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Food/Arts/Entertainment/Shopping/Property ISSUE 389 / 12 – 26 APRIL 2019 / £3


ISSUE 389 / 12 – 26 APRIL 2019 / OUTSIDE IN











Brad Abrahams are proud to announce we now recycle all contact lenses and packaging



H ABOVE AND LEFT: Whether you want to bring nature indoors or take your interiors style outside, we’ve got you covered (page 83)

aving successfully kept a houseplant alive since January, I feel that I owe it to my succulent survivor to keep on showing it the love and care it deserves – that being to ‘water rarely’, as per its label. In the brutal badlands of my living room, kitchen and bathroom, plant-euthanasia has been unavoidable up until this point; I don’t know what’s changed, but I’m determined not to give up on my fleshy green friend. Whether you’re new to the houseplant game or you’re a seasoned moistenedtissue leaf-polisher, turn to page 83 for local experts’ tips on how to bring the outdoors in (and the indoors out, if that’s your bag). Talking of living things that need liquid to survive, on page 23 we bring you a seriously strong coffee fix, and we ask some of the city’s pro baristas for their advice on what makes the perfect cuppa. Elsewhere, we chat to a miniaturist on the allure of hand-making tiny worlds (page 59); we indulge in lunch at the magnificent Pump Room (page 48); and we’re taught how to breathe – yes, really – to alleviate daily stresses (page 62). Enjoy!

LISA EVANS Follow us on Twitter @BathLifeMag Instagram @bathlifemag

www.mediaclash.co.uk I BATH LIFE I 3



Issue 389 / 12 – 26 April 2019 Cover Thank you to Pilea Plant Shop pop-up, in Frome, for our front cover image. For more, see page 83

the arts

33 ARTS INTRO Namecheck the big stars coming to

The Bath Festival this year

34 WHAT’S ON Time to fill up the diary – here’s

what’s happening



45 BOOKS Literature that takes the mick 47 theatre Must-see musicals coming our way


23 coffee Think you’re a coffee connoisseur? The

local experts spill the beans

48 RESTAURANT A historic eaterie gets the thumbs up 51 Take 5 The woman bringing tastes of the

Mediterranean to Bath

52 Food & DrINK news The newly opened and just

about to open drink spots in town


55 intro Sunset-coloured wardrobe must-haves 56 editor’s choice Gorgeous gardening gifts 59 meet the maker The artist that makes

teeny-tiny things



83 gardens Horticultural inspirations for your home

and garden

98 lives The IT Crowd star Katherine Parkinson


tells all


69 business insider All the news from the local

corporate scene

78 creative bath The up-and-coming creatives on

our doorstep

Property © Robert Day

91 showcase Check out this cool, classic pad

departments 9 spotlight 12 society 21 a man’s world

Editor Lisa Evans lisa.evans@mediaclash.co.uk Deputy Editor Harriet Noble harriet.noble@mediaclash.co.uk Managing Editor Deri Robins deri.robins@mediaclash.co.uk Senior Art Editor Andrew Richmond Graphic Design Megan Allison Cover Design Trevor Gilham Editor’s Photo Bonnie Rose Contributors Nic Bottomley, David Flatman, Anna O’Callaghan Group Advertising Manager Pat White pat.white@mediaclash.co.uk Deputy Advertising Manager Justine Walker justine.walker@mediaclash.co.uk Deputy Advertising Manager Polly Jackson polly.jackson@mediaclash.co.uk Account Manager Annabel North annabel.north@mediaclash.co.uk Sales Executive Louis Grey louis.grey@mediaclash. co.uk Production/Distribution Manager Sarah Kingston sarah.kingston@mediaclash.co.uk Deputy Production Manager Kirstie Howe kirstie.howe@mediaclash.co.uk Production Designer Matt Gynn matt.gynn@mediaclash.co.uk Chief Executive Jane Ingham jane.ingham@mediaclash.co.uk Chief Executive Greg Ingham greg. ingham@mediaclash.co.uk Bath Life MediaClash, Circus Mews House, Circus Mews, Bath BA1 2PW 01225 475800 www.mediaclash.co.uk @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 (www.crumbsmag.com, @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: info@mediaclash.co.uk

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SPOTLIGHT Businesses

ART’S CONTENT The independent spirit of the city has been captured in a piece of artwork created by local artist Jessica Palmer. Jessica’s creation is a fictional representation of individual artisans and crafters, including cider makers and bread bakers. The piece of art was commissioned by Visit Bath and was unveiled recently to launch their Independent Bath campaign, which aims to highlight the diverse range of independent businesses in the city. “This project was the perfect opportunity for me to combine design, painting and a touch of collage,” says Jessica. “The brief asked for a colourful, vibrant image which would spark interest in Bath’s Independents. I found a reclaimed Victorian door, and Batheaston-based framers Lark Designs framed and built a stand for the piece. The finished artwork

This Cooper and Gorfer painting will be auctioned off at the event


International artists such as Miriam Escofet, winner of the 2018 BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery, Bruce Munro, and Richard Twose will have their work on display – and available to purchase – at this year’s Hope ball. The black-tie gala is happening on the grounds of the Old Rectory in the village of Doynton on 15 June, where guests will enjoy a threecourse meal followed by an art auction which will see 45 art pieces up for grabs. Guests will also be able to bid for art experiences, from a private box at the Royal Opera House to a masterclass with prize-winning artists. All proceeds from the night will go towards the Royal United Hospital Cancer Care Campaign and the new building works. For more: www.hopeball.co.uk

Chatting to the youngsters



features glass blowing, cocktail mixing, cheese making, bookselling and much more, with decoupaged references to traditional crafts and the history of Bath.” The artwork will go on tour in some of the independent shops in Bath during the campaign so that residents and visitors can take a closer look. Visit Bath plans to sell the artwork at the end of May, with proceeds going to local independent charity We Get It. For more: www.visitbath.co.uk

Jessica Palmer showcasing her doorway of delights


PLAY BY HEAR Listening to young people. This was the focus at a recent event at the egg theatre which saw a discussion take place in which a group of panelists and audience members discussed issues ranging from the lack of affordable housing, and how essential this is if young people are to achieve their full potential; knife crime; drugs; and social media. The event was set up by the organisation DHI (Developing Health and Independence), and brought together a number of young people living in the local area as well as members from organisations such as Children in Need, Avon and Somerset Police, Bath Rugby Foundation and the Creative Youth network. “It was impressive that so many young people came and engaged so eloquently, discussing some unprecedented challenges facing this generation,” says Rosie Phillips, founder and chief executive of DHI. “Key messages I took away were that young people need to have more space to be heard. We also need to be more accepting of mistakes and imperfection as an integral part of life, learning and meaning.” For more: www.dhi-online.org.uk

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spotlight Photography

Liz will be chatting about hormones and health


In good health

See wellbeing expert and best-selling author Liz Earle MBE in conversation at Kilver Court this month. In fact, expect a series of exclusive ‘in conversation’ events – featuring the likes of Dame Darcey Bussell and master baker Richard Bertinet – at the designer shopping village throughout the year. Here we grab five minutes with Liz... What’s on your springtime wellbeing to-do list?

To continue to communicate wellbeing goodness through my magazine, Liz Earle Wellbeing, my weekly podcast, Wellness with Liz Earle, and via Instagram, @lizearleme. There’s so much good stuff to share about small lifestyle changes that can make a big difference to how we look and feel.   Share your top health tip with us...

I’m a great believer in feel-good food, so I always try to embrace seasonal, local, organic produce.

At your upcoming event, you’ll be discussing topics such as gut health and hormone health...

Yes, these are two areas of wellbeing we should really focus on as we age. Adding in simple strategies – from eating fermented and cultured foods (such as kombucha and kefir) to taking probiotics – makes all the difference. What are your thoughts on Kilver Court?

I’m a big fan; it’s a lovely shopping centre, and I love the Sharpham Pantry restaurant with its focus on serving home-grown spelt. See Liz at Kilver Court, Kilver Street, Shepton Mallet, on 27 April; doors open at 10am. For more: www.ticketsource.co.uk

10 I BATH LIFE I www.mediaclash.co.uk

A Bath photographer has won the coveted title of South West Photographer of the Year from leading industry body the British Institute of Professional Photographers (BIPP). Roz Collins, who relocated to Bath 18 months ago from West Sussex, picked up awards for three individual images, as well as the overall 2018 Photographer of the Year award. Her winning images included two different portraits and a photo from her new limited-edition fine art series, Glimpses of Bath, showing a unique Bath view. “I am delighted and honoured to win this special award from the BIPP,” says Roz. “Being so new to the region, it is a huge accolade to be recognised in this way. “I love being in Bath and all the



The founder of a Bath-based charity has received an OBE for his work helping people in rural areas of Africa out of poverty. David Bragg received his award in recognition of his contribution to international development charity Send a Cow, which celebrated its 30th anniversary last year. “What had seemed surreal became very real as the Duke of Cambridge pinned the OBE to my lapel and we chatted about Send a Cow and my involvement as founder and supporter,” says David. “It was a wonderful recognition of so many people’s hard work and initiative in tackling poverty in Africa and deeply honouring for me; a never-to-beforgotten moment.” While working as a dairy farmer, David helped set up the charity in 1988. Outraged at EU milk quotas, which were forcing the

Chris Slade will be rocking out in Bath

Awarding-winning image: Bold and Beautiful

hard work in relocating my business has definitely been worthwhile. I feel inspired creatively every day with the inexhaustible supply of beautiful places to capture something special and timeless.” For more: www.rozcollins.co.uk

slaughter of healthy dairy cows, and in response to an appeal from Uganda for milk, David embarked on a project, which was set to become Proud as punch: an innovative David with his OBE and practical charity. David then became a programme manager, overseeing Send a Cow’s projects in Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Kenya. Today, David is still heavily involved as a volunteer Ambassador, raising funds and spreading awareness of the charity’s work across the UK, and beyond. For more: www.sendacow.org


Bang the drums

There’s good news for AC/DC fans. On 13 June, the legendary drummer from the band, Chris Slade, will be heading to Komedia for a special fundraising show in aid of Dorothy House Hospice Care and Bath Rugby Foundation. Having drummed for all the greats, including AC/DC, Manfred Man, Paul Rodgers, Gary Moore, Asia and many more, Chris and his band will be cranking the volume and blasting out all the hits. For more: www.komedia.co.uk

© Roz Collins

© Georgia Glynn Smith

Prize and shine

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 Damon Protopapa, Andres Lopez Moreno and Alex Homewood

Jan Kirkham and Billy Belsham

Charlie Hosker, Doris Allsopp, Theresa Allsopp and Sandy Allsopp

Elena Gomez Ochao

Dan Canhana and Jamie Eastman


The University of Bath recently hosted Platform, an evening dedicated to showcasing the arts scholars and their work. The evening began in The Edge’s new event space, with an exhibition, artist talks, and live music followed by performances in the theatre. Guests enjoyed a prosecco reception afterwards. Photos by Clare Green

Sam Brown, Bar Lodewijks and Cordula Gaisser

Roya Gharbi and Annamah Prosser Nirde Farah, Samad Anjum, Leo Shi, Taran Unndtrishanan and Jakub Kolasa

12 I BATH LIFE I www.mediaclash.co.uk

Alan Cotton, Pearson Brown and Patricia Cotton

Jane Wade, John Davies and Sue Paradise

Paul Negus and Maureen Negus


Adam Gallagher and Amanda Gallagher Tina Angell, Elsa Garcia and Stacey Davies-Heath

The Big Hearted Valentine’s Ball 2019 took place at the Apex Hotel in Bath recently, with 150 guests enjoying a three-course supper, music and magic. The evening was organized by Gerald Creed and Loraine Morgan-Brinkhurst MBE to raise money towards buying vital heart equipment which will benefit seriously ill patients from Bath and the surrounding area; the evening raised £7,000. Gerald had a triple heart bypass in 2017 and wanted to organise a fundraising event to say thank you to the surgeon and his team who saved his life. The main auction prize on the evening was a holiday for four people in a cottage in Cornwall, donated by the Osborne Foundation. Angela MacAusland and Colin MacAusland

Photos by www.blacktieportraits.co.uk

Loraine Morgan-Brinkhurst MBE and Dr Chris Monk

Councillor Karen Walker with family and friends James Freeman and his First Bus West of England guests

Peter McKissop, Lucy Fordham, Penny McKissop and Michael Fordham

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Shaun Smith and Karen Walker

John Christopher Wood, Andy Burden and Pavel Douglas


To celebrate the oďŹƒcial programme launch of Bath Comedy Festival 2019, a party was held at Century Casino. Guests enjoyed wine, beer and ďŹ nger food, and speeches came from organisers Nick Steel, Richard Longhurst and Leslie Redwood. Those attending received an exciting goody bag, contents including several items supplied by principal sponsors Lovehoney and Bath Ales. Photos by Richard Clarke

Loraine Morgan Brinkhurst MBE and Ralph Oswick

Sarah and Clyve Richard Longhurst and Les Redwood

Jeremy Boss, Beverley Wallis, Simon Brown and Amanda Brown Colin Morris and Cary Morgan

14 I BATH LIFE I www.mediaclash.co.uk

Nick Steel and Colin Callan (aka The Gnome)


Keeping upright is a smiling matter

Row row row your boat

Anna Iwanowska and Laura Androsoni Heather Price and Gemma Bush


A new paddleboarding venture, from adventure company Original Wild, launched at Bath Riverside recently for an inaugural voyage upstream to Pulteney Bridge. Locals, and their pets, enjoyed journeying down the river by mode of paddleboard. “We are overwhelmed by the positive support from locals and businesses about our partnership with Crest Nicholson to bring stand up paddleboarding to the Bath Riverside,� says founder and director Kyle Worgan. Photos by Paul Gillis

Kiefer Mockford, Kyle Worgan and Scott Finch Ruth Warren and Sparky

Rita Allen and Francesca Allen

Emma Tjolle, Lex Tjolle and Phil Roots Ta-da

Kyle Worgan cutting the ribbon

16 I BATH LIFE I www.mediaclash.co.uk


he Framing Workshop, 80 Walcot Street, is a long established bespoke framers, specialising in art and object framing. Quality materials, specialist craftsmanship and an individual service are at the forefront of every job undertaken.

We stock an extensive range of frame, mount and glass options and will talk through the process with you to ensure you find a framing solution to suit your requirements, be it simple or more specialised.

80 WALCOT STREET, BATH BA1 5BD TEL : 01225 482748 www.theframingworkshop.com framing@theframingworkshop.com


Julie Horner and Karen Cokayne

Charlie Caffyn and Jo Reardon

Ben Bagnall and Sarah Bagnall


Friends and design-lovers gathered at Verve Living, on London Road, to celebrate the launch of furniture designer-maker Charlie Caffyn’s new Atworth lamp. Guests rose glasses of Prosecco to toast Charlie’s first foray into lighting, designed in partnership with Deb Wythe of Design in Progress who was also at the event. This was the first time Charlie’s complete collection of modern British furniture, which takes its inspiration from architectural forms, has been on display in Bath. Photos by Imogen O’Brien

Bob Mytton and Keith Lunt

Adam Plater and Ann Cresswell


To celebrate the launch of their new Bath Riverside studios, Class invited some Bath fitness fans for an exclusive tour. Instructors from Class, and sister company Health, demoed the brand’s range of classes in the boutique fitness space. Guests indulged in salads, grain bowls and nutritious protein snacks from the on-site Vital Café, while watching a range of classes.

Liddy Davies and Conrad Davies

Aisling Gormley and Sarah Robinson

Dawn Walkins, Jim Morrison and Sheila Parker

Melissa Eddolls and Trish Byrne

Zen smiles at the yoga class 18 I BATH LIFE I www.mediaclash.co.uk

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Daily grind What to do when a career in rugby ends? Open a coffee shop, of course, says Flats



“The only option was to open a coffee shop. It would be named ‘Flats White’.”

s a rugby player limping towards the end of my usefulness, the gloomy prospect of gainful employment outside the painted white lines that kept us herded roughly together on Saturdays was omnipresent. It hung there like a levitating demon, clad all in black and with a crossbow aimed at my head. “What are you going to do?” it would ask me in a taunting, gravelly tone. The reason I found this vision so terrifying was that I had no answer. I didn’t even really have an answer when I stopped playing, let alone in the seasons before. So I began asking around, and the answers rapidly became predictable. You either coach rugby to other people, head to London and die in an ergonomic chair while trading Russian rubles, or open a coffee shop. Well, despite said sport being my area of expertise, putting on an ill-fitting tracksuit and standing in the rain every day sounded hellish to me, so that was out. The bank thing, now that held a modicum of appeal. I like cars, you see, and motorbikes and barbecues and watches and other nice things. And from what I’d gathered anecdotally, London life was all about stacking the cash. And cash means toys. It seemed the way forward for me, until I tried it for a while. Well, I say ‘tried it.’ What I actually did was watch my recently retired mate doing it from a swivel chair to the side of his office. And when I say ‘a while,’ the truth is that I left after lunch, as I simply could not stand it an hour longer. That was an environment of greed

and viciousness and abuse and selfishness and interpersonal brutality, the likes of which I had never seen. I’d rather be skint. The only option, then, was to open a coffee shop. Luckily, I had the hardest bit licked: it would be named ‘Flats White’. I’ll presume you get it. Let the research begin, I thought. That didn’t take long, either. The first place I went to was Colonna and Small’s, and they ruined the whole idea. I mean, how are you supposed to do it better than those guys? You can’t. Given the choice, I’d rather have three coffees in Colonna and rush home to the toilet for the customary emergency than anywhere else, including Flats White. So I gave up and decided to leave it to the experts. To this day, I wander through Bath and, while I must concede that I do use chains like Costa and that chicken place from time to time, I do both adore and respect some of the independent specialists we have in our little city. From coffee to wine and from pushbikes to wedding dresses, we needn’t look far. Long may our rich population of aficionados prosper. Perhaps someone might have a proper job going. I’m still looking...

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

www.mediaclash.co.uk I BATH LIFE I 21


Breakfast • Lunch • Coffee • Cake • Wine

Proud winner of

11 Margaret’s Buildings, Bath, BA1 2LP 01225 487846 www.greenbirdcafe.co.uk


just brew it

Good Day Cafe’s superlattes – especially their pink beetroot and black charcoal varieties – are the most popular order

From bombons to dirty lattes, and V60 pour-overs to batch brews, here’s an expert guide to the perfect cup of coffee, from some of Bath’s top baristas By Lisa Evans www.mediaclash.co.uk I BATH LIFE I 23



hile coffee may seem simple – grind up the beans, add hot water, and maybe milk – like any beverage, its development has led to an explosion of drink varieties, practices, and appellations. So what to go for? Well, as the nation’s largest celebration of coffee – UK Coffee Week – starts on 29 April, we took it upon ourselves to sip our way through many, many cups and chat to some of the city’s most knowledgeable baristas about what they offer, what to order, and mistakes to avoid.

Discover authentic Levant caffeine culture at Lulu Caffe

Good Day Cafe

The most popular order at Good Day is a ‘superlatte’, which uses superfood as an ingedient, explains owner Stephanie Jeffery, “Our signature is the ‘pink beetroot’, but I can also recommend ‘green matcha’ for green tea lovers, and ‘black charcoal’ for anyone feeling adventurous.” Their main focus, though, is on espresso-based drinks, with a bit of V60 – that is, a brewing method which allows even the subtlest notes in coffee to come through – thrown in for fun. “Our house espresso, ‘good day’, roasted by Unorthodox Roasters in Kinross, Scotland, is a single-origin, natural-process Brazilian from a specially selected farm in Fazenda Cachoeirinha, and is super versatile. We also offer a cracking Colombian decaf.” Food-wise, brunch is served all day, every day – from avocado, eggs and chilli on toast, to toasted banana bread with blueberry compote – as well as a host of lunch options. The space is all about positivity, so, when you swing by the café, you’ll see bright neon light features, a living ivy wall, pink everything, and happy service. 12 Upper Borough Walls, Bath; www.gooddaycoffee.co.uk

Society Café

“Incredibly complex” is how Adrian Campbell-Howard, the owner of Society Café, would describe coffee. “Essentially, the coffee bean that we know is the seed from a cherry,” he says. “Where it’s grown, when it’s picked, how it’s processed (the way the cherry or husk is removed), how long it is dried for and then the way it’s roasted will all have a significant impact on the resulting flavour. We use the best coffees from the best farms in the world, and they are very carefully chosen for their 24 I BATH LIFE I www.mediaclash.co.uk

“There are more flavour profiles to coffee than there are to wine” flavour profiles. There are more flavour profiles to coffee than there are to wine.” At the café, there are always two espresso-based drinks on offer: the house espresso – which changes seasonally and is always roasted and sourced by Origin Coffee Roasters – and a guest espresso. “By espresso-based drinks, we mean the coffee that makes the basis of a flat white, cappuccino, latte and Americano (and many other types as well, including a cortado, a macchiato, a short black, and a piccolo). They all start with an espresso and then either have water or milk added. “We look for exceptional coffees that will challenge the norm and offer something different to what you might expect of a typical coffee.” In terms of current trends, Adrian says batch brew – filter coffee made in batches – has come along in leaps and bounds, mainly because customers are realising that it’s very quick and convenient from a service point of view. Come summer, he predicts that cold-brew coffee will be a popular choice, especially when enjoyed al fresco. “We have a great mix of seating in and out,” he says. “We created Society as the sort of place we would like to hang out ourselves: an unpretentious environment surrounded by all the things we love – great books to read; magazines; bikes; art house films showing on the screen downstairs; and different types of seating, so if you want to have a meeting you can, but likewise you can just chill with your kids.” 5 Kingsmead Square, Bath, and 19 The High St. Corridor, Bath; www.society-cafe.com

Not your average joe

What makes a good or bad cup of coffee? “A little tip from a coffee addict: warm your cup with hot water before pouring the coffee in.” Juliette Morin at Café Oulala “A good cup of coffee is the end product of a long and considered process – from the farm, to the roastery, to the barista. A good roaster knows how to get the best out of their beans, and, for us, that’s a light, flavourful roast with distinctive tasting notes.” Rebecca Rymsza at Friends are Electric “The customer is right when it comes to their cup of coffee; we are not here to preach. If someone wants a super-hot latte with four sugars, let them have it.” Henry Hunton at The Green Bird Cafe “My absolute favourite way to drink coffee at home is a beautiful V60 pour-over – hand grinding the coffee, measuring out the water (always filtered and the right temperature), setting the timer and pouring the water carefully and slowly through the coffee, seeing it drip through the filter and smelling that beautiful aroma.” Adrian Campbell-Howard at Society Café “At home, we like to enjoy our coffee in a Chemex; filtered water is super important for the sake of your kettle and equipment, but the most important thing is having the coffee freshly ground. As soon as coffee is ground, it starts going stale very quickly; even investing in a small hand grinder makes such a difference to the prominence of certain tasting notes in your coffee.” Stephanie Jeffery at Good Day Cafe

Society Café is a perfect people-watching hangout

www.mediaclash.co.uk I BATH LIFE I 25

The owners of Society Café created Society as the sort of place they would like to hang out themselves – surrounded by books, bikes and art house films


You’ll find Levant caffeine culture and Turkish coffee served authentically in the coffee pot, accompanied by Turkish delight, at Lulu. “We offer a distinctive taste of our home,” says owner Mohammad Saleh Almasalmeh. “We offer a range of different speciality coffees, and our house beans are Bourbon varietal from El Salvador, with a tasting profile of dark chocolate, prunes and treacle – perfect for milkbased drinks.” The most popular order is for the turmeric latte with coconut milk, and, when it comes to food, they serve all-day breakfasts, and a range of sandwiches, croissants and cakes. 1 Hot Bath Street, Bath; www.lulucaffe.co.uk


Probably known better for its pooch-friendly puppuccino than its cappuccino, is the Doghouse; the coffee shop, you see, is an integral part of a pet shop and grooming salon, so alongside the menu for people, you’ll find a selection of pupcakes, treats and ice creams for dogs, and even just-for-hounds birthday cakes. “Our puppuccino is made with a special dog milk that has been lactose reduced and is gently warmed and frothed,” says owner Ruth Warren. “It comes served in their own cup and saucer with a bone treat on the side; it never fails to raise a smile.” Before starting her business, Ruth says she had no idea how many different steps were needed to produce a decent cup of coffee, for humans, “Next time you are idly watching the barista from across the counter, pay attention and you’ll see there are many tiny little steps and adjustments they are performing in order to produce your latte,” she says. “The really good baristas just make it look simple.” Even if you don’t have a pet, you can still enjoy the venue – a beautiful, old Bath stone vault, which has been decked in a cool, industrial style. “People are curious, and they love that we cater as much for the dogs as we do for them.” 1 Lamb Yard, Bradford on Avon; www.doghouseboa.co.uk 26 I BATH LIFE I www.mediaclash.co.uk

The Doghouse is probably known better for its poochfriendly puppuccino than its cappuccino

© Derryn Vr anch


The first thing you’ll notice about this café is the cave-like décor; its lit-from-within walls, made from real salt, have a fiery glow, the ceiling is covered in (faux) stalactites, there are prehistoric-looking cave paintings dotted around, and there’s a trickling rock pool in the centre of the space. You’re more likely to find a room like this inside a spa – salt being known for its therapeutic, health-giving properties – so your wellbeing may thank you for coming here. Even though it’s in the city centre, it’s tucked away in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it location – it doesn’t even have its own front door; you enter via a Polish market, and you’ll find the café on the left hand side – so it feels as if you’re part of a secret group when inside. As for coffee, Peruvian is owner Artur Prohas’s choice; it has, he says, “a subtle grapefruit acidity when black, but with milk the flavour transforms into that of a chocolate orange biscuit”.

12 James Street West, Bath; www.instagram.com/saltcavecafe

Make no mistake

These are some of the most common coffee misconceptions and mistakes the experts see... “Burned milk is the biggest no-no we see. Even if it’s an excellent espresso, burned milk will completely ruin the taste of the coffee.” Juliette Morin at Café Oulala “People should kill the sugar, in my opinion.” Alex Peters at Green Park Brasserie “The usual misconception about coffee is that it should be ready in 15 seconds; good coffee takes time.” Stephanie Jeffery at Good Day Cafe “I find it frustrating going into a coffee shop where clearly a lot of money has been spent on equipment and it’s just not looked after. You can’t just press a button and expect good coffee to come out; it’s much more complex than that.” Adrian Campbell-Howard at Society Café

“The most popular order is for the turmeric latte with coconut milk” www.mediaclash.co.uk I BATH LIFE I 27

COFFEE SHOPS Friends are Electric

It’s one of Bath’s smallest cafés, seating just 10 people, but everything Friends are Electric serves is also available to take away. It currently works exclusively with Girls Who Grind Coffee – an all-female, small-batch coffee roastery based in Frome, sourcing speciality coffees from female producers and those who work to support them. Girls Who Grind’s silky smooth organic Guatemalan, with notes of cherry pie and vanilla, is the house coffee at the café. “We chose GWGC primarily for the great flavour, but also because of the incredible work they do to support female producers and promote fairness in the coffee industry, which sits perfectly in line with our own vision here,” says, Rebecca Rymsza, co-owner of Friends. As for coffee trends at the moment, she says alternative milks continue to grow in popularity, along with filter coffee and cold brew. “We serve Farside cold brew – another Frome-based brand working with female producers – and we’re planning to introduce filter options soon. We also have artisan tea on the menu and cold-pressed juice by Rejuce – which has already saved over 300 tonnes of ‘ugly’ fruit and veg from going to landfill.” Friends isn’t just a café, mind you, it’s a business built on the idea of ‘creative people doing a world of good’ and also incorporates a shop and creative consultancy, all rooted in a small but considered space. 1 Grove Street, just off Pulteney Bridge, Bath; www.friendsareelectric.co.uk

Local love Coffee shop owners’ favourite coffee shops... “Colonna & Small’s, The Colombian Company, and Sweet Little Things all offer a different experience.” Natalie Bonnici at Café au Lait “Bath has so many great cafés, but we’re particularly big fans of Cafe Walcot, Society Café, Cascara, and Good Day.” Rebecca Rymsza at Friends are Electric “We love The Colombian Company, run by our good friends, JP and Veronica, who always give a warm welcome. We were also so pleased for Castle Farm Café when they won at the recent Bath Life Awards.” Henry Hunton at The Green Bird Cafe “Colonna & Small’s was one of the first to really get the speciality coffee game going in Bath and they deserve a huge amount of credit, and the recently opened Landrace Bakery on Walcot Street is lovely.” Adrian Campbell-Howard at Society Café “I love Gather Cafe in Batheaston; it’s a lovely space with great coffee and food.” Sus Davy at Cascara “Mokoko Coffee – perfect drinks and people.” Artur Prohas at Salt Cave Cafe

Friends are Electric isn’t just a café, it’s also a shop and creative consultancy

28 I BATH LIFE I www.mediaclash.co.uk

“Sitting in the sunshine in Kingsmead Square is a good way to spend 20 minutes.” Alex Peters at Green Park Brasserie

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“It’s one of Bath’s smallest cafés, seating just 10 people”

The owner of The Colombian Company was born and raised in Colombia, so his café aims to bring a taste of his home to Bath

3 of the best... In the UK, we use around seven million disposable cups every day. But times are changing, and singleuse cups that were once a morning staple are being replaced by reusable alternatives.   1

1. £26, Libby Ballard Ceramics, Corsham; www.libbyballard.co.uk 2. £18.95, Blue Women and Home at The Loft, Bartlett Street, Bath; www.theloftbath.com 3. £13.95, Friends are Electric, 1 Grove Street, just off Pulteney Bridge, Bath; www.friendsareelectric.co.uk 3


Green Park Brasserie

The basics to a good cup of coffee, as far as Alex Peters, the director of Green Park Brasserie, is concerned, are: quality beans and milk temperature control. His coffee of choice, which is served at the brasserie, is a Fairtrade, organic Sumatran, which he describes as full and rich, with a ‘real’ coffee flavour, and ‘none of the acidic, fruity stuff’. But he says there’s another key element to enjoying your brew, “Almost just as important as the coffee is the environment you’re serving it in,” he says. “Ambience, chairs, music, room temperature and of course friendly service are priorities. Our venue, inside a historic train station, is a relaxed café during the day, and becomes a lively restaurant, with a mix of live jazz, funk and soul music, at night.” Alongside the brasserie’s hot drinks offering is a deli lunch bar, which launched mid-March, featuring homemade falafels, salads, tarts and sausage rolls – all which are greatly enhanced by a cheeky flat white, says Alex. Green Park Station, Bath; www.greenparkbrasserie.com

Café au Lait

With its location being so close to Bath’s train station, Café au Lait is a go-to for many when they arrive into the city, but that doesn’t mean the owners rest on their laurels. It’s a family-run business, and owner Natalie Bonnici thinks a few of its stand-out elements are: its all-day brunch scene, its latte art, and its speciality blend of coffee from the locally based Clifton Coffee. “Professional baristas go through months of training, they know what makes a good coffee and what makes a bad coffee,” she says. “They work out the best recipe for that certain type of coffee and check on it throughout the day, making sure it tastes just as it should. Latte art on top of all this is even better.” 12/14 Dorchester Street, Bath; www.cafeaulait.co.uk

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Describing her café as ‘vegan, with soul’, Cascara’s owner, Sus Davy, is proud to offer a plant-based drinks and food menu. “It’s a misconception that you need dairy in coffee,” she says. “Try our oat, almond, coconut or soy milk out for size instead. We find that our Extract Coffee Roasters’ Original Espresso works best with the vegan milks that we offer, it has Colombian, El Salvadoran and Guatemalan beans, and it gives hazelnut, caramel and cocoa notes. “And our alternative lattes – such as beetroot or turmeric – are real winners, as are our smoothies, especially our Love Me blend featuring berries, mango, pineapple, orange and ginger.” As for the feel of the place, it’s cosy, with an earthy vibe; expect lots of wood, plants and a high dose of chill. 3 Upper Borough Walls, Bath; www.instagram.com/cascarabath

The Green Bird Cafe

Whereas some may refer to coffee-making as an ‘art’, Henry Hunton, the co-owner of Green Bird – based between the Circus and the Royal Crescent – reckons it’s closer to science. “It requires a lot of knowledge, skill and passion,” he says. “Many elements have to come together to create the perfect concoction.” Green Bird’s brew of choice is a single-estate Nicaraguan bean called La Bastilla; they buy it from Wogan Coffee in Bristol, which has a direct trade relationship with the La Bastilla Estate, meaning they are able to

“It’s a misconception that you need dairy in coffee” sponsor children through education and help pay for teaching staff. When it comes to the most popular order at Green Bird, their dirty chai latte – a shot of espresso combined with locally made Henny & Joe’s chai – is at the top of the list, and the Earl Grey latte – a strong Earl Grey tea combined with steamed milk – is a close second. Both are best accompanied by cakes, of course, a popular choice at the moment being dark chocolate orange frangipane, and treacle tarts, made from Bertinet sourdough breadcrumbs. 11 Margaret’s Buildings, Bath; www.greenbirdcafe.co.uk

The Colombian Company

Jhampoll Gutierrez Gomez, the owner of The Colombian Company, was born and raised in Colombia, and, at his café, he aims to bring a taste of his home to Bath. “I grew up surrounded by coffee farms, so it’s very important to me that our coffee is directly traded, ethically sustainable and that the relationship with the coffee farmer goes further than just a commercial transaction,” he says. “We are able to use our close links with Colombia to ensure we are sourcing the very best each season. If we do well, the farmers and their families in Colombia do well. “We import green coffee beans and roast them here in the UK, so we have complete control of the roasting profile that’s going to bring out the best in the coffee beans,” he adds. “The winner among our customers seems to be flat whites, with lattes, hot chocolates and cappuccinos not far behind, always enjoyed while Colombian salsa plays in the background of the café, of course.” And when it comes to something to nibble on, Jhampoll recommends their homemade cakes – made with a Spanish nun’s secret recipes – or a toastie, if you fancy something savoury. 6 Abbey Gate Street, Bath; www.thecolombiancompany.com

Café Oulala

Expect fresh daily bakes from the in-house French pastry chef at Café Oulala

30 I BATH LIFE I www.mediaclash.co.uk

If you had the luxury, you could spend the whole day at Café Oulala. “You could indulge in a morning coffee with a freshly baked croissant or a scone (we recommend the lime and orange zest flavour), then share quiche and soup for lunch (we recommend wine with that), and then, later on, opt for some afternoon treats (we recommend homemade patisseries and macarons, all homemade and baked daily at the kitchen’s café) while mocking our ‘French snob’ music,” says Juliette Morin, manager and French pastry chef. “And if you’d like a change from the traditional Sunday roast, join us for our brunch from 10am to 2pm with a French buffet.” As for the coffee, their chosen supplier is Extract Coffee Roasters, and for their hot chocolate, they make a ganache and slowly melt it into the milk. n 5 Burton Street, Bath; www.instagram.com/cafeoulala

Yet more of our favourite cafés and coffee shops... Cafe Lucca Mediterranean-influenced food within a cool concept – a unique shopping and dining experience. 1 Bartlett Street, Bath; www.cafelucca.co.uk Colonna & Small’s The shop is focussed on brewing and offering the most desirable coffees they can find. What’s available changes weekly and is influenced by the fact that coffee tastes better if you embrace the seasonality of coffee growing. 6 Chapel Row, Bath; www.colonnaandsmalls.co.uk The Bath Coffee Company A cosy independent serving speciality coffee, roasted by local artisan roastery Square Root Coffee. 14 Kingsmead Square, Bath; www.bathcoffeecompany.co.uk No.10 Tea Gardens Ok, the café’s name may have ‘tea’ in it, but we assure you there’s coffee, too – specifically, small-batch Dusty Ape Coffee, from a micro roastery based in Hilperton near Bath. Avoncliff, Bradford on Avon; www.avonclifftea.com

Cascara’s owner, Sus Davy, describes her café as ‘vegan, with soul’

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The Bath Festival is a celebration of music and literature with a diverse programme of more than 120 events over 10 days in May. Here are five things we’re particularly looking forward to...


Party in the City Bath’s biggest free party kicks off the festival. Expect to see musicians playing on open-air stages in the city centre as well as in more than 35 different venues. 17 May, from 5pm, various locations


Jo Brand From man-hater to national treasure, Jo Brand has been called it all; she’d prefer ‘taint of national disgrace’. At this event, she’ll share the things she wishes she’d known, the things she’s

learnt, and the things she hopes for the future. 18 May, 11am, The Forum

rendition of Goldberg Variations has been described as ‘as good as it gets.’ 18 May, 5pm, St Swithin’s Church



Austentatious This Regency improv theatre group, recreates a ‘lost’ Jane Austen, with hilarious, irreverent and witty results. 18 May, 2.30pm, The Forum


Mahan Esfahani This charismatic Iranian musician brings us an evening of Bach. His

Prue Leith The Great British Bake Off’’s judge talks about her life-long passion for food and fiction. Her latest cookery book, Prue, contains 100 favourite recipes from her kitchen table, and her new novel, The Lost Son, completes her acclaimed Angelotti Chronicles trilogy. 25 May, 2.15pm, Assembly Rooms

The Bath Festival runs from 17 to 26 May at various venues around the city. For more, see www.bathfestivals.org.uk

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13 – 27 April

The Comedy About a Bank Robbery is on at the Theatre Royal

EXHIBITIONS Until 22 April

WHY MUSEUMS MATTER This exhibition examines the connection between museums, creativity, mental health and wellbeing. Each piece will reveal a personal connection, exploring how individual objects and opportunities to learn new art skills can inspire creative journeys. Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm, 11am5pm Sunday; general admission £12.50; The Holburne Museum; www.holburne.org

Until 25 April


Nick has long been entranced by Bath’s Georgian architecture and

34 I BATH LIFE I www.mediaclash.co.uk

the way the stone seems to glow, even at twilight and during the night. For this exhibition, he has made giclée prints on stretched canvases, replicating the sizes, brushstrokes and colours of the original oil paintings.

Monday-Sunday 8am-8pm; Art at the Heart of the RUH, Central Gallery, RUH; www.artatruh.org

Until 27 April

BLACK SWAN ARTS YOUNG OPEN Aspiring young artists have been busy creating hundreds of artworks for this year’s competition, which sees young people between the ages of eight and19 have their work curated, judged and exhibited in a professional gallery space. Monday-Saturday 10am-4pm; Black

Swan Arts, 2 Bridge Street, Frome; www.blackswanarts.org.uk

Until 27 April


Emma Hart’s work has been described as ‘badly behaved’, challenging assumptions and stereotypes in her quest to make art to which everyone can relate. Tuesday-Saturday 1pm-5pm (late night Wednesday open until 7pm); The Edge; www.edgearts.org

Until 28 April

JASON DORLEY-BROWN Jason’s work has been influenced by his years in the photo industry; he has a passion for colour, symmetry, abstract and pop art along with using and mixing ‘old school’ and modern techniques to create striking imagery.

Monday-Sunday 8am-8pm Art at the Heart of the RUH, Central Gallery; www.artatruh.org

Until 30 April

EMMA ROSE: ELEMENTS In response to spring, an exhibition of how natures reacts to the seasons. Blossom, sun, storm, snow and mist abound in sky, sea and mountain. Emma’s work is a mix of Indian Inks and acrylics, occasionally using gold/copper/silver leaf. Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm; Emma Rose Arts Works; upstairs at 78 Walcot Street; www.emmaroseartworks.com

Until 6 May

GEORGE SHAW: A CORNER OF A FOREIGN FIELD Shaw’s paintings, made with enamel

what’s on a walnut shell from the 1830s, and the Duke of Edinburgh’s carriagedriving gloves. 10.30am-4pm; included in Fashion Museum ticket; Fashion Museum Bath; www.fashionmuseum.co.uk

theatre Until 27 April

The omission of the family coleman This absurdist comedy follows three generations of the dysfunctional Coleman family living under one roof on the verge of chaos, held in check by their matriarchal grandmother. Various times and prices; The Ustinov Studio; www.theatreroyal.org.uk

30 April


Alabama 3 will be performing at Komedia; left: Layla Lamonde's art from Black Swan Arts; below: Gyles Brandreth will be providing the laughs at Komedia

model paint, focus on the Tile Hill estate – a post-war development on the outskirts of Coventry, where he grew up. Steeped in modern and historic traditions, Shaw’s work alludes to 20th-century painting and photography. Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 11am-5pm; £12.50; The Holburne Museum; www.holburne.org

The Comedy about a bank robbery A priceless diamond has been entrusted to the security guards. Can it be safely stored or will it all go horribly wrong? The team behind The Play That Goes Wrong bring this smash and hit comedy. Various times and prices; The Theatre Royal; www.theatreroyal.org.uk

6 – 11 May

Until 7 May

Endangered and Extinct (Creative recycling by Val Hunt) Animals, exotic birds, fish, dinosaurs and species of flora, all on the edge of extinction, or now extinct, have been made from a selection of throwaway material. This exhibition presents a subtle message about recycling and preservation. 10.30am-5pm; Victoria Art Gallery; www.victoriagal.org.uk

The Rocky Horror Picture Show Two squeaky clean college kids – Brad and his fiancée Janet – are in for an adventure when their car breaks down outside a creepy mansion. Richard O’Brien’s legendary rock’n’roll musical comes to Bath, staring Strictly Come Dancing professional ballroom dancer Joanne Clifton. Various times and prices; The Theatre Royal; www.theatreroyal.org.uk

Until 3 November

8 – 11 May

All Shook Up: Thomas Kellner’s America

Photography showing landmark sights in the USA, in Kellner’s signature distorted style, that play with notions of movement and harmony. Tuesday-Sunday 11am-5pm; American Museum & Gardens; www.americanmuseum.org

Until 1 March 2020

GLOVE STORIES An eclectic display of historical gloves from the past 400 years, many of which have never been displayed to the public before. Highlights include embroidered gauntlet gloves from the 1600s, a curious pair of gloves in

The Ghost Train This classic thriller is part of Bath Drama’s centenary season, chosen because the author was a member of the club before he went on to fame as Private Godfrey in Dad’s Army. On 11 May there is a special gala performance to celebrate Bath Drama’s centenary. 7.30pm; various prices; The Rondo Theatre; www.rondotheatre.co.uk

Music 18 April

Alabama 3 The band, described as ‘an

www.mediaclash.co.uk I BATH LIFE I 35

What’s on

Marshes Expect dark, quirky and charming music on themes of fear, confusion, money, politics and weather. Marches is the new incarnation of Beth Porter and the Availables, previously a Bath/Bristol band. 8pm-10.30pm (doors 7.30pm); door price £12; Chapel Arts Centre; www.chapelarts.org

4 May

Josh Burnell & band Distorted organ, electric guitars and riotous fiddles tunes are in store with this rocky/folky band. Feet stamping will be aplenty. 8pm-10.30pm (doors 7.30pm); door price £14; Chapel Arts Centre; www.chapelarts.org


24 April – 22/23 May

26 Lead Soldiers creative courses

These five-week courses are for anyone who has dreamt of getting into creative writing or writing a memoir. Day and night-time courses; £125 for five sessions; Tivoli cinema Café; www.facebook/@26leadsoldiers

24 April

Walled Garden Tours The start of the season opens with a walk around the grounds and lunch. Guests can enjoy the array of plants including tulips, roses, lavender, peonies, hydrangeas, honeysuckle, plus arched arbours covered with trailing wisteria flowers over the pathways. 11am; £35; two-course lunch included: Bowood House & Gardens; www.bowood.org

26 April

Talks and Tastes: Tim Anderson in Bath A journey through Tokyo with chef, food writer and MasterChef champion Tim Anderson. The expert on Japanese/American food will be talking about his newest passion project, Tokyo Stories,where he takes inspiration from the chefs, shopkeepers, and home cooks.

36 I BATH LIFE I www.mediaclash.co.uk

27 April

in conversation with liz earle MBE The best selling author, wellbeing expert, business woman and entrepreneur will be chatting about midlife wellbeing with a particular focus on gut health and hormonal health for ageing well. 10.30am-12.30pm; Kilver Court; Shepton Mallet;www.kilvercourt.com

5 May

Spring Classic Car & Motorcycle Show A day of motoring heritage ideal for enthusiasts, families and day trippers. Displays of vintage, classic and modern classic vehicles can be expected plus private exhibitors and club stands. 10am-4pm; Bowood House & Gardens; www.bowood.org

5 May

Gyles Brandreth Without hesitation or repetition, and just a touch of deviation, actor, ex-MP and Just a Minute regular Gyles delivers dazzling wit, wisdom, high drama, low comedy, and hilarious name-dropping. 5pm; various prices; Komedia; www.komedia.co.uk

© manuel harl an

26 April

Doors open 7.30pm; starts 8pm; £10; Topping & company Booksellers; www.toppingbooks.co.uk

© the other richard

unrivalled Marxist machine gun’ pay homage to the classic delta blues slide players like Mississippi Fred McDowell, Howlin’ Wolf and John Lee Hooker. 7pm; various prices; Komedia; www.komedia.co.uk

above: The Girl on the Train will be performed at the Theatre Royal; right: Marshes will be at Chapel Arts Centre; below: Equus is being put on at the Theatre Royal

What’s on Eggsellent Easter acitivities in Bath

Until 21 April

Draw like an architect using tools and 3D software Monday- Friday 1pm-5pm; weekends 10am-5pm; Museum of Bath Architecture; museumofbatharchitecture.org.uk

Until 21 April

Find unusual treasures with a quirky quiz trail Weekends and bank holiday Mondays 10:30am – 5pm (last entry 4:30pm). Beckford’s Tower; www.beckfordstower.org.uk

Until 21 April

Make a spinning version of the Pinwheel Galaxy Monday-Friday 1pm-5pm; weekends and bank holidays 10am-5pm; Herschel Museum of Astronomy; www.herschelmuseum.org.uk

Until 21 April

Design a crazy self portrait 10am-5pm; No. 1 Royal Crescent; www.no1royalcrescent.org.uk

Until 12 May

The Great Big Egg Hunt A host of beautifully decorated eggs will be on display all around the city centre. Prizes can be won for those who submit completed maps, including tickets to the egg and this year’s Theatre Royal

38 I BATH LIFE I www.mediaclash.co.uk

Pantomime, Beauty and the Beast. Maps will be available from the egg café; www.theatreroyal.org.uk

© pe xels

Easter activities

15 April

Potty about Pots Use wax crayons and a wax resist effect to create pot designs inspired by the collection of Roman pots. 10am-12.30pm and 1.30pm-4pm; included in admission price; www.romanbaths.co.uk

15 – 18 April

Coin Collectors trail Become a treasure hunter with this coin collectors trail – part of the new Roman Baths kids’ app. As you walk around the museum, look out for virtual coins waiting to be discovered and collected. Included in admission price; www.romanbaths.co.uk

16 April

Shine a Light on Science: A family workshop exploring Infrared 10am; Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution then Herschel museum; www.bath-preservation-trust.org.uk

16 April

Buttoned Up – Fashion Museum Look at how buttons were used on different outfits throughout the centuries and create a button brooch. 10.30am-12.30pm and 1.30pm-3.30pm;

Check out the great big egg hunt in Bath

Included in admission price; www.fashionmuseum.co.uk

17 April

Big Top Bonanza – Victoria Art Gallery Explore the special Sharmanka Travelling Circus exhibition and create a theatrical picture fit for the Big Top. 10.30am-12.30pm and 1.30pm-3.30pm; Victoria Art Gallery; www.victoriagal.org.uk

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AJ Removals Removals - Storage - Shipping - Packing Unit 12 Stable Yard Industrial Estate, Windsor Bridge Road, Bath BA2 3AY

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The ultimate garden retreat

Quality, built-to-order and perfect for glamping – GREENDOWN SHEPHERD HUTS provide enviable luxury in a very cosy environment


raditional shepherds’ huts have always been associated with romantic country living, and more recently, with the trend for outdoor garden rooms and alternative holiday accommodation, making the perfect base for activity holidays with a focus on the outdoor lifestyle. Greendown Shepherds Huts – launched in 2017 – specialise in creating high quality unique shepherds’ huts built to order. Based at Pixash Lane in Keynsham just off the A4, owners Harry Long and Richard Hodges are passionate about craftsmanship, style and attention to detail.“We’re committed to delivering a hut built from the best materials that combines comfort

and practicality with contemporary style and design” says Harry, a carpenter by trade. The best quality window frames and glass built to residential home standards with insulated French doors, ensure the huts are kept cool in the summer and warm in the winter with underfloor heating, insulated walls, NASAapproved super quilt layering in the ceilings and stylish wood burners. “Every hut we create is built to the customers brief,” explains Richard. “Clients can come out to our showroom and workshop and take a look at the huts we have on site. We’ll discuss what they are looking for from the hut in terms of its use and the features they would like, and then come up with a bespoke design. We build for stock and to order, where the customer can chose their own colours.” With more people holidaying in the UK and taking shorter breaks, a shepherd hut is an ideal investment to take advantage of increasing demand quickly. “Commercially, shepherd huts are a great investment. With diversification being economically so important to landowners, those looking to branch into the holiday sector can charge £90–£150 a night for a hut, with a payback within two years, often sooner. We can also create camping pods. “The huts could also be a useful and stylish addition to existing campsites, wedding venues, the grounds of a country house hotel or as an

Airbnb opportunity. Our 20 foot-long “B&B” huts are perfect for commercial use. This hut is ready to go, all you have to do is plug in and you are up and running. “For private customers the huts versatility cover a range of uses including guest room, arts studio, home office, garden retreat or playroom. With regard to planning permission, it is the same rules as apply to caravans and, unlike a built property extension, a shepherd’s hut can be installed in a day as well as being of course far less expensive.” The cost of the ready to go, fully equipped 20ft B&B hut is £34,500 including VAT. Greendown Shepherds Huts are committed to delivering the very best standard of service. The current build turnaround from ordering, so a hut can be in situ on a client’s property by early this Summer is four weeks. ■


Shepherd Huts Ltd.

Unit 1b, Pixash Lane, Keynsham, Bristol BS31 1TP 01179 869685 info@greendownshepherdhuts.co.uk www.greendownshepherdhuts.co.uk www.mediaclash.co.uk I BATH LIFE I 43

Fresh Art Fair Cheltenham 1st dibs of the collection going to Fresh Art fair Cheltenham. Preview weekend 12th – 13th April Life drawing resumes on 29th April

21 Broad Street Bath BA1 5LN 01225 422 220 www.artsalon.co.uk


Dysfunctional politics This week, Nic Bottomley shares his favourite insightful, mockery-filled explorations into the world of politics

“Books are aiming to shine a light into the fog of our complex political world”


’m writing this column days before original Brexit-day, but one day before the day in which the EU debates whether to agree to delaying Brexit-day. But only extending it a bit. Probably. Unless they decide to extend it more. Or not at all. And what about the world you’re reading this in? It could be either a ‘post no-deal Brexit’ world, or a ‘May deal finally agreed but still pre-Brexit’ world, or a ‘May deal rejected, no sign of Brexit (and no sign of May) world’. Or, perhaps most likely, some other messed-up variation that none of us had – at the time of writing – yet dreamed up and that is probably set to change again in a few short days. No surprise, then, that one type of book that is more popular than ever are those aiming to shine a little light, or mockery, into the fog of our complex and, let’s face it, completely dysfunctional political world. WHY WE GET THE WRONG POLITICIANS, BY ISABEL HARDMAN A book we should perhaps all be reading if we want to understand the more systemic problems and to contemplate a more productive future is Why We Get the Wrong Politicians, by Isabel Hardman. This insightful exploration of why the electorate seems increasingly detached from, and underwhelmed by, its delegates at Westminster picked up an award at the annual Parliamentary Book Awards last November and has, unsurprisingly, just been hastened into paperback form. It stands out among other critiques because of its relative even-handedness. Yes, Hardman aims straight and true at those politicians who have betrayed the electorate with behaviour unworthy of their roles, but she also recognises that most MPs work hard and try to do right by their conscience and those who voted for them. Unfortunately, the archaic and confrontational world in which they operate tends to skew their performance and disengage them from real life. Hardman investigates the Westminster microcosm at length and puts forward her own ideas for rebuilding the connection between ‘us’ and ‘them’. Atlantic, £9.99

DREAMS OF LEAVING AND REMAINING, BY JAMES MEEK Of course the divides are not only between the public and the politicians. James Meek explores the splintering of our society since 2016 in Dreams of Leaving and Remaining. He looks at the dreams of ordinary voters on both sides of the Brexit debate, none of which are likely to be fulfilled thanks to the lack of clarity or agreement about what Brexit was intended to mean. Meek roams the country wondering what will become of our nation and meeting with factory workers, farmers, fisherman, nurses and more – those for whom life is tough, and may well get tougher. He doesn’t hide his own remainer status, but neither is this a one-sided affair: his aim is to meet the disenfranchised on all sides of the equation, and to explore which of society’s failings have led us to this place of disillusionment and division. Verso, £16.99 BULLSH*T JOBS, BY DAVID GRAEBER Finally, a book concerned with the absurdity of our manic lives and the results of our capitalist society, but not about Brexit or politicians. Bullsh*t Jobs by David Graeber may not have one of literature’s subtlest titles, but it is an awardwinning look at why the arrival of our digital age has not resulted in more efficiency and value in the workplace. If the title doesn’t make the book’s supposition clear enough, then the subtitle ‘The Rise of Pointless Work, And What We Can Do About It’, certainly hammers the point home and reveals that this is another book offering answers as well as criticism. Graeber asks how we might start working for productivity and fulfilment rather than just for the sake of working. That doesn’t make the starting point any less depressing. Apparently 40 per cent of us believe our jobs are probably unnecessary. As technology has improved so service-industry jobs have, somehow, multiplied and a great many people spend their days entering data, cutting, pasting and holding endless meetings. Endless meetings eh? Maybe real life and Westminster are not so different? Penguin, £9.99 Nic Bottomley is the general manager of Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights, 14/15 John Street, Bath; 01225 331155; www.mrbsemporium.com

www.mediaclash.co.uk I BATH LIFE I 45



First shown in Bath in 1985, The Rocky Horror Show returns; more than 40 Beatles’ hits will be performed in Let It Be; Honk! The Musical is adapted from Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling

Please don’t stop the music


A flurry of musical theatre is heading to Theatre Royal Bath’s stage; here’s a handful of the most unmissable shows

he Theatre Royal Bath is known as a playhouse, but there is always a place in the schedule for a musical. Bath even hosted the world premieres of Tim Rice’s first foray without Andrew Lloyd Webber, the medieval romp Blondel in 1982, and the musical version of the film Mrs Henderson Presents in 2015. From a sci-fi fantasy about two lost teenagers who are seduced by a cross-dressing mad scientist in The Rocky Horror Show, to the sweet tale of a baby duck’s search for his mother in Honk!, here are some of the musicals heading our way in the coming weeks... Bath is home to two very well-established amateur musical theatre companies: Bath Light Operatic Group, which celebrated 60 years of performing at the Theatre Royal in 2016, and Bath Operatic and Dramatic Society, founded in 1894, whose visits go back even further. The latter are back in April with the classic Fiddler on the Roof, which is packed with beautiful, melodic songs you will recognise immediately, including If I Were a Rich Man, Matchmaker, Matchmaker and Sunrise, Sunset. Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show first played Bath in 1985, but not everyone in the city was ready for it. As reported in the Bath Chronicle, a retired civil servant saw a group of men on their way to the show dressed in fishnet stockings, suspenders and frilly underwear, and promptly called the police (who confirmed they were not committing any offence). Returning

to Bath at the start of May, Rocky is directed by Christopher Luscombe (who made his professional debut in Bath in Jack and the Beanstalk alongside Terry Scott and June Whitfield in 1985). Playing Brad and Janet this time will be Ben Adams, from award-winning boy band A1, and Joanne Clifton who won 2016’s Strictly Come Dancing (with Ore Oduba), and stand-up comedian and Now Show presenter Steve Punt plays The Narrator. For Rocky virgins, don’t be alarmed if audience members around you start shouting out and joining in, within no time at all you’ll be time-warping along with everyone else. Fiddler and Rocky might be dubbed musical theatre, however Let It Be feels just like attending a spectacular live concert and was described by The Times as ‘The Beatles concert you never got to see’. In May, four fab musicians will perform more than 40 of The Beatles’ greatest hits in a show which takes audiences from Love Me Do in 1962, through the heady days of global Beatlemania, to the band’s final live performance together on the roof of Apple Headquarters in London in 1969 (50 years ago this August). This West End hit show also features a unique reunion concert of Lennon, McCartney and Harrison’s best loved solo material set a decade after the group went their separate ways. Coming to the egg theatre in June, following a critically-acclaimed West End run, George Stiles and Anthony Drewe’s Honk! The Musical is adapted from Hans Christian Andersen’s The

“Someone saw a group of men on their way to the Rocky Horror Show dressed in fishnet stockings, and promptly called the police”

Fiddler on the Roof: 23 – 27 April The Rocky Horror Show: 6 – 11 May Let It Be: 27 May – 1 June Honk! The Musical: 18 – 23 June Calendar Girls, The Musical: 5 – 9 November Ugly Duckling. Honk! tells the story of Ugly, a cygnet who hatches in a duck’s nest and gets picked on by the other farmyard animals because he’s different. Colourful and heart-warming, children aged four and over and their families can expect puppetry, magic, illusions and water guns from a production which received its West End premiere at the National Theatre in 1999 and won the 2000 Olivier Award for Best New Musical, beating The Lion King and Mamma Mia! Looking ahead to autumn, tickets are already on sale for Calendar Girls – The Musical. Written by Take That’s Gary Barlow and Tim Firth, who wrote the original hugely successful stage play, Calendar Girls, and co-wrote the 2003 film, the show is based on the true story of the ladies of Burnsall WI in Yorkshire who created a naked calendar to raise funds for their local hospital. Visiting Bath clothed in a plethora of five-star reviews following its West End run, the cast here will include Sarah Jane Buckley (Hollyoaks), Ruth Madoc (Hi-de-Hi), and singer Rebecca Storm. Remember, if you’re looking for the chance to sing along wearing your underwear, best book for Rocky rather than Calendar Girls! Anna O’Callaghan, Marketing Manager, Theatre Royal Bath, Sawclose; 01225 448844; www.theatreroyal.org.uk

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The Pump Room

A supremely elegant venue showcasing English fare at its finest, The Pump Room is a Bath bastion of good taste By Lisa Evans


espite your best intentions and efforts, it’s inevitable: at some point in your life, you will be wrong. It happens to me a lot, and, like many, I have a hard time admitting it. But on this occasion, for the sake of this review, I will. So I had assumed that maybe The Pump Room – a Georgian treasure, which has offered a supremely sophisticated backdrop to all manner of social events since the 1790s – might rest on the fact that tourists will flock there, regardless of the food, because of its history and background, and, therefore, may not need to make as much effort with the dishes as lesser known restaurants might. I mean, they’ve already got a captive audience and plenty of USPs anyway – having, arguably, Bath’s most magnificent Georgian interior and all – why would they need another? But the food here is incredible; properly five star. It’s obvious now that I think of it, because Searcys – an upmarket, boutique catering brand and one of the UK’s longest-established catering companies – is in charge of the food. My facepalm gets even more embarrassing when I tell you this is also the team behind one of the biggest events on the city calendar: our very own Bath Life Awards, where 500 people are wined and dined. It’s taking guts to admit this. Another thing that takes guts is to offer a menu full of innovative dishes nobody has heard of before; but it often

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takes yet more nerve to offer a menu full of the familiar – of dishes most people have tried plenty of times before and have opinions on. Chef Mark Pearson’s menu at The Pump Room eschews for-the-sake-of-it novelty; it’s all about the traditional here. An ode to that most quintessential of English customs, their afternoon tea menu offers a sumptuous interpretation of the ritual that began in the 1800s, featuring homemade scones; chicken and fennel sausage rolls; and exquisite bakes and sandwiches. But, because I was very hungry, I opted for the lunch menu instead, as I figured it would be more substantial (and because I knew I’d have to share the afternoon tea with my husband). My first course, which I’m still dreaming about, was the cheddar and shallot tart. I wasn’t expecting too much of a pretty ordinary-sounding dish. But it had me at first bite. The deeply savoury, generously filled tart was golden with baked cheese and came with deep-fried shallot rings and a dressed salad – sweet and crunchy, to balance out the rich smoothness of the tart’s filling. It was so good, I wanted to reorder it as a main. Hubby went for the Wiltshire ham hock and smoked chicken terrine with a killer hot mustard pickle, which he followed with a main of poached Somerset chicken with spring vegetable broth and herb gnocchi – one of the best dishes he’s had, ever, he said. I opted for the Clarence Court duck egg which, when sliced into, poured


its sunsetty loveliness over the spinach and potato cake it laid upon and mingled delightfully with the béarnaise sauce and the accompanying asparagus. And all of this was delivered as if it were our first born, while a string trio serenaded us in the background. That type of formality can sometimes seem a bit stuffy to me, but when you look around the expansive, atmospheric room you realise that it’s pretty relaxed. The guests aren’t a specific ‘type’; on one table, for example, was a woman with rainbow-coloured hair, who was having a cracking, champagne-fuelled time with her girlfriends, and on another sat an elderly chap in a three-piece suit and cravat, sipping a tea quietly. There is no dress code here, and no judgement, but you should expect: impeccably polite staff, sparkling chandeliers, and tables adorned with crisp linen and gleaming cutlery. It’s this venue – set alongside the Roman Baths – that inspired authors such as Mary Shelley and Jane Austen, with Jane even mentioning it in her novels Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. Its elegant neo-classical style was the destination for high society to meet in and enjoy lavish entertainment, and, today, over 200 years later, many of the original features remain unchanged. Speaking of things that have remained the same, head chef Mark joined The Pump Room kitchen brigade in 1986. During that time, he’s gained cheffing experience at the Royal Opera House and the National Portrait Gallery – two of the London venues in the extensive Searcys portfolio – as well as alongside Tom Kerridge for the Great British Final Banquet at Bath’s Assembly Rooms, serving Prince Charles and Camilla. Mark treats all of his diners as if they were royalty, of course. I say ‘his’ diners, but there’s actually a team of 20 kitchen staff, a significant but required number considering they cater for almost 4,000 people a week. White chocolate cheesecake with banana caramel was our choice from the dessert ledger; it came with honeycomb pieces, spun sugar, and twirls of perfectly tempered chocolate. It was a glamorous, polished way to finish. And if you didn’t want to eat it, you could just wear it as a fascinator. Apt, really, because, on this occasion, I really did eat my hat, and I left very full indeed. n

“It’s this venue that inspired authors such as Mary Shelley and Jane Austen” Dining details The Pump Room, Stall Street, Bath, BA1 1LZ; 0844 6252862; www.thepumproombath.co.uk We ate Cheddar and shallot tart; ham hock and smoked chicken terrine; Somerset chicken with spring vegetable broth and herb gnocchi; duck egg with a spinach and potato cake; white chocolate cheesecake with banana caramel Prices Afternoon tea ranges from £19.50pp to £36.50pp. As for lunch, one course costs £15, two courses cost £21, and three courses cost £27 Drinks Expect an extensive array of Champagnes and sparkling wines, reds and whites, cocktails and beers Service/atmosphere Faultless, well-mannered and efficient staff, and a refined vibe What else Visitors can taste the famous spa water, containing 43 minerals, from a traditional fountain in the Pump Room Fun fact The Pump Room Trio, which performs its live music daily, is believed to be the longestestablished resident ensemble in Europe

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Award-winning authentic Italian Food Hall & Deli in the heart of Bath Fresh pasta, delicious sauces, artisan wines, fresh food & drinks to eat in or takeaway as well as an astounding deli counter full of regional speciality meats and cheese. PLUS JOIN US FOR OUR MONTHLY SUPPER CLUB CELEBRATING THE BEST IN ITALIAN FOOD & WINE OR HIRE US FOR YOUR OWN BESPOKE SUPPER CLUB

The Italian Food Hall 8 Edgar Buildings, George Street Bath BA1 2EE

01225 334127 • info@theitalianfoodhall.com




food & drink

“Be mindful, relax, and eat Greek”

take 5 Alexandra Vogdopoulou owns

and runs Alex Greek Cooking. Here she talks grandmothers, dough pasties and noisy Mediterranean family mealtimes Tell us a little bit about your business... I run my own Greek/ Mediterranean food business in Bath. I combine my knowledge of science and nutrition with my pathos (passion in Greek) for creating dishes and my deep love for teaching. In the era of fast, processed food I am the Greek girl who aims to communicate to her customers the ways to make wise food choices and connect to their body. I also organise supper clubs and cookery workshops/classes, where people have the chance to taste authentic Greek recipes. How did you learn to cook? I was taught traditional Greek cooking by my granny Eryfili and my mother Eirini (not a coincidence she shares the same name with the MasterChef amazing winner) based on the principle of cooking everything from scratch using the best seasonal ingredients. Perhaps an important element of Greek cuisine is that families connect via good-quality

food. We share our love, care, affection for the family, our country and our friends via cooking and eating. What kind of Greek food do you make? I personally prepare ‘slow’ and good food for body and soul. So I cook fresh, mostly organic, nutritious food that can give everyone energy for the day without any nasty harmful additives. My signature popular dishes are my homemade organic dough pasties, such as Spanakopita (giving you more than your five a day intake), and tiro-pita (a three- cheese pasty with feta). All pasties are served with a variety of homemade, crazy-fresh aromatic Greek dips. Cake-wise, portokalopita is my constant sell out, as well as my orange bomb – an oil-based, vanilla-flavoured moist pudding, which contains Greek spices and a lot of freshly squeezed orange juice.

What’s the atmosphere like at the farmer’s market? Any favourite stalls? I first came to Bath in 2003 and since then the farmer’s market has been my favourite place to be. I love the feel and smell of fresh local produce, the interaction with all the genuine traders, and the way customers chat while shopping or browsing. After 15 years of being a customer there, last year I joined this fabulous market as a food producer/trader. The atmosphere is amazing, I am very proud of being part of this market. I am afraid asking me which stall is my favourite is like asking me which is my favourite child. I won’t be able to choose. They are all unique.   You say that you put scientific knowledge into your cooking, what does this mean?  Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” I have a UK qualification in nutrition but it’s my background

of studying biology and understanding the anatomy, genetics and needs of the human body and brain which gave me an holistic way of viewing the world and life – knowing what will bring health benefits to my customers in Bath and surrounding areas. Be mindful, relax, and eat Greek, I would say.     What one Greek dish should everyone try? I am in love with my spanakopita. It’s energising, refreshing and full of good greens to stimulate our body and mind. It’s a perfect dish to be eaten as breakfast, lunch or dinner with some dips and salad.    Who are your inspirations when it comes to cooking?  The people who inspired me and taught me to love cooking are my granny and mother. They often cooked together when I was little and I loved the vibrant aromas and the bubbly cosy atmosphere of a loud Med family meal. My inspiration to start Alex Greek Cooking was 100 per cent my kids and my family. They always said, “Your cooking is amazing, why don’t you sell your food and teach people how to make it?’’. For more: Facebook: @ AlexGreekCooking Spanakopita slices

© Ale x andra Vogdopoulou

© Phillip Merchant

Where can people buy your food? I am at the farmer’s market at Green Park Station every Saturday selling a few of my most popular products. I also sell my creations online.

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WHAT A PLAICE The Scallop Shell fish and chip restaurant and seafood grill, on Monmouth Place, has been named as one of the UK’s 10 best fish and chip restaurants – the only chippy in the region to make the prestigious list. The accolade follows an extensive search by leading trade publication Fry Magazine to find those restaurants serving up the finest fish suppers.To make the 10 best, The Scallop Shell had to impress a mystery diner who visited unannounced and marked the restaurant on over 40 aspects of their business, from the quality of the food and customer service to cleanliness and value for money. “The chips were exceptional, and the batter was light and crispy and not oily at all, not even on the bottom. It’s one of the best batters I’ve had,” were just some of the glowing comments, with the mystery diner also adding,“The fish was light and delicious and it fell apart perfectly” For more: www.thescallopshell.co.uk

The underground bar will also be running cocktail masterclasses

WHAT LIES BENEATH There is a new place to swig back a cocktail or two in town – it’s called Beneath and, rather fittingly, it’s a subterranean spot. It is part of newly opened restaurant The Botanist – on Milsom Place – and, in keeping with the horticultural vibe, serves up cocktails with a plant/medicinal theme. So what’s on the menu? Penicillin, Elixir of Youth, and Vinegar of the Four Thieves are just some of the cocktails on the intriguing drinks menu.

For more: www.thebotanist.uk.com

Fancy yoga and brunch at the barn?


Sometimes you just need to relax in the bath

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For those who loved – and miss – Sam’s Kitchen, the café that used to be on Walcot Street, we bring you good news: Sam’s Kitchen is reopening, but this time with a new premises in Upper Swainswick. The new site will be a renovated 15th-century barn, opening in May, described as an open kitchen, rather than a café. Customers can pop in for a tea or coffee but the spot will act more as a hub for the business. “It is more of a head quarters for our events,” says Sam Wylde, owner of Sam’s Kitchen Events. “We travel across the country catering for weddings, private parties, festivals and all sorts. But, don’t panic, it will be available for private hire, seating up to 30 guests and we will be hosting pop-up supper clubs, yoga brunch clubs and anything else the folk of Bath have been missing. We also plan to hire the space out for food styling and TV shoots.” For more: www.samskitchendeli.co.uk

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Never underestimate the power a bright colour can bring. Be courageous with your wardrobe and go forth in this sunset-coloured ensemble. Team the mesh earth dress with the asymmetric hooded jacket, the mustard-coloured layering dress peeping out underneath, for an urban-chic, contemporary look. Heads will certainly turn. Mesh earth dress, £110; asymmetric hooded jacket, £190; layering dress, £34, all Lurdes Bergada. Available at Blue Woman & Home, The Loft, 1-2 Bartlett Street; www.theloftbath.com

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BIRDFEEDERS, £14 EACH Potter Sarah Ward works from her home studio in Lower Weston, where she makes items such as birdfeeders and crockery from high-fired stoneware. Find her on the Newbridge Arts Trail on the weekend of 11 and 12 May From Cobalt and Stone, Bath; www.cobaltandstone.com PLANT HOOP, FROM £21 Handmade by artist Clun Stuff, these hoops, which come in two sizes, work well with Stockholm Ecopots (pictured) that are made from 100 per cent recycled plastic From Pilea Plant Shop pop-up, 28 Catherine Hill, Frome; www.pileaplantshop.com

THE OUTSIDERS Whether you have a big garden, just a sliver of space, or only a windowsill, here’s our edit of outdoorsy picks

FIRE PIT WITH BBQ GRILL, £205 Add some warmth to your outside space with this sturdy cast iron fire pit, which doubles up as a barbeque From Graham and Green, 92 Walcot Street, Bath; www.grahamandgreen.co.uk

IRON TABLE, £120 Elegant and simple, this folding table by Nkuku would look snazzy on a balcony or terrace From Homefront Interiors, 10 Margaret’s Buildings, Bath; www.homefrontinteriors.co.uk

PEACOCK CABANA, £1,798 Crafted with natural rattan, this statement-making outdoor daybed grounds your outdoor oasis with refined style From Anthropologie, 1 – 4 New Bond Street, Bath; www.anthropologie.com

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ED’S CHOICE MARQUESAS CORNER UNIT, £725 We can imagine sinking into this weatherproof contemporary piece while basking in the sunshine, beside a pool. Is that too much to ask? From OKA, 26-27 Milsom Street, Bath; www.oka.com

JANNEKE AVOCADO PLANT HOLDER, £18 Once you’ve prepared your avocado seed as per the booklet that’s enclosed in the box, just sit back and watch it grow From Julia Davey, 20 Wellsway, Bear Flat, Bath; www.juliadavey.com

PLANT HANGERS, €65 These Hubsch accessories are a great way to bring the outdoors in, adding visual appeal to your home From Woodhouse & Law, 4 George’s Place, Bathwick Hill; www.woodhouseandlaw.co.uk

ORNAMENTAL PEACOCK, £36 If you’re a lover of colour, then this flamboyant guy could make the ideal addition to your garden From Rossiters of Bath, 38-41 Broad Street, Bath; www.rossitersofbath.com

MINI GARDEN TOOLS, £8.99 For the green fingered among you is this copper-plated mini trowel and fork set From Vinegar Hill, 16 Milsom Street, Bath; www.vinegarhill.co.uk

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meet the maker

little green

Miniaturism is huge these days. Here we meet Emma Canham, the owner of All Things Little, based in Corsham, who explains the allure of hand-creating tiny worlds By Lisa Evans

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“As a child, I would imagine what it would be like to be inside a doll’s house, or to live under the floor like The Borrowers”


hat’s the big deal with miniatures? I don’t have space for a doll’s house of my own, I couldn’t resist buying Apparently, the answer for many some of the miniature accessories available – like tiny teacups, carrots, miniature fanatics, or miniacs, is control – miniscule chairs and even the tiniest of shoes,” says Emma. “Once control in an otherwise chaotic, stressful, home, I played around with making some miniature gardens and pressure-filled world, a world over which landscapes in vintage teacups, and my business has all grown we may otherwise feel we have little from there.” clout. For others, it’s a harmless form of Emma now spends hours sourcing items from jumble sales, charity escapism; the appeal shops, car boot sales and online in order to create of holding in our hands, or observing, something her scenes. She begins by finding the vessel, at an impossibly reduced scale is a wholly then fills it with builder’s foam before letting her fulfilling one – I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve imagination take charge. wasted a fair bit of time watching someone make “If I see a dish, I can usually see in my mind’s tiny food on Instagram (see @tinyfood if you’re eye what type of scene it will become,” she says. interested, like its 800,000 followers are). But for “I found a beautiful dish in the shape of a fish at a Emma Canham, the owner of All Things Little, car boot sale and knew instantly it had to become a based in Corsham, it’s mainly about de-stressing. beach, and I picked up a green zig zag dish which I From her dining room table, Emma creates knew had to become an allotment. tiny scenes, such as gardens and beachscapes, “The scenes just evolve as I make them,” she inside vessels such as teacups and bowls, and says adds. “I usually choose the house I am going to use the process is a therapeutic one. first, then I lay a path and go from there. There “I have always loved small, teeny tiny things,” doesn’t tend to be much forward planning, but I do says Emma, who set up this online business try to imagine what kind of person would live there six months ago, and also runs two other, – do they like growing their own vegetables? Have photography-related, businesses: BANPAS and they just hung out their washing? Will they take a Photography Props and Drops. “As a child, seat afterward and enjoy a glass of wine or slice of I would imagine what it would be like to be cake? Or are they someone who can’t sit still and From her dining room table, actually inside a doll’s house, or to live under the will get on with all the garden chores?” floor like in The Borrowers, and one of my favourite Emma creates tiny scenes As Simon Garfield, the author of In Miniature: books when I was young was Mrs Pepperpot – the main How Small Things Illuminate the World, puts it, “We live character could shrink to the size of a pepperpot and go on adventures in a huge and doomy universe, and controlling just a tiny scaled-down as a tiny person.” part of it restores our sense of order and worth. We may not play in The miniature lets us play with and create new realities that are very the World Cup or the Ryder Cup, but there is always table football and different to the ones we’re really living in. When we’re children, the toys crazy golf. What is a drone if not a modern remote-controlled model we enjoy and the stories our imaginations conjure allow us to become aeroplane? And what is a globe if not everything we understand about creators, giving us power at a young age, making us the rulers of our the lay of the land?” own make-believe worlds. Who’s to say that we can’t continue to play So it seems the old proverb is true: the best things really do come in and embrace the whimsical in adulthood? tiny packages. ■ “Last year, I attended a doll’s house show at the NEC, and, although For more: www.allthingslittleuk.etsy.com

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Breathing Space There is a growing appetite for classes that aim to improve our sense of wellbeing. So, what can you do locally? Harriet Noble tried a breathing session with expert Rowena Hunt Photos by Betty Bhandari

Rowena (left) guided Bath Life’s Harriet through visualisation techniques, meditation and breathwork

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’ve always been a big fan of yoga, but I’d never done a class that focussed purely on breathing. So when I signed up for one of Rowena Hunt’s breathing classes, in Widcombe, Bath, I hoped it might provide some of the benefits that yoga has brought me – namely feeling re-energised and a bit de-stressed. But as the day of the class grew closer, I did feel a bit apprehensive; the classes I’d been to before had been in a room full of people, but this was going to be a one-to-one, which sounded, well, a bit intense and awkward. I needn’t have worried. Rowena was warm and down-to-earth, with a very chilled-out temperament; someone you just instinctively feel comfortable with. As well as teaching breathwork sessions, she is a qualified yoga teacher, wellness consultant, and nutritional and lifestyle coach, so she has a good understanding of what goes on with us complex humans, both in our heads and in our bodies. Her studio – a light, bright conservatory area attached to her family home – is calm, too, with white walls, candles and glass doors that open up onto the garden. Rowena told me that the house used to be a bunker in WWII; so, rather fittingly, it has always been a place people go to, to feel safe.

What it’s all about?

Before the class, Rowena had asked me to fill in a form so she could tailor-make a session just for me. We also talked a bit about breathing; she explained that everything we do, whether we are still or walking, singing or exercising, results in our breath changing. Because it is a thing that always changes, it makes sense to be more aware of it and, in doing so, this can

The lotus position is no problem for Rowena

perhaps impact all areas in our life. This is common sense really, but I’d never thought of it in those terms before. Rowena also used a metaphor that I found a helpful visualisation: she said that we can liken the mind to a lake that is disturbed by waves and ripples. The process of yoga and breathing begins to smooth the lake, to lessen the ripples of the mind until, perhaps just for the slightest moment, the lake becomes still, like glass, and we are able to see through to what lies beneath. This is when we can access the truth of ourselves, the essence of who we are.

“The lion’s roar involves stretching out your fingers and sticking out your tongue” The session

We started off by lying down and doing a few visualisation practices. I was guided through a process whereby I put aside all my worries and stresses so I could focus on the present. In my head, I imagined myself putting all my worries in a cardboard box, then putting the box in the garden. They were not gone, but they were not looming in my head. Rowena talked me through a process where I had to think about being kind to myself – something we should all be doing. We also did gratitude meditation and forgiveness meditation, and, after that, I felt much calmer and bit more centred.

The breathing…

We then delved into a series of breathing techniques. We practised some breath techniques which are good for alleviating stress and remedying digestion issues; Rowena explained a bit about each and how they can be helpful. One of them is called the lion’s roar and involves stretching out your fingers, sticking out your tongue, and exhaling with much gusto, producing a hissy noise. I felt a little silly and selfconscious at first, but it was also liberating; I felt my body and mind untightening, with tension I didn’t even know was there just melting away. Other exercises included one called the humming bee, where we made a humming sound. We both did this one together in unison; the repetition of the breathing exercises brought about a peacefulness in my head which felt almost meditative. Some of the exercises were challenging, like the one that alleviates digestion issues – requiring you to deliberately lose control of different parts of your body when you breath in and out. Rowena was encouraging throughout and said it sometimes takes people a while to be able to master these techniques. When we had finished, Rowena gave me a sheet with all the exercises we’d done that day, with instructions on how to do them at home. Before I left, she also told me a bit about her career journey: she has taught breathwork to all sorts of people, from pilots to high-level business people, and has seen the many and varied benefits, from stress reduction to improved sleep, which I can readily believe as I feel simultaneously calm and balanced. So, who is a breathing class for? In truth, anyone who is interested in improving their health and managing stress. I think that’s all of us, isn’t it? n For more: www.rowenahunt.com

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Meeting the welfare needs of ‘backyard’ chickens You’ll find useful advice, tips and support at BATH VET SURGERIES


he keeping of a few chickens in gardens and allotments is becoming more and more popular and Bath Vets see a ‘pet’ chicken or two most weeks. Fresh eggs are a huge draw, however, it is important to remember that chickens need some care and attention every day, just like a dog or a cat, so they are not a low maintenance option. Below are some of the key things that you need to consider before introducing a small backyard flock to your garden. 1. Environment Chickens should be kept outside in a wellventilated coop or shed with access to a run protected top and bottom from predators, e.g. urban foxes. There need to be enough perches plus wood shavings or straw filled nest boxes for every chicken. Each bird needs at least 250cm square floor area. Chickens should have access to an area of dry soil where they can dustbathe and forage. Clean up droppings and wet bedding daily, and do a thorough enclosure clean weekly – a paint scraper is useful for removing floor debris. 2. Diet Chickens should be fed pellets appropriate for their age (e.g. chick crumb, grower pellets, layer pellets) as well as insoluble grit to help them break down and digest their food. Chickens should not be fed kitchen scraps as this is illegal. Fresh drinking water must be available at all times. 3. Company Chickens enjoy each other’s company so it is recommended to keep at least three females together. A cockerel is not needed in order for females to lay eggs. If introducing additional chickens to your flock, isolate them from your current chickens for 21 days and introduce gradually. Don’t house chickens with ducks or geese as these can spread diseases to chickens. Also, avoid mixing birds of different sizes as this can encourage bullying. 4. Health It is important to watch your chickens daily so that you can get used to normal and abnormal behaviours – this will help you pick up signs of illness. Place food and water inside the enclosure so they cannot be accessed by wild birds which can spread diseases such as Avian Flu. It is recommended to register with the Great Britain

Poultry Register (and is compulsory if you have 50 or more birds) so that the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency can get in touch in the event of disease outbreaks. Chickens should be wormed 3 – 4 times a year with a licensed product, especially if they are kept in the same outdoor area for more than one month, and should be regularly checked for skin parasites including lice and red mites. Birds don’t tend to show signs of illness until they are quite sick so we recommend getting them checked over by a vet sooner rather than later if you are concerned. ■ Here are some further reference sites that you might find useful: • www.poultryclub.org • www.webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk • www.direct.gov.uk • www.animalwelfarefoundation.org.uk • www.rspca.org.uk • www.bhwt.org.uk

OUR CLINICS: • Rosemary Lodge Hospital Wellsway, Bath, BA2 5RL; 01225 832521 • Bath Cat Clinic 4 Beaufort East, London Road, BA1 6QD; 01225 312061 • Chapel Veterinary Surgery Forest Road, Melksham, SN12 7AA 01225 702427 • Marshfield Veterinary Surgery 57 High Street, Marshfield, SN14 8LR 01225 891171 • Oldfield Park Veterinary Surgery 4 Third Avenue, Oldfield Park, BA2 3NY 01225 423652 • Peasedown Veterinary Surgery 46 Bath Road, Peasedown St John, BA2 8DL 01761 435673 • Saltford Veterinary Surgery 478B Bath Road, Saltford, BS31 3DJ 01225 872002

Rosemary Lodge, Wellsway, Bath, BA2 5RL, 01225 832521 www.bathvetgroup.co.uk f Bath.Vet.Group

• Station Road Veterinary Surgery Lower Weston, BA1 3DY; 01225 428921 • Park Road Vets, 11 Park Road, Keynsham, Bristol, BS31 1BX; 0117 9339 933

www.mediaclash.co.uk I BATH LIFE I 67

businessinsights b at h g e t s s e r i o u s

Who hasn’t enjoyed Motown night at Komedia?

The venue is a favourite with comedian Katherine Ryan

Quote of the issue

“My grandfather would often give furniture to families affected by the war ” Which Bath business owner said this? Turn to page 70 to find out

The Big Number


Owning It

One of the city’s biggest venues, Komedia Bath, has just become community owned


t is the place that hosts myriad comedy nights and music performances – not to mention locals’ favourite the Motown night – and now the Grade-II listed former cinema is no longer a limited company but a fully-fledged community-owned asset. Over a 69-day campaign run on crowdfunder.co.uk, Komedia gained 304 investors and backing from Big Society Capital, as well as exceeding the investment target of £350k, raising £379k. This will be used to recapitalise the business and invest in its long-term future. The initiative gained great

backing in the entertainment industry, with masses of artists, including Katherine Ryan, Daliso Chaponda, The Hoosiers and Mel Giedroyc offering video messages of support. ‘Since we set off down the path to community ownership, the reasons for doing so have just grown stronger,” says venue founder Richard Daws. “We are already more embedded in the city and region than we ever have been and I can now envisage the venue we dreamed of setting up in 2007 still being around and thriving in 2107’.

This is the amount raised as part of the Komedia crowdfunding campaign (see story opposite)

Komedia’s journey

• Komedia Bath first opened in 2008 after undergoing a restoration from its roots as the former Beau Nash cinema. • In 2017, Komedia Bath venue founders set out on the path to disperse the ownership and control of the business on a community share basis. • They laid out their vision for the future in a detailed five-year plan. Since the campaign concluded, the FCA and venue bankers Triodos, carried out detailed due diligence on the conversion, culminating with the FCA converting the business into a society that will be run on cooperative rules. • The share offer laid out plans for

the existing management team to continue to run the business in the Komedia venue model, extending the offer to add further community strands and benefits to the operation. • The board of the new society, called the Beau Nash CBS, but trading as Komedia, will be strengthened in the first instance with the addition of Adrian Boreham as the venue manager, and Chris Borkett, a member and advocate for community ownership. • The venue’s partnership with Bath Spa University will also be strengthened with pro-vice chancellor Dr Andy Salmon also set to join the board. For more: www.komedia.co.uk

mediaclash.co.uk 115

The most important thing in life? A comfy bed


CHARLIE WICKS owns Silcox Son & Wicks, a local interiors and furniture store. We caught up with him to talk coffins, beds, and Ford Fiestas The company has been going since 1900. Tell us how it all started…

My great-great-grandfather, Frank Silcox, set up the company in 1900 and we’ve been going strong ever since. Remaining always in the family, the business has changed over the years and kept up with changing trends and themes as well as adapting to new technologies. We started out making the furniture ourselves in the Bath store. We also used to make coffins! A little morbid, but interesting. Tell us some of the landmark moments…

We’ve been based in the Bath store address on New Street since day one, and the building and business

has endured plenty of heartache. My great-grandfather fought in WWI, and my grandfather, Dennis Wicks, was a Navy signalman on the Russian convoys in WWII. The building suffered some superficial damage during the Blitz but we continued to trade and succeed. A lovely fact from this period is that my grandfather would often give furniture away to families affected by the war under a pay-whenever-you-can system. That always made me smile. What do you think has ensured its success?

I would probably say it stems from customer service. We really do want to make sure our customers have a positive experience when in the shop. We also change our displays


and ranges more often than most so there is usually something new and exciting to see. I often buy things I like too, regardless of their commercial viability, so you’ll often see things you won’t anywhere else. What’s it like working in Kingsmead Square?

When the sun is shining it’s very nice being in this spot. Bath is a beautiful place, you can walk almost anywhere in the centre within 10-15 minutes and see so much architectural brilliance. The square has lots of foodie places too, which is brilliant when you ‘accidentally’ forget your lunch. The biggest challenge of your job?

What interior trends are in?

Reclaimed furniture is hugely popular at the moment, especially with the more environmentally minded public. It’s ideal for adding huge amounts of character to a space; each piece tells its own story. When you’re not working, what do you get up to?

I’m a avid runner and recently completely the Bath Half. When I’m not running, I usually go climbing. Tell us something about youself...

I have travelled a lot. I once drove a Ford Fiesta from London to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. It was... an experience.

Making sure you’re on trend and not stagnant. Running any business, I think, is a challenge. There is a lot of expectation and responsibility, which can be daunting.

What’s your favourite interior piece in your home?

And the most rewarding?

Lastly, when it comes to interiors, what should everyone invest in?

Positive feedback. When we’re told that a customer is happy with what they have received it means a huge amount to us. What products are proving popular at the moment?

We continually do well with our two major core items: beds and sofas. We’ve just launched a collection of our own beds, Beds By Silcox. These are already proving to be hugely popular and we can’t wait to really get stuck in. On the upholstery side, power pastels and grey continue to excel.

A huge handmade world map picture which I built for my wife. On it, we put up pictures of all the places we’ve been.

I know it seems like a plug but, honestly, a good bed. It’s the one piece of furniture in the house everyone overlooks. We get so invested in making sure our homes look perfect, we sometimes forget how they feel. I’d rather see a customer skip out on a fancy coffee table or artwork and buy something they’ll genuinely get some serious benefit from. Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep – the health benefits are enormous. For more: www.silcox.co.uk


FANTASTIC FIVE Our pick of the most exciting, intriguing or important local business stories right now TRAINING DAY

New business Luther Training has opened in Bath, offering movement and lifestyle coaching. The company is owned and run by Adam Luther, a qualified personal trainer, Olympic lifting coach, nutritional analyst, and sports massage therapist. “Luther Training is all about movement and longevity,” he says. “The fitness industry puts too much pressure on results. I care more about enjoying the process and making progress.” For more: www.luthertraining.com

So colourful it’d be a waste to sleep on it Adam’s the man

reach their target. “We’re running sessions on the first and third Saturday of the month, 11am-12pm from now until the end of June and everyone is welcome,” says Laura Shipley, owner and director of Wool. “If you can’t knit, don’t worry, I’ll teach you – everyone will get the attention they deserve.” For more: www.ageuk.org.uk/ bathandnortheastsomerset



Being on your tippy-toes always helps

Hatters gonna hat: Janet Dabbs, chief exec of Age UK Bath & North East Somerset (left), with Laura of Wool, Bath


Local charity Age UK B&NES has teamed up with Bath-based knitting emporium Wool to offer free mini bobble hat workshops. Each winter, the charity sends thousands of little hats to Innocent (the smoothie company), and Innocent puts those little hats on their smoothie bottles. For each hat, Innocent donates 25p to Age UK B&NES, enabling them to continue supporting older people in the community. The charity has pledged to send 6,000 hats this year, which is worth a whopping £1,500, but they need volunteers to knit the hats so they can

It’s always embarrasing when you turn up to an event wearing the same thing, say these guys at Hare Brewery

The Abbey hotel has unveiled a range of newly renovated bedrooms. The concept for each bedroom is based on the city’s connections to art and culture over the years, with film, art and photography being the themes of the rooms. The artistic style of the new bedrooms will be replicated in the Abbey Hotel’s ArtBar, which is also undergoing a makeover that will be completed this month. For more: www.abbeyhotelbath.co.uk


The Bath Boules festival weekend is just two months away, and a teeny, tiny handful of spaces remain for companies interested in sponsoring the much-loved charity event. Running from 14-16 June, the Bath Boules in Queen Square is a huge public celebration which last year raised a staggering £50K for Bath charities. This year, organisers are hoping to beat this, as a whopping 192 companies, many in fancy dress, join in the iconic Francetastic event. “If you’d like to get involved with the Bath Boules and jump on board as either a Big or Little Boules

sponsor, we’d love to hear from you,” says Steph Dodd, events director at MediaClash, which organises the Boules. To learn more about sponsorship and remaining tickets, please contact Rosanna: rosanna.hood@ mediaclash.co.uk For more: www.bathboules.com


Bath Ales has just completed the installation of a £150,000 solar array on the roof of its state-ofthe-art brewhouse, Hare Brewery in Warmley. “The technology is so advanced that we’re looking at making an estimated annual saving of over £30k on our annual power bills making a good return on investment and importantly reducing our carbon footprint,” says Piers Thompson, St Austell Brewery and Bath Ales’ director of external relations and head of corporate social responsibility. For more: www.bathales.com www.mediaclash.co.uk I BATH LIFE I 71


BATH SPORTS NEWS Bringing you the latest in sporting news

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


23 APRIL PRESENTATIONS ON PROPERTY The NLA (National Landlord Association) hosts an event of presentations on mortgages, legislative updates, as well as networking opportunities. 6.30pm; Kingswood Sports Pavilion; wwwlandlords.org.uk 25 APRIL MARKETING EVENT Talks and insights from leading industry professionals, including Bath Life columnist Philippa May – head of marketing for Abbott Lyon. 6.30pm; Walcot House; www.eventbrite.co.uk

Stripy socks are all the rage

FAIR GAME At the time of writing, female rugby players from local schools are set to take centre stage at Twickenham, playing a half time match at The Clash on 6 April, the match that sees Bath Rugby face their West Country rivals Bristol Bears in one of the biggest games of the Gallagher Premiership season. The half time matches were arranged by Bath Rugby Foundation and the Bath Rugby Community team, with the players coming from St Gregory’s School and Royal High School in Bath, and Clarendon in Trowbridge. The rate of change in women’s sports is one of the most exciting trends in the sports industry, with participation rates in rugby growing each year. Bath Rugby Foundation

72 I BATH LIFE I www.mediaclash.co.uk

and Community deliver coaching sessions to girls across a number of different programmes within primary and secondary schools around the local catchment area. “The chance to play at Twickenham is a once-in-alifetime experience, and it is great to give that opportunity to the girls from local schools,” says Bath Rugby foundation’s inclusion manager, Dan Hine. “They have enjoyed the experience of being introduced to a new sport – so much so that more than half of the 24 girls playing at Twickenham have already joined local rugby clubs to continue their rugby journeys. For more: www.bathrugbyfoundation.com

1 MAY ARCHITECTURE: THROUGH THE CONSERVATION LENS This seminar will utilise practical project examples to highlight the challenges encountered when working with historical buildings. 2.30pm; Bath Royal Scientific & Literary Institute; www.architecture.com 2 MAY RECRUITMENT PANEL DISCUSSION Juice Recruitment are hosting an evening event which will see a recruitment panel of experts answer questions on business, recruiting process, progressions and development, and the current challenges facing businesses. 6pm; Walcot House; email Jenny at Juice Recruitment at jennyg@ juicerecruitment.com; www.juicerecruitment.com

New kid on the block, Richard Mackichan-Burke


Richard Mackichan-Burke has joined the team at Bath-based law firm Mowbray Woodwards. Richard joins the litigation team where he is responsible for advising both individuals and businesses on a wide range of disputes. “I’m thrilled to be joining such a long-established, multi-disciplinary law firm as Mowbray Woodwards which has a first-class reputation in Bath and throughout the region,” says Richard. He is joined by two other new arrivals: Angus McWilliams joins the criminal and litigation team, and Laura Ingram joins the paralegal in the family law team. For more: www.mowbraywoodwards.co.uk

KING OF THE CASTLE Royds Withy King has welcomed Dan Meadon-Bower to the firm as a partner in its corporate and commercial law team based in Bath. “We’re delighted to welcome Dan to the firm,” says John North, partner and head of the corporate and commercial law team at Royds Withy King. “His wealth of experience dealing with heavy-weight commercial contracts in financial services, technology, aerospace and transport sectors will be a huge asset to us.” For more: www.roydswithyking.com

Starting School?

We'd love to see you at one of our


Wednesday 1st May 2019


No a


ppo pm nece intment ssar y

Monkton Farleigh Friday 3rd May 2019

We love our nurturing school and you will too! All are welcome to visit to see it in action…

We look forward to meeting you Ofsted rated 'Good' 2017

Headteacher: Mr Simon Futcher Bradford Road, Atworth, Wiltshire, SN12 8HY Tel: 01225 703026 Email: admin@churchfields.wilts.sch.uk www.churchfields.wilts.sch.uk


BATH LIFE AWARDS 2019 Co-founders of Mytton Williams, Bob Mytton and Sophie Williams, tell us about plans for the future, business heroes and surprising side projects

How did you celebrate? We had a pitch the following day (typical!), so we had to take it a little easy, but we raised a few glasses of champagne on the night and celebrated the fantastic news with the team the next day. Where is your award now? It has pride of place in our awards cupboard in the meeting room at our studio. Why do you think you won? We are a long-established studio that’s still producing effective award-



winning work after 23 years. We also love side projects, and this year we collaborated with Opal Print on the self-funded Made in Bath book, which showcases and celebrates a diverse range of local people and businesses. We are also passionate about education and inspiring young designers – helping develop and run Werkhouse, a weekend industry-led design training workshop.

brands that make a difference.

As a company, what sets you apart? We are a small team with a vast amount of experience. We are passionate about simple, beautiful and effective design. We pride ourselves on developing robust brand strategies and well thoughtthrough creative ideas and designs, resulting in brands that change perceptions. We believe in designing

What do you love most about working in Bath? Our side project, Made in Bath, enabled us to meet and celebrate some of the diverse businesses in the city that share our philosophy of doing things well, being passionate, creative and collaborative, with attention to detail and quality. The book was never intended to be a definitive list, more of an overview of the diversity and creativity that’s all around Bath, and that’s what we love about the city.

What do you love most about your job? We love the diverse range of clients and sectors we get to work with. It keeps things fresh and interesting. We also love solving problems using design to engage customers, inspire investors, break into new markets and assist growth – that makes a real difference and has real impact.

It was more than alright on the night for Sophie and Bob

Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? Employ people who are better than you. Business heroes? Thomas Heatherwick – a fantastic designer who works on successful, high-profile projects but adds a spin that is genuinely engaging and interesting. Future plans? Any news to share, or exciting projects in the pipeline? We would love to expand the Made in Bath project over the next year, hosting events, growing the community of ‘makers’ and producing another book. Get in touch if you’d like to get involved. And we will be launching our new website soon – very exciting!


So, how did it feel to win a Bath Life Award? We are absolutely delighted. There are so many great creative agencies in Bath, so we are extremely proud to win this award and get the recognition.

Tell us something about yourself or the company that might surprise us… We have produced at least 12 calendars, 100 jazz posters, 50 wooden harlequin ducks, 1500 NH-YES badges, two exhibitions and one book.

For more: myttonwilliams.co.uk

www.mediaclash.co.uk I BATH LIFE I 75

business insiGHTS The look of pure mid-convo concentration

Royds Withy King in numbers • 1873 – the year the company was established • 2 – the number of offices in Bath • 7 – the number of branches in the UK (Bath, London, Bristol, Oxford and Swindon and Malborough)

Bath Life Business Club

Graham Street and Amanda Dow Why is corporate social responsibility important? Why is it good for business and what does it mean for the employees within a company? Graham Street and Amanda Dow – managing partner and HR director at legal firm Royds Withy King – chatted all things civic at our latest Bath Life Business Club The recent Bath Life Business Club focussed on the social good that companies do, and the positive impact that can have on employees and the local community. Royds Withy King has raised over £100,00 since 2010 for local charities. Here in Bath, their stats aren’t too shabby either: their Bath staff and partners raised over £23,000 for Dorothy House Hospice between 2015-2017, and they’re headline sponsors for the upcoming Bath Boules. But, as Graham and Amanda explained, a huge part of demonstrating your social responsibility is about caring for and supporting your workforce...

The times, they are a changin’

The legal profession has not always had the most virtuous reputation, often being labelled stuffy and archaic. This is not something that has sat comfortably with Graham. “I’m a big critic of the values that have underpinned the legal profession, such as a sense of detachment from doing good, as well as arrogance, being self-serving and not being good with people,” he said. “I thought, if we were going to create a successful business, we had to be less like an ageing legal profession. Most successful companies have abandoned the

“Happy people do so much more than unhappy people“ 76 I BATH LIFE I www.mediaclash.co.uk

• 65 – number of partners • 5ll – number of staff • £36m – turnover • Top 100 law firm – In 2018, ranked in the Sunday Times Top 100 best mid-sized companies to work for, for the fifth consecutive year.

historic notions of what a legal progression is really like and have gone for what clients really value – which is people, good service, along with knowledge and expertise.” So, how do you go about creating change from within the company? Graham said that the first thing he did when he was appointed to managing partner, was to create a modern set of values that would identify with their employees, stakeholders, clients and funders. These are: outstanding client service, exceptional value, being an employer of choice, acting as one firm and corporate social responsibility. Nowadays, company values are commonplace and are, some might suspect, more of a PR project than an authentic system of beliefs. “I think that’s a cynical way of looking at it,” said Graham. “I see it as responding to a need. We can all achieve more together than as individuals. You can’t window dress this, it’s just not sustainable.” Amanda went on to explain that these values are documented and embedded in the way they do business. This might mean anything from inductions, to leaders leading by example – it is lived and breathed throughout the company. Happy employees

Part of this value system is creating a happy, working environment and, as Graham explained, these days this is what the modern-day job seeker is looking for in an employer. In terms of professional development, employees at Royds Withy King are given objectives based on their strengths – encouraging them to blossom in areas in which they shine, be it bringing in new business or embodying the company’s culture and values. “We tend to recognise and respond to good contribution rather than criticising what people don’t do. We align the objectives to

people to play to their strength, it’s a far more positive experience then,” said Graham. What else? Interestingly, the company began a bonus scheme a few years ago where an even share of the firm’s profits goes back to all staff. There’s also £100 a head given for team building activities, which fortunately doesn’t need to be worthy stuff. Recent employee outings have included a trip to Paris, camping and a theatre trip. Graham said it’s the little things that make a big difference. “Happy people do so much more than unhappy people,” he said. He added that these employee incentives are not just the right thing to do but are better for business. “If we want to engage our people on a journey and have them feel they own their role, then we have to talk to their agenda. It’s about accessing social responsibility to engage with wider communities. If we can bridge what’s going on in our business with what’s going in the wider community, this is what we will do.” n For more: www.roydswithyking.com

Fresh thinking over a fine lunch The Bath Life Business Club brings together a select group of senior business people. It features a leading speaker and a two-course lunch at The Royal Crescent Hotel. The next is on 29 April, with Jamie Luck from Mentoring Plus. If you’d like to join, please contact Stephanie Dodd (Stephanie.Dodd@mediaclash. co.uk). These events sell out quickly, so look out for the emails... The Bath Life Business Club is sponsored by Bishop Fleming. www.bathlifebusinessclub.com




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Bath Spa Uni students are engaging with imaginative businesses via the high-profile Creative Bath Awards…



78 I BATH LIFE I www.mediaclash.co.uk


unique competition is giving creative Bath Spa University students the opportunity to respond to reallife design briefs and to gain valuable portfolio experience through local not-forprofit Creative Bath as part of its muchheralded awards. The aim is to create a stunning physical award each year as well as give valuable realworld experience. Each year, students respond to Creative Bath’s brief to submit a proposal to design, manufacture and deliver the trophies for the annual Creative Bath Awards. This results in a real pitching session in front of a panel, with a real budget and a real deadline. 2017’s winner was third year student Ross Bennett, whose award was inspired by the natural landscape of Bath. Intriguingly, it featured a laser-engraved topographical layout of Bath on a wooden base and sandstone layer. The award was surrounded by a polished brass belt paying homage to Bath’s roots in the brassmaking industry. Winners’ names were laser etched into wood. “The challenge to design this award was an exciting one, and being a brand-new event there was no precedent or limitations to what could be suggested,” says Ross. “This was in equal parts daunting and refreshing. I saw it as an opportunity to pull together various threads from different projects that I had been working on, including work on topography, vernacular building materials and the material identity of different places. “They came together concisely in my proposal and I was honoured to be the designer and maker of the very first Creative Bath award.” In 2018, second-year student Joel Matthews won the pitching battle and was chosen to craft the second batch of Creative Bath awards. Inspired by the natural materials and the iconic man-made architectural shapes of Bath, Joel’s award was made of sandstone and featured an engraved design which reflected Pulteney Weir. “The design of the 2018 Creative Bath award came from a study into the lines and curves that are exclusive to the beautiful city of Bath,” says Joel. “I was working in a similar way within another project for The Holburne Museum, in which I used the famous line of Great Pulteney Street and Sydney Gardens to create silver jewellery. “I decided to use the concentric arcs of the weir underneath Pulteney Bridge, which I found encompassed Bath’s creativity as well as its engineering capabilities.” In a clever additional homage to Bath, Joel’s

OPPOSITE: Bath Spa Uni students Joel (top) and Ross,

who both won opportunities to craft trophies for past Creative Bath Awards TOP: Joel’s Creative Bath award design (sitting proudly alongside a Bath Life award) was engraved with a pattern which reflected Pulteney Weir ABOVE: Ross’s design featured the topographical layout of Bath in sandstone

“Every year, we’re bowled over by the sheer quality of the designs”

award utilised the ‘A’ shape from the Creative Bath Awards’ logo, which meant that when all 22 awards were placed in a row, they naturally curved and combined to form the shape of the Royal Crescent. “Creative Bath’s initiative to connect students with creative businesses in the city is reflected in this special annual project,” says Creative Bath’s community manager Lucy Plummer. “Applying creativity in a commercial context with meaningful budgets and deadlines is great experience. And every year, we’re bowled over by the sheer quality of the designs.” Awards created by BSU students now sit on the shelves of creative businesses across the city – a talking point for businesses and clients. Ross has gone on to be commissioned to produce work for River is the Venue – a project organised by 44AD artspace – Art at the Heart of the RUH, and research academics at the University of Bath, as well as for the Crumbs magazine awards. Joel is currently finishing his final year at university, where he is focusing on printed materials and the impact of local production through 3D printing on the environment. Creative Bath Awards are on 13 June in Queen Square. Tickets are on sale now, and nominations close on 17 April. The next winning award design will be unveiled in May. For more, visit www.creativebathawards.org

www.mediaclash.co.uk I BATH LIFE I 79

advertising feature

for the home Our local businesses are poised and ready to help with all your home needs for spring

CLAIR STRONG interior design




The Marmalade House specialises in French and Gustavian-style furniture painting and interior styling. They work from studios in Kelston, or onsite if requested. They offer colour consultations for your home, a full interior design service and styling for locations and home sales. They also run award-winning courses on painting furniture to professional standards, colour and mood boarding. Tel: 01225 445855; www.themarmaladehouse.co.uk

Westside Design




Clair Strong Interior Design is a small, creative company based in Bath, providing a wide range of services for both residential and commercial clients. Her portfolio of projects includes the design, project coordination and sourcing for some of Bath’s most beautiful residences, as well as sports clubs, offices and other commercial venues. Contact Clair on 01225 426906 or 07855 79731


TR Hayes has been selling furniture in Bath for over 100 years now, and has a reputation for good quality and good service. The large store features many big name brands, with an amazing array of furniture of all types on display. There are also well-respected carpet and made-to-measure curtain departments. 15-18 London Street, Walcot, Bath BA1 5BX Tel: 01225 465757; www.trhayes.co.uk

Lucy Collins

Inspired design and styling can excite & enhance our lives and enable us to feel nurtured and uplifted. Whether it be redesigning the interior and exterior of a property, altering the colour palette, introducing a new style, changing soft furnishings, refreshing, replacing or decluttering – leave it to Lucy… The Coach House, Linden Gardens, Weston Road, Bath BA1 8DB Tel: 07710 223285; www.lucycollins.me 80 I BATH LIFE I www.mediaclash.co.uk

Loved locally since 1879, Knees offer expert advice on top kitchen appliance brands, beautiful furniture and home accessories. And for their age, you will be surprised at how stylish they are. Discover more in their Trowbridge store or online. Spitfire Retail Park, Trowbridge BA14 0AZ Tel: 01225 754161

Westside Design is a family-run Bath based company offering a tailored design, manufacturing and installation service for all aspects of cabinet making and joinery. Specialising in contemporary bespoke kitchens and interiors. Contact Michael on 01225 330843 or 07976 268458 or email info@westsidedesign.co.uk


Based in the heart of Bath and specialising in bespoke, handmade kitchens, Bath Kitchen Company become personally invested in every kitchen they design and build. It’s about attention to detail at every stage – creating a beautiful space that enhances the way you live. 7-9 North Parade Buildings, Bath BA1 1NS; Tel: 01225 312003 www.bathkitchencompany.co.uk

The Marmalade house

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

Etons of Bath

Founded in 2006, Etons of Bath is the UK’s only specialist interior design practice focussed on refurbishing, renovating and reinvigorating Georgian and Regency homes and hotels. Their team of 12 interior designers, planners and project managers can help you design and deliver classically inspired interiors that add value, turn heads and improve the use of space. Tel: 01225 639002; www.etonsofbath.com


Thinking ahead Local legal expert HELEN STARKIE offers up some advice for issues that may arise in the years before you


ome of the most common questions we get asked in our practice are along the following lines...

My friend has transferred the ownership of her house to her children to avoid nursing home fees when she gets old, and inheritance tax when she dies. Should I do the same? Almost certainly not. Your friend has not solved either issue by transferring her ownership. Should she need care she will be assessed as if she still owned the house as she has deliberately deprived herself of an assessable asset – and if she continues to live in the house her gift will be treated for inheritance tax purposes as not having been made. She has also created the possibility of a whole variety of other problems – among them the exposure of her children to a significant liability to capital gains tax. But there are other sensible ways of planning to minimise the impact of future care costs about which your solicitor can advise you. My friend tells me that I do not need to make a Lasting Power of Attorney now because my husband will be able to deal with my affairs if I become ill. All our assets are in joint names. Your friend is wrong again. Your husband will not automatically be able to deal with your affairs even if your assets are in joint names. Indeed he may find he is unable to access even his own funds in your joint account. Some banks freeze all accounts, including joint ones, when a customer loses their capacity to deal with their finances. And whereas all investments may be held jointly there will almost certainly be some things in your sole name – your pension for example. Surely as I am mentally fully capable there is no need for me to make a Lasting Power of Attorney yet? After all I may never become ill – and I can make a Lasting Power of Attorney if and when I do.


You need to have mental capacity to make a Lasting Power of Attorney. Loss of capacity is not always gradual, allowing us to plan; it can happen suddenly (a stroke or a road accident for example) in which case you will have left things too late. Furthermore a Lasting Power cannot be used until it has been registered at the Office of the Public Guardian and that process takes time – often as long as three months. Your affairs will need dealing with as soon as you become ill. My mother suffers from dementia. She has never made a Lasting Power of Attorney or a Will. I cannot access her money to pay her bills and I think there may be a big tax bill to pay when she dies. I am worried sick. What can I do? It is a pity that your mother did not save you the angst you are suffering by taking the simple steps of making a Lasting Power of Attorney and a Will while she was fit and healthy. However it is not too late to sort things out. Although your mother suffers from dementia and may not have sufficient mental capacity to manage her own affairs, she may still have enough understanding to make a Lasting Power of Attorney. Legal tests for capacity differ according to the exercise

being undertaken. Your mother may even have capacity to make a Will (the capacity test here is more complex than that for making a Power of Attorney, but more specific than what is required to manage one’s own affairs independently). A solicitor specialising in the field will be able to assess your mother’s capacity for both exercises and prepare the relevant documents for her to sign if capable. And if your mother does lack capacity all is still not lost. An application can be made to the Court of Protection for a Deputy (possibly you) to be appointed to deal with her affairs – and it is possible to apply to the same court for a statutory Will to be made on your mother’s behalf to address the tax issues you mention. ■

Helen Starkie Solicitor 23 Gay Street, Bath BA1 2PD 01225 442353; www.helenstarkie.co.uk www.mediaclash.co.uk I BATH LIFE I 81


Inside, out As April welcomes National Gardening Week, here are local experts’ top tips on how to bring the indoors out and the outdoors in By Lisa Evans

This Succulentus Anthracite wallpaper by Mind the Gap is perfect for those wanting to add a touch of the exotic to a room scheme. Find it at Woodhouse & Law, Bath

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ith the country’s biggest celebration of gardening, National Gardening Week, coming up (29 April – 5 May), now is the time to make your outdoor spaces summer ready. And for those of you who don’t have gardens of your own (let’s face it, if you live in the centre of Bath, this may be a likelihood) but want to create an indoor green haven, then read on for local interior and exterior experts’ tips on bringing the outside in and the inside out.

Naomi Juckes co-founded Hand and Glove, based in central Bath, which creates modern botanical homewares for those who want to bring greenery into their living space

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In and out

When it comes to seamless indoor-outdoor living, Nick Woodhouse, director at Woodhouse & Law on Bathwick Hill, says the first port of call is to develop a mood/materials board for the home and garden as a whole. That way, you can then select colours and shades that will work across the two spaces. “Start the board with materials you have to work with,” he says, “for example, the brick or stone that the house is constructed in, and the floor finishes internally you need to work with, and then identify what fabrics and plants will sit comfortably together.   It’s important, he adds, to consider the overall size of the exterior space and the interaction with the property. A courtyard garden which is small should closely reflect the interior style, for example, as they will be physically so close. “Mirrors can be used to great effect,” he says, “as they literally reflect the interior style immediately. In larger gardens, the interior colours and materials can be referenced in the foreground with planters and planting. As you move further away from the room/ window you can be more adventurous and less constructed in your use of colour.” Rosie Nottage, director of Rosie Nottage Garden Design, Bath, says she works closely with architects to specify outdoor surfaces which can either blend with or provide a contrast to interior ones. “Mandarin

clockwise from top left: Bask in style in these lawn chairs from

Graham & Green; recreate the jungle vibes in this transformation by Rosie Nottage Garden Design; macramé hanging planters, such as these from Homefront Interiors, have never been more popular; pooches and plants, what’s not to like? We spotted these planters at Graham & Green

Take care

How should we be looking after our gardens and houseplants this season? “Spring is all about growth and new beginnings. Cut back the stems of any perennials you have left long over winter (great for wildlife and structure, but now is the time to make way) and cut deciduous grasses back. Your lawn is ready for its first cut – a long length to start with, then reduce the height, cut by cut, going into summer. Have a look at photos taken in the garden over the year, any patches that always look a bit dull? Now is a great time to plant something you will love.” Rosie Nottage, director of Rosie Nottage Garden Design, Bath “It’s the start of the growing season for most houseplants; at this time of year, houseplants thrive on higher light levels and warmer temperatures. Now’s the time to increase watering and feed them. All plants need an adequate supply of nutrients to produce healthy growth and full-sized flowers and leaves; houseplants in pots contain a limited amount of food that is continually depleted by the roots of the plant, so regular feeding during the growing season is essential.” Lula Oatley at Pilea Plant Shop pop-up in Frome

Stone has a great range of porcelains,” she says. “There are different thicknesses for indoor and outdoor but the finished surface is the same. Drain details can help you to have a level transition, too; Lateral Design Studio does some good covers for drains, and bifold door companies, like Fineline, have put a lot of thought into making sure threshold drain details can be unobtrusive.” When it comes to bringing greenery indoors, Lula Oatley at Pilea Plant Shop pop-up in Frome says trailing houseplants are a big trend at the moment. “Think jungle-like plants circulating an entire room, with their long and luscious growth,” she says. “If you want to create this effect, particular easy-care varieties that are great for fast, trailing growth are epipremnum aureum (devil’s ivy) and tradescantia zebrina. Height, she says, is another way of creating interest in an indoor houseplant display – whether it be raising them up from the floor or placing them on sideboards. “It could be something as simple as putting a terracotta pot upside down underneath another pot to raise it up. “Transporting houseplants from inside to out is a great way to give them some fresh air and sun during the warmer growing season,” she adds. “Many varieties will be happy outside in the UK during the spring and summer – particularly cacti, which are naturally adapted to hot sunny days and colder nights in the desert.”

Top of the trends

As for the most popular garden looks this year, Rosie Nottage feels that anything that contrasts to the hecticness of the ‘real’ world is always welcome. “In politically turbulent times, people are always more interested in their garden,” she says. “It’s a place to experiment, relax in and get away from it all, and, this year, calming water features, hammocks and jungle-esque respite are the name of the game.” Nick at Woodhouse & Law reckons the growing momentum in the home towards bolder colour choices will start to see itself being replicated in the garden soon, “Expect to see more of the hotter colours being combined with purples and blues,” he says. “I think we’ll also see larger-leafed, more exotic-looking plants being used to greater effect, taking their inspiration from the trend towards the houseplant indoors.”

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gardens Small is beautiful

© Garden Tr ading

If you have a very small garden space, one of Rosie Nottage’s top tips on how to make the most of it is to have a few plants that perform hard, and repeat them all over the garden. “Balls of phillyrea angustifolia, and clumps of libertia grandiflora and dryopteris erythrosora are a lovely combination,” she says. “And add trachelospermum jasminoides up the walls and tulipa ‘spring green’ for early-season interest.” Nick Woodhouse’s main piece of advice is to keep it simple, “Don’t introduce too many finishes or too many colours. Keeping the materials, such as stone, gravel or terracotta, to a minimum helps to give the space a greater sense of cohesion and consistency. The same is true for colours; a simple scheme of cooler tones of, say, blue, silver and purple will help create a relaxed, less confined feel to the garden. This limited palette also stretches to the number of colours used in paints, accessories and furniture.”

clockwise from above: As somewhere to al fresco is crucial in the warmer months, we like this set up, from Woodhouse & Law; investing in an indoor/outdoor piece means you can use it all year round, this cabana daybed is from Anthropologie; all things terracotta, like these plant stands from Leak, are trending right now; folding furniture, like this range from Homefront Interiors, is ideal for smaller spaces

Time for a revamp

If you’re planning a complete garden overhaul, Rosie Nottage, director of Rosie Nottage Garden Design, Bath, suggests calling in a pro. “Lots of questions need answering if you’re investing a lot. The crucial thing to consider is the style and scale of the house, so that the materials chosen are sympathetic and the garden looks like it belongs, rather than having just been ‘done’.” She says to consider these practicalities, and ask your designer about them: 1. How will you get the bins out? 2. Where does your bike go? 3. Where do you want to eat? 4. Where is the best sun for a morning coffee? 5. Where will you have a G&T in the evening? 6. How will you maintain your garden? 7. How many people do you need to seat daily? And how many for a party? 

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LED lanterns, like these from Woodhouse & Law, can add a spot of ambience to your exteriors

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Technology is forever on the move, hopefully presenting us with means of making our lives just that little bit easier. These improvements have traditionally had greater uptake within the home, but it would seem that garden suppliers are finally catching up, says Nick Woodhouse. Solar lighting, for example, has improved significantly in both performance and aesthetics in recent years, “Their inclusion in a design can instantly remove what can become expensive and disruptive cabling, providing instead instant impact and greater interest in the garden that extends beyond dusk,” he says. “Outdoor lamps and lanterns are also becoming real features in themselves, with products offering the ease of recharging via a USB port or mains charger.” For those after a bit more control of their outdoor lighting, Nick says smart solutions seem to be improving by the year, too, “Wireless lighting systems can now be controlled through a smartphone or tablet, offering flexibility and the ability to expand easily in years ahead – appealing even to the most technologically challenged among us.” ■

TOP TO BOTTOM: These Victorian-style wall lights, from Graham & Green, would look equally good inside or out; because you’re never too old to monkey around, these crafty creatures are a quirky alternative to your everyday garden illuminations (also from Graham & Green); Homefront Interiors offers plenty of stylish outdoor accessories



4 3


6 5

Some of our favourite plant-themed accessories we’ve spotted locally… SHOPPING LIST 7



1. Pots, £8 each, from Rossiters of Bath, 38-41 Broad Street, Bath; www.rossitersofbath.com 2. Pot hanger, £7.50, from Vinegar Hill, 16 Milsom Street, Bath; www.vinegarhill.co.uk 3. Iron chair, £115, from Graham & Green, 92 Walcot Street, Bath; www.grahamandgreen.co.uk 4. Parker chair, £898, from Anthropologie, 1-4 New Bond Street, Bath; www.anthropologie.com 5. Acorn bird feeder, £11.99, from Vinegar Hill, 16 Milsom Street, Bath; www.vinegarhill.co.uk 6. Planter, from £6.95, from Homefront Interiors, 10 Margaret’s Buildings, Bath; www.homefrontinteriors.co.uk 7. Ursula hanging pot, £46, from Anthropologie, 1-4 New Bond Street, Bath; www.anthropologie.com 8. Bamboo candle, £7.95, from Graham & Green, 92 Walcot Street, Bath; www.grahamandgreen.co.uk 9. Arrow plant hanger, from £17.50; from Hand and Glove online store, based in central Bath; www.handandglove.co.uk

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QUEEN’S PARADE Period features, panoramic views and light-filled rooms make this apartment a desirable place to call home – the location’s not bad either By Harriet Noble www.mediaclash.co.uk MEDIACLASH.CO.UK I BATH LIFE I 141 91

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o say that Queen’s Parade is a sought-after location in Bath is an understatement of whopping, titanic proportions. The properties in this spot are a marvel, offering expansive views across Bath and the surrounding countryside while being a mere moment from The Royal Crescent and city centre. So when one of these properties came on the market in this to-die-for area, we had to take a sneak peek. Akin to many of the finest original Georgian buildings in Bath, the Grade-II house was designed by John Wood the Younger and built between 1766 and 1770. In fact, Queen’s Parade was originally earmarked as the site of the Assembly Rooms and

leases were granted for house-building in 1766. The four-bedroom apartment itself sits towards one end of the parade, its handsome frontage boasting a warm aquamarine-coloured door. The property occupies the second and third floor but is accessed at the front of the building through a communal stairwell – there is no lift in the building – good news for those wanting to work on those calf muscles. Travelling up the stairs and into the apartment, what hits you is how utterly peaceful the place is; the spaces have been beautifully designed around a serene colour palette, creating a calm, inviting look. The primary living spaces are interconnected and arranged across a lateral open plan on the second floor of the building. An incredibly light living room with a high-vaulted ceiling sits to the back of the house, providing elevated views out to the neighbouring gardens and Royal Victoria Park beyond. A guest bedroom, with ample in-built storage, adjoins the living room. The beautifully light kitchen and dining area sits to the front of the building with show-stopper rooftop views out to towards the city, furnished with an excellent selection of free-standing units, bespoke cabinetry and inset pantry cupboards. Glossed wooden floors, brass taps and muted shades make this a beauty of a kitchen; the simplicity of the décor wins the day here, showing that when you’ve got rooms this big, bright, and Georgian – less is definitely more.

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And if you’re a fan of a blaze then you’re in for a treat as there are four original fireplaces in this property, each in working order and with attractive tiled surrounds, one located in the living room, one in the kitchen, and two in the bedrooms above. The master bedroom sits at the top of the internal stairwell and has a tastefully decorated en suite, and deep inset wardrobes. The two further bedrooms and a family bathroom also occupy the second floor, alongside access to additional loft space above. To find a property that is so close to the city centre, that is so spacious, serene and, let’s face it, downright gorgeous, is a rare thing indeed. Those interested in purchasing better get a wriggle on.

Bedrooms 4

is available directly outside the property. The building is also equipped with a state-of-the-art fire alarm system

Bathrooms 2

Price £770,000 leasehold

Reception rooms

The Modern House, St. Alphege Hall, King’s Bench Street, London SE1 0QX; 020 3795 5920; www.themodernhouse.com

House numbers Square footage 1,400



Queen’s Parade

What else? Residential parking

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just visiting

© Manuel Harl an

“I’m excited about being back in Bath, with its lovely buildings and Roman Baths”

Katherine Parkinson Ahead of her performance at the Theatre Royal Bath, the actress talks to us about vintage clothes, Netflix and exploring our city Direct from the West End, Home, I’m Darling tours to the Theatre Royal Bath this month. The new play by Laura Wade sees Best Actress Olivier Award-nominee Katherine Parkinson (The IT Crowd, Doc Martin, and Humans) reprise her acclaimed role as Judy in the fizzing comedy about one woman’s quest to be the perfect 1950’s housewife. Tell us about the plot of Home, I’m Darling... It takes place in a ’50s world, but it’s set now, in 2019. I think it manages to touch on many subjects that are very relevant today, plus, ultimately, it’s a love story.

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What’s your character, Judy, like? She’s somebody who has a sort of forensic talent for numbers but she’s lost sight of that talent because she retreats from the world after becoming disenchanted at work. She’s in a loving relationship with her husband, Johnny, and that’s what saves her. Judy gets stuck into vintage living, adopting a ’50s lifestyle, so it starts off as quite a fun quirk, but she ends up getting trapped in it all. Do you enjoy playing her? It’s been a great experience for me because I’ve been developing the play for six years now. I’ve done workshops and improvised situations, then Laura [Wade, the writer] has gone off and

written it. So it’s been written for me, which is a great privilege. I just find Judy a very easy fit, as you’d expect when it’s been me and Laura working on it for years and years, and I enjoy that I get to play lots of different things, lots of different states, because it’s not just funny. And I like getting to dance in the show a bit as well. Did you take dancing lessons to prepare for it? I’m unteachable when it comes to things like that. You can teach me the moves but I’ll always do what I want. How does the show speak to contemporary audiences? I think nostalgia is a very relevant theme. There’s a lot of looking back to a time that maybe never really existed and I think a lot of people feel they’d like to retreat from the business of the modern world. There’s also a subplot in the play that touches on ‘What are the boundaries at work? What are you allowed to do? What counts as sexual harassment and what doesn’t?’ That feels very relevant now, as does the theme of a modern relationship and working out ways of communicating. Is there anything about the ’50s you think you’d have enjoyed? I’m very into vintage clothes, so I do appreciate the costumes in the show. I also really like the interiors – the furniture on set, the curtains, I love it all. And my favourite outfit? It’s the dressing gown Judy has, but you couldn’t really wear that out, could you?

What mod cons would you most miss if you were transported back in time? I don’t think I would mind only living with a radio and, as Judy does, DVDs of old films. I don’t think I’d mind that at all, and I don’t do any social networking because I want to keep my head less busy. But I do think I’d miss Netflix for sure and I enjoy being in various WhatsApp groups, which I guess is social networking in a sense. Have you performed at the Theatre Royal before? Yes, right at the beginning, when I first started out, I did Camille with Daniela Nardini at the Theatre Royal Bath and I’ve seen lots of things there. I’m excited about being back in Bath, with its lovely buildings and Roman Baths, and it’ll be lovely to take my children along. Basically I’m treating the tour as a chance to explore. What’s the one thing you couldn’t be on tour without? Family. That’s why I’m taking my husband, my children and my mum along at various points. Also, I really like going for a jog during the daytimes, so I’d have to say my running trainers, plus I like having a radio to listen to and a good book to get back to. n Home, I’m Darling tours to the Theatre Royal Bath from 16 to 20 April. For more, visit www.theatreroyal.org.uk

Profile for MediaClash

Bath Life – Issue 389  

Bath Life – Issue 389