get to most places.

always been envious of The Rec and the setup Bath have with their supporters – and that’s from a man born and raised in Twickenham.

I have family links here... I have

I’m still amazed by some of the people we got to play on it – from Tom Waits’ drummer, Michael Blair, and Carleigh Aikins from

the best mother-in-law a man could wish to have, who lives in Camden. She’s been looking after


My debut album, Whiskey and Orchids is out on 1 February....

songs and wanted the freedom to be able to say yes to whatever came along, unfettered by the timetables of others.

Noah and the Whale ran for eight years... which is a fairly

decent innings, but one of the guys didn’t want to do it anymore.

My best memory of being in the band is... simply being

in my 20s, not taking anything too seriously, being completely removed from anything resembling responsibility and having a great time playing music all over the world with my mates. I did a show at The Bell Inn last month.... It was great fun.

The Bell is genuinely one of the treasures of the British gig scene.

As for Bath audiences... Well,

they applaud Tom Petty covers and take a deep interest in vintage guitars; I can’t pay an audience a higher compliment than that.

I have more gigs coming up locally... My next Bath show

I’m hoping for a better work/ life balance than I had in London... and I’m loving the fact

there’s just a ridiculously high concentration of great things around you in Bath, whether it’s cafés, playgrounds, shops, bars, stunning views or a very friendly mix of people.

My favourite local spots are...

Vintage ’n’ Rare guitars, for obvious reasons; BeerCraft of Bath, where I can get all my pretentious South London IPAs and indulge in my new local favourite, Electric Bear; we love the vegan restaurant Beyond the Kale; and everything Dough does seems to never put a foot wrong. I’ve also just discovered The Locksbrook Inn, which is my local. Something that not many people know about me is...

I used to act professionally as a child. I did a world tour with the Royal Shakespeare Company as Mamillius in a Winter’s Tale, and was in a film with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Clive Owen. My best moment of all time was... performing on The David

Letterman Show; I’d been obsessed with the show for years. I have a fatal allergy to...

kiwi fruit. n

is headlining The Chapel Arts Centre on 10 May. I’m looking to teach guitar in and around Bath... I taught as

a favour to some friends initially, and then, over the last 10 years, I’ve taken on countless pupils and it’s genuinely one of the most rewarding things I do.

Whiskey and Orchids is out on 1 February. For more, see www. mattowensmusic. com

Profile for MediaClash

Bath Life – Issue 384  

Bath Life – Issue 384