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TAKE ME


© BET T Y BHANDARI

EDITOR’S LETTER

above: The high-spirited Harmonie-Rose (page 12) below: Any time treats to your door (page 38)

I

fell a little bit in love during this issue. I met a young girl called HarmonieRose Allen. If you live in Bath – you’ve probably heard of her – she survived meningitis at just 10 months by having her arms and legs amputated. Now, at the age of seven, and with the help of her amazing family, she works tirelessly to raise money for others. I was expecting this to be a serious interview, led by mum and dad, about the fundraising and the charities she’s involved with. Instead I was confronted by a beautifullyspirited, charismatic, and often hilarious child whose company I didn’t want to leave. Turn to page 12 and meet the remarkable HarmonieRose for yourself. This being our Christmas issue we got a little food-obsessed – we hounded some Bath chefs to share their professional festive cooking secrets, (page 26) but then we realised, in case we can’t be bothered to cook and follow their expert advice, we might be better off getting in the ready-made treats and hampers (page 38). We’re also eyeing up the gorgeous grazing table (page 37) for the minute we can start hosting and socialising again. Who’s going to want to start slaving in the kitchen (not David Flatman that’s for sure – page 11), when there’s hugging, partying, and catching up to do?

SARAH MOOLLA

Follow us on Twitter @BathLifeMag Instagram @bathlifemag

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


Issue 433 / 18 – 31 December 2020 COVER Autumn Calamondin by Alex Callaway (page 33)

THE BIG INTERVIEW

12 HARMONIE-ROSE ALLEN Meet the most inspirational

seven year old in Bath

THE ARTS

17 ARTS INTRO An invitation to contemplation 18 WHAT’S ON The best of Bath’s online events, art

exhibitions, theatre and festive days out

20 BOOKS What Nic Bottomley of Mr B’s is reading this

Christmas

FOOD&DRINK

24 RESTAURANT Loving bubbles in bubbles at Homewood 26 CHEFS AT CHRISTMAS What Bath’s pros are eating for

their Christmas lunch this year

31 NEWS Meet Bath’s booze fairies and other updates from

42

the foodie world

32 TRY 5 Did someone say cheese? 34 RECIPE A decadent treat from Good Day Cafe

SHOPPING

37 SHOP LEAD Good gracious it’s a grazing table 38 ED’S CHOICE Delicacies and delights delivered straight

to your doorstep

42 FASHION Style predictions for 2021

BUSINESS

49 BATHWORKS The local businesses making the headlines 52 BIZ Q&A Nicholas Wylde on living his childhood dream 54  BATH LIFE AWARDS Steers McGillan Eves celebrates

turning 20th birthday in Award-winning style

PROPERTY

63 PROPERTY INTRO A grant for Claverton Manor 64 PROPERTY NEWS A Newbridge let and a Hobson’s

Choice luxe kitchen

66 SHOWCASE Explore a £2.25 million mansion 68 NEW BUILDS How green is my new build? 74 INTERIOR DESIGN Verity Woolf on interior design,

inspiration and why she’ll never have a signature style

DEPARTMENTS

6 SPOTLIGHT Bath at Christmas 11 FLATLINE Christmas cooking done Flats style 55 BATH TOGETHER Greg Ingham says goodbye to 2020 82 LIVES Bath City’s football manager Jerry Gill

32

Editor Sarah Moolla sarah.moolla@mediaclash.co.uk Deputy editor Lydia Tewkesbury lydia.tewkesbury@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 Contributors Nic Bottomley, David Flatman, Betty Bhandari, Greg Ingham and Matilda Walton Group advertising manager Pat White pat.white@mediaclash.co.uk Deputy advertising manager Justine Walker justine.walker@mediaclash.co.uk Account manager Annabel North annabel.north@mediaclash.co.uk Account manager Dan Nichols dan.nichols@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 and Exeter. 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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© CHRIS BAILEY

SPOTLIGHT

Kilter Theatre and A Word in Your Ear have brought Christmas tales to households all over the city

Take a magical walk along Bath’s festive lights trail

Theatre

Christmas

TELLING TALES

EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED

Kilter Theatre and A Word In Your ear have joined forces to bring Bath some Christmas joy in the form of Festive Doorstep Stories – it’s like carol singing but with a story in place of a song. Throughout December, the arts organisations’ army of actors have pitched up on doorsteps across the city to invite residents to choose from a menu of yuletide tales. Oliver Langdon, Kilter’s artistic director, says, “On the menu there’ll be an option to suit every household, but they’ll have one thing in common – a warm, feel-good factor to remind us of what’s good in life and to keep out the chill as the days get darker.” For more: www.kiltertheatre.org; www.awordinyourear.org.uk

In this strangest of years, we are embracing the comfort of the festive season more than ever. We’re loving Bath BID’s magical Christmas Light Trail, designed and produced by Fineline Lighting and Visit Bath – it is sprinkling some much-needed magic across the city. The trail – which we highly recommend following in full – begins at St Swithin’s Church to the north of the city and leads you on an illuminated path through Bath’s iconic locations like Abbey Green, Kingston Parade, Kingsmead Square, Old Bond Street, Northumberland Place, SouthGate and Buro Happold’s offices, which this year have been transformed into a spectacular enormous advent calendar. The Abbey is lit up with bright projections that can be seen from all seven hills around the city, while the old Royal Mineral Water Hospital building glows blue in celebration of the NHS. For more: www.welcometobath.co.uk Mr and Mrs White Christmas: the Netflix festive rom com we all want to see

Love

DREAMING OF A WHITE CHRISTMAS

Mr White and Miss Christmas have tied the knot. It sounds like a fairytale – and to them, it might be – but it also happens to be true. Mr and Mrs White-Christmas married on the picturesque terrace of the Roman Baths just before lockdown. The couple met when they were just 12 years old. “It took us time to twig that our surnames came together as White-Christmas,” says Tilly – Mrs White-Christmas – “We first realised at our secondary school prom when our friend uploaded pictures to social media using the hashtag #WhiteChristmas.” For more: www.romanbaths.co.uk

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


SPOTLIGHT

Bath in all its festive glory

Check out the Our Landscape City map on Cheap Street

Go outside

THESE ROUTES WERE MADE FOR WALKING Bath Abbey’s Christmas Tree by @chloemoore_photography

Twinkling Milsom lights by @brilliantbath

This year Bath’s green spaces have become more important than ever. As we spend more time socialising out of doors, they have become the heart of the city year-round. A new project has launched to champion these very spaces. Our Landscape City aims to connect Bathonians with surrounding landscape, defining the city as a walking and cycling destination – not just for locals, but our visitors too. “Bath is a perfect size for exploring both city and landscape on foot or by bike, and we have spectacular views within relatively short distances. With many of us spending more time at home due to the pandemic, fresh air and exercise is key to

maintaining physical health and mental wellbeing,” says councillor Paul Crossley, cabinet member for Community Services. “Our Landscape City will inspire people to enjoy everything Bath has to offer beyond the historic landmarks, encouraging visitors to extend their time here and help revitalise the local economy.” The huge Our Landscape City map on Cheap Street shows walking or cycling routes from the city centre to green spaces like Limpley Stoke, Charmy Down and Prospect Stile, as well as the facilities available at each location. For more: www.bathnes.gov.uk/ our-landscape-city

Charity

A GREAT YARN

Margaret’s Buildings by @brettsalakophotography

100-year-old Ethel White has brought passers-by more than a little festive joy with her knitted nativity scene – complete with Mary and Joseph, baby Jesus in his manger, three wise men, shepherds and a donkey – which she whipped up in a mere two weeks. “It didn’t take me very long at all,” Ethel says. “I’ve been knitting 80 years and am knitting all the time. Knit, knit, knit! I’ve put it in my window so people can see it when they go by and show it to their children. I wanted to do my bit at Christmas to try to cheer people up.” Ethel, who’s a resident of a sheltered housing scheme in Combe Down, has raised more than £4,000 for local charities with her knitting in her time. For more: www.bathnes.gov.uk

Ethel has always been an avid knitter

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FLAT LINE DAVID FLATMAN

Christmas stuffing

© TAKING PICTURES

It’s chaos, carnage, and territorial warfare when Flats gets festive cooking

“I’d tied a tea towel around my head like Rambo to stop any heat- or anxiety-related sweat dripping into a pan”

W

hether or not we like to admit it, Christmas lunch can ruin the best day of the year. There are a few ways in which it can do damage, one of which is interfamilial tension. I’m a pretty relaxed guy in the kitchen (this is untrue but it makes my point better if I stick to that), but even I have experienced the frustrations of the loitering interloper. A minute or so after asking her (a lovely aunt) to kindly go and stand largely still in the middle of any room except the one in which I was unmanageably busy and hurried, in a manner I believed to be so laid back and reasonable that she might not even take the request seriously, I was told by another relative to go and apologise to her for being so unChristmassy. It being Christmas, I offered a high-quality apology and even backed it up with an unsolicited festive bear hug. She then came directly back into the kitchen and began making her dessert, with flour and sugar and equipment very soon occupying every available square inch of workspace. Meanwhile, I’d tied a tea towel around my head like Rambo to stop any heat- or anxiety-related sweat dripping into a pan. There was turkey, potatoes, parsnips, carrots, bread sauce, cranberry jelly, gravy, parmesan sprouts with pancetta, two different stuffings. It was carnage, and there was nowhere to put anything. Frankly, it was a version of hell and I wish I’d saved the apology until after I’d finished. It’s the actual food, too, that can dampen the spirits. More pertinently, the amount of food on offer and, alongside that, the invisible but very real challenge that is consuming a bit of everything. I sat at the table last year and actually said to myself under my breath: ‘Go steady. It’s not a competition. Nobody’s going to take it away from you.’ But I ultimately wasn’t able to heed my own advice, and I overate by a beastly margin. Because of this propensity to gorge myself – a propensity shared by many, I like to presume

– Christmas Day often ends up looking like a wildlife documentary where a couple of lionesses successfully haul down a Wildebeest and the big male wrestles himself to his paws, waddles over, growls a bit, then eats so much that he cannot move and consequently decides he may as well have a kip. It’s like that, except I’m the one doing the killing/ stirring and peeling. Truly, 5pm on Christmas Day is the hardest bit. The stretching of an already-large stomach that thought it had seen it all, the paralysing lethargy of the sugar crash, and all that washing in its passive aggressive piles. There’s never more washing up than on Christmas Day. ‘Daddy, can you lift me onto my gymnastics bars please?’ were the words that were shot at me like bullets last year by my older daughter. As much as I loved watching her swing on those things (her ‘main’ present which I knew from the outset would be a waste of money as they’d never get used and just take up loads of room. I was wrong, as it happened, and they’ve proven an excellent purchase). ‘Actually, darling,’ I replied through the side of my mouth not attached by hardened brandy butter to a velvet cushion, ‘I can’t. Daddy’s overdone it and Daddy needs to be left alone for a bit.’ Hardly the Christmas spirit, is it? A woman I thought to be wise recently said to me: ‘I don’t know why everyone gets so worked up about Christmas lunch. It’s only a roast!’ Well this, as we all know, is tosh. Christmas lunch is a competition with ourselves as much as it is a celebratory feast. I’m trying a different tactic this year: I’m going to fast completely on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, leaving myself to go wild at the main event. I’m just sick of letting myself down by not keeping my own promises to myself, so I’m going hard. I just hope there’s a winch to get me off the sofa for turkey sandwiches at 7.30. 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 11


There’s a mischievous side to the charming Harmonie

SWEET HARMONIE Sarah Moolla has the honour of meeting the charming and inspirational Miss Harmonie-Rose Allen Main portraits by Betty Bhandari

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


I

’m here to interview the just turned seven years old Harmonie-Rose Allen about all her achievements – the list is long, impressive, and jaw-dropping. Just this year alone HarmonieRose raised £64,211 for Meningitis Now through the 2.6 challenge in April, became the charity’s Junior Ambassador, and in November won gold in an international sports competition organised by the Paralympic Games. Oh and last year she took part in the Bath Half marathon. This is the little girl from Bath who, at 10 months old contracted meningitis, was given just a 10 per cent chance of survival. She lost part of her nose, and to save her life, her arms and her legs were amputated. But instead of talking attainments and bravery, I’m sidetracked into having my fortune told (she sees my future involving a lot of money, some cake, trees and a baby girl!). She also sets me some sums to demonstrate her understanding of addition and subtraction – maths is her favourite subject – and she persuades me to hand over my pen and notepad to show me her writing. As she does the most beautiful cursive writing, mum Freya tells me she was told Harmonie-Rose would never be able to write. The family were also told Harmonie (as she likes be called in person) would never be able to walk, swim, jump, trampoline, sing, but not only can she do all these things, she excels and uses her skills to raise money for others. There’s no getting away from it, Harmonie may come with all the tags of ‘meningitis survivor’, ‘inspirational hero’, and ‘courageous little girl’, but she’s also pretty darn wonderful and irresistible company. My pre-set questions, which mum Freya had helpfully gone through with Harmonie a few days before, are abandoned as I get swept along with her sense of fun and energy, her eagerness to show me her Roblux world on the iPad, and her desire to share her own anecdotes. Harmonie’s stories are where she may slightly differ to the average Year 2 Bath schoolgirl. The content reveals both her strengths and her vulnerabilities. One incident involves the time her prosthetic leg fell off at school and she needed help. “My key worker was off that day, and

© BET T Y BHANDARI

THE BIG INTERVIEW

top: Dad Ross, Harmonie, little

sister Luna-Faith aged two, mum Freya; above: Mum Freya with Harmonie in hospital at just 10 months; below: Harmonie has boundless energy and good humour

no-one knew how to put it on so they got my cousin Kairo to help,” she says, “We don’t sit next to each other at school but he does always help me.” I ask her who her school pals are, and there’s a lot of names mentioned including a boy called Daniel – he’s her boyfriend says Mum – and suddenly Harmonie goes a little shy, for the first time and only time in our meeting at her Bath home. Even when the photographer arrives for our shoot, she’s patient, obliging, and smiles like a pro. Mind you, maybe that’s not surprising given her celebrity status. For six years she’s been national news, appeared on TV several times and is quite a regular on ITV1’s Good Morning Britain – she says how much she likes Piers and Susannah. But judging by the reaction of both Piers and Susannah, and in fact everybody who has ever had the privilege of meeting Harmonie, including myself, the pleasure is all ours. Her upbeat positivity and sunny disposition is in no small part down to her parents Freya and Ross. From the start of Harmonie contracting meningitis, just days after she’d taken her first steps, they’ve shown a remarkable determination and campaigned tirelessly, which has helped ensure Harmonie grows up with a can-do attitude. A quick run through of Harmonie’s schedule reveals just how relentless it is, and how much that can-do attitude is needed and just how resilient both child and parents are. There’s yearly check-ups with her kidney consultant, bi-annual appointments with her orthopaedist. There’s weekly hippotherapy – a form of physical therapy, yearly check ups with her paediatrician, plus she has appointments for her prosthetics when she needs new legs and she is undergoing trials to hopefully have a myoelectric hand fitted next year. “Harmonie’s choice,” says Freya. “She really wanted a hand. We are only led by her decisions, we don’t make her do anything she isn’t comfortable with.” Harmonie is such a force of nature and such a strong character, it’s easy to forget that everything she does, and has achieved, takes extraordinary effort. Her mum tells me as Harmonie’s bones continue to grow they can pierce her flesh and cause her considerable pain. Harmonie tells me, very matter of factly, it hurts her legs if she has to stand for too long and shows me how she hops from one limb to the other to help ease the discomfort. Yet there is no moaning,

“The family were told Harmonie would never be able to walk, swim, jump, trampoline, write, sing” www.mediaclash.co.uk I BATH LIFE I 13


THE BIG INTERVIEW SINGING THE PRAISES OF HARMONIE-ROSE

A few words from those who know her well Piers Morgan, Good Morning Britain presenter “Harmonie-Rose is probably my favourite guest. She is one of the greatest little persons in the world – she’s always so happy and so positive. She’s unbelievably gutsy and takes my breathe away.”

© BBC

Doctor Fergal Monsell, orthopaedic surgeon at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children “I have known Harmonie Rose from the day she arrived on the intensive care unit at the Children’s Hospital as a 10 month old. I have had the privilege of watching her grow up and have got to know her quite well over the years.   She has a very rare ability to light up a room and her matter of fact approach to getting on with life is an inspiration to everyone that has been involved with her care. “I have many stories and they are generally a private matter between Harmonie and myself but she is my absolute favourite TV celebrity and I still point at the screen whenever she is on and shout “That’s Harmonie-Rose, I know her!”

TOP LEFT CLOCKWISE: Harmonie the gymnast wins gold!; Piers Morgan says Harmonie-Rose is one of

his favourite Good Morning Britain guests; Crossing the Bath Half finish line in 2019

instead there’s a little fizz-bomb of vitality and confidence – who by the way, happens to be a tad mischievous. As I prepare to leave, she asks me to read her fortune. I tell her about all the crowds I can see chanting her name and applauding, and I see nothing but love, happiness, and success for my new friend Harmonie. “And Robux? Have I been good enough for Robux?” she adds hopefully, widening her long-lashed eyes and gazing into mine. Not having a clue what she’s talking about I say, oh yes, good enough for lots and lots. “Double?” Of course, at least double. And with a squeal she jumps down off her chair, and runs off to tell her parents of my prediction. Turns out Robux are a costly game currency and I’ve just been duped into upping a promise. I have to grovel my apologies to Freya and Ross. There’s a knowing roll of the eyes, that’s fine they say, she has form for doing this. Did I mention just how clever the remarkable Miss Harmonie-Rose Allen is…? ■ For more: Follow Harmonie-Rose’s achievements on Twitter and Instagram @Hope4Harmonie; www.meningitisnow.org

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

“Her upbeat positivity and sunny disposition is in no small part down to her parents Freya and Ross”

Mrs Jane Gascoigne, headteacher of Combe Down CofE Primary School “Harmonie is a delightful member of our school family, who has grown in confidence and is able to fully engage with all that is on offer at school. She is an inspiration to others and always tackles the challenges of everyday life with a smile and a positive attitude.  “One memorable occasion was when she, accompanied by a couple of members of our school team and family members, ran in the Bath Half marathon. I was so impressed with her resilience, and the commitment and stamina of the staff. It was an occasion that showed a selfless amount of giving both from Harmonie and the school team, to promote and support the amazing charity Meningitis Now.” Steve Dayman, executive founder of the charity Meningitis Now “Harmonie-Rose is a true inspiration to everyone she meets, especially to those who are suffering the after-effects of meningitis. Never the victim always the champion. “The resilience of the family shone through even at the early stages of their experience. Within what seems like no time at all the family was helping the charity in one of its biggest battles – the fight to secure the introduction of a vaccine for MenB – the strain that almost took Harmonie’s life.”   Dr Tom Nutt, chief executive of Meningitis Now “In September we made Harmonie-Rose our first Junior Ambassador. The charity wanted to find a way to recognise the contribution that HarmonieRose and her family – mum and dad Freya and Ross, and aunties Jessica and Hannah – have made to fighting meningitis in the UK, and this seems both fitting and appropriate.”


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THE ARTS S N A P S H O T S O F B AT H ’ S C U LT U R A L L I F E

QUINCE CHARMING In a time filled with much contemplation, Alex Callaway’s observational still life paintings offer a particular appeal. They capture the magic in the mundane, slow moments when we allow ourselves the time and space to sit and gaze into the middle distance. His works are inspired by William Blake’s poetry, and he paints to, as Blake wrote, “to see a world in a grain of sand”. Alex Callaway’s work can be seen at Beaux Arts Bath; 12-13 York Street, Bath; tel: 01225 464850; www.beauxartsbath.co.uk

www.mediaclash.co.uk I BATH LIFE I 17


WHAT’S ON

Always check COVID-19 restrictions and instructions with venues before your visit

The Play That Goes Wrong will be giving us a much needed laugh at Theatre Royal this Christmas

EXHIBITIONS Until 20 December

NIGHT & DAY: 1930S FASHION AND PHOTOGRAPHS First curated by the Fashion and Textiles Museum in London, this exhibition is the ultimate experience of 1930s glam. Think floor length gowns in satin, velvet or crêpe – complete with diamanté accessories, obviously. It’s the perfect escape from the present; cast yourself in the role of ’30s femme fatale as you wander the display, picturing yourself at the wild and wonderful parties of yesteryear. Tues-Sat; 10am-5pm; American Museum & Gardens; www.americanmuseum.org

Until 23 December

ART SALON CHRISTMAS GIFT SALE This spectacular range of work priced from £15 to £600 means you’re bound to find an original gift for the art lover in your life – and one that fits your budget. Art Salon is all about making original artwork accessible to art lovers of all kinds, and this exciting range, much of which is created and made by UK artists, is a great start. Mon-Fri; 11am-4pm; Art Salon; www.artsalon.co.uk

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

Until 3 January 2021

GRAYSON PERRY: THE PRE-THERAPY YEARS Loved Grayson Perry’s Art Club? Delve deeper into his work with a visit to his exhibition at The Holburne. A collection of fascinating ceramics he created during his early years as a working artist, the selection of works demonstrate someone still seeking their identity, and all of the strong emotions that come with that process. Many of the politically charged pieces have not been seen in public since they were first exhibited. Mon-Sun; 10am-5pm; £12.50; The Holburne; www.holburne.org

Until 3 January 2021

BATH SOCIETY OF ARTISTS: VIRTUAL OPEN EXHIBITION 2020 Ordinarily held at the Victoria Art Gallery, this annual exhibition is, for the first time ever, displayed online, where you can browse the exciting collection of beautiful works. They’re all available to buy at a range of different price points. Online; www.victoriagal.org.uk/bsagallery

Until 10 January 2021

NICOLE EISENMAN: WHERE I WAS, IT SHALL BE

For her inaugural exhibition with Hauser & Wirth, Nicole Eisenman presents a collection representative of the diversity of her practice. She weaves autobiography and allegory into the works, which speak to the complexity of the ever-evolving political and cultural moment. Tues-Sun; 10am-4pm; Hauser & Wirth Somerset; www.hauserwirth.com

Until 23 January 2021

NEW WORKS FOR CHRISTMAS Beaux Arts have a beautiful selection of works this Christmas for the keen art lover in your life. The collection, which features a diverse range of styles and disciplines, includes Jennifer Anderson’s ethereal portraits, Beth Carter’s mythical half-man, half beast sculptures and Simon Allen’s unique gilded wall sculptures. Flip to page 17 for even more from Beaux Arts. MonSat; 10am-5pm; www.beauxartsbath.co.uk

Ongoing

ART AT THE HEART OF THE RUH You can now see the RUH’s fabulous art collection online. Buying an artwork from this collection not only helps support the artist but also the RUH Arts Fund, which enables the project, spanning 700 artworks across

the RUH, to continue its work. Online; www.artatruh.org

THEATRE

Until 22 December 2020 & 4–16 January 2021

OLEANNA This is a controversial one. First written and produced 30 years ago but utterly of the moment, Oleanna is set on an American college campus. A conversation unwinds between a college professor and female student that threatens to destroy both their lives when she files a sexual harassment claim against him in this seminal piece by David Mamet. Mon-Sat 7.30pm, Thurs & Sat 2.30pm; various prices; www.theatreroyal.org.uk

From 2 December

PANTO ONLINE The Glastonbury and Street Musical Comedy Society (GSMCS) is taking panto online. Throughout the month of December they’ll be premièring much loved shows on their YouTube channel. Grab some popcorn and a blanket and get ready to enjoy Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Jack and the Beanstalk and Goldilocks and the Three Amazing Bears – all from the comfort of your living room. Online; search

© AL ASTAIR MUIR

18 December 2020 – 15 January 2021


WHAT’S ON Glastonbury and Street Musical Comedy Society on YouTube; www.gsmcs.co.uk

© KEN ADL ARD/HAUSER & WIRTH

17 December – 16 January 2021

above:

Longleat’s light displays are absolutely magical left: Nicole Eisenman’s installation, Fountain at Hauser & Wirth is a remarkable creative feat below: Arati ReddyDevlin’s intricate work is available in the BAS Virtual Exhibition

THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG The accident-prone thespians of the Cornley Drama Society are putting on a 1920s murder mystery. Things may go awry along the way, but they are determined to make it through to curtain call – no matter what happens. This show promises to have you crying with laughter by the end. Tues-Sat 7.30pm, Sun 6pm, matinee performances Weds, Thurs, Sat and Sun 2pm; various prices, Theatre Royal; www.theatreroyal.org.uk

DAYS OUT

Various dates from 4 December

AVON VALLEY RAILWAY SANTA SPECIAL Meet Santa in the most picturesque surrounds imaginable – a steam train. Enjoy a six-mile trip in a heritage carriage, with a mince pie or festive biscuit to munch along the journey. Santa is working with a different set up this year to fit Covid restrictions – make sure you check the website for full details. Times and prices vary; Avon Valley Railway; www.avonvalleyrailway.org

Until 21 December

ENCHANTED CHRISTMAS AT WESTONBIRT Did you know that Father Christmas has a lesser-known workshop at Westonbirt Arboretum? It’s true, and rumour has it the man himself might even stop by for a visit. Experience mesmerising light displays as you make your way through Candy Cane Forest and the talking trees that live there. You’ll meet a few of Santa’s elf assistants along the way, too. Prebooked time slots only; Adults £16, children (5-8) £8; Westonbirt Arboretum; www.forestryengland.uk

Until 22 December

CHRISTMAS AT THE PALACE Enjoy some socially distanced joy at Bishop’s Palace in Wells. You’ll find the home of the Bishops of Bath and Wells sparkling for the season. Displays from the medieval right

through to the Victorian reflect the rich history of the place, while an eco Christmas art exhibition by local children brings it all back to the present. Outside, the gardens are lit by magical illuminations, and there’s a family fun trail to enjoy, too. Mon-Sun; 10am-5pm; adults £15, children (5-18) £7.50; Bishops Palace; www.bishopspalace.org.uk

Until 24 December

FATHER CHRISTMAS ADVENT TRAIL Father Christmas and his festive post box is visiting businesses all around the city. Each day, Bath BID will post clues about his location – seek him out and post your Christmas wish list directly at the source. www.welcometobath.co.uk

Until 31 December

ENCHANTED TREASURE TRAIL Explore the winding gardens of The Newt and solve gardener Jacques Verts’ riddles in this festive adventure. Take in the garden’s beauty spots while you fill in the trail map all the way to a Christmassey prize at the end. Mon-Sun; 9.30am-3.30pm; included in admission; The Newt in Somerset; www.thenewtsomerset.com

Until 10 January 2021

LONGLEAT’S LAND OF LIGHT Designed especially for Longleat, this mix of technology, art and interactive installation really brings the magic of Christmas to life. Sensational projections light up Longleat House, while dancing fountains, animated light displays and laser installations guide you around the ornate grounds, gardens, Half Mile Lake, and The Longhouse. Prebooked time slots only; various prices; Longleat; www.longleat.co.uk

18–20 December

INNOX MILLS CHRISTMAS MARKET For this brand-new market in Trowbridge, historic buildings at the Innox Mills development will open their doors for the first time in a decade. Organised by Innox Mills owners and The Anonymous Travelling Market, expect a gorgeous selection of artisan gifts, local ales and spirits, decorations, holly wreaths and Christmas trees. There’ll be tasty street food, spiced cider and mulled wine too – perfect for the busy shoppers in need of a recharge. Starts 9am, end times vary; Innox Mills; www.innoxmarket.co.uk n

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BOOKS NIC BOTTOMLEY

Writings of comfort and joy The books that have stolen our Christmas hearts

“There are books that each year I simply have to read with the children, in order for Christmas Eve to be Christmas Eve” 20 I BATH LIFE I www.mediaclash.co.uk

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he other day my colleague sent a message around asking us all what our ‘Christmas comfort reads’ are? He wanted to make a list of the books that we turn to year after year to read when there’s a sliver of downtime between stuffing our faces with food and binging on whatever Christmas screen-time floats our boats. The answers came streaming in from my fellow booksellers. Not all were Christmassy, but there was a preponderance of cosy and often wintry crime, and plenty of classics dropped in. We had everything from The House at Pooh Corner (Egmont, £8.99) to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (Macmillan, £8.99) mixed in with some Terry Pratchett and Alan Bennett. Calmer more bucolic fare was also well represented with books like Laurie Lee’s homage to the Slad Valley villages and countryside of his childhood, Down in the Valley (Penguin, £7.99), and Kathleen Jamie’s Findings (Sort Of, £9.99), her wonderful book describing wanderings amongst the landscapes and wildlife of Scotland. And my answer? Well, I didn’t have one. For some reason it’s just not something I do – going back to the same book each year and finding comfort in the same holiday season reads. I think maybe I should, mind you. Goodness knows, if there’s ever been a time for comfort reads it’s at the end of this arduous year. So what would the candidates be, if I were reaching for something on my existing shelves for respite from the world and its exhausting problems? For me, comfort would be unlikely to be specifically festive. I’m more likely to reach for a book by one of my favourite writers that would whisk me well away from chilly Britain. I might find comfort in watching wildlife and having indulgent family parties and outlandish encounters with eccentric Cypriots, with Gerald Durrell’s My Family and other Animals or its perhaps even funnier sequel “Birds, Beasts and Relatives” (both Penguin, £8.99). Or perhaps comfort (and a bit of entertaining discomfort) in imagining myself hiking across Europe in the 1930s alongside Patrick Leigh Fermor by revisiting A Time of Gifts and

Beyond the Woods and the Water (each John Murray, £9.99). These are books I re-read, or aspire to find time to re-read more often than I do, but not specifically in the festive season. I realise though that it’s not true to say I never re-read for comfort at Christmas time. There are books that each year I simply have to read with the children, in order for Christmas Eve to be Christmas Eve. Our reading list each year, before the big man slides down the ‘chimbley’, is set in stone. There’s Christmas in Exeter Street by Diana Hendry (Walker, £7.99), a book about welcoming everyone into your home (even if some have to sleep in the sink) that is so at odds with social distancing rules that it’s bound to prove even more hilarious this year than ever before. Then there’s The Empty Stocking by Richard Curtis (Penguin, £7.99), a pithy tale of two sisters preparing for Santa with very different expectations – as one is angelic and the other irrepressibly naughty – with a magnificent twist. But it all builds up to two classics for us. First we go for The Grinch that Stole Christmas by Dr.Seuss (Harper Collins, £6.99), mainly so I can read the lines “He turned around fast, and he saw a small Who! Little Cindy-Lou Who, who was not more than two”. But beyond that, we read it for the final message – a message that might again resonate more this year than ever – that whatever was thrown at it, Christmas “somehow or other…came just the same”. The finale for us is always A Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore (Templar, £7.99), a poem that has been published and illustrated in so many different ways, but which for us has to take the form of the foggy rosy-cheek overload of Robert Ingpen’s illustrations. Never mind that nowadays reading this poem sends the kids to bed wondering what “visions of sugar-plums” means rather than having actual visions of sugar plums. It’s still such a calming and heart-warming way to prepare the family for sleeping through hooves on the rooftop. Nic Bottomley is the general manager of Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights, 14/15 John Street, Bath; tel: 01225 331155; www.mrbsemporium.com


ADVERTISING FEATURE

Thirty and thriving 2020 marks 30 years of business for BATH KITCHEN COMPANY. As they mark their pearl anniversary, we look at how kitchens created by this independent family business have become the heart of so many homes across the city.

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ith many of us spending more time in our homes than ever, the kitchen has cemented itself as the centre of our homes. This hasn’t always been the case. “I established the company in 1990,” retired founder David Horsfall told us. “Back then the kitchen was just a functional space. National chains were homogenising kitchen construction and as prices went down so did customer service, quality and craftsmanship.” David was

resolute, “My goal was simple: I wanted to offer a more creative and personal service, designing characterful spaces where families could spend memorable time together. These kitchens needed to be made from high quality materials and be built by local craftsmen.” Three decades later and Bath Kitchen Company continues to do just that. Now owned by David’s son, James Horsfall manages all aspects of the company’s kitchen design and construction, combining his dad’s oldfashioned respect for quality work with his own contemporary aesthetic. “We know it’s cliché to say our kitchens are bespoke,” explained James, “but this does describe what we do. We create exciting spaces tailored to individual tastes and lifestyles. Every kitchen we make is unique because every client is unique.” It’s this level of personal care and attention that has seen Bath Kitchen Company gain national recognition in magazines such as Homes and Gardens, Kitchen Bedrooms and Bathrooms and Period Living. Despite the national attention, they remain focused on the residents of Bath. “I’m honored to call this city my home. I grew up here and was educated here. I began working for my father straight from school. Even as an apprentice, I’ve always been personally invested in every kitchen we’ve designed and built here,” James told us from his studio in central Bath. “It’s about gaining a deep sense of

who the client is, how they live. It’s about giving them time and space to create something truly special.” And that’s exactly what they do. Exquisitely crafted kitchens that strike a harmonious balance between the aesthetic and practical needs of each client. Deliberately steering away from showrooms and hard-nosed sales techniques, Bath Kitchen Company spends time getting to know their clients individually. “We’re thankful to all the people across this beautiful city who have trusted us to work in their homes,” James said. “We remain grateful that Bath, with its varied architecture and diverse residents, has been a place in which, for three decades, we could practice and hone our art of kitchen design and installation.” Here’s to their next 30 years. n

If you’d like to see what Bath Kitchen Company could create in your home, visit www.bathkitchencompany.co.uk, or better still, call James on 01225 312003 for a chat. www.mediaclash.co.uk I BATH LIFE I 23


HOMEWOOD

Bubbles drunk with your social bubble, within an actual bubble; could there be a more enticing treat in the run-up to Christmas 2020? Words by Deri Robins

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hey’re the same as the Copper Club igloos at Tower Bridge,” said our informative host Daisy. “Ah yes,” we replied, nodding knowingly, while stealthily Googling beneath the table. Turns out it’s not Copper at all, but Coppa. Shows how long it’s been since we were up in London. Besides, we were only half-listening. We were as excited as kids on Christmas Eve, distracted by the novelty of dining in our own festive globe, set in the manicured 10-acre grounds of Homewood hotel. Short of arriving at a party with a guitar and a Kumbaya songbook, these pop-ups provide the very best social distancing you can get. Dome-dining was instantly added to my companion’s growing list of lockdown positives, which also includes the curtailment of manhugging and a welcome end to mingling. Overlooked by ancient oaks and beeches, the rain

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coming down at a profound slant, our dome was as snug as an Alpine mountain refuge, and as festive as Christmas Eve with candlelight and twinkly decorations. We began to feel as if we were starring in our very own Last Christmas video, and had the happy realisation that, in fact, we were quite at liberty to play said tune, or indeed any other we fancied, from our phones; nobody else could hear. We gazed from our splendid isolation across the lawns at the diners seated in the hotel’s main restaurant, who gazed back curiously at us. They looked as if they wished they’d thought of booking a globe, too. We were snug as two bugs on our sheepskin rugs; unlike poor Daisy, who was obliged to trek back and forth in a dripping cagoule as she brought out each course. Even this failed to dim her zeal for the domes, which have been her own personal project; if we were Homewood’s owners, Ian and Christa Taylor, we’d give her full rein to develop a few more cracking ideas like this.


RESTAURANT

They probably will; this, after all, is the couple who breathed fresh air into The Abbey Hotel, transformed the Country Hotel into The Bird and created the exhilarating No. 15 Great Pulteney. When they acquired Homewood back in 2018, we knew they were unlikely to allow this country house hotel to slumber on in pastoral somnolence without introducing some liberal tweaks. One of them was to bring classically trained chef Jamie Forman in to run the kitchen. Jamie says his menu is all about flavour and no-nonsense cooking, using the best of seasonal, British produce. Judging by our meal – the Dining Dome Feasting Menu, if you please – we’d add the words ‘hearty’ and possibly ‘Brobdingnagian’. This was the first fine-dining meal that had us sheepishly requesting a doggy bag, a request that was met without the merest raising of an eyebrow. Homewood is supremely unstuffy. Daisy braved the elements to serve our welcome glasses of champagne, after which she proceeded to fire up the fondue. Creamy, slightly sweet, slightly salty, alcoholic: what more could you want from a dish? The menu tells us that the cheese was Somerset Montgomery, but my notes specify that it was Gruyère. I even have the grave accent over the first ‘è’; that’s how classy I get after a glass of Taittinger. Either way, it was a robust, indulgent dish, served with herb-stuffed focaccia and a huge grazing board of cured meats, chillis and sun-dried tomatoes We wondered whether this gargantuan starter might also prove to be a finisher, but along came more courses, and more wine. More wine is one of my favourite things, especially on a wet November night. Looking like something that might have been served to Henry VIII, three Bartlett & Sons lamb shanks cooked in Bath ale came tucked up nice as ninepence in pastry overcoats, with a dish of juicy roasted beets and heritage carrots, and a huge bowl of preternaturally creamy mash. Clearly worried that we might still be a bit peckish, Jamie sent out a dessert of apple and rhubarb baked Alaska, theatrically flambéed with cider brandy. The pud is also known as omelette sibérienne; please note the acute accent this time (aren’t editors such fun out with whom to hang?) Although a sturdy sweet, it’s tricky enough to get right; it needs to be warmed long enough to cook the meringue, but not so overcooked that the ice cream begins to melt. Chef Forman’s was pudding-perfect. Some good ideas have come out of lockdown, and while igloo-dining dates back to the Uncontagious Times, these discrete little bubbles could hardly be more fit for purpose this Christmas. They’re open until the end of March, but don’t wait until spring; it’s in the deep midwinter that they really bring the magic. n

“Snug in our own Alpine refuge, we begn to feel as if we were starring in our own Last Christmas video”

DINING DETAILS Homewood Bath, Abbey Lane, Freshford; 01225 580439 www.homewoodbath.co.uk We visited Monday evening Opening hours tbc after lockdown Prices Dining Dome Feasting Menu for 4-6 people (includes a glass of Taittinger champagne and half a bottle of wine): lunch £50, dinner £75; à la carte. NB For couples, add a supplementary dome hire charge of £100. A la carte: starters £6-£9, mains mostly £16-£29, puddings £7-£10 Veggie choice Plentiful Service Warm, welcoming and knowledgeable

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Learn how those-in-know do a Christmas feast

CHEF’S TIPS AND ALL THE TRIMMINGS Go behind-the-scenes on the yuletide feast with the pros

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hat are Bath’s top chefs eating this Christmas? How do they step up the traditional Crimbo meal a notch? And what the heck are we supposed to make of our leftovers, anyway? Read and learn… David Campbell, Executive head chef , Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa

What are your top tips for the best quality turkey?

Make sure the turkey is brined for a good 12 hours beforehand – this helps it stay moist and tender, and the brine breaks down proteins. Later, allow it to rest for 20 minutes after cooking before carving it.

How do you like your leftovers?

The best meal of the year is Boxing Day lunch, and it has to be a buffet of the Christmas leftovers: cold turkey, chipolatas, reheated roast potatoes and parsnips, plus left over puddings, cheese, and some sandwiches made from the turkey – the hack here is to do no additional cooking. What’s the best Christmas dinner experience you’ve ever had?

The best Christmas meal I can remember was a family one at my uncle’s hotel in Sutton Coldfield when I was about 14. The hotel was five-star, set next to a lake and we had it to ourselves with just a skeleton staff to look after us. It snowed a couple of days beforehand, then frosted up by

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Christmas day – there were magical, clear blue skies and a foot of snow on a frozen lake. About 16 of us were there and we had a feast of food and wine all prepared and served to us by the hotel’s brilliant staff over three days – it was perfect. www.royalcrescent.co.uk Helen Lawrence, Co-owner and head chef, Demuths

What are you eating for Christmas dinner this year?

The centrepiece of Christmas dinner in my house this year will be Demuths’ tofu wreath – we’ve had a more traditional nut roast the last few years, so I want to revisit this – it takes a little bit more work but it’s worth it! Is there anything you add to the Christmas dinner to give it your own spin?

Being vegan, it is all about making vegetables the star of the show and giving them the love and attention they deserve. Stuffed cabbage leaves are a go-to in my house. What are your tips and hacks for leftovers?

I’m possibly more excited about having a tofu wreath sandwich on Boxing Day than I am about having it on Christmas Day! Chilled, sliced thinly and in a sandwich with some chilli jam or cranberry relish – delicious. www.demuths.co.uk


FOOD & DRINK Garry Rosser, The Scallop Shell

What are you eating for Christmas dinner this year?

We’re quite traditional, so we always have smoked salmon with chopped shallots, capers, parsley and lemon with brown bread to start and roast bronze turkey with all the trimmings for mains. We let Lexi, our granddaughter, choose pudding and usually it’s a Marco Pierre White favourite: warm chocolate tart with clotted cream. What’s your plan for your leftovers?

This year I’m going to make a baked turkey mac and cheese. I’ve never made it before but I’m thinking bechamel, using 30g butter to 20g flour and 500ml milk. Cook your penne and use cheddar or parmesan – up to you – and then layer it up like a lasagne. Sauce on the bottom, penne, turkey, sauce, cheese and then layer it up and bake at 180ºC for 25-30 minutes until golden and bubbling. The layering is important, so you get the flavour in each layer, adding a little salt and white pepper to every layer as you go. www.thescallopshell.co.uk Hywel Jones, Executive chef, Restaurant Hywel Jones, Lucknam Park

What’s your Christmas Day cooking ritual?

Every October all the chefs pick local sloes and we make sloe gin with them. Then on Christmas Day morning whilst we are preparing lunch, we all have a little shot of it. What’s your favourite Christmas food?

Has to be my mam’s mince pies.

What are your tips for using up leftovers?

I like to turn turkey leftovers in to a ‘blanquette’, which is a creamy white stew, and serve it with braised rice and wild mushrooms When was your best Christmas dinner?

How do you use up leftovers?

I love to make turkey Cuban sandwiches, bubble and squeak, stuffing croquettes, refried smashed roasties with harissa mayonnaise and gorgeous soups and stocks with the carcases. If you have any Christmas pudding or mince pies left over have a go at making a trifle or a cheese cake with them or mix them up into a sundae with ice cream   What’s a happy Christmas memory?

I have fond memories of Christmas as a young boy at my grandparents’ house with the whole family. They used every possible space in the lounge and kitchen so we could all sit down and eat Christmas lunch together. Sometimes we had to do it in two sittings as there were so many people to feed! I look forward to creating these memories for my children in the future. www.theelder.co.uk Jauca Catalin, Executive chef, The Bath Priory

What are you having for your Christmas dinner this year?

This year I have planned to cook a beautiful free-range duck from my fellow supplier Woolley Park Farm, together with lots of lovely roast vegetables and my special five spice sauce.

Is there anything you add to a Christmas dinner to make it your own style?

I’m Romanian, so I always surprise my guests with some of the delicious traditional snacks I grew up with like fermented cabbage leaves stuffed with minced pork and served with polenta, and as a dessert Cozonac, a rich fruit, walnut and chocolate sweet bread.   What is your favourite Christmas food?

Nothing will replace my mum’s Christmas food platters filled with beef salad, grilled eggplant salad, grilled meat rolls, and so much more. www.thebathpriory.co.uk Helen’s famous cabbage wraps are always a hit at Christmas

I never had a Christmas day off for the first eight years of my sons’ lives. Then one year I just decided to take one off so I could see them on Christmas morning and sit down to lunch with them. That was a pretty special day. www.lucknampark.co.uk Gavin Adney, Head chef, The Elder

What’s on the menu at home for Christmas dinner this year?

We tend not to go for turkey in this household, and are much more likely to go for a lovely baked ham or good old roast rib of beef with all the trimmings, followed by a great slab of Brie de Meaux and, of course, lots of mince pies. This time around however, we’re not entirely sure what we’ll be eating on the day itself as my wife is due to give birth to our little boy on 28 December.   What are your tips for a successful Christmas dinner?

Get the veg cooked the day before – sprouts, carrots and parsnips can actually all be cooked in advance and heated up the next day. Boil or steam your potatoes and rough them up in the colander for those lovely crispy bits the day before too. On Christmas Day pour your preferred hot fat over the potatoes to roast them.

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FOOD & DRINK Kevin Chandler, Head chef, The Methuen Arms

What are your plans for Christmas dinner?

I’m working on Christmas Day this year so at the moment I’m not sure what I’ll be eating by the time I finish. Most likely some cheese and biscuits in the evening with a Dark ‘n’ Stormy cocktail! How do you give Christmas dinner your own spin?

I like to cook my turkey on my Big Green Egg! The barbecue just adds that extra depth of flavour, as well as alleviating any oven space issues. What do you make from your leftovers?

I love using leftovers so I always cook extra just so I can do it. I love a Boxing Day turkey pie – cutting up the turkey and mixing with the gravy and creamed leeks to make a really rich sauce. Top that with the stuffing, then pigs in blankets before the lid goes on. www.butcombe.com

A chocolate pudding for Christmas dinner is always gratefully received – this one from No. 15 goes down a treat

Michael Holloway, Private chef, Wild Fork West

Matt Gillard, Head chef, No. 15 Great Pulteney

What are you having for Christmas dinner this year?

What’s your ideal Christmas Day lunch?

For starters I’d have duck livers, with Madeira on toast. It’s really simple and something I had when I was younger. For mains, it’s got to be a beef wellington for Christmas Day, with roast potatoes, lots of horseradish and a beer. What’s your favourite Christmas food?

Turkey, of course! I always use Larkhall Butchers and they source from Stuart at Castle Mead, who is an incredible poultry farmer. I’ll be serving it with all the trimmings, delicious homemade sauces, and the star of the show: roast potatoes. What do you do to make the Christmas meal special?

I love proper roasted chestnuts, the sort that you usually find at Christmas markets. This year I might have to make my own.

For 364 days of the year I’m the chef, but at Christmas my mother-in-law takes the reins. She’s a fantastic cook and it’s great to have a day off.

What was one of your best Christmas lunches?

What’s your favourite Christmas food?

When I was in the military, at the end of the main course it was tradition to have a food fight. You’ve not had a proper Christmas until you’ve seen 600 grown men throwing turkey at each other in party hats – it’s hilarious. www.no15greatpulteney.co.uk

Home-made chocolate-covered orange peels – nothing tastes more like Christmas! When was your best Christmas?

Christmas dinner 2018 with our baby girl Matilda, four days old, dozing in her crib. www.wildforkwest.co.uk Ping Coombes, MasterChef Champion

How do you make the Christmas meal your own?

Normally I will add touches of spice in the accompaniments rather than the main meat or fish dish. For example, I wok fry my brussels with ginger, add lemongrass to my gravy and braise carrots with star anise. What are your tips for a successful Christmas dinner?

Plan ahead, give everyone a job – and relax! You don’t have to make everything from scratch as you can buy some things to make your life easier. What’s your favourite Christmas food?

Mini stollen from Lidl!

How do you like your leftovers?

Preparation is key when it comes to cooking at Christmas

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In our household, the leftovers will be turned into fried rice, noodles, curries, pies – and my tip is you don’t have to eat them straight away. Freeze them for future meals instead. Let’s be honest, by day three, no one wants anymore leftovers. ■ www.pingcoombes.com


FOOD & DRINK S N A P S H O T S O F B AT H ’ S F O O D S C E N E Booze fairies are on the way!

FLYING TO THE RESCUE Paul Stallan chooses stock from sustainable sources

WHAT A CATCH!

Bath now has its very own fishmonger. Net & Line has just opened on Third Avenue, Oldfield Park, where owner Paul Stallan sources only the very best fish and seafood with an emphasis on sustainability, care, and his passionate love of cooking. His stock comes straight from the ports of Cornwall and Brixham, the shores of the med and even Chew Magna Lake. In addition to the shop, Paul has partnered with Three Bags Full to provide a local home delivery service. For more: www.netandline.com

Rachel Sweet started Sweet Drinks Ltd at the beginning of the first lockdown in March to promote and sell independent West Country drinks brands online. The project quickly evolved however. As many brands found their usual outlets forced out of business by the pandemic, Rachel realised that the small, often family-run, enterprises were struggling to meet the demands of making, marketing and searching out new outlets – so she got creative to give them a helping hand. She and her team of fellow West Country businesswomen – event organisers, business advisers, a graphic designer, a solicitor, a one-time television director, and a Bath Blue Badge Guide – came to the rescue. “Rachel has put together a fantastic team of passionate ‘booze fairies’ who stop at nothing to provide an amazing selection of West Country drinks for the public,”

Utterly atmospheric dome dining is now available at The Bird

says Mark Rees of Gotland Gin, one of Rachel’s brands. The team booked up market stalls and pop-up shops, organised online drinks tasting parties where lucky guests got to meet the makers over Zoom and even dressed up as – you guessed it – fairies to hand-deliver much needed lockdown supplies of gin, vodka, rum and cider to customers across the region. “The Sweet Drinks team has been excellent in representing our brand and promoting our products at various events. Their corporate Zoom tastings have been hugely beneficial in getting our product known further afield, leading to increased sales and brand awareness. We are extremely delighted to be working with them,” says founder of Viper Gin, Carl Hankey. For more: www.sweetdrinks.co.uk

LIVING IN A BUBBLE The Bird is offering a magical winter eating and drinking experience with its atmospheric new domes. Perfect for small groups of up to six guests, the domes can be booked for lunch or dinner. Lit softly by twinkling lanterns, the effect is utterly escapist and makes for a unique and memorable Christmas celebration with your bubble. For more: www.thebirdbath.co.uk

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© CL AIRE KINCHIN PHOTOGR APHY

TRY FIVE

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CRACKING CHEESE

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Embrace the feasting season with a cheesy stocking filler

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GODMINSTER The multi-award winning cheese makers from Bruton are an absolute must for the cheese lover in your life. Their gourmet Black Truffle Vintage Organic Cheddar is a game changer. Made with revered European Black Truffles, uncovered by an expert truffle hunter and hound, it quickly becomes obvious how this truckle of goodness won Gold at the International Cheese Awards. Utterly indulgent, it’s rich with flavour, smooth and creamy as can be. www.godminster.com

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BATH SOFT CHEESE CO. This artisan, hand-made cheese from Park Farm is a taste of traditional countryside life. Organic, and made from the milk of the farm’s small herd of mainly Holstein Friesian cows, you can really feel the love that has gone into this delicious range of soft cheeses. From the succulent and nutty Wyfe of Bath (which promises a taste of ‘Old England’) to the creamy, mushroom-ey Bath Soft Cheese – Admiral Lord Nelson’s father once sent him some as a gift – it’s a product with heritage, and it tastes all the more delicious for it. www.parkfarm.co.uk

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THE FINE CHEESE CO. True to their name, The Fine Cheese Co. boasts a beautiful range of treat-yourself artisanal cheeses – many of which are only available through them. That means small producers using traditional methods – and where the cheeses are made in the UK, The Fine Cheese Co. collects them from the farm themselves and appropriately matures them here in our very city. Where cheeses are coming from further afield, they import direct, and have close relationships with their suppliers, allowing them to specify every cheese down to a T. www.finecheese.co.uk

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THE CHEESE SHOP This Bradford on Avon institution has called the cute market town home since 2006. Owner and passionate foodie Christophe Bonneau cut his teeth in top hotels and Michelin-starred restaurants before opening The Cheese Shop – which also has a fine delicatessen – so he knows a high quality cheese when he sees it. It’s reflected in the range, which is absolutely huge and includes a great selection of hard and soft cows cheese, blue cheese, sheep and goats cheese – all sourced from top-quality producers around the world. www.cheese-shop.co.uk

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WILD FIG In a beautifully presented Grazing Box from Wild Fig, the happy recipient will find four artisan cheeses with perfectly matched chutney to accompany them, a selection of charcuterie with some truly exquisite crackers and an abundance of fresh fruit. Boxes typically include a mix of traditional handmade Bath Blue, sweet creamy Eve washed in Somerset Cider Brandy, and tangy, handselected Westcombe Cheddar. www.wildfig.co.uk n


RECIPE

THE ULTIMATE FESTIVE BROWNIE A Baileys-infused taste of Christmas

BAILEYS CHEESECAKE SWIRL BROWNIES BY STEPH WILDER OF THE GOOD DAY CAFE MAKES 12 Equipment A 9 by 9-inch square brownie pan, or any tin of roughly equal size. Greased and lined with baking paper. A stand mixer with a whisk attachment/ a large bowl, a whisk, and a strong arm. A medium, heavy bottomed saucepan. Ingredients Baileys Brownie Base 375g unsalted butter 300g dark chocolate (70 per cent cocoa is best) 6 eggs, beaten 300g caster sugar 300g dark brown soft sugar 120g plain flour (or your favourite gluten-free alternative) 80g cocoa powder 1 tsp sea salt flakes 75ml Baileys

Baileys Cheesecake Swirl 100g cream cheese 25g caster sugar 25g plain flour 1 egg yolk 50ml Baileys Method 1. To make the Baileys brownie base: Preheat your oven to 180°C (160°C fan). 2. Melt the butter in your saucepan over a medium heat, then add the chocolate and stir until melted. Set this mix aside. 3. Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, until they are thoroughly combined, and the mixture is lighter in colour. Pour in your melted butter and chocolate mixture, whisk until well combined.

4. Sift in flour and cocoa powder, then add the salt. Whisk to combine, you should have a smooth and glossy mix. 5. Pour this mix into your tin, smooth out and put aside while you make your cheesecake swirl. 6. To make the Baileys cheesecake swirl: Place all ingredients in a stand mixer with whisk attachment, or a medium bowl with a whisk and a strong arm. Whisk together until you have a smooth mixture. 7. Now bring it all together! Dollop your cheesecake mix onto the brownie base at gleeful intervals, then take a knife or skewer and swirl the cheesecake mix in to the brownie to your delight. 8. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the edges of the pan are firm, but you have some wobble in the middle. Allow to cool thoroughly in the tin, if you cut it early it will be a gooey mess! 9. Serve with brandy butter, ice cream, or just eat out of the pan with a fork. It’s 2020, no-one is judging you! Good Day Cafe; 12 Upper Borough Walls, Bath; tel: 01225 684284; www.gooddaycoffee.co.uk

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


N O R D I C

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SHOPPING LIVE WELL, BUY BETTER

FEAST YOUR EYES Ding dong. Hello, who is it? Wild Fig here to create, style and dress your grazing table. Oh, do come in, I’ll just stand over here, staring and drooling. Bath caterers Wild Fig specialise in exquisite sharing platters, grazing boxes, and grazing tables, which are perfect for celebrations. They combine locally sourced produce, including speciality cheeses, artisan-cured meats, quiches, antipasti, and freshly baked bread. Look closely and you’ll find pomegranates, fruits, nuts, pretzels, sweet treats, sprigs of herbs, all filling the table space with an explosion of colour, texture, and foliage. Wild Fig offer free delivery to Bath with their grazing boxes which can include gift add-ons such as bouquets of flowers, Scout & Sage gin, and Saco diffusers; www.wildfig.co.uk

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TASTE OF BATH LITTLE BOOZY TREATS, £35 The perfect any-time treat, with handmade marshmallows, fudge, truffles, honeycomb, as well Bath Gin and Aluna Coconut Rum, for an extra little pick-me-up. From Taste of Bath; www.taste-of.co.uk

TINY REBEL 8 BEER GIFT PACK, £20.99 Make your way through eight beers from the Tiny Rebel range including at least two brand new releases and the legendary Pineapple Express. From Cru Wines; www.cruwines.co.uk

READY MEALS

Don’t let restrictions hamper your New Year celebrations – treat yourself, and your social bubble, to a grown-up selection box of goodies

THE SAN FRANCISCO FUDGE COMPANY AFTER DINNER FUDGE BOX, £15.95 Locally made, handmade and gluten-free, this fab fudge gift box contains raspberry pavlova, clotted cream, apple and cinnamon, salted caramel, coffee, chocolate, triple chocolate, or there is the build-your-own option choosing from 32 flavours. From The San Francisco Fudge Company, 6 Church Street, Abbey Green, Bath; www.sanfranciscofudge.co.uk

PAXTON & WHITFIELD’S CHEESE FOR FIZZ, £36 Contains four artisan cheeses: the hard, sweet and complex Berkswell made with ewe’s milk; the soft, creamy and crumbly Langres; Golden Cross – a lemony goat’s cheese; and the deep and tangy Caerphilly Gorwydd. All specially selected to enjoy with Champagne or sparkling wines. From Paxton & Whitfield, 1 John Street, Bath; www.paxtonandwhitfield.co.uk

DIDICAKES CUPCAKE SELECTION BOX, £31.50 Twelve of the wonder of Walcot, DidiCakes’ best loved artisan cupcakes including coffee & walnut, raspberry & almond, salted caramel, carrot, and strawberry. From DidiCakes 132 Walcot Street, Bath; www.didicakesbath.com

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


ED’S CHOICE THE CHERRY TREE ALL-DAY FAVOURITES SELECTION BOX, £35 Chutneys, cheddars and crackers pack a punch in special selection box, which includes apple & cider cheddar, caramelised onion cracker bites, and spicy tomato & caramelised onion chutney. There’s also venison pâté with cognac, cheeseboard chutney, passion fruit curd, vintage reserve cheddar, pickle with mead and orange with whisky marmalade. From The Cherry Tree available through www.bathchristmasmarket.co.uk

GOODNESS GRAZERS PICNIC BOX, PRICES START AT £40 Life's a picnic with these grazing boxes, which typically include delights such as local cheeses, delicious charcuterie, pork pies, artisan bread and crackers, scotch eggs, antipasti, olives, fresh and dried fruits, breadsticks, hummus, and sweet treats. From Goodness Grazers; www.goodnessgrazers.co.uk

WILD FLOUR CAKE CO CHOCOLATE CAKE SELECTION BOX, £14.95 Tiers blocking the way? Send these bestsellers through the post to show you care. Includes milk chocolate millionaire, caramel peanut brownie, chocolate almond brownie and a raspberry blondie. From Wild Flour Cake Co; www.wildflourcakeco.co.uk

A BOX OF SIX HAPPY DONUTS, PRICES START AT £15 All vegan, all yummy, all handmade and you can get a box delivered to your door. Choose from dozens of flavours including For The Love of Lotus, Oreo Extravaganza, Rocky Road, and the Nutella special. From The Happy Donut; www.thehappydonut.co.uk

FUSSELL’S FULL FLAVOUR GIFT HAMPER BOX, £50 All the finest ingredients from the down the road Rode makers, to ensure a comforting, fine cuisine night of it (several times over). Includes fettuccine pasta, semi dry tomatoes, spicy nduja paste, whole piquillo peppers and dark chocolate and candied orange, plus so much more. From Fussels Fine Foods; www.fusselsfinefoods.co.uk

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“Juxtapose your woollies with a silk dress and big boots for a millennial twist on the rockchick look�

Preloved items curated from Dorothy House, prices vary, www.dorothyhouse.org.uk Image credits: Shoot venue: Rondo Theatre Photographer: Egle Vasi Stylist: Anna Power Make Up and Hair: Chantelle Moody Shoot Consultant: Sarah Baker

NEW SEASON A fresh look at fashion for 2021 By Sarah Moolla

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


FASHION

Y

ou could be forgiven for thinking that fashion has, well, fallen out of fashion in this strangest of years. Surely trends for colours and cardigans, and boots and suits, are somewhat moot? Aren’t we all just Zooming in hoodies and lounging in loungers? However there’s been an undercurrent of sartorial energy buzzing about of late that tells us otherwise – from luxe lockdown looks on Instagram to coordinated dress and mask combos making a designer appearance. It would seem wearing good clothes still has the power to lift the spirits. And with the real possibility of social interaction around the corner, we’re already planning our IRL celebratory, ‘I’ve missed you, you look amazing!’ outfits. VEJA V-10 leather trainers -– extra-white, £115, www.graceandted.co.uk

Chinti & Parker cream Agnes wool-cashmere turtleneck sweater, £250, www.kilvercourt.com

Laragon cardigan in oatmeal fair isle, £199, www.cabbagesandroses.com

KNITWEAR AND CASUAL CARDIGANS 1NERDY

They’re cosy, they’re safe, and easy to wear. Knitwear represents certainty in an uncertain world. Wear with jeans, t-shirt and trainers for the solid, dependable look or juxtapose your woollies with a silk dress and big boots for a millennial twist on the rockchick look. Pair any half-buttoned, over-sized cardie with any skirt in your wardrobe, lazily let one side slip off one shoulder and voilà – nonchalant sexiness is instantly yours.

Patrizia Bonfanti glossy red boots,£229, www.bluewomensclothing.co.uk

Knitted lambswool dark navy scarf, £175, www.mulberry.com

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FASHION

2BLACK IS BACK

Usually, the preserve of the fashionista catwalk front row, now the WFH brigade has made black their unofficial uniform. Effortless, elegant, and always efficient. Black has found its way back into our hearts, in a top-to-toe kinda way, and we’re not letting go anytime soon. From hoedown black dungarees (note: leave one side undone, unless you are actually going to a hoedown) to big clompy black boots, to Matrix-style faux-leather long coats and flouncy ruffled Victorian florals (think more Gothic novel than Beatrix Potter). If all-black is a tad too funereal, lift the look with a pair of scrunchy clean white leather trainers.

Eclipse handpainted silk scarf by Carole Waller, £195, www.wallerandwood.co.uk

Prada Black Saffiano leather tote bag, £900, www.graceandted.co.uk

3CHECK MATE ISCHIKO trousers Akame 00, £129, www.bath.oska.com

From full-on tartan to dogtooth ginghams, checks are back as the revival of Burberry and Mulberry testifies, and as seen by the shameless chessboard motifing of Beth’s winning outfits in Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit. As long as you avoid the preppy schoolgirl look in too-short kilts, then you’ll be glad of the plaid. You can Highland fling it as a large woollen scarf over a one-colour trench coat, or reverse that and think big – a long belted, double-breasted bold check coat over a plain ensemble makes a striking statement. Proceed with caution though with plaid shirts – too boxy and square can translate as oh-so-lumberjack, and as for tartan trousers, when worn over a certain age, they can ending up looking less Vivienne Westwood and the punk scene, and more Ronnie Corbett teeing off on the green.

Gertrude + Gaston Padded Gilet, £155, www.bluewomensclothing.co.uk Great Plains Agnes check tie neck shirt in space navy, £30, www.mazeclothing.co.uk

© NETFLIX

Check coat as seen in Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit

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

Bellerose Volders wool jacket in green, £285, www.mazeclothing.co.uk


Winser London Lauren boyfriend blazer, £295; www.rossitersofbath.com

4DO IT LIKE A DUDE

Always powerfully beautiful and a timeless classic, women dressed in what was traditionally perceived of as men’s clothes from big shouldered suits to boyfriend jeans, is a scene stealing agenda-setting style. Now in our more gender fluid, Harry Stiles in a skirt, times, the ante has been upped, rules are there to be flouted, and the possibilities are endless. Don’t just don a tailored jacket, add a pocket silk square. Embrace the high-waisted wide legged trousers, top with an argyle tank top, and round off with lace-up brown brogues. If you’re Victoria Beckham, ditch the brogues for stiletto pumps. If you’re headed back to the office, make like supermodel Bella Hadid in Givenchy and wear a black leather tie and crisp white shirt. Remember to tie your hair at the back and quiff it at the front.

Thomas Green pocket silk, £52, www.thomasfortin.com

Diana pleated velvet midi skirt, £98, www.anthropologie.com

Grace dress from Pearl Lowe’s midi dress capsule range, £245, www.pearllowe.co.uk

Nice Things / Typical Places polo shirt, £39, www.foundbath.co.uk

Preloved items curated from Dorothy House, prices vary, www.dorothyhouse.org.uk

5VELVET UNDERGROUND

Primadonna Twist I Do padded bra balcony in deep teal, £88, www. dressingroombath.com

It’s the luxe fabric of Christmas party dresses in the colour of precious jewels. We’ve had no parties, but when we can start going out again properly, we’re going out, out in lush plush clothes. It’s also tactile adding textural comfort – that’s why so many sofas are wrapped in it – but to avoid looking like a settee, try and show a little skin with your velvet. Think soft wrap dresses, deep-V jumpsuits, a structured jacket over a satin bra, which so happens to be another 2021 trend on the horizon – a glimpse of undergarments. Just a peep mind, not the full 1990s Madonna.

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ADVERTISING FEATURE

MEET THE HEALTH & FITNESS EXPERT

Why looking after your fitness can mean happiness, better mental health, and even weightloss ANNA BARTON PERSONAL TRAINER

hello@annabartonpt.co.uk; www.annabartonpt.co.uk Do you think that living your best life means being fit? The term ‘being fit’ is so individual and can vary hugely from person to person, depending on their background, capabilities, lifestyle and goals. For example an athlete’s personal level of ‘being fit’ will be very different to a parent who works full time and wants to have a good level of fitness to keep up with their kids. We are all aware of the mental as well as the physical benefits of keeping fit, therefore keeping active (for those who have the privilege of being able to move and be active) will most definitely enhance your quality of life and for some, enable them to live their best life!

What advice would you give to someone that hates exercise? There is always some form of movement that someone can enjoy! One of the best exercises is to just walk, it’s free and involves no more effort than a decent pair of trainers to get started. How about dance classes such as zumba? Sport: tennis, squash, rock climbing, bouldering and swimming. Yoga, barre and pilates is great for people to work on their flexibility. Once someone starts, the endorphins kick in, they’ll start to see results and feel mentally better, that’s usually motivation to keep going. Or appoint a personal trainer to hold you accountable and help to motivate you to learn to love exercise.

SOPHIA CLIFFORD–SANGHAD

SIMON BURGESS

BATH HOLISTIC MASSAGE

MANAGER, BATH YMCA HEALTH & WELLBEING

07837 828156; www.bathholisticmassage.com

01225 325913; www.ymcabath.org.uk Why did you decide to become a therapist? I retrained to become a massage therapist as I wanted to be able to make people feel good physically and feel better mentally about themselves. For me, massage is more than just helping manipulate muscles and tissue but helps with an overall sense of wellbeing. I want people to feel rejuvenated. What are the benefits of the treatments that you offer? Physically, massage helps reduce muscle tension, increases circulation, increasing joint mobility and flexibility. Mentally, it can aid relaxation, reduces stress hormones, anxiety and depression and it also helps heighten emotional alertness. My treatments look at both aspects of wellbeing as the two are so often intertwined. Has wellbeing always been an important part of your life? No, not always. It took me a previous career, kids, and looking after my own health to realise how important looking after your own wellbeing is and, with the year we’ve all just experienced, I think it is important, now more than ever, to find ways to look after ourselves – massage is definitely the way for me! 46 I BATH LIFE I www.mediaclash.co.uk

MILLY JACKSON FLY FITNESS

01225 724286; www.flyfitness.co.uk What led you to become a personal trainer? I found my own love for fitness probably a bit later than expected. It was a lack of knowledge of the gym which gave me the hunger to learn. I lost three stone along the way, as well as finding a love for exercise. So I guess you could say that it was my own journey which inspired me to help others. How would you describe your philosophy about being fit and healthy? Find movement which you love, integrate it into your life, then it will never feel like a chore. Above all, enjoy the process. Do you have fitness goals for yourself? If so, what are they? I have tried different types of training, and set loads of different goals. Right now it’s all about tasting everything that is out there, which I can then share with others. My own training has only just begun, which makes me really excited for the future. A few races have been cancelled this year, but my Ironman 70.3 in September 2021 looks like it might happen!

Tell us about your background… I have worked as a fitness professional for many years in lots of different fitness venues and have run my own business. I also work as a tutor teaching a large variety of fitness qualifications. Now I am running the YMCA’s Heath &Wellbeing. What led you to become a personal trainer? Having a job that is a passion and hobby of mine means that I have never worked a day in my life. I really enjoy helping people to work towards their health and wellbeing goals. Does living your best life mean being fit? This is a really complex question. However, I believe being physically fit can help someone with their mental and emotional health. This in turn will help someone lead their best life and enjoy life to the fullest. Any advice for those who say they hate having to exercise? Exercise comes in many different forms. Find an activity that you enjoy doing that way it won’t feel like exercise. Seeking professional advice, from places like the YMCA, may help you avoid injury and get the most from exercise.


ADVERTISING FEATURE

CAROLINE JOSLING

JOE HAINES

POWER10 @power10bath; www.power10bath.com What’s the best way for someone to motivate themselves to get fit? Spend time (as long as it takes) to identify what you really want. Do you want to look better? Do you want to feel healthier? Include ways you can measure your progress. The only way to find true motivation is if you are deeply compelled by your goal. What mindset will help people succeed with their New Years’ goals? Shorten the timeframe. One year is often too long to stick to something. Interestingly, it can also give you too much time to achieve your goal, as it becomes far too easy to put it off until later in the year. Try shortening your goal to, say, 10 weeks. What advice would you give someone that hates exercise? Don’t settle for something you don’t enjoy; it will always end in failure. Keep searching for a different type of activity. Until you find something that doesn’t feel like exercise, fitness then becomes the by-product of having fun. How do our workouts differ from other workouts out there? We create a 10-week training programme in which to focus on achieving that compelling goal.

HARVEST MOON HOLISTIC THERAPY 01225 466944 www.carolinejosling.com How did you get into therapy? I gained a special interest in holistic health, wellness and natural beauty on my travels around the world as a model. Initially trained in massage and aromatherapy, I soon discovered a face therapy that releases tension and not only helps you look better but feel better too. I call it Facial Energy Release. I have gone onto learning and teaching more face therapies, as I find work on the head and face deeply relaxing and powerful for releasing pent up tension all over the body, most recently training in new Neal’s Yard Frankincense Intense Facial Rejuvenation. Other specialities? Fertility and maternity treatments offering reflexology, aromatherapy and maternity massage. A really rewarding field which can address complaints such as fatigue, symphysis pubis dysfunction, migraine and even an overdue baby. How do you like to relax? Having therapies myself, I practice Iyengar yoga and I am enjoying singing lessons – soon to find a choir.

BRYONY MILES

UPSIDE DOWN VEGAN 07444 262025 www.upsidedownvegan.co.uk What led you to become a personal trainer? It was back in July 2013 when my mum suddenly passed away from cancer I had some sort of ‘light bulb’ moment. I had been living an unhealthy life for nearly 10 years as a drug addict. Fitness had never even been on my radar up until this point. Her death changed my life completely and I decided to take control of my health and fitness. I began training a lot in a local gym and the more I did it and talked about it, the more my friends and family encouraged me to take it up as my career. So I did just that and now I honour the lifestyle I have built to my Mum!

SIMONA HERNANDEZ YOGA BODHI

01225 464848 www.yogabodhi.co.uk Tell us about your background and how you came to Yoga… When I started practising yoga it was in 1996 and I was working as a psychologist in London. I had been in a RTA and as a result had a bad whiplash injury that was giving me the most awful tension headaches! Yoga turned all that around. I can remember my first class as if it was yesterday. The feeling of coming home and giving myself the permission to slow down and take stock rather than racing around at 300 miles an hour. In 1997 I trained as a yoga teacher and have never looked back. What advice would you give to someone that hates exercise? I think that the thought of doing exercise rather than actually doing it is always worse. Sometimes it is easy to talk yourself out of getting on the mat… “oh I have to clean the toilet, do the ironing…” etc. There will always be an excuse. Just get on the mat and see what happens. I can guarantee you will feel much better at the end. Namaste.

Is there one food rule you think we should all follow? I believe we should all eat plant-based, that’s what nature provided for us to do. There are so many marketing gimmicks that feed us lies about the fitness and health industry that I despise. We have too much information these days and no one knows what to believe anymore. I have been a thriving fit and healthy vegan living off a plantbased diet for nearly four years now and it’s the single best thing I have done as well as becoming a PT. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, grains and seeds are all the healthiest things we can eat to live a super healthy and energetic lifestyle. And yes you can still eat your vegan cake and enjoy it too! Balance in our diet is key, I don’t deprive my body of eating out from time to time.

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It’s the city’s business

BATHWORKS THIS ISSUE >>GIVE THIS CHRISTMAS (49) >>JAMES CARLIN ON COMPASSION AT CHRISTMAS (51) >>NICHOLAS WYLDE (52)

The giving spirit

C

hristmas is always a time when we start thinking about charity, but in a year of such unprecedented challenge, how we can give back to those in need in our city feels more pressing than ever. During this festive season, there are plenty of causes in Bath in need of support. We’ve gathered a few of them here, from donation drives to resilience challenges.

fundraising challenge. The charity, which supports people dealing with homelessness in Bath, is expecting an income loss of £200,000 in 2020 as a result of cancelled fundraising events. Help them redress the balance by raising as much sponsorship as you can to spend a night sleeping out in the open – there are even prizes for top fundraisers. Sign up now and get a head start gathering your sponsors. www.bigbathsleepout.co.uk

Bath Cats and Dogs Home Winter Appeal

Xmas Party Heroes

Since March, the Bath Cats and Dogs Home has taken in 100 animals from the RSPCA, many as a direct result of owners struggling to cope with a pet amidst the impact of the pandemic. A lot of these animals arrived in very poor condition, and have required a lot of extra TLC. This Christmas The Bath Cats and Dogs Home are asking for donations towards essential medication, tailored care packages and life-saving operations. www.bathcatsanddogshome.org.uk The Big Bath Sleep-Out

Sign up now for Julian House’s March 2021

LEFT: Sleep out to raise much needed funds for Julian House;

RIGHT: Miriam Beck, Giles Lascelle, Ella Lindley and Sue Topalian of

Xmas Party Heroes are asking businesses to donate the money they would have spent on their office Christmas party to charity this year. Bath-based charity Trauma Breakthrough, which provides mental health services for adult survivors of abuse and all forms of trauma, have benefitted from the scheme. Trauma Breakthrough’s CEO Giles Lascelle says “Breakthrough has worked non-stop through two lockdowns not just to keep key services available but also to expand our crisis service to survivors of abuse and trauma who are experiencing a mental health crisis as a result of the pandemic. Since March this year we have seen

Trauma Breakthrough are thrilled with the donation

referrals rise by over 500 per cent with no sign of slowing down, which means we are struggling to provide the 24/7 support that our service-users all need.” This fantastic initiative is one good thing to come out of cancelled Christmas party season. “Just one donation from the Xmas Party Heroes campaign could keep our crisis helpline service open all Christmas, meaning we will be able to help many more people who are at risk of suicide and self-harm,” says Giles. www.traumabreakthrough.org www.xmaspartyheroes.co.uk Bath Community Shop

The shop in Twerton is a not-for-profit that supplies low-cost clothes, shoes, toys, books, household equipment and small items of furniture to some of the most underprivileged in our community. For Christmas they are asking for gift donations they can wrap and deliver to people unable to afford them – from children’s toys to a lovely bath bomb, they are out to make sure none in our community go without a gift this Christmas. www.facebook.com/communityshop123

MEDIACLASH.CO.UK 115


BATHWORKS

I, ROBOT

A Bath Spa University professor of cultural identities is using a robot to give disabled people in isolation unique access to an art exhibition. Professor Martin Levinson is project lead with D4D, a research project using a remotecontrolled, telepresence robot on wheels to stream an art exhibition at London’s renowned Saatchi Gallery right into the homes of vulnerable people forced to isolate as a result of the pandemic. The virtual tour allows visitors to move around the gallery via their device and even zoom in on the works for a closer look. “The Covid pandemic has served to augment

a situation that already existed – the lonely, secluded lives of some people. We need to find ways of preventing this in the future,” says Professor Levinson. “Technology is only part of the solution. We all share responsibility for the situation in normal times whereby elderly and disabled people can spend much of their lives in isolation. Let’s hope we emerge from all this as stronger and more compassionate communities. In the meantime, in a dreary period of lockdown, we hope that this technology serves to connect such individuals to the vivid world of art.” For more: www.d4d.org.uk

Art knows no bounds – with a little robotic assistance

CHANGING ROOMS The pigs at Bath City Farm are set to receive a home upgrade. Thanks to a £900 donation from insurer NFU Mutual’s Community Giving Fund, the charity will be able to complete some much-needed work on the pig’s enclosures. Bath City Farm supports disadvantaged and disabled people to develop new skills and confidence and boost emotional, mental, physical and social wellbeing – all while educating them about farming and food production. The pigs are a central part of the farm’s projects, and working with them helps individuals grow confidence, social networks and new skills. “We are delighted to receive this grant from NFU Mutual towards the new pig pens,” says Helen Fisher, Bath City Farm’s manager. “Important infrastructure for our animals isn’t an easy thing to fundraise for, but it is so integral to being able to run our projects safely. The pigs are such an attraction for many children that visit the farm and are firm favourites of the people that use our projects.” For more: www.bathcityfarm.org.uk 50 I BATH LIFE I www.mediaclash.co.uk

Heather Wareham of NFU and farm manager Helen Fisher were on hand to tell the pigs the good news

Sponsors get many perks, including an invite to the pre-awards Finalists’ and Sponsors’ reception

GET INVOLVED It’s that time of year again… the much-loved Bath Life Awards are returning on 27 May and category sponsorship opportunities are now open, bringing businesses the chance to associate with the high-profile event. Sponsorship provides an unrivalled business marketing showcase. The 21 Awards categories cover the whole of Bath’s thriving business scene; from arts to bars, charities to creatives and leisure to tech, there’s something for everyone. “Those companies that hop on board and sponsor a category gain plenty from our Awards, receptions and events that come with partnering up” said MediaClash brand manager Annie Miekus. “Whether you’re looking for that extra marketing boost for your business or opportunities to network and build contacts in the city, the Awards has the answers.” Sponsors already on board include headline sponsor The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa, along with category sponsors Apex City of Bath Hotel, Freestyle Designs, Hotel Indigo, Marsh Commercial, Novia, Savills, Spaces, Stone King, Sub 13, Truespeed, Triangle Networks; and of course, Bath Life itself. For sponsorship enquiries and to benefit from the Awards, please contact Pat White – Pat.White@mediaclash.co.uk For more: bathlifeawards.co.uk @BathLifeAwards


MOVERS AND SHAKERS ETC When 3SG director James Carlin came up with the Compassionate Community, he had no idea there was a pandemic about to hit the city

Mark Collins is rowing to Atlantic to raise money for Sanitation First

STICKING HIS OAR IN

BIG HEARTED BATH Join the Compassionate Christmas campaign, designed by 3SG’s Sarah Williams Martin. • RANDOM ACTS OF COMPASSION POSTERS Available to all to colour in and display in their windows once they have completed a random act of compassion. If they complete five acts then they can request a handmade star from the Sewing Collective, by heading to the campaign page on the Compassionate Community website.   • SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN Get involved with the social media campaign and add 3SG’s very own Facebook Frame to your personal profile picture and use the hashtag. #compassionatchristmas. Don’t forget to tag @compassioncb. • OTHER INITIATIVES Compassionate Community volunteers are running a number of other initiatives with the campaign, including offering handmade Christmas cards by local children, a phone call to a vulnerable person on Christmas day, and wellbeing packs for those living alone without internet access. Get involved and download your Compassionate Christmas goodies on their website: www.compassioncb.org.uk/ compassion-at-christmas

Compassionate Community launched in 2020, a broad initiative of local charity 3SG with the aim of encouraging community support in B&NES. Then the pandemic arrived, and they quickly pivoted to become one of the city’s biggest Covid response teams – 1,500 volunteers signed up in their first week alone. They went on to launch The Community Wellbeing Hub with telephone support line to link people in need with helpers. The volunteers have since provided support to over 2,000 people in need with food and medication deliveries. “It’s been amazing to see how much good work can be done by people who don’t know each other,” says James Carlin, director of 3SG. “Almost all of our volunteers are operating out of their own homes, many have never met and wouldn’t recognise each other in the street! What joins us together is compassion and a willingness to be part of the solution, and I’m immensely proud of each and every one of us.”

Freshford-resident Mark Collins is rowing the Atlantic in aid of Sanitation First. Mark seeks to raise £25,000 to build eco toilets and wash stations and provide washable, reusable sanitary pads and personal and menstrual hygiene education for underprivileged schoolchildren in southern India. It’ll take Mark and the team of rowers 40 days to complete the journey. “I retired in July after nearly 40 years of corporate life – I was a senior partner with PwC and latterly a vice president with IBM. It was really important to me to feel that although I was retiring, the biggest challenge of my life was still ahead of me,” he says. “I wanted to do something that would have an impact. I am hoping that the rowing challenge will enable me to learn a lot about myself but, more importantly, the funds I hope to raise will enable Sanitation First to build toilets and hand washing facilities for over 500 children in India,” Donate at www.totalgiving.co.uk/mypage/markcollinsrow For more: www.sanitationfirst.org

FOOD SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS

Bath College is working with the Compassionate Community Wellbeing Hub to make sure no young person goes hungry this Christmas. A ‘Community Chest’ has been set up at campuses in Bath and Radstock full of frozen meals students can access for themselves and their families, no questions asked. Hospitality and Catering staff are also preparing pre-made Christmas dinners for students in need. “As a community college we have really pulled together to ensure that our students don't go without at Christmas, and beyond,” says Laurel Penrose, principal and chief executive of the college. “Thank you to the B&NES Compassionate Community Hub for their donations of food that are gratefully received. I am immensely proud of all who have made donations, volunteered their time and pitched in to look after one another.” For more: www.bathcollege.ac.uk

www.mediaclash.co.uk I BATH LIFE I 51


BATHWORKS At just eight, Nicholas Wylde decided he wanted to pursue jewellery making

What do you like most about working in Bath?

It’s wonderful being part of a fabulous group of jewellers all with their different styles. We could easily have our own jewellery quarter in Bath. Clients travel from all across the UK and abroad to visit us here and explore our many independents.

You’ve been in business such a long time. What have been some of more your unusual client requests?

BIZ Q&A

Nicholas Wylde

A true Bath institution, Wylde Jewellers has been a vital part of Bath’s retail landscape since 1987. Founder Nicholas Wylde offers his insight on the industry When did you first realise you wanted to pursue a career as a jeweller?

When I found some sparkly gems and jewellery in a building site in Birmingham’s jewellery quarter at the age of eight. I immediately fell in love, and never deviated.

What do you love about your work?

It’s a pleasure to be able to take the time to listen to a client, hearing about their journey, in order to create a piece of bespoke jewellery that carries their story forever.

What is your signature style?

We design unique pieces with combined fluidity and geometry and

no boundaries. Our pieces are always created with the intent to inspire and express individuality.

What changes have you seen in the jewellery world over the last few decades?

The high street is changing fast, which is affecting much more than just the jewellery industry. We’re lucky that jewellery enthusiasts want to come in and try on our jewellery before they buy, and enjoy the luxury experience we provide in our bespoke lounge. We will always strive to work with the times however, even if that means we end up as holographic personal jewellers right in the customer’s home, calling an Uber-flight-pod to drop them to our VIP lounge!

“OUR PASSION IS MAKING PEOPLE SMILE WHEN WE CREATE JEWELLERY THAT MAKES THEM FEEL LIKE THEMSELVES” 52 I BATH LIFE I www.mediaclash.co.uk

We’ve made some fairly outrageous things over the years, from a scaleddown, solid gold Ferrari, to an exact copy of a bicycle that the client stole from his now wife! We’ve certainly heard our fair share of unusual ‘how I got the girl’ stories – this client stole a girl’s bike and when she went looking for it, he was conveniently placed with his motorbike to offer her a ride home. She jumped on the bike and years later her now husband came to us to commission a miniature, enamelled exact replica of the stolen bicycle. For more: Wylde Jewellers, 12 Northumberland Place, BA1 5AR; tel: 01225 462826; www.nicholaswylde.com

What sets you apart from other jewellers on the high street?

We are very approachable, with incredibly knowledgeable staff on all floors, all willing to help our clients no matter how big or small the request is. Our passion is making people smile when we create jewellery that makes them feel like themselves.

What are upcoming jewellery trends?

People are moving away from the designer brands and instead looking for unique pieces that express their own individuality. Bespoke personalised pieces are very popular now, something I have always encouraged – we do a lot of bespoke work at Wylde.

Are you hoping to find Wylde jewellery under the tree this Christmas?


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BATHWORKS

BATH LIFE AWARDS 2020

Chloe Steers, director of Steers McGillan Eves looks back on the company’s win – which happened just as the firm celebrated its 20th birthday

Congratulations on scooping a Bath Life Award. How did you celebrate? We were absolutely delighted and drank far too much Prosecco – and then far too many cocktails at the after party!

What prompted you to enter the Awards? We have not entered the Awards before – but it was our 20th year of business so we thought it would be a nice way to mark the occasion.

Tell us a little about the company – what is its background?

We set up in 1999, straight from working for leading agencies in London. We have always believed in quality above all else and are grounded in the knowledge that we are a service industry – good working relationships and recommendations have been essential to our longevity.

The Steers McGillan team celebrated their Awards success in style

CREATIVE WINNER SPONSORED BY

What do you think it is about your business that helped you secure your Bath Life Award?

We have been working hard in Bath for a long time. We are a good employer and we support local initiatives and start-ups. We work for good people and for seminal places all over the UK.

What does winning the Award means to you? It was a great morale boost for the team – they work very hard indeed – and a good affirmation for our local clients of our place in the city.

How does being based in Bath benefit the work you do?

BUSINESS CLUB

Work life balance is good, commuting is green and Bath is accessible. We have a great office by the river with views of green spaces that we love.

What projects are you excited about right now? We are currently rebranding Buckingham Palace and The Royal Collection. The United Nations is a recently acquired client too.

How might you describe your key clientele? Good people who fight for good causes.

Is there someone in business that you admire personally and try learn from?

Richard McGillan, our design director – I’ve learned so much from him.

Any moment the company have been particularly proud of? Reaching 20 years old!

What has the impact of the pandemic been on your business?

We are still here, working as hard as we can – taking it one day at a time.

Do you have a business motto? Do good work for people who fight for good causes!

What have you found to be the best tools for growth in your business? Recommendations – the personal touch is everything.

For more: Steers McGillan Eves; Unit A, Corinthian, Midland Road, BA2 3FT; tel: 01225 465546; www.steersmcgillaneves.co.uk

Virtual one hour sessions, all free to attend Search Bath Life on LinkedIn for upcoming dates and registration If you would like to get involved, please email events@mediaclash.co.uk


TIME OF OUR LIVES GREG INGHAM

The year of repetition This then has been quite the year. Here to muse on how our sense of time has been distorted in these times, is the chief exec of MediaClash…

T

here are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen” – Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. It’s not often that Lenin wanders in for an appearance in Bath Life. The doctrine of the dictatorship of the proletariat isn’t exactly front and centre of our remit after all. We’re more into celebration, experience and enjoyment: “peace, land, bread”, less so. But Mr L was definitely on to something. Time lags and drags and mithers and slithers – and then events just torrent in, almost overwhelmingly so. So it has been in 2020, when our concept of time, as much else, has been pulled and pushed; distorted as never before. Almost daily resets to new terrains, where we’ve been parachuted in unexpectedly and have had to adapt instinctively. Here then are some times of this life:

SLOW SLOW QUICK QUICK SLOW

The foxtrot twostep played out from January. At first, little was happening that hadn’t previously happened. Wuhan was a faraway city of which we knew little; Government was preoccupied with European matters. Any voice-in the-wilderness talk of an incipient pandemic was largely confined to the fringes of a thenderided academia, and promptly brushed off breezily. Daily life happened, weeks were lost: time meandered by. Then the ideas of March cut in. Filmic jumpcut time. Country on alert. PM on TV. Leap to action. Panic buy. All changed, changed utterly. A new vocabulary of lockdown, social distancing and WFH emerged. Something called furlough, too. The first sighting of the premature phrase ‘the new normal’ was noted and banished in a trice. No normal emerged beyond repeated life in real-time slow motion where we lived in an eternal present, a groundhog

“Dear 2020, your time is nearly up”

daily process of slowly coming to terms after hibernating our thinking. If we’d known how long it might all take, we might well have made different choices. At the very least, fewer bogrolls. But that wasn’t possible: it was the rarity of a lifetime where some things really are beyond imagining, a modern fairy tale that was truly grim. SUNDAY TIMES

Every day was like Sunday. Liminal days melded together with subliminal differences. Our measured, controlled, known units of time, of set hours sleeping, fixed periods travelling, days working and weeks holidaying blended into a mush. We sat in a departure lounge with no departures, filling in time – waiting for God alone knows what. TIME DISSOLVED

Time has been no longer portioned by activity. It is no longer linear. Many people are just as much working from home as sleeping in the office. Work computers with unused ‘video conferencing’ are fused with social interaction and quizzes. Separation evaporated. Homes have become workplaces have become schools, often

simultaneously. Time has become multi-use, this year providing the ultimate juggle. 250-DAYS-AND-COUNTING

We have been in lockdowns or limitations or tiers for more than 250 days now, with an inestimable more to come. Each day has been more similar to the last than any to others of previous years. Yet each day takes us closer to a time of fewer limitations, of greater freedom, of a world we shall relish with greater love and enjoyment and hugging and joy – a greater sense of being alive, almost reborn. That is to come. For now, though, it is almost time to say farewell to 2020, this most singular year of our lives, the year of repetition. Dear 2020, your time is nearly up. And, on balance, when all is considered, and attempting to be fair and reasonable, I have to say that I really won’t be mourning your departure. Yet at the same time, in one of those paradoxes of the pandemic, I really wouldn’t have missed you for the world…

#BathTogether – always…

www.mediaclash.co.uk I BATH LIFE I 55


ADVERTISING FEATURE

Why use a recruitment consultant? Jayla Wilcox from SIMPLE RECRUITMENT looks at how a recruitment consultancy can save employers time and money in the current job market…

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ecruitment Consultants have a crucially important role to play in the post Covid-19 employment market. With sadly so many redundancies happening and unemployment being so high, every vacancy will attract literally hundreds of candidates. This will then create a mountain of work for employers when it comes to sifting through the applications, selecting those who will be invited to interview and then contacting them together with all of those who didn’t make it. This is where an experienced professional Recruitment Consultancy can provide an invaluable service by taking on this work, utilising their area of expertise and saving prospective employers much time, stress and ultimately, cost. Simple Recruitment, Recruitment Consultancy – one of the South West’s leading independent recruitment consultancy firms – is led by founder and managing director Jayla Wilcox. “Whilst it’s tempting for employers to use the

thinking that with candidates easy to find using a recruitment consultancy is unnecessary, the reality is the larger the number of applicants the more important our help becomes,” explains Jayla. “A recruitment consultant is experienced in sourcing/ screening and interviewing people, and will save a huge amount of time filtering all the applications and compiling a short list, plus handling the comms including taking care of any advertising that may be required to fulfil the role. When all is considered, the cost of utilising a consultancy will be more than offset by the time saved when the situation is – like in the current jobs market – one of huge numbers of applicants.” Simple Recruitment are specialists in the provision of temporary and permanent recruitment solutions across all sectors at all levels throughout Bath, Bristol, Somerset, Wiltshire and North Devon. Their team are reliable, professional and experienced with their expertise and insights aiming to both save time and cost whilst delivering value and quality to the recruitment process. ■

Jayla Wilcox

Call the Head office team on 01761 235741 or visit their offices at 7 High Street, Midsomer Norton BA3 2LE; simplerecruitmentltd.co.uk

Successful, well-established year-round language school in the centre of Bath requires

HOMESTAY HOSTS IN BATH to host both short-term and long-term students. We teach adults and teenagers, and need both single and twin-room accommodation. For further details, including rates of payment, please contact our Accommodation Manager: Sarah Wringer, Kaplan International Languages Bath, 5 Trim Street, Bath, BA1 1HB Direct Line (01225) 473502, Email: sarah.wringer@kaplan.com


ADVERTISING FEATURE

The return of the coronavirus job retention scheme

Just as we were entering the second national lockdown, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a five-month extension to the current coronavirus job retention scheme and increased the level of the next self-employed income support grant. Matthew Rutter from Bath-based chartered accountants and tax advisers PEARSON MAY looks at the changes to the scheme and further measures that have been announced…

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he Chancellor has told the House of Commons that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will now run until the end of March 2021, with employees receiving 80 per cent of their current salary for hours not worked. The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will also be increased, with the third grant covering November 2020 to January 2021 calculated at 80 per cent of average trading profits, up to a maximum of £7,500.

EXTENSION OF THE CJRS Originally due to end on 31 October 2020, the CJRS will now remain open until 31 March 2021. The scheme had already been extended to December 2020 following the announcement of a new national lockdown for England, but the Chancellor told MPs last week that it is clear the economic effects of Covid-19 will be “much longer-lasting” for businesses than the duration of any current restrictions. For claim periods running ‘through to January 2021’ (which we presume means all of November and December at least, and most probably January too), employees will receive 80 per cent of their usual salary while on furlough, subject to a cap of £2,500 per month. The CJRS extension will be reviewed in January to examine whether the economic circumstances

Matthew Rutter BSc(Hons) FCA CTA, a partner at Pearson May

are improving enough for employers to be asked to increase contributions. Meanwhile, employers will be asked to continue to cover the costs of employer national insurance and pension contributions for hours not worked. According to the government: “For an average claim, this accounts for just 5 per cent of total employment costs or £70 per employee per month.” Employers concerned about how to implement changes to working agreements retrospectively can be reassured that as long as they are consistent with employment law, furlough agreements made retrospectively, that have effect from 1 November 2020, can support a furlough grant claim. However, we understand that these retrospective agreements must have been in place on or before 13 November 2020 to be relied on for this purpose. Importantly, to access the extended CJRS, neither the employer nor the employee needs to have previously used the CJRS. To be eligible, employees merely need to have been on an employer’s PAYE payroll before midnight on 30 October (with a Real Time Information (RTI) submission notifying payment for that employee to HMRC having been made on or before 30 October). This is a significant change to the original CJRS, where the vast majority of employees had to have been furloughed for a period of at least three consecutive weeks ending on or before 30 June to enjoy continued access to the scheme through July to the end of October. It has also recently been announced that, due to the extension of the CJRS, the government will not pay the previously announced Job Retention Bonus in February as originally planned but, according to an economic factsheet accompanying the latest announcements, will instead redeploy a retention incentive “at the right time”. The Job Retention Bonus was due to be paid to employers at a rate of £1,000 per employee for those employees who had previously been furloughed, but who were retained on their employer’s payroll until at least the end of January 2021. Furthermore, the Job Support Scheme, originally due to replace the CJRS on 1 November, has been postponed, due to the extension of the CJRS.

SUPPORT FOR THE SELF-EMPLOYED The level of the third SEISS grant was increased to 80 per cent of trading profits covering November 2020 to January 2021 for all parts of the UK. It is calculated based on 80 per cent of three months’ average trading profits, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £7,500 (£2,500 per month). The window for claiming the third grant will open on a phased basis from 30 November and HMRC expects to pay grants within six working days of the date of the claim.

FURTHER MEASURES The government also announced a raft of further measures including: • Cash grants of up to £3,000 per month for businesses which are forced to close; • £1.1bn to local authorities, distributed on the basis of £20 per head, for one-off payments to enable them to support businesses more broadly; • Plans to extend existing government-backed loan schemes and the Future Fund to the end of January, and an ability to top-up Bounce Back Loans; • An extension to the mortgage payment holiday for homeowners; • Up to £500m of funding for councils to support the local public health response. The extension of the CJRS, SEISS grants, loans and mortgage holidays are all UK-wide, the Government also confirmed. The above is for general guidance only and no action should be taken without obtaining specific advice. ■

Matthew Rutter BSc(Hons) FCA CTA Pearson May Chartered Accountants & Chartered Tax Advisers Bath, Chippenham and Trowbridge 37 Great Pulteney Street, Bath BA2 4DA tel: 01225 460491; mail@pearsonmay.co.uk www.pearsonmay.co.uk www.mediaclash.co.uk I BATH LIFE I 57


ADVERTISING FEATURE

ARE YOUR AFFAIRS IN GOOD ORDER?

As this year draws to a close, local legal expert HELEN STARKIE helps us reflect…

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hat an extraordinary year! Most of us will be happy to put it behind us. But this year, more than any before, has made us reflect on our own mortality, and the break between Christmas and the New Year provides us with the ideal opportunity to review the past year and plan for a new one. It is an exercise well worth doing – and as you read this is as good a moment as any to make a start. Recent research by the Law Society shows that in England and Wales 73 per cent of those aged between 16 and 54 and 36 per cent of those over 55 have not made a Will – and that about 25 per cent of those interviewed believed that they did not need one and that their estates would pass to their family in any case. If only things were as simple as that. 34 per cent thought they did not need a Will because they had nothing worth leaving – which is certainly not borne out by the £8 million of taxes levied by the Revenue last year on estates where no Will was made. The vast majority of us would never consider omitting to insure our house or our car – not only because the latter is required by law, but because we want the peace of mind of knowing that if disaster strikes all will not be lost. And yet, thankfully, for most of us a total disaster is unlikely to occur and those claims that are made are likely to be for part only of the value of the policy. Accidents are possible but not inevitable, but to put it bluntly, death does not fall into that category! It will happen to each and every one of us, and, at the risk of sounding flippant, it will be total, not partial! So isn’t it extraordinary that whilst we see the wisdom of renewing our insurance policies each year, making a Will is seen as some sort of optional extra? If you do not have a Will the fact is that you need one – and it should be properly drawn up by a professional. Not long ago I was asked by the family of an elderly lady who had just died to obtain a Grant of Probate of a Will written by her on a form bought from the local stationers. It was only two sentences long, yet it was faulty in five different respects and did not have the effect she intended it to have. How sad for her and for her family that by ‘saving’ a few pounds, she has affectively cost them what she intended them to have. In another case we

“ACCIDENTS ARE POSSIBLE BUT NOT INEVITABLE, BUT TO PUT IT BLUNTLY DEATH DOES NOT FALL INTO THAT CATEGORY! IT WILL HAPPEN TO EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US” have just saved the beneficiaries of an estate £117,000 in inheritance tax by putting in place a Deed of Variation of a badly drawn Will. As I say, accidents are possible. They are not exclusive to the elderly. They can strike anywhere and at any age – as can illness, as the recent pandemic has illustrated only too vividly. We can ‘insure’ against accidents and debilitating illness by making a Lasting Power of Attorney to ensure that someone we trust will run things for us and make the right

decisions on our behalf if life should go wrong. (incidentally, it is a fallacy that having everything in joint names will overcome this problem. In fact joint accounts are often frozen if one account holder loses their capacity and neither party can access the funds). Are your affairs in good order? Do they really reflect your current and probable future needs? Do they save tax or other expenses which need not be paid? If not, now is the time to take action; doing so need not cost a fortune and could save you and/or your beneficiaries thousands of pounds – and save sleepless nights for you and those who will have to pick up the pieces after the event if things are in disarray. ■

Helen Starkie Solicitor 38 Gay Street, Bath, BA1 2NT; 01225 442353; www.helenstarkie.co.uk www.mediaclash.co.uk I BATH LIFE I 59


NEW YEAR

ADVERTISING FEATURE

NEW FINANCES Bath’s financial experts can help you start the year off right JONOTHAN MCCOLGAN

COMBINED FINANCIAL STRATEGIES LTD 01225 471 462; www.cfsorg.com What should be your client’s priorities at the start of the year? Tax, tax, tax! Take advantage of tax opportunities in pensions whilst you can. I am exceptionally worried that income tax relief on pensions could be eroded in the coming years as the government looks for ways to pay for the costs of the pandemic and Brexit. If you are an additional or higher rate taxpayer with savings you should consider putting as much as you can afford into pensions whilst you can still benefit from 40-45 per cent tax relief. What advice would you give to somebody considering retirement? If you have not drawn your tax-free cash of 25 per cent of your pension, then you might want to consider doing so as this is another tax advantage that could come under threat. But please be careful though! It could have unintended financial consequences like

WILL DIXON

WILLIAM DIXON & ASSOCIATES LTD 01225 874102; www.wdanda.com How does the financial planning process work? Initially, we would tailor your requirements with the appropriate adviser. The adviser would then sit down and discuss what you are looking to achieve with a view to investing or planning for retirement needs. Once we’ve established your goals, we will work with you to create a bespoke, tailored plan to ensure that you achieve your personal financial objectives. What advice would you give somebody considering retirement? We always encourage clients to conduct some of their own research into their retirement options with perhaps an appointment with PensionWise. However, we feel that sitting down with a financial adviser, who can advise you on your own individual circumstances and create a bespoke cashflow model of your retirement income is essential to understanding your options and can help you to make the right decisions and maximise your income in retirement. What should be your clients priorities at the start of the year? You should always plan early in the New Year to ensure that you are making best use of your tax efficient allowances. Typically, this will involve maximising your ISA and pension contributions and possibly other tax efficient plans such as Venture Capital Trusts. Don’t leave it until the end of March to do this and make a rushed decision just before tax year end. 60 I BATH LIFE I www.mediaclash.co.uk

increasing inheritance tax, so please discuss this with a professional before doing so. What are the best investments you could advise your clients to make? Investing can be made out to be exceptionally complicated when in fact the main concepts are quite easy to understand. There are only really four main ‘assets’ you can invest in – cash, fixed interest, commercial property and shares. None of these assets will go up in value all the time. As cash moves through the economic cycle, different assets will do well at different stages. Everything will get its day in the sun eventually. However, this also means that the sun will stop shining on each and every asset eventually. This is why instead of chasing the next ‘big thing’, investors should be looking at how to build a well spread portfolio that is suitable for their long-term plans and appropriate for the amount of risk that they are willing to take. Investing is for life not just for Christmas. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.


ADVERTISING FEATURE

DAN SMITH

SOUTH WEST BUSINESS FINANCE (SWBF) 01225 800849 www.swbf.co.uk What’s one piece of advice you would give every business owner at the start of the calendar year? Though business owners are always busy, I would suggest they take some time to reflect on whether they have the right funding structures in place to achieve their goals for the next 12 months. It is important to note that the deadline for CBILS applications has been extended to the end of January 2021 so it is a key time to consider if you need this support for your business before that date. Although the funding landscape is difficult to navigate, there are lenders out there who want to help. What advice do you have for clients starting the year concerned and worried about their finances? Speak to an expert and build a relationship with someone who you can trust to talk to about your finances. We can sit down with you, provide advice about your funding structures and help you navigate the plethora of funding options in the market that you might not be aware of. There are over 200 alternative lenders in the market who are ready and willing to support businesses, often where mainstream banks have closed doors to them. As a Commercial Finance Broker, we are ideally placed to guide you through the finance market: we know the lenders available, their strengths and weaknesses and how they want proposals presented to ensure a swift and competitive response. What should be your clients’ priorities at the start of the year? Decide what is important for you in sourcing finance; whether it be rate, term, flexibility, requirements to give security, or having a relationship with the lender. As they say ‘Cash is King’ and understanding where your cashflow will be is vital to success in the coming year.

GARETH REES BREWIN DOLPHIN

01225 487772; www.brewin.co.uk/bath How does the financial planning process work? We help our clients get clarity on where they are now and where they want to get to financially. We then help to get them there quicker and more efficiently than they could do without advice. Lots of people are afraid to know their existing financial position and take the ‘ostrich approach’, but most people we speak to are pleasantly surprised with the process of taking advice. It’s a great feeling to get clarity and to have a firm plan of action to optimise your resources. What advice would you give to somebody considering retirement? From both a health and financial perspective, phase into retirement if you possibly can. It is a big change and takes some getting used to. Not everyone is this fortunate but if possible, move from working five days, to three days, to retired over a set period. In that way, you can wind down into retirement and blend salary with investment or pension income until you are fully reliant on your capital to provide the life you require. What are the best investments you could advise your clients to make? For certainty and peace of mind, pay off expensive debts, if you can. For long-term growth, buy shares in good companies and hold them for a very long time, preferably forever. What constitutes a good company is something we can help you with. The opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily the views held throughout Brewin Dolphin Ltd. The value of investments can fall and you may get back less than you invested. No investment is suitable in all cases and if you have any doubts as to an investment’s suitability then you should contact us.

www.mediaclash.co.uk I BATH LIFE I 61


PROPERTY

© R BERNSTEIN

P L A C E S T O L I V E , W O R K A N D P L AY

GOOD MANORS Claverton Manor urgently requires roof repairs

Part of the American Folk Art Gallery

Claverton Manor, which houses the American Museum, receives a lifeline grant

Claverton Manor is set to receive a lifeline grant towards essential restoration from the Historic Houses Foundation, with the work due to start early next year. The Regency mansion is home to the only American Museum of Decorative and Folk Art outside the United States and urgently needs repairs to the roof to prevent further damage to the museum’s interiors and its special exhibitions, which at the moment is Night & Day: 1930s Fashion and Photographs. Museum director Richard Wendorf says, “This funding is part of the government’s Cultural Recovery Fund in collaboration with Historic England. This will not only help us to preserve our distinctive Grade I listed building, set in unique gardens and parkland in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, but will also protect our unique museum collection from damage caused by the elements. “We are immensely grateful to the Foundation for helping us to preserve our unique building and institution for future generations to enjoy. This project will make a significant contribution to our organisational sustainability and protect jobs in the culture and heritage sector at this unprecedented, critical time.” For more: www.americanmuseum.org

*T&C’s apply

1% OF THE FEE YOU PAY IS DONATED TO YOUR LOCAL PRIMARY SCHOOL* With normal fundraising for schools being non-existent they need our help more than ever. Help us to help your school by selling your home with Bath Stone Property.

Sales and Letting Contact the Bath Stone Property team today for help and advice on how we can get you moving safely.

Visit us online: www.bathstoneproperty.com | Tel: 01225 422224


PROPERTY Projects

WHAT’S IN STORE?

Hobson’s Choice, the Bath-based luxury kitchen and bathroom designers and fitters, have recently completed a major kitchen renovation locally. Charlotte Wright, who was the design consultant for the work, explains, “My brief was to maximise storage, while achieving a great kitchen to work and live in, with the emphasis on the feeling of space; light, and openness. “There is a soil pipe that runs down in the corner of the room and had previously been on full display when you enter the room. Using Bulthaup’s shallow depth, tall cabinet with their range of individual internal drawers and pull-outs, we were able to create a fantastic dry larder, which is ideally positioned for the main cooking area.” For more: www.hobsonschoice.uk.com Part of the brief was to create a sense of space, light, and openness

A full height larder with pull out drawers ensures a space for everything

Hobson’s Choice Charlotte Wright

BELOW: The home is situated on the Newbridge Road; RIGHT: Each of the bedrooms has its own en suite

Luxe lets

LET UP A six-bedroom with seven substantial bathrooms has

come up to rent. The commanding and handsome semi-detached family home, situated near Chelsea Road, features fine architectural features including tall corniced ceilings and large bay windows. The kitchen has recently been renovated and extended and the Newbridge property comes with a home office, plenty of off-street parking, and a garage. The home, which was previously Bridge House B&B, is currently available to let for £3,500 per month. For more: www.hamptons.co.uk

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PROPERTY

BLOOMFIELD HOUSE This exquisite 10-bedroom mansion just hit the market By Matilda Walton

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I

t was recently remarked to me how familiar we are with the sounds of our homes – the scratch of the key in the lock, the crack of the sticky light switch, the creak and scuff of door over carpet – it becomes an extension of our senses. How strange it feels, when we consider this knowing, this extension of self, is something we share with the unknown inhabitants to come before and after us. The four walls around us are set in time, and we’re just a moment within them. It’s strange, but kind of comforting too. In simply being, you form part of the evolving history of the house, leaving your mark for future inhabitants to discover, undo and then recover, again. Of course, some histories are longer than others. Bloomfield House, a remarkable Grade II Listed Georgian mansion on the southern slopes of Bath, is filled with stories waiting to be discovered. Thought to be a work of Thomas Baldwin – the architect credited with many of Bath’s most famous buildings (and known for his notoriously shady finances) – the house packs an


HOUSE NUMBERS Guide price

£2.25 million

Square foot

5,752

Bedrooms

10

Reception rooms

4

Additional accommodation 2 independent flats Outside Large gravel parking area and garden For more Strutt & Parker; 13 Hill Street, London, W1J 5LQ; tel 020 7629 7282; www.struttandparker.com

atmospheric punch from the moment you step through its ornate stone gate piers. Likely once the town house of a high society Georgian family (where they would have spent the season going to balls, strolling the lawns and, most importantly, be seen doing so, before retreating back to the countryside for winter), and more recently a luxury guest house – many lives have passed through its four floors over the centuries. Now, it awaits its new inhabitants. It’s a stop and stare property, truly. Set a little back from Bloomfield Road, visitors are drawn up the large gravelled parking area to gaze on the acanthustopped stone pilasters that border the garden façade. Balustraded steps lead then to the intriguing bowed entrance porch where two grand panelled doors welcome you inside the elegant home. The architecture is exquisite throughout: mouldings and carved architraves reach across the high ceilings to the sash windows, many of which feature working shutters, with fireplaces forming the focal points of many of the rooms. Downstairs, the expansive living

space orients around the complementary arrangement of the bowed entrance at the front of the house, the elliptical reception hall and the wide bay window at the rear. With ten bedrooms set across the two middle floors and two self-contained flats on the lower ground floor, Bloomfield House presents an array of options. The flats might be a potential money maker – or perhaps in the new times a convenient base for home workers. Outside, the gardens befit the interiors. A beautiful established expanse of open lawn – all the better for Georgian-style turns about the garden (parasol optional) – flowing out towards pretty shrub borders. It’s very much an area of relaxation right now, but there is ample space for a veg patch or two if 2020 has you keen to explore self-sufficiency. Period living enthusiasts often refer to themselves as custodians of their homes, revelling in the unwinding of their pasts while ensuring their longevity into the future. Whoever steps into the role at Bloomfield House is a very lucky custodian indeed.

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PROPERTY

THE VILLAGE GREEN

W

The eco-credentials of Bath’s new builds

ith landfill waste, climate change and the loss of green spaces high on the global agenda, we are all being encouraged to reflect on the choices we make and how they impact on the planet. From the car we drive to the journeys we make and from the food we eat to the packaging it comes in. It makes sense one of the biggest differences we can make is the home we buy. Here we look at three local new developments to learn more about their eco-credentials and over on page 71 talk to the architect Mark Lord, who discusses how the green agenda influences the early stages of planning. BAILBROOK LANE, BATH is a development of two individual contemporary luxury homes being developed by Ashford Homes; www.ashford-homes.co.uk Questions answered by Stuart Morgan, the design and planning director of Ashford Homes

How energy efficient are your new homes?

One of the main benefits of buying a newbuild property is that you are likely to save

money on energy bills, resulting in significant savings in the long run. In our Bailbrook Lane development in Batheaston, both properties have an air-source heat pump which provides a clean way to heat buildings, free of all carbon emissions on site. It makes use of energy in the ambient air to provide an energy-efficient way of heating buildings, meaning they are a great way to cut energy bills for heating the home. Air source heat pumps generate three times as much thermal energy (heat) as is used in electrical energy to drive the system, using far less energy than a traditional boiler. Do you use smart technology?

We offer smart technology with all our homes, with heating and hot water controllable via smartphone, tablet, and remote operation over the internet. The thermostats are engineered to learn from the user and their home, and will know when to keep them comfortable when they are in and save energy while they are out. Your homes have ‘green roofs’. Explain what that means...

At Bailbrook Lane, each home has been

meticulously designed and crafted for modern day living with large, light-filled rooms housed under a sedum green roof. There are many benefits to a sedum roof at economic, ecological and societal levels. A green roof provides a rainwater buffer, reduces the ambient temperature and regulates the indoor temperature. Additionally, they create a natural habitat for flora and fauna and aid biodiversity, encouraging a wider spread of species in the area. Butterflies are particularly attracted to sedum. The roofs improve air quality as vegetation assists in filtering out both gaseous pollutants and dust particles. Furthermore, they aid in reducing the building’s carbon footprint through lowering building running costs. And what about the homes’ location?

The properties are surrounded by a wildflower meadow, enhancing the landscape character and increasing habitat diversity. Groups of native species shrubs have been positioned to break up views from the top of the lane while still affording wider panoramic views. Additionally, native shrubs have been planted along the boundaries to enhance biodiversity and provide an ecology corridor for wildlife. Bailbrook Lane in Beatheaston is being developed by Ashford Homes

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A Georgian style home Holburne Park; inset: Acorn Property Group are the developers behind the new Cubis Bruton

“All site clearance work was carried out outside bird nesting season in order to minimise disruption for wildlife�


Do you use locally sourced materials?

We ensure that materials on all our developments are sourced within the local area, wherever possible. Bath Stone is used throughout our developments in the area, along with sustainably sourced wood. What happens to building waste?

One of Ashford Homes key performance indicators is to have at least 80 per cent of mixed waste removed from site to be recycled. We employ a local waste management contractor to collect waste from all our sites who pride themselves on diverting almost all of it from landfill and strive to find new and alternative means of recycling, reusing and reducing site waste. Much of the waste they collect is now sent to ‘waste to energy’ facilities across the South West. HOLBURNE PARK is a large new Bath development of Georgian-style terraced houses, villas and apartments with landscaped estate approach, located in a parkland and is being marketed through Savills; www.savills.co.uk Questions answered by Ed Gunnery, director of the Holburne Park’s developers, Hardrock Developments Tell us about the energy efficiency of Holburne Park

The houses at Holburne Park have a highly efficient building fabric to minimise energy losses. There is provision for future installation of electronic vehicle charging (EVC) points to align with government requirements in relation to the uptake of electronic vehicles to reduce carbon emissions. Water efficiency measures, energy efficient LED lighting, high efficiency A-rated gas fired condensing boiler and energy efficient heating controls are provided to all properties.

Efficient heating controls are as standard in the new Holburne Park homes

What about renewable energy sources?

A selection of properties have a renewable energy source in the form of photovoltaic panels to generate carbon-free electricity for consumption or export. Photovoltaic technology on future phases are provided as part of local authority sustainability criteria, with the proposed technology at Holburne Park providing a reduction in carbon emissions over and above the local policy requirements. Fibre optic cabling for ultrafast broadband connectivity is provided to all properties for smart technology connections.

A new Bath home built by Greenheart Sustainable Construction

“It is important that a fine balance between an aesthetic and a green agenda is struck” Are there green spaces at the development?

The houses at Holburne Park all have private gardens with grassed area. Holburne Park itself sits within a landscaped parkland setting, which comprises over a third of the 17-acre development. The landscaped park at Holburne Park wraps around the northern and eastern edge of the development and slopes down to the tree-lined banks of the Kennet and Avon Canal. It uniquely borders the edge of greenbelt, linking to the beautiful rural valleys of Bathampton, as well as being an easy walk to the centre of Bath. The slopes of the park enjoy fantastic and far-reaching views over the picturesque Georgian city and along the nearby wildlife corridor of the canal. What about the plantlife and fauna?

In the design of the park we have created a mix of areas with open sun, dappled light and deep shade, to echo the classic Georgian parkland design. We have used native trees and plants to reinforce the existing native planting and to enhance the natural character of the landscape. We have introduced a network of

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PROPERTY

A CGI of the Bath micro-pods Mark is working on

meandering paths and strategically located seats to enjoy the views. We have provided natural play equipment for children and a trim trail for more active users. In addition to the trees and planting we have designed for the animals that use this wildlife corridor, we’ve incorporated bat boxes and swift hotels.

IN THE PLANNING

Architect Mark Lord on how aesthetics and the green agenda co-habit With environmental sustainability and climate change being a priority for all involved in the design and construction industry, government and councils are enforcing change through local and national policy, setting targets and implementing strategies to reduce CO2 over the next decade. In Bath, B&NES have set a CO2 reduction target of 45 per cent by 2029. Designing new-build schemes in a UNESCO World Heritage city brings with it a number of opportunities and constraints, many of which influence the design; from materiality and scale to form and function.  One of our latest schemes is a micro home, situated to the west of the city on a plot segregated from the south-west garden of an existing fivebedroom family home. The initial client brief included the requirement for a sustainable and cost-effective approach to construction, utilising where possible UK and locally sourced materials, manufacture and labour.  Our proposal draws material precedent from its surrounding context, utilising high quality and ethically sourced materials. The concept is a juxtaposed pair of pods – one for living, the other for sleeping, the two connected by a central glazed atrium with a south-westerly aspect and an internal courtyard. A series of carefully crafted courtyards with low planter walls and a mixture of mature and semi mature evergreens and perennials, complement the design and help it to comfortably blend with its surroundings. A wildflower garden is proposed as one of four pocket gardens and is intended to increase biodiversity, whilst the boundary between the host plot and the proposed consists of fifty two-metre high evergreen English Yew. In the design of new-build homes be they one-off schemes like the our ‘Pod House’ or multi home residential masterplans, it is important that a fine balance between an aesthetic and a green agenda is struck, the two are not always thought to co-exist but we are excited to see how industry changes and architect’s ingenuity meet in the years to come.  For more: www.lordarchitecture.co.uk

CUBIS BRUTON, BRUTON, a contemporary development providing 56 houses being developed by Acorn Property Group; www.acornpropertygroup.org Questions answered by Robin Squire, Acorn’s regional managing director

Tell us about the early planning stages in relation to the eco-impact of Cubis Bruton?

A full environmental impact assessment was carried out at the planning stage, along with a number of ecological surveys. The results of these surveys were then accommodated into the development plan and build timetable, as they revealed a number of protected trees and animal habitats. Bat and bird boxes were installed to surrounding trees and full ecologist surveys were undertaken prior to hedge removal. All site clearance work was carried out outside bird nesting season in order to minimise disruption for wildlife on the site. What about the construction of the homes?

The houses are of timber frame construction, using sustainable resourced local timber, the precise construction of which also creates a more energy efficient building. Enhanced insulation has also been added to the walls, floors and roofs – with Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery (MVHR) systems and triple glazed high efficiency windows throughout. All timber cladding, render and stone has been locally sourced, with surface (grey) water for the site managed using an attenuation pond. Planting for the site has also been planned to blend with the existing landscape. Some homes have green roofs too?

Yes, these allow for a range of planting options and provide important microclimates for birdlife and other species, whilst also improving air quality due to the filtering mechanism of the plants and substrate. And inside the houses?

Boilers used are energy efficient and run on gas, which supply both hot water and heat for the ‘wet’ under-floor heating. The homes also benefit from smart meters, which allow owners to digitally monitor their gas and electricity consumption, and LED lighting is used throughout to offer superior, more efficient and cleaner lighting. With infrastructure for electric car charging points provided as standard, these forwardlooking houses are ‘future proofed’ as fully as possible to allow for further developments in specification and technology.

The homes at Cubis Bruton benefit from smart meters

NORTH ROAD IN BATH, a new home built by Greenheart,​specialists in sustainable design and build; www.greenheartuk.com Questions answered by Greenheart Sustainable Construction’s project manager and director, Alastair Scott

How would you describe your approach to sustainable construction?

We focus on a fabric first approach whereby insulation, air-tightness and limited solar gain and excessive window area, is considered as the primary driver in the design, resulting in a superbly comfortable home that is very easy to live in with very little need for energy input. Tell us about the materials used for the North Road build  

Recycled plastics where plastic is necessary, otherwise recycled or solid timber products from sustainable sources as the primary building structure. And where possible, the cladding materials are UK sourced timber and local stone.    How do you recycle site waste?

Efficient ordering and cutting of timbers keeps waste down. Majority of waste is product packaging and small offcuts. 98 per cent of waste taken off site is recycled. n

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ADVERTISING FEATURE

The importance of Christmas and home this unique year

I

Peter Greatorex from THE APARTMENT COMPANY is feeling festive…

don’t want a lot for Christmas/ There is just one thing I need/ I don’t care about the presents/ Underneath the Christmas tree... These words resonate more than ever this year. As Christmas is fast approaching, we are all dreaming of spending some special time with the ones we love. With the government’s Christmas bubble plan now announced, many of us are working out the logistics of what Christmas this year will look like. But one thing we know for sure is that our homes will be the centrepiece of our festivities. At The Apartment Company, every day we are welcomed into people’s homes. We see apartments of all shapes and sizes, those that are steeped in history and the ones that still have that scent of fresh paint. Yet regardless of the owners, and the reason they have or are purchasing their abode, what they all agree on is that this apartment feels like home. But what does home really mean?

Home encompasses so many things, but above all it is a place that makes us feel secure – and how we have needed that feeling of safety this year. Homes are places filled with laughter; their walls may see many tears, but at the heart of it all is love. As you wander along the streets of Bath and look around, you may gaze at the houses and apartments that surround you, and that could be all that you see. But when you work in property you see more than bricks and mortar, you see homes filled with stories and memories, places that are cherished and adored. You can see how precious our homes have become. Like a member of our family, we take care of them and can’t imagine our lives without them. What has become absolutely apparent this year, as we see the abundance of lights sparkling in the night sky, and decorated trees adding colour and beauty to many a room, is that we are needing Christmas to start earlier. A traditional Christmas built around family, one centred on what

is truly important and not material things, making memories that will last for generations to come. What would we be without our memories, and our quirky family traditions? They form who we are. Our memories and homes are wrapped together, filled with our hopes and dreams, and where would we be without dreams? So cherish every memory this year, and make some new ones too – because this Christmas, more than Christmases past and future, will be unique in so many ways. But we know what your home’s wish is: More than you could ever know/ Make its wish come true/ All it wants for Christmas is you. n

For more advice visit our blog at www.theapartmentcompany.co.uk Sales: 01225 471144 Lettings: 01225 303870


INTERIOR DESIGN

Design is an intensely collaborative process, says Verity. Everyone in the team has something to contribute to the final look

LIFE AT THE HIGH END Verity Woolf of WOOLF Interior, Architecture & Design talks luxury design, trends, and her dream bathroom

Words by Lydia Tewkesbury

V

erity Woolf, the founder and residential and commercial design director of WOOLF, is a new face on Bath’s interior design landscape. With 25 years of experience and a flourishing London office already, she is returning to her roots with her move back to the city, where she attended Westonbirt School as a teenager. The Bath office is a welcome addition to our high-end design sector. WOOLF has an office in London and now has this Bath addition – why did you chose Bath?

For me Bath is uplifting, it is grace and beauty every day. It is a magnificent city full of 18th century buildings, sweeping crescents, classical architecture, gorgeous landscapes, Roman history and modern structures. I could not possibly live anywhere that is not absolutely beautiful.

We love the work that you’ve designed for private clients and hotels; what are you working on at the moment?

We have been really lucky with the variety of recent projects; a gorgeous country house in Cork, Ireland, a Victorian family

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home that we are converting into a modern residence and an art deco penthouse in London. We have also been working in Bath and surrounding areas on residential projects and we are in the process of appraising some local hospitality ventures.

Have you seen the shift to home working reflected in any of your projects?

Yes, in particular hotels and members clubs have been opening up co-working environments within their settings. These kinds of environments are emerging as alternatives to working in a traditional office setting. It has really opened up working environments for all of us. We previously converted a Manor House in Oxford into a boutique hotel and during the lockdown, we were undertaking a second phase of works creating a great co-working space for guests. What’s your WFH set up like?

The creative industries – and the interior design especially – require space to develop schemes and to design. Working together is still an essential part of our working method and the collaborative element in our studio is still at the core of what we do, which is why I have a studio


“I could not possibly live anywhere that is not absolutely beautiful�

Verity has noticed that the pandemic has brought with it something of a turn away from the trend for open plan living


At WOOLF, Verity rejects the notion of a signature style – she and the team would rather work on a variety of projects

“What motivates us and what we love is working on a variety of design challenges”


INTERIOR DESIGN in Bath and London. When not in my studio I have a quiet office to work in at home. My desk faces the garden and I am surrounded by history and design books, fabrics and ornaments – it is a great space for focusing on our projects. Many are now struggling to keep work and home separate – what advice would you give from a design perspective?  

It’s interesting because British Victorian, Edwardian or Georgian houses have traditionally been designed to be incredibly compartmentalised. During the last few decades in the UK, we have been influenced by the notion of having large, light, open-plan spaces with little compartmentalisation, except for in bedrooms and bathrooms. Now that we find ourselves living slightly differently, it is interesting to consider the balance between designing open spaces, alongside more compartmentalised spaces. We probably all benefit from creating some private and quieter spaces and to allow for larger, noisier spaces to coexist. Is there a particular area of Bath would you recommend to someone looking to move here?

The thing I love about Bath and the surrounding areas is that the city undulates with unexpected streets, shops, alleyways, coffee shops, a new view or landscape. The momentum in Bath is extraordinary given its historic roots and there is a constant discovery of new landscape, which is hard to capture. A new arrival might prefer the historic momentum of the city or the sublime tranquillity of the countryside. One thing is for sure, no matter where you move to, you must have a pair of walking boots and an umbrella. You can such an array of interior design work to your portfolio. Can you single out one project you have absolutely loved?

What motives us and what we love is working on a variety of design challenges. For that reason, we deliberately do not have a signature style and we tailor our design work to either the brief of a private commission or hotel brand. This means that each project we work on is completely different and that is what makes the work interesting for us. A type of project I do love is where we take on an historic building and we restore really great period details, textures and tones whilst curating

above: Verity Woolf, founder and commercial and residential design director of WOOLF; left: It’s all about the small details

some contemporary art work – this combination creates a stunning setting. When our client is undoubtedly happy with the result, that is a golden project.

Tell us about your own home. What do you love about it and why did you design it the way you have?

Not very many designers or architects ever truly finish their own homes. We are exposed to so many amazing suppliers, products and innovative ideas every single day, which makes it incredibly difficult to ever complete your own home. In a sense a designer’s home is a constantly evolving work in progress. My homes are based upon texture and lighting layering. Artwork is essential too, it really lifts my spirits. My house is filled with kids and dogs, and my husband is in the music business so there has to be a space for sound and play. My home environment needs to be super practical and in no way precious. I love a dining room – a good space for eating with family and friends is really important to me. From a style perspective, I like to be fluid with ideas and that is probably when I am most comfortable. What’s your dream project?

That is a hard one. My dream project is probably where we enhance the innate aesthetic of a building with a fantastically intriguing history – one that we can convert into something that is beautiful, relevant, comfortable and super elegant. That brief could be a country house hotel or a very urban residence. Design is collaborative; a dream project happens when you work with an exceptionally experienced and passionate team.

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INTERIOR DESIGN Georgian V Modern: where do you stand on how they work together?

It is generally accepted that you can introduce modern design into a traditionally Georgian environment, or you can introduce Georgian elements into a fantastically modern space. Some individuals want to strip the Georgian feel out of an interior but retain the Georgian exterior, while others will want to retain all the Georgian characteristics and restore the history of the building in a precise and exacting manner. In many senses when you live in a Georgian house you are ultimately the custodian of that space. In our Sion Hill project for example, we retained and enhanced the inherent Georgian features of the house but decorated it in a really contemporary manner so that it was fitting for a modern young family. What does your dream bathroom look like?

My dream bathroom is the bathroom that I don’t have to share with anyone! We have designed many bathrooms and have learnt some golden rules. I prefer a bathroom that has got sympathetic lighting, incredibly forgiving mirrors, perfect climate control, a large, powerful shower, hot towels, wide counter tops and good storage capacity. Ideally it has a great view and space for a comfortable piece of beautiful furniture. I am a huge fan of artwork or wallpaper in a bathroom, too. One of the best bathrooms that I have experienced is in Eastnor Castle in Malvern. They just got it so right. What about kitchen design? Are there any trends we should be on the lookout for?

Kitchen design has evolved from the room being a functional peripheral space, to the most important and sometimes largest room in the house. That is because people want to experiment with food and they want to be able to experience eating together and to commune in the kitchen as much as possible. In the last few years kitchen design has become less standardised and more characterful – customers are now able to personalise their kitchens as they never have before.

above: Verity takes visual references from a range of sources; left: Artwork lifts the spirits

Are there any designers whose work you have been particularly influenced by?

WOOLF was conceived somewhere between Carlo Scarpa’s detailed innovative use of materials and John Minshaw’s harmonious design of contemporary interiors in a period setting. They were designers who specialised in ‘Interior Architecture’ and whom I could consider our predecessors. Over the years we have looked at designers outside of the UK in America, Australia, North Africa, the Middle East and in Russia, where we have also worked. I think you can take your visual references from a plethora of sources. What inspires you?

I am inspired most by working collaboratively. WOOLF was set up more as a studio collective and less as a design practice based upon my own signature style. The most inspiring work that we have done has been when we have collaborated with amazing architects, consultants, artists and the incredibly talented individuals who work in our studios. Craftsmen across the UK and indeed globally, who are immersed in their own specialism are inspiring in the work that they produce for us. Inspirations can be derived from all around us. In Bath, the architecture of the Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian era is intriguing, particularly when we consider the history of the buildings and how they have changed use over time. For more: WOOLF Interior, Architecture & Design Broome House, Upper Lansdown Mews, Bath; tel: 01225 445670; www.woolfinterior.com Got an amazing local home? Want it to feature in Residence? Contact lydia.tewkesbury@mediaclash.co.uk

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


“WOOLF was conceived somewhere between Carlo Scarpa’s detailed, innovative use of materials and John Minshaw’s harmonious design of contemporary interiors in a period setting”

Verity says her favourite work has been born of collaboration


ADVERTISING FEATURE

FOR THE HOME Our local businesses are poised and ready to help with all your home needs for winter

KUTCHENHAUS

Kutchenhaus have opened a brand new showroom in the heart of Bath bringing their beautifully designed and highly engineered German kitchens to the city. Owner Rob Cash and his experienced and talented team look after every customer through the journey from enquiry to completion, creating kitchens of the highest standard at affordable prices. 5 Saracen St, Bath BA1 5BR; Tel: 01225 634025; www.kutchenhaus.co.uk/showroom/bath

KELLY MARIE KITCHEN INTERIORS

CLAIR STRONG INTERIOR DESIGN

www.clairstrong.co.uk

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

BATH KITCHEN COMPANY

ETONS OF BATH

Working from her beautiful showroom and with over 15 years’ experience in the kitchen industry, Kelly Marie has built a strong reputation. She combines technical aspects of design with an intrinsic creativity, producing functional yet beautiful spaces. Her portfolio includes luxury German made kitchens and Italian painted shaker kitchens. Full design and installation service. Tel: 01225 481881

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

WESTSIDE DESIGN

CHEVERELL

www.westsidedesign.co.uk

www.cheverell.co.uk

www.kellymariekitchens.com

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

MENDIP FIREPLACES

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

www.bathkitchencompany.co.uk

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; Tel: 01380 722722;

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

BONITI

Boniti is based on the outskirts of Bath and offers a wide range of quality interior and exterior products: natural stone and timber flooring, Everhot range cookers, garden furniture and Kadai firebowls. As well as the vast selection of products on offer, a friendly and personal service is at the heart of all that they do. Dunsdon Barn, West Littleton,Wiltshire SN14 8JA; Tel: 01225 892 200; www.boniti.com www.mediaclash.co.uk I BATH LIFE I 81


BATH LIVES

“It has, and will always be, about 3 o’clock on a Saturday afternoon” charged, and were all released the next morning. Before going to college, I was a baker boy, getting up at 4am to

JERRY GILL

Bath City Football Club’s manager on his one-day spell in prison and his touchline tactics West Country born and bred Jerry had a 14-year career as a professional footballer playing for Birmingham City, Northampton Town, and Cheltenham Town amongst other clubs. He has also worked as a coach and a scout, including as a European scout for Norwich City which entailed many early morning Sunday trips to Italy, Germany, Holland and Spain to look for talent. After a spell in India working as an international football coach at the American Embassy, Jerry was appointed Bath City FC manager in October 2017. I am the middle child of three.

My mum Suzanne worked in the local village bakery whilst Dad Jim, was a long-distance lorry driver. Mum and Dad have been married 54 years to date and are the most amazing parents any child could have wished for.

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

My grandad was the local blacksmith, I enjoyed days with

him, he was a very old fashioned, strong West Country man that lived off his land and enjoyed his gardening. He could often be found in his greenhouse dozing off with a glass of homemade scrumpy, rustic bread, and cheese with tomatoes off the vine at his side. Those amazing organic smells have stayed with me for life. Football has always been my life from a very young age, it’s

my passion. I began supporting Liverpool when I was a very young lad and watched them win the European Cup in 1977. They have stayed my team to this day. I have been locked up in a police cell. I was part of the ill-

fated Bristol Rovers youth team tour of Germany aged 14 and we were all locked up in police cells overnight. It was a terrifying time, but fortunately we were not

cycle to the shop to start my shift. On those cold winter mornings that was tough to drag myself out of bed. I have been a plasterer labourer for my brother and before I went professional at football, I was a sales rep for a sports ground amenity company.

The long term injuries I suffered as a player are the hardest to deal with. I spent

a year not playing whilst at Northampton aged 32 years old, having ruptured my anterior cruciate ligament playing against Tranmere. Then at 39 years old I fractured my eye socket and cheekbone in four places whilst playing for Forest Green Rovers. Days injured doing rehab can be very lonely but, as I approached all my days as a footballer, I gave it all I had to get back playing. These challenges are what define you as a person.

My most prized footballing possessions are my England cap

and shirt from representing the England non-league team; my promotion medals to the Premier League and League 1; and my playing shirts. As a player and manager I absolutely love the feeling of being part of a team,

winning after giving it all you have as a group. The banter and camaraderie are what it’s all about.

I get a lot of satisfaction in player development and setting up a team to get the better of an opposition on match day. I am a combination of things on the touchline. I like to think,

and give the players tactical information but I must admit sometimes I can get too involved emotionally but I have worked hard on this. Others will probably say I am fully engrossed in the game on the touchline. It’s been amazing to finish in the play-offs the last two seasons but not quite able to get

over the line for promotion. I want to ensure we can improve year on year as a club on and off the pitch. We have done that and it’s proven in that average attendances, before the pandemic, were up 56 per cent to around 1,100. I am really proud to have played at every level of the game and won four promotions

including one to the Premier League with Birmingham City. Now as a coach / manager I am hungry to bring Bath City some success, whilst trying to push myself to the highest possible level I can get to as a manager.

I’ve never been motivated by the money or possessions.

It has, and will always be, about 3 o’clock on a Saturday afternoon – that buzz and excitement in your tummy never goes. n For more: www.bathcityfc.com


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Bath Life - Issue 433  

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