Bath Life – Issue 440

Page 1

ISSUE 440 / 26 MARCH – 8 APRIL 2021/ £3





























above: Experts offer new perspectives

on our homes (page 12)

below: One of the incredible and

beautiful artefacts up for a Bath auction (page12)


hen we moved house a few years ago – to a wide 1950s semi from a Victorian terrace – I was obsessed with knocking down walls. I had adored our tall, thin, many-levels, home but it could also be dark and shadowy, even on the sunniest of days, so in this new place I was determined to let the light pour in from all angles. I totally honeycombed the downstairs – utility to kitchen to dining room to living room, one big L-shaped, light-filled, open space. My husband was not in agreement – he had been eyeing up the dining room as a storage space /solo listening booth for his vast, and ever-increasing, collection of vinyl. A compromise was reached – bi-fold doors. And I thank the Lord now he gets his own way sometimes. With all of us at home over the last year, the words, ‘While you’re up, can you please shut that door?’ has been said more than the ‘You’re on mute’ catchphrase. Privacy, peace, the space to do our own thing – it’s been the sanity saviour for so many of us – and according to our experts on page 12, many of these changes to our home life in terms of structure, décor, and living arrangements are here to stay, including the re-introduction of closed rooms. Oops! One thing I cannot wait to change though is the lifting of restrictions for our pubs, restaurants and cafés. Over on page 60 is a lovingly, longingly compiled list of 16 Bath indies hoping to open their outdoors to us on 12 April. From roof terraces with curries to courtyards with cake, all of them working so hard to be Covid-compliant but still ensure we have a wonderful time with them – they deserve our thanks, and our trade. And as you may have noticed this issue is a bumper one, brimming with even more Bath-centric positivity, stories, news, interviews, features, and things to do – I think we can safely say better times are rolling round fast…


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Issue 440 / 26 March – 8 April 2021 COVER Paradisa wallpaper from House of Hackney is available through Rossiters of Bath;


12 How lockdown has influenced and shaped our homes and

its décor, and the changes that are here to stay


45 ARTS INTRO The car park production of David

Walliams’ Billionaire Boy

46 WHAT’S ON Art, dance and stand up comedy you can

enjoy from home

48 THEATRE Anna O’Callaghan selects her top ten

Theatre Royal Bath performances

51 BOOKS Nic Bottomley helps you choose your destiny 52 DREAM SPACE Meet Bath’s storytellers for change


57 INTRO Choc on Choc deliver half a dozen very special

Easter eggs

58 EDITOR’S CHOICE We’re loco for cocoa


60 OUTDOOR SPACES Al fresco spots we can’t wait to visit 68 REVIEW Delicious organic recipe kits from Riverford 70 TRY 5 The best of Bath’s letterbox bakes 71 FOOD & DRINK NEWS Catch up with Bath’s latest


happenings and a new industry event

74 ZERO WASTE Say no to single-use plastic with the help

of these Bath indies


80 WALKS A nature-filled walk from the Bath Natural

History Society


85 BATHWORKS News, views and interviews from the best

of our local businesses and companies

88 BIZ Q&A Ann Lloyd-James of Glitterati Prom on helping

teens find the perfect dress


129 PROPERTY INTRO Some good news for the Bath

property scene

132 PROPERTY NEWS Longleat’s fascinating renovation

project and new offices for Aspire To Move

140 SHOWCASE Explore the one-time home of a British PM


6 SPOTLIGHT Actor Ralph Fiennes comes to Bath 9 FLATLINE Flats isn’t convinced the great outdoors is all

that great

146 LIVES James Gwinnett shares his story of recovery


Editor Sarah Moolla Deputy editor Lydia Tewkesbury Managing editor Deri Robins deri.robins@mediaclash. Senior art editor Andrew Richmond Graphic design Megan Allison Cover design Trevor Gilham Contributors Nic Bottomley, David Flatman, Anna O’Callaghan and Matilda Walton Group advertising manager Pat White Deputy advertising manager Justine Walker Account manager Annabel North Account manager Dan Nichols Production/Distribution manager Sarah Kingston sarah.kingston@ Deputy production manager Kirstie Howe Production designer Matt Gynn Chief executive Jane Ingham Chief executive Greg Ingham Bath Life MediaClash, Circus Mews House, Circus Mews, Bath BA1 2PW 01225 475800 @The MediaClash © All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without written permission of MediaClash. We’re a Bath-based publisher, creative agency and event organiser Magazines Our portfolio of regional magazines celebrates the best of local living: Bath, Bristol, Cardiff 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:



UNDER THE HAMMER From 12 April, Ma San Auction will open for viewings of their upcoming Asian Art Sale, which includes an exciting selection of lots from the Bathbased family of Sir Mark Heath KVCO CMG (1927-2005). Sir Mark was a well-known Oriental art and antiques dealer, and was once head of protocol in the Hong Kong Government. While living in the country, Sir Mark developed a passion for Chinese ceramics that resulted in the exciting lots available in the 21 April auction. The lots are all exquisite, and many rare, but lot 58

is the star of the show: a Chinese blue and white porcelain ‘Bajixiang’ ewer, mark and period of Qianlong in the 18th century. A ritual wine vessel set on for legs, it is decorated with ‘Bajixiang’, the flaming wheel, conch shell, umbrella, canopy, lotus, vase, double fish and endless knot above lotus sprays that make up the eight Buddhist emblems in order. It’s a gorgeous piece, and expected to sell for £30,000-£50,000. For more: Sale day 21 April, 11am, Ma San Auction, 2 Princes Buildings, George Street; tel: 01225 318587,

Sir Mark Heath started his collection while head of protocol in the Hong Kong Government

Lot 58 is the star of the show



Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein is an immersive and thrilling experience


Tickets are now live for Bath’s exciting new attraction, Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein. Mary lived in the Abbey Churchyard from 1816, and wrote most of Frankenstein right here in Bath. The museum is a creepy and immersive experience across four floors that tells the story of the sci-fi pioneer’s complex past, the role her creation has gone on to play in popular culture today, a-walkthrough horror experience in a dank, foreboding basement and the monster himself, just as Mary imagined him – brought to life not by Victor Frankenstein but Millennium FX, Europe’s leading producer of film animatronics and special effects. There’s a pre-opening discount of 10 per cent off standard online price and a further 20 per cent saving on group tickets for parties of five or more until 25 April. For more:

Tickets are now on sale for Bath’s newest attraction

Bath on Instagram


SEASONS POETRY Spring has well and truly sprung – and we couldn’t be happier. Flowers bursting into blossom, skies suddenly a bit more blue than grey and lifting restrictions on the horizon. ‘Tis the hopeful season. About blooming time too.


Ralph Fiennes will premiere his take on T.S. Elliot’s Four Quartets and Theatre Royal Bath in May




Spring blossoms are flowering all over the city

Theatre Royal


Ralph Fiennes – yes, Voldemort himself – will direct and star in T.S. Elliot’s Four Quartets, premiering at Theatre Royal this summer. The world-renowned Tony and BAFTA-award winner is joined by a remarkable creative team, including Olivier Awardwinners Hildegard Bechtler on design and Tim Lutkin providing lighting, and Christopher Shutt on sound, who won a Tony Award for his work on War Horse. The Four Quartets, one of the greatest achievements of Eliot’s prolific career, are a series of interwoven meditations on the nature of time, faith and the quest for spiritual enlightenment, and offer unforgettable reflections on surviving periods of national crisis. Four Quartets will perform at Theatre Royal Bath from 25 May – 5 June. Tickets are on sale now. For more: I BATH LIFE I 7

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The outsiders


Hanging out in the garden is not all it’s cracked up to be…

“It was ace, and everyone enjoyed it. So much so that we never did it again”


used to live in a house that had what my parents would call ‘land’. The back garden was just about a single acre in size, but we’d never seen the like in a domestic setting. It was flat, and the views over local farmland were frankly gorgeous. Just outside the back door there was a large paved terrace with an enormous wooden table, a Bath stone fire pit and a bespoke outdoor kitchen (made from scaffolding planks – very cool and cheap). Never mind the contemporary trend of bringing the outdoors in, the confines of the house just couldn’t compete. And the garden was basically never used. The kids would wander down to the trampoline on the horizon now and then, but only for an average of seven minutes before they returned to report a nuclear falling out, or a bouncing schedule injustice, or simply because it was boring. They loved the quarter of an hour or so a year they spent in their Wendy house, and the swings sometimes got swung. I once, as a birthday gift to myself, asked loads of mates over for a winter barbecue. I lit a big fire, gathered a hundred rugs and throws and faux furs, cooked some delicious goodies on the various grills, lit fairy lights all around, and we froze our tits off. It was ace, and everyone enjoyed it. So much so that we never did it again. The whole notion of sitting outside with a glass of wine or a G&T to unwind after a long day, just like on Instasham, never once became a thing that actually happened. Not once. This wasn’t anybody’s fault; to be honest I often preferred the thought of watching Silent Witness in the sitting room, so I’ll shoulder the blame. Now, for one logistical reason or another – I am renting a house whose back garden doesn’t much match the old one. In fact, despite what the brochure said, I’m not certain it matches any definition of ‘garden’ I’ve ever seen. The owners of said home, it’s fair to say, took

the practical, low maintenance approach to their rental property. In their quest to not ever – ever – receive an annoying, maintenancebased call from their rental agency, they removed any and all signs of life and replaced them with wood. To be more precise, they covered every single inch of floor in that low grade decking that never quite looks good, and that becomes so lethal after nine seconds of light rain that it’s just not worth the risk. Every inch. Even the most committed woodwork teacher would have advised, well, less woodwork. It’s like the back yard of a recently promoted area manager at Travis Perkins who went doolally with his new staff discount. This ‘family-friendly back garden’ has caused two things to happen. Firstly, it has forced my next door neighbour and me to forge a conversational relationship that, I suspect, she never wanted. This has come about because the owners are very short people. They had the deck laid at a height that suited them. Consequently, to my neighbours, I look like an eight-foot man loping around, my head and shoulders rising high above the top of the fence. I found this hilarious, but Sandy next door found it offputting while sunbathing. The other thing is that I have learned to adore and cherish this space. During the sunny lockdown it was truly a blessing. Every night we’d pour out our icy drinks, play some music, and lay out the otherwise-unused yoga mats for the girls’ breakdancing challenges. It was warm and fun and perfect. Oddly, they were the best of times. So when restrictions lift, I’ll certainly be frequenting some of Bath’s most appealing al fresco joints, but I’ll also be sipping a cold G&T, listening to some Neil Young, and thanking the little people for my perfect little deck. David Flatman is an ex-Bath and England rugby star turned TV pundit and rent-o-mic. Find him onTwitter @ davidflatman and Instagram @dflatman I BATH LIFE I 9

Proud Finalist of

It’s all about the little details… 8 Pulteney Terrace, Bath, BA2 4HJ Email: Showroom: 01225 481881 Mobile: 07796 554466 @kellymariekitcheninteriors | Supplier:

A FRESH OUTLOOK How lockdown has influenced the décor and styling of our homes By Sarah Moolla

Contrasting layering of patterns is increasingly popular, like this home design by Sean Symington




n these uncertain times, our home has been our certainty – offering us refuge, security and comfort while the world wobbled. As we spent more time within our four walls, we not only appreciated it more, we began to reward, enhance and embellish forgotten corners and rediscovered alcoves. From a potted plant on a newly painted book shelf to the tearing down (or even reinstating) of walls, we are paying more attention than ever to the aesthetics of our property. There is also the practicality issues our ‘enforced’ spaces gave rise to – for many the dining rooms became places to work, to homeschool, and to eat. We asked our Bath home professionals how they perceive the pandemic to have influenced our home and the changes they have seen, and those to come. I BATH LIFE I 13



Our homes haven’t just been our castles, they’ve been our everything. Or as interior designer Clair Strong puts it, “This year, we’ve added classrooms into our kitchens, gyms to our bedrooms, and offices in our living rooms and this trend for multifunctional spaces will continue.” “In 2021 we will want to be more ‘us’, take better care of ourselves and those closest to us, live more gently and be more in tune with nature,” says Amanda Clothier, owner of interior designers Quarters Interiors. “This translates into highly personalised interiors.” “There are also changing cultures that have been accelerated by the last year,” notes Matt Vaudin, director of Stonewood Design. “This has been identified in recent discussions on housing within the industry. People are moving away from open plan spaces and want privacy, a place to retreat or hide.” As Andrew Sperring of the family-run construction company, JAS Building Services, says “We are literally re-creating the spaces we live in, looking to turn them into multi-use sanctuaries. If ‘work, rest and play’ has to include staying right where you are, then from staycations to playstations – isolation requires some shape shifting. “There are some innovative key ways that can allow for overlapping within one open plan space. A small innovation could be the shifting of a chair for example, but the new view of a new perspective, can make a big change to you and your home.”

An example from Stonewood Design of utilising a landing and skylight to create the perfect office space


Track shutters like these from Aspect WIndows can easily temporarily divide a room


One way to achieve these spaces to retreat, and a sense of ‘us’ is by partitions. “We are moving away from taking every single wall down when renovating, and are going back to the more traditional floor plans with defined rooms,” says Bath-based interior designer and home staging specialist Sean Symington. “This allows us to be braver with colour as we have defined places to stop and start wall finishes. Within these rooms we can create defined schemes with fabrics, wallpapers, decorative lighting and paint.” Tom Burnford, director and head of design at Burnford Architecture says, “There’s a conflict between constraint and openness in open plan spaces too. Paradoxically the fact that there are no subdivisions can act as a limitation – because specific activities do often lend themselves to separate rooms. So one open plan space could be seen to reduce flexibility. If that’s a concern there are very simple ways to create a visual partition using furniture and rugs or carpets to demarcate certain areas of an open plan space.” Andrew Cussins, founder of the family-run Sofas & Stuff, has seen an increase in the sale of corner sofas, not just because “families are spending more time together and need a cosy space to relax, but also because these designs are a good solution when zoning areas for work

and socialising in current open plan spaces.” Another option is shutters and folding doors. Nick Hewett, owner of Aspect Window Styling, explains, “With all of us spending more time at home this past year, our living spaces have had to take on a multitude of unusual tasks. From home-schooling to home-working, our lives have been mostly confined to four walls, which can be stressful, especially when in such close proximity. “While we all would like to dedicate a room to our new home office, typically this isn’t viable, so track shutters are a practical solution to create new temporary spaces in your home. These perform much like regular plantation shutters but use a tracked system to open and close panels. This allows them to effortlessly glide across the room, and makes them an ideal option for open plan homes.”

“We are being asked to bring in more vibrant and expressive colours” I BATH LIFE I 15

Leroy McKenzie, owner of Schmidt Bath is seeing kitchens become enclosed spaces once again


Natasha Townsend, design consultant for luxury kitchen and bathroom experts Hobson’s Choice, also suggests the use of flexible partitions. “Rather than build a permanent wall structure, potentially blocking the passage of natural light, large floor-to-ceiling sliding doors can create space divisions whilst still providing the option of opening up the room. “Rimadesio produces elegant bespoke sliding panels from aluminium and glass, available in various styles and finishes. The sliding doors hang from a single ceiling track leaving the floor undisturbed, perfect for large spaces. The sliding panels create a sense of separation from the more expansive space, allowing the children to carry on playing whilst you concentrate on work. Alternatively, the sliding doors can create hidden storage space, acting as a false wall. “Open shelving or a glass cabinet could offer a similar feeling of separation, albeit without the ability to move it out of the way. The Rimadesio Zenit system of shelving combines an aluminium structure with elegant glass to form a bespoke solution for your home. An enclosed glass solution, such as Alambra by Rimadesio, could have a similar effect.” As we’ve all been baking and cooking more, the kitchen, traditionally the heart of the home, has taken an increased significance as Leroy McKenzie, owner of Schmidt Bath, who design and fit interior solutions, explains, “One change that we’re continuing to see as open plan begins to fall out of fashion is the re-enclosure of the kitchen. Our new ranges of kitchens feature deeper islands and breakfast bars, perfect for socialising but also a place to sit and do some work. The use of frames and wall dividers with open storage separate the space from the rest of the room, meaning you can still socialise with loved ones and


friends but it won’t feel like you’re cooking in your living room.” It’s also true for many the surplus money, due to lack of holidays, big events, and meals out has been going into our homes, on both small things and big projects. “We have definitely seen the increase in money being spent in homes over this lockdown, and I find that people are more excited to invest in luxury kitchens and furniture,” says James Horsfall, senior director of the Bath Kitchen Company. “There is still a big trend for brass and top quality marble being used, and a rising trend of plaster, and more organic materials such as rattan and linens making their way into the home. It’s great to be able to see more experimenting in the kitchen, especially with worktop materials. We’ve used some incredible quartzite, and bold arrabascato marble to create a serious wow factor.” This sense of opulence is also reflected in the colour trends James is seeing. “We have increasingly more colourful kitchens being asked for in jewel tones and light greens for example. We’ve recently done a burgundy kitchen, which feels fresh yet rich and is a beautiful focal point against the rest of the neutral toned home.”

“We are literally re-creating the spaces we live in, looking to turn them into multi-use sanctuaries”


can be a great opportunity to experiment with more adventurous style. But I absolutely don’t believe neutrals are going anywhere, as people seek to maximise natural light in the spaces they occupy 24/7. “Also there is a continued enthusiasm for the shades and tones that connect us with nature. I’m seeing this in the steady demand for muted, sophisticated shades of colour, along with earthy pinks, peaches, terracottas, and gold.” “Green is the true colour of nature and I love the dark, earthy greens that are popping up everywhere,” says interior designer Clair Strong. “From dark olive green through bright jewel tones like emerald to light soft sage tones, greens work well in every room in the home but especially in living rooms. Olive green is a real statement colour that works surprisingly well with many other colours.” The Marmalade House owner and interior designer Vanessa Sayce suggests our new-found need for colour is a result of being surrounded by the same space for more than a year. “There has been a shift towards more exploration and experimentation in terms of colour and design in the home this year. As we have been surrounded with familiar walls for months, a wholly neutral palette can be dull to the senses. Instead, we are being asked to bring in more vibrant and expressive colours, with Annabel Grimshaw’s clients are visual interest – this can provide a sense of moving away from the neutrals strength and hopefulness.” “As the use of pastel colours continues to decline, we’re seeing a big uptake in customers using bold colours in their kitchen and interior designs to really make a standout statement,” says Leroy of Schmidt Bath. “Some still prefer light greys and white, but recently we’ve fitted kitchens with bright yellow splashbacks contrasted to dark grey cabinets and oak panels with a red accent. Darker colours accented with gold are likely to become very popular based on what our customers are choosing. “Bathrooms are also continuing this trend, going from relatively calm softer tones to punchy colours such as orange, black and dark woods. This year, Schmidt are introducing patterns into their range, allowing customers to become even bolder with their choice of colour scheme.” Andrew of JAS Building has also seen the shift away from paler shades. “While every room in the house or apartment might have a theme, the trend is moving away from overall neutrals, so that colours can be brought in to make subtle statements (or bold ones) to define one aspect of a room from another.” But this doesn’t necessarily mean the complete annihilation of neutral in the home as John Law, creative director of the Bath-based Woodhouse & Law who specialise in interior and garden design, points out, “Whilst decorating rooms within a home in contrasting colours can work brilliantly, we always consider a room within the wider context of the property. For example, what is the relationship between one room to the next? If doors are left open, then it’s important the rooms relate in some way, even though they might contrast. “A room can have its own identity, but there should be continuity. This can be achieved through consistent use of materials, such as metallic finishes on ironmongery, or perhaps a woodwork or ceiling colour, so that the overall look isn’t too arresting. It can also pay to use a more neutral palate in transitional spaces to help one room flow to another.”

“Since lockdown, I have seen a move towards interiors that are comforting, uplifting and joyful. So instead of neutral schemes, clients are looking to bolder, brighter colours,” says interior designer Annabel Grimshaw.“These can be incorporated in pops of colour on smaller, more subtle items such as a lacquered lamp base or marbled lampshade, a chair or a tray. Or for the braver, a whole room, a wall of joinery, or a door or window picked out in an unusual colour. “I have seen a move towards being much braver with upholstery too, lots of prints and bright colours coming through on sofas, armchairs and ottomans.Wallpaper is also seeing a revival – a print to make us smile or feel closer to the calm of nature. Rugs and floor coverings too seem to be bolder and brighter.” This playing with tones and hues is a dream come true for interior stylists, as Quarters Interiors’ Amanda Clothier reveals, “I love working with colour, and with a trend towards more highly personalised and longlasting interiors, I think we will see more eclecticism and colour. A powder room, or a sitting room that is used primarily in the evening I BATH LIFE I 17



Growing along with our confidence with colour, is our willingness to experiment with patterns. From the subtle, as Jonathan Hetreed, director of Hetreed Ross Architects, explains, “We are seeing a resurgence in parquet as clients are opting for floorings which give a subtle pattern to the room. Whilst this is often expensive when compared to some other options, the longevity, durability and timelessness of these types of floors make them a good investment and reduce the need for replacement and therefore reduce waste; often they can be found in reclamation yards which can make them an even more environmentally conscious choice.” And then there’s the bolder use of pattern, the likes of which Sean Symington is seeing more and more of. “There’s such a noticeable increase in what I call ‘pattern on pattern’. For example, there is nothing more chic than a large scale geometric print on an armchair with a small floral printed cushion on top. We are seeing prints everywhere now from coordinated wallpapered walls with upholstered furniture, to lampshades and rugs. Nothing is off limits with pattern.” Bathrooms, traditionally a clean white palette, are even getting in on the pattern act as Neil Curtis, senior designer at Ripples Bath, explains, “Wallpaper, paint decoration and geometric patterns along with brighter greens, rich blues and opulent finishes were becoming very popular before lockdown and I feel those trends that touched 2020 with statement items and contrasting colours, will come to the forefront again this year. The prospect of having visitors around to your home again is not taken for granted anymore, but I think we are all keen to impress when we do have people over. So accessorising well, fresher looks, and a little more investment in the home has become enjoyable for many.” Patterns also serve as purpose as sales manager of Tile & Floor, Tom Weaver, explains, “We often recommend colour and patterns within smaller spaces such as guest bathrooms, kitchen sink or range cooker splashbacks or entry halls. There are a plethora of Moroccan Zellige, encaustic and hand-crafted tiles in a vast range of patterns and colours to choose from. “The lily pad design is all over Instagram and adds real impact to a bathroom with pink trending this year. We are also seeing a strong move towards terracotta in herringbone or lozenge layout, a highly durable product for boot rooms and halls.” Plus of course a pattern or two “adds cheer into the home,” points out Sofas & Stuff’s Andrew Cussins, whose company has seen an increase in the demand for bolder colour and patterned fabrics on their soft furnishings, including larger items like settees.

The lily pad design seen here in Porcelain Plaster by Tile & Floor is a huge trend


“Nothing is off limits with pattern”

There has been an increase in investment in luxury furniture, notes James Horsfall of the Bath Kitchen Company

Andrew Cussins of Sofas & Stuff suggests using corner sofas to help section off a room



Nearly all of our home experts commented on the need for great storage in multi-functional spaces moving forward. “Storage has become more of a priority, which has resulted in more shelves in alcoves, fitted cupboards, and built-in storage solutions,” notes Stonewood Group’s Matt Vaudin.“Also flexible solutions available like ladder shelves, which offer both a desk and shelving, yet only take up a small space, are ideal in bedrooms and corners of rooms for studying or working from home.” “A room can look better proportioned and more interesting, if it is carefully zoned and layered for different uses,” says Amanda Clotheir. “Adaptive storage and dual-purpose furniture really comes into its own in these situations, and I think we’ll see sales growing for these types of furniture items, as we try to restore an

atmosphere of calm and order in such spaces.” Natasha Townsend of Hobson’s Choice says, “To mentally and functionally separate the home from the office, the ability to put items away out of sight has become more necessary. For example, clearing the table for dinner whilst safely storing your laptop, notebooks, pens, etc, ready for the next day. “Our clients have had bespoke media cabinets designed to feature interior power sockets, WiFi routers, wireless surface charging, and shelving aligned to their specific items’ size. In the future planning, this will include adding power outlets to breakfast bars and dining areas, removing the need for trailing wires. By considering this capability early in the design phase, electrics can be wired before the flooring is put down or kitchen furniture is assembled.”


2021 will be about us taking better care of ourselves, says Amanda Clothier of Quarters Interiors I BATH LIFE I 21


Ben Smith of Battersham says our homes are having to work harder than ever


“Last year has highlighted our need for both permanence and flexibility,” says Ben Smith, director of the chartered architects Batterham Smith. “Whilst a dining table may need to be used for home schooling in the daytime, it may still be used for the family meal in the evening. A work desk may now need to be permanent, whilst a yoga mat for a Zoom class does not. Accommodating a home office need not require a large space, just as long as it is arranged efficiently. Home working is an opportunity to get creative with our workstations; from makeshift desks to completely re-inventing parts of our house.

“A work desk may now need to be permanent”

“For home working, why not gravitate towards a space with natural light and fresh air; a room with a view with a desk placed near the window both improves productivity and is resting to the eyes. Or for even more of a long term hideaway, invest in an outdoor cabin or shed as office which offers the ultimate in defined separation of work and home.” Our experts also all agree it’s about re-designing existing underused spaces. “Our clients are repurposing playrooms, snugs and spare bedrooms as offices or putting desks into a sitting room or corner under the stairs,” says Tile & Floor’s Tom Weaver. “These rooms have different functions depending on the time of day and so people are doing away with carpet and opting instead for hard wood or stone floors which are more practical for rolling desk chairs and the demands of more ‘at-home’ family life. However if you’re part-time, in a small property, or planning a return to the office, a short term solution could be simple smart furniture, as Clair Strong explains, “Desks have been incorporated into room designs so we can create multiple workspaces throughout the home so several people can work at home at the same time. Stylish desks, chairs and office storage are now top of many furniture designers’ agendas and I am excited to see what new launches there will be this year.” I BATH LIFE I 23


JUST ONE LOOK AND OUR HEARTS WENT ZOOM Rimadesio Sail Sliding doors space dividers installed by Hobson’s Choice provide both the perfect room divider and Zoom backdrop

Seeing both ourselves and our interiors reflected back in our Zoom calls has been an eye opener and who hasn’t had a slight ‘cabinet reshuffle’ to improve the backdrop aesthetics? “On our Zoom and Teams calls there is definitely a move towards interesting and colourful artwork in the background with fresh flowers and well placed accessories to give punches of colour,” says Stonewood Design’s Matt Vaudin. “After this year there is still uncertainty over when we will go back to the office or indeed how often we will be there, which means we will continue to spend more time than normal in our homes. Investment in where we live is clearly taking a higher priority and we are decorating our interiors with colours we feel comfortable with. Light and bright designs which help us to work while still allowing us to enjoy being at home, and bringing more of the outside indoors with pictures, plants and accessories.” For the ultimate wowsers team talk scenery, Natasha of Hobson’s Choice points us in the direction of the luxury wall-panelling system by Rimadesio called Modular. “This is truly high-style Zoom backdrop. The bespoke panels are available in glass, stone, leather, wood and fabric finishes and create a striking visual when combined with contemporary furniture.”


Offices aren’t the only sought-after home must-have, as Sarah Latham of Etons of Bath explains, “Whilst a lot of the focus during lockdown has been around home-working and home-schooling, we’ve also become a nation of walkers, increased dog ownership and have spent more time outdoors. We’ve had a lot of enquiries asking us to look at the creative use of space to provide boot rooms for family homes. As all the designs are bespoke, and we design and detail all the joinery, these boot rooms are tailored to the clients’ lifestyle and needs.”

As we use the outdoors more we need space inside to accomodate that, like this boot room designed by Etons of Bath


SPRING INTERIORS Annabel Grimshaw has noticed an increase in the popularity of ceramics. “Ceramics in all their forms are being invested in. Whether it’s a scallop bowl from KC Hossack, a curvy candlestick from Rachael Cocker, an Astier vase from Nam Store, or a teapot from Feldspar – plus all of which can give every day joy by seeing and using them.” “Mid-century design is very popular at the moment, but typically as a statement piece rather than giving homes a complete makeover,” says Jonathan Hetreed. “Used selectively, these pieces often have a great sculptural form which can soften spaces; overused they can make for a slightly hectic existence and their individual beauty can be lost. “These pieces are often well made, hence surviving for several decades and are now being repurposed – which demonstrates good quality is always worth the investment.” Framing the outdoors to be enjoyed from inside is increasingly popular in house designs like this from Hetreed Ross


Also adding intrigue and style to our backgrounds both online and IRL is the accessories, artefacts and art we’ve been accumulating and surrounding ourselves with during the last year. “We refer to the process of accessorising our interior schemes as ‘dressing a home,’” says John of Woodhouse & Law. “It’s a very important part of the design process as the finishing touches are often what brings a scheme to life. We encourage our clients to use a mixture of sentimental pieces, perhaps displayed in an imaginative way with contemporary ones, styled in groups to create interesting collections of objet d’art. This helps a space avoid looking cluttered and fussy. “We love to introduce artisanal and handcrafted items within our schemes, to add depth and interest. It’s much more fun to use pieces with provenance and they can be a great conversation starter for guests or colleagues admiring through Zoom chats.” Modern ArtBuyer’s Jessica Lloyd-Smith thinks there is definitely an element of people wanting to bring a little joy into their homes at such a difficult time. “For many people that translates into vibrant colour. We have seen strong sales of prints – both of one-off unique monoprints and limited editions – indicating that people are looking for a bold splash of colour and fun without breaking the budget. “I think many people have thought about buying art in the past but never quite got round to it with other things like holidays or new cars taking priority, which obviously hasn’t been the case more recently. Lately we have seen clients who maybe bought from us three or four years ago returning for more artworks, so the intention to buy art has always been there but it hasn’t been top of the list until now.” Artist Emma Rose’s recent experience of people buying her work mirrors this.“In lieu of holidays an investment in a commission or large original artwork is very popular. I was incredibly moved when the doctor who saved my life three years ago in the RUH invested in some artwork to remind her of this Covid time – each piece a holiday in itself as she wasn’t allowed to travel this last year (let alone leave her work).”

People are investing their unspent holiday money on art like this Lesson 1 Happiness by Bonnie and Clyde limited edition print, available through Modern ArtBuyer

FOR MORE;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;; I BATH LIFE I 27

LOVE OUTDOOR LIVING WITH THE MX-3 AWNING Make the most of outdoor living this summer by investing in the MX-3 awning for your home. With an innovative smooth design and excellent technical performance, the MX-3 awning provides superb UV protection to let you enjoy the sunny weather in style. We offer a complete design to installation experience, including measuring and fitting services. Contact us to learn more.

01225 469 559 1 Saracen Street, Bath, BA1 5BR



The Neptune edit


If you’re thinking of updating or redesigning your home this spring, NEPTUNE BATH can inspire, guide, and offer new perspectives

8 6

1 2 5 10 7





Give your dining space a more relaxed feel with this modern, country-style bench with A-frame legs and made with a tactile, weighty oak. Or use it in the hallway as somewhere to sit when putting on shoes, as an end-of-the-bed piece, or as a low-level, contemporary alternative to a console table, styled with tall vases and piled high with coffee table books.



Patterned with a bold, decorative rose motif, this bowl provides a look that’s completely at home in a traditional interior, but the simplicity of the one-colour line drawing means you could absolutely use it in a contemporary one too – it’ll add texture and interest to a minimal space.



Betty Sims-Hilditch’s Sketch collection is a series of fine art prints, drawn in ink with a fluid, expressive style, with each capturing a different figure. This is the largest in the set – a striking, contemporary piece that can stand alone or mix easily with other artworks.



If you like your throws as soft as possible, Castlefield’s the one – it’s a mix of lambswool and

cashmere. The herringbone stripes and fringing are a twist on a classic, so it suits both traditional and modern homes – and looks especially good on a leather armchair for the contrast of softness and sheen.

marble tiles focuses your eye on different sections of the stone’s dappled colour, and it’s an effective way to bring graphic, geometric lines to your space. The honed finish is not just elegantly contemporary but also has a really lovely velvety texture.






This green-tinted, wide, apothecary-style Castleford bottle with a narrow neck is designed to showcase a single stem, and works beautifully with a long sprig of foliage.


You can adjust this desk lamp in three places, which makes it practical for task lighting. Its industrial-inspired details that give it a vintage character and its high-shine nickel finish stop it from feeling too functional.


This life-like, tall and striking Echeveria Gigantea is perfect for breathing life and energy into a forgotten corner of the home that gets no natural light.


Buttery soft yet matte in appearance, this classic, antiqued tan St James leather armchair has a timeworn look and characteristic markings that’ll differ from piece to piece, making each one totally unique.



When Neptune used an old ladder in a photoshoot, they received so many enquiries about it, they were inspired to design their own – a beautiful decorative solid oak finished in their own timber treatment oil, Seasoned Isoguard.



The detail of the hexagon pattern on the Carrara

For more: Neptune, One Tram Yard, Walcot Street, Bath. tel: 01225 465301; I BATH LIFE I 29


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Contact Email: Tel: 01225 634 025

Inside Clifton Down Shopping Centre, Whiteladies Road, Clifton BS8 2NN

Monday - Saturday: 9.30am - 5.30pm Sunday by appointment

Email: Tel: 0117 213 0497



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


4 Lyndhurst Mews, Bath 01225 315404 Ashley Collins Decorating

01761 431354; Batterham Smith Architects

1, Tollbridge Studios, Toll Bridge Rd, Bath 01225 851122 www.batterhamsmitharchitects. Clayton Davidson

The Guild Hub, High Street, Bath 01225 459247 Hetreed Ross Architects

Brewery, Toll Bridge Rd, Bath 01225 851860

JAS Building Services

The Quadrant, 2440/2430, Almondsbury, Bristol; 01454 877520 Plushh Restoration

07794 319288;


Chelsea House, London Road, Bath; 01225 447971;


01225 819600; Kindle

Glenavon Farm, 331 Bath Rd, Saltford, Bristol; 0117 924 3898;

The Marmalade House

Mendip Fireplaces ( Bath )

SBS Design and Build

Roundhill Farmhouse, Bath Bath; 01225 445855;

Sovereign Damp Proofing




1 Saracen Street, Bath; 01225 469559;

4 Kingsmead Square, Bath; 01225 471888;

01225 874676; 01249 716161;

Hawthorn Grove, Bath; 01225 833585; Timber Windows of Clifton

29 The Mall, Bristol; 0845 652 7300; Youngs Roofing

01225 421499;

Aspect Window Styling

The Old Mill, Mill Lane, Monkton Combe, Bath; 01225 722706;

Bath Contract Flooring

Timber Windows of Clifton



Broadleaf Timber

29 The Mall, Bristol; 0845 652 7300;

Bath Stone Fireplaces

Unit Q1/Q2 Fiveways Industrial Estate, Corsham, Wiltshire;

Dunsdon Road, West Littleton, Chippenham; 01225 89200; 134-136 Walcot Street, Bath; 01225 463464; I BATH LIFE I 31

SPRING INTERIORS Capitol Carpets of Bath

120-122 Walcot Street, Bath 01225 333341; Haliden Oriental Carpets

98 Walcot Street, Bath; 01225 469240; Interior Harmony Flooring

5A Chelsea Road, Bath; 01225 483818; Oriental Rugs of Bath

1 Hallatrow Business Park Wells Road, Hallatrow; 01761 451764; Tile & Flooring Bath

1 Mile End, London Road West Bath; 01225 31056;


11 Widcombe Parade, Bath 01225 422078 Perfect Rooms & Interiors,

Silver St, Gastard, Corsham, Wiltshire 01249 716445 Sofas and Stuff

Woodchester Mill, North Woodchester, Stroud, Glos 01453 700812 South West Upholstery

196 North St, Bedminster, Bristol: 0117 370 2745


07823 884945 Clair Strong Interior Design Ltd Walcot Studio, Old Orchard

88a Walcot Street, Bath; 01225 426905/07855 797311; Etons of Bath

108 Walcot Street, Bath; 01225 639002; Perfect Rooms & Interiors,

Silver St, Gastard,


Corsham, Wiltshire 01249 716445 Woodhouse & Law

4 George’s Place, Bathwick Hill Bath; 01225 428072; Woolf Interiors

Broome House, Upper Lansdown Mews, Bath; 01225 445670


Clayton Davidson

Saltford Kitchens


Schmidt Bath

The Guild Hub, High Street, Bath 01225 459247 London Road, Bath: 01225 433511 Kelly Marie Kitchen Interiors

8 Pulteney Ave, Bath; 01225 481881;

The Bath Kitchen Company


Cheverell Wood


7-9 North Parade Buildings Bath; 01225 312003; Cheverell, Hopton Park Waller Road, Devizes; 01380 722722;

5 Saracen St, Bath; 01225 634025 showroom/bath One Tram Yard, Walcot St, Bath; 01225 465301 our-stores/uk/bath

439 Bath Road, Saltford, Bristol; 01225 874676; 1 Park Road, Bath; 01225 337276 www.home-design. schmidt/en-gb


Antique Textiles and Lighting

Lansdown Road, Bath; 01225 310795;; Antique shop specialising in period textiles, embroideries, quilts, antique lighting and chandeliers Radiators

Reclaimed Radiators 07540 978408;

JAS Building Services

Quality First

Residential & Commercial Extensions – Renovations – Refurbishments

Call us today on: 01454 877520

Producing only the finest architectural joinery, furniture and kitchens. T: 01225 459247 | M: 07896 809349 |

T H E C U R TA I N E X C H A N G E For the best dressed windows


11 Widcombe Parade, Bath, BA2 4JT | Tel: 01225 422078 | Email:

P R erfect




Bespoke Curtains & Blinds, Upholstery, Interior Design, Fabrics & Wallpaper, New furniture ranges, Vincent Sheppard, Whitehead Designs. Flooring, Rugs, House Accessories.

Find us at Silver Street, Gastard, Corsham, SN13 9PY

We are just a 4 minute drive from Corsham Town Centre with free customer parking available


Follow us on

The Bespoke Furniture, Upholstery & Soft Furnishings Experts A family run independent business born and bred in Bristol since 1999. Offering a wide range of services; - Made to measure curtains - Bespoke furniture - Upholstery - Replacement cushions - Homeware from Nkuku Our workshops are open for business. 196 North Street, Bristol, BS3 1JF 01173 702745 |

Nicholas Curtis is a master stonemason and has been working with stone and making fire surrounds for 25 years. Each surround is hand carved by Nicholas using traditional skills. You can have any style made in your own size specifications and they're suitable for solid fuel, wood burners, gas and electric fires. ♦ Nicholas also carves bespoke Bath Stone Porticos ♦ ALL FIREPLACES ARE DELIVERED NATIONWIDE. Unit Q1/Q2 Fiveways Industrial Estate, Westwells Road, Corsham SN13 9RG Tel: 07974076170 or 01225 819600 |

• Domestic and commercial roofing specialists • Covering Bath, Bristol and the South West • Trading since 1985 Tel: 01225 421499 Email: Braysdown Lodge, Woodborough, Peasedown St John, Bath BA2 8LN

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

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



Billionaire Boy, the bestselling children’s novel by David Walliams is coming to the Bath & West Showground car park for an Easter family treat. The original theatrical production of his 2010 book was cut short last year due to the pandemic, so with the help of the Birmingham Stage Company and Coalition Agency, the tale of the richest child in Britain and his quest to find the one thing money can’t buy: a friend, is being held outside with families watching from their cars. David, whose books have sold having sold more than 37 million copies worldwide, says of the carpark show, “It’s brilliant! It’s very imaginative. I think people are craving some entertainment and especially live entertainment because although the TV has still been on, you haven’t been able to be part of an audience, so this is a great and safe way to enjoy a show. Hopefully this will really entertain families.” Car Park Party’s production of Billionaire Boy can be seen at Bath & West Showground on 16 April and costs £49.50 per car; I BATH LIFE I 45

WHAT’S ON March & April 2021

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

Laura Lexx is taking her stand up show at the Rondo online


THE ART BRIDGE EMERGENTS EXHIBITION Since last May, the Art Bridge Emergent artists have been working with Westonbirt Arboretum artist in residence Deb Hoy to create works that respond to the connection between humans and trees. The project is funded by Arts Council England, who teamed up with Forestry England and charity Art Scape to provide this opportunity for up-and-coming artists who face disabling barriers. While the in-person exhibition has been postponed, from this month Art Shape are launching it online, so you can now peruse the diverse collection of works inspired by the project, which include paintings, mixed media, drawings and installations, from the safety of your own home by going online.

Until 24 April

NATHAN FORD: NEW PAINTINGS The selection of Nathan's new work


includes his lockdown portraits – 90 days worth of intricate painted works of the wild flowers he and his family collected during their daily walks. The pieces are as a result of an intensive period of work during the first lockdown of 2020.

Until 8 May

IN PURSUIT OF SPRING Black Swan Arts is returning with its first new exhibition in a year. In Pursuit of Spring is curated in partnership with Somerset Art Works and inspired by the poet Edward Thomas’ account of his journey between London and Somerset by bicycle, taking in Wells and Glastonbury, in the spring of 1913. Around 50 artists have created work responding to the themes in the text, and drawing on the consolation so many of us have found in the natural world during these trying times. The exhibition will be online, with works also available to buy through the Black Swan Arts website.

Until 31 October

OUCH! This virtual exhibition from 44AD draws on themes explored by research undertaken by the Bath Centre for Pain Research. Based at the University of Bath, the Centre is made up of an interdisciplinary team of researchers exploring how pain affects how people live – from everyday aches to long-term, chronic pain. The hope is the physical exhibition will take place from September of this year, but for now a selection of the featured works are available to view online.

30 March

AN EVENING WITH JEFFREY ARCHER Topping and Company are hosting a virtual book event with Jeffrey Archer to celebrate the publication of Turn a Blind Eye, the third gripping instalment in the William Warwick series. The series follows detective William Warwick – who fans of The Clifton Chronicles will recognise as the

hero of Harry Clifton’s novels – as he works his way up the ladder of the Metropolitan Police Force. 7pm; access to event with book purchase, £20;

1–30 April

FOODCYCLE 50 CHALLENGE Want to get fit and raise money for a national food charity at the same time? The FoodCycle 50 Challenge is a 30-day fitness target around the number 50. What that looks like – star jumps, miles, squats – is entirely up to you. This is supposed to be fun, so the FoodCycle team recommend getting silly with it – costumes, especially those that are food related, are very much encouraged. Who doesn't want to do 50 squats while dressed as a satsuma?

2 April

ALEX GRAY WITH ANN CLEEVES Ann Cleeves’ renowned Scottish detective is back to tackle a new mystery. The latest book in the Detective William Lorimer series,



The Bath Festival Finale Weekend is returning with social distancing rules in place


Theatre Royal is live streaming Rambert's latest must-see show left: Family is at the heart of Nathan Ford's paintings below: Take on the Circuit of Bath

Culture is making its grand return to Bath this May, with the announcement of the full line up for this year’s Bath Festival. The programme for 2021 features a combination of socially-distanced live events and a Bath Festival At Home digital offering. There is so much to see, as ever, but a few highlights of the fab line-up include Mel Giedroyc, who will be in conversation about her debut novel, The Best Things. Comedians Robert Webb and Adam Buxton will also make appearances supporting their books, a novel in Webb’s case, and for Buxton his touching memoir, Ramble Book: Musings on Childhood, Friendship, Family and 80s Pop. The original skincare guru and one of the most powerful women in beauty today, Caroline Hirons will share some of the insider wisdom she has gained after years spent in the beauty industry, and Kadiatu Kannah-Mason, head of the prodigiously musical Kanneh-Mason family, will share stories of her experience raising eight exceptionally talented young musicians. As if that weren’t enough to look forward to, Bath Festivals have also announced the rescheduled finale weekend, headlined by McFly, Fun Lovin' Criminals, UB40 featuring Ali Campbell & Astro, and Billy Ocean – with many other performers besides. We can't wait. For more: tackles the big questions of modern times: can we stop being terrified and start being nice to each other? Can you change the world without offending anyone? And, can you use netball to solve the gender pay gap? 8pm; £12;

route – which you can do as much or as little of as you like – takes you around Bath’s most beautiful countryside, surrounding villages and the historic city itself. £12 adult, £6 child, £25 family;

18 April

Various dates, April and May

Before the Storm sees the DSI uncover a terrorist plot – an investigation hampered by a concurrent spate of local murders, and a potential mole in the police force. Ann joins Alex to discuss her latest thriller. 7.30pm; access to event with book purchase, £14.99,

Rambert. Beautiful, peculiar, funny and sometimes a little bit sad, this performance with 17 dancers, 35 scenes and 100 characters is a remarkable and ambitious achievement – and a testament to art’s ability to thrive even in adversity. Various times; £10;

INNOX MARKET The popular Trowbridge market and its mix of artisan goods, street food, local produce and vintage clothing is making a welcome return in April. A collaboration between the Innox Mills site owners and The Anonymous Travelling Market, the atmospheric shopping experience will offer live music against the rustic backdrop of the buildings’ historic surrounds.

8–11 April

10 April

25 April

RAMBERT PRESENT: ROOMS Theatre Royal will livestream this exciting dance theatre piece from world-renowned dance company

LAURA LEXX: KNEE JERK The star of Live at the Apollo and Mock the Week is taking her rearranged show at the Rondo online. Her show

THE CIRCUIT OF BATH WALK Join the sponsored walk in aid of Bath homelessness charity Julian House for it’s 20th year. The 20-mile

FEEL GOOD FILM FESTIVAL This collection of hilarious and heart-warming films are all about celebrating positivity and the art of happiness. The new festival includes lovely stories like Arthur, a film about a dignified stray dog, Arthur, who befriends the captain of the Swedish adventure racing team; and Charlie Surfer, which tells the story of Charlie Clay, a 10-year-old boy who has Asperger’s Syndrome, and has combined his two passions, surfing and dancing, to create a new form of exercise that is unique, fun and very impressive to behold. n I BATH LIFE I 47


Showstoppers Anna O’Callaghan shares some of her favourite productions in her 39 years of working at Theatre Royal Bath


ith news of live performances returning to Theatre Royal Bath on 25 May with the world première of Ralph Fiennes’ production of T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets (turn to page 6 for more on this), we ask marketing manager Anna O’Callaghan, who is retiring next month, to chose her personal top ten productions. Anna has worked at the theatre since 1982 and in that time has seen an approximate 1,500 different performances, so selecting her favourites is no easy task..


BLONDEL (1983) There was so much excitement at the Theatre Royal when we heard we were to be getting the world première of Cameron Mackintosh’s new musical with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Stephen Oliver. This medieval romp starred Paul Nicholas as the 12th century minstrel, with a cappella singing group, Cantabile, as a chorus of monks. The show went down a storm in Bath but never managed to achieve such a degree of momentum anywhere else and is now rarely done (if ever). Fortunately, I still have the double album soundtrack of the original cast recording.


RUN FOR YOUR WIFE (1987) It’s more than thirty years since I saw Ray Cooney’s farce about John Smith, a bigamist taxi driver whose duplicitous life unravels following a mugging. I still remember crying with laughter throughout at this production – and how wonderful to see the inimitable Les Dawson in Bath in a rare acting role as Stanley Gardner, the neighbour. In my opinion Ray Cooney’s plotting makes him a comic genius.


A SIMPLE MAN (1988) Northern Ballet have created so many unforgettable memories over the years. I almost opted for A Christmas Carol, then Dracula, but selected this evocative and moving piece which brought to life the artist L S Lowry and many of his most iconic paintings through music by Carl Davis, choreography by Gillian Lynne, and design by Tim Goodchild. In Bath, the wonderful Christopher Gable played Lowry, with Moira Shearer as his mother. Perfection in dance. 48 I BATH LIFE I


HAMLET (1999) Marketing this production from Lithuania’s Meno Fortas company as part of the Theatre Royal’s Bath Shakespeare Festival was an undoubted challenge, but I guarantee that those adventurous souls who took a punt will never forget it. In Eimuntas Nekrosius’s production, rain fell constantly; an immense circular saw hung over the stage; and a massive chandelier of ice dripped onto spikyhaired rock star Andrius Mamontovas, dissolving his shirt as he delivered ‘To be, or not to be’ (in Lithuanian!). Breath-taking and visually stunning.

“A massive chandelier of ice dripped onto the spiky-haired rock star” 5

WAITING FOR GODOT (2005) I’m no fan of those classics which require a PhD to fi nd the humour in them, and would never have dreamed that Samuel Beckett’s bleak comedy could be so genuinely laugh-out-loud funny and feel so totally modern. Peter Hall directed this 50th anniversary production (having also directed the original English-language production in 1955), which starred Alan Dobie, James Laurenson, Terence Rigby and Richard Dormer. A revelation.


THE SEAFARER (2007) The National Theatre came to Bath with its original superlative cast of Jim Norton, Ron Cook, Conleth Hill, Karl Johnson and Michael McElhatton. Conor McPherson’s beautifully written and deeply atmospheric drama is intriguing and creepy – set on an alcohol-fuelled Christmas Eve in Dublin where a game of poker is being played for the highest stakes. It lost out to Blackbird as Best New Play at the 2007 Olivier Awards, another excellent work, which very nearly made my selection.


FENCES (2013) Lenny Henry has to have the greatest performance range of any actor in the UK. In 1985 I fi rst saw his superb stand-up at the Theatre Royal. Twenty-four years later I saw him playing Othello here, then giving an absolutely towering performance in August Wilson’s gripping Pulitzer Prizewinning play about black family life in 1950s Pittsburgh for which he received the Critics’ Circle Award for Best Actor. It also starred the hugely talented Tanya Moodie who returned to deliver wonderful performances at the Ustinov Studio in Trouble in Mind and Intimate Apparel.


A STEADY RAIN (2014) Keith Huff ’s powerful drama, directed by David Grindley, was an American Season UK première in the Ustinov Studio. Vincent Riotta and Brian Doherty gave immaculate performances as two Chicago cops who inadvertently return a Vietnamese boy to a cannibalistic serial killer. There was a moment when I was so involved I found myself saying ‘No’ out loud and felt completely emotionally drained by the end. Brilliant drama made perfect by the intimacy of the Ustinov.


THE FATHER (2014) There are many great actors I have been thrilled to see perform on the Theatre Royal’s stage from Anthony Hopkins, Albert Finney and Alan Bates to Kenneth Branagh, Ian McKellen and Jonathan Pryce, but I was especially excited to see Kenneth Cranham and delighted that he won the Best Actor Olivier Award for his moving, completely convincing, captivating performance in Florian Zeller’s play about a man with dementia. James MacDonald directed this UK première in the Ustinov Studio before it became a huge West End hit and I enjoyed it just as much seeing it again when it returned to Bath in the Main House.


THE PRICE (2018) I have seen Arthur Miller’s play a number of times but this time, in Jonathan Church’s production for the Theatre Royal’s Summer Season, I thought it felt like a masterpiece. There were stunning performances from each of the cast – David Suchet, Brendan Coyle, Adrian Lukis and Sara Stewart. Simon Higlett’s extraordinary design of towering antique furniture was a work of art in its own right. The story of two brothers returning to break up their childhood home following a 16-year hiatus, was moving, compelling and fi lled with truth. For more:







clockwise from top left: Brian Docherty and Vincent Liotta in A Steady Rain; Claire Skinner and Kenneth Cranham in The Father; Fences with Lenny Henry and Tanya Moodie; David Suchet and Brendan Coyle in The Price; The National Theatre’s production of The SeaFarer; Waiting for Godot with Alan Dobie and James Laurenson I BATH LIFE I 49

9 September 2021 Assembly Rooms @bathlifeawards


Sponsorships available, please get in touch with


Nominations open, enter online for free

19 MAY

Finalists revealed

9 SEPTEMBER Bath Life Awards 2021

Find out more at INITIAL SPONSORS



Choose your destiny Novels exploring notions of the certainty of fate

“This nuanced family drama adeptly explores heritage, race, identity”


n fiction, as in life, it can be problematic if your own destiny isn’t in your hands. Sometimes whatever path a character takes; however noble or solid the decisions they make, they just can’t seem to wriggle free of the external influences of other characters, or of their past; not to mention their author’s unwillingness to cut them a break. Jivan, one of three key characters in the literary thriller A Burning by Megha Majumdar (Simon & Schuster, £14.99), is a prime example of a character whose fate rests with others. After she witnesses a horrific firebomb attack on a train, resulting in many casualties, teenage Jivan makes the decision to post about it on social media, complete with open criticism of the police and an implication that the authorities were complicit in the attack. No sooner are her comments online than Jivan finds herself under arrest for involvement in the attack – implicated by supposed association and footage showing her near the scene carrying a mysterious bundle. As she languishes in prison, her case becomes a cause célèbre, with an eagerly-awaited trial that many hope will see her brought to the harshest possible justice. Two testimonies in particular may prove crucial to Jivan’s trial. The first would come from Lovely, a hijra – a person of recognised third gender in India, who are eunuchs, transgender, or intersex. Lovely has dreams of a Bollywood acting career and, before the attack, she had been visiting Jivan in her Kolkata slum home to receive English lessons. The second involves PT Sir, Jivan’s former gym teacher before she stopped coming to school. Recently he’s become ever-more involved in a rising populist Hindu political party, and seems to crave the attention and slivers of potential power which such involvement might offer. As the novel develops, Lovely and PT Sir’s pursuit of their own desires and ambitions become ever more tangled with Jivan’s fate. A Burning is a devastating and utterly gripping story written in a style that is somewhat reminiscent of Mohsin Hamid – observational and detached but somehow simultaneously deeply emotional. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (Little Brown, £14.99) is set in America across the

second half of the 20th century and focusses on identical twin sisters, Desiree and Stella Vignes. Raised in the small town of Mallard, Louisiana, the relatively light-skinned sisters have pursued very different life paths. As young women, both are keen to get away from their hometown, but whilst Desiree marries a black man and has a dark-skinned daughter named Jude, Stella decides to ‘pass’ – to live her life as a white woman and explore the privilege and opportunity which such a life offers up. When Desiree and the young Jude move back to Mallard, Desiree hopes that she’ll eventually be able to reconnect with Stella, who had departed Mallard so abruptly and finally, when they were young women. But no word comes of Stella and her white life. As Jude grows up, she finds the community of her mother’s hometown less than welcoming – her darker skin means she is often shunned by others, in a place where many inhabitants have distanced themselves from their black heritage. Once she reaches adulthood Jude, like her mother and aunt, seeks to escape the oppressive Mallard and moves to L.A., where she too will ultimately get the chance to figure out the complex connections to her family and past. This nuanced family drama adeptly explores heritage, race, identity and the extent a person is free to control their own life’s journey and distance themselves from their personal history. Finally, to demonstrate that sometimes fiction can reach where nothing else can in order to change destinies that would otherwise be fixed, a quick shout out for Laurent Binet’s new novel Civilisations (Harvill Secker, £16.99). Here the obstacles and false moves of the past are inverted and reimagined dating a whole millennium back, as Erik the Red’s daughter sales South not North from Greenland, discovering South America a cool 500 years before Columbus comes on the scene. Vikings in Panama, Incas ruling Europe, and conflicts we can’t imagine come together to form a richlyimagined alternative history of the divvying up of continents by the great civilisations, that could also be a retelling of the greatest game of Risk you ever played. Nic Bottomley is the general manager of Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights, 14/15 John Street, Bath; tel: 01225 331155; I BATH LIFE I 51

BLESSED ARE THE DREAMERS The creators of a new online exhibition of spoken word, poetry and music explain how sharing stories has the potential to create powerful change

A FEW OF THE CONTRIBUTORS TO DREAM SPACE PICTURED FRONT ROW: Charlotte Howell-Jones, Jason Prentice, Lumie Okado, Mark De’Lisser; MIDDLE ROW: Clare Halls, Moyra Akure, Vipul Patel, Jacob Law, Ellie Leiper; BACK ROW: Vicki Why, Adam Reynolds, Rob Mitchell, Ella Nicholson




Dream Space is a storytelling project that hopes to inspire systemic change


ream Space was inspired by our belief in stories – say the organisers of a new online exhibition Dan Burgess, Seema Burgess, Evva Semenowicz, Ruqia Osman and Bex Fox – in how they help us make sense of the world and our place in it. They shape the narratives that influence us – and yet the perspective we are exposed to is often narrow. The stories we see have either been edited by the press, condensed into soundbites for social media or even skipped over and interrupted in normal conversation – not everyone has the opportunity to speak openly. So, Dream Space was hatched to explore what happens when you offer an inclusive and safe space for listening, sharing and dreaming, and give a diverse range of people a chance to tell their story, in their own way, without interference, boundaries, or expectation. What we found is that stories have the power to bring us together and help us understand what is happening in our communities. We believe this is where change begins. More than 100 people came together to listen and share with Dream Space, and over fifty incredible stories were told in a range of forms, from poetry,

“Dream Space was hatched to explore what happens when you offer an inclusive space for listening” I BATH LIFE I 53



The project was inspired by the storytellers of Bath’s Climate and Black Lives Matter movements

spoken word and song to free-form reflections. Each one revealed a unique take on life in Bath today and many shared personal hopes for the future of our city. But for these stories to inspire meaningful change, they need to travel across Bath and be heard by a much wider audience. This is why we’re inviting everyone in our city to explore our online exhibition, where we have recorded the stories, songs and poems, so that together we can create a new narrative for Bath: one which sees a kinder, more compassionate city emerge. We started thinking about Dream Space after hearing the amazing open mic stories at the Youth Climate Strikes and the Black Lives Matter peaceful protest in Green Park. Every story made such an impact on us, and we wondered what other stories were out there in the city? With the Climate and Black Lives Matter movements, and of course Covid-19 causing some big shifts in Bath, we had a hunch Dream Space could be just what our city needs, and happily we were right. The response was incredible, not only in terms of participation, but in the way everyone fully

“Together we can create a new narrative for Bath”


engaged with the space. We comforted and supported each other, and despite coming together online, felt we had created a new community. The stories revealed a vibrant and resilient community with a strong desire for change. The online gatherings were filled with local residents who wanted to come together to create more inclusivity and kindness for people and the planet. We learnt so much about the incredible humans who make the city of Bath such a special place to live, work and be, the grassroots movements and the local innovators creating change every day. However, the picture of Bath is by no means perfect. The racism stories in particular reveal how life in Bath can be painful and exhausting. It was uncomfortable to process this hard truth about the city we love, but we were encouraged by the number of allies who came forward to listen, and heard that change is happening locally, even if it is not yet happening on a wide enough scale, or fast enough. There is a lot more happening in Bath than meets the eye, and if we are to create a better future for the city and its people, we need to bring all of this, good and bad, to the surface. We hope our online exhibition will play a big part in this, and that our gatherings will empower communities to create the change they wish to see. n The Dream Space exhibition launches on 31 March at

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SHELL CHOC’ED! Easter = chocolate for breakfast right? So let’s do this thing properly. We love Choc on Choc’s take on the traditional Easter egg with half a dozen milk chocolate dippy eggs, complete with mango yolk and solid chocolate soldiers slices. Flo Broughton, co-founder of the Rode-based chocolatiers, says, “These milk chocolate eggs are made by hand and filled with a liquid chocolate sauce to dip the chocolate toast into. It was created because dippy egg and soldiers was a favourite of mine as a child.” A carton of six chocolate dippy eggs costs £20; I BATH LIFE I 57

BOOJA BOOJA HAZELNUT CRUNCH, PRICES START FROM £3.79 Melt in the mouth vegan and organic chocolate truffles made with sweet, roasted hazelnuts from Italy. Stockists Harvest, 37 Walcot Street, Bath;

VEGAN SALTED CARAMEL CHEESECAKE, £1.99 Crisp bourbon biscuit crumb, sumptuously layered with a rich dark chocolate vegan cheesecake, all smothered in a rich chocolate ganache and swirled with a smooth toffee flavoured salted caramelised biscuit sauce. From Edgar Foods, 9 Edgar Buildings, George Street, Bath;


It’s not gospel that it has to be eggs…

THE BANQUET COLLECTION, £79.90 Gourmet chocolates made with only natural ingredients and without artificial colours, flavours, or preservatives and include unique beauties such as the Bath Bun truffle, lime ganache, and toasted coconut bombe. From Charlotte Brunswick, 3 Church Street, Bath;

CHOCOLATE OREO CAKE, £27.50 Crumbled Oreos in the layers together with Italian meringue buttercream, completely enrobed and topped with vanilla buttercream, decorated with a crown of rosettes, half Oreos, crushed Oreos and a chocolate drip. From DidiCakes 132 Walcot Street, Bath;

DARK CHOCOLATE HAZELNUTS WITH CARAMEL PIECES, £4.75 FOR 100G A whole hazelnut, coated with 70 per cent dark chocolate and peppered with crunchy and crispy caramel pieces. From Maison Georges Larnicol, 5 Burton Street, Bath;


ED’S CHOICE MOCHA CHOCA FUDGE LOAF, £25 This is no dainty fudge, but a solid loaf of delectable, creamy, mocha choca gourmet fudge, perfect for slicing. From Fudge Kitchen Bath, 10 Abbey Churchyard, Bath;

HONEYCOMB IN MILK CHOCOLATE, £3.80 Hefty chunks of frothy, bubbly honeycomb enrobed in silky milk chocolate handmade by the Newton St Loe artisan confectioners who use local cream and butter. From Seven Hills Chocolate, The Stable Building, Newton St.Loe, Bath;

THE ROCKY ROAD DONUT, TWO FOR £6 From Bath’s vegan donut specialists, this delight is loaded with biscuits, marshmallows, cherries, popcorn, and honeycomb goodness, and covered in rich dark chocolate. From The Happy Donut Bakery;

FUDGE GIFT BOXES, PRICES START AT £8.95 FOR TWO SLABS All handmade right here in Bath, with no artificial ingredients, these guys have all the chocolate fudges, including triple choc pictured here, chocolate orange, chocolate caramel, and Belgian chocolate chunk, and many, many more. From The San Francisco Fudge Factory, 6 Church Street, Abbey Green;

MILK CHOCOLATE MILLIONAIRES, £19.95 16 slices of gluten-free award winning buttery shortbread topped with a generous layer of gooey caramel and milk chocolate drizzle. From Wild Flour Co, Unit 1A, Timsbury Workshop Estate, Hayeswood Road Timsbury, Bath tel: 01761 479 641; I BATH LIFE I 59


THE AL FRESCO MANIFESTO From 12 April we’re taking this outside and heading, no, make that running, to our favourite Bath outdoor eateries By Sarah Moolla


ub gardens, café courtyards, hotel terraces – how lovely is that list? It sounds like all our Christmas, birthdays and Easter eggs have come at once. Ahead of a hopeful lifting of restrictions on 12 April, we’ve drawn up an al fresco guide to some of the best, brightest and most beautiful spots to eat in Bath to toast our new found freedom. All the venues we’ve listed are abiding by the Covid safe measures, many of which include NHS Track and Trace QR codes displayed for check in, staff wearing face coverings, hand sanitiser available, and table service.


The Royal Crescent Hotel and Spa, 16 Royal Crescent, Bath; Opens from 14 April. Wednesday to Sunday only, 12pm6pm (last orders at 5pm). Booking essential Mary Stringer the hotel’s marketing manager says, “Hidden behind the Royal Crescent Hotel and Spa is an acre of secluded gardens, just beginning to burst into bloom. From Wednesday 14 April you can feast in the sunshine on hot lunch or a decadent afternoon tea. Watch the squirrels scampering across the grass, and keep an eye out for our sleepy rescue hedgehogs emerging from hibernation. And why not raise a glass of champagne to celebrate new beginnings? Fresh air, birdsong and the heavenly scents of spring await you. “We offer a range of lighter dishes from salads to wholesome soups, to larger dishes such as rib-eye steaks. For the ultimate end of lockdown indulgence – try an afternoon tea in our perfect English gardens – this includes a selection of delicious sandwiches, cut to mouth-watering perfection. Then there are our freshly baked scones with clotted cream and strawberry preserve along with a range of exquisite pastries and cakes – each one dainty enough to eat in one delicious mouthful. “This most decadent of British traditions is complemented by a choice of Ronnefeldt teas from around the world, sourced exclusively for our guests. And add some sparkle to the occasion with a flute or flight of Taittinger Champagne.”


Be waited on in the gorgeous Royal Crescent Hotel gardens

“Fresh air, birdsong and the heavenly scents of spring await you” I BATH LIFE I 61


left: Anticipating the return of fine food with great music and lovely friends at Green Park Brasserie and Bath Pizza Co; below: There’s enough seating for 50 inside the Holburne marquee


Bath Pizza Co and Green Park Brasserie, Green Park Station, Bath;; Reopening 12 April for al fresco vibes – 12-late, 7 days (10am weekends). 17 May indoor reopening (live jazz/funk/soul/ swing). No bookings system. Indoor bookings from 17 May Alex Peters, director of Green Park Brasserie and Bath Pizza Co, says, “We are absolutely buzzing to re-re-re open; this is our third pandemic open/close cycle so we’re quite good at it now! Our large al fresco terraces will be bringing back the good times with plenty of happy hour 2 for 1 cocktails, fizz, craft beer and award-winning food from the Bath Pizza Co and Brasserie kitchens.” On the menu from Bath Pizza Co, it’s fresh pizza made in woodfired ovens with choices ranging from full-on meat to very vegan. From Green Park Brasserie, there’s the firm favourites such as Cornish fishcakes, the Brasserie Burger, and salt & pepper squid, but their Sunday roasts, which includes Newton Farm Topside Beef, Tunley are up there with the best in Bath.


Holburne’s Garden Café, run by Benugo, Great Pulteney Street, Bath; Opening hours are Monday – Saturday 10am – 5pm (last orders 4.30pm). Sundays and Bank Holidays 11am – 5pm (last orders 4.30pm) Katie Jenkins, head of communications at Holburne, says, “Our heated marquee has wonderful views of the museum gardens. We also welcome our four-legged friends! As the Holburne is the home of Bridgerton’s Lady Danbury our visitors will be able to enjoy our Bridgerton themed canopy on our terrace, which looks out over our gardens. While you can dine under the wisteria, tables will also be available throughout the gardens for those who enjoy basking in the sunshine. We seat 50 inside the marquee, plus there are additional uncovered tables on the lawn. “On the menu is award-winning Benugo blend coffee, delicious cakes alongside small plates and a selection of wine and beer. Look out for our new Holburne High Tea offer. Also on warm days you will be able to enjoy a cool glass of Aperol spritz in the sunshine (inspired by the Holburne’s exhibition Canaletto: Painting Venice) alongside our seasonal menu. To add to the sense of occasion, we are working towards a programme of outdoor theatre and music, which we hope to confirm very soon.”



The Olio Terrace at Homewood, Abbey Lane, Freshford, Bath; Open every day from 12pm-9pm starting 12 April Homewood, the luxury country house hotel set in the Bath countryside, will open its renowned Mediterranean influenced Olio Terrace. With a large patio, outdoor kitchen, rustic pizza oven, relaxed seating area and views across the hotel’s gardens and surrounding countryside, the sun-drenched terrace will be the place to be seen this spring and summer. Guests (two-legged and four-legged) may enjoy lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and of course, cocktails aplenty. With an ethos of creating great British dishes with Mediterranean flair, executive chef James Forman sources the very best sustainable ingredients from local farmers and suppliers. Menus include generous feasting platters for sharing and great British favourites. Try delectable Somerset bites, including hickory smoked West End Farm pork croquettes, salt & pepper Brixham squid or serrano ham with

You can watch the chefs conjure up their magic in the outdoor kitchen at Homewood’s Olio Terrace



The Hideout, 1 Lilliput Court, Bath; Seats up to 25 and drinking hours are 5pm – 11pm daily Corey Shinn, general manager of the atmospheric cocktail and whisky bar, says, “We’ve been working on bringing The Hideout feel outside into the courtyard during lockdown, having clad the back wall in panelled wood, with some upcycled seating and added planting. We’ve also got colourful tables and chairs, a big canopy and heaters. It’s looking great and we can’t wait to see the courtyard buzzing again. Since we’ve been closed, our barrel-aged Manhattan has been using the time to age, ready to be enjoyed, so this is my recommended first celebratory visit drink.”

above: The Bird’s terrace reflects the eclectic style of the main hotel; right: Enjoy a ‘lockdown-aged’ Manhattan at The Hideout

local Wyfe of Bath cheese and truffle honey. Smoky woodfired flat breads, hearty salads with zingy freshness and sizzling hot plates from the Robata will tempt diners. For private groups of six (with mixing limited to two households), Homewood’s heated Olio Chalets are ideally positioned on the outdoor terrace to provide a welcoming space regardless of the weather. The chalets will capture a sense of the season, decorated with fresh greenery, vines, flowers and bursts of colour.


The Plate Terrace at The Bird, 18-19 Pulteney Road, Bathwick, Bath; Open from 11am to 10pm, Wednesday to Sunday for drinks, lunch and dinner service, as well as for breakfast from 9am at the weekend The Bird boutique hotel’s Plate Terrace offers one of the city’s best al fresco views. It sits in an elevated position with views across to the Rec and Bath Abbey. Reflecting the fun and flamboyant nature of the hotel, this colourful and unique space is designed to bring a smile to peoples’ faces after a year of lockdowns. A mix of relaxed seating for dining and drinks includes covered pavilions for the terrace to be enjoyed by families, friends – and four-legged friends – whatever the weather brings. The menu is focused on the very finest local produce and has been created by head chef Leon Smith, the man behind the hotel’s recently launched Plate restaurant. Families will delight in a set-menu that includes burgers with Godminster cheddar, haddock with minted peas and triple-cooked chips, and a wild mushroom and goats cheese tart with purple sprouting broccoli and Jersey Royals. The à la carte offerings are temptations such as braised lamb shoulder, pan fried bass with samphire and caviar sauce, and sirloin steak with bone marrow and parmesan butter. At the weekends, breakfast will be served from 9am with a kickstart selection to set diners up for the day, from a classic full English to eggs Benedict and sweet pancakes. I BATH LIFE I 63

LEFT: The Bath Priory’s terrace is backed in early summer by the scented wisteria clad walls of the hotel; MIDDLE: In addition to their terrace, the Priory are offering poolside days out with food ; BOTTOM: Head to Roseate Villa Bath near Henrietta Park for birdsong, afternoon tea and maybe a cocktail


The Bath Priory, Weston Road, Bath; The terrace is open from 8am until late, booking required The hotel’s terrace, backed in early summer by the scented wisteria clad walls of the hotel and overlooking four acres of beautiful gardens, is the perfect spot for a glass of Champagne in the evening, or to enjoy the all-day al fresco dining, with a new vibrant and informal outdoor menu serving breakfast, brunch, lunch and supper. On offer from the renowned 3 AA Rosette Priory kitchen include delights such as Loch Duart salmon, cucumber, pickled ginger, honey and soy vinaigrette; squab pigeon breast with kohlrabi, semolina, and Madeira sauce; and kumquat compote with lemon thyme ice cream. There’s also full day out options including new pool packages for up to 12 guests from two families. This offers exclusive use of the pool and poolside areas, delicious food throughout the day and access to the gardens and garden games.


The Roseate Villa Bath, Henrietta Road, Bath; Open midday – 5pm, and seats 24 Chic, stylish and tranquil, The Roseate Villa Bath is one of the fi nest independent boutique luxury hotels with a beautiful front and back garden where guests can enjoy a delicious afternoon tea and cocktail whilst overlooking the stunning Henrietta Park – a true hidden gem nestled in the city of Bath. General manager Caroline Browning says, “A private, peaceful


haven situated opposite the beautiful Henrietta Park, escape the hustle and bustle of the busy city centre and come and enjoy the bird song and some amazing cocktails. Kristi is on hand to prepare one of our many signature cocktails and always more than happy to make your favourite if it is not on the list. And to eat, defi nitely Norma’s homemade afternoon tea with sandwiches made with our own bread and delectable cakes. If you are looking for a more savoury option, then you can order one of Roberto’s home-made sourdough pizzas.”


Dough, 9 Kingsmead Square, Bath; Opens 12noon – 10.30pm Monday – Sunday, covers 20 The much-loved Bath pizza favourite, that offers 13 different bases in the mix, including four types of gluten-free dough, has a new outdoor space. Massimo Nucaro, the director of Dough, fi lls us in, “This is a new opening and will be the second site for Dough in Bath. It’s been in the pipeline for a while now, but we loved the idea of having outside space, so it’s great that we’ll be allowed to open this new venue with tables, chairs and canopies located in the lovely Kingsmead Square, before restaurants reopen in May.”



Boho Marché in Francis Hotel, Queens Square, Bath; Capacity is for around 30 people. Breakfast is served from 10am-12pm and the all-day menu from 12 pm-7pm “The team have been working on developing Boho Marché’s outdoor offering since the restaurant originally opened in December 2020,” says Tamsyn Parsons director of sales and marketing. “The interior space fuses Parisian café culture with lush tropical greenery, Andalusian floral walkways and is punctuated with cues from the infi nitely stylish era of the 1970s in Marrakech. This distinctive design extends to our outdoor terrace, which is also equipped with heaters, parasols and lights to accommodate for all conditions. “Diners can expect a mouth-watering menu that brings the exotic warmth and flavours of Morocco and the Mediterranean to the heart of Bath. Plus, on the 12 April opening day, we are introducing our freshly made Cruffi n & Cronuts sweet treat specials.”


The Scallop Shell, 22 Monmouth Place, Bath; Opening hours are Tuesday – Saturday 4.30 – 8.30pm, covers 18 “Our terrace is on the fi rst floor of the restaurant and is an extension of inside with its nautical theme,” says Garry Rosser, owner of the acclaimed fi sh and chip restaurant and seafood grill. “Guests can expect stone and wood-clad walls and plenty of glass to enjoy the views out over the rooftops beyond. It’s heated, mostly covered, with a retractable roof for sunny days. “We’d always recommend the classic fi sh and chips for any fi rst visit, but there’ll be lots of our favourites on the menu, such as the Scallop Shell fi sh stew, scallops with hollandaise sauce and we’re hoping to have lobster too. To drink, I love our Albariño for its crispness and it works perfectly with fi sh and seafood.”

TOP: You can now enjoy award-winning Dough pizza in their second al fresco spot in Kingsmead Square; MIDDLE: There’s a Parisian café vibe thing going on at the outside space of the new Boho Marche; BOTTOM: The all-weather Scallop Shell extension with retractable roof

“It’s heated, mostly covered, with a retractable roof for sunny days” I BATH LIFE I 65



The Courtyard Café, 3 Lilliput Court, Bath; Opens 12 April, 10-5pm Sunday – Friday, and 9-5pm on Saturdays Chantal Vilassaint, general manager of the cosy independent café, says, “Our courtyard is self-contained, with colourful tables and chairs, a central canopy, heaters and views up into North Parade passage above. We serve fresh, hearty homemade food from breakfast to brunch, lunch and afternoon tea. My personal favourites are the Berry Good Waffles (with berries and maple syrup) for something sweet, or for something savoury, our Havana toast (sourdough topped with spicy pulled pork, ham, sriracha mayo, cheese and a fried egg). Drinks-wise, milkshakes or boozy hard shakes if the weather is nice and if it’s not, a warming boozy hot drink.”

above: The dog patiently waits for a taste of delicious cake for The Courtyard Café below: The eagerly awaited brand new outdoor space of The Moorfields is finally unveiled with seating for 150


The Bath Pub Company; Joe Cussens is co-owner of four pubs in Bath, three of which will be opening their outdoor spaces on 12 April. Hare & Hounds – can seat 50 covered on the upper terraces with a further 150 on the lower terrace: We’re covering both of our upper terraces to provide customer seating that works even if the weather doesn’t play ball. All those tables are reservable in advance – we’ll offer a full menu here. On our lower terrace, we’ve added a decking area that will provide plenty of additional seating, served by our outside bar. On the lower area, we’re serving pizzas only (that come from the outside bar), customers can order and pay via our app widget, or the conventional table service way if they prefer. The Locksbrook Inn – can seat 130 in total of which 70 is under cover: We’re putting up a marquee to cover the majority of the garden where customers can choose from a full menu offering, and drinks


served from our outside bar. We’re open from first thing each morning serving coffee and breakfasts. The Moorfields – seat 150 in total of which 70 will be under cover: There’s additional great excitement at the Moorfields where work is underway to create a new outside bar and pizza servery. It’s going to be a bit special. It’s unlikely to be up and running for our reopening date, but hopefully soon after. Meantime, food and drink will be served from inside. Outside the garden will feature a mix of undercover tables and exposed to the elements so take your pick.”

above: An evening spent on the roof terrace of The Mint Room

is an evening very well spent; right: It’s finally chocs away for the new to Bath Mrs Potts Chocolate House


The Mint Room’s Rooftop Bar, Longmead Gospel Hall, Lower Bristol Road Bath; Opening hours are Monday – Sunday 5pm-10pm and booking is essential The award-winning, nationally celebrated Mint Room is of course something far more special than your average Indian curry house. But elevating this to exceptional is the luxury roof top terrace with plenty of seating, canopies, heaters, and a central bar. What could be nicer than being reunited with loved ones and spending a balmy evening, rooftop dining, and enjoying celebrated Mint Room delicacies and dishes such as lightly fried soft-shell Panjim crab, slow roasted Welsh lamb shank, with wilted greens, Awadhi-style sauce, accompanied by a signature, spice-infused, cocktail or three..?


Mrs. Potts Chocolate House 7 York Street, Bath; Open 10am until 6pm, but as the summer months approach, opening hours may be extended “We were only open in our lovely Bath cafe for three weeks before the first lockdown, so almost all the time we have welcomed customers it has been with some kind of Covid restrictions,” area manager Charlotte Phillips tell us. “We are so excited to have customers back at our tables again! Our space, which can seat between 15-20, overlooks the Roman Baths, Bath Abbey, and the gorgeous square. We have a selection of chairs and tables, and will have umbrellas available for the sunnier days.” The family-run independent business serves a selection of chocolateinspired desserts, luxury hot chocolates, teas, coffees, cakes, brownies and cookies, plus sells a range of handmade chocolate products to take home and enjoy. For your visit Charlotte recommends, “You can’t go wrong with a double chocolate cookie sandwich topped with a drizzle of melted milk chocolate and a side of fresh strawberries. I would accompany this with a roasted white hot chocolate with a big scoop of freshly toasted homemade marshmallow fluff on the top. Oh, and a bag of our gourmet Number 2 Chocolate Bars to take home.”


Timbrell’s Yard, 49 St. Margaret’s Street, Bradford on Avon; Open all day, every day from 12 April. 8.30am to 10pm Monday to Friday and 8.30am to 11pm at weekends and can seat up to 120 Lianne Cooper, general manager of the elegant riverside boutique hotel says, “Our covered riverside terrace with views of the medieval arched bridge and the postcard good looks of the twisting streets and limestone buildings of Bradford on Avon, makes it the perfect place to eat and drink. From morning coffees, to relaxed lunches, evening cocktails and delicious dinners, the waterside setting is unforgettable. As spring turns to summer, inside has turned to outside, and we’ve made the terrace warm and comfortable with heaters, sheepskin rugs, a wood burner and beautiful lighting. It’s safely spaced out and superbly stylish. “We’re also introducing our Inside Out menu. I’d recommend a starter of smoked mackerel and Chalk Stream trout fishcakes or warm salad of grilled asparagus, feta, orange salsa and quinoa. For a main the roasted cauliflower, tomato, chilli and ginger crispy chickpea cakes, or roast fillet of market fish with crispy coppa and sorrel. Enjoy with a spring cocktail such as the Chase grapefruit and pomelo cocktail or a pint of local Iford cider.” n

Take your time and take in the sunset at Timbrells I BATH LIFE I 67

All the ingredients in a meal kit come pre portioned so you use everything you receive

RIVERFORD RECIPE BOXES Lydia Tewkesbury tests out recipe boxes from Riverford Organic Farmers


iverford will always have a special place in my heart because it reminds me of home. A Riverford box calls forth my mum’s kitchen, a place I’ve barely set foot in for a year, and the weekly ceremony of rifling through to find treats like portobello mushrooms (mum makes an excellent mushroom burger), less beloved fiddly items (neither of us ever really figured out what you’re supposed to do with an artichoke) and the random assortment of things like the bags of surprise green peppers they send from time to time, some of which are juicy and sweet, and others so spicy your eyes water (my brother likes to live dangerously so he’s into them; mum, less so). All of which is to say, when the opportunity came up to review Riverford’s recipe boxes, I wasn’t going to say no. Cooking is my pandemic hobby of choice. Like many of us, I have spent a lot of time alone in the past year, and while the initial period of lockdown number one spent buried under my duvet consuming as many books as


I could (all the better to deny reality with), accompanied only by bowls of tomato pasta was great, for a time, there came a point when I realised I was probably going to need to take better care of myself. Not to #glowup (I have not), so much as to arrive at the other side of this a – mostly – functioning person. Even if the pandemic has not been your great foodie renaissance, I think you’d get a lot out of these meal kits. They come in three different styles – light, simple and foodie – so whether you want something you can whip up in under 30 minutes or you’re looking to spend some serious kitchen time, you’re covered, and you can be confident in their delicious, fresh and well-sourced ingredients. Also, they all serve two, so if you’re doing the pandemic solo like me, you’re getting double the dinner for your money (unless you want to eat it all at once. We’ve all had nights like that. I’m not judging). For me, box one was my simple option, honey and sesame halloumi with bulghur. If there is one benefit to


Sesame halloumi with bulghur: easy, but still a bit fancy

cooking for one during a pandemic, it is getting to eat all the halloumi yourself. The salty, umami chewiness of the halloumi contrasted delightfully its sticky coating, lent a little crunch with the addition of a dip in a bowl of egg and polenta. Yes, I spent the rest of the evening picking sesame seeds out of my teeth, but it was totally worth it. In my year of cooking adventures, I hadn’t yet tried out bulghur wheat, so this was a good opportunity to add a new grain to my repertoire, and the recipe also asks you to char a lemon, something I have never done before that made me feel distinctly chef-like. For box two, I was allowed to spend an evening as my truest pandemic self: the foodie. The Italian mascarpone pie took some time to make, but the results more than made up for time spent – and what else do you have to do of a Friday evening, anyway? This hearty, soul-warming mix of colourful Mediterranean veg, white beans and mash was just the right side of fancy, whilst remaining solidly in the realm of comfort food. The addition of the mascarpone is incredibly tasty (if you don’t sneak at least one spoonful from the pot while chopping your veg, you’re doing it wrong), and poshes it up a notch. I have always felt like anything other than a standard cheddar elevates a dish to capital F Foodie, Instagram-worthy fare (maybe I will get to #glowup after all). The advantage of a meal kit is it kicks you out of your regular meal routine, and introduces new ingredients into your cupboards. The box is finite, but the recipe cards live forever, and both of these are definitely worth cooking again. Options: vegan, vegetarian, meat and prime cuts. Standard boxes serve two, but you can also get a family box for four. Prices: boxes for two cost £12.45-£17.45, family boxes cost£19.95-£23.15 For more:

“Cooking is my pandemic hobby of choice”

The advantage of a meal kit is that is introduces new ingredients into your repertoire

The Italian mascarpone pie is a comforting show stopper of a dish I BATH LIFE I 69




MAIL ORDER BAKES There are few better ways to tell someone you’re thinking of them than a well-timed box of treats


OMAGGI Omaggi was born out of furlough, when Emily Denham and Ben Peake decided to escape London to start a new life – and a new business – in Bath. Inspired by their many trips to Sicily and frustrated by the lack of good cannoli here in the UK, they started up a micro-bakery offering just that – high quality, authentic cannoli. Crunchy, fried pastry dough filled with creamy flavoured ricotta, they are the ultimate indulgence. Omaggi deliver, but you can also find them every Saturday at the Green Park Station Farmer’s Market.


DULCITA’S BAKEHOUSE Carmelita Sanchez started her business in memory of her father, who passed away after an unexpected cancer diagnosis in June last year. A restauranteur, he influenced Carmelita’s love of creative baking and they often spoke of her dream to start her own baking business. A few months after his passing, Dulcita’s Bakehouse was born, and from an initial offering of millionaire’s shortbread (which come in a range of flavours including white chocolate and raspberry, Lotus Biscoff, Oreo and classic), she has branched out into unique cookie pizzas – a fusion of dessert and pizza, inspired by the Italian pizzas she always used to watch her dad make.




SARAH MCNALLY BESPOKE CAKES Sarah’s hobby turned side hustle turned full-time gig sees her create design-led, butter cream cakes that are almost – emphasis on the almost – too beautiful to eat. She offers bespoke, breath-taking centrepieces for weddings and celebrations – and in the absence of those, a really good pandemic Sunday. If you’re in the market for a simpler treat, try her beautiful white chocolate geometric cake hearts. Filled with rich, creamy chocolate truffle and decorated with delicate gold leaf, they make for a delicious way to say ‘I love you’.



LUNITA PASTELERIA Formerly known as Baked By Fabi on Instagram, Fabiana Greco started creating her Argentine pastries during the first lockdown because she was really missing her family, and baking the treats they had always eaten together helped her feel a little closer to home. As it turned out, a lot of Bathonians found comfort in her bakes, which include delicious medialunas (sweet, soft laminated vanilla brioche), filled facturas (pastry packed with a range of mouth-watering fillings) and cañoncitos de dulce de leche (pastry filled with silky, creamy dulce de leche).


BRUNCH CLUB BATH The newbie in town, Sophie-Anne Bradley set up Brunch Club Bath less than two months ago. Her love of a good breakfast inspired her to create her incredible loaded croissants, available in Lotus Biscoff, Kinder Bueno and Oreo flavours – with more options to come soon. She also offers a more traditional brunch box, in which you’ll find an assortment of fruit, pastries, Nutella spread, pancakes, yoghurt and granola – the perfect start to the weekend. @brunchclub.bath on Instagram n

FOOD & DRINK NEWS Catering company Fosters will operate the spaces There will be plenty of Easter-theme vegan treats on sale at the upcoming Bath Vegan Market


Westonbirt Arboretum is developing its hospitality offering. Bristol-based catering company Fosters Events have partnered with Forestry England to create three transformative dining options for the popular walking spot. “We’re delighted to be working in partnership with Fosters to deliver a new and refreshing seasonal menu for our visitors,” says Andrew Smith, director of Westonbirt. “Fosters’ commitment to championing local produce in a sustainable and environmentally-friendly way that embodies our vision made them the stand out organisation to elevate the catering offering at the National Arboretum.” The main restaurant at Westonbirt will be totally reimagined to celebrate the essence of the arboretum: preservation of the original timber beams, contemporary green tiling, and an abundance of plants and foliage will create a ‘forest garden’ feel. The new set up will open in phases, with takeaway services operating from the end of March, and all new areas fully operational by the end of May – just in time for summer. For more:

VEGAN EGGSTRAVAGANZA The Bath Vegan Market is coming up on 3 April. Set yourself up for a vegan Easter while you browse stalls filled with scrumptious dairyfree Easter treats – vegan chocolate eggs are very much a ‘thing’ – as well as a range of other less seasonal fare including beauty products, clothes, and homewares. Newbie vegans and the vegan-curious will also find this event great for gathering information, as there are plenty of experts on hand to offer tips and tried and tested recipes. The market is hosted by Vegan Events UK, so all of the profits made on entry tickets (£4) will be donated to Miracle’s Mission, a not-forprofit animal welfare organisation that works with sick, injured, and difficult animals. For more:

Crumbs Takeaway is a chance for local hospitality businesses to come together for advice and support


The new dining spaces will have a contemporary but natural feel

There’s a new hospitality conference in April – and Bath Life is part of it. Crumbs Takeaway is a free event, which aims to provide practical advice for hospitality companies as they re-emerge to full trading, and to give inspiration along the way. During a special section we at Bath Life will spotlight a couple of the local hospitality businesses who really stepped up for the community throughout

the pandemic, “The Crumbs Takeaway runs on Monday April 19 during the morning,” says event producer Nell Robins, for organiser MediaClash. “It’ll be a chance for cafés, restaurants and bars in Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, and Exeter to come together for advice and to share stories ahead of the return in the coming weeks.” For sponsorships availability please contact For more:; @CrumbsMag I BATH LIFE I 71




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For sponsorship enquiries:




MEET THE TEACHER The experts crafting Bath’s young minds


HEAD OF ART, THE PARAGON SCHOOL 01225 310 837; Describe your typical day… I’m a specialist teacher at The Paragon, and I am lucky enough to operate from a bespoke art studio where all year groups from the age of three upwards spend their art lessons with me. The studio is a magical space, curated to inspire the children, and so my first job of the morning is to switch on the fairy lights and prepare materials for the day ahead. This could be anything from clay modelling to rug-making, sewing to collaging, printmaking or painting.


01225 334577; Where did you begin your career? I have held a variety of roles in teaching throughout my career including pastoral head of year, mentor for student Science teachers from the University of Oxford teaching course, and running and moderating the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). I was head of Science at an ‘outstanding’ comprehensive school in Oxfordshire for many years before moving to Bath Academy, where I teach GCSE Chemistry and Biology and A Level Biology. I’m also a Sixth Form personal tutor, and I run the Medical Foundation Programme for international students. I am currently studying for a Masters in Education through the University of Buckingham. How does your school differ from others? Bath Academy has an informal atmosphere, which allows for the college to have a relaxed environment. The small class sizes mean students enjoy enormous flexibility and a bespoke timetable. We ensure every student has plenty of scope in terms of subject choices so they can progress along their chosen pathway. As a personal tutor at Bath Academy, I am lucky to have a group of students who are all applying for medicine. Working with this group, I’ve been able to play to my strengths to help them navigate the challenge of medicine applications.

What are you most proud of professionally? One of the most exciting events in the past few years was when the children’s work was displayed in the National Gallery as part of their ‘Take One Picture’ initiative. I firmly believe that art history is a great starting point for projects and studying artists really ignites the children’s interests. I also run a sewing club at The Paragon which has become a real community hub, with grandparents and parents getting involved – it is a joy to see families learning and working together. What exciting things are coming up at your school? We’re looking at a recovery curriculum which will



be imaginative in the way we use our beautiful grounds as a basis for developing the children’s wellbeing. Outdoor lessons in as many subjects as possible will provide opportunities for fresh air, team building, learning new skills, creative thinking, and time for children to develop friendships and relationships after they have been so isolated.


01225 312191;

01225 313877; What does your school offer that others do not? Last year we opened our brand new stateof-the-art Steinway Music School with teaching spaces, music practice rooms, a beautiful recital room and professional standard recording studio for our students to allow their creativity to flourish.This partnership between Royal High School Bath and piano makers Steinway and Sons means we are one of only 250 schools worldwide where students benefit from access to world-class pianos, masterclasses and performance opportunities throughout the year. We have already seen an increase in the number of girls studying Music and Music Tech at GCSE, A Level and IB, which is set to grow. What do you most enjoy about teaching? I firmly believe that music is for everyone, no matter their age or ability, and I love nothing more than supporting students as they grow musically. There is such satisfaction in seeing those girls who have never had the opportunity to play or learn an instrument, really enjoying giving their new-found skill a go. My philosophy is very much about music for all, which is embedded in the culture at Royal High School Bath.

What do you enjoy about teaching? The students. Every one of them brings something unique to the class. The give and take with them is what makes every session enjoyable. I’ve been able to create courses with specific aspects of writing, which means I can offer customised support for emerging writers. What do you like about teaching Creative Writing for Love2Learn at Bath College? I have had the opportunity to nurture and develop work with the students. It’s been very satisfying to see how many students have moved on to great achievements. On the Love2Learn Creative Writing courses, students can take time to discover their voice and build confidence. It can be about writing for an audience and also writing for yourself. Where did you begin your career? I was a lecturer in Higher Education and then took a detour when I had my eldest son who was born with a physical condition that required treatment. Like many people who have to adjust to a caring role for a family member, I needed to find a different outlet for work. Writing was a natural progression for me, and I set my sights on becoming a published author. I BATH LIFE I 73


REDESIGNING RETAIL How to use less plastic with Bath’s zerowaste shops By Lydia Tewkesbury



o one knows exactly how much plastic waste supermarkets produce every year, though experts have their guesses. Figures as high as 800,000 tonnes have been asserted by experts, and looking around during the weekly food shop, it isn’t hard to believe. Plastic is everywhere. Fortunately though, in the past few years zero and low-waste shopping options have become more accessible than ever – we have several in Bath alone.


Unit 3, The Grain Store, Lower Bristol Road; tel: 01225 465068; Stephie Mizzi is the founder and managing director of Scoop Wholefoods, a pioneering new brand with stores in Bath and Bristol and known for their work with local suppliers. Since launching the business a little over 18 months ago, she calculates that Scoop has saved an amazing 577,634 pieces of plastic across both shops. People believe zero-waste shopping is more expensive. Is it?

There are many products we sell that are actually cheaper than in the big supermarkets, quinoa is a great example. Whilst you can find a pack of non-organic quinoa at a supermarket for £6.70/kg, we sell organic quinoa for £6.50, or locally grown quinoa (literally from just outside Bath) for £7.50/kg. We also match prices with many large supermarkets. For example, organic basmati rice, is £4/kg at Scoop and at all the major supermarkets. However, at Scoop you can buy as much as you want instead of having to buy the amount prescribed by supermarkets, and of course without generating any waste. One thing everyone should keep in mind is that very often, to make products cheap, large supermarkets exploit farmers and those working in supply chains. They pay them next to nothing for their hard work and produce. We don’t believe in selling cheap products that do this. We sell products that are fairly priced for everyone. Can’t we just recycle and be done with it?

I think the most important thing when trying to live a more low-waste lifestyle is to change your mindset. Recycling should be seen as a last resort. Whilst it is far better than sending things to landfill, it is still very energy intensive. Instead, you should try and refuse any items that create waste, and when that isn’t possible try to reuse everything that you can in your home.


Scoop have saved 577,634 pieces of plastic across both their shops


“The most important thing when trying to live a more low-waste lifestyle is to change your mindset”

From every day items to toiletries and treats, there are a vast range of products available plastic-free at Scoop Wholefoods

At Refillable, shopping is fun and environmentally friendly

How is waste managed in your supply chain?

We are so proud that we have managed to generate completely zerowaste supply chains with almost all of our local suppliers, whereby they supply us with the product in large tubs, which we return to them to be refilled. We have even managed to do this with our olive oil supplier in Greece – we take on quite a cost to send back the oil drums to be refilled, but we are happy to pay that price as we genuinely believe that this is the way forward. Unfortunately, at the moment it isn’t possible to do this with every single product. The majority of our other products come in large paper bags or hessian sacks. It’s not all about the packaging. How do we tackle food waste?

If you look back only a few decades, food waste was virtually nonexistent. People bought small amounts, more often. Nothing was wrapped in plastic. Meat was something consumed on special occasions, and every speck of the animal was eaten. Food was relatively more expensive so it was cherished and valued. This is what we need to return to if we want to stop exploiting our planet. Every ounce of food discarded equates to kilos of carbon emissions and water wastage. There are so many steps along the supply chain that require mass amounts of energy in order to get food items in your home. If it is then thrown away, it is the ultimate exploitation of our precious planet. In part large retailers are in fact to blame for this atrocity. They encourage customers to buy more through clever marketing, special offers and pre-determined pack sizes, and also by making food so cheap that its value in society is low, especially when it comes to meat and animal products.


3 Cleveland Place East, London Road; tel 01225 444577; Stamena Dimitrova is director at Refillable, Bath’s newest zero waste shop. Female and family-run along with Stamena’s daughter, Leny and sister, Hrisi, the shop was a passion project born out of the first


“Shopping with us is a mindful experience, one people have described as joyful and playful” lockdown, when Stamena decided to combine her nutritional and yoga background to create an eco-conscious grocery shop that could promote healthy lifestyle choices. What’s it like to shop at Refillable?

We call it the ‘adult playground’. It’s for adults to come and enjoy different toys, scoops, containers, colours, smells, etc. Shopping with us is a mindful experience, one people have described as joyful and playful. Who are some of your local stockists?

Our suppliers include PlantyKate, a female-driven local business manufacturing our candles, which are made of local rapeseed butter and natural essential oils and ingredients. All packaging is reusable and we offer refills for Kate’s products as well. The Wheat-Free Kitchen is run by Gemma, our baker and delicious sweets lady. Based in Larkhall, it’s another female-run business with emphasis on wheatfree and gluten intolerant-friendly bakes – they also happen to be absolutely delicious. Nicola Davis is a young and very inspiring female entrepreneur who designed and painted our in-store mural, and she also makes the amazing silk hand-painted scarves, greeting cards, books and gift sets you’ll see on the shelves. We have a stringent supplier selection process. We require suppliers to be sustainable, eco-conscious, natural and, wherever possible, organic, local, female-managed and affordable, as this kind of grocery shopping should not be a luxury if we all want to make the switch.

ZERO WASTE How do you feel about larger retailers getting in on the lowwaste movement?

I keep an eye on the retail trends and what is expected to happen is that gradually larger supermarkets will dissolve or break into smaller and/or independent shops. This is where public demand is in the driving seat. I can’t see a big retailer going fully down the refillable route. They are too big, slow moving and not equipped to deal with the kind of individual attention that is required for supervision of wasted and spilled products. Also, the red tape around health and safety would be a massive stumbling block for them. A small independent is fast, proactive, small enough to be flexible and to carry lighter infrastructure with reasonable running costs. Sometimes it’s easier and cheaper to start from scratch, and I think the big chains will start scouting smaller zero-waste shops and attempt to buy the already packed and functioning concept instead building their own. What are some of your low-waste hacks?

1. Use and abuse that brown paper bag until it can’t take it anymore. 2. The life of a single jar can be virtually endless – no need to recycle it, just refill it. Everything looks prettier in a jar, anyway. 3. Reuse boxes – our boxes for fresh produce have a second life as packaging for our online orders. 4. Reject single-use cups. We have rent-a-cup scheme in the shop for our hot drinks, or you bring your own reusable cup from home. 5. Reimagine food waste. For example we use the orange peels left in our juicer to make our OhGee chocolate-covered orange slices. Used coffee grounds can be made into body scrubs – we’ll soon be launching one made from ours. We’re just perfecting the recipe.


37 Walcot Street; tel: 01225 465519; Suzannah Puddephatt is a member of the Harvest co-operative. A Bath institution since the 1970s, they provide a delicious range of vegetarian, GM-free wholefoods and refillable products. Are zero-waste shops encouraging a healthy lifestyle?

Consciously You stocks zero-waste products from Refill, a company with a closedloop system in which everything is reused


Alex Hatherly, South West regional manager for the food charity explains… What is FoodCycle? We are a national charity providing a hot meal and company to those who are hungry and isolated. We run weekly community meals providing nutritious vegetarian food using ingredients destined for landfill. During the pandemic we have been unable to host a meal so have been providing meals for takeaway, as well as running a phone befriending service to emulate the chat our guests are missing out on while we can’t host the sit-down meals. There is no eligibility criteria and anyone is welcome to come for a meal. What is surplus food and why is there so much of it? The food we get donated tends to be food past its best before (not use by – too high risk), and anything the supermarkets or local businesses can’t sell (broken packets of pasta

I think opening yourself up to a lower waste lifestyle often leads to making other changes that ultimately benefit you (health-wise and financially!) and the planet. At Harvest, all our refillable

or rice, six packs of items with one missing, and bruised fruit and veg, for example). Often supply issues mean that supermarkets order too much of an item and cannot sell it before it goes out of date. Supermarkets also have food bank donation boxes, which we are given when the food bank has enough food that week. If businesses have surplus food to donate, how can they go about doing that? Research the available charities and food provision routes in the area, and contact them directly. Bath 3SG has a lot of information on the main charities providing food provision in the region. That can be quicker than contacting big distribution charities like FareShare, unless they have

FoodCycle use surplus food to provide free meals

a large quantity. Where an organisation like FareShare can handle pallets of food, we can only manage a few cases. Bath also has a growing sustainable food provision network where different charities work together to distribute surplus food across B&NES in a more reliable way, so we know the food is being used in the best way it can be. For more: I BATH LIFE I 77



“Recognising the impact of your plastic use also often leads to acknowledging other areas in your life where you may be unintentionally wasteful”


According to Stephie at Scoop Wholefoods, shopping low-waste often ends up cheaper – as well as being environmentally-friendly

goods are ethically-sourced, vegetarian wholefoods – great for a healthy diet. Recognising the impact of your plastic use also often leads to acknowledging other areas in your life where you may be unintentionally wasteful – food, clothes, energy-use, etc. Who are your suppliers?

Our main supplier is Essential Trading Co-operative, which is our mother company. Based in Bristol, and one of the largest workers co-ops in the UK, Essential specialises in ethically produced, organic, and ‘free-from’ food sourced from all corners of the globe, and never by airfreight. Particularly interested in provenance and sustainability, they bring an innovative selection of ethical alternatives and healthy food products. Fully accredited since the launch of organic licensing, they pack commodities like rice and nuts in their purpose-built facility in Bristol. We also have a huge array of brilliant local suppliers, who are as passionate about the sustainability of their packaging as they are of the product inside. What would you say is the role of larger retailers when it comes to reducing waste?

We’re firm believers that every little can help when it comes to reducing our impact on the planet, through dietary changes, or pursuing a more low-waste lifestyle. However, I am a little sceptical of their current low-waste efforts, as standard processes of supermarkets and other large retailers create such a phenomenal amount of waste, the options they’re exploring could be seen as a drop in the ocean. Much bigger reform is required to lessen their environmental impact. n


1 Kennington Road, Bath; tel: 07568 358328; Ann Morley Jones founded Consciously You 18 months ago with one mission: to provide eco alternatives to every day products, homewares and gifts. Tell us about some of your suppliers All of my suppliers are UK-based, and often small, independent businesses. I always try to use suppliers that are local to the Bath/ Bristol area, but sometimes I do have to search further afield to find those that can keep up with the demand. I have a beautiful collection of home fragrances from a small business based in Marshfield, and our Fill range is delivered on a closed-loop from Northampton, who reuse everything, including bottles, boxes and packaging. Are zero-waste products more expensive? This is the one question that I’m asked most often, but it’s just not the case anymore! Take our Fill range for example, the laundry liquid works out at 14p per wash, whereas products found on the high street average at 16p per wash, and that’s for one of the cheaper brands. This is true of all of Fill products, and they are made with no dyes, no harsh chemicals, no single-use plastic bottles and less waste. What’s the role of larger retailers in the zero-waste landscape? The sooner they reduce waste, the better. There are some larger retailers that are taking steps in the right direction to reduce their waste, but we need everyone onboard if we are to turn things around. I think there is a lot more they can be doing and they need to take more responsibility for every element of their supply chain. Where do you think the zero-waste movement is going? I believe it is going in the right direction, but it takes time… It’s not simply about reusable shopping bags and removing plastic packaging from vegetables, it’s about educating people about where their products come from and where they end up. We need to be providing customers with the information they need to make informed buying decisions and setting aside the common misconception that ecofriendly, low-waste products are expensive – and only for hippies! What’s one of your favourite zero waste swaps? Cotton buds! Instead we use LastSwab, a sanitary, easy to clean, reusable replacement for one thousand single-use cotton swabs.



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Stop for a breather and enjoy your surrounds when out walking

Hopefully you’ll spot a great spotted woodpecker along the way

Garlic mustard can be found along the route






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Bird spotting, plant life and natural beauty are part of this Bathwick to Batheaston walk from the Bath Natural History Society By Lucy Starling


e’re all still doing it, and we’re unlikely to ever stop. Walking is the new jogging – but much more lovely, relaxing and mindful. Especially when you stop to smell the roses, and in this case, listen for the birds, take notice of the wildflowers, and look out for the butterflies. This gorgeous Bathwick to Batheaston 4.5 mile nature trail has been compiled by Bath Natural History Society’s Lucy Starling who advises, “You could hike around it at a fairly brisk pace in two hours. But I’d say allow at least 2.5/3 hours including a few stops for wildlife watching and listening.” We hear that Lucy, and we’re taking our sarnies and flask for the occasional pitstop too...

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Mute swans are seen along with canal; below right: Cuckoo flowers are just one of the many blooms to look out for

1 Start at the canal towpath at Beckford Road (A36); bus stops nearby close to Forester Road. Proceed east along the towpath of the Kennet and Avon Canal where you may come across a moorhen or two, perhaps a mute swan and take the gently sloping path to the left that leads to Grosvenor Bridge. From March, you should hear blackcaps singing, and blackbird, robin, wren, dunnock and perhaps chaffinch, bullfinch, song thrush and great and blue tit. 2 Do not cross the river but take path to your right, through the metal gate into a large field with the River Avon on your left and railway embankment on your right. Wander down to the riverbank and look and listen out for kingfisher. There are usually moorhen and mallards around too. The footpath actually heads in a straight line directly adjacent to the railway embankment and you will come to a dense bramble patch where there is a small stream on your left. From here, I suggest you head diagonally left towards a long, fairly narrow wet ditch, full of bramble and sedge that runs in parallel to the river. Mid-April into May the sedge warbler has dropped in for a day or two on migration at different sites along the Avon in past years. In this area, with mature trees and hawthorn hedgerows, in April and May, look and listen out for chiffchaff, blackcap, common whitethroat, greenfinch, green and great spotted woodpecker, song thrush and mistle thrush. Overhead, you may see grey heron, raven, buzzard, kestrel, sparrowhawk, red kite, or one of our resident peregrine pair or one of their past offspring. In winter months, and if we have had a very cold

When in season look out for damselflies

The beautiful orange tip butterfly

6 Batheaston Walled Garden is worth a stop. Best sighting here a few years ago, Long-tailed tits building their nest in a prickly bush in early March.

spell, look out for wildfowl, possibly tufted duck, little grebe, water rail or even goosander. 3 Proceed under the A4 by-pass with New Leaf self-catering cottages on your right, heading for a metal gate in the hedgerow that meets the farm tarmac track. Alternatively, follow the riverbank. You will come across lots of cuckoo flower in the damp patches on this walk, red campion and garlic mustard and on a warm April day, you should see many orange tip and also comma, peacock, small tortoiseshell, brimstone and green Veined and small white butterflies. 4 There are good thick hawthorn hedges in this area and you should find at least one common whitethroat and perhaps, if you are lucky and listen carefully, a lesser whitethroat. Proceed along the tarmac track to the metal gate that meets Mill Lane. Bathampton Manor Residential Home is on your left. By the Manor is a small Rookery and this provides some entertainment for the birder in March when adults are repairing old nests, with some canny pilfering going on too! 5 Cross Mill Lane and go through the gate of the shared cycle/footpath that ends in Batheaston car park by the river. The fields on your right adjoin the edge of the Bathampton Meadows Avon Wildlife Trust (AWT) reserve. The path takes you of course very close to the river and the Tollbridge. Here look and listen out for sand martin (May onwards) kingfisher, grey wagtail (dipper is a rare sighting for me here) and in season, damselflies and dragonflies. The most notable species I see here most years, in early/ middle June is scarce chaser. If you are walking the path, or cycling, in late May through to middle of July, there should be plenty of swifts and house martins around. The latter species will of course remain far longer, into September.

7 Exit the car park and turn right and stop when you just past the car sales room. Here, you can look across the river to the edge of the AWT reserve. One March I noted a single grey heron’s nest low down in a willow; the adults were clearly feeding a youngster. And, below them, I saw a pair of teal, along with cormorant and the ever- present Canada goose. Next month, I was amazed to see a male mandarin duck flying low over the river, heading off in the direction of Box. Best sighting here was on 26 December, some 10 or more years ago, a large male dog otter. The reserve does attract wetland species such as reed warbler, sedge warbler and reed bunting and perhaps common snipe (winter). 8 Continue away from Batheaston and follow the footpath underneath the end of the by-pass towards Bathford and take the sloping footpath path off to your right that runs immediately adjacent to the railway line and over the river before dropping down to cross an open field through Bathampton Farm. There are fine views to your left of Bathford Church and in the distance ahead, of the Limpley Stoke Valley and above it the woods of Bathampton. Before you cross the railway line, taking great care, turn left along the relatively new tarmac access road that bends to the right, under a railway arch, heading up to the new housing development of Charlcombe Homes (Tyning Road). There is an extensive rabbit warren and lots of nettles and hawthorn trees and last May, I was delighted to find a number of common whitethroat with at least two singing males. I also saw two Swallows and a few house martins and a song thrush, with food in its bill; no doubt a nest nearby. Having finally crossed the railway line, it is just a short walk to the George PH by the canal and you can choose your route back into the city, if that is where you came from, either along the towpath or back across the fields alongside the River Avon.

For more: I BATH LIFE I 81



This Easter, the AMERICAN MUSEUM & GARDENS are offering a free Easter Bunny trail with chocolatey treats…


rom Friday 2 April to Monday 5 April visitors can follow poems and clues that will take them on an exploration throughout the Museum’s spectacular grounds and children's play area to see if they can spot an Easter Bunny hiding, playing, sunbathing, or even swimming. All trail adventurers will receive a free chocolate bunny or an allergenfriendly alternative. Opening times are 10am-5pm each day. Normal admission applies, under 5’s go free, and you can book timed tickets at The garden cafe will be open for takeaway, and visitor toilets will be available. Dogs on leads are welcome. All visitors will be asked to follow social distancing and the latest government advice. The museum and exhibition will remain closed, but keep an eye on the Museum’s website and social media for updates.

Claverton Manor, Bath BA2 7BD 01225 460503

Reach the best in the west Affluent, active and influential and just a call away

Bath Life team 01225 475800


Are you looking forward to your future – or worried about it? Award-winning chartered financial planner Jonothan McColgan from COMBINED FINANCIAL STRATEGIES considers how the past year has changed people’s hopes and fears for the future, and what they can do about it


hat does retirement mean to you? Being ready to take advantage of life once it returns to normal? More time with the grandchildren? The freedom to travel further and longer? Or just a series of worries? The last 12 months have been extremely difficult for everyone. Even if those we love have avoided health problems, we have been denied our usual choices and escapes to look forward to. And now we are faced with a whole new set of concerns. This is reflected in the main reasons we are initially approached by new clients. Most have been worried about the potential impact of getting ill on their family and their own future. They are concerned about their job security, uncertain about the security of the money, investments and pensions that they have built up over their whole lifetime, anxious about the impact this could have on the next stage of their lives. Our role at Combined Financial Strategies is to pull together all of our clients’ financial affairs, including not only your investments, your retirement and your tax planning but also ensuring that you and your family have plans in place to protect against the unthinkable happening. The aim is to help you to understand what you will need, when you will need it and what you need to do now. So, when this pandemic is behind us and the time for retirement arrives, you will have a clear plan – one that will allow you to get on with living your life knowing that you have made the right financial decisions for you and your family’s future, just like Geoff and Louise, two recent clients of ours.


Our clients’ needs: what can we afford? As Geoff and Louise were only a few years off retirement, they decided to take advantage of their time on furlough to start planning for their future. They were keen to ensure they had enough income to live the life they wanted and make the most tax-efficient use of the assets they had accumulated. They held a number of pensions, assets and a buy-to-let property they planned to use to fund

their retirement. The problem was they weren’t sure what all their assets could deliver in terms of income and how long it would fund their retirement for. The approach we took: what is important to you? After our initial meeting, we sat down with Geoff and Louise and agreed some goals around their lifestyle in retirement. What really mattered to them? What did they want to achieve? We talked specifics, not vague hopes. Next, we drew up a cash flow forecast that focused on their long-term retirement plans. This helped demonstrate how different levels of income impacted the amount of legacy they may leave their family. The outcome: plan for yourself and your children. The result was that Geoff and Louise could start planning for a dream cruise to the Galapagos – a place they had always longed to visit. They were able to use some of Geoff’s tax-free cash from his pension plans. What is more, by reassigning some of their assets, they could each take a retirement income of over £30,000 and remain basic rate taxpayers. With their immediate and long-term needs taken care of, we were also able to demonstrate how much they could afford to earmark for

helping their children out financially. By working with their solicitor, we were able to restructure their wills, pensions and investments, which could save the family up to £400,000 in inheritance tax. Geoff and Louise now have annual meetings with us where we update and review their lifetime cash flow forecast and financial plan. This gives them financial peace of mind to live the life they want, secure in the knowledge that they will not run out of money, no matter what the pandemic or anything else throws at them. ■

Jonothan McColgan, Director & Chartered Financial Planner; 38 Gay Street, Bath, BA1 2NT; 01225 471 462;; “Combined Financial Strategies Ltd is an appointed representative of The Whitechurch Network Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Tax Strategies, Will Writing & Buy to Lets are not regulated by the FCA. Investments & Pensions are long term investments that will fluctuate and can go down in value. Your eventual returns or income will depend upon the value of the fund, future interest rates and tax legislation at retirement.” I BATH LIFE I 83





Nigel Dando WE BUY Gold, Silver & Platinum in any form or condition.

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It’s the city’s business



The Annual Vitality Index revealed what we already knew: Bath really is the best

Simply the best


t’s official: Bath really is one of the best places to live and work. The annual Vitality Index from leading commercial and residential real estate consultancy Lambert Smith Hampton has named Bath third best performing city in the country. “I’m proud that Bath has been recognised as one of the best places in the UK to live and do businesses in,” says councillor Dine Romero, leader of B&NES Council. “As a council, environmental and social issues are top of our agenda and we’ve shown commitment and leadership in tackling the threats to our planet by declaring both a Climate and Ecological Emergency, ensuring they are at the heart of our local decision-making process.


“Our communities have proved time and again that they are socially aware and forward thinking, from recycling huge amounts during lockdown to embracing the need to transform the way we travel to cut carbon emissions. “There’s also no doubt the city is a great place to do business. We have a wealth of talent and expertise within the local workforce and we are fortunate to have many dynamic, successful, world-class companies based here.” The latest accolade – which arrives hot on the heels of two similar reports last year – rated the city against a range of factors including the local economy, health outcomes and the environment. Bath topped polls when it came to overall life satisfaction levels. For more:

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 MEDIACLASH.CO.UK 115

BATHWORKS Mark Wynne worked as a graphic designer before launching your playbook

FAIREST OF THEM ALL into creating this haven for our customers. And we take great pleasure to note that, as our first boutique cinema, the Tivoli in Bath is one of the only cinemas in Time Out’s list which has been built this century.” Restrictions permitting, Tivoli will once again open its doors in May. For more:

Tivoli is world-renowned for its stylish interiors


Tivoli Cinema has been voted one of the most beautiful in the world by Time Out magazine. The cinema, called ‘implausibly chic’ by the global publication, was rated alongside some of the most famous cinemas in the world in the likes of New York, Paris – and even Hollywood. “It’s an honour for the Tivoli in Bath to have been included in Time Out’s list of the most beautiful cinemas in the world,” says Justin Ribbons, CEO of Tivoli Cinemas. “To be ranked in the company of such incredible buildings from around the globe is a credit to all of the hard work that our team put

MAKE DO AND MEND Women’s clothing and lifestyle brand TOAST on Bartlett Street is launching a brand-new in-store repair service. TOAST Renewal launches 26 April, from which point customers will be able to take their damaged TOAST clothing into the shop for free mending – regardless of where or when they bought it. The company has long viewed their garments as a resource to recycle rather than something to be wasted, so they are providing their repair experts with deadstock TOAST garments and remnant fabrics to utilise in fixes, resulting in TOAST pieces that are utterly unique to their owner. “TOAST Renewal is an exciting element of the brand’s broader social conscience,” says marketing executive Madeleine Michell. “At TOAST, we honour the importance of timeless design using quality, long lasting materials. We want to offer our customers the ability to increase the longevity of their garments in a conscious effort to reduce waste. Whether the piece was bought recently or has been worn for many years, our community will have access to a repair service free of charge.” For more:

Fabrizia Costa is a business coach and photographer turned branding expert You can now take your TOAST garments back to the shop for repair

ON MESSAGE Bath’s latest design agency, your playbook, was born last year following its founders’ whirlwind romance. Graphic designer Mark Wynne and business coach and photographer Fabrizia Costa launched your playbook to provide world-class branding at competitive rates to help small companies take their brands to the next level. In a market driven by visuals, their motto is ‘good design is good business’. “What may have been the worst timing possible to launch a new company actually gave us a compelling message,” says Mark. “Businesses need to shout out about their strengths now more than ever. Great branding isn’t a luxury, it’s essential to get you noticed in the first place.” For more:

your playbook recently worked on wedding planner Maria Mayer's branding 86 I BATH LIFE I



Madeline has offered online meditation classes throughout lockdown


Abdul-Khalik Akenzua Al-Kareem is on his way to a professional rugby career

The Soul Spa has a coporate partnership with mental health charity Mind


Downside School lower sixth form sport scholar Abdul-Khalik Akenzua Al-Kareem has earned a place as an England Academy Player with Bath U18 rugby academy. “This is very well deserved recognition, undoubtedly the culmination of many hours of personal dedication and practice,” says Richard Jones, Downside’s director of sport. “Abdul-Khalik has thrived since joining Downside in the Fourth Form and has been a great role model for all aspiring young rugby players in the school. His success recognises the value and significance of the support our talented sports performers receive through our Athlete Development Programme.” For more:



TAKE A BREATH Two Bath businesses have come together to help us relax – and donate to charity at the same time. The Soul Spa and Sacco Scent are hosting weekly guided relaxation events on Instagram. The events are free to attend, but guests are encouraged to donate to Bath Mind in lieu of payment. The Soul Spa has been a long-time supporter of Mind, Madeline Blackburn, its founder explains: “At the start of the first lockdown I felt really grateful that we could continue what we do online; it gave us a lifeline to be able to stay open and carry on. I saw that Bath Mind were running a #cupofcoffee appeal and asking people to donate the price of a coffee. Since our drop-in sessions are £2.40 – also about the price of a coffee – I offered to donate £1 for each drop-in to support their appeal. “We’re all about looking after your mental health and learning how to be mentally strong and fit, so it seemed like a perfect match. Since then, we have collaborated on projects and I am also part of their corporate offering. I donate 20 per cent of the fee of any corporate clients they introduce me to, which has been really successful for both of us.”

For more:

Battens Solicitors has changed ownership. Five of the company’s senior solicitors have taken the helm as the leading South West law firm’s owners and directors. Ceri Stephens will take the over as managing director and Peter Livingstone as chairman. Joining them are equal shareholders Katherine Gilmour, head of company & commercial, Louise Gidley, head of family, and Naomi Dyer, head of private client. “We are all really excited to be at the helm of Battens and writing the next chapter of the business,” says managing director Ceri. “I hope that being a board made up of 80 per cent women will inspire others, both within the firm and externally, to fulfil their potential. “With all five of us already involved in the running of the firm and having a fantastic team of people behind us, we are looking forward to keeping the business going from strength to strength.” For more:


Datasharp Integrated Communications has thrown their support behind a new report into the future of LegalTech. The leading provider of unified communications and collaboration systems is sponsoring the new, comprehensive analysis of the South West’s strengths in LegalTech innovation. Commissioned by Bristol Law Society, the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and Bristol+BathLegalTech, the new report will also provide recommendations for growth of the sector. For more: I BATH LIFE I 87



“A BIG EVENT NEEDS A BIG GOWN” worthy long fitted gowns with low necklines, fishtail skirts or high leg slits are all set to be popular. A romantic ballgown never goes out of fashion, though. With a fitted bodice and layered skirt, it’s flattering on pretty much everyone and has the advantage of being able to hide pockets, the must-have essential for prom-goers with phones – which is all of them! For a lot of young people, prom will be one of their first black tie events. Any tips for them on making it a night to remember? The best piece of advice I can offer to young prom-goers is to pick the gown that truly reflects who you are, and don’t apologise for it. Wear it with confidence, and you’ll look amazing.

The privacy Ann offers with Glitterati Prom is perfect for self conscious teens


Ann Lloyd-James

Glitterati Prom is an appointment-only, bespoke dress shopping experience. Away from the stress of the high street, Ann offers a hand-picked collection of gorgeous gowns Why specialise in prom? The leavers’ prom has become a rite of passage, marking the point where children become young adults. Prom usually comes at the end of a fractious school year, following revision, mocks, arguments, power-struggles, exams... and finally, panic over, it’s time to party. This year the urge for a midsummer, end of school release will be even greater. And a big event needs a big gown. What happens during a typical appointment? I work on an exclusively appointmentonly basis to help put my customers at ease and give them the privacy and one-to-one attention they need to find the perfect dress. My customers – usually mum and daughter coming together – are welcomed with a drink, and basic information is collected about the upcoming event. We offer


a stunning collection of prom dress samples to try. Once a gown has been chosen, it will be made to order and then the final fitting and take home happens a month or so later. What’s the advantage to choosing a personalised service like this? Teenagers can be very self-conscious, and the privacy of the studio is a reassuring and safe environment that helps them to relax and to discover their inner Prom queen. Tell us about the collection – what sort of styles can we expect? Ball gown, mermaid or fishtail; in lace, satin or tulle; in blue, red or green; in silver, gold or gun metal; with beads, sequins and crystals – we have a wide range of styles so our customers can find whatever flatters them most. The dress will be unique too, since we

never sell the same dress for the same Leavers’ Prom.

What’s your favourite part of your job? From mum’s perspective, she has probably seen her daughter wear little other than leisure-wear or school uniform for a very long time. Suddenly, at Glitterati Prom, she sees her daughter transformed into a young woman. Her daughter is growing up, and this can be an emotional moment. I love that part of my job – the Cinderella moment that is equally significant for both mum and daughter, that I have the privilege to witness. For more: Glitterati Prom, Greenway Farm, Wick; tel: 07790 428721;

Do you have a favourite designer? My favourite designer at the moment is Gino Cerruti. They have a good eye for trends and use quality, flattering fabrics with beautiful embellishments. It’s a British company, so they’re able to respond quickly to customer orders and communication is good – they are on first name terms with their stockists. They offer a good range of styles that meet a variety of price points, too. What are some of the trends do you think we'll be seeing for the 2021 prom season? Appliqué blossoms, sparkling bodices with sequins or crystals, vintageinspired pieces hinting at a return to the roaring twenties and Hollywood-

Ann helps prom-goers choose a dress that reflects their personality


Anybody can win, so why not give it a go?

Whether you’re a first-time entrant, previous winner, tiniest of new companies or largest of corporates – absolutely anyone can win!


ominations are in full flow for the Bath Life Awards and following a memorable event last time, organisers are anticipating many of the Bath business community putting themselves forward for the chance to win in this year of grand rejuvenation. If you’re an ambitious company or proud to be a great Bath business or possibly want to signal support for other Bath businesses after this year of all years, please get in touch for details of sponsorship options. “With the Bath Life Awards coming back in September, now is a great time to become part of it!” says Annie Miekus, events and brand manager at MediaClash. “Share your business triumphs and proud achievements from the past year with us and have your work in the Bath area celebrated.” Nominees are encouraged to check the Top Tips page on the Awards site, which covers everything from SPONSORSHIPS For remaining options, please contact annie.kelly@ or NOMINATIONS Free to enter at


Just imagine that winning moment…

what to include in a nomination to making a strong case that will surely wow the judges. Sponsorships are available for Bath’s most prestigious Awards ceremony. Many months of marketing culminates in the glittering night. You’d be in good company: there’s a great roster of sponsors on board so far, led by Headline sponsor The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa, with other sponsors including Apex Hotels, Bath Audi, Clearly PR, Hotel Indigo, Marsh Commercial, Novia, Savills, Spaces, Stone King, Truespeed and of course, Bath Life itself. Feature Sponsors also include Freestyle Designs, Sub 13 and Triangle Networks. Several category sponsorships are currently under discussion, so now is the time to step forward and be part of the 2021 ceremony.

Winning an Award is great for your teams!

Backed by a massive marketing campaign, the Awards sell out every year, with many dozens on the waiting list

For more: @BathLifeAwards

TICKETS Due to huge demand, tickets are only available for finalists and sponsors only. Updates when on sale. Limited number of Silver Sponsorships are now available, including a prominent table on the night

AWARDS The uberglam Bath Life Awards will be held at Bath Assembly Rooms on 9 September 2021. Nothing beats being there… SOCIAL MEDIA Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter for all updates.


“The Awards are a great night with excellent Bath people…when I walked in, I was fully taken aback by the glamour and dazzle of the brilliantly dressed up crowd in a fabulous space.” Dan Fallon, Adapt (formerly SearchStar)








Meet the shining stars of Bath’s professional services’ community, from creative directors to financial experts who help your wealth grow, and a myriad of other professions in between I BATH LIFE I 93



Tell us a little bit about your business

Goughs solicitors is a multi-disciplinary law firm with seven offices across Wiltshire. We have a sector-based approach to offer specialised expertise to our clients. We are proud to be nationally recognised by both Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners as a leading law firm. When was your Firm founded and who by?

Goughs was founded in 1882 by George Issac Gough. Since then the firm has grown and developed to become one of Wiltshire’s leading law Firms. Last year also saw the opening of our new Greeways office where all of our commercial lawyers are now situated. This has further strengthened our reach and commercial offering for our business clients who can access a multitude of commercial and corporate legal services from one central point. What sets you apart from others in your sector?


Goughs success is founded on our core values of accountability, engagement, trust, excellence and teamwork, every member of staff is expected to demonstrate these values on a daily basis. One of our aims is to foster relationships with clients from the outset in order to become a trusted advisor. To us, it’s never just about the transaction in hand, getting to know our client is just as important. We take pride in building long lasting relationships with our clients.

Tell us a little about your business…

What steps are you taking for employee’s mental health?

How has the Pandemic changed the way you do business?


Patrick Mears, head of commercial property, Bath Battens is full service law firm, meaning we provide a comprehensive range of legal services for individuals and businesses. We have 7 offices, including one in the centre of Bath. We are also one of the most longestablished firms in the West Country. Like many businesses, the firm has had to take steps to ensure that clients and staff are kept safe by actively supporting home working and compliance with social distancing guidelines. At the same time, it has been vitally important for us to find new, flexible and imaginative ways to engage with clients and staff alike to ensure that their needs are met and that they feel properly supported and reassured, both professionally and emotionally. How are you communicating with clients?

The Pandemic has very much broken down the traditional methods of communicating with clients, in many ways for the better! Face to face meetings seem even more important as guidelines have allowed, but Zoom, Whatsapp, text messaging and of course mobiles have all become much more mainstream. It is amazing how a small smartphone has replaced the physical office as a communications hub! Technology has of course become even more essential, but interacting with clients face to face where possible has become doubly important and rewarding. Did you know?

Battens has a separate trust, the Battens Charitable Trust, which was set up in 1985 to enable grants to be made to registered charities and for charitable purposes in Somerset, Dorset and adjoining counties. Last year the trust donated over £50,000. For more: 7-9 North Parade Buildings, Bath, BA1 1NS 01225 562581;;


In order to help staff remote working Goughs have set up online desk yoga sessions and our Move for Mind charity initiative. We also have a virtual pub we can drop into after work on a Friday! For more: 01249 475880;;



Tell us a little about your business

Mogers Drewett is leading South West law firm. We provide a full range of legal services to business and individuals from our offices in Bath, Frome, Wells and Sherborne. We work hard to provide a high level of service to our clients and a positive working culture for our people. What achievement as a firm are you most proud of?

Without a doubt, the way in which the team has pulled together over the last 12 months. We have worked hard on developing a positive and collegiate culture at the firm and those factors are key in the approach we take as a business, to the recruitment and retention of our people. Consequently, I was not surprised that everyone pulled together in the way that they did, but I am certainly very proud of the team. Are your staff homeworking?


What area do you specialise in?

We are a niche ‘private client’ firm – the only one in Bath. We specialise in non-litigious work for individuals, families and entrepreneurs – Tax Planning, bespoke Wills, Powers of Attorney, Court of Protection work, Care Home contracts, Care Funding and Property transactions. When was the firm founded and by whom?

I founded the firm eleven years ago. After training and qualifying at a London firm I had for over twenty years run very large private client departments in two sizeable regional firms; but I became disillusioned by the way that they had become more ‘corporate’ in their approach to private individuals and the loss, as a result, of a personal service to clients. To me that is the essence of being a private client lawyer and the time seemed right to set up a practice based on the premise of ‘service’ as opposed, purely, to profit. I was right. Clients tell me that they wish I had done it years before I did.

Yes and very successfully. Flexible and remote working fits very comfortably into our culture and we believe it is important to our people. I know lots of law firms operate within a culture of presentism, but we certainly don’t! We recruit and retain people who accept responsibility for their own performance and consequently have lots of people who work really well in the flexible and independent environment the firm offers. Did you know?

We have a financial planning department. Our financial planning team works alongside our legal experts to provide a complete service for all our clients. For more:


What sets you apart from others in your sector

Our ethos and our size, which facilitates us getting to know clients’ needs in depth. Many clients have moved to us from larger firms because they value the fact that we know and understand them (and ideally their families, too) and their particular needs. We make time for that. Many complain that in larger firms they never got to speak with the same person twice. Here, they feel they can always get hold of the person they need, and that, if they cannot come to us, we will go to them at no additional cost. For more: 38 Gay Street, Bath, BA1 2NT; 01225 442353




Graham Street, managing partner Tell us a little about your business

We are head-quartered in Bath but have offices in London, Oxford, Marlborough and Swindon plus a hub in Bristol. We provide a comprehensive range of legal services from corporate and commercial to family and private client and advise in a number of key sectors. We’re the leading experts in Bath for legal services. What plans do you have for 2021?

We’re working on a new strategy and plans to further strengthen our profile and position in key markets and sectors, to help us to better understand the needs of our clients and to showcase our greatest asset – our people. We’re also planning a new technology platform to support more innovation around client engagement and service delivery ensuring we continue to provide the outstanding service and exceptional value to our clients. What steps are you taking for employee’s mental health?

Our wellbeing task group is embedding a positive culture of health and wellbeing within our firm. As part of their focus, we have launched a Wellbeing in the Workplace Charter, while we’re now running online mental health sessions for colleagues, live Q&As with our wellbeing group and lunchtime yoga classes. These have paved the way to open discussions about mental health and a deeper understanding of how this can be embraced by all our staff, especially at a leadership level. This shift in approach has been very important for us during the pandemic and will only help our business in future. Did you know?

As part of our commitment to Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, we are building strong female talent pipelines and at 34% we are nearing our target to increase our female Equity Partner ratio to 40% by 2025. For more: 01225 730 100;


Tell us a little about your business...

Sharp Family Law is the largest niche firm of family law solicitors in Bath. We specialise in helping clients to minimise conflict and maximise results, so that they can move forward successfully into the future. Since our inception, we have been committed to fostering a constructive and strategic approach to helping clients control costs and achieve the best possible outcome. We are recognised for our expertise in helping clients resolve issues in a constructive, cost efficient manner through out of court options, including Collaborative Law, Mediation and Constructive Negotiation What are the strengths of your company...

An interview process conducted recently revealed that clients felt very supported by our solicitors, received good advice from them, were encouraged to concentrate on what was important to them and their families, and saw costs managed within budgets. They also believed the firm looked out for what was in their best interest. It is responses like that which explain why we do the work we do. It is the reason I founded the firm in 2007. It means a lot to us to know we are making a positive difference in our clients’ lives. For more: 01225 448955;


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Mike Westbrook, partner, private wealth Tell us a little about your business

Thrings has been advising private individuals, entrepreneurs, family businesses and large corporates in and around Bath for the best part of 300 years. Embracing a one-firm approach, our Queen Squarebased lawyers work seamlessly with their colleagues in Bristol, London, Swindon and Romsey, advising on a range of legal matters which enable our clients to grow and succeed. As for me, I head up a succession and tax team which helps clients manage their financial future and keeps them up to date with the fast-moving world of tax. How are you communicating with clients?


Alison Allen, partner

Tell us a little about your business

Stone King is a law firm dating back to 1785 in Bath. The original offices were at the Cross Baths but now are at Queen Square and Upper Borough Court. We work nationally with offices in Bristol, Birmingham, Cambridge, Leeds and London and specialise in private client, business, charity and education law. What areas do you specialise in?

I specialise in general private client matters, including inheritance tax, trust drafting and administration, Wills and administration of estates. I have a particular interest in advising older clients and their families and carers, including advice regarding NHS continuing care funding and NHS complaints procedures, means-testing and care funding disputes with the local authority, court of protection matters, powers of attorney and deputyships.

We’ve remained very close to our clients and fellow professional advisers during the pandemic. In response to our online Coronavirus Hub - which offers clients lots of valuable, advice-focused content on Covid-related issues - many clients seeking an independent perspective on their business have invited our lawyers to join their virtual board meetings and management discussions. Elsewhere our client listening programme, which allows us to continually review what we do well and identify areas where we can improve, has continued, we’ve held numerous webinars focused on business recovery, and hosted week-long social media campaigns aimed at our private and agriculture clients. Did you know?

A huge number of people have decided to make wills during the pandemic, which has kept our private client lawyers on their toes. The restrictions on social interaction have led to the government temporarily making it legal for people in England and Wales to have their wills witnessed remotely. The new legislation is permitted until 31 January 2022 and allows those for whom face-to-face witnessing is not possible, as a last resort, to sign up to a new will in the current climate. For more: 01225 340000;

How has the Pandemic changed your business/the way you do business?

I think the pandemic has changed so much for so many. At Stone King we always have the wellbeing of our people and clients at the heart of what we do and so already had remote working in place on a part-time basis, roles allowing. So, when we went into the first lockdown we were able to make the switch seamlessly. How are you communicating with clients?

Our clients have told us they are pleased to have so many ways to stay in touch with us, which is heartening. We can offer face-to-face meetings (under Government guidelines) for those clients who want or need them, as well as holding meetings on a range of platforms such as Zoom. We also hold webinars on a wide range of topics to help clients stay abreast of legal affairs – last year saw us hold 132 webinars attended by over 9,000 people. What sets you apart from others in your sector?

We really care about our clients and the community and you can see that both in the work we do and the actions we take. This includes, prelockdown, holding community litter picks which were well-supported by other local businesses and collected some 80 bags of rubbish. Other initiatives include giving computers to school children in the UK and signing up to the Race Fairness Commitment – we are determined to help create greater diversity in the profession and tackle socio economic factors. For more: I BATH LIFE I 99


Ian Lloyd, partner and head of Bath office Tell us a little about your business

Milsted Langdon is a leading independent firm of chartered accountants, tax specialists and business advisors. By thinking differently and challenging the ordinary, our team of experts have built a reputation in delivering trusted, business-boosting financial advice since 1988. What makes working in Bath special?

Bath is a unique and vibrant place to work, and I think the close-knit business community sets it apart. There is a real camaraderie vibe where businesses support each other as well as the local community itself. How have the last 12 months been for you?

We were lucky in that we are very agile as a firm, so as soon as lockdown was confirmed all staff could instantly work from home with minimum disruption to client service and our commitment to our clients’ needs. Our main focus has been supporting our clients and our people, keeping them up to date with as much information as possible, and despite the pandemic we have been privileged to be appointed to assist some pre-eminent local businesses and charities. We had a major rebrand project that had been many months in the making prior to Covid-19, which went live on 1 September 2020, so although it’s been a very strange time, it’s also an exciting one now as we look forward to the future with our new branding which better reflects who we are and where we’re going. Did you know?

Milsted Langdon was founded by two graduates of the University of Bath – that was over 30 years ago, we now have over 200 employees across the South West and London. For more: 4 Queen Street, Bath, BA1 1HE; 01225 904940;;


Jacqui Bowden BSc(Hons) ACA, partner Tell us a little about your business

Pearson May is a leading firm of chartered accountants and chartered tax advisors with our Bath office centrally located in Great Pulteney Street, and offices in Chippenham and Trowbridge. The firm was established in Bath 180 years ago – no celebration party planned this year because of the pandemic, but we have strived to help our clients and their business through the last twelve months and to plan for the future, so hopefully we can all look forward to better things in 2021. How have the last 12 months been for you?

In a word, challenging – I can’t imagine that there can be many people that haven’t found the last 12 months challenging. We have strived to maintain an excellent service whilst assisting our clients in accessing the help and support that is being made available to businesses, employers and the self employed. We have helped many clients with claims under the coronavirus job retention scheme, and we were pleased to see that the scheme was further extended in the recent Budget. Our staff have been brilliant, juggling work and home lives, and their efforts in ensuring that Tax Returns were submitted by the Self Assessment deadline went well beyond the call of duty. Thank you to our team at Pearson May. What sets you apart from others in your sector?

At Pearson May we aim to offer a high quality service to our clients and knowing and understanding the client’s history helps us to add value when dealing with their affairs. The fact that all of our partners are “home grown” is, I believe, probably unique in a firm or our size. All of our partners trained with the firm, and have been with us throughout their career. That continuity and consistency is reassuring to clients, many of whom have been with us for generations and gives us useful insights to understand a client’s business or to advise on tax planning for the future. We are pleased to welcome a new partner into our team, Ben Withers, who joined the firm 10 years ago as a school leaver. You won’t see any photos of him yet though because he wants to have a post-lockdown haircut first! For more:




Ian D Gillard FCA FCCA DipPFS BFP Tell us a little about your business

We are so much more than just Chartered Accountants, so as well as the usual online accounting, audit, and tax, we are also authorised and regulated for Financial Services and Non-Contentious Probate work. We can therefore offer a complete one stop financial service from cradle to grave (and beyond). How have the last 12 months been for you?

We had already agreed to move offices to our fabulous offices in Northumberland Buildings before the pandemic. Moving in lockdown was actually easy with little traffic to worry about. Some of the team have been homeworking and that has not always been easy. We are a people business so face to face contact is key to our success. What predictions do you have for the sector for 2021?

This year will be all about recovery and renewal. As Government support runs out so a number of weaker businesses will inevitably fail. Hopefully, many more will survive and recover, albeit slowly. Finally, there will be a host of new businesses set up. Their challenge will be to find customers with new ways of working to make them different. How has the Pandemic changed the way you do business?

When the pandemic first hit we needed to keep our clients informed of the host of financial support available in a bid to help them survive. This resulted in our Daily COVID-19 Financial Update email service. As the pandemic has progressed, the service switched to weekly last summer. When we started the service the world was full or doom and gloom so we included an “And Finally….” section with a humorous video, which has proved a massive success. For more: 7 Northumberland Buildings, Bath, BA1 2JB; 01225 422183;;



Tell us a little about your business

We are a growing, independent firm of Chartered Accountants and Tax Advisors based in central Bath. Our 35-strong team works with more than 300 local & regional businesses of all sizes, as well as private individuals and their families. How have the last 12 months been for you?

The business has fared well through the pandemic and for that we are very grateful. Our staff have been working remotely, with little impact on productivity. That said, we are all missing the buzz of being in the office and having face-to-face meetings with clients. The more sociable members of our team are also looking forward to the return of real-life events and Bath Life networking! What challenges are your clients facing and how have you helped them?

The extended lockdown is impacting businesses and our clients are keen to return to normality as soon as possible. Cash flow still remains a challenge, as reserves may have been used and any finance taken on/ extended last year still needs to be repaid. We are continuing to update our clients regularly on Coronavirus scheme changes and help them access financial support, as well as giving them complete visibility of their financials through forecasting and reporting. Did you know?

Of our four directors, one is a penguin specialist, one is a rock drummer, one speaks Japanese and one once starred in a beer commercial! Can you tell which one is which?! For more: 11 Laura Place, Bath, BA2 4BL; 01225 325580;;




Jonothan McColgan, director & chartered financial planner Tell us a little about CFS?

We are a small business built around my approach to financial planning. I’ve taken the best from the big companies I’ve worked for and created a business that focuses 100% on our clients’ needs. We have no targets or conflicts of interest; all that matters is you. What should people’s financial priorities be?

There’s one that stands out for me: I believe there’s a good chance that the really generous income tax relief on pensions could soon disappear as the Treasury looks around for ways to pay for the vast pandemic expenditure. If you’re an additional or higher rate taxpayer with savings, think hard about how much you can afford to put into pensions while that 40-45% tax relief is still available. When is a good time to start financial planning?


Patricia Lake, senior partner

Tell us a little about your business

Beckford James are genuinely independent Chartered financial planners, established in Bath in 2009 by like-minded professionals with many years’ experience in advising clients, and a common desire to make the often complicated world of financial planning, investment and pensions simple to understand. As a client focused organisation, we believe in a financial planning approach, rather than a product focused approach, and we believe that a large part of our role is to help our clients to crystallize their financial objectives, structure a realistic plan to achieve these goals and monitor and review these actions on a regular basis. What sets you apart from others in your sector?

Financial services remain an integrated and complimentary part of much of the legal and accountancy work undertaken for private clients and for business. Where possible we aim to work alongside professional partners to bring an integrated approach to the financial planning aspect of clients’ needs. We work closely with solicitors, accountants and other professionals to provide the financial planning, specialist technical and investment elements of advice to clients. Importantly, as chartered financial planners, our clients and professional partners can be reassured of the quality of the service and advice offered. We are committed to developing long-term working relationships with other professional advisers who are looking after the holistic needs of their clients and seeking to provide the complimentary financial dimension to their existing advice. What challenges are your clients facing?

For many people this has been a year to re-think priorities, and clients have worried about family, career, and ultimately their own financial futures, or those of their loved ones. Some may wish to retire sooner than anticipated, access funds for short-term personal needs, or support children throughout the pandemic, and our team have worked hard to always be available, and to communicate effectively with all our clients, to reassure them and to work with them through these changes. Did you know?

Although they have accrued over 100 years of experience in financial services between them, the three founding partners’ early careers included the police force, teaching, and medical research. For more:


There’s no time like the present. That’s easy to say, but if you’re over 50 or planning to retire in less than 10 years then it really is time to start. It’s all too easy to leave the statements of different pensions and investments in that drawer. But will they be enough to see you through the rest of your life? Our advice brings together all aspects of your finances to help you understand what you’ll need your money for and ensure that you take all the right steps now to plan for a better future. Did you know?

Over the years, Jonothan has been recognised by this Profession as one of the best Financial Planners in the Country winning many national awards including Financial Adviser of the Year. For more: 38 Gay Street, Bath BA1 2NT; 01225 471 462;


HANDELSBANKEN BATH Simon Cropper, branch manager


Tell us a little about your business

Handelsbanken is a local relationship bank built on sustainable values. We offer individual and corporate banking as well as wealth management with high levels of bespoke customer service. Did you know?

The Bank first established a UK presence in 1982, and now has an extensive network of branches across Great Britain - Handelsbanken Bath has been in the city since 2007. We also have no product or sales targets. Empowered employees make the majority of decisions in the local branch, based on customers’ individual requirements, whether they have personal, corporate or wealth needs, or a combination of all. How has the Pandemic changed the way you do business?

Aside from moving the majority of our meetings with customers online, nothing has changed in terms of the way we do business, our focus has always been, and remains firmly, on delivering the best possible service we can to our customers. What challenges are your customers facing?

Businesses are concerned about the trading environment, and individuals are concerned about their jobs and recession. Throughout the pandemic our focus has been on continuing to support our customers in the same way we always have, and being able to pick up the phone and speak directly to your banker is something our customers tell us they value, never more so than in these uncertain times. What achievement as a firm are you most proud of?

For twelve years in a row we have been voted top for customer satisfaction in an independent survey of British banking customers (EPSI Rating 2009-2020). Customer satisfaction sits at the very heart of Handelsbanken’s business model, and each branch operates as a local business which means they know their customers well and understand the local market and community. For more: 7 Henry Street, Bath, BA1 1JR; 01225 311222


Richard Gordon-Brown, partner

Tell us a little about your business

EIP is an international IP law firm with a focus on patents with offices in the UK, US and Germany. Our Bath office opened in 2007 and continued to grow in 2020 with the recruitment of two attorneys from Dyson, one of whom led their electric car programme’s IP team, and a University of Bristol graduate who co-founded a spin-out company. What areas do you specialise in?

IP that is strategically important to our clients, such as for protecting market share, accessing markets or competitors’ technologies, generating revenue streams, attracting investment, increasing company value, or reducing Corporate Tax via Patent Box. We have clients across the UK and internationally in many technology fields, such as engineering, consumer goods, IT, chemistry, and life sciences. What sets you apart from others in your sector?

We’re tenacious – achieving the best results for our clients is central to everything we do. We work hard to fully understand our clients’ commercial interests, so that we can tailor our work to their needs and add real value. EIP’s combination of patent attorneys and specialist IP litigators presents our clients with significant advantages, being able to advise on all stages of patent protection around the world, risks arising from third parties’ rights, and patent litigation in the UK and Germany. Did You Know?

We’re award winning! In 2020 the Financial Times rated us “Gold” for patent work in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and IT & software fields. We have also been named “UK Firm of the Year – Patent Contentious” at the Managing IP awards for the past three years. For more: 01225 337843;; I BATH LIFE I 105


Nathalie Thompson, managing partner ‘’Bath is such a special city to live and work in. The team at Bath City Lets are looking forward to supporting the April reopening of all the wonderful bars, restaurants and retailers that make Beautiful Bath thrive.’’ Tell us a little about your business

Bath City Lets is a high end independent residential letting agent, specialising in both city and country properties of excellence. We are a small, friendly and experienced team who are always on hand to help. What makes working in Bath special?

Bath is such a beautiful place, and we are fortunate that working in the property sector means that we get to see so many amazing places. 90% of our team have grown up in Bath and the surrounding villages, so it feels even more special to gain insight as to what is behind those grand Georgian front doors. What predictions do you have for the sector for 2021?

2020 was surprisingly buoyant for the rental market, and we predict that 2021 will be even more so. With the number of people who can WFH increasing, many people are upsizing, and even more people are choosing to move out of larger cities in other parts of the UK to settle in and around our beautiful city. How are you communicating with clients?

Our beautiful office in the heart of the city is open as normal for business, and we are delighted to see people by appointment, or speak over the phone or by email, whichever is our client’s preference. We are contactable 24/7 and more than happy to help, whatever the query might be. Did you know?

The Circus is the same diameter as Stonehenge! For more: 4 Bladud Buildings, Bath, BA1 5LS ; 01225 800444;;

BATTERHAM SMITH ARCHITECTS Tell us a little about your business

We are a small design led architecture practice with most of us having worked in and around Bath for over 20 years. We are always looking to help find interesting and creative ways to realise your projects whilst of course making sure we do our best to put a smile on your face. What predictions do you have for the sector for 2021?

We have all spent a lot of time re-evaluating our living spaces over the past year and already we are working with a number of clients looking at ways to re-imagine their homes or even start afresh! We currently have a super low energy curved roof Passive house as well as a homeworking ‘Hive’ being built. We have a garden ‘eco-cabin’ on the drawing board and it is only a matter of time before a ‘Zoom booth’ becomes a regular feature in all of our homes. We are also looking forward to the cricket pitches at Combe Down being opened so that our newly finished ‘Glasshouse Pavilion’ which we designed for Bath Rec can be put to good use. Describe your offices?

Due to homeworking not only do we have our main studio in Bath but we now have ‘home branches’ in West Cornwall, Newport, and Bristol. We like to think we have the South West covered! What is your company’s ethos and philosophy?

We put design and sustainability at the heart of every project we are always looking to add a fresh thought (or three) to your project. Did you know?

Our recently qualified staff member, architect Natalia Karvouni has become a fully fledged walker during the pandemic! Unwilling to use public transport she has decided to walk everywhere instead. Following on from completing the 100 mile West Highland Way in Autumn she has since walked over 215 miles on the footpaths around Bath since January. If you need to know how to get out and about around Bath I have no doubt she can help! For more: 1 Tollbridge Studios, Bath , BA1 7DE; 01225 851 122;;;




David Mackenzie, partner

Tell us a little about your business?

We opened our office in Bath 11 years ago, covering all aspects of property with residential sales and lettings, commercial, rural and farming, planning and building surveying. Carter Jonas is a national partnership that was started in 1855. We have maintained the same values that today affirm our status as a reliable and trusted agent. We are proud of our reputation of offering sound advice to our diverse client base across 38 offices, which ranges from private home owners to the Crown Estate. What challenges are your clients facing?

Aside from the complications of a national pandemic, we have more buyers than we do sellers. A lot of our clients are looking to make an onward purchase and so selling becomes the easy part and finding a house to move to becomes the difficulty. Added to the fact that the buying and selling process in England and Wales is a long process that makes it stressful and full of uncertainties. This is where we earn our stripes by being at our clients side throughout, keeping things on track and as smooth as possible. How has the pandemic changed your business?

We have obviously had to work around social distancing and government guidelines with buying and selling and working as a split team throughout. But, one positive result has been the way we have become much closer to our clients and their families. We have had to work viewings around home schooling and all the family being in residence, so have really got to know our clients and this has helped us understand their requirements a great deal more and a greater trust has been gained by all.


Tell us a little about your business

Cassia takes the best elements of a café and a co-working space and combines them in a fantastic location on Bath Riverside. Customers can drop by and see us for breakfast or lunch, book a desk in The Study to work at for the day, or come and have a post-work drink. What predictions do you have for the sector for 2021?

That it will boom! The nature of how we work has been changed fundamentally by Covid, and I don’t think many businesses will be expecting their staff to return to commuting five days a week. So many people lack the space at home to work comfortably, or find it lonely, that I think a lot of existing cafes and offices will pivot towards becoming co-working spaces, with varying degrees of success. What plans do you have for 2021?

To get properly open, fingers crossed. Our desk hire and outdoor terrace should be opening in April and in the summer, we hope to be able to start our programme of evening events as well, ranging from wine tastings to modern art evenings to an event all about the menopause. What is your company’s ethos and philosophy?

Cassia adheres to three key values: sustainability, excellence in employment, and community. We demonstrate this in all kinds of ways, from our commitment to buying local to our support for Julian House, DID YOU KNOW? our charity for 2021. Not only are these Cassia is dog friendly; we have values personally important to us, but a resident cocker they matter to customers too. For more: Sovereign Point, Midland Road, Bath, BA2 3GJ;;; Instagram @cassiacommunity


spaniel called Buddy and he’s enjoying meeting new friends every day!

How has your business adapted to stay relevant?

Carter Jonas, being one of the oldest property firms in the country, has obviously had to successfully adapt for 1855 to the present day to keep us as one of the country’s most respected property partnerships. This has been done through making sure we use the most up to date systems and technology, but also employing the very best staff who are trusted to give the most, honest and sincere advice to our wide range in clients. Did you know?

One of Carter Jonas’s first estate clients in 1855 is still a client today, a relationship lasting over 160 years. For more:

Dedicated to finding the most secure, long-term outcome for separating and divorcing clients

Family transitions, including divorce, are difficult.

Protecting what matters most in uncertain times

The way you divorce or resolve your family matter shouldn’t add to the turmoil. Many people who come to us are looking to reach settlements that protect the best interests of both them and their children, for the long term.

Call, Skype, FaceTime, Teams or Zoom Richard Sharp to find out how our experienced family lawyers can guide you towards a constructive outcome that enables you and your family to move on with life.

Bath 01225 448955/ 07798 606740 4 Queen Street, Bath, BA1 1HE

Office also in Bristol


MARK VINCENT SURVEYING Mark Vincent, chartered surveyor Tell us about your business

I started as my own boss in 2013, following years being exhausted in the corporate grind. I still gratefully cover the same Bath and surrounding area that I have done since 1992. I only survey residential property. Every single day is different. Work/Life balance – how do you get it right?

HETREED ROSS ARCHITECTS Tell us a little about your business

Hetreed Ross are environmental architects adept at difficult consents for new, existing and historic buildings; using low energy design, sustainable construction and appropriately simple services, we produce delightful buildings to exceed clients’ expectations and improve both life and planet. What areas do you specialise in?

Bespoke sustainable design: for most of our clients, the challenge is in making the best of their existing buildings; where these are historic, the hurdles are higher but the transformation can be exhilarating: maximising comfort and delight - and minimising ‘footprint’. Where the opportunity arises for newbuild, we can tailor to clients’ needs and dreams to Passivhaus standard.

I try and survey a property in the morning, and try to work from home on a Friday to catch up and to free-up the weekends, but it seems rarely to work that way, being self employed. I often fit in another survey to help a desperate client, which means catching up over the weekend. So I often fail in the best work/life balance. I try to walk my staffie a couple of miles a day with a view to achieving virtual walking challenges, and weather permitting at weekends, or in the week in summer, try and get to Cheddar Watersports to enjoy paddle-boarding and windsurfing. Fine weather motorcycling is also relaxing. You will notice that there a lot of “try”s! Describe your offices

During a normal working day, I work from my VW T6 Transporter, liveried in my company’s green colours with my name and details on it. It has a heater and wifi, and the view from my “office” can change daily and overlook some of our beautiful West Country countryside. At home, I seem to be in a couple of rooms, currently the conservatory, watching a squirrel eat the bird seed. Did you know?

I learnt to swim in the Cross Baths when the water was very dark green - I think Julius Caesar was in my class! For more:

What sets you apart from others in your sector?

Our focus on sustainable design backed by in depth experience of the construction to achieve it: we’ve been designing and building sustainably in this region for many years – some of us since the 1980s – and have positive relationships with the consultants, contractors and authorities that make for successful teamwork for our clients. What is your company’s ethos and philosophy?

Architecture is both art and science but we see it as fundamentally a service to our clients and to the world: although our clients may not always be right, it is our role to show them the path they finally choose so as to meet – and we hope exceed – their expectations. Did you know?

HRA have had a female majority for most of our existence – typically at around 70% - which has positively influenced our design and client relationships; Ann Ross’s retirement last year – we miss her! – has left us 50/50 for the first time in years. For more:




Alistair Heather, Bath office

Tell us a little about your business

We are a multi-disciplined national firm of estate agents, founded in 1885, with our newest residential agency office located in the centre of Bath. What makes working in Bath special?

It is the perfect blend of history, architecture and culture. Aside from its obvious beauty, Bath is a welcoming city with so much to offer to its residents and visitors. It has all the amenities, education and leisure facilities of a larger city, but set within a more peaceful and attractive setting. Work/life balance – how do you get it right for you and your staff?

In today’s working environment, the line between work and home life gets very blurred. As someone who has worked and lived in London for twenty years, and in the past two years commuted to London from Bath every day, I was on the wrong end of the work/life balance. However, now that I am fortunate to both live and work in Bath, giving me more time to spend with my family and enjoying my hobbies, I find myself better able to strike a balance between the two. What is your company’s ethos and philosophy?


Luke Brady, director, head of Bath office and southern residential division Tell us a little about your business

Savills is a market leading business with a global network of over 650 offices and affiliates. Savills opened in Bath in 1989 and is now one of the company’s flagship offices. What predictions do you have for the sector in 2021?

It’s been an extraordinary 12 months in property. Despite lockdown and recession the number of buyers registering with our Bath office surged by 37% by the end of February compared with the same period last year. This is particularly remarkable as the market was already buoyant following the so-coined ‘Boris bounce’. The pandemic prompted many of us to think about how and where we live and demand for properties with more indoor and outdoor space led the charge. At the end of February we had 29% less property for sale than at the same time in 2020, creating a strong seller’s market in which properties sold very well, despite the restrictions. The outlook for 2021 points to a strong market. Whereas this time last year we were heading into lockdown, we are now coming out and straight into a busier-than-usual spring market. Meanwhile the continued success of the Covid-19 vaccination programme and the extension of the stamp duty holiday and furlough scheme will support sentiment and price growth. How has the pandemic changed the way you do business?

With restrictions in place, to varying degrees, throughout the last year, virtual viewings became an imperative. Even as social distancing measures are eased, it is very likely that these will remain a key fixture. Why? The simple answer is that they work. You can view a long list of properties in a fraction of the time from the comfort of your sofa. By the time you set foot over the threshold, you already know the property and that first physical viewing becomes more like the traditional second, more considered, viewing. This is a win for buyers and sellers alike. Buyers can avoid spending unnecessary time and travel while sellers can minimise the need to clean, tidy and vacate their home. And the tool comes into its own when it comes to international buyers – last year we sold properties to buyers who had only seen their new homes via video. For more:


Look after our clients the way we would wish to be looked after ourselves. For more: 7-9 North Parade Buildings, Bath BA1 1NS 01225 685810;



Tell us a little about your business

We’re a business communications company based in Bath – now celebrating our 21st year! Our area of expertise is Unified Communications & Collaboration systems which encompasses solutions such as Microsoft Teams, business phone systems, video conferencing, data networking, network security and business mobile phones. We have the in-house consultancy, design and deployment capability to bring these technologies together and create the best solutions for our clients. What sets you apart from others in your sector?

When talking to a prospective or existing customer, we like to take a holistic view of their business and work hard to understand what they want to achieve. Because we work with a range of best-in-class vendors, we can tailor a solution that exactly meets the customer’s need. We’re incredibly proud of the long-term customer relationships we’ve built over the last 21 years. What challenges are your clients facing?

In such challenging times, they need a trusted partner to offer advice, help navigate the myriad solutions in the marketplace, and provide support. Our focus has been on helping people to do their jobs better. The impact of remote working means that company IT policy is now shaped based on the end user’s needs. This is what’s driving the technology to evolve. A single app on desktops and smartphones (like Microsoft Teams), that’s powerful yet simple to use, is the ultimate goal! Did you know?

The whole team recently took part in a charity fundraiser in aid of Bath charity Developing Health & Independence (DHI). We committed to doing at least 35 minutes of physical activity for 35 days to raise money for a fibroscanner for the new drop-in treatment centre in Bath. To date we’ve raised over £11,500 and we’re still getting donations! If any readers would like to help, please visit https://datasharp-ic. - all contributions are very much appreciated! For more: 0800 032 8274;


Nathan Baranowski , chief wondermaker Tell us a little about your business

We’re an award-winning team of strategists, designers and developers who believe in enabling organisations who are a force for good in the world to do more and do it better through digital. Helping organisations to see new digital possibilities, think strategically about their digital ambitions and make it happen through beautifully crafted technology that is simply a delight to use. What areas do you specialise in?

We love digital and helping people to realise their visions. We take challenges and ideas and transform them into future proofed digital strategies, create high impacting, immersive and functionally rich digital experiences from simple brochure websites and mobile apps to complex integrated digital solutions. Whether you’re a start-up seeking to disrupt the norm, a purposeful enterprise trying to maximise your digital potential and to punch above your weight, or a charity aiming to achieve more with less, we help deliver greater impact and ensure we have a clear vision for your digital future. Tell us about your community/charity involvement.

We believe digital should be for all not the few, and over the last 12 months this is ever more the case than before. We work closely with our local community and charities locally and nationally to enable better use of digital as well as support them financially. Over the last year we have supported charities including Cerebral Palsy Cymru, Fire Fighters Charity, Wiltshire Air Ambulance, Mentoring Plus and Frank Water to name a few. What steps are you taking for employee’s mental health?

It’s important to keep talking, as well as listening and taking time out. We have maintained regular check ins with each other, and a particular favourite is our weekly session “Take Care Tuesday” where we share thoughts, hints and tips, and take actions to support each other. Our friends at Charlie Waller Trust have some amazing tools and techniques which we downloaded from their website to help. Did you know?

We are as a team running, walking, cycling and SUP’ing the coastline of Britain as our team challenge this year – sadly we won’t get to see its beauty, but we are enjoying exploring our own wonderful countryside in our virtual challenge! For more: 10 Kingston Road, Bradford on Avon BA15 1AB; 01225 220 155;; I BATH LIFE I 115


Tell us a little about your business

Rathbone HR Solutions provides professional HR consultancy services, enabling businesses to attract, develop and retain the right people and achieve targeted business growth. When was your firm founded and who by?

Rathbone HR Solutions was founded in 2018 by Polly Rathbone Ward, who has worked in HR roles across a variety of industries since qualifying in 2001. Polly continues each year to further her professional development and became a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD in 2020. What areas do you specialise in?

Rathbone HR specialises in working with businesses to ensure that they hire, develop and retain the right people and that a culture is developed to enable individuals to be engaged and motivated at work. This helps to reduce absence and turnover whilst increasing productivity and retention, helping the business to grow. How have the last 12 months been for you?

Staying up-to-date with all the changes to guidance over the last year has been challenging at times, but it is a pleasure to be able to support businesses during this time and to guide both the business and their employees through unfamiliar situations. What challenges are your clients facing?

MOORE SW IT Tom Cannon

How can you help with the way Covid-19 has changed the way we all work?

We provide cloud based IT systems, VPN’s, remote desktop and other services such as VoIP. We have helped a huge amount of clients switch from being fully office based, to be able to work from anywhere (home), some organisations have already adapted to permanently working from home.

Clients are currently facing a range of challenges, many related to COVID-19. Supporting remote workers, staying connected with furloughed employees, ensuring COVID-secure measures are in place in the workplace, future planning, supporting employee wellbeing and the implications of the vaccination programme are just some of the challenges businesses are facing. Did you know?

Polly had a side hustle in the fitness industry throughout her 20s as a qualified personal trainer? Polly remains fascinated between the link between employee health and wellbeing and work performance and productivity. For more:;

What can we all do to protect ourselves at home with IT security?

It’s important to make sure that your computers and devices are kept up to date which maybe harder when not in the office. It’s worth regularly checking the antivirus and any backups that should be in place. How has Covid-19 altered the way you work, professionally and personally?

We have been able to allow staff to choose whether to work from home the last few months. A lot of us have realised that I don’t need to be in the office every day. How can you help with IT security?

We can offer most organisations a free IT audit or review which will highlight any weaknesses. Please visit for more information. Did you know?

For the last 6 years we were called “Moore Stephens IT Solutions”, we have recently re-branded and renamed following the recent “Moore” network rebrand in the UK? For more: 01225 486100; I BATH LIFE I 117

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BSc MRICS Chartered Surveyor Mark Vincent Surveying provides surveying and valuation advice on residential properties primarily across North Somerset, Bath and North-East Somerset and West Wiltshire. As a Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and with experience of properties ranging from modest studio apartments through to multi-million pound country estates, Mark’s advice is impartial and provides peace of mind to his clients. Operating in Bath, Bradford-on-Avon, Bristol, Frome, Midsomer Norton, Shepton Mallet, Trowbridge, Warminster, Wells & Westbury – Mark provides a wide range of services related to the value and condition of residential property, including: • Homebuyers reports • Building Surveys • Valuations Mark is independent of estate agents and financial institutions which means he gives unbiased advice and can offer complete peace of mind with Professional Indemnity Insurance cover up to £250,000 per claim. 07922 557100 | 01225 581591

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Tell us a little about your business

We’ve been a business at the heart of Bath city, founded by my brother Mehmet and I in 2010, providing bespoke suit making for ladies and gentleman, dressmaking, wedding dress and clothing alterations for general public, local retailers and boutiques. What plans do you have for 2021?

Since offices are still working from home, we will be focusing on Weddings this year as we are already getting a lot enquiries either wedding dress alterations, making or adjusting wedding suits, couples who didn’t have their wedding last year, most of them getting married this year as an addition to those were planning to get married this year. What sets you apart from others in your sector?

As well as making high end bespoke/ handmade suits, and alterations we have a team of dressmakers who are excellent in making and adjusting bridal wear. What is your company’s ethos and philosophy?

Quality of our service and work is well known by clients, our ethos is based on understanding your needs, good listener and working together to provide you with seamless, complimentary tailoring service. Mehmet and I have a wide range of experience including clothing manufacturing & training from Saville Row tailors, this gives us the expertise to deal with all tailoring requirements. Having a large team on site gives us ability to carry out most challenging work in short deadlines. Did you know?

We are the only professional bespoke tailors in Bath and largest in south west who offer handmade suits, designed and made on the premises, using finest British fabrics. Offer highest quality Bridal alterations and we are one of the few places in UK who can carry out vintage clothing restorations. For more: 25 Milsom Street, Bath BA1 1DG; 01225 920263;;


Paul MacKenzie-Cummins, managing director Tell us about your business

Clearly PR has been a Public Relations, Corporate Communications, Content Marketing and Creative agency since 2014. We help our clients to use PR, content and digital marketing to strengthen perception of their brand, stimulate growth, manage risk, and gain competitive advantage in each market they serve, whether in terms of sector or geographical location. What is your company’s ethos and philosophy?

We want to make a difference to the lives of the people we employ by providing them with every opportunity to progress their careers with us, the fortunes of the clients we work with through the delivery of real-world practical solutions, and the community and environment within which we all live. 2% of our total annual revenues directly fund environment and social impact programs and 10% of our time each month is committed to providing pro bono services to those who need it most. What predictions do you have for the sector for 2021?

Every business has a part to play in giving back to their community and driving positive societal and environmental change. Pressure is growing on all businesses to do the right thing, whatever their size and headcount. Those that want to stay ahead must take action to define and communicate their purpose, clearly outlining what they stand for beyond just making a profit. Did you know?

In 2019 and 2020, Clearly was recognised as one of the Top 10 fastestgrowing PR agencies in the UK. For more: 1 Saville Row, Bath BA1 2QP; 0333 207 9477;;





High Quality Dry Cleaning and Laundry Services Roadside parking outside shop for loading/unloading

CURTAIN CLEANING 15% DISCOUNT Van service available Open 10am–2pm Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays

6 Monmouth Place, Bath BA1 2AU Tel 01225 311595


The end of the tax year – do you need to take action?

Jacqui Bowden from Bath-based chartered accountants and tax advisers PEARSON MAY takes a look at what the recent budget announcement will mean for individuals and businesses…


uch of the focus in the press in the past week or so has of course been in relation to the Budget and the various measures which the Chancellor announced, both to attempt to repair the economy in the longer term, but also support those businesses and individuals who continue to face challenging conditions as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. We mention a few of these measures at the end of this article, but as the end of the 2020/21 tax year approaches on 5 April, it is also a good time to review your affairs, making the most of opportunities to maximise your income and minimise your tax. Some tax planning may require action to be taken before 5 April. I will highlight below a few of these.

current year may take you into the 40 per cent (or even higher) income tax rates. For most individuals, the 40 per cent rate starts to apply once income reaches £50,000. The tax relief for personal pension contributions works in a similar manner to gift aid payments as mentioned above and as a result, tax relief is available at your marginal rate of tax. You may however need to bear in mind and take specific advice concerning the Annual Allowance, which limits the amount that can be contributed to a pension each year while still attracting tax relief. For most individuals, the Annual Allowance is £40,000 but this could be more or less in certain situations, depending on factors such as the level of your income, amount of pension contributions made in earlier years and whether you are already drawing a pension, etc.



Don’t forget that, in respect of the 2020/21 tax year, higher rate taxpayers can claim an extra 20 per cent of the ‘grossed up’ donation from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for donations made during the tax year. For example, if a donation of £80 is made to charity under gift aid during the year, the higher rate tax relief that HMRC will give you will be 20 per cent of £100 i.e. an additional £20. For additional rate taxpayers (those with taxable income above £150,000 for the year), the extra relief would be £25.

High earners also need to bear in mind that they may be at risk of losing their personal allowance. Those with net adjusted income in excess of £100,000 for 2020/21 will lose the whole or part of their personal allowance of £12,500. For every £2 of income in excess of £100,000 the allowance is reduced by £1, leading to an effective marginal rate of income tax of 60 per cent in the band between £100,000 and £125,000. Once net adjusted income reaches £125,000 the allowance is completely eliminated. With both gift aid donations and pension contributions, it is certainly worth considering making a one-off payment before 5 April 2021 if you are in danger of losing all or part of your personal allowance or being subject to the High Income Child Benefit Charge (which applies when net adjusted income exceeds £50,000). The gross amount of any gift aid donations and pension contributions are deducted from total income when calculating net adjusted income for these purposes. For example, if you are expecting your total income for 2020/21 to be £110,000 (and assume for these purposes that you haven’t yet made any pension contributions in the tax year), by making a net pension payment of £8,000 before 5 April 2021, could save you additional income tax of £4,000, over and above the basic rate relief, meaning the effective cost (after tax relief) of the pension payment is actually only £4,000. In other words you obtain the benefit of £10,000 being contributed to your pension scheme at a cost of only £4,000 – a massive 60 per cent relief. The above are only a small selection of some

PENSION CONTRIBUTIONS If you regularly make contributions to pension schemes, you may wish to consider a one off additional payment to be made before 5 April 2021, particularly if your total income for the

Jacqui Bowden, a partner at Pearson May

of the tax planning points included in our annual publication, Financial Perspectives – End of Tax Year Guide Spring 2021 available on our website or to anyone who would like to telephone our offices or email us at Copies will be provided free of charge.

2021 SPRING BUDGET As mentioned above, the Chancellor’s recent Budget included various measures relevant to individuals, including an extension to the furlough scheme and Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, and a rise in the personal income tax allowance for 2021/22 to £12,570 (but a ‘freeze’ in this allowance for the next four years thereafter). Similarly, the Capital Gains Tax annual exemption, Inheritance Tax nil rate bands and the pensions lifetime allowance are all to remain at their current levels until 2025/26. The current Stamp Duty Land Tax holiday was also extended to 30 June 2021 (and at a reduced level until 30 September 2021). The most notable change which will affect many businesses in the forthcoming years was an increase in the Corporation Tax rate to 25 per cent, with effect from April 2023. This will however only apply in full once a company’s profits exceed £250,000. Companies with profits of £50,000 or less will continue to pay the existing rate of 19 per cent and those with profits between £50,000 and £250,000 will be liable to an effective rate between 19 per cent and 25 per cent. Further details of the various announcements in the Budget are included in our 2021 Budget Report publication, which is also available on our website or by contacting one of our offices. The above is for general guidance only and no action should be taken without obtaining specific advice. Such advice in relation to pension schemes should be obtained from your pension adviser or an independent financial adviser. ■

Jacqui Bowden BSc (Hons) ACA Pearson May Chartered Accountants & Chartered Tax Advisers Bath, Chippenham and Trowbridge 37 Great Pulteney Street, Bath BA2 4DA 01225 460491; I BATH LIFE I 123

Providing tailored HR support to small and medium sized businesses. ● Providing vital resource to support your business with professional employment and HR advice. ● Helping businesses to develop strategies to attract, develop and retain the best talent. ● Helping your business to create the right environment and culture so that your people and your business can thrive.

Polly Rathbone Ward | Bath, UK | 07740 43273 | f l   |

• Complete tailoring service for ladies and gentleman • Wedding dresses and bridesmaids dresses alteration • Alterations and Repairs on all Garments • Made To Measure Suits and Shirts • Bespoke / handmade Suits and Separates • Ladies bespoke tailoring • Re-sizing and Re-Designing Suits and Dresses • Replicating your old favourite clothing

25 Milsom Street, Bath, BA1 1DG

t: 01225 920 263



Local legal expert HELEN STARKIE asks why we wouldn’t want to plan for our death…


esearch by ‘Which’ shows that almost two thirds of us have no Will in place. About half of those interviewed (so about one third of us) said they had nothing worth leaving, and the remaining interviewees were pretty evenly divided between it not having occurred to them or being ‘too busy’. There is an assumption that ‘the law will sort it out’ if no Will is left – and in some cases, the Laws of Intestacy will do the necessary – but that should not be taken for granted! If you need evidence for that then it is a sobering thought that in the last five years or so the number of people requesting advice on how to challenge a Will has apparently risen by 120 per cent. Your estate may well be more valuable than you think. For example, people often forget that they have insurance policies which may pay out to their estate on death. Married couples and couples in Civil Partnerships often assume that if one of them dies the other will inherit everything. Not necessarily true! If the couple are childless then the spouse/civil partner will inherit, but if they have children then the spouse/civil partner will inherit the deceased spouse’s personal possessions, the first £250,000 of their assets (the value of which may include the value of their interest in the couple’s home) and one half of anything over and above that. The rest will pass to the children. There have been cases where a bereaved spouse has had to sell their home to pay out their children. Talking of marriage and civil partnerships, couples need to bear in mind that, if they have made Wills before marrying or becoming civil partners, those Wills will be revoked by that marriage or partnership unless they have expressly been made ‘in contemplation’ of it. The situation is more complex for those who live together but are not legally married or partnered. These now form a very significant part of our population. Currently some four million people are in this sort of relationship and the number is growing. Many of those involved believe that they will have rights as ‘common-law spouses’ but there are no such rights under the Laws of Intestacy. The estate of one party to such an arrangement will pass to his or her nearest family member, not their cohabitee. It is very important to understand this when, for example, buying a home together. The way you own the property

“THE EXPECTED COST OF MAKING A WILL CAN BE A DETERRENT, OF COURSE... BUT YOU WOULD PROBABLY BE PLEASANTLY SURPRISED BY THE REAL COST” (as tenants in common or as beneficial joint tenants) will make an enormous difference to the way in which the deceased person’s interest in it is dealt with on their death. This is not to say that an individual who survives their partner cannot challenge the position which has arisen as a result of the intestacy. If they were being or ought to have been being supported by the deceased in his or her lifetime then they may make a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. But claims of this kind are notoriously expensive to bring – and they are slow. It may be years before things are finalised. There is no sense in leaving things in such a state that this avenue is the only one

available to one’s partner. The expected cost of making a Will can be a deterrent, of course, and the press is expert at bandying around some pretty terrifying figures, but you would probably be pleasantly surprised by the real cost – and if you are a charity supporter you may take advantage of a free Will scheme run by solicitors in support of certain charities (we run such a scheme for Amnesty each spring and for the Friends of the RUH later in the year – if you leave the charity something in your Will we give our time drafting it free of charge). So cost is not a good excuse! We are all going to die one day. Why on earth would we not want to plan wisely for the aftermath of that as we would for any lifetime event? ■

Helen Starkie Solicitor 38 Gay Street, Bath, BA1 2NT; 01225 442353; I BATH LIFE I 125


If you are looking for an office space, we would be more than happy to show you what we have to offer.

Office space available at Church Farm Business Park. Up to 3500 sq feet in a stunning peaceful rural location on the outskirts of Bath with plenty of free parking, fibre connection on site, air conditioned units and 10 acres of lawns for recreational use with picnic benches (bring your own lunch). This is an office only Business Park tastefully converted from some original farm buildings, on top of a hill over- looking the Avon Valley.

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Growth House prices in the South West are expected to grow by an average of 5 per cent

Head of Savills Bath, Luke Brady


Property group Savills has released figures valuing the UK’s housing stock at a record high of £7.56 trillion in 2020, with the South West seeing some of the strongest value growth at 6.2 per cent making it the third most valuable market outside London at £706 billion. “People reassessed their housing needs and preferences as a result of the pandemic and that drove a surge in transaction activity in the second half of last year,” says Lawrence Bowles, a director in Savills UK residential research team. “This triggered rapid price growth as many buyers who felt secure in their finances looked for larger homes to accommodate the multiple demands of home working and home schooling, as well as extra space for living and leisure. It also meant that

the total value of properties held with a mortgage rose by 6.9 per cent as people stretched their borrowing to accommodate lifestyle demands.” House prices in the South West are expected to grow by an average five per cent this year, outperforming the UK average. Luke Brady, head of Savills Bath and its southern residential division, comments, “These forecasts follow an exceptional year in the residential property market. While 2021 will not be without its challenges, the speed of the vaccination programme and relaxation of social distancing, alongside the extension to the stamp duty holiday and furlough, and introduction of the mortgage guarantee scheme, will support price growth to the year end. “Even before the onset of the spring market we have seen a continuation of the high demand of 2020. As we move out of lockdown, we look forward to a busy few months and beyond.” For more:

PROPERTY NEWS left: The office sits on the corner of Alfred Street and Saville Row middle: Aspire to Move has trebled in size necessitating relocating to larger premises below: Willow (left) and Nelly (right) might be doggies in the window but they want it known, they are not for sale



The independent letting agent Aspire To Move have relocated to larger premises after just one year of trading. The firm started in Camden Bath in December 2019 and have now moved larger city centre premises. Caroline Baxter, who is director of Aspire to Move along with Will Maslin, says, “Despite the pandemic that hit us all in March, the company has trebled in size and is thriving. We are now in the old Westbury gallery located on the corner of Saville Row and Alfred Street. With its stunning curved windows and high ceilings, we believe we have created an impressive working space to continue to grow in for many years to come.” For more:

far left:

The property was once a doctor’s surgery left: The interior of the Upper Oldfield Park apartment


FLAT OUT A two-bedroom apartment in a detached villa

and former GP surgery, is currently for sale with Carter Jonas. The façade of this beautiful property in Upper Oldfield Park has been restored so the Bath stone is enhanced, and also includes a pair of decorative acorns. It has been refurbished to a beautifully high standard and has its own direct access to a peaceful, private garden. The communal hall of the house is also, unusually, an orangery – a gorgeous, unique feature that all residents can utilise. The building has been arranged as six apartments, with only two remaining at £450,000 and £575,000. For more: 132 I BATH LIFE I


SLEEPING LIONS As part of a renovation project to transform a collection of cottages

on the Longleat Estate into luxury retreats, a team of archivists have researched the heritage of each of the properties, and also the lives of the people who lived in them over the centuries. Jon Timney, director of Longleat Estate, explains, “Within the Longleat archives we have revealed original plans and drawings, as well old photographs and documents which have allowed us to illustrate the role these cottages have played in the estate’s rich history.” Among the newly renovated country getaways is East Lodge. It was originally built in the 1760s as part of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown’s transformation of Longleat’s parkland. Built in the shape of a triumphal arch, the building was later redesigned in the 19th century by renowned architect Jeffry Wyatville, the man behind the remodelling of Windsor Castle. The building once afforded lodging for a porter to oversee traffic entering the park and collecting the occasional ‘special’ tolls, such as sheep drovers’ way fees, or the shilling due from hearses taking a coffin to its burial place. Nestled in secluded woodland with views across the rolling Estate, the 18th century Deer Keeper’s House was originally built to house the Longleat steward. By the start of World War II it was being used by gamekeeper Bill Buckett, who became Sergeant of Longleat’s Auxiliary Unit, set up to resist German invasion, and used as the unit’s equipment and ammunition store. Overlooking the safari park’s East Africa reserve, the two keepers’ cottages were originally a single dwelling. Its first resident, Park Keeper Charles Lucas, lived there for more than 40 years. On top of his salary, he also had a weekly allowance to keep four bloodhounds. In 1968 the building was divided into two and used as accommodation for the ‘Lions of Longleat’ keepers. For more:

far left:

Lions have been on the Wiltshire estate since 1966 above: East Lodge with Longleat House in the background left: The Longleat gamekeepers 1919 with Charles Lucas middle row, second right below: Keeper’s Cottage master bedroom

Solar power

YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE Plans are currently being considered by B&NES for a

solar farm to be installed just outside Bath. Renewable Connections Developments has asked the council to look at the environmental implications and benefits of installing solar panels over 24 hectares in Marksbury Plain before it submits an application. The initial proposal says the development on agricultural land could generate 15 megawatts of electricity. There are two smaller solar farms already near to the proposed site; the five-hectare, development near Huntstrete, and the 10-hectare Church Farm Solar in Chelwood. For more: / Renewable Connections Developments have proposed a solar farm I BATH LIFE I 133


PITT HOUSE Matilda Walton explores a property, once owned by a British Prime Minister, that is opulent to the core





here is something indefinable about luxury. You know it when you see it. You feel it in your bones. You suddenly become hyper aware of the swing of a bag, the jut of an elbow – lest a stray brush of coat against mantel bring the whole thing tumbling down. You have seen no receipts, but you sense it – it’s cellular – quality oozes, its presence suffuses every surface. It makes a point without

intentionally drawing attention to itself. It is a candid photograph, never a selfie. Like the ultra-famous, it needs no surname to qualify it. With one step through the glowing doorway into Pitt House – named after its one-time owner British Prime Minister William Pitt – you leave behind mess, complication, and mismatched colour palettes and enter a world of elegant sophistication. The devil is in the details, and luxe lives in the contrast of its rich cream interiors accented with gold. The colour scheme runs throughout the property – creamy, textured soft furnishings contrast gold fixtures, and in that space where solidity meets softness a sense of easy comfort settles over everything. There is no room in this house ill-suited for lounging. Its current owners have cultivated a home in which luxury is a way of being. Ease is built into its central core. The style of Pitt House flows throughout its five floors, and no stone has been left unturned when it comes to comfort, from the bespoke kitchen (with specialist designed carpentry hand-built by Clayton Davidson, who made the joinery at Babington House) and breakfast table with built-in banquet seating, to the hand-built, oaklined wardrobes in all the bedrooms, crafted dressing I BATH LIFE I 141


room with island drawer display unit and ample shoe storage, not to mention the Sonos speakers, eight televisions, and 14 bespoke buttoned window seats made by Aston Martin upholsterers. Lavish surrounds make for simple moments of indulgence. Imagine yourself at sunset, propped in a window seat, fingers wrapped around a warming mug of tea, watching retreating rays of sunlight cast a golden glow across the city. In that moment, in these surrounds, that indefinable thing at the heart of luxury is all yours.


HOUSE NUMBERS Guide price £3.5m Square foot 4,230 Bedrooms 5

Bathrooms For more: Knight Frank, 4 Wood Street, Bath;





“I started seeing myself as weak and frail” I struggled to deal with the loss of the fit, healthy and invincible identity that I’d carved out for

myself. It shook me badly, because I started seeing myself as weak and frail. I became depressed and the drinking that I had enjoyed sociably as part of the rugby camaraderie became habitual and solitary. That spiral of alcoholism lasted for three whole years.

JAMES GWINNETT Marketing director James shares the story of his recovery after a rugby injury led to alcoholism... James Gwinnett is a marketing director for the mental wellbeing platform, 87 per cent, as well as being an endurance athlete and motivational speaker. He was previously a semi-professional rugby player before a serious injury resulted in a lost James turning to the bottle. Now five years sober, James, who lives in the centre of Bath with fiancée Krista, is running the 102 mile Cotswold Way in May to raise money for Children With Cancer. I played rugby from a very young age and had always

wanted to be a professional rugby player – it’s always been my biggest passion. I love that it’s a brutal game, yet there are very complex tactics and laws involved, I love the camaraderie that it brings (old teammates are lifelong friends) and I love the banter and social side of the game; I still do, even though I no longer drink.


Rugby gave me two important things – a sense of self and a routine. I was big, strong, a

macho, alpha-male, and although it wasn’t very healthy because I felt I had to prove myself to others, it also gave me self-discipline. I trained hard, ate the right things, was fit and healthy, and at 6ft 5in and 17 stone, in my own mind, fairly invincible. I lost all of that after my injury, and it sparked mental health issues.

The injury happened on 9 March 2013, when I was 28. I found myself in a situation

where I was running across the pitch to cover an opponent who was coming down the wing. I threw myself at the guy with the intent of tackling him with my shoulder but he changed direction at the last minute so I ended him flying into him head first – at full pelt – and the impact of the collision compacted my neck so badly that it fractured a vertabra.

Everyone’s ‘rock bottom’ is different. For me it was spending

the night in a dingy hotel room with a bottle of Jack Daniel’s. The next morning, through the haze of an awful hangover, I had a moment of clarity and I knew I needed to get myself back on the straight and narrow. I poured my addictive personality into my recovery and sobriety. I forced myself to

open up to friends and family, who were unbelievably supportive, took advantage of services like AA. I also rediscovered fitness again by signing up to run the London Marathon. I am five years sober on 26 March. It has truly opened my

eyes to what I’m capable of. It staggers me to think that I was effectively operating at about 50 per cent capacity for so long as a result of being either drunk or hungover. Not having that holding me back is a huge weight lifted physically and mentally. Being sober has allowed me to break through that and do things I would never otherwise have dreamed of. My appearance on SAS Who Dares Wins, the Channel 4

reality military training television programme, came about as part of my desire to push my limits

and see what I’m capable of. I was lucky enough to beat around 5,000 applicants onto the show. And it was an incredible experience. Utterly brutal but, although I barely slept for two weeks, lost 6kg and it took me about a week to feel even vaguely human again after getting back to the UK, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. My biggest achievement is getting and staying sober

because of the positivity and the belief in myself it has given me. I also have a better connection with my friends and family and am able to commit myself to a loving relationship. After being made redundant twice in six months during the credit crunch, I opted to move

into something that I was actually interested in and found my way into the sports industry, doing marketing and PR. That has morphed into wellbeing and I can honestly say that my current job is the most satisfying I’ve ever done, as I genuinely feel I’m making a difference to people’s lives.

I’ve been gradually building up the mileage and mental resilience needed to take on the Cotswold Way Running Challenge. I do know I can do

the distance (102 miles) because in September I did the Thames Path 100 – a 100 mile race from London to Oxford along the River Thames – and it took me just over 20 hours to complete. But the Thames is flat of course, whereas the total elevation of the Cotswolds Way is the equivalent of half the height of Mount Everest. For more: fundraising/gwinnecky

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