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Food/Arts/Entertainment/Shopping/Homes ISSUE 205 / FEBRUARY 2017 / £3







G R E E N E RY / T H E L E Y A R M S / T H E AT R E A L I B I


You’re still the one


RUM, PASTIES, EX-HUSBANDS... Find out what brought seven local couples together (4ever). . .

We’re suckers for a love story, and so to celebrate Valentine’s Day we tracked down seven of our favourite couples in and around Exeter – you’ll know some of them – and begged them to spill their intimate secrets (don’t choke on your muffin, not that intimate). We’ll confess we were not expecting to be quite so touched; everyone on pages 18 to 22, you melted our hearts, you lovely lot. We also decided to get some of our own deepest feelings off our chest. So many local employers have told us over the years that one of the things they’d love to see happen in Exeter is more talented graduates remaining in the city, and enriching it even further with their skills and energy. So, on page 51 we share our billet doux to the next wave of University of Exeter graduates. We reckon it’s pretty convincing. . . All this and piles of diamonds, a cosy country pub, gorgeous gift ideas and even a bit of stalking... Until next time! Anna Britten, Editor Follow us on Twitter: @ExeterLiving

Bang & Olufsen of Exeter 30/31 Gandy Street | EX4 3LS 01392 424600 | Wires Removed. Inspiration Added. Experience Beoplay H5 in store.


UPFRONT 8 Spotlight

Polpo, Exeter Living Awards latest, Little Mix, Extagram and more

13 Tess Read

Turns out our columnist is not exactly a petrolhead. . .


M EET T H E T EAM Editor Anna Britten Managing editor Deri Robins Senior art editor Andrew Richmond Graphic design Megan Allison Cover design Trevor Gilham Editor’s photo Emma Solley Contributors Tess Read, Chris Bentley, Kitty Kane

15 My Desk

Advertising manager Joss Phillips Account manager Paula Miller Account manager Jason Coward Commercial director Steve Hawkins

Matt Burrows from Exeter Phoenix

MAIN FEATURE 18 We Found Love Seven couples from Exeter and the surrounding area tell all

Production and distribution manager Sarah Kingston Deputy production manager Christina West Production designer Kirstie Howe

ARTS 25 Arts intro Contemporary dance star Matthew Bourne’s Early Adventures

Chief executive Jane Ingham Chief executive Greg Ingham

26 What’s On Clear your diary! You won’t want to miss these cultural highlights

Exeter Living, MediaClash, Circus Mews House, Circus Mews, Bath BA1 2PW 01225 475800 @The MediaClash

30 I Spy. . . Theatre Alibi’s Edward Snowdeninspired new show

FOOD & DRINK 34 Restaurant An endearing pub dog is just one of the attractions of The Ley Arms

SHOPPING 39 Shopping intro In-toto’s slinky and strokable new kitchen

40 Ed’s Choice Pantone’s ‘greenery’ is bursting out all over

64 One To Watch

HEALTH 47 Good Night How to sleep ‘clean’ with the help of Exeter’s experts

It’s Lynsey Skinner from Cathedral Appointments!

PROPERT Y 68 City v Country

EDUCATION 49 Starter For Ten Nicola Huggett of Blundell’s

Amazing homes in Morchard Bishop and Dean Clarke Gardens

51 Let’s Stay Together


Stop the brain drain! Our appeal to Exeter’s next wave of graduates

57 Seen! Who’s been out and about?


82 Exeter Lives

42 Special Shops

61 Business Insider

Diamonds, pearls and Rolex watches at Michael Spiers

Inspiring stories from Revel Innovation, Crowdcube and more

42 51

© All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without written permission of MediaClash.

About MediaClash We’re a Bath-based publisher, creative agency and event organiser Magazines Our portfolio of regional magazines celebrates the best of local living: Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter and Salisbury. We also publish foodie mag Crumbs. (, @CrumbsMag) and wedding title Vow (@VowMag). 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:

Kathryn Aalto On the cover Nigel Taylor took this stunning shot of Princesshay. Check out his Instagram: @__nig3l

WHAT’S MAKING THE NEWS IN EXETER Eat out, bacaro-style


BENVENUTO, POLPO! Exeter’s “impressive cultural life” and “sophisticated, discerning population” are among the reasons the much-vaunted Venetian brand is coming to the city The late, great AA Gill called it “a sort of Italian tapas bar that looks as if it’s been cleverly transported from Greenwich Village,” in The Sunday Times, and you’ll find its distinctive, octopus-sporting cookbook on the shelves of every serious foodie. Now Venetian restaurant Polpo will be the eighth and final restaurant to join Exeter’s new Queen St Dining. Opening in March between Absurd Bird and The Terrace, the Exeter branch is its only one outside London, Brighton and Bristol. We found out why from Polpo cofounder Russell Norman... Why Exeter? Exeter is one of that small number of UK cities that has it all: beautiful architecture, a progressive world-class university, an impressive cultural life and a sophisticated, discerning population. It is important to us that Polpo contributes to the quality of 8 I EXETER LIVING I

culinary life in the locations we open and there is no doubt that Exeter has a really exciting food scene which we would love to be part of.

the normal, paint-by-numbers format of the traditional Italian trattoria. As much as I love them, you won’t find giant pepper grinders or basket-weave Chianti bottles in Polpo.

Why the Queen Street Dining quarter? When we first visited Queen Street Dining quarter it reminded us of the small courtyards in the back streets of Venice. It’s a really welldesigned pedestrian focal point with no view of cars, buses or roads. There’s a great energy, lots of activity and yet a sense of decorum and relaxation. I felt like I wanted to hang out there all day.

What culinary treats can Exeter diners expect? As well as Polpo classics such as crisp fritto misto, succulent ribbons of flank steak, plump pork and fennel meatballs and our famous thin crust pizzas, there will be some surprises for Exeter. For the first time ever we will be offering a great breakfast menu, to eat in or to go, an all-day set menu for the budgetconscious, and our unique cacio e pepe trolley – prepared and served tableside. We are pulling out the stops in Exeter and we really want to give the city something special.

What makes Polpo stand out from other Italians? Polpo is a bacaro – this is a sort of scruffy wine bar usually found in Venice, serving good food in the shape of tasty small plates in a really casual environment. We don’t follow


Local folk share their photos This issue: Nigel Taylor

Belle Isle Park


LITTLE MIX CAPTURE THE CASTLE World-dominating Brit girl group Little Mix will play Powderham Castle on Friday 14 July, as part of their ‘Summer Shout Out’ tour. The four-piece won ITV’s The X Factor in 2011 and their current album, Glory Days, is the longest-reigning girl group No.1 album of the millennium. They appear at the historic venue in Kenton a day after Bryan Adams (13 July) and ahead of Olly Murs (29 July).

Gandy Street

Iain Beaumont, castle director at Powderham Castle, says: “We’ve a great summer of music planned, which reinforces Powderham Castle as a leading outdoor music venue in the South West. I hope you can join us!”


High Street

Tommy Cooper (Exe Bridges)

Woodbine Terrace

EXETER BID PARTNERS WITH EXETER LIVING AWARDS Momentum is building strongly behind the Exeter Living Awards, and we’re proud to welcome new partner, Exeter BID. We’ll be working together to bring exciting opportunities for Exeter businesses. There is a new Official AfterShow Partner: The Terrace. And all Finalists are invited to a new event, the Finalists’ and Sponsors’ Reception on 8 March at Exeter Cathedral. Nominations close at midday on 10 February, and are made via the Awards site. Finalists will be revealed at midday on 14 February, on the site, via email and on Twitter. As part of our new partnership with Exeter BID we are delighted to offer new opportunities for BID nominees. In the summer, there will be a new digital marketing seminar for BID members, following last month’s How To Win An Exeter Living Award. There are also preferential Early Bird terms for the Awards and we will be promoting the Exeter BID Summer Independents Campaign through Exeter Living. As part of this initiative, Exeter BID is also supporting vital new blood in the city by sponsoring the New Business category at the Awards. Exeter BID CEO Craig Bulley says: “Our

Nominations close 10 Feb!

role includes helping Exeter businesses to thrive. We aim to promote business in the city for all our members, so we are delighted to partner with Exeter Living in this important partnership and look forward to developing strategic initiatives together.” For Exeter Living, Greg Ingham, chief exec of its publisher MediaClash, adds: “The Exeter BID works superbly to promote all that’s best about business in Exeter. It has several strong initiatives under way and the support of so many companies. Partnering in this way creates great opportunities which we look forward to covering in Exeter Living.” The Exeter Living Awards are on 6 April at the Great Hall, University of Exeter. First sponsors include Wilkinson Grant, Princesshay, Otter Brewery, Energy Hair, Cathedral Appointments and Aquamarine Media. For sponsorship enquiries, please contact Or to be involved on the night, it’s stephanie.dodd@ Full details at with updates on Twitter: @ExeterLivingAwd I EXETER LIVING I 9


MIDWINTER MADNESS! Subscribe today



In our regular mini Q&A with visiting and local performers, actor MELISSA BARRETT bares her wicked soul LUST: Who or what do you find yourself lusting after today? Jimmy Stewart. In this month alone, I re-watched The Philadelphia Story, Mr Smith Goes to Washington, It’s a Wonderful Life and The Shop Around the Corner. GREED: What should you be cutting down on (non-food and drink!) Screentime – laptops, computers, phones, TVs, etc. I know I need to switch off more. GLUTTONY: What one thing could you happily eat or drink until you burst? Any kind of potato – boiled, steamed, baked, roasted, panfried, in the form of chips, etc. If I had to choose one – roast potatoes! Yum! SLOTH: What should you be really putting your back into right now? My production of Twelfth Night (or What You Will). It’s one of my favourite Shakespeare plays and the cast and crew are brilliant – working with them is a joy. The toughest part is always selling the show and bringing in audiences – especially in the winter. WRATH: What/who makes you angry? Being ignored, belittled or patronised. It feels like whoever is doing it has little or no respect for you. ENVY: Who are you jealous of? People who can earn a living doing what they absolutely love – a dream goal! PRIDE: What’s your proudest achievement? I’ve had many, including completing a year at Year Out Drama in Stratford-upon-Avon and later forming Sun & Moon Theatre with my wonderful partner, David. But one that stands out, that is a more solo achievement, is when I had the opportunity to perform at Shakespeare’s Globe in London. A truly magical moment. Twelfth Night (or What You Will) is on at The Clifford Room, Barnfield Theatre on 15-16 February (01392 271808;, and the Cygnet Theatre (01392 277189; on 17 February


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Out with the new and in with the old, says motoring maverick Tess


ar sales go up in the early part of the year. New registrations coming out in March mean that 20% of new car sales happen in that one month alone. I wouldn’t know what it’s like to drive a perfectly new, just-out-of-its-very-large-box car, as I have never owned one. But I have owned several old cars, and loved them all. I remember fondly the small blue Renault 5 I used to drive around London, which narrowly escaped a tree falling on it during the great storm of 1989, and which I reckoned was the closest I was ever going to get to a personalised numberplate (it ended with the combination 223T which in mirrors looks a bit like Tess – I know, hopeless). I remember with love and romance the red Triumph Spitfire driven right across Europe, until we killed it trying to take it over the Alps – on the roads, but even so. A whole Lada love

And I even remember with affection the Lada I owned jointly with my brother, donated to us by our cousin. We painted it tartan – yes, tartan. It drove like a tank, except without the feeling of speed or safety. I had to stop driving it when I was pregnant because I simply didn’t have the stomach muscle strength to turn the steering wheel. Once, when driving it around the country between relatives and friends at New Year, on icy, snowy, salty roads, the windscreen washing liquid ran out. Always handy with my cars I, of course, knew how to open the bonnet and refill. But sadly this wasn’t possible, as the bonnet-opening mechanism of the car had failed. But I had a plan. Boyfriend and I took turns to each drive while the other sporadically opened passenger window, inhaled a mouthful of freezing wind and airborne salt, and chucked a bottle of water over the windscreen. A slight problem arose as we drove into Wales, however – the temperature dropped so much that the bottled water froze on the windscreen. We stopped, and boyfriend nonetheless went off to buy more water, but I had a genius plan: “The snow!” I said: “We don’t need to pay for water – we can simply chuck snow on the windscreen instead and it will be like nature’s windscreen washer!” “Err, what?” replied boyfriend. “That’s not going to work and if I come back to the car and find that you have filled carrier bags with snow...” Truth to tell, the snow didn’t work very well – but the bottled water wasn’t working either and we had to buy it, was my defence. These days we have a sensible family car. We took a trip up to York to see friends between Christmas and New Year. Nothing would go wrong because we have a sensible, newish, family car. With all the salt and grit on the roads the windscreen washer ran out... We stopped at services, I reached for the handy lever which I assumed would open the bonnet and found instead that it detached the entire steering column from the car. What?!! Why is there a handy lever for that? I quickly shoved it back and hoped for the best. Give me back my Lada or Triumph Spitfire, I say. Tess Read is an Exeter-based author. Her new book The Contented Little Husband is out now on Michael O’Mara books. Twitter: @TessRead I EXETER LIVING I 13

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I rarely listen to music at work but often need to view film and video works by artists without disturbing my colleagues. Sometimes I forget to plug them in and don’t realise that I am exposing them to some pretty weird stuff.

MY DESK Nobody ever waters this, as far I can tell, but it seems to hang in there year after year!


A small bottle of hazelnut schnapps given to me by an artist, which I haven’t dared to open yet! Good to know it’s there in case of emergencies…. These are an archive of some of my first couple of years of exhibition invites here, before we went digital and stopped printing cards (unfortunately) A lovely gift and useful ceramic pot made by my son Finn a couple of years ago

My daughter Evie did the Elvis disco drawing when she was still at primary school

Curator and gallery manager at Exeter Phoenix, Matt Burrows let us into his inner sanctum recently, an event that promptly triggered a New Year’s resolution: “Blimey,” he says. “It still looks like a mess even with a quick tidy beforehand! I must do better.” Yet this art-packed and artfully dishevelled corner is precisely what we’d expect from someone juggling four galleries of brilliant, ever-changing contemporary art, plus talks, classes and screenings.

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Come closer, cynics. To mark Valentine’s Day, ANNA BRITTEN asked seven local couples, some of whom you might recognise, for their romantic tips and memories – and very heartwarming it all is too

rom rum-fuelled encounters in Cuba, to salsa night at Timepiece and snakebite in the student union, there’s no telling where you’ll find love, as our six couples can attest. But what keeps the romance alive? Sometimes it’s a good local gastropub with a roaring fire. And sometimes it’s just about cycling a little bit slower so they can keep up with you…


Power couples don’t come much more glam than these two, who own Southernhay House and Burgh Island (yes, the whole island) where they married in 2001. Deborah’s also on the board of Art Week Exeter (AWE). How long have you two been together? 23 years in April; since 1994, says Deborah. And how did you meet? At the rooftop bar of the Hotel Inglaterra, Havana. Papa Griffo & His Rhythm Masters were playing. They and Havana Gold rum played a large part in our first meeting. But it wasn’t as chancy as it sounds; we were both drawn there independently by a fascination for 20th century history and offbeat culture. When I got back to London, Tony did a bit of stalking to find out who I actually was and we ended up together. Favourite places locally for a date night? The Beach House at Burgh Island. Although I would say that, wouldn’t I? What’s the most romantic thing each of you has ever done? I’m rather suspicious of romantic gestures. But in Tony’s case: booking in to marry me at Burgh Island while scoping it out shamelessly for purchase. In my case, I said ‘I do’ and our South Devon adventure began. It took a lot to get the girl out of London but I don’t regret a single day. Love your wedding outfit… It was YSL and totally Bianca Jagger, including a teeny tiny waistcoat that barely covered a thing and left my tit tape and the rest hanging 18 I EXETER LIVING I

ROMANCE SPECIAL Kai: Caroline arranged a surprise party for my 30th birthday at a gorgeous house in The Cotswolds. Caroline: Flowers at unexpected times and gorgeous birthday meals he’s cooked at home. What’s the secret to a long-term relationship/marriage? Time as a family with the children and time just as a couple; trust; and always agreeing the woman is right!


We like to think of them as the Barack and Michelle of local football (Julian is chairman of League Two Exeter City FC, and Exeter City Ladies): important but charming, and ever so cute together. How long have you two been together? Over a decade now, says Julian, but it still seems like yesterday.

Above: Kai and Caroline Horstmann Below: Julian and Charlie Tagg

out. Maybe fine for a club but not for your own wedding. Luckily, I had a clean bra and tons of fake pearls so winged it on the day. Moral: always try on your wedding tackle before the big day! What’s the secret to a long-term relationship/marriage? I think it’s a matter of choice every step of the way – check in with yourself and make the decision to travel together. That’s a bit serious; really it’s about shared values and having fun. There’s no secret formula.


Local girl Caroline is operations director of the Cock A Hoop collection of luxury holiday homes and foodie outlets. Her other half, Zimbabweanborn Kai, keeps himself fairly busy too, in the back row for Exeter Chiefs. They have two daughters and live in Kenton.

And how did you meet? We met at salsa night at Timepiece – I must have impressed Charlie with my footwork!




What are your favourite places locally for a date night? For Valentine’s Day we always visited the Royal Clarence. What’s the most romantic thing each of you has ever done? I proposed to Charlie at the top of the Empire State Building. Her response was: “I’ll give you an answer when we get down” – she’s not fond of heights! w

How long have you two been together? 16 years, says Caroline. And how did you meet? We met at our student union, Diva’s, at Swansea University over a snakebite-and-black and cheesy chips – times have changed! Favourite places locally for a date night? It usually has to involve food as it’s a bit of an obsession in our family. On the rare occasion it’s just the two of us (there’s usually another couple in tow), we would go to our lovely restaurant in the village, The Rodean; The Terrace if we want a night in town; or The Galley for its lovely seafood. Ode Cafe at Sheldon is also a favourite when we are a family. What’s the most romantic thing each of you has ever done? I EXETER LIVING I 19

ROMANCE SPECIAL What’s the secret to a long-term relationship/marriage? My grandad always told me “girls are for spoiling”. It also helps that Charlie has unlimited patience!

ZOË AND KATHARINE HARRIS The couple live in a hamlet near East Budleigh, with their daughter Lucy (another baby is on the way), two labradors and a cat.

How long have you two been together? Six years, says Zoë, and we got married in July 2014.

What are your favourite places locally for a date night? A walk on the beach with our dogs is great in all weathers. Walking from Exmouth to Budleigh over the cliffs soon warms you up nicely for a sea swim. Fish and chips and a beer on the beach follows nicely. If we are off out, then Pebblebed Cellar in Topsham is a favourite – relaxed and delicious. Or, for a treat, it’s lovely to get the boat out to the River Exe cafe while the sun is setting. What’s the most romantic thing each of you has ever done? Zoë: I organised a surprise trip to Pembrokeshire


And how did you meet? We had both worked for the same company for years, though our paths never crossed until we were both transferred to head office. I had heard great things about Katharine; Katharine, however, was totally uninformed, giving me the advantage. We met... I suggested we go for dinner that evening and Katharine bartered that we went for a run first. Despite being incredibly unfit at the time and only making it halfway round, Katharine didn’t appear to be put off. She is very polite like that. We had a wonderful dinner, found a great gin bar and the rest is history!

Above: Dan and Emma Solley Below: Zoë and Katharine Harris

where I proposed. Not sure how romantic it was, it’s next to impossible for me to keep a secret from Katharine – so I think I lasted all of an hour from when we arrived to popping the question. Katharine: As Zoe pipped me to the post by proposing first, I feel as though the opportunity for big romantic chances are few and far between now but it’s the little things, the romance each and every day, that really matter. I’ll always support her and even go to the lengths of occasionally watching reality TV with her, despite being bored out of my mind, or cycling a little slower than I might like to, so we can be together – that’s daily romance. What’s the secret to a long-term relationship/marriage? Always make the time to enjoy who and what you love. There’s a story about what you can fit into a large, empty pickle jar (life): put the small pebbles (work, cleaning, gardening) in first and there is not enough room for your stones (what you love –family, friends, holidays). Let the sand (food shopping, cooking, ironing) fill the gaps and remember there is always room for a drink with a friend.


Cornish pasties brought local photographer Emma Solley and her carpenter and general builder chap Dan together as teenagers. They now live on Dartmoor with their nine-year-old daughter and still think swanky restaurants are overrated… 20 I EXETER LIVING I

ROMANCE SPECIAL How long have you two been together? 17 years this year, says Emma. 2017 will see us celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary. And how did you meet? There are two versions of this story, dependent on which one of us you speak to. We first met 20 years ago when I was on holiday in Polzeath, aged 16. Dan was a local surfer who paid me no attention, but then three years later he used to appear in the bakery that I worked in during my university holidays three or four times a day. Dan claims it was I who paid him no attention for years and it took him buying four pasties a day for me to eventually agree to go on date. Thankfully, his penchant for a pasty has subsided since then. Favourite places locally for a date night? We are more likely to be found curled up in the corner of a cosy pub than in a swanky restaurant. Our favourite local haunt is The Three Crowns at Chagford. It is opposite the church where we tied the knot – nothing like a bit of nostalgia on a date night. The food is great and there is almost always a log fire burning. What’s the most romantic thing each of you has ever done? To this day, I still can’t believe Dan proposed when he did. Looking back, we were so young,



really, but I have never been more certain of anything in my life. Dan sold his car to buy my engagement ring. Our friends thought we were mad. Turns out to be the best decision we ever made. What’s the secret to a long-term relationship/marriage? Realising the big things are the little things every day. Someone recently said to us: “Lust is fleeting, love may last a little longer, but if you marry your best friend you are set for life.” We are an amazing team and rarely take each other for granted. Be good to each other. It’s not a big secret.


A couple at the forefront of Exeter’s burgeoning tech scene, the Woodwards run cyber security firm Securious at Exeter Science Park Centre. How long have you two been together? We have been married for 16 years this year, says Roz, though actually we have known each other for 27 years!

Below: Pete and Roz Woodward

And how did you meet? Pete’s best friend from school was my ex-husband and we met 27 years ago at the engagement party. We stayed friends, but lost contact for about seven years. Again, my ex-husband put us back in contact with each other 17 years ago when he and Pete met up at Pete’s sister’s wedding. We married 18 months later. Favourite places locally for a date night? We live near a lovely pub called the Clovelly Inn, and though we can see it, smell it and hear it, having a young child we don’t often get there. So, normally, when we can get a babysitter we like to head over there and chill out by the fire. What’s the most romantic thing each of you has ever done? We have spent a great deal of time working away from each other at various times over the last 17 years. One of these times, Pete was away over Christmas and New Year in a remote location working for an oil company. We were only able to have one phone call in the six weeks he was away, and could not have any contact through emails etc. We decided to postpone Christmas until he got back in January. We drove to the beach, with the roof down in the freezing cold, and sat on the deserted beach eating turkey sandwiches and Christmas cake. What’s the secret to a long-term relationship/marriage? Having spent so much time apart (maybe this is the secret!) makes us appreciate the time we share together more – we don’t take each other for granted and never try and change each other. We talk loads, run together as much as we can and always find time for laughing. w I EXETER LIVING I 21



Exeter Dental Centre’s toothsome pair put their long-term love down to teamwork

Above: Mike and Lara Hesketh

How long have you two been together? Since New Year’s Eve 2005, and married for eight years. And how did you meet? Mike: Lara had, six months previously, set her sister Holly up on an internet dating website and a lucky chap called Tim ended up dating her. I was a university friend of Tim’s and he invited me out to join the a gang of blonde bombshells for the night! Sounded like a no-brainer! Holly and Tim ended up getting married and we did too! Favourite places locally for a date night? Lara: Ooooh, this is a tricky one, as there are so many nice places to go now. We really enjoy going to our local pub in Exton, The Puffing Billy. It’s run by the nicest husband-and-wife team, Adam and Charlotte. We also really like the newlyopened Terrace bar and there is something really cool about The Old Firehouse for a cosy drink. What’s the most romantic thing each of you has ever done? Lara: At the risk at sounding super cheesy, Mike is probably one of the most romantic and generous men I know. He is great at putting on the ‘business front’ but behind this exterior he is really thoughtful. I have had some super nice 22 I EXETER LIVING I

STEPPING OUT Local venues laying on the romance for Valentine’s Day ‘Fantasy fairy tale’ is the dress code for The Terrace’s Once Upon A Time, The Enchanted Ball on 10 Feb, featuring live music from Bill Ding & The Sky Scrapers. . . Bellinis and live jazz are on offer at Woodbury Park’s Dinner & Jazz Evening on 17 Feb. . . And there’s a French-theme, comic cabaret, swing DJs and music from Fromage en Feu for the annual Vintage Valentine’s Ball at RAMM on 18 Feb.

gestures over the years, but probably the most touching moment was when our second child Hugo was born. Mike turned up at the hospital with Poppy (aged two) carrying a big balloon and wearing a beautiful diamond eternity ring round her neck! Aww. Mike: When I returned for a short break during my tour to Afghanistan in 2007, Lara booked a suprise weekend in Edinburgh. What’s the secret to a long-term relationship/marriage? Lara: Well, my mum did the speech at our wedding and I always remember the moment when she said, “Now Michael, place your hand on Lara’s” – which he did – “Now remember, that will be the last time you will ever have the upper hand again!” Everyone roared with laughter. I would like to say the secret to a happy marriage is letting me have the upper hand, but in all honesty, the secret to our marriage so far has been teamwork, trust and really valuing one another. We run everything past one another and give each other loads of freedom, too. Mike: Well, we work together, obviously live together and have small children. So simple things like having a ‘no work chat at home’ rule, booking time for work meetings and then spending all weekend together entertaining the children helps. Lara is very patient with my idiosyncratic ways, which helps.

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Arguably the biggest name in UK contemporary dance, Matthew Bourne is that rare thing: an artist who manages to stay at the cutting edge of his genre, while maintaining irresistible popular appeal. Early Adventures is the show with which the Olivier/Tony Award-laden choreographer/director launched his career 30 years ago, and is a portmanteau of humorous and stylish short pieces guaranteed to make you grin. Matthew Bourne’s Early Adventures is at the Northcott Theatre from 9-11 February; 01392 726363; I EXETER LIVING I 25

27 January – 27 February

The Banff Mountain Film Festival Tour reaches Exeter Corn Exchange; Scandifilm brings Nordic cinema to town; The Thing That Came From Over There at Exeter Phoenix


SOUTH WEST ART ACADEMY WINTER EXHIBITION New paintings, photographs, prints and ceramics from Academy artists, including established names such as David Brooke and Alan Cotton. Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Dowell Street, Honiton; UNTIL 5 MARCH

GET FRESH The biennial Devon Guild Show celebrating 15 new and emerging designer-makers from the South West and their furniture, ceramics, glass, jewellery, lighting, paper, photography,

sculpture and textiles. Devon Guild, Riverside Mill, Bovey Tracey;

Theatre, Comedy & Dance



HIROSHIGE’S JAPAN: STATIONS OF THE TOKAIDO ROAD Utagawa Hiroshige’s woodblock prints of Japan were sold cheaply in their thousands to 19th century armchair travellers and have won fans and imitators in artists from Vincent Van Gogh to Julian Opie. These 21 landscape prints from the series that made his name have been selected from the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, and capture a tranquility and beauty sure to trigger your own wanderlust. RAMM, Queen Street, Exeter;


THE THING THAT CAME FROM OVER THERE Riotous show inspired by 1950s B-movies, from a stellar cast and crew. A hapless explorer realises he’s blown his chances of beating Scott and Amundsen across Antarctica. Exeter Phoenix, Gandy Street, Exeter; 31 JANUARY-11 FEBRUARY

FISH EYE See page 30. Bike Shed Theatre, Fore Street, Exeter;

3, 6 & 9, 17-18 FEBRUARY

THE BREXIT CLUB New play set on the day of the 2016 EU Referendum in which cousins Len, Melvyn and their workmates thrash things out in the works canteen. Cygnet Theatre, Friars Gate, Exeter; cygnettheatre. (3 Feb); & Barnfield Theatre, Barnfield Rd, Exeter; (6 & 9 Feb); St Disens Church Hall, Church Lane, Bradninch; 01392 881825 (17 Feb); The Oak Room, St Peter Street, Tiverton (18 Feb); 9-11 FEBRUARY

MATTHEW BOURNE: EARLY ADVENTURES See page 25. Northcott Theatre,

W H AT ’ S O N


Discover the Romans at RAMM this half-term

Stocker Road, Exeter; 11 FEBRUARY

OLD HERBACEOUS Set in the ramshackle greenhouse of a manor house, this genteel one-man show is adapted from the Reginald Arkell novel. Cygnet Theatre, Friars Gate, Exeter; 14-18 FEBRUARY

GRANDAD AND THE MACHINE A mechanical monster, an epic quest and dark family secrets combine in this “steampunk fairy tale for adults”. For over-18s only. Bike Shed Theatre, Fore Street, Exeter; 15 FEBRUARY

MORGAN & WEST Brain-boggling illusion and good old-fashioned magic tricks. Kids’ show 2.30pm; adults 7.30pm. Exeter Phoenix, Gandy Street, Exeter; 15-17 FEBRUARY

TWELFTH NIGHT Sun & Moon Theatre deliver the Bard’s tale of mistaken identity, folly and love. See also page 10.

Barnfield Theatre, Barnfield Rd, Exeter; barnfieldtheatre. (15-16 Feb) & Cygnet Theatre, Friars Gate, Exeter; (17 Feb) 21-25 FEBRUARY

THE EPISODE New show about reality TV, fashion and power, from the esteemed Wardrobe Ensemble’s Tom Brennan. Bike Shed Theatre, Fore Street, Exeter; 23 FEBRUARY

DE NADA DANCE: HAM & PASSION Flamboyant contemporary dance outfit from Spain. Cygnet Theatre, Friars Gate, Exeter;


BSO: KISSED BY A ROSE Lovestruck works by Berlioz, Mozart and R Strauss from the formidable Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. The Great Hall, University of Exeter, Streatham Drive, Exeter; 2 FEBRUARY

JO HARMAN British blues singer who has toured with Patti Smith, Joan Baez and Van Morrison. Huey Morgan’s a big fan. Exeter Phoenix, Gandy Street, Exeter; 3 FEBRUARY

Music & Opera

DUB PISTOLS Return of Barry Unsworth’s dub/ rap/jungle/dancehall vagabonds. Exeter Phoenix, Gandy Street, Exeter;



GRATEFUL DEAD The current incarnation of the legendary San Francisco band, includes keyboard player Tom Constantine, Mark Karen and members of Jefferson Starship. Exeter Phoenix, Gandy Street, Exeter;

SOMME100FILM Screening of the 1916 film Battle Of The Somme with an original score by Devon composer Laura Rossi, performed by Exeter Symphony Orchestra. Part of a national event involving 100 orchestras from around the country. Introductory talk from

an Imperial War Museum expert. Exeter Cathedral, 1 The Cloisters, Exeter; 16 FEBRUARY

BSO: LORD OF THE DANCE Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra – with conductor Kirill Karabits and violinist Nemanja Radulovic – do Bartók, Barber and Lutosławski. The Great Hall, University of Exeter, Streatham Drive, Exeter; 16 FEBRUARY

KATE NASH Return of the perky, Brit Awardwinning chanteuse and multiinstrumentalist. Exeter Phoenix, Gandy Street, Exeter; 16 FEBRUARY

OPERA DUDES Two tenors who describe themselves as “Il Divo meets Morecambe & Wise” tour Devon via arts charity Villages In Action. Tickets: 01404 841 367 Shaldon Village Hall, Shaldon; 18 FEBRUARY

GALA CONCERT Local professional classical w I EXETER LIVING I 27


W H AT ’ S O N

Vintage Valentine’s Ball at RAMM

musicians take on favourite operatic and instrumental duets. Cygnet Theatre, Friars Gate, Exeter;

Other Events UNTIL 21 MARCH

SCANDIFILM Return of the smörgåsbord of Scandinavian cinema, storytelling, craft (and, erm, insect tasting) workshops, lingonberry juice, hot chocolate and marshmallows. Exeter Phoenix, Gandy Street, Exeter; 12 FEBRUARY

LGBT HISTORY FESTIVAL With Exeter an official hub for this nationwide event marking the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act 1967, this day of talks from academics, historians, campaigners and others forms part of a month of events across the city. Exeter Phoenix, Gandy Street, Exeter; 14 & 25 FEBRUARY

NIGHTTIME CATHEDRAL TOURS Popular after-dark events first held at the end of last year; book in advance. Exeter Cathedral, 1 The Cloisters, Exeter;

WILDLIFE GARDENING FOR CHILDREN Make a bird feeder or bee box and learn how to make your garden more wildlife-friendly. 10am-2pm. Seaton Wetlands (14 Feb) & Younghayes Community Centre, Cranbrook (25 Feb);




CHARITY FASHION SHOW High street looks for all ages and sizes, in aid of Life Education Wessex. Tickets: 07956 574493. The Great Hall, University of Exeter, Streatham Drive, Exeter; 11-12 FEBRUARY

SEATON HOARD ROMAN ROADSHOW Family-friendly events related to the nearly 23,000 coins that were buried around AD350 and discovered in 2013. RAMM, Queen Street, Exeter;

VINTAGE VALENTINE’S BALL See page 21. RAMM, Queen Street, Exeter; 24-25 FEBRUARY

BANFF MOUTAIN FILM FESTIVAL WORLD TOUR Watch short films about action sports, full of epic scenery, mindblowing journeys and adrenalinefuelled adventures in the wildest corners of the world. Exeter Corn Exchange, Market Street, Exeter; 01392 665938;


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I SPY... Maggie O’Brien is amateur spy Pam

A “cracking good story” from Exeter’s Theatre Alibi tackles spying and surveillance. ANNA BRITTEN covertly listens in…



Video and sliding gauze panels create an atmosphere of mystery and paranoia


h, the classic, curtaintwitching neighbour – how benign she seems now, in this era of mass surveillance. Wherever you stand on the matter, chances are the knowledge you’re being observed – by everyone from intelligence agencies to hackers, via everything from WhatsApp security loopholes to smart TVs that record everything you say – is affecting your life in myriad ways. Exeter-based theatre company Theatre Alibi are now tackling the issue of privacy in a clever new play by associate writer Daniel Jamieson that explores what happens when you put the old-fashioned nosy neighbour and new-fangled technology together. “Daniel was on a train heading to London,” says director Nikki Sved. “He was reading the newspaper and following the story of Edward Snowden, the whistle blower who revealed that





the National Security Agency had been spying on ordinary citizens far more than anyone expected. The news story planted a seed and from there Fish Eye was born. It’s a cracking good story.” The show, which has been in development for almost two years, follows recently widowed, middle-aged snooper Pam after a treasured Elizabethan sideboard is stolen from her front room. Says Nikki: “She decides that it’s her job to find out who’s behind the theft. A visit to the Neighbourhood Watch reveals they are not up to the job, so she embarks on a one-woman mission and takes things to some rather sinister extremes. The more she investigates, the more she becomes convinced that everyone around her is a thief, a pervert or a terrorist…” The tension between the rights and wrongs of surveillance – who’s the criminal: the unauthorised spy, or the person who might be doing something dodgy? – are what makes the debate, and this play, so compelling. Fish Eye admirably resists nailing its colours to the mast. “We have really tried to look at the complexities and are reluctant to give any simplistic answers,” says Nikki. “It would undermine the reality of the debate if we came down too heavily with a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ response. “Also, part of the beauty is allowing your audiences to decide. Theatre should be about discussion, not about telling the audience what to think.” Then there’s lead actor Maggie O’Brien, playing Pam. “She’s a wonderful performer,” says Nikki. “She has lots of experience in all sorts of places, from schools to large theatres [she was also recently in WW2 flick Allied]. She’s a fantastic storyteller and has the ability to be both very funny and incredibly touching.” The piece is accompanied throughout by specially-composed live music from long-time Theatre Alibi collaborator Thomas Johnson. “As ever, the music is core to our storytelling – shaping the show, painting pictures and adding an extra insight into Pam’s interior world. “The set gives a real sense of covert operations, with sliding screens and net curtains and the film projection allows us to peek into the world Pam is spying on.” The show premiered in the north-east, and now hits Exeter as part of a regional tour. “The response to the show has been really warm; people clearly recognise Pam and the situations she finds herself in. One of the lovely things is that audiences are really engaged, there is lots of laughter and even a few gasps as the plot untangles. And, most importantly, it seems to get people talking about the story and the issues it presents.” Fish Eye is at the Bike Shed Theatre, 1-11 Feb (post-show discussions 2, 3, 7 & 9 Feb; British Sign Language signed performance 9 Feb) 01392 434169; I EXETER LIVING I 31




The Ley Arms ANNA BRITTEN finds refuge, fine food and zero flimflam in the well-regarded country pub just outside Exeter


all off the search: we’ve found the best pub dog in the world. His name’s Reggie, he’s a working bearded collie, and he lives at The Ley Arms in Kenn. Reggie looks like he belongs in a picture book; he’ll bring you his tennis ball if he thinks you look fun; and he gets very excited when someone adds coal to the fire. As do we, naturally, on the ice-cold, soaking wet January afternoon we visit. In addition to that roaring fire, this place is also blessed with those other country pub musts: thatched roof, flagstones, heavy beams (all traditional features splendidly maintained by Heavitree Brewery, says landlady Karen Bayliss) and, above all, a feeling it’s all evolved naturally rather than been designed by a brand director in London. There’s an agreeable scuffedness, a hornyhandedness even, a total lack of flimflam. A pint of Legend (Dartmoor Brewery) is the obvious drink choice. No-one would bat an eyelid if you had a prosecco, we should add. You just won’t fancy one. Head chef Dominic Goodyear has served as Karen’s head chef for 18 years and if we were her, we’d lock him in the kitchen every night so he could never leave. His specials board is crammed with FearnleyWhittingstall-ish dishes that originated in local fields – rabbit and wood pigeon both feature, as do nettles (NB: gluten-avoiders, Dominic’s wife is coeliac so, unlike some, he’ll pay way more than lip service to your dietary


requirements). Seductive as those these dishes sound, we opt in the name of professional duty for dishes that are pretty much guaranteed to be on the menu when you visit – and are timeless classics by which pubs stand and fall. The chicken liver pate is Mr Whippy-soft, leavened by the addition of mushrooms, and its subtlety countered by punchy, claret-coloured, spiced red onion marmalade. Smeared on just the right amount of granary toast, it’s a gratifying blend of flavours and textures. P’s generouslyfilled ramekin of olives, gherkins and other antipasti gets a thumbs-up, and proves the pub can do the girly stuff, too. My steak and ale pie has sizeable chunks of meat bathed in a thick, rich gravy crowned with a herb-flecked suet crust – real lip-smacking, rib-sticking stuff – and the veg on the side is a perfect rainbow of nutritional virtue. It’s at this point Reggie appears, stretching out faux-casually between our table and the fireplace. From time to time he glances over his shoulder in our direction, a furry spy. P’s beer-battered fish elicits staccato mutterings of “so crispy…”, “amazingly succulent…” and “can’t fault this…” etc. The batter is featherlight, she says, and there’s no oily aftertaste. The crushed minty peas and fat, hand-cut, marigold-coloured ‘rustic chips’, too, are the stuff of hungry hikers’ dreams. P decides to get Reggie’s opinion. We can reveal he had no complaint. Fun fact: you can also have this dish (minus the chips), in sandwich form. The pudding list is impossible to choose from – so we ask for chef’s recommendation. A gently quivering wodge of apple, pear and pecan pudding duly appears, with a sticky, crunchy, toffee-ish crust topped by a physallis, and flanked by a ball of clotted cream and a few berries. Looks like the ice cream would be a good call, too, as it comes from nearby Orange Elephant, the recipient of much praise in these pages last summer. The Ley Arms is exactly the right place to see out a cold Sunday afternoon, or a soggy Tuesday night. A place to seek refuge, dogs and dominos, and a good, unfussy feed.

DINING DETAILS The Ley Arms, Kenn, Exeter EX6 7UW; 01392 832341; Opening hours Mon-Sat: 11am-11pm (food 12 noon-2.30pm & 6-9pm Mon-Fri; 12 noon-9pm Sat); Sun: 12 noon-10.30pm (food 12 noon-6pm) Prices Starters from £5; mains from £11; sides from £2.50; sandwiches/rolls from £5.50; desserts from £6.50 Veggie/vegan choice Tasty-looking choices on main menu, and specials board; head chef willing to assist Disabled access Some navigation of doors/corridors required, but not bad for such an old building Drinks Fine real ales and ciders plus all the usual wines (27 in total) Service/atmosphere We wish it was our local I EXETER LIVING I 35

Marcello TOPSHAM The freshest seafood in foodie Topsham In the little town with a big foodie reputation, The Galley is a fantastic find for the freshest fish and shellfish, crafted into beautiful dishes, and served with estuary views 01392 876078

Whether you have something to celebrate or are just treating yourself to a night out, Marcello offers a comfortable and informal ambiance with appetizing, freshly prepared, home-made food. Large groups are invited to book our private function room upstairs that can accommodate up to 20 people.

Open: Tuesday to Saturday for Lunch and Dinner 32a Fore Street, Topsham, Devon, EX3 0HP Phone: 01392 879 061 |



Sure, the cosy farmhouse look has its place (typically, erm, in a farmhouse) but we’re suckers for a bit of modernist glamour. And, frankly, just looking at this glossy, champagne-hued kitchen from German specialists In-toto Kitchens makes us feel like the sort of person whose coffee table books are never splattered with coffee. Part of the new Laurin metallic range – you can also get high-gloss anthracite grey metallic, and request handles if you want them – it’s a triumph of form (pared-down) and material (glassy, strokable). Says Paul Nebbett of In-Toto Exeter, which has been designing and installing classy kitchens throughout the region for nearly a quarter of a century: “We love this range because the high-gloss exterior effortlessly reflects light, emphasising the fabulous shimmer of its metallic appearance.” In-toto Kitchens, 3 The Venture Centre, Yeoford Way, Matford Park, Exeter EX2 8LB; 01392 824888; I EXETER LIVING I 39






4 5






Lily Flame candle, £8.95 Raspberry-scented loveliness from the West Country-based scented candle titans From Moko, 17 Gandy St, Exeter;

Jewellery dish, £5 Never misplace your rings, watch, pocket change and fluff-covered Werthers Originals again From Bunyip Craft, 111 - 113 Fore St, Exeter;

Fish water bottle, £19.50 Green glass and rather groovy, no? You can get matching platters and glasses, too From Dotty Home, Market Place, Sidmouth;

Botanical Style by Selina Lake (Ryland Peters & Small), £19.95 Turn your home in a leafy haven with the help of the interiors expert From Leela, 69 Magdalen Road, Exeter;

Bumble & Bumble seaweed shampoo, £18.50 Have your bonce gently moisturised by extracts of sea kelp, spirulina maxima and rockweed From ELK Salon, 6 Paris Street, Exeter;














Some Of My Favourite Plants A4 print by Rosie Harbottle, £15 Local artist Rosie makes us want to head to the garden centre right now. . . From

Mint macaron (box of six for £8.95) Does anything scream “now” more than a locallyproduced mint macaron? (You can get pistachio too, but they’re not strictly ‘greenery’) From Frandie Macaron;

Där ‘Emerald’ table lamp with black shade, £140 The two-tone leaf motif makes us think of that sweetshop fave, the chocolate lime. . . From Amos Lighting, Marsh Barton Industrial Estate & Exeter & Dart Business Park, Topsham;

Ligne Roset ‘Anda’ chair, £1,520-£2,240 (inc VAT) Made-to-order French chic in two sizes. This lime one’s in Divina wool fabric From Hearth & Cook, 14 Oaktree Place, Manaton Close, Matford, Exeter;

Mixed beads, from 1p Craft your own jewellery in shades of shamrock, chartreuse and apple From Bunyip Craft, 111-113 Fore St, Exeter; LIVING IEXETER CLIFTON LIFE II 41 69

michael spiers Exeter’s home of luxury jewellery shows ANNA BRITTEN why diamonds are forever Photos by EMMA SOLLEY



Opposite: We were too scared to try these dazzlers on in case we couldn’t get them off again Above: Ponder your purchase in a pony skin armchair Below: Diamond geezer – senior sales executive Tom Taylor has been in the jewellery business for around 50 years


magine: it’s a week until your wedding day and your rings are stuck in a locked jewellery shop and behind barricades due to a devastating fire in the vicinity. And nobody knows when they’ll be let back in. Now imagine that shop is Michael Spiers, and feel the stress evaporate. You just know everything’ll be OK, don’t you? “I dealt with most of the enquiries at home,” says assistant manager Jessica Brayley in the Exeter branch opposite the Cathedral. “Finding out where everything was, calling suppliers. We opened just in time for the weekend our customers’ weddings were happening.” The fire before Christmas continues to be a nuisance, though, with shoppers’ usual route to the shop blocked, and extensive building and restoration work planned, with all the vans and mess that’ll entail. But Jessica and the rest of the eight-strong team remain ebullient. Smiliest of these is senior sales executive Tom Taylor, who has been in the jewellery business for around 50 years, and at Michael Spiers for around 30 of those. There are now four shops bearing the name – in Truro, Plymouth, Taunton and this one. Tom remembers fondly working for founder Michael Spiers, who died 15 years ago. “He used to come up to us at Christmas and


spend the Christmas period with us in the Taunton shop. He was a great guy, he really was, and a wonderful salesman. We used to have some jokes and laughs with him. It was a very sad time when he passed – it was a year after we opened [previous Exeter location] Castle Street.” Michael’s son Adam is now a director, moving from shop to shop; and MD is Keith White. They oversee the Michael Spiers jewellery line, created in their own Plymouth workshop, and sold alongside ranges by Gucci, Tag Heuer, Fope w I EXETER LIVING I 43



and others. But it’s Rolexes, of which they stock about 100 varieties, that are the shop’s bestseller – popular gift choices for big birthdays or retirements, and still very much the kings of the watch world. “People know they can keep them forever,” says Jessica. “They never go out of fashion.” How many do they sell? “At Christmas it can be one a day,” says Jessica. Tom interjects: “More!” “We did four in one day last Christmas,” recalls Jessica. “To one customer!” explains Tom. “One for himself and for each of his sons.” “The wife is still waiting for hers,” says Jessica. “She got some earrings.” Engagement rings, platinum and halo settings (diamonds surrounding a centre diamond) are also big sellers, and couples tend to return for their wedding rings, which are today increasingly diamond-set rather than plain bands. The nation’s getting blingier, it seems! Men’s wedding rings – as opposed to the signet rings of the past – are now a big deal, too. “The ladies insist,” says Tom, semi-ruefully. Then he grins: “It’s good for trade.” “Because we’re not on commision, I’d rather a customer went away happy and with the right thing than anything else,” says Jessica. “We think that’s better for them and for us. I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Michael Spiers, 22 Cathedral Yard, Exeter; 44 I EXETER LIVING I

Rolexes remain the big hitters, but the demand for high-end jewellery remains unabated


We, at Northernhay Clinic , Exeter foot, ankle and gait centre, have 21 years experience treating foot, ankle, knee, hip and back pain. We treat sports, overuse or age related injuries and monitor our patient’s progress with state of the art technology, such as video gait analysis. You do not need a GP referral. Call us on

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Our team of podiatrists and clinicians is lead by specialist Mr Jonathan Palmer BSc (Pod) FFPM RCPS (Glasg.), Fellow of the Faculty of Podiatric Medicine, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.

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Tackle sleep deprivation in 2017: the right bed can help. . . Bottom right: Christabel Majendie

GOOD NIGHT… With ‘clean sleeping’ set to be 2017’s health obsession, we called in some local expertise


hanks to high profile sleep advocates like Arianna Huffington, whose new book The Sleep Revolution tackles our collective “sleep deprivation crisis”, there’s a new spotlight on sleeping and its importance to our well-being, success and health. Studies carried out across the globe are making startling discoveries about the benefits of sleep and the dangers of losing even a few hours. Findings suggest that sleep plays a crucial part on our physical and mental health and that it’s not only time we embraced this brain-boosting pastime, it’s absolutely vital we give our brains a rest. That’s not always easy in a world where we are constantly bombarded with information – plus there’s growing evidence that temperature, light, bedding and even your mattress can have an impact on the


quality of sleep you’re getting. With this in mind we asked sleep expert, Christabel Majendie, who advises Topsham-based mattress manufacturers Naturalmat, to share her tips on how to ensure a good night’s rest. One of Christabel’s top tips is to avoid bright lights an hour before you get into bed. “Turn the lights down as you prepare to sleep and turn off your phone or tablet as they emit blue light which can interfere with your biological clock”, she says. “If you wake in the night for a visit to the bathroom, try to avoid switching on main lights but use gentler side lights or night lights if possible.” A calm, safe sleeping environment is also really important: “Sleep is affected by your temperature so opt for natural materials with your bedding and bed. I recommend Naturalmat products as they’re made right here in Topsham using local organic lamb’s wool, organic cotton and organic coir which is the hair from a coconut. They’re all naturally breathable which helps to regulate your temperature, and they’re naturally fire-retardant and anti-allergy too, so a great choice for promoting good sleep.” It sounds simple, but when you consider that the average person in the UK is undersleeping by an hour a night – therefore losing a whole night across a week – according to a recent report by the Royal Society for Public Health, it’s clear that

even the simplest changes to routine could have real benefits. “It’s well-known that you should avoid nicotine and caffeine before bed, but many people don’t realise that you should ideally be stimulant-free four to six hours before trying to sleep. And while exercise has been shown to improve the quality of your sleep, timing is crucial – so avoid vigorous exercising late in the evening as this may stimulate your nervous system making it harder for you to fall asleep or stay asleep.” The good news is that getting out in the daylight, even in winter, helps to regulate your body clock. “Even on a cloudy day, getting outside in the morning will expose you to sunlight, which is not only helpful to regulate your sleep but it also helps your body adjust naturally when the clocks go forward in March.”

For more: I EXETER LIVING I 47

Elizabeth Ann of Exeter


Large selection of HB loafers and court shoes. Lisa Kay occasion shoes and boots. La Ross and Franco Russo handmade Italian evening and day boots. Van Dal. Cefalu colourful Spanish shoes and much much more.

Sizes 2 (35) to 8 (41) available and various fittings

3 Cathedral Close, Exeter EX1 1EZ Telephone: 01392 252876


Tell Ms Huggett she should get a Kindle, we dare you

What’s the most memorable excuse for missing homework you’ve ever heard? I think “a squirrel ate my homework” was one up on the dog eating it! Do you eat school dinners? If so, what’s your favourite dish? I definitely do – we all do, as the food at Blundell’s is amazing, thanks to our very own ‘Masterchef’ (yes, he appeared on the TV programme). Blundell’s breakfasts are a feast but my favourite dish at the moment is Thai green curry. However, I know we will have many new options this term as we always do, so that might well change. Roast lunch every Wednesday is a firm favourite.

STARTER FOR TEN We quizzed Blundell’s head Nicola Huggett on her school days past and present Tell us about your own school days – were you a well-behaved student? I did, generally, love school and so yes, hopefully, I was pretty well-behaved. I attended a very small girls’ school until 16 and then went on to a huge and busy co-ed boarding school for sixth form, so I had the benefits of both types of environment. Both opened my eyes to so many different ideas and activities. My memories of my best teachers have inspired me to look for that kind of inspiration and love of life in the teachers that I am privileged to employ now. Favourite/least favourite subjects? My favourite subject was definitely English, and I have been a voracious reader ever since I left school. My children laugh at the fact that I generally have more books in my suitcase for a holiday than I do clothes (I prefer the real thing to an e-read!). I wasn’t a great mathematician at school, which is perhaps reassuring for some, but I very much enjoy the practical maths that I do now, in relation to school finances.

What made you decide to be a teacher? It is all about people for me. I went for a week to a local state school before my teacher training course began and the head of history’s lessons just blew me away. I love the opportunity to help pupils to see my subject in the fascinating way that I do, though I understand that it comes easier to some than others. The best part of teaching, for me, is the chance to develop different techniques to build confidence in even the most worried student. What exciting events or developments can we expect from Blundell’s in 2017? We have a record number of Oxbridge applicants this year, a newly arrived deputy head (academic) and a year-long project with the London Chamber Orchestra for our musicians, including a concert in school and at Cadogan Hall in London to look forward to. One of our many trips this year is to Borneo with World Challenge. We are also a strategic partner in the West Country Teaching School Alliance which is an exciting development for us with local schools.

THE FOOD AT BLUNDELL’S IS AMAZING, THANKS TO OUR OWN ‘MASTERCHEF’ How would you describe your education philosophy at Blundell’s School? My aim is that the pupils make the most of every opportunity they have and live life to the full – academically, culturally, socially and on the sports field. Win or lose, you need to be able to see the best in every situation and that is at the heart of our school aims, giving ‘roots and wings’. What would you do if you were named Secretary of State for Education? Increase the amount of PE and team games that state schools are able to do. We are lucky at Blundell’s to be able to play games almost every day of the week and that adds a great deal of fun and good health into our curriculum. If you could send your pupils forth with one bit of advice lodged in their hearts, what would it be? Don’t sit back and let life happen to you; make the most of it all.

For more features like this, visit: I EXETER LIVING I 49

Brothers Justin and Robbie chose Exeter. So could you… “Exeter has everything. We have the perfect jobs, a nice flat and spend our weekends enjoying the city or getting out into the beautiful countryside. It’s such an exciting time to be here, there is so much going on. The city is constantly changing and there are loads of tech firms that are getting bigger and better. It’s the perfect balance.”

Invest in Exeter a @InvestinExeter

‘Balances academia and childhood brilliantly’ ‘This is a child’s dream’ Good Schools Guide review, October 2016

OPEN MORNING Tuesday 7th March, 9.30 start Reserve your place now. Girls & Boys | 3-13 | Day & Boarding

Small class sizes - 100% senior school success rate 2016 - Outstanding pastoral care - Wrap-around care available 01392 25529 | |



LET’S STAY TOGETHER... Graduating this summer? Can we have The Talk? Read Exeter Living’s open love letter to Exeter University’s finalists, and hear from successful former graduates on their reasons for staying put…

WE KNOW THERE’S A BIG, WIDE WORLD OUT THERE, BUT. . . The University of Exeter’s Great Hall – where it all began for the next wave of graduates I EXETER LIVING I 51

Dear Exeter graduate-to-be We’ll never forget the first day we met, just a few short years ago. How we’ve both changed since then. You were a teenager with a Fat Face fleece and an armful of fresh ring-binders, and are now an adult with friends for life and, quite possibly, a tattoo you haven’t shown your parents yet. We’ve grown, too: our population has swelled, and become more diverse; whole chunks of the city have changed beyond recognition, and for the better; we’ve hosted large-scale events that had people round the world saying our name; loads of international businesses are moving here and we’ve been officially recognised a Tech Hub. Oh, and we nearly won the Aviva Premiership last season… It’s been a joy having you here: with your fresh faces, open minds, big brains and bundles of energy. True, some of us have wailed about the parking congestion and binbag dramas on the streets in which you reside, but many more have welcomed your input into the local economy, and for choosing Exeter as your gateway to a career. And that, friend, brings us to the point of this letter. Can we talk about us? Because we’re worried you might now leave in pursuit of said career – and we really don’t want you to. We want you to make a long-term commitment. We know there’s a big, wide world out there but, guess what? It has nothing you won’t find in Exeter. Except tube strikes, pollution and rents that will make your parents scream (even louder than they will when they clock that tatt). Here are just a few reasons to stick around: 1. JOBS There are more exciting career opportunities in this city that you perhaps realise. From international tech businesses to housebuilders, big law firms to well-known accountancy names and private banks, elite schools, award-winning food and drink producers, a city council devoted to making a wonderful city even better, huge employers like the Met Office and FlyBe, countless arts organisations. . . the list goes on, and on. And they need you. 2. ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT There are few better places to set up your own thing. This is a city full of go-getting mavericks, buoyed by a creative and supportive community, affordable working space, and bags of support from the city. 3. LOCATION As you’ll have noticed, you’ve got the sea on one side with its great beaches and watersports opportunities, and Dartmoor on the other. We have seven Areas of Outstanding National Beauty on our doorstep, and you can gaze into green hills from the city centre. In London you’ve got a couple of parks and a filthy river. 4. ARTS Exeter punches above its weight, and then some, when it comes to culture. Award-winning museum? Yes. World-class theatre? Five spaces to choose from. Contemporary art? Check. Live music? Every night of the week. Three cinemas, including a Picturehouse where you can see that Iranian zombie thriller your tutor was gushing about. 5. SPORTS As an Exonian, not only can you bask in the glory of elite rugby team Exeter Chiefs but you also have League Two footie team Exeter City FC and, as everybody knows, lower league football is more fun because you can always get a seat, it’s cheaper and the star player probably lives down your road. 6. PROPERTY Compare and contrast: rental on a one-bedroom flat in Exeter city centre is likely to be around £500-£600 pcm. In London? Twice that; three times if you want somewhere that isn’t a hellhole. And if you want to buy, you’ll do so much quicker in Exeter where the same sort of property will set you back a smidge over £100k. In the capital, that sum would get you shared ownership of a tiny, damp, former crack den in zone 6. So, as you embark upon your final months of study, and the jobhunting process, and cast your eyes out across the horizon… Hold up. They don’t love you like we love you. Yours truly,



THIS IS A CITY FULL OF GO-GETTING MAVERICKS Exeter Science Park – cool workplace, huh?

Don’t go! Exeter has everything you want in a city, and more


G R A D U AT E S SPECIAL science company, ATASS Sports, who produce predictions for a variety of sporting events using cutting edge mathematical models. “I enjoy working in such an industry while also living near to the coast and the Devon countryside. Exeter, which I believe is often viewed as ‘cut off’ from the rest of the country, is in fact well-placed for travel to London and several other desirable destinations.” LUCY CORLEY English, 2011-2014 “I stayed in Exeter because I loved the city’s arts scene and green environment. I wasn’t keen to move to London, so it seemed like a good idea to start my job search somewhere I was familiar with, and I’ve had a brilliant couple of years here. “The highlight has been my nine-month graduate internship in the web team at the University of Exeter: I was given responsibility for leading on web projects and received valuable training in all aspects of digital communications. “More of my friends from university stayed in Exeter than I expected, and because it’s a small city it’s easy to meet people who share your interests. Outside work, I joined a graduate theatre company, and last year we devised and


Four former Exeter Uni graduates tell us why they stuck around RACHAEL LLOYD Music and Law, 2004-2007 “Upon graduation, I witnessed the predictable exodus of most of my peers towards the bright lights of the Big City. I was one of the few ‘remainers’, staying put in search of a fulfilling and motivating career, in a city that didn’t involve skyhigh rent and the grind of a daily Tube commute. “Several years later, I am an associate solicitor at Michelmores LLP, specialising in employment law. Defying my Exeter-sceptic friends, I have a job at a top 100 law firm, acting for high quality national and international business clients worthy of traditional ‘City’ practices. My postwork social calendar would also rival that of my London counterparts. Meanwhile, I commute via a country park, rather than the Underground, and have doorstep access to the best countryside and beaches in the UK. “The downside? There isn’t one.” ROBIN WILLIAMS Mathematics, 2006-2016 “I studied for both an undergraduate degree and PhD at Exeter University. During those 10 years I became accustomed to living in the city, and had no desire to move elsewhere. “I have witnessed Exeter undergo significant development during my time living here. With the development of the science and business park, there are a growing number of graduate job opportunities. I am now working for a data 54 I EXETER LIVING I

This page, clockwise from top: Rachael Lloyd; Lucy Corley; Robin Williams.



“WE ARE SEEING MORE PEOPLE STAYING IN THE CITY…” Cllr Rosie Denham, Lead Councillor for Economy and Culture at Exeter City Council, joins our appeal to keep graduates in the city

Laurence Blyth

produced a play at the Barnfield Theatre. “I might not stay in Exeter forever, but I’d say to new graduates: don’t underestimate the opportunities to begin your career here. As well as the generic job sites there are more specific ones like, and the university’s own graduate internship scheme advertises jobs at the uni and in businesses around Exeter (google ‘Exeter GBP’).” LAURENCE BLYTH Music, 2004-2007 “I finished my degree (BA Music) in 2007 and found myself with no firm plans. I spent my undergraduate years singing with Exeter Cathedral Choir as a choral scholar, so when I got the opportunity to stay on as a permanent member I jumped at the chance. This very modest start was the beginning of an interesting portfolio of work that I’ve put together whilst living in this beautiful part of the world. “Nearly 10 years on, that now means a busy juggling act between conducting choirs in the evenings and working at Exeter Cathedral in a different role during the day. Both of my jobs allow me to meet some amazing people and in return I get to try and inspire them about some of things that I’ve grown to love. “Working and living here means that you will regularly find yourself talking to businesses owned and run by people who love what they do and love the place they call home in equal measure. There’s a strong sense of community that makes working here so great.”

Exeter is a fantastic place to live, work and explore and now is the time to be part of what this city has to offer and to help shape its future. We have the best of all that life has to offer and there is always something to do in Exeter. Exeter offers a great lifestyle for anyone that chooses to stay in the city, while the cost of living still compares favourably against many larger towns and cities, especially those in the South East of England. With major plans in place to redevelop areas of the city centre to provide new leisure facilities and a new bus station, the building of a new IKEA store and investment in transport and infrastructure, there is a lot to look forward to over the next few years. For those working or looking to work in the city, there are countless opportunities across a vast range of sectors. With almost 5,000 businesses registered within the city, and a steady flow of new and relocating companies moving in, there is always a high number of professional roles on offer. The Council actively promotes relocation to the city and works closely with businesses looking to relocate. We have some large employers in the area that are keen to employ young and enthusiastic talent. Some of the largest employers include EDF, Flybe, the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, the Met Office and the University itself. In addition, we have a variety of medium and small employers, across industries such as science and technology, agriculture, water and environment and retail and leisure. Exeter City Council partners with the University of Exeter to promote local employment opportunities, and

is also working with local schools, the University and Exeter College to develop a skills escalator for local young people looking to get into work. This means that a higher number of young people are staying in the area, creating a fun and vibrant city. Roughly 4,700 students graduate from the University of Exeter each year and 2,800 PhDs are awarded – which means that there is a wealth of talent available in the city. This has also contributed to the rise in start-ups within the city and the growth of the tech industry. The Council works closely with The Innovation Centre, Exeter Science Park and the Exeter Initiative for Science and Technology (ExIST) to promote opportunities within science and technology, and 2016 was a huge year for these industries. There is a constant flow of new and growing firms moving onto the Science Park, the location of the Met Office’s new supercomputer building and collaboration centre. Exeter also has the largest number of meteorologists and climate change specialists. The supercomputer and all the facilities it brings are sure to attract even more. There is a feeling that many graduates leave the city in their search for employment opportunities, but this is gradually changing and we are seeing more people stay in the city. In addition, many people that have once left Exeter, heading to cities like London and Bristol, are now moving back. Crowdcube is just one example of this; there are many firms in the city that have recognised that not only does Exeter have the talent, it has the lifestyle, the opportunities and the atmosphere.

Spend sunny weekends at the beach in Exmouth, why don’t you? I EXETER LIVING I 55

Were you there?

Ana Alvarez Llamas


Tim Arkell, Hugo Bugg, Mark Cross and Yvonne Morton


TEAM BUILDING Exeter’s BARC Architects recently celebrated the opening of their new city centre studio, along with Hugo Bugg Landscapes, with an evening launch event attended by valued clients and guests.

Mark Miller, Barrie Auty, Caroline Shortt, James Askew and Yvonne Morton

Peter Lambert, Steve Harris, Steve Wadham and Inigo Garcia The new studio in Longbrook Street, Exeter

Adam Scott, Murray Ross, Peter Lambert, Caroline Shortt, Kate Jenkins and Jane Burton Guests make light work of the fizz and canapĂŠs I EXETER LIVING I 57


SOMETHING FISHY’S GOING ON… Local foodies turned out in force for Mitch Tonks at the opening of his latest Rockfish restaurant. The Exmouth branch joins those already doing a roaring trade in Dartmouth, Plymouth, Torquay and Brixham. Mat Prowse, Steve Edwards, Michael Caines and Mitch Tonks

Peter and Marta Richardson

Alec Carter, Linda Wood, John Wood, Jackie Jacobs and Richard Jacobs

Julian Salvi, Thomas Waldrom and Ben Moon

KICKING BACK Thomas Waldrom, Julian Salvi and Ben Moon of local rugby legends Exeter Chiefs had fun at River Dart Country Park recently. The Chiefs are ambassadors for the park.

Julian Salvi discovers how aerodynamic being bald makes you

Ben Moon dishes out the refreshments 58 I EXETER LIVING I

Nick Sandh, Laura Cowen and Ed Feyver

Liv Prowse, Kate Hosegrove, Chloe Hosegrove and Darrin Hosegrove


E X E T ER A N D E AS T D E VO N G E T TO WO R K Revelling in Exeter



OUT OF AFRICA Software firm swaps Malawi for Exeter Science Park “to make a difference in the world”


ech businesses have relocated to Exeter Science Park from all over the world, and now it’s the turn of a software firm from Malawi to discover the advantages of being based in the city. Founded by electrical engineer John Cass five years ago, Revel Innovation specialises in the development of bespoke software and cloud-based business applications. While in Malawi, John and his team worked closely with local people to develop software solutions for the farming community and for teachers in rural schools. Explains John: “We made the decision to move back but we didn’t want to live in London again. We wanted to live near the countryside where our kids could benefit from everything it has to offer, but I also really wanted to be near a forward-thinking city where I could continue to grow my business and find the right employees to help build our product portfolio. “Our time in Malawi was incredible; we made new business partnerships, identified and developed new products and got a real understanding of the people and their needs. But living in Africa definitely had

its setbacks in regards to growing a business further, for example recruiting the right people was really difficult in Malawi. “We decided on Exeter, and almost straight away I came across the Science Park. Only a month in and we can already see how beneficial being based in the UK and at the Science Park will be to our business growth. We’ve already recruited a new member of staff who I met in the Science Park’s hot-desking facilities. We are a ‘for-profit’ company but we also want to make a difference in the world and see our work make a positive impact. To achieve that, we need to build on our successes so that we can continue to develop innovative solutions. “Our team is now based across the world in Malawi, Ethiopia and the Philippines but the majority of us are based at the Science Park. It’s fantastic being located so close to a top university – not only are there talented graduates to tap into but we are also looking into the opportunity to run internships.”

“I WAS STEERED, CAJOLED AND MOULDED INTO A HALFDECENT SALESMAN” Who’s bidding adieu to their mentor? Find out on page 63. . .



Amount invested through Crowdcube in December 2016 Find out more on page 62 I EXETER LIVING I 61

Darren and Luke


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

FULL OF FIBRE Homes and businesses in Devon are to benefit from some of the highest broadband speeds in the country thanks to the largest government-funded superfast broadband programme in the UK. Connecting Devon & Somerset (CDS) has just signed new contracts with ultrafast broadband provider Gigaclear to deliver a £62.25m Download a movie in a minute! million network to an additional 35,225 of the hardest to reach homes and businesses in the region by Devon County Council: “Thanks to this 2019, using a full fibre network. new partnership with Gigaclear, tens The new contracts mean that of thousands will benefit from some of homes and businesses in an area the fastest speeds across the country, from Northern Somerset through to providing significant lifestyle and South Devon will be able to access economic benefits. It will encourage speeds of up to 1gbps – up to 33 times competition and drive up performance faster than the UK average (based on in the market that can only benefit Ofcom’s December 2015 review of UK consumers across the two counties.” broadband speeds). For more: Says Cllr Andrew Leadbetter, Cabinet Member for Economy and Growth for

Jo Holdom and Sharon Foxwell

CHANGING THE RECORD Exeter-based Crowdcube ended 2016 with a new record after BrewDog, one of the UK’s fastest growing food and drink brands, raised £10 million via a bond issue on the platform – making it the largest raise on a UK crowdfunding platform to date. The record had already been broken three times in 2016 by funding rounds on Crowdcube. Says Crowdcube co-founder Luke Lang: “Despite the economic uncertainty, we’ve continued our history of record-breaking and finished the year with our best quarter yet, with over £15 million having been invested through the platform in December alone. “Investment is up 20% in the six months post-Brexit. Our investor community has now topped 340,000 and we’ve seen more than £265 million pledged through Crowdcube to date; both are clear signs that investors’ appetite to back innovative and ambitious businesses remains strong.” For more:

MOVERS, SHAKERS, ETC Pavey Group have appointed leading local insurance expert Steve Joint as commercial account manager… Nick Jones, a director at Savills development team in Exeter, has been appointed as head of office, overseeing the direction of the business in Exeter; meanwhile, Sarah-Jane Bingham-Chick takes up the reigns as Savills head of residential sales in the city. . . Penny’s Estate Agents have announced a new three-strong team at their private client property office: director Elliott Martin and negotiators Catherine Fitzgerald and Emma Wooley. . . Drew Aspinwall has been appointed as economic development manager at East Devon District Council covering paternity leave, which he will be undertaking part-time while running his Exeterbased consultancy, Bleep Communications. . . One Voice Media and PR have promoted Jo Holdom and Sharon Foxwell to associate directors in recognition of their contribution to the company.




Half term – sorted!

East Devon visitor attraction Seaton Jurassic is celebrating a successful 2016 after opening its doors to the paying public just last April. Owned by East Devon District Council and operated by the charity Devon Wildlife Trust, it has welcomed more than 40,000 visitors to its unique visitor experience, café and shop and was described by The Guardian as “educational entertainment at its best”. It also gained second place in the ‘Best UK Day-out for Families’ category at the annual Family Traveller Awards and a silver award for ‘Sustainable Tourism’ in the prestigious Visit Devon Tourism Awards.

Cllr Philip Skinner of East Devon District Council, says that the council is proud of its £1.9m investment in the Seaton project. “Seaton is now reaping the benefits of its location at the heart of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage site as this new facility has meant more jobs for the town, more visitors and a boost to the economy, both locally and in wider East Devon too. Long may it continue!” Seaton Jurassic re-opens after its winter break for half-term, from Saturday 11 February to Sunday 19 February. For more:

EXETER CHIEFS NEWS Chris Bentley brings you the latest from inside Sandy Park Ollie Devoto scores the clinching try against Leicester


It is with a heavy heart that I welcome in the New Year because, although the good ship Chiefs is sailing very well (more of that later), a prominent member of staff at the club has moved on. If you aren’t a fan of sentimentality you may like to skip the next three paragraphs! Five years ago, I was a 13 year professional rugby player with a degree in philosophy and not too much idea about anything! In his infinite wisdom, chief executive Tony Rowe saw something in the younger Chris Bentley and offered me a role in the backroom team. The job of knocking off some rough edges and educating the young pretender fell to head of corporate, John Wood. With a lack of conformity, big mouth and rather bad attitude, I was steered, cajoled and moulded into a half-decent salesman and became the bigger (physically) half of the ‘Woody and Bentos’ corporate team that became the face of selling the corporate side of Exeter Chiefs for the next five seasons. All good things do have to come to an end and, at the end of 2016, John moved on from his role to focus on business interests away from the club. As one door closes, another opens, and as we welcome new head of sales and marketing Lisa Duncan, we do bid adieu to John... Onto the rugby, and the Chiefs have banished the misfiring form of the early season with a run of very impressive results. The second half of the Premiership season kicked off with Rob Baxter’s charges facing third (Bath), fourth (Leicester) and first (Saracens) placed opposition in successive weeks. Considering that two of these games saw the Chiefs away from home, not many

would be thinking the team would be unbeaten – but unbeaten they were! A positive 31-10 drubbing of Leicester in front of a sold-out Sandy Park was followed by a nailbiting, come-from-behind 17-11 win at Bath as the team took a very notable scalp on the road and avenged the loss inflicted by a try six minutes into injury time earlier in the term. On the back of these two massively heartening wins? The challenge of Premiership and European champions Saracens at their Allianz Park fortress. The team started very positively but the game was changed when Saracens saw prop Richard Barrington sent off after a little over 10 minutes. The Saracens battened down the hatches and withstood the resultant Chiefs onslaught. As the game entered the dying moments, the Sarries went for broke and drew the game level in what became a hugely attritional battle.

After three big games, many would want a moment for the dust to settle but, when you compete at the top level, this luxury isn’t forthcoming. With a break from league action, European powerhouse Ulster visited Sandy Park in the Champions Cup competition. Boasting 10 Irish internationals the Ulstermen ran into a seven point lead only for the Chiefs to turn things up and run away 31-19 winners in a real blow-out victory Lying third in the league and second in both the European Champions Cup and Anglo Welsh pools, all is still to play for and the Chiefs are well-poised to attack on all fronts as the business end of the season comes round. Next up for the Chiefs at Sandy Park: 25 Feb – Newcastle Falcons 25 Mar – Sale Sharks For more: I EXETER LIVING I 63



LYNSEY SKINNER Senior consultant (IT & Office), Cathedral Appointments What was your first ever paid job, what did it entail, and what was your boss like? I was a waitress at a local hotel and absolutely loved the interaction with guests. I am still in contact with the owners now, over 15 years on! My boss was a chef and had a pretty flamboyant personality to go with his creativity! He worked incredibly hard as he was passionate about the customer experience, something that has stuck with me to this day. How did you find your way to Cathedral Appointments, and what is your role there? I never planned to work in recruitment. I decided to take a gap year prior to starting my degree in computing and actually temped for another agency and decided I had found my vocation. Our director still reminds me of the day I interviewed for a trainee post which was 13 years ago. I turned up fresh-faced, eager to impress and, as it was Christmas, I had tinsel in my hair. I am now a senior consultant. I have covered a few desks and have recently returned to my technology roots and have taken on IT recruitment for the business. Is IT a boom area in Exeter? IT and technology is an ever-evolving market and nearly every business, no matter where they are located, has to keep up with technology and the latest IT trends. The IT market in Exeter is currently booming as companies are crying out for experienced IT professionals. The challenge for me is attracting IT talent to the area and placing them with the right employer.

Lynsey: has wellies, will travel!

day-to-day basis, and the buzz of feeling that I have found someone their dream role. I regularly have candidates who return year after year or become clients! What has been your greatest professional achievement to date? Staying with the same business, but not feeling bored or unhappy. I’m still learning, which I love. What are the oddest matters you’ve had to resolve at work? I had to visit a client at their home rather than the offices, and as they lived on a farm and it was last minute I had to equip myself with wellies to accompany my work dress. It was certainly an interesting look!


Aside from the technical skills and experience, what sort of characteristics do successful people in IT tend to have? Individuals need to have an analytical and methodical approach to their work as well as, in my experience, a lot of patience.

What are Exeter’s strengths as a place to work? After considerable investment, Exeter is very much a buzzing, social and vibrant city. It has a feel of a ‘mini London’ without the hustle and bustle. Very low unemployment, diverse employment market, great community feel.

And its weaknesses, or things that could be better? Traffic congestion!

Is there a brain drain in Exeter? What would you say to students reading this – why should they stick around after graduation? There is definitely a pull for recent graduates to join the London/ South East market for increased salaries and career opportunities, however there has definitely been considerable investment in the area to encourage and retain South West talent. Exeter is a great place to live and work – it is vibrant, close to the coast and moors and, with the recent investment in the city centre, we now have a buzzing nightlife.

What are your favourite stress-busting strategies? Playing pool, ticking off new restaurants in Exeter – and exercise to sort out the repercussions of the latter.

Who have been the biggest influences and role models throughout your career? Lord Sugar and Mark Zuckerberg are definitely great inspirational business people – both starting with nothing and creating hugely successful businesses.

What’s the best bit of advice you could give a young person wondering what to do with their life? It’s OK to not know what you want to do as a career. I know people who, into their 30s and 40s, still don’t know their end career – and I certainly never expected mine to be in recruitment. If you aren’t enjoying what you are doing, life is too short – change it!

What’s the best bit of career advice you’ve ever been given? No-one is perfect – it’s OK to make mistakes, as you learn from them. What do you enjoy most about your work? Without hesitation, definitely the huge variety of people I deal with on a 64 I EXETER LIVING I

What’s the one item in your workplace you can’t live without, and why (not including computer or phone)? My fellow colleagues! We laugh, cry and smile together, pull each other through tough days and celebrate the good ones together.

What’s your motto for life? Treat people as you would want to be treated yourself. For more:

R E C R U I T M E N T advertising feature

Meet the recruiter Looking for a new job – or new member of staff? Here are 7 of Exeter’s finest employment specialists

Tom Beddow

Backline Logistics 07984 930203 What sectors / organisations do you recruit for? At Backline we recruit for the Transport and Logistics sectors, which includes everything from general haulage/distribution to specialist transport and warehousing. Across the group, we work closely with a number of city and county councils, blue chip companies as well as a multitude of locally-based SMEs. What is unique about your recruitment company? We’re in a privileged position of operating a managed onwards delivery outbase on behalf of a number of clients including Tesco, B&Q and WHSmith. In short, Backline manage all aspects of the distribution process throughout the South West, negating the need for a dedicated RDC (regional distribution centre). This includes the provision and supervision of staff, which facilitates the opportunity to offer full-time contracts of employment. In the agency industry, this model is almost unique. What is the most challenging aspect of your job? I’d have to say that it’s juggling the client’s requirements with the available skill set to achieve maximum value both ways.


James Kapadia Huntress 01392 221 300

What advice would you give to any new candidate? Be personable! We recruit for Office Support and Finance roles, where skill set and experience are important, but ultimately, when interviewing candidates, employers are looking for someone with great interpersonal skills, positive energy and a great attitude! It’s also important to do your research on the company, so that you come across as diligent and interested in the business you’re applying to work for. What is the most common mistake candidates make when interviewing? It seems obvious to many, but there are three very simple things that can “make or break” in an interview... a smile, a firm handshake and a good level of eye contact – although all in balance. I once offered this advice to a candidate who, I was told afterwards, apparently wore a fixed smile throughout the interview and stared at my client, which can, of course, have a negative impact! What sectors / organisations do you recruit for? We recruit permanent and temporary staff within two areas, which are Office Support and Accountancy & Finance.

CHRIS WHITEHEAD Thrive Talent 0333 3444 228

What is the most challenging aspect of your job? Homo sapiens- as recruiters we are in a constant battle of wanting to trust clients and candidates but we’re (myself included), notoriously unreliable and therefore it is our job to whittle out the time wasters, quickly. *Understandably, the majority of clients and candidates alike, struggle to trust recruiters too. Shame really. What sectors / organisations do you recruit for? Typically we look after a lot if IT/ Tech and Sales roles within the world of Digital Marketing. We’re a relatively new business and therefore haven’t found our niche just yet. I’m not sure we ever will. We’re in the business of getting a genuine understanding for business’ and humans needs and it’s our jobs to make sure we’re matching them correctly without focusing on a whopping fee first. What is unique about your recruitment company? Other than honesty and transparency in everything we do…NOTHING. “You can put lipstick on a pig but it’s still a pig”. Recruitment is recruitment. It just needs to be done right.

advertising f eat u re R E C R U I T M E N T

Zoe Darnbrough Berry Recruitment 01392 308423

What advice would you give to any new candidate? Always be honest and transparent with your agency. We are only here to help you find the job you really want. What is the most challenging aspect of your job? Managing both client and candidate expectations. What is the most common mistake candidates make when interviewing? Not preparing fully by investigating everything about the company who are intervewing them. What sectors /organisations do you recruit for? Cover commercial, industrial, finance, catering and driving. What is unique about your recruitment company? Our aim is to locate talented individuals and combine them with entirely suitable client opportunities. The key to achieving this is that we take pride and pleasure in our work. What are the top 3 qualities you look for in a candidate? Strong work ethic, honesty and integrity. What is the most embarrassing thing you have ever heard in an interview? Client question: “Why do you want the job?” Candidate answer: “Money helps because I’m passionate about buying food.”

Lisa Thomas

Sarah knight

Dani Osborne

What advice would you give to any new candidate? Always do your research. This never fails to impress potential employers. These days, company websites will reveal a whole host of company information – check out the ‘About Us’ so you can see the existing employees, also maybe research their competitors and company developments.

What advice would you give to any new candidate? Preparation is key to interview success. Research the organisation, find out more than just what is published on their website. Can you answer the question ‘What do you know about us?’ confidently? Rehearse answers to standard interview questions. Ensure your outfit is clean and shoes polished. Know your route to the interview and get there a little early. Be yourself. Be authentic. Make eye contact – and smile!

What’s the one bit of advice you would give to any new candidate? To know and understand their motivations for seeking a new role in the first place – this will ensure their next step is the right one.

Isca Recruitment Ltd 01392 466830

What sectors / organisations do you recruit for? I work within Accountancy & Finance, Sales & Marketing, Management and Technical roles, finding quality temporary and permanent candidates. In addition, I also work as a head hunter - these are generally for the more difficult to fill roles where the salary levels can be £50k plus, and the skill set my clients are looking for are more difficult to find. What is unique about your recruitment company? ISCA Recruitment is not a chain – it’s me, Lisa Thomas, and I have over 13 years experience of working within the Exeter recruitment market, from a permanent recruitment consultant to a branch manager for one of the larger recruitment agencies based in Exeter. I am also born and bred in Exeter so know my market well. I offer a straight, honest and professional service to my clients and won’t submit any candidate who I feel is not a good match – it’s my personal reputation I have to lose!

Sarah West Recruitment Ltd 01392 873813

What is unique about your recruitment company? The directors are hands on. Celina and I love talking to clients and solving their recruitment-related problems, giving guidance on staff retention, salaries in the area or interview technique amongst other things. Equally, giving guidance and support to those that are searching for new jobs. Managing the recruitment process brings us huge satisfaction – and, of course, the clients really benefit from our many years of experience. What is the most embarrassing thing you have ever seen on a CV? We see some funny things on CVs, largely because they haven’t been proofread or spellchecked properly. Our favourites include the person who said they were ‘responsible for all the complaints that came into the office!’ or the person who claimed to work in a ‘busty environment!’

Cathedral Appointments 01392 413577

What is the most common mistake candidates make when interviewing? Often it’s the basics not doing thorough and meaningful research before the interview or expressing a clear interest in the job. What is the most challenging aspect of your job? Everyone’s needs are different, and we can’t always help everyone – much as we try! What sectors / organisations do you recruit for? I specialise in HR roles from Graduate/Assistant posts through to HR Manager, and all areas of Marketing, PR, Media and Design both client side and agency - email me at dani@ What is unique about your recruitment company? Apart from our 28 years in business in Exeter? We are a consultancy in the true sense of the word, each of us are experts in our sector and able to advise and partner with our clients and candidates. People come back to us as a result. I EXETER LIVING I 67




Two tasty properties – one rural, one urban – whose price tags start with a six…

Green and pleasant land

COUNTRY HOUSE You want rural? We got rural. The Devon village doesn’t come much more quintessential than Morchard Bishop, set in the rolling hills between Dartmoor and Exmoor about seven miles west of Crediton. Occupying around six acres of this lovely spot is the butter-coloured, cob-and-stone cottage Higher Brownstone, which dates back to the mid 1600s. Inside you’ll find three to four bedrooms, three reception rooms – including a 19-foot lounge that has a traditional inglenook fireplace with wood burner, beamed ceiling, former bread oven and a lovely, circular window – an Aga-equipped kitchen (which would benefit from a face-lift), family bathroom and other generous and useful spaces, as well as six large, useful outbuildings, one of which is a traditional barn/shippen that could be 68 I EXETER LIVING I

MAKE AN OFFER IF: You’ve always wanted a smallholding – it's currently registered as one and the current owners have kept sheep here for 28 years. AVOID IF: You’re selling your old place because you can’t cope with the garden any more… NEED TO KNOW: The highly rated Black Dog Inn and the London Inn are your local watering holes.

converted into extra living space, a holiday let or office space (subject to planning). The gardens extend to approximately 100 feet, within which lies a huge vegetable patch – plus you’ve also got six fields and, of course, wonderful rural views. Well worth rolling your sleeves up for.

HIGHER BROWNSTONE Black Dog, Crediton EX17 4QE OIEO £600k Helmores, 111-112 High St, Crediton EX17 3LF 01363 777999;



CITY HOUSE Deep in the throbbing heart of our fine city – the Cosy Club and Hotel du Vin are but steps away – this is a city slicker’s dream. One of a row of town houses converted in 2011 from part of a wing of the old Exeter Hospital, it’s a Grade II*-listed period property in the sought-after Dean Clarke Gardens, a private road, and within pleasant, private communal gardens and grounds. In recent years, further improvements have been carried out. Think urban living means compromising on size, outside space and parking? Think again. You’re looking at well-proportioned, light, airy and meticulously-finished accommodation (we particularly like the plantation shutters) encompassing three double bedrooms; a sizeable, south-facing,

additional accommodation in the roof space, subject to planning. MAKE AN OFFER IF: You’re prone to saying the words “All back to mine?” at the end of a night out. AVOID IF: You just want a quiet life. NEED TO KNOW: You’ll need to contribute £125 annually towards the upkeep of the communal areas.

granite flagstoned rear courtyard garden perfect for spending late summer evenings with friends; and that all-important car parking space, within a private car park. What’s more, if you’re a buyer seeking to add even more value, there’s scope for creating

2 VICTORY HOUSE Dean Clarke Gardens, Southernhay East Exeter EX2 4AA £695k Wilkinson Grant & Co, Exeter The Old City Library, 1 Castle Street Exeter EX4 3PT 01392 427500;

Victory – could be yours… I EXETER LIVING I 69

Exeter An exquisite blend of contemporary style in a traditional property. 6 bedrooms, 3 reception rooms, 3 bathrooms. Refurbished with a modern finish and has stunning views over Exeter towards the Exe Estuary. In all about 0.5 acres. EPC: C.

Guide Price: ÂŁ975,000

To find out how we can help you please contact us edward.khodabandehloo@ 01392 976178


Budleigh Salterton Contemporary home with views over the East Devon Coastline. Kitchen/breakfast room, 3/4 reception rooms and 4/5 bedrooms. Landscaped gardens and garage. Walking distance from the town and beach. EPC: B.

Guide Price: ÂŁ1,295,000

To find out how we can help you please contact us edward.khodabandehloo@ 01392 976178


Residential Sales, Lettings & Property Management

Exeter - £325,000 3 Bed – 2 Bath A beautifully presented and individually built three bedroom detached house with superb views to the front across Exeter. The property occupies a generous size plot with gardens to the front, side and rear, and has off road parking for several vehicles in front of the single garage. Internally the property has spacious and versatile accommodation comprising of entrance porch, hallway, open plan living/dining room, kitchen, utility room, ground floor cloakroom, dining room/3rd bedroom, two first floor double bedrooms, ensuite shower room and family bathroom. Early internal viewing is highly recommended.

For more information please call: 01392 215283 or visit

Residential Sales, Lettings & Property Management

Barton Grange - £385,000 4 Bed – 2 Bath A superb opportunity to acquire this substantial four bedroom detached property located on the popular Barton Grange development. The property is conveniently situated within easy reach of a range of local facilities including popular secondary schools and the M5 motorway (Junction 30). Offering spacious and well-proportioned rooms throughout the property comprises entrance hall, cloakroom, dual aspect living room, separate dining room and kitchen/breakfast room to the ground floor. Four good sized bedrooms with ensuite bathroom to the master bedroom and a family bathroom are situated to the first floor. Features include gas central heating and double glazing. Outside is a well maintained and enclosed rear garden, laid mostly to lawn with patio area providing a private and pleasant seating area. To the front the driveway provides additional off road parking in front of the double garage.

Visit: 23 Southernhay West, Exeter EX1 1PR or email:


PINHOE OIRO £539,950

A delightful and substantial Victorian residence full of character and many period features with spacious and versatile 4 bedroom accommodation and large enclosed private rear gardens together with garage and parking. Convenient for town centre, cliff path and seafront. EPC=F REF:DJB00399

A beautifully presented and spacious detached house with outlooks to trees and open land at the rear and within walking distance to the village centre. Incl large sitting room, separate dining room, study, spacious kitchen/breakfast room, utility, 4 bedrooms, master with en suite, family bathroom, gardens, double garage block, ample parking. GCH and mainly upvc DG. EPC=C REF:DWE05516



An amazingly spacious detached country property in a lovely rural village position. Includes 5 bedrooms, 3 bath/shower rooms, laundry room, 3 receptions/large games room, vast quadruple garage/workshop, 2nd workshop, ample parking. Good gardens and views. EPC=D REF:DWE04819

A fabulous Penthouse apartment, beautifully appointed and enjoying a westerly aspect and far reaching views, within walking distance of the city centre. Sitting room, undercover balcony, well appointed kitchen, 3 bedrooms, one with en-suite bathroom, another with en-suite shower, family bathroom. Allocated parking. EPC=D REF:DWE05514

01392 259395 Sales / Lettings / Block Management / Chartered Surveying / Auctions

20 Queen Street, Exeter, EX4 3SN

20 % OF F


estate agents ★★★★★

RUNNING OUT OF TIME FOR CLEANING? WE CAN HELP! • General House Cleaning • Office Cleaning • End of tenancy • One off Cleans • Ironing

Stand Out Service If that was not enough we can also help you with: External Works and Repairs, Painting and Decorating, General Gardening, Ground Maintenance... And so much more!

Please contact us on: 01392 256766 or 07723093133 Email: or

Sales, Letting & Property Management 01392 493113.




istory and horticulture are twin obsessions for Exeter-based Kathryn Aalto. Raised in the San Joaquin Valley of California, she upped sticks to Devon in 2007, for work, and is today a renowned writer, historian, lecturer and garden designer. Her recent book The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh was described by The Washington Post as “a honey pot of nostalgia”. Where do you call home and what makes it special? I live in Exeter on top of Argyll Road, one of the highest vantage points in Exeter. I can see across to Dartmoor and nearly to the English Channel. It’s close to the city but in Duryard Valley – lots of countryside. What inspired you to write The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh? I am obsessed with ways literature and landscapes intersect. The background to AA Milne’s seemingly simple children’s stories is fascinating and masterful. AA Milne was an ardent walker and was inspired by real places near his East Sussex home. He moved there from London to give his real son, Christopher Robin, the kind of extraordinary childhood in the natural world that he himself had. I write all about it in the book. What piece of music would you put on at the end of a trying day? A Chopin nocturne. What’s your karaoke song of choice? Janis Joplin’s Me and Bobby McGee. What has been your proudest moment? As a writer, hitting the New York Times Best Seller list. As a mother, creating three kind, conscientious and capable children. As a general human, trusting my instincts. What’s your earliest childhood memory? Riding a red tricycle around a eucalyptus tree on a warm spring day in California when I was three years old, wearing funky ’70s clothes my grandmother made.


KATHRYN AALTO The California-born polymath loves ‘olde worlde’ Devon and working out to dubstep If your nearest and dearest had to describe you, what would they say? “She’s at her best in the early morning. Should not be poked with a stick after 8pm.” When did you last cry? It was more than a cry, but an apoplectic fit: when I woke up the day after the US presidential elections and realised that my countrymen elected a charlatan. When people ask “So what’s Exeter like?” what do you say? After a decade, I’m still trying to figure that out! I can’t tell if Devon is hip California cool or backward Appalachia. (For the record, I like ‘hip backward’. Maybe that’s ‘retro’?) As for Exeter, it’s a quiet college town to me.

My favourite place is a wooden table near the fire at The Nobody Inn in Doddiscombsleigh. What are you reading/listening to/watching at the moment? I’ve just finished reading Richard Mabey’s award-winning Gilbert White: A Biography of the Naturalist and Author of The Natural History of Selborne. I don’t watch TV but, to step outside my work and to be inspired by storytelling structures, I see a film a week at the Picturehouse in Exeter. And I am really into syncopated dubstep when I work out.

Who would play you in a film about your life? Sigourney Weaver.

If you had a time machine, which era would you return to and why? For the record, I’m fond of modern vaccines and our long lives. But I’d like to step into a time machine to be transported to the tall-grass prairie of North America as a badass Choctaw warrior. Pre-European culture in North America appeals to me.

Your favourite spots locally? I travel a lot as an author and speaker in America, so when I’m in Devon, I like to go ‘olde worlde.’

52 Southside St, The Barbican, Plymouth PL1 2LB | 01752 228 451 |

Exeter Living - issue 205  
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