Page 1







ABOVE: This quote outside

Exeter Cathedral seems apt this issue; BELOW: Ed’s Choice, page 38


elcome to the 250th issue of Exeter Living. The modern magazine world loves anniversaries. Partly because they robustly rebuff all that rubbish in the noughties about print being dead – ha! As if. And partly because they are a good excuse for a lunchtime drink and a selfindulgent pat on the back. Since I had the huge pleasure of becoming this magazine’s editor (93 issues ago!) we’ve seen our 10-year and our 200th issue anniversaries come and go, with suitable fanfare – but this one feels particularly weighty. It’s a quarter of the way to being Rolling Stone, for heaven’s sake. The very first issue of Exeter Living in 2005 was very different to the one you’re holding now (read more about that on page 12) but its mission was the same, to cheer on everything and everyone making Exeter tick. This landmark issue, then, brings you all the locally-sourced treats you’ve come to expect from the city’s longest continuously-running lifestyle magazine and a sprinkle more besides. Tempus fugit, friends – or, as we say in Exeter, is that the time already, babber?

ANNA BRITTEN Follow us on Twitter @ExeterLiving I EXETER LIVING I 3

Issue 250/September 2019 Cover Our special 250th issue cover was created by Trevor Gilham


6 Spotlight Fashion! Theatre! Horse racing! Don’t

you love September?

9 jP hedge Looking back to 2005... 10 my desk Space’s Tim Wadsworth

cover feature

12 IT’S OUR 250th issue We look back at the last 14

years of Exeter Living

the arts

19 INTRO Why you should tune in to Velvet & Stone 20 WHAT’S ON It’s nearly autumn and the calendar’s

already chocka


26 EYES WIDE OPEN The Exeter Contemporary

Open is back with more startling new art

32 DARLING BUD Love books? The Budleigh

Salterton Literary festival is irresistible this year...



37 intro It’s back to school time! Get organised! 38 editor’s choice Ain’t nothing but a number...

food & DRINK

42 food & drink news Cheese, wine, flour, beer

and other good things from round here

44 christmas parties It’s beginning to look a lot...

– it’s no good, we’re as freaked out about it as you


48 school report As a new term begins, we check

in with Exeter’s schools


55 exeterworks Essential and exciting news from

your local business community

58 the way i see it Screwed up your exams, kids?

Take a leaf out of Chris Rundle’s book

60 meet the winners Health & Wellbeing and

Homes & Interiors


62 showcase Wow factor in Whitestone: it’s Osborne



74 Exeter lives It’s Exeter City Council leader

Phil Bialyk

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 JP Hedge, Jemma Stewart, Roxanne Duris, Kitty Kane Advertising manager Carolyn Southcott carolyn.southcott Account manager Paula Miller Account manager Liz Hogarth liz.hogarth@mediaclash. Production/Distribution Manager Sarah Kingston Deputy production manager/production designer Kirstie Howe kirstie.howe@ Chief Executive Jane Ingham Chief Executive Greg Ingham Exeter Living MediaClash, Circus Mews House, Circus Mews, Bath BA1 2PW 01225 475800 @The MediaClash © All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without written permission of MediaClash. We’re a Bath-based publisher, creative agency and event organiser Magazines Our portfolio of regional magazines celebrates the best of local living: Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, and Exeter. We also publish foodie mag Crumbs (, @CrumbsMag). Agency From the design and build of websites to digital marketing and creating company magazines, we can help. Events We create, market, promote and operate a wide variety of events both for MediaClash and our clients Contact: I exeter living I 5

Everybody’s talking about…


The first ever stage production of Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers is to stop off at Exeter’s Northcott Theatre this month as part of a hit national tour. The hi-jinks of pupils at a Cornish boarding school have thrilled readers ever since the first story was published in 1946. “The Malory Towers books are great stories filled with great characters who don’t seem to age at all,” says director Emma Rice of theatre company Wise Children. “It is very hopeful and I think that is right for now. I call it my happy Lord of the Flies: when left to their own devices, a group of girls decide to be the best version of themselves they possibly can be. They want to change the world and be women the world can lean on; they want to resolve conflict. They never talk about boys and they aren’t boring!” Anyone familiar with Emma’s work will know that music is an integral part of her productions. “There is always lots of music with me,” she says, “but I wanted the music in Malory Towers to be virtuosic; simple, but showing how rich the world is. There are some new compositions by Ian Ross and it’s a real musical feast. It has got fantastic dancing, too. The choreography is incredible. I wanted my Malory Towers to be like Busby Berkeley, but in an earthy, feminist way!” How does she want audiences feel when they leave the show? “Joyful, hopeful and resolved. It is a call to arms to make the planet a better place.” Malory Towers is at the Northcott Theatre Tue 17-Sat 21 September For more:

Epic rail: Indie boutique Busby & Fox



Exeter’s fashion mavens are advised to start saving their lunch money ahead of InExeter’s Fashion and Beauty Week this autumn. Highlighting the city’s fashion and beauty retailers – both independent and High Street – the initiative promises a week of events showcasing key looks for AW19, plus sustainable and ethical fashion lines and beauty products. Look out, especially, for two major chances to get FROW at Exeter Cathedral – The Vintage Fashion Show, a catwalk and pop-up celebration of styles from the 1920s onwards, on Thursday 19 September; and, returning for its second year, Slow Fashion, which is organised by ethical fashion boutique Sancho’s and champions sustainable fashion, on Saturday 21 September. For more: InExeter’s Fashion and Beauty Week runs from 17-21 September;

6 I exeter living I

Passing the Bechdel Test with flying colours: the Malory Towers characters



Guess who joins Exeter Living in celebrating a 250th anniversary this autumn? Exeter Racecourse, that’s who, which gallops back into action on 10 October with the return of jump racing, marking 250 years of racing on the Haldon Hill track. “Whether you’re new to the sport, attending on your own, or enjoying a day out with colleagues,” they say, “brave jockeys, ebullient trainers, hopeful owners, and hundreds racegoers will ensure an electric atmosphere.” Gates open at 12.20pm. For more: “Do I get a sugar cube now?”


Erin Cox and Friends of RAMM chairman Alan Caig



Locally-found Bronze Age coin collection the Dawlish Hoard has been saved for Exeter thanks to a long fundraising campaign by the Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM). The treasure was discovered by metal-detectorists in 2017, in a boggy field near Dawlish where it had lain buried for about 3,000 years. The sum of £12,000 required to purchase, conserve and display the hoard as raised thanks to the donations of over 200 individuals and organisations. These ranged from the Victoria & Albert Museum, Devon County Council and Newton Abbot District Metal Detecting Club to Exeter jeweller Erin Cox, who gamely stepped in to donate the final £300. “I’m really happy to be able to support my local museum,” says Erin. “RAMM holds a special place in my heart. I spent hours exploring the old RAMM as a child and have some really wonderful memories of my brother and I exploring. My daughter now has probably spent as many hours as me making her own memories in the new RAMM.” RAMM say that following specialist cleaning and stabilising, and the creation of bespoke cabinets, the precious artefacts are expected to go on display in the Courtyard “as soon as possible.” For more:


In our regular mini Q&A with visiting and local performers, comedian Sindhu Vee bares her wicked soul… LUST: Who or what do you find yourself lusting after today?

Michael Fassbender (that’s any day, every day, by the way). He has the perfect mix of seeming like a guy who might be emotionally available and really able to understand emotions or not at all... but either way very sexual.

GREED: What should you really be cutting down on?

Ice cream because my digestive tract has ever-increasing levels of pure hatred for lactose. Sometimes, the fighting makes itself known outside my body and then, I'm not going to lie, everyone in the room becomes part of the hostilities.

GLUTTONY: What one thing would you happily eat or drink until you burst?

Pizza. Once, to impress a boy I wanted to date, I took on a dare that I would eat pizza three times a day until he couldn't handle it anymore. I won: at 41 days he told me to stop.

SLOTH: What should you be putting your back into right now? Literally anything to do with admin

paperwork. I’m behind on everything right now. I am sure I am late in getting some bill paid somewhere to someone or asking someone to pay me. That’s what I should be doing instead of answering these questions.

WRATH: What or who makes you angry?

For about 30 minutes after a nap I am in the midst of but which gets interrupted, I am FURIOUS at everything that I encounter. I mean, EVERYTHING. I swore at a banana last Tuesday because the doorbell woke me up before my nap was done. And I wasn't even going to eat it.

ENVY: Who are you jealous of ?

Michael Fassbender’s love/lust interest. (see above)

PRIDE: What has been your proudest achievement? November 2018 to January 2019 when I gave up all sugar, caffeine, alcohol, carbs, grains, most fruits, (I’m already vegetarian), potatoes. I didn't think I could ever do it without being in a mental asylum or coma. But I did. WOW. It’s a toss up between that and when my youngest kid (not yet 10) sang

Amazing Grace a capella at a big family gathering. I was more nervous watching that than when I had to do Live at The Apollo (she has no clue what dying on stage can feel like, but I know. Very well). But she was fabulous. I can't even sing Baa Baa Black Sheep without someone complaining. I was so proud of her and of myself for all the good actions I’ve so conscientiously done in my past lives that today I can have a child who can sing that well.* * I’m a Hindu so you can understand where I’m coming from.

Sindhu Vee: Sandhog is at Exeter Phoenix on Sunday 15 September; I exeter living I 7


JP in Portugal in 2005 – he doesn’t have a basket on the front of his bike any more…

As time goes by

When Exeter Living started, the city still had a Blockbusters and considered Taunton a rival…


ongratulations to MediaClash. Exeter Living is 250 editions strong with a great future ahead. It’s not just the team behind this fine publication that should be proud – the wider city should be proud of that success. The written word in all its forms has a unique part in Exeter’s past, present and future. It’s the reason that, as a city, we are looking to achieve UNESCO City of Literature status later this year. Exeter Living is one of many ambassadors in the city that help set the tone and ambition. And we all need a bit of inspiration. I have a unique perspective on producing magazines in the city, having previously worked

as an editor where two closed, as digital reading habits disrupted the market. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but in 2005 you could never have imagined the changes that would lie ahead, not just for print, but also for just about every way of life. When I thought about writing this piece, 14 years ago didn’t seem that long ago in my mind – but it really is in terms of how far we have come. For instance, 2005 was a year when people would listen to James Blunt without any sense of irony. Can you imagine? In 2005, Blockbusters was still going strong. My six-year-old Harry found my old membership card the other day, and we had a chat about

“I remember being very confident that Nokia would own the mobile market”

going in the car to get something to watch and then having to return it 48 hours later. In an age of digital streaming, box set binges and every musical track and movie at the touch of a button, his mind was blown. In 2005, men’s magazine FHM had another 10 years left in it. I went to my Facebook account to see what I was up to at the time. I didn’t post anything – it wasn’t created until later that year. I also hadn’t met my wife, as I had assumed. It’s amazing how selective your memories become. I had a mobile phone, just, but still had a pager to be alerted to incidents as a journalist. I remember being very confident that Nokia would own the mobile market, and one day I could own a prestigious Blackberry. My old friends still tease me but I am sure the jury is still out on that one. As a city, Exeter had just embarked on a 20-year vision for the future. Exeter was rebranded ‘It’s a Capital City’, for fear of missing out to Taunton over the retail market. Taunton! A top priority was education. Things weren’t brilliant – but they were about to get much better. A £79million rebuilding programmed was finished that year. It’s hard to think that you would have some of the best schools, and one of the best FE colleges and universities, just a short time later.

Unemployment was around 5 per cent against a national average of 2 per cent in 2005. Last year I saw a report that said: “Exeter workers get paid more, have higher value houses and have better prospects than anywhere else in Devon.” Growth is now perhaps something we have all taken for granted. Princesshay was well underway after a facing colossal backlash. I’m told, from those that still wear the scars around the Civic Centre, that nearly 4,000 wrote to oppose it. Now there is a new vision of Exeter emerging. If that past 20 years were about growth, the next 20 will be about inclusive growth. That means quality of life for people is just as important. The plan is that no-one gets left behind. Throw in our carbonneutral-by-2030 plan, and 50 per cent of people getting around the city by bike or foot, and you are going to have some pretty amazing changes ahead. Thanks to Anna and the team at Exeter Living for inspiring others. Here’s to the next 250 editions – and Exeter’s exciting next chapter. ■ Jon-Paul Hedge is a director at Exeter City Council where he currently looks after tourism, communications and culture. He is a former newspaper editor and lives in the city with his wife and two young children. I EXETER LIVING I 9


MY DESK Our moss living wall. Real plants in an office help clean the air we breathe, and it looks great too

The Space Awards are about promoting best practice with workplace interiors in the greater Exeter area

In our spare time, the Space team all want to be enjoying the beautiful countryside and beaches that are on our doorstep

Exeter Chamber of Commerce literature – I’m proud to be a new Board Director for the Chamber



im Wadsworth’s workplace on leafy Southernhay East is no less than the modern utopian ideal – and we want it so bad. And that’s as it should be. Tim, you see, is managing director of Space, workspace transformation experts who help companies optimise performance through innovative and well planned design. He is also the brains behind the Space Awards, a celebration and showcase of the most inspiring and interesting workspaces in the city and its surrounds, which are being held on 19 September. Tim recently became a board member of Exeter Chamber of Commerce, bringing his experience and skills in the property industry to the Chamber. “I’m looking forward to giving something back to the Exeter business community and I have a number of initiatives I want to champion,” he says. Living walls for all, perhaps? For more:


I love a fab coffee every morning and there’s nothing better than using a re-usuable cup

No-one here is ‘chained’ to a desk – we all have our Hotbox, a useful carrier for all our papers, pens, mouse, etc

I’m excited about great office interior design. It’s not just about creating awesome offices but to help companies to be more productive and support their staff wellbeing

I’m proud to be half Kiwi and love to talk about the country at every opportunity

EXETER SHOWROOM 1 Lancaster Court, Exeter Airport Business Park, Clyst Honiton, Devon, EX5 2DP 01932 363200

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ISSUE What a difference 14 years makes. We look back on 250 issues of the city’s leading lifestyle magazine


Issue 1: Ahhh. Remember when we were “Exeter’s newest”?

Issue 176: The one when we made a bit of a mess on the (then) Magdalen Chapter’s back garden

Issue 158: Squawk this way! Our 2014 Devon County Show issue

Issue 240: We’ve always maintained Exeter is as romantic as Paris. This Cathedral angel was totally on-message

Issue 180: The Rugby World Cup hit town and we all went nuts I EXETER LIVING I 13



“Oh, 2005 was, like, five minutes ago,” you think. Then you take a closer look and suddenly feel ancient … James Blunt spent five weeks at Number One with You’re Beautiful Tony Blair’s Labour government re-elected for a third term Hurricane Katrina hit the US Gulf Coast Brokeback Mountain was released Prince Charles married Camilla ParkerBowles The first episode of the resurrected series of Doctor Who aired on BBC One, starring Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper.

W e launched Exeter Living in 2005, a time before social media, e-commerce, vegan cheese and Netflix. Cheques, landlines and DVDs were still in everyday use and – because it was two years before the arrival of the iPhone – if you were on a train and suddenly couldn’t remember the chronological order of the Star Wars films, well, you would jolly well have to wait until you got home and crank up the old dial-up to find out (and you had no idea there were three more episodes coming…) The city of Exeter has changed drastically since then, too. In the news section of our very first issue you would have read about the Northcott Theatre’s ambitious development plans, and the Exeter Riddles sculpture that


Issue 215: Exeter’s business and professional scene inspired this gleaming tome

had just been erected on the High Street. The Hole In The Wall and Spacex (then showing a Tate Britain touring exhibition) were still going strong, House of Fraser was called Dingles and Hotel Du Vin was Hotel Barcelona. Exeter Science Park would not be opened for another decade. And Chris and Gwyneth were still together. Our magazine has observed, processed and shouted about these changes (OK, we never did get the exclusive heart-to-heart with the Martins, but we tried) – and more – with the hawkish eye and obsessive devotion of a helicopter mum. Because we love you, Exeter. All of you: curves, edges, perfect imperfections. Your international businesses and tiny theatre companies, your rolling hills and your secret car parks, your Michelin stars and your sandwich bars, your history, your future and the way you all went to school with an Exeter Chief. There can be few UK cities feeling as optimistic right now as Exeter, with its consistent economic growth, healthy lifestyle, youthful energy, innate friendliness and can-do attitude. It’s an honour to be part of its fabric, bringing some 30,000 of you a fresh, insightful and informed read every three weeks. So – another 250 issues? Just watch us.

Issue 179: Engraved flagstone at St Catherine’s Almshouses + Fruit Pastille Lolly = cover joy

Issue 210: This kunekune piglet fronted the 2017 Devon County Show issue

ANNIVERSARY Issue 222: Yeah, just meticulously recreating Robert Doisneau’s iconic Le Baiser de l’Hôtel de Ville in Exeter city centre – and what?

Issue 194: We sat down with Exeter Chiefs and England unit Nowellsy (note the rat-tail)

Issue 188: More romance – cheers, Theatre Alibi for this amazing shot


With every new issue, we’ve got designs on a long-term relationship with your coffee table. We believe Exeter Living’s stylish, attentiongrabbing covers are one of its greatest strengths, and lavish lots of time and chin-stroking on getting them just right. Hats off to our cover designer Trevor Gilham, who here shares the fruits of his many years of experience… WHAT MAKES A GREAT COVER? Place the masthead in a prominent position • Historically, it sits atop the cover to stand out among the surrounding titles on the newsstand Give the cover a focal point to catch the reader’s eye and bring them in • Faces making eye contact work well • Full figures, dramatic landscapes etc can be very powerful and offer space to run coverlines Have a good combination of image and interesting words • Look for a strong, captivating image, with impact – a photo, illustration or even something typographical. Never use a poor image just


because it depicts something in the issue • Don’t run with an image for the main feature if there are better images available from one of the secondary features

Issue 219: Sadly, the chihuahua wasn’t for sale

Colour • Can be used to striking effect, increasing impact and grabbing the attention • Colours don’t have to be bright or luminous but should work with the image to create, mood and atmosphere Using space • Write the coverlines to work with your image/ illustration – to have impact and grab reader attention • Avoid placing them over the focal point of the cover • On covers with varied and strong backgrounds, sit secondary coverlines in areas where they will stand out Timing • Don’t leave the cover to the end. It’s the most important page of the issue. Give it the time and thought it deserves.

Issue 233: Tom Burke fans the world over hit the phones to beg copies of our exclusive photos

the arts s n a p s h o t s o f e x e t e r ’ s c u lt u r a l l i f e

TUNING UP As a new generation of musicians propels folk music back onto the nation’s radar, Exeter’s Velvet & Stone have finally dropped their debut album. The culmination of five years’ music-making – and three EPs – the self-titled, self-released album sees songwriter and vocalist Lara Snowdon and violinist Kat Tremlett, plus band, explore love and loss against a backdrop of wild Devon landscapes. Traditional threads dovetail with fresh, contemporary sounds and moods range from dreamily intimate to full-throttle foot-stomping. This, a log fire, and autumn is made. Velvet & Stone is out now through Soundcloud, iTunes and other streaming services. Catch the band live at The Bowling Green, Exeter on Sunday 22 September

© Abbie Barton photogr aphy I exeter living I 19

What’s on 30 August – 30 September

Artist Mike Bernard is exhibiting at Marine House at Beer from 21 September

EXHIBITIONS Until 6 October

NOMADS: HOMES ON THE MOVE Exhibition examining the lives of the estimated 30-40 million nomadic people in the world. RAMM, Queen Street, Exeter;

Until 31 October

PHILIP LETTS: TEXTURES Mixed media art examining modern challenges including climate change. Devon Sculpture Park, Mamhead;

Until 3 November

BIRDS WITHOUT BORDERS A fascinating look at what birds do to survive. Includes a new artwork by Heinrich & Palmer (there’s a talk by them at Exeter Phoenix on 25 Sept). RAMM, Queen Street, Exeter;

5 September-4 October

ALAN COTTON: DRAWN TO PAINT Works on paper; drawings and studies produced throughout the distinguished artist’s career. Brook Gallery, 30 Fore St, Budleigh Salterton;

7-22 September

THE INVISIBLE CARER The local artist’s latest large-scale public art project, raising awareness of the nearly nine million carers in the UK. See it projected from 8pm. St Catherine’s Almshouse, Exeter;

20 September-10 November

DEVON OPEN STUDIOS Annual, countywide showcase of local art. Various venues, Exeter; www.

EXETER CONTEMPORARY OPEN See page 24. Exeter Phoenix, Gandy Street, Exeter;

14 September-26 October

21 September-4 October

JO LATHWOOD & PAUL BLAKEMORE: WELL TRODDEN WRONG WAYS New sculpture and film exploring the cultural, social and geological landscape of our Jurassic Coast. Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Honiton;

20-21 September LEO JAMELLI:

20 I exeter living I

MIKE BERNARD: EXPLORING DEVON’S JURASSIC COAST & COUNTRYSIDE Gorgeous mixed media landscapes from the acclaimed English artist. Marine House at Beer;

24 September


Solo exhibition by the popular painter of quirky Devon countryside scenes. Hybrid Gallery, 51 High Street, Honiton;

28-29 September

EMMA SOLLEY: SEPTEMBER EXHIBITION Stunning fine art photography from the local photographer’s new Salt + Land venture. See feature next issue. Chapter House, Exeter Cathedral;

theatre, Comedy & Dance 4 September

AN EVENING WITH GILL SIMS The best-selling author behind the hilarious Why Mummy Drinks et al. Exeter Corn Exchange, Market St, Exeter;

what’s on 5 September

EGG New production from circus theatre company Paper Doll Militia, addressing the mysteries of female fertility, sexuality and choice. Exeter Phoenix, Gandy Street, Exeter;

5 September

top: Cover your necks! Dracula: The Bloody Truth is back middle: Dive into the Ocean Film Festival World Tour bottom: Exeter Phoenix welcomes singersongwriter Bill RyderJones

HAZEL FINDLAY: THE CLIMB WITHIN The elite British climber talks about her life and how we can ‘hack’ our minds and not be limited by fear. Exeter Corn Exchange, Market St, Exeter;

6 September

BON AMI Fresh comedy exploring loneliness and the importance of friendship. Exeter Phoenix, Gandy Street, Exeter;

6 September

ROMESH RANGANATHAN: WORK IN PROGRESS The A-list comedian tries out some new material ahead of his new tour. Exeter Corn Exchange, Market St, Exeter;

show on tour – expect plenty of anecdotes about working on classic sitcom Only Fools And Horses. Northcott Theatre, Stocker Road, Exeter;

25-26 September

JONATHAN PIE Warm-up shows for the raging reporter, aka satirist Tom Walker, ahead of his Fake News Tour. Exeter Phoenix, Gandy Street, Exeter;

27 September

TRISTAN & ISEULT Storyteller Katy Cawkwell presents the romantic legend, with snatches of Gaelic song. Cygnet Theatre, Friars Gate, Exeter;

28 September

JASPER CARROTT: STAND UP AND ROCK! New musical humour from the veteran Brummie stand-up, with four-piece band. The Great Hall, Stocker Road, Exeter;

music & opera

10-12 September

STICK MAN Freckle Productions’ awardwinning adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s picture book. Northcott Theatre, Stocker Road, Exeter;

5 September

13-14 September

DRACULA: THE BLOODY TRUTH Exeter’s consummately bonkers physical theatre troupe Le Navet Bete revive their 2017 hit comedy, staged by John Nicholson. Northcott Theatre, Stocker Road, Exeter;

15 September

SINDHU VEE: SANDHOG Biting stand-up – see also Spotlight, page 7. Exeter Phoenix, Gandy Street, Exeter;

GRIZZLY RHYS MORGAN Local blues dude Rob Brown’s First Thursday Club welcomes the guitarist/singer-songwriter. Hourglass, 21 Melbourne Street, Exeter;

7 September

THE DEPPA HIRST BAND South African jazz trumpeter Claude Deppa, British tenor saxophonist Claire Hirst and band blend township jive, Brazilian samba and Jamaican reggae. Exeter Phoenix, Gandy Street, Exeter;

8 September

17-21 September

MALORY TOWERS See Spotlight, page 6. Northcott Theatre, Stocker Road, Exeter;

SHARON SHANNON & BAND WITH SECKOU KEITA Irish accordion maestro and band perform music from her many albums including 2017’s Sacred Earth, and are joined by Senegalese musician Keita. Rescheduled from May. Exeter Phoenix, Gandy Street, Exeter;

22 September

13 September

JOHN CHALLIS: ONLY FOOLS AND BOYCIE The comic actor takes his one act

AFRO CELT SOUND SYSTEM Simon Emmerson’s Grammynominated folk-roots collective I exeter living I 21


celebrates its 20th anniversary. Exeter Phoenix, Gandy Street, Exeter;

Lemon Grove, University of Exeter; lemongrove

18 September

26 September

SPEAR OF DESTINY Kirk Brandon and current SOD line-up recently re-recorded One Eyed Jacks, 35 years after first releasing the album – here it is, live. Exeter Phoenix, Gandy Street, Exeter;

22 September

BOYZLIFE Brian ‘Westlife’ McFadden and Keith ‘Boyzone’ Duffy churn out their old chart hits.

BOURNEMOUTH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: ELGAR’S MASTERPIECE The new season kicks off with the mighty Elgar Cello Concerto, plus Finlandia by Sibelius and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No 5. The Great Hall, Stocker Road, Exeter;

29 September

BILL RYDER-JONES The former Coral guitarist


EMILY MACAULAY shares the latest from Exeter Library

We had a polar bear in the library recently. Well... not a polar bear but the Polarbear. Polarbear (otherwise known as Steven Camden), who is known for his work at Glastonbury, BBC Radio 1 and the Royal Shakespeare Company, is working with Libraries Unlimited, at Exeter Library, for a season of StoryTalks. StoryTalks brings the UK’s storytelling experts to Exeter Library, and audiences can learn how they use creative writing techniques to produce award-winning content. The next of these events is on Thursday 10 October (7-8:30pm) when Polarbear will be joined by Joff Winterhart and Katriona Chapman, two of the country’s most exciting graphic novelists. Tickets are on sale now and are available to buy from The final event of the season will be on Thursday 7 November, as part of Exeter Literary Festival (tickets already available), and is entitled ‘Stage, Screen and Page’. In this event, Inua Ellams and Kieran Hurley, both leading performance writers, will be sharing their insights into telling stories in all forms. This season of events is part of our Arts Council Englandfunded Evolve programme, and is being broadcast live to other libraries across the country. ‘Stage, Screen and Page’ will be broadcast live to the British Library in London as part of the Living Knowledge Network of which Libraries Unlimited is a member.



Sign up now for the Exeter Living newsletter... On Friday afternoons, Exeter’s offices, school gates, supermarket checkouts and street corners start to resound with the big Friday question: “Got any plans this weekend?” If you ever find yourself stumped for an answer, worry not – your favourite regional lifestyle magazine is here to help. Sign up now to start receiving the popular Exeter Living Friday afternoon email newsletter, in which I suggest the best events and outings for the coming weekend – from gigs to theatre to family fun days and loads more – along with a property pick of the week. (We won’t share your data with third parties – not our thing.) Like the sound of it? Then jump on www.mediaclash. pronto and you’ll hear from us soon.

brings his beautifully intimate and langourous sounds to town. Exeter Phoenix, Gandy Street, Exeter;

29 September

STEPHEN BEVILLE: MUSICAL PAINTINGS The pianist performs music inspired by art, including works by Liszt, Grieg, Prokofiev and Britten as well as his own composition. St Margaret’s Church, Fore Street, Topsham;

OTHER EVENTS 10 September

ART – INVESTMENT OR DECORATION? Lively afternoon panel debate looking at trends within the art market. Includes tea/coffee/cake. RAMM, Queen Street, Exeter;

18-22 September

BUDLEIGH SALTERTON LITERARY FESTIVAL See page 30. Various venues, Budleigh Salterton;

19-21 September

OCEAN FILM FESTIVAL WORLD TOUR Brilliant short film showcase focussed on all aspects of the world’s oceans. Exeter Corn Exchange, Market St, Exeter;

22 & 26 September, 5 & 12 October & 2 November

RUGBY WORLD CUP BREAKFASTS Join fellow rugby fans and members of the current Chiefs squad for all four pool games involving England (and the final). Ticket includes a full English. Sandy Park, Exeter; ■

Celebrating 20 Years of e xcellence!

Offering delicious balanced dishes at superb value

House Menu, A la Carte and popular Taster Menu and Wine Flight are all available, check out our website for sample menus and future events. Newly refurbished with the same smiley faces. Open Wednesday to Saturday from 6.00pm Now open Saturday & Sunday Lunch from 12.00pm

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Front row for Exeter fashion This autumn it’s all about celebrating fashion and beauty in Exeter. With a diverse selection of high street favourites and stylish independent boutiques lining the streets of the city centre, you are spoilt for choice in this ultimate Devon shopping destination.


ere is a spotlight on three beautiful independent Exeter fashion boutiques that are waiting for you to explore. For more style inspiration, this September, the Exeter Fashion & Beauty Week is set to spark excitement by exploring and bringing together the worlds of fashion, beauty, visual art, music and city history by hosting a mix of events, presentations and collaborations. Taking place from 17-21 September, the week-long programme of events will be hosted across the city centre, celebrating Exeter’s diverse retail offering with many independent shops and High Street brands showcasing seasonal trends and sustainable lines, alongside Exeter’s flagship fashion event, The Slow Fashion Show. ■


FROCKS IN SWING TIME Step away from Exeter’s city centre, and you will stumble across Frocks in Swing Time on Fore Street. This fabulous emporium of retro-inspired delights will instantly transport you back to an era of glamour and style. With a predominately 1940s- and 1950s-inspired collection, Frocks in Swing Time stocks a beautiful selection of modernmade dresses, coats, skirts, knitwear, highwaisted trousers, shoes and handbags from nearly 20 brands, alongside genuine vintage jewellery. Whether you are after an entire head to toe look or a vintage nod to the past with a single piece, this independent delight has a style for everyone.

Frocks in Swing Time is located on Fore Street, Exeter and is open 10:30 – 17:00 Monday – Saturday, 11:00 – 15:00 Sunday

BUSBY & FOX Off the cobbles of Exeter’s Cathedral Yard is Busby & Fox. A contemporary, independent, lifestyle store brimming with pared back, gorgeous items, including clothing and accessories. A thoughtful blend of pieces from across the world, the beautiful styles are from brands like American Vintage, Ottod’Ame, European Culture and Ilse Jacobsen, alongside one-off pieces that you won’t find anywhere but behind Busby & Fox’s doors. Whether you are looking to spruce up an old outfit, wanting to splurge on a whole new wardrobe, or simply long to browse an inspiring collection, a visit to Busby & Fox guarantees discovering stunning, well-made things – from soft Scandi knits and easy weekend-wear to sumptuous silk dresses and jewellery crafted by clever artisans in faraway places. Busby & Fox’s Exeter store is in Cathedral Yard, and is open 9:30 – 17:30 Monday – Saturday, 11:00 – 16:00 Sunday

Tucked behind Exeter’s main high street is Lorna Ruby. A lifestyle concept store that is beautifully curated and filled with a stylish and covetable mix of fashion, accessories and homeware. A destination for contemporary brands, including sustainable heroes; Veja, Native Youth and Beaumont Organic, and Scandinavian favourites; Becksondergaard, Twist & Tango and Mads Nørgaard. Head to Lorna Ruby for an instant wardrobe update where you’ll be spoilt for choice, whether it’s a cool oversized knit for every day, a relaxed denim and delicate blouse combo for cocktails in the city or a go-to midi dress for the office.

Lorna Ruby is located on Catherine Street, Exeter and is open 10:00 – 17:00 Monday – Saturday, 11:00 – 16:00 Sunday

For more information on the events taking place during Exeter Fashion & Beauty Week visit I EXETER LIVING I 25


Eyes wide OPEN Back after last year’s hiatus, the Exeter Contemporary Open 2019 brings together fresh art from the UK’s best emerging artists







hat is art? Oh God, are we going there? Depends who you ask – and in which century. Some say it’s art if it isn’t directly linked to fulfilling your basic physical needs. Or that it’s art if you call it art, and present it in an art context. Or, as US comic Jerry Seinfeld says: “If you created it from nothing and someone likes it, that’s art.” Make up your own mind this September, when Exeter’s staggeringly diverse contemporary arts venue, Exeter Phoenix, invites you to Exeter Contemporary Open, a showcase of the delightfully fresh, bizarre, amusing and sometimes headscratching work of emerging and established contemporary visual artists from across the UK. For the event’s 13th outing – it took a hiatus in 2018 while the Phoenix’s gallery spaces were being refurbished – the venue has announced 15 shortlisted artists whose work will appear in the exhibition, and are eligible for the £1,000 Overall Award, £500 Additional Award and the £200 Audience Choice Award, which will be voted for by exhibition visitors and announced in the final week. The works were selected from hundreds of submissions by a panel of art

specialists comprising critic and curator Sacha Craddock, artist and 2006 Turner Prize nominee Mark Titchner and Phoenix Gallery curator Matt Burrows. We chose some of our favourites, and asked Matt to give us some crib notes…


IAIN ANDREWS – Buen Provecho Simultaneously luscious yet repulsive, this painting clearly started out in the style of an old master but somewhere along the line became warped and morphed into something far more weirdly sci-fi and disturbing.


AMANDA BENSON – Pissenlit 4 Consciously low-fi in its materials and construction, this sculpture wears the joy of the process of its making on its sleeve. Like a shonky atomic model, it also nods towards the fragile structure of the dandelion seed-head that its (French) name suggests.


SARA BERMAN – Dress This is one of a series of paintings made directly onto vintage linen garments, in which the artist’s ongoing interest in the female body, its form and the space it inhabits, departs from her more usual rectangular canvas, while retaining a recurring ‘Harlequin’ motif that makes reference to art historical tropes of the clown, entertainer or whore. I EXETER LIVING I 27







Alia Hamaoui – Insignia This work mashes together a great variety of contrasting elements, from craft and digital production to cultural and political symbolism, tactile textures and slick finishes to personal memories and collective histories.


Patrick Brandon – Shall We Ride Out Together (After Goya) A painting that borrows from a variety of pop/cultural references to explore questions of value and to awkwardly embrace tradition by way of appropriation, care, and subversion.


Michael Calver – Visitors This painting by Devon-based Michael Calver is populated by a motley collection of somewhat grotesque characters. This raw, distorted scene counterpoints elements of a bright, summery, seaside day with a darker sense of human drama, politics and anguish.


Dinu Li – Nation Family This is an extraordinary video work that explores a period when Li’s cousin was sent to a Chinese labour camp


9 as a teenager. Now a prime tourist location, its powerful imagery and serious theme is belied by a glorious, surreal disco finale.


Grant Foster – cArRr This large, collaged painting is part of a series of images that use almost cartoonish colour and black humour imagery to viciously critique aspects of contemporary life, tabloid culture and classical forms of art making.


Mahali O’Haire – Figure In A Landscape One of a series of intriguing paintings that evoke imagery of informal overgrown English landscapes, cloaking the form of a traditional Chinese ceramic vessels that might be expected to feature more formal, stylised representations of nature. n The Exeter Contemporary Open exhibition will run from Friday 20 September – Sunday 10 November, open daily 10am-5.30pm, free. Preview and awards ceremony, sponsored by Exeter’s Haines Watts Chartered Accountants and supported by St Austell Brewery on Thursday 19 September;



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Bookworms rejoice! The Budleigh Salterton Literature Festival is back, and as serious and star-filled as ever Words by Jemma Stewart and Anna Britten



or 360 days of the year, Budleigh Salterton is the proverbial sleepy seaside town, its key offerings being a stroll along its pebbled beach followed by a choice of charming spots to take a pot of Earl Grey and a scone. And we are big fans of the place for that very reason. However, from 18 – 22 September, some of literature’s biggest names will descend on Budleigh, briefly transforming it into the South West’s liveliest cultural hotspot. The Budleigh Salterton Literature Festival started in 2008 and, 11 years on, is one of the finest, serious literary jamborees in the country. How did this come about? Chiefly because, as a local resident and President of the Budleigh Salterton Literature Festival, no less than two-time Booker Prize winner Dame Hilary Mantel leads the charge. With her, inevitably, come leading novelists, journalists, travel writers, historians, and so much more, for packedout author talks, workshops, open-mic poetry, and plenty for the kids to get stuck into. A glut of famous names are heading East Devon-wards again this September. You’ll find seven highlights on these pages – but, we must stress, there are reams more that are worthy of your time and pennies. In the unlikely event we haven’t convinced you, maybe Dame Hilary herself can? “Please come and enjoy our writers,” she says, “our hospitality, the friendly services of our tireless volunteers, our seascape, winds and tides, our words as endless as pebbles on the beach.”


Our top seven festival picks

DAME HILARY MANTEL & PROFESSOR EMMA SMITH 19 September It goes without saying that you have to see the Festival President herself – particularly now we know The Mirror and the Light, the follow up to Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies and the final novel in her Thomas Cromwell trilogy, will be published in March 2020 – but this talk promises to be especially fascinating. Hilary Mantel, Oxford University Professor of Shakespeare Studies Emma Smith and James Runcie will be discussing Smith’s new book This is Shakespeare. For anyone who was bored by Shakespeare in school, this will reawaken your interest, and for long-time Shakespeare lovers it will add fuel to the flames. Discussing everything from Coriolanus’ post-traumatic stress disorder to wife-swapping and bestiality in A Midsummer’s Night Dream, this is bound to be a lively and illuminating conversation. Mantel’s way too polite to encroach on someone else’s book plug with Cromwell talk, but we bet somebody in the audience asks her to anyway… ROBERT HARRIS 20 September If you haven’t read any Robert Harris, can you even call yourself a book lover? The author of some of Britlit’s biggest ever titles – think Fatherland, which imagines a world in which the Nazis won World War Two, the Ancient Rome-based Cicero Trilogy which was triumphantly adapted for the stage recently, Bletchley Park drama Enigma, which became a film starring Kate Winslet, Archangel, Pompeii, and An Officer And A Spy, for starters – heads to Budleigh to promote his new thriller The Second Sleep, which is set in a remote Exmoor village in 1468. Harris has a refreshingly unprissy attitude to writing fiction, and is a forthright political opinion-giver to boot, so expect a lively Q&A session.

“Our words as endless as pebbles on the beach” xxxxxx I EXETER LIVING I 33


ADAM KAY 22 September The former junior doctor’s funny, shocking memoir This is Going to Hurt touched a countrywide nerve in 2017, breaking records in the book charts and deservedly winning four National Book Awards. Kay and his publisher also sent a copy to all 330 Conservative MPs ahead of their vote on the new Tory leader. Here, he’ll be talking about his life outside of doctoring, which involves an impressive repertoire of scriptwriting, live performance, and journalism (and adapting TIGTH for BBC2). We can also expect to hear more about his slaveringly awaited upcoming follow-up ‘Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas, the tale of a junior doctor at the most challenging time of the year, that promises to bring yet more laughter and heartache. JOANNE HARRIS 20 September Remember, Chocolat? We do; in fact, our mouths are watering at the memory of its luscious prose and, of course, all that cocoabased goodness. Joanne Harris’ new novel, The Strawberry Thief, is the fourth in the series that started with Chocolat. It takes us back to the French village of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes, where Vianne Rocher set up her controversial chocolaterie. Between visits to Vianne and daughter, Harris has also written numerous novels, young adult fiction, and even cookery books, so you can expect a veritable feast of literary insight from this multi-talented author. LOUIS DE BERNIÈRES 19 September Beyond the success of his 2.5 million-selling fourth novel, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – which he threw himself into after being horribly dumped in Corfu in his 20s – Louis de Bernières has proved himself not merely a brilliant novelist, but also an excellent poet and short story writer. The author described by the Evening Standard as “the direct line that runs through Dickens and Evelyn Waugh” will be discussing all three art forms, as well as talking about his short story collection, Labels and Other Stories, which includes a return to the characters of CCM, and his new novel, So Much Life Leftover, set in Ceylon between the wars. Fetch that man a camomile tea!


Find your next unputdownable read at the Festival Marquee

“If you haven’t read any Robert Harris, can you even call yourself a book lover?” JENNY ECLAIR 22 September Perhaps better known as a comedian – in 1995 she became the first woman to win the prestigious Perrier Award, and more recently helped create the Grumpy Old Women shows – Jenny Eclair has also been serving up satisfying novels since 2001, while still frequently popping up on stage, radio and podcasts. Camberwell Beauty, Having a Lovely Time, Life, Death & Vanilla Slices and the bestselling Moving are now followed by Inheritance, which she’s talking about here – a story of family secrets set in a mansion in deepest Cornwall. CRESSIDA COWELL 22 September If anyone can cause your children to fall in love with reading, it’s Cressida Cowell – the new children’s laureate, following in the

footsteps of Quentin Blake, Malorie Blackman and Jacqueline Wilson. She’s the author of the blockbuster How to Train Your Dragon books, which were inspired by childhood holidays on a small, uninhabited island off the west coast of Scotland, and are now also a DreamWorks film and TV franchise. Here, the London-based imaginarium-on-legs focuses on her Blue Peter Book Award-winning The Wizards of Once series (specifically the latest instalment, Knock Three Times), talks about her career, and offers inspiration and advice to aspiring authors and illustrators. n Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival takes place at various venues across the town from Wednesday 18 – Sunday 22 September 2019 For more information, and to book tickets, call 01395 445 275 or head to

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IT’S A STICK UP Want to support local business and keep your worktops clear? Ta-dah. When Exeter-based artist Penny Silverthorne wanted a new project to assist her recovery from breast cancer treatment, her two creative daughters helped her set up the Magnetic Noticeboard Company. Six years on, the Woodbury Salterton-based family business designs and manufactures variations on the delightful thing you see above – each with coordinating, hand-crafted wooden magnets. Choose from butterflies, stripes, geometric patterns and many other designs including our favourite, this quirky world map. Penny and co can even turn your favourite family photo into a magnetic noticeboard, and most designs can be personalised with your own name or message. Perfect for those not-at-all-annoying missives from school you’ll be receiving now the kids have gone back. Illustrated world map magnetic noticeboard (75cm x 46cm), £60, The Magnetic Noticeboard Company I EXETER LIVING I 37

1920S FRENCH FACTORY CLOCKS, £212.50 EACH True originals, now fully restored and working Otto’s, 6 New Bridge Street, Exeter;

DJECO FOREST CUBE BLOCKS, £15.95 Awww. Remember when maths was fun? Hyde & Seek, 1 Paul Street, Exeter;

AIN’T NOTHING BUT A NUMBER We’re 250 issues old! Here are some more digits for you...

DOOR NUMBER, £4.50 Parisian-style, cast iron and traditionally made Urban & Rural Plants, Matford Home Farm, Matford, Exeter;

NIKE N354 SHOES, £70 Nike borrows from the classic tennis shoe to pay tribute to legendary US athlete Steve Prefontaine and his fastest mile of three minutes and 54 seconds Always In Colour, 137 Fore Street, Exeter;

NUMBERED BOTTLES/ VASES, £5.99 Don’t leave these babies out for the milkman Urban & Rural Plants, Matford Home Farm, Matford, Exeter;


ED’S CHOICE SAILS & CANVAS BIRTHDAY BOTTLE BAG £15.50 Hopefully, the 80 and 90 are just out of shot... Darts Farm, Topsham;

THE UNIVERSE SPEAKS IN NUMBERS BY GRAHAM FARMELO (FABER), £20; THE 117 STOREY TREEHOUSE BY ANDY GRIFFITHS & TERRY DENTON (MACMILLAN), £6.99 Books about numbers in nature – one for adults, one for nippers Crediton Community Bookshop, 100 High Street, Crediton;

LITTLE DUCKS BIRTHDAY CARD, £2.99 Cute birthday greetings courtesy of the Exeter designer WooWooLucy; WooWooLucy BEAUFORT WIND FORCE SCALE PRINT, £15 OR £32 May all your days be somewhere between ‘calm’ and ‘moderate breeze’ Leela, 69 Magdalen Road, Exeter;

PLUM & ASHBY NUMBERED CANDLE, £24 Ooh, a posh scented candle – we haven’t enjoyed one of those since April. This one’s Green Fig... Darts Farm, Topsham; I EXETER LIVING I 39

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ISSUE 250 / SEPTEMBER 2019 / HALF A MONKEY large version large version

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food & drink snapshots of EXETER’S food scene

ALL-SNOUT EFFORT Ottery St Mary restaurant Rusty Pig

has been awarded Gold in the latest round of the Taste of the West Awards. The popular eaterie in Yonder Street received the accolade in the Restaurant category of the awards. Says Rusty Pig founder, chef Robin

Rea: “We were quite a late entry into this year’s awards schedule, and the whole team is thrilled that we have been judged worthy of a gold. “When the news came through, I was at the Folk Festival in Sidmouth where Rusty Pig was the main caterer on the Ham for the first time. I just had to enjoy a glass of Rusty Pig fizz to celebrate!” For more:

Robin Rea


Local craft beer supremos Powderkeg Brewery are having a good 2019. At the prestigious World Beer Awards, held in London in August, its latest creation, Green Light, was named the UK’s best low-alcohol pale ale, beating many of the country’s biggest names to the winner’s podium. Says head brewer John Magill: “Until recently, low-alcohol beer had a deserved reputation as heartless, soulless, gutless. But Green Light is different. It’s made with love, by beer lovers. “We’ve held the highest expectations throughout the development process, and have used our many years of brewing experience along with cutting-edge techniques to produce a beer that we’re proud to put the Powderkeg name to.” As if that weren’t enough of an adrenaline rush, it’s also bagged a Great Taste 2019 award, and with pals Crossed Anchors Brewing, is co-hosting Exeter’s first international beer event. The Craft Beer Festival on Exeter Cathedral Cloister Gardens takes place 20-21 September and features 40 local, national and international beers across two days, plus street food and music from local musicians. “You’ll be in good hands,” they promise. For more:

42 I exeter living I

WEIGHTING LIST Exeter horologist Cathy McAnespie has launched a new healthy eating and slimming consultancy in the city. For around 15 years, Cathy, who owns clock and watch repair shop, PrimeTime of Exeter on Magdalen Road, had “endured the occasional diet, but nothing kept me focused”. Joining a slimming club run by a well-known national weight loss organisation gave her the motivation, confidence and sense of belonging to lose weight – and, as a consequence, change her life. “I’ve been reaching out again to old friends/family I haven’t seen in years,” says Cathy, “I now love shopping for new clothes. “Prior to joining I ate many processed meals, dairy products, and sweets. Crisps were my Achilles heel! My daily menu now consists of porridge and fruit in the morning, salads, fish/ seafood for lunch, and various fish, Quorn or egg meals with vegetables or salad for evening meals, and the occasional carb! “

Cathy McAnespie

Cathy’s weight-loss group takes place on Mondays at 5.30pm and 7.30pm at St Marks Church Hall, Pinhoe Road: call her on 07855 159762 for further details

food & drink news


Four Exeter-based food and drink producers are among the South West winners of The National Trust’s Fine Food Produce Awards. The Red Ruby Devon beef rump steak from Burrow Farm, the wholemeal stoneground flour of Clyston Mill, Killerton Estate’s sparkling cider, apple juice and still medium dry cider and Martinsfield Farm’s lamb half leg joint were all singled out as champions by a judging panel of seven food and drink experts, including Clive Goudercourt, the National Trust’s development chef – results were announced at BBC Countryfile Live at Blenheim Palace. Now in their 14th year the awards celebrate the very best produce from the Trust’s 1,500 tenant farmers and estates, who between them look after more than 500,000 acres of farmland in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. As well as being judged for taste, products are assessed against a range of environmental standards to guarantee their quality and origin. For more:

Michael Caines (centre) with Nyetimber

FIZZICAL RELATIONSHIP Luxury country house hotel and Michelin-starred restaurant Lympstone Manor has partnered with award-winning English sparkling wine pioneers, Nyetimber. The partnership will see Lympstone Manor serve an extensive collection of Nyetimber wines including rare vintages. Says Eric Heerema, owner and CEO of Nyetimber, who in 2018 became the first winemaker outside Champagne to win the prestigious International Wine Challenge trophy for Sparkling Winemaker of the Year: “Our world-renowned English sparkling wines will beautifully compliment Michael’s precise and distinctive highest-quality modern European cuisine, as well as the elegant surroundings of this historic, yet contemporary property.” Lympstone Manor’s own wines might soon be joining the wine list as it expects to see its own first significant harvest in 2020, following the planting of 17,500 vines in early 2018. Weekly vineyard tours are currently available to the public.

For more:


Mary Quicke

Superstar local cheesemaker Quicke’s is among the Exeter-based winners at Great Taste 2019. The producer’s Mature Clothbound Cheddar and Vintage Clothbound Cheddar both took home Great Taste stars. Other Great Taste award-winning wedges include Quicke’s Goat’s Milk Clothbound Cheese, and Lady Prue, Quicke’s first ever mixed milk cheese. Completing the line-up, Quicke’s Slightly Salted Cow’s Whey Butter also achieved a one-star award. “For us cheddar makers,” says Mary Quicke, “Great Taste stars remind people that cheddar should not just be seen as the commodity option. Cheddar is a broad church and the finest truckles are among the world’s best, so we’d like to see more and more people experiment with their cheese choices and discover that there’s a cheddar for every occasion.” Also doing Exeter proud at Great Taste 2019 were Butter Bike Co, Figgy’s, Frobisher’s, Hillside Foods, Little & Cull, Littlestone Coffee Roasters, Powderkeg Brewery (see also left), Projuice and Roly’s Fudge Pantry. For more: I exeter living I 43

‘TIS THE SEASON… Don’t shoot the messenger – it’s time to start planning that work party or festive family lunch Words by Roxanne Duris

She always played piano with her bum after a few sherries



onestly, what are we like? No sooner have we stopped badgering you to go to a local festival or enjoy a summer outing to the coast, than we start quacking on about Christmas. Bear with. The fact is, all your favourite local restaurants and pubs have been thinking about, and preparing for, Christmas 2019 since... well, Christmas 2018. While you’ve been topping up your tan they’ve been fine-tuning the menus and booking the DJs, drawing up the staff rotas and ordering the turkeys so you can rock around the Christmas tree with your workmates and rellies. Don’t leave it too late to book or you’ll miss out and end up in some soulless chain with a hen night from Tavistock. Cast your eye over our pick of places already gearing up for the festive period, and then get booking.


To be fair, Exeter’s dearly-loved waterside bar/ restaurant always looks handsome but boy, check it out at Christmas. It’s stunning. Catering for groups from huge to dinky, it’s serving up two courses for £21, three for £25 and there’s a Christmas buffet menu from £16.50 per head.


This brilliant Topsham gastropub has it all this Christmas. “We offer a fantastic menu of homemade food, a bespoke buffet option and, above all, a fabulous atmosphere,” genial landlords Darren and Rachel inform us. “All weekend bookings will include a DJ or a great band. We will have a festive cocktail menu available and we offer great public transport links (via train or bus) and a large car park. It’s likely we will also have a marquee with additional bar and seating.”


If you’ve ever dined at this exceptional independent burger joint you’ll be familiar with the Post-Hubbox Slump – that slumbering feeling after you’ve eaten your body weight in beef patties and dirty fries. So can you imagine how belly-bustlingly impressive their Christmas


On The Waterfront; below left: Rodean gets its Christmas on

offering must be? £24.95 per person (bookings for tables of eight and over) gets you delights such as their gourmet turkey-and-stuffing burger, and a mug of grog to sluice it down. N’night…


This jolly smokehouse-style joint is in an old malthouse that’s one of the most interesting old buildings in Exeter. You can expect its Christmas menu to be inspired by the BBQs and smokehouses of the American Deep South but, as ever, bearing an unmistakeable Devon twist.


Hard to think of a cosier Christmas hangout than the outstanding city centre gastropub, which once again is running its excellent value (£25 a head) festive menu – centerpiece of which is the Elston farm turkey ballotine stuffed with a chestnut and apricot stuffing, wrapped in bacon, roast potatoes and turkey gravy. Drool. New this year: a private dining room in The Speakeasy upstairs, for up to 30 revellers.


“Already looking busy here for December!” announces Adam Milton, guv’nor of this Exeter Living Award-winning village gastropub. “Our Christmas Day event is 90 per cent full and we are already taking bookings for Christmas parties – we are the perfect size for parties of 20-30 people.” So if you fancy a slice of chef team Charlie and Carlie’s dry-aged Longhorn beef sirloin and a helping of Christmas pudding cheesecake get your skates on.


If you’re in the market for an outside caterer this Christmas, you should definitely give the reliably great Posh Nosh a tinkle (jingle?). Their existing Christmas menus come in all shapes and sizes but they will also create the perfect menu just for you and your crew. Doritos and cocktail sausages begone!


This summer, the i newspaper named the exquisite, friendly Lamb Inn its ‘Best UK Summer Pub’. Winter’s good there too, though, and with its roaring fires, squishy sofas and lashings of period charm, we reckon this 16th century former coaching house is perfect for the more bijou gathering.


Owner Lizzie Tilt informs us “menus are almost finalised” at her gorgeous, upmarket family-run restaurant in Kenton. On offer will be a Christmas party menu at £32 for three courses, running through the month of December, and also a Christmas Day lunch – four courses for £95 per person. There’ll be tasty Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve offerings too.


You love Coolings. We love Coolings. Christmas at Coolings sounds ace – for groups from minimum 12 to maximum 100 you can hire the whole place out, and get a festive buffet and introductory drinkie, for from £15 per person. They can sort you out with a DJ and/or karaoke too. Bagsy Don’t Stop Me Now! I EXETER LIVING I 45


Delicious Christmas menu, now available to book

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SCHOOL REPORT E d u c at i o n n e w s f r o m i n a n d a r o u n d t h e c i t y


Exeter Cathedral School has been rated ‘Excellent’ following an Independent School Inspectorate (ISI) Inspection. Inspectors from ISI – one of three independent schools inspectorates that carry out inspections through an agreement with the Department for Education (DfE) and are monitored by Ofsted – visited in May and have awarded the school its highest possible grade in all inspection areas. Says headmaster James Featherstone: “Our pupils are sparky, engaged and kind, and my team of staff is extremely hard-working and dedicated: this unbeatable inspection outcome is the result of that winning combination. The school has enjoyed a period of considerable positive change in recent years, and what we offer at ECS – and the way in which we offer it – is indeed ‘excellent’. It is great to have this officially recognised by the Department for Education.” Exeter Cathedral School was founded in 1179 as a boys’ choir school. Non-chorister pupils were admitted in the 1960s and it has been fully co-educational since 1994. Today, ECS is a flourishing day and boarding school with over 250 pupils aged 3 to 13. For more:


Local teacher training organisation Devon Primary SCITT (School Centred Initial Teacher Training), which is based at Trinity C of E Primary & Nursery, has beaten fierce competition to be named the ‘best of the best’ school-based teacher training providers by a judging panel of education and ITT (Initial Teacher Training) experts. Upon receiving the award, Andy Ogden, strategic lead of Devon Teaching School Partnership and Devon Primary SCITT, said: “It is an honour to accept this award. “Behind it lies a passionate partnership of staff, heads and their schools who are fully committed to training the next generation of teachers. Although our partnership received this recognition, the awards evening was a true celebration of all the partnerships of schools across the country who provide excellent training so that all of our children will be taught by wonderful, creative teachers.” For more:

Devon Primary SCITT

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Florence’s painting

A five-year-old pupil at Bowhill Primary School in Exeter has won a top prize in this year’s art and writing competitions held by the Devon branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE Devon). The charity received the highest ever number of entries from primary schools in Devon, many of whom took part for the first time, including several in Exeter. Florence Farnell won top prize in the Key Stage 1 category of the art competition for her painting A Walk in Danes Wood near Killerton. Other entries from Bowhill were Highly Commended, as were those from Newtown Primary School in Exeter. Says Bowhill teacher Amber Dopson: “Florence actually asked me if we could do something for the environment, so I brought her into my art club and moved the focus onto art which raises awareness about the environment.” Penny Mills, director of CPRE Devon, adds: “We were delighted to receive pictures of the moors, beaches, school gardens, parks and woodland. We were very impressed with the overall quality of entries from the children, in both the painting and writing competitions, who showed that they had really thought about the many reasons why the countryside is important and special and had used their creativity to express themselves in pictures and words.” For more:

education The QE team


Queen Elizabeth’s School (QE) in Crediton has claimed victory in a prestigious national business and accounting competition. The BASE competition, organised annually by The Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAEW), invites students aged 16-17 to engage in business tests that enable them to develop key employability skills and understand what it’s like to be a chartered accountant. At the final in Birmingham, students from around the UK were challenged to create a sustainable business strategy for a charity and then present it in front of a panel of judges including business professionals from companies such as Rolls Royce, PwC and EY, and charities such as WaterAid, Amnesty International and Cancer Research UK. QE – which is also Devon’s only state boarding school – triumphed over 500 schools and over 1,000 teams, to claim the title of National Champions. The team comprising of Year 12 students – Megan Kelly, Isabella Watts, Henry Field and Georgia Mears – won a MacBook Pro each and a set of iPads for their class. They will return to London for the awards ceremony in October. QE is also celebrating its GCSES results – and saw an increase in the top grades awarded in English to more than 21 per cent. For more:

Eddy in the studio


An Exeter School sixth former has featured on an episode of the BBC Radio One podcast ‘Life Hacks’ covering the subject of careers. Eddy Lister contacted the radio station as a way of promoting his Young Enterprise (YE) team’s card game Mindfulness, which they devised as a way of tackling anxiety, exam stress and other pressures. He was then interviewed by broadcaster Katie Thistleton at BBC Broadcasting House, London. The team have now established an independent business and have a patent pending on their idea. Kitsons Solicitors, HSBC, Stephens Scown, Plymouth University and local schools have all placed orders for the game. “Afterwards, we were all buzzing with happiness, knowing that it had been a very fun yet very successful day,” says Eddy. Here Eddy’s interview at: sounds/play/p07fbw41 More recently, almost three-quarters of all Exeter School’s GCSE grades – 73.65 per cent – were grades 9-7 compared to the national average of 20.6 per cent. For more: I exeter living I 49



Westclyst Community Primary School (WCPS) has achieved an ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted report at its very first inspection. The report praised the school’s quality of teaching, learning and assessment, as well as its work to promote pupils’ personal development and welfare. The summary of key findings includes the comment: “The teaching, the innovative curriculum and the use of technology instill in pupils a love of learning. Consequently, pupils’ progress is strong across a broad range of subjects, including English and mathematics.” The school opened in September 2016 and is part of the Cornerstone Academy Trust (TCAT), which includes Broadclyst Community Primary School (BCPS), also rated outstanding by Ofsted. Jonathan Bishop, CEO and executive headteacher of TCAT, says: “I am delighted that our new school has achieved such a great outcome. As a small, but successful multi-academy trust, Cornerstone is striving to offer the best start to children’s education in the 21st century, employing digital technology at the heart of both learning and teaching.” WCPS’s new building is on schedule to open this September, with a 60-place nursery and its first intake of Key Stage 2 pupils. For more:


John Laramy celebrates with students

Exeter College is celebrating another year of exceptional academic results, following the best International Baccalaureate results in the college’s history earlier this summer. Its A-level results are also setting new records, with students achieving an overall pass rate of 99.7 per cent, well above the national average of 97.6 per cent. Exeter College has also remained well above the national average for ‘high grades’, with well over 50 per cent of the college’s students achieving A*, A or B grades and an impressive 82 per cent achieving A* to C grades. Says principal and chief executive of Exeter College John Laramy: “No matter what the national media says, these reformed, linear A-levels are very demanding academic qualifications and students who have passed today have demonstrated the deep knowledge they have accumulated over two years with us through their exam performance. “We now measure ourselves against the very best sixth form colleges in the country.” For more:

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WELL AND GOOD The Maynard School in Exeter has become the first school in the whole of Devon (and only the second in the South West) to achieve the national Wellbeing Award for Schools. The award, which launched two years ago and was developed in partnership with the National Children’s Bureau (NCB), recognises outstanding work being done to promote mental health and wellbeing within school communities across England. “We can’t shy away from the fact that teenage mental health is going through something of a national crisis. The importance of wellbeing at The Maynard School cannot be overstated – caring for the physical, mental and emotional health and happiness of our community is central to everything that we do,” says headmistress Sarah Dunn. “In gaining this award we hope to increase the awareness and understanding of the mental health issues faced by young people today. As a whole school community we have striven to combat the stigma that is so often attached to mental health and we are thrilled that our work so far has been formally recognised. It goes without saying that we are justifiably proud to be the only school in Devon to have achieved this status.” Maynard is also celebrating a great batch of GCSE results – 46.7 per cent of all results were grades 8 or 9. For more:

It’s the city’s business

EXETERworks Presenting Exeter’s finest…

They’re back! Sponsors sought for returning Exeter Living Awards


he Exeter Living Awards are back following the record-breaking success of this year’s celebrations, with the organisers planning the strongest event yet for 2020. Last year was the biggest and best Exeter Living Awards: more nominations, more finalists, more sponsors and many magic moments. Plus a sold-out attendance of over 480, with plenty on the waiting list. Limited sponsorships remain. The Awards are backed by an eight-month high profile, all-channels, integrated media marketing campaign, peaking in March. In 2019, the Awards were trending on Twitter in the UK, such was the massive interest in them. The 2020 Awards are already highly-supported, with the

initial roster of sponsors including Platinum sponsors Jelf, and Category sponsors, among them Cathedral Appointments, Exeter College, Exeter Live Better, MD Business Interiors, Old Mill, Princesshay, Regus, Triangle Networks, Warwick Event Services and Wilkinson Grant. MediaClash’s event director Steph Dodd says: “We are thrilled that so many businesses enjoyed the Awards this time round with so much positivity and support from the full array of Exeter’s organisations. Now for the great challenge of making the next year an even better celebration for the city!” The Awards will be held on 12 March at The Great Hall, with the all-important nominations opening in November. Information for businesses on ‘How to Win an Exeter Living Award’ will be available via the website. “We’re keen for all companies to put the best possible case forward for an Exeter Living Award. Our comprehensive online guide will walk businesses through what the judges are looking for and explaining how the Awards work,” Steph adds. For sponsorship enquiries, please contact Carolyn Southcott:; Twitter: @ExeterLivingAwd I EXETER LIVING I 55

THESE FORE WALLS An independent women’s fashion boutique on Fore Street is celebrating a milestone this autumn, having branched out from Cornwall. Black Pearl, which is run by owner Jill Masters and her two daughters, exists “to give women a colourful, stylish, affordable and unique clothing option”, with clothes, accessories and jewellery designed and made in Italy, catering for sizes from 8 to 24. “It’s our one year anniversary in October,” says Jill, whose other shop is in Falmouth, Cornwall. “And we couldn’t be more proud to be a part of the rich variety Fore Street has to offer. Our aim has always been to make our customers look, and most importantly, feel fantastic in what they wear. We introduce our autumn stock at the end of September.” For more: Facebook: The Black Pearl Exeter

Happy first birthday, Black Pearl!

Period charm abounds at the old St Margaret’s School

CONVERSION STARTERS Exeter-based property developers Grenadier have begun work converting the historic St Margaret’s School, in the St Leonards area of Exeter, into new sustainable homes. Grenadier, which was founded in 2005 and is based at Oxygen House, specialises in sensitive, community-focussed and sustainable property development. Situated a 10-minute walk from Exeter city centre, St Margaret’s Residences will provide a mix of 38 apartments and three townhouses. Says Aiden Johnson-Hugill, Grenadier property director: “Thinking about your impact on the environment should never come as an afterthought, it must be the starting point of any project. “People often ask why St Margaret’s Residences has taken so long to develop without knowing the research and preparation that has gone into making these homes as energy-efficient as possible. “We are essentially challenging the myth that period properties can’t compete with new builds by transforming period properties into sustainable homes. “All but one of the buildings at St Margaret’s Residences is Grade II or Grade II* listed, making it a challenge to transform them into a minimum of EPC B. Most listed and historic buildings typically have a very low Energy Performance rating and can struggle to get above a D.” St Margaret’s School for girls was first opened in the 1902 in Southernhay West, but soon relocated to Magdalen Road during the First World War to accommodate the increase in pupils. For more:

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ANYONE SPEAK MANDARIN? The University of Exeter is urging locals to brush up on their foreign language skills in the event of Brexit. “Language capacities will help local businesses to protect existing relationships and to build new client bases abroad,” says lecturer Astrid Hermes. “According to the British Council, the five languages which top the list are Spanish, Mandarin, French, Arabic and German. Hindi and Indonesian for example will rise in importance post-Brexit.” Exeter University is offering these and seven other languages in its evening programme starting week commencing 7 October. All levels are welcome, and tailor-made programmes for businesses are also available. But languages are not just for business owners, of course. Every year the University welcomes a wide range of over 450 people from students to retirees, all wanting to learn a new language or to improve their existing language skills. “Being able to speak another language can have a positive influence on your career, holiday or friendship circle,” says Astrid. “If you are learning in a group setting you immediately have new friends to share your new language with.” Find out more at an open evening from 5-7pm on 24 September at Exeter University’s Streatham Campus or contact For more:

Crediton-based Ernest Jackson – which was founded in 1817, by a local pharmacist, William Searle, and is now part of global snack giants Mondelēz International – has announced a major charity partnership for its Bassetts vitamins brand. The company has made a £100,000 donation to BBC Children in Need to help familyfocussed charities and projects in Devon and around the UK. BBC Children in Need’s famous Pudsey Bear will pop up on two products within the Bassetts Vitamins range from September. To raise the money, staff at Ernest Jackson have taken part in 200-mile bike rides, ‘crazy costume days’ and bed-pushing across the Devon countryside. Claire Hoyle, commercial director at BBC Children in Need, comments: “We’re incredibly grateful to Bassetts Vitamins for their generous support. This partnership will go on to make a positive, lasting difference to the lives of disadvantaged children and young people in communities across the UK.” For more:

Jepson, Horner and Glanville

© emma solley


PILLARS OF SUPPORT A new female-only networking group in Exeter is celebrating a highly successful first three months. Founded by local businesswomen Sarah Jepson, Linda Horner and Louise Glanville, Six Degrees aims to “combat the lack of representation locally for ambitious businesswomen within networking organisations across Devon” – and has already welcomed 70 members, with discussions already ongoing to expand into Bristol and London later this year. The group has also announced its first official sponsorship deal, with wealth management company Prydis, which will enable the group to host larger events. Sponsorship will also allow the group to support both its chosen charity of the year

– domestic violence charity SAFE – and members in need, wherever possible. Members also receive exclusive benefits such as discounts across various retailers, mentoring, and the ability to tap into a vast range of expertise within the membership community. Recently, the group has also launched an investors’ circle. Six Degrees offers a variety of local events from breakfasts, lunches and evening soirées most of them free of charge. The variety of options means that members are free to slot in events that suit their work-life balance: “Nobody needs more calendar organisation stress!” says Sarah Jepson. For more: I exeter living I 57


How’d you like me now?: Chris Rundle today

The Way I See It

Age is no barrier to starting a business All you have to do is ignore the sceptics, be absolutely determined, and work your socks off, says Chris Rundle, MD of GK Signs (aged 24)


began in business aged 13, making bike stickers using a small vinyl cutter in my bedroom. I sold them on eBay so nobody knew how young I was. Soon, I’d dumped my paper round and invested in a machine to make banners. At 16, I was riding a moped, so I could visit potential clients more easily. I’d park it out of sight and spruce myself up before going into the meeting. There were loads of rejections because they’d decided I was too young. The people who gave me my early chances were often those who’d started in the same way and were prepared to take a punt on me. School inevitably suffered, I’ll admit. I skived off a lot, delivering up to six banners a week. My parents were in despair, my teachers appalled and my GCSE results were abysmal. I felt bad about that because I’d been to a good school. So I left at 16. Just about everyone told me I’d made a huge mistake. But what most of them didn’t know was that I had a plan: I was buying a company. I was too young to get a bank loan but, thanks to saving my earnings and a small gift from my grandmother, I bought a sign-making company, GK Signs. The sale completed the day after I left

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school. When word got out, the doom mongers lined up once again. The first six months were insane. I had one employee, Linzi, who’s still with me to this day. I worked 18-hour days but gradually we won back nearly all the old customers. We soldiered on in the cold and draughty old premises, clutching endless mugs of scalding hot tea, sometimes working in fingerless gloves, but by Christmas, I’d landed my first sixfigure order. At that point I knew I was on my way. Two years later, we expanded to bigger premises on Marsh Barton employing 30 people. Once again the banks were no help: I couldn’t get a start-up business loan because I’d already started up! Three years on, we moved to our current premises with five production and storage hubs round the country, specialising in fleet livery

and construction, employing 70 people. Our clients include Royal Mail, McCarthy & Stone, Churchill Retirement Living, Persimmon Homes. I’m so proud of what we have achieved. I’m sure amongst the team there are some who can’t quite get their heads around their MD being 24, but it’s all about showing respect for everyone, regardless of their age. Every generation brings something to the mix. I’ve had to work hard at my own management skills as I haven’t risen up through the ranks in the usual way. For a long time, I worked far too many hours to the point where even my PR lady asked when I intended to take a holiday. Before I’m 30, I told her. She looked appalled. But, actually, I do take a bit of time out now and again... but always with my mobile in my pocket.

“Just about everyone told me I’d made a huge mistake… by Christmas, I’d landed my first six-figure order”

For more:

advertising feature

Avoiding the financial pressures of the care system


It's never too early to plan for later life, says Carolyn Matravers of OLD MILL

ave you planned for later life? It might not be something you are thinking about right now, but it’s important to know that the current care system can cause a lot of financial pressures, and that getting ahead of the game could be a very wise move. The Kings Fund report in 2016 predicted that, with cuts to local authority budgets, rising demand for services and shortages of staff, the social care system would be increasingly unable to meet the needs of older people. There is a growing care funding gap which will be £2.8 billion in 2019/20. The report showed that reductions in fees paid by local authorities to care providers, plus cost

pressures such as the National Living Wage, are reducing the incomes of providers. An increasing number are likely to leave the market or go out of business as a result, potentially leaving older people without the care they need. These pressures are prompting some providers in affluent areas to step back from providing care for people funded by the local authority. As a result, more are having to pay for their own care and this has served to push up private sector care fees. The ‘care cap’ of £72,000 has been scrapped and the means test threshold remains at £23,250, so assets above this are likely to be needed to pay for care in many cases. Also, many using the system complain it is too complex, not user-

friendly and leaves people confused about how the system works. Planning for later life should also be considered if you are making substantial gifts, otherwise, if care is needed, you may find yourself short of funds to secure the care services you require. If you find yourself or a loved one needing care services, we can help you to understand which benefits are available to you under the care system and help you put a plan in place. n

If you would like to know more, please do contact me on 01935 709334 or


exeter living awards 2019

Stacey does her best Megan Rapinoe

EXETER CITY COMMUNITY TRUST More than football and not just for kids, CITY Community Trust is the charitable wing of Exeter City Football Club and Exeter’s leading health and wellbeing charity. They triumphed in a strong field when they won an Exeter Living Award this year – business development manager Stacey Hedge knows why… HEALTH & WELLBEING WINNER

beyond. The scale of what we deliver versus the size of our team is extraordinary. We work with people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities with amazing results.

Who are your service users? So how did it feel to win an Exeter Living Award?

Amazing. We didn’t expect it! It was such a strong category, with fantastic organisations that had been nominated and we didn’t really think we stood a chance. We were delighted to be recognised for our work in Health & Wellbeing after being joint winners in the Charity category in 2018. Why do you think CITY Community Trust won?

We offer so many programmes in the Greater Exeter area and

Everyone. We deliver programmes to all ages from three to 83. We hope to be able to reach all members of our community through one of our programmes/ projects. And it’s not just football, more than 50 per cent of our activities are not football-related. How does the relationship work between Exeter City FC and CCT?

CITY Community Trust is the charity partner of Exeter City Football Club. We are a separate charity/organisation, but we have some crossover in what we do with

“When we started there were just three of us in a horrible, mouldy old ticket office in the old grandstand” 60 I exeter living I

the main club. For example, CITY Community Trust looks after the half time shoot out and mascots on a match day, the Junior Grecians supporters’ group and the Exeter City Women’s teams. We also adopt the club’s branding, which is well recognised in the city. How do you attract and retain your volunteers?

Lots of our volunteers have come through one of our courses or programmes. This is always incredibly rewarding for us and it means they have empathy and a greater understanding of the groups they are working with. What kind of feedback do you get from CITY Community Trust service users?

We genuinely have people telling us that a programme has been lifechanging for them, particularly around our programmes which support mental health. Often parents of young people who take part in NCS will say the experience has changed their child from being shy and not very confident, to being a self-assured and socially-aware young person.

What plans do you have for the rest of 2019/2020?

We have lots in the pipeline – we are always aiming to raise our profile within the city. We will continue to offer our holiday programmes for young people, we are expanding our sporting memories project into new places, we will be delivering NCS in Exeter next summer and we will be hosting our first ever fundraising dinner towards the end of the year. Our constant aim is to encourage and aid more and more people to lead healthier lifestyles. Tell us something we don’t know about CCT...

Today we’re a team of 30 full time staff. When we started there were just three of us and we were based in a horrible mouldy old ticket office in the old grandstand at St James Park. It was below pitch level so it was permanently damp and got wet when it rained.

For more:


showroom was only half the size that it is now and was acquired opposite Darts Farm, picked very carefully so those who visited that area could easily pop in for a coffee and a chat.

If you dream about kitchens and bathrooms the way other people dream about Lamborghinis and diamonds, you’ll be familiar with Sapphire Spaces. The upmarket Exeter business creates statement rooms for the area’s most discerning home-owners, and was awarded top prize in its category by this year’s judges HOMES & INTERIORS WINNER So how did it feel to win an Exeter Living Award?

Incredible. We did not expect to win this award at all, and Mark and David were truly surprised when our name was said! Although to be fair, they both looked the part and it was great to see Mark up on the stage accepting the award and doing a speech. Why do you think Sapphire Spaces won?

Because the judges saw how much we have grown, over the past year especially. We have implemented a great business attitude within the team, spent time ensuring we talk with our online community well and share news and projects that inspire people to consider new designs for their homes. Lastly, we are building stronger relationships with other local companies where we can share experience and events.

Where do your customers tend to come from?

A lot of our customers come from word of mouth. We have great collaborative relationships with architects and designers that we work with on a regular basis. Finally, we have developed a robust and gentle marketing plan. What plans do you have for Sapphire Spaces over the next 12 months?

Tell us in a nutshell what services you offer at Sapphire Spaces?

We design and install kitchens and bathrooms; we sell home furniture and have recently started to design and build fantastic built-in wardrobes. Using high quality providers such as Bulthaup, Laufen, Carl Hansen, Vitra and Fritz Hansen we know our customers will have designs and furniture that look amazing and will last. How and why did you establish the business?

The business was founded in 2012 by Mark and Alex Newbery in partnership with bathroom designer David Aspinall. As a previous property developer, Mark saw a gap in the Devon market to give people access to high end products and design that was, at the time, only available in London. The original

Having only recently expanded the showroom, we intend to keep growing the team, working with more exciting projects and keep enjoying every day as a team. We are also in final talks with some amazing new brands that we want to bring to Devon – watch this space…

designs are still as popular as they ever were. Arne Jacobsen – an iconic midcentury designer whose designs are as prominent and sought after now as they were back in the day. He designed many of the items that we sell in the showroom. Barber & Osgerby – modern day designers whose designs are classics of the future. They design for manufacturers such as Vitra, B&B Italia and Knoll (all available at Sapphire Spaces). They are probably best known as designers of the Olympic torch for London 2012. Tell us a secret about life at Sapphire Spaces…

Food plays a huge role in our daily life, so whether it is sweet treats from Darts Farm, or one of the team cooking up a delicious dish in the kitchen for lunch, we always have something amazing to eat to hand. (Which is quite handy for Mark as he can get hangry if we don’t keep him topped up.)

Who are your design heroes, and why?

Charles and Ray Eames for how they bought new methods to the design world; their style and iconic

For more:

Mark and David celebrate

“We know our customers will have designs and furniture that look amazing and will last” I EXETER LIVING I 61

property a pl ace to c all home


KITTY KANE finds domestic bliss (and two wine fridges) in Whitestone

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ow’s this for a triple threat? Osborne Cottage is considerably more than a ‘detached family home’. It’s actually 1) one big home stylishly linked to 2) a smaller home plus 3) an outdoor office big enough to run several hedge funds from. Most house moves mean you change address; this place would mean you could remodel your entire life. Adults in the main house; teenagers or grandparents in the annexe; and your own business run from home, just like you always wanted. Or, in the unlikely event you don’t want to keep it all to yourself, you could rent out various portions, and retire to ride horses all day (because that’s totally do-able – see below).

Whitestone is three miles south-west of Exeter and the very village where Chris ‘Coldplay’ Martin grew up. It’s diddy, tranquil, and the sort of place everyone’s in a choir. You’ll find Osborne Cottage down a private lane, along a long drive and, finally, behind a five-bar gate. So, if seclusion’s a must, it’s your Shangri-La. Before we dash indoors, a word on the entrance. It’s an odd thing to rave about, but this one’s lovely – light oak double doors, making for a chic, contemporary first impression. Inside, the vestibule has a roof light window with auto rain sensor, the first of many touches that prove no expense has been spared in the hi-spec detail of this place. Even the utility room has a Villeroy & Boch sink and two wine fridges, for the love of Mike. Head into the generous, open-plan kitchen/breakfast room and it’s all real oak, polished stone, porcelain, super-sexy taps, and two Neff fan-assisted ovens (as well as a microwave, steam oven and a 1950s Rayburn – you could cater for an army in here). Elsewhere, you can enjoy double helpings of exposed timber beam and inglenook fireplace – firstly, in the oak-beamed dining room and then in your double aspect living room, which also has French doors to the incredible garden, of which more shortly. Up the stairs and down the galleried landing and you’ll find three bedrooms, all ensuite, including the triple-aspect master where you are cordially invited I exeter living I 63


to install a bathtub under the window like the current occupants have. You know we said earlier that Osborne Cottage was essentially two homes? Well, here’s what we mean: the two-storey, just-as-impeccably-presented annexe, approached from the main house via a snazzy, double glazed connecting atrium/corridor with LED strip sensor lighting. It has a sitting room, kitchen/dining room, two ensuite bedrooms, a cloakroom and utility room. We should point out, it’s not essential to keep the annexe separate. You could always use it as somewhere to sulk (a sulkery?) next time you fall out with your other half over who last emptied the bins. Outside, the gardens and grounds will make your heart sing. You’ve a huge level lawn, surrounded by well-stocked flower and shrub borders, and trees, and with the Alphin Brook splashing its way along one side. Dine out on your Indian sandstone seating/barbecue area, before taking evening strolls around the two raised ponds, and the apple, pear and mulberry trees. There are also two outbuildings, a paddock area with three stables and a tack room, plus a double garage. Easily as mouthwatering as all these, if you have a living to make, is the attractive, modern, sizeable office building positioned just a short stroll across the grounds. Four or five people could work here most comfortably. All together now: para-para-paradise. n

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House numbers

Amazing home office

Bedrooms 5

For more: Wilkinson Grant & Co, Exeter The Old City Library, 1 Castle Street, Exeter EX4 3PT; 01392 427500;

Bathrooms 5 Approximately

1.95 acres


Higher Duryard Exeter

Guide Price £1,200,000

A stunning, highly individual, contemporary new home at a select and established private address on the fringes of one of the city’s protected valley parks, close to the University campus, nearby woods and riding. Free-flowing living spaces, stylish custombuilt kitchen, 4 double bedrooms, 2 with en suite bathrooms together with family/guest bathroom. On the lower ground floor the room layouts offer many possibilities, including the potential for independent living. Landscaped gardens, garage and parking. EER ‘C’ For further details telephone Giles Hann on 01392 427500 or email


St Leonards Exeter

Guide Price £550,000

A fabulous St. Leonards Coach House, presented in excellent order and situated close to the city centre and historic quay. Accommodation includes a large sitting room, bespoke kitchen/breakfast room, dining room with sliding doors into the courtyard, ground floor shower room, 3 double bedrooms and family bathroom. To the front is a pretty enclosed courtyard garden.

For further details telephone James Mold on 01392 427500 or email



“A bit of Motown soothes the day away”

What job would you be terrible at?

Editing a magazine.

Who’s your celebrity crush?

PHIL BIALYK To us he’s leader of Exeter City Council. To his kids? Victor Meldrew… Phil Bialyk was elected Leader of Exeter City Council in May and has been a councillor in the city since 2011. But what does he do when he’s not in meetings? Whereabouts do you live, and what makes it special?

I live in St Thomas. I went to school there and grew up in and around the area. I love it – I wouldn’t be anywhere else. It’s the people that make the place. How’s the job going so far?

I am enjoying it. It has been incredibly busy. I am happy with the way things are going but only time will tell, and that’s the important thing.

Do you have a nickname/ nicknames?

I haven’t. Or none that people would say to my face! My mum would always call me Philip – she was very disapproving of people who called me Phil. What piece of music would you put on at the end of a trying day?

I always find that a bit of Motown soothes the day away. What’s been your best fancy dress costume?

You know, I don’t think I have ever gone to a fancy dress party. Perhaps I am missing out. It’s not been a conscious choice either; I’ll do Halloween.

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I used to have a soft spot for Fern Britton when she was on telly. I think nowadays it would be Joanna Lumley. What’s your earliest childhood memory?

My father used to work on the railway. One of my earliest memories is of him, and the smell of toothpaste. I could only have been three or four at the time. He would always clean his teeth before a shift. He would kiss me on his way out. That smell of toothpaste takes me back every time. For some reason, one day, I missed that kiss. And you know, I never kissed him again. When did you last cry, and why?

I don’t mind saying I had a tear recalling my father. What’s your most treasured possession?

It was my King Charles spaniel ornamental dog. It was my mother’s. Just last weekend a mirror fell down and broke it. Hannah, my wife, offered to get

me a replacement, which was sweet. I said to her that it was the thing that smashed, not the memory. You can’t break treasured memories. Who would play you in a film about your life?

My kids would say Richard Wilson as Victor Meldrew. Favourite place to eat and drink in Exeter?

I am a big fan of Coolings in Gandy Street. To be honest there are so many places, you are spoilt for choice. If you had a time machine, which era would you return to?

I would go back to my youth. I think I would land in 1974. I lived in Exeter and was having the time of my life. I didn’t have a care in that world. We’d better let you get on… What are you doing right after this?

I’ve got a meeting looking at future plans, then it will have been a long day, and I’m lucky enough to be going home to see Hannah and my two cats Onyx and Ebony. n For more:

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