Page 1

Food/Arts/Entertainment/Shopping/Property ISSUE 254 / DECEMBER 2019 / £3





100% local, indie gift guide







ABOVE: Step into a Northcott panto rehearsal, page 46; LEFT: Our Christmas gift guide starts on 19


very time you hear someone bemoaning the consumerism of Christmas, can we suggest you pipe up with this little caveat? The festive period is a lifeline for small, independent traders. A month of rampant consumerism is, in most cases, what keeps them afloat for the rest of the year. If we don’t buy goods from them, we will lose them, and the awful effects of that will ripple out to all of us – the community and the whole country, economically and socially. You could also add that if we shop responsibly – for quality, sustainable products from our neighbours – we are helping nudge capitalism itself in a better direction. OK, serious stuff over. Turn to our 100% local, indie Christmas gift guide on page 19 for everything from cheese to bobble hats to mugs, bras, blankets, bling, bunnies in stockings, Donald Trump dog toys and piles more. And be sure to put a few quid aside for your panto tickets – see page 46 for why. See you in three weeks – wear your glittery reindeer antlers.

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

Issue 254/December 2019 COVER Treat your best mate to a cool accessory from Exeter-based The Distinguished Dog Company ( Photo by Matt Round


8 SPOTLIGHT It’s beginning to look a bit like you-


13 JP HEDGE UNESCO recognition for our city! 17 MY DESK William Matthewman of Charles Stanley


19 CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE 10 pages of great

pressies from local, independent shops and makers

52 I AM THE LAW Meet Exeter’s best young lawyers

under 30




39 INTRO New RAMM exhibition Sea Garden 40 WHAT’S ON Hot tickets as the temperature drops 46 RUNNING THE SHOW We drop in on rehearsals

for the Northcott’s panto


60 FOOD & DRINK NEWS Squashes, meaty afternoon

teas and local lager


65 EXETERWORKS Good news from InExeter,

Wilkinson Grant and other local businesses


73 SHOWCASE Is this the perfect house in which to

spend a Devon Christmas?



63 SOCIETY 82 EXETER LIVES Let’s hear it for Alistair Brammer

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, Kitty Kane Advertising manager Carolyn Southcott carolyn.southcott@ Account manager Paula Miller Account manager Liz Hogarth Production/Distribution Manager Sarah Kingston Deputy Production Manager Kirstie Howe Production Designer Gemma Scrine 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…

TREES OF LIFE Keep it real, or fake it? That’s been the dilemma facing Christmas tree shoppers since the arrival of the plastic version in the 1950s – but in these eco-conscious times surely the answer’s obvious? Cotley Farm Christmas in Whimple is once again inviting visitors to its East Devon to choose the real thing. Says owner Helen Bowker: “Promoting sustainability and ensuring our Christmas trees make as little negative impact on the planet as possible is something we really want to

shout about. We plant a new tree for every one we harvest, and we’d love for all our visitors to buy a real tree from us this Christmas and share our passion for real trees and helping save the planet.” As well as shopping for the perfect, real Christmas tree, visitors to the family-run farm can also meet a herd of real reindeer. Cotley Farm Christmas will open its doors to the public on Friday 29 November​. For more:

Make new friends at Cotley

Climate change


Gill (bottom row, centre) and volunteers strip off for December



Local mental health campaigner Gill Hayes and photographer Matt Round have created a 2020 charity calendar with the help of local organisations willing to strip down to their birthday suits, including Quay Fitness (January), the Recycled Candle Company (February), Luka’s Barbers (May), The Five Bells Inn (August) and Pete’s Dragons (September). The ‘Let’s Chalk About Mental Health’ calendar costs £10, or £15 for two. Find yours at various venues across Exeter and beyond – including those mentioned above, and at Darts Farm – or drop Gill a note via the ‘Let’s Chalk About Mental Health’ Facebook page. Money raised will go towards wellbeing days for people struggling with mental health problems. For more:


A major new festival in 2020 will engage the whole city in creating a carbon neutral Exeter. The Carbon Neutral Festival is a joint project between Exeter City Futures and Exeter City Council and will involve a range of activities that will enable everyone in the city to jointly explore challenges and build understanding about the key changes that will need to be made. In July 2019 Exeter City Council declared a climate emergency and committed to making Exeter a carbon neutral city by 2030. Says Liz O’Driscoll, managing director of Exeter City Futures: “A plan of this magnitude cannot be developed without the input of the people who live and work in the city on a daily basis, so it is vital that everyone plays a part in this journey.” For more:



The poetic name of a Sidmouth woman has been chosen to appear in the next novel by author and Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark. Rosabelle MacQueen entered the ‘Name In A Novel’ competition in aid of Budleigh Salterton & District Hospiscare at this year’s Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival, and her name was picked from over 200 entries. “‘I think Rosabelle MacQueen will do perfectly for a young Edwardian woman in Glasgow, intent on a life in medicine,” said the author. Malcolm Elliott, Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival chairman says: “We are delighted by the response and so pleased that our two charities working together in our community has had such a positive outcome.” For more:

Kirsty Wark at this year’s Budleigh Lit Fest

SEVEN DEADLY SINS In our regular mini Q&A with visiting and local performers, cellist Kristiana Ignatjeva, soloist for Exeter Symphony Orchestra’s Winter Concert, bares her wicked soul LUST: Who or what do you find yourself lusting after today? I lust after my old cello that I had the pleasure playing on for the last five years. It became a good friend of mine and its sound was very powerful and melancholy at the same time. Not only did it sound good but it also gave me inspiration to look for different colours and timbres.

GREED: What should you be cutting down on (non-food and drink!)

Online shopping – I am always looking for the best deals and I get very excited about new technologies and clothing. My mum would say that I have three wardrobes – one in Latvia, one in London and now one in the United States.

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

My mum’s apple cake because it is the most delicious dessert and it brings me many happy

memories of spending time with my family. However, it can only be baked by my mum because when I attempt baking the cake, it never tastes the same.

SLOTH: What should you be really putting your back into right now?

Bach cello suites. I have been putting off learning them because I always felt that I was not ready, but it is time to finally get myself to learn them and accept where I am right now and not expect a perfect result because there is no such thing in music anyway.

WRATH: What/who makes you angry?

The American professional basketball team Dallas Mavericks losing makes me crazily angry. If I did not play music, I am certain that I would be an ice hockey player.

ENVY: Who are you jealous of ?

People who lived in the 19th century, because I have always found myself relating to the Romantic era very vividly.

PRIDE: What’s your proudest achievement?

Moving to England at age of 16 to study with an incredible cellist, Robert Cohen. My mum was there with me in my first lesson with him and she still remembers how I was in the clouds after my

lesson because I was so amazed by the things I learnt and by his personality and playing. I was incredibly lucky to then continue my studies with him for two years at the Purcell School of Music.

Exeter Symphony Orchestra’s Winter Concert – with cellist Kristiana Ignatjeva performing Elgar’s Cello Concerto – is at United Reform Church, Southernhay on Saturday 30 November I EXETER LIVING I 9

All editions of Crumbs Devon are available online! 6 issues for

just ÂŁ18

Get yours: ÂŁ18 for UK subscription (6 issues)

a dating age ncy in Devon with a heart...

We create special relationships

PI SOCIETY offers an ideal way to find your perfect match, offering you a personal and friendly service to help you fulfil your social and personal lives. We combine a professional and discreet matchmaking service with local social events. For more information please call us on 01392 241142 or visit us on line:

EXETER SHOWROOM NOW OPEN! KUTCHENHAUS Exeter 7 Alphinbrook Court, Alphinbrook Road, Marsh Barton, EX2 8QR 01392 409968 | Open 10.00 – 5.30 Mon-Fri, 10.00-4.00 Sat

The Devon Shutter Company Ltd British Made Shutters Since 2007 01395 578506 |

We are an independent, caring, family run practice providing the highest standard of medical and surgical care with multiple specialists in house. Well equipped branches and state of the art hospital. We provide our own 24hr Emergency service. Surgeries available seven days a week.

Four Branches across the City of Exeter Heavitree 01392 250066 Alphington 01392 493999 St Thomas 01392 250000 Whipton 01392 465553


Storytime at Exeter Library

All lit up!

Exeter gets UNESCO City of Literature status – and it’s all down to the efforts of some brilliant local organisations


xeter has received an early Christmas present – United Nations Educational Scientific & Cultural Organisations (UNESCO) City of Literature status. I am so thrilled for the countless organisations and individuals who have worked on this UNESCO goal for well over a year. Brilliant big-hearted and forward-thinking organisations like The University of Exeter, Exeter College, Exeter Culture and dozens more have brought home the bacon. Exeter is the brilliant alternative. It has worked selflessly together to beat the odds to get the status – the only 2019 UK designation. There are now lots of things we know will

take place over the next four years, and just as many which have yet to be planned. To start with, Exeter now becomes part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network and has international standing alongside the likes of Edinburgh, Iowa and Seattle. Happy days. We know the prestige of an award of this calibre will help draw in funding, visitors and support for the economy. The title itself is a massive boost for all the organisations that work in this field, and lots more that currently don’t. After Literature Works put pen to paper, the bid was formally sent off by Exeter City Council. The success of this bid has been met with amusement and a sense of irony in the Hedge household.

“We have 1,000 years of unbroken history when it comes to literature in the city”

Despite having previously worked for a decade and a half in the world of journalism, the written word hasn’t come naturally to me. Don’t get me wrong, I get by, it’s just natural word order (as most people see it) seems to get jumbled up in my brain. When I studied for my formal journalism qualifications, my Highbury College tutor wrote to my then editor to report I was dyslexic. I know exactly what I want to say, but the word order often gets mixed up along the way. He introduced me to using coloured sheets to bring out letters and special fonts to unjumble them in the journey from head to hand – something I still use today. My dad loves writing and has penned numerous plays and even a novel in his spare time. My mum still isn’t without a book on the go. So, despite hailing from a family of bookworms, the last book I read from cover to cover was a cookbook. The fact that I’ve been involved in this successful bid has raised the odd smirk. In this instance, I think my genetic disposition might finally come in handy. As a non-reader by nature, I hope I’m exactly the kind of person that will benefit from this award over the next four years. You see, we have 1,000 years of unbroken history when it comes to literature in the city. We have The Exeter Book, which is one of the oldest and best-preserved collections of Old English verse in

the world. The University of Exeter also hosts the archives of works connected to famous writers such as William Golding, Ted Hughes, Agatha Christie, Daphne Du Maurier and Sir John Betjeman. Exeter Cathedral have an eyewatering collection of priceless books and journals in the vaults. No one can argue our history. But it is the power of the written word in a modern day setting that personally excites me. Take a bow, the likes of Libraries Unlimited and the positive difference they are making to people’s lives through a shared love of reading. Their work is making a real difference in real time to people in this city and it is only the start. Combined with our new Cultural Compact status for the city (to build culture into the way we build homes) it has been quite a busy winter. I’m looking forward to a relaxing Christmas break and coming back full of energy to help turn words into action. Here’s hoping for book vouchers in my stocking. ■

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 13


Weird and wonderful Take a trip to TOBYS RECLAMATION where you’ll find a wealth of reclaimed and bespoke interiors, exteriors, antiques and oddities.


ased on the outskirts of Exeter on the site of the old Exminster railway station, Tobys Reclamation has become a destination for people restoring period homes, doing up their gardens or just looking for that special piece to finish a room. During the 35 years since the shop first opened its doors, Tobys has reclaimed, restored and recycled literally thousands of tonnes of beautifully made items from a bygone era ranging from bricks to Belfast sinks and floorboards to furniture.

From humble beginnings selling chimney pots and roof tiles from an old builders’ yard (hence the name ‘The Old Builders’ Yard and Store’) it has grown into one of Devon’s must-visit shops. The one acre site is overflowing with weird and wonderful items and with a focus on affordable quality, sustainability and ethical trading, Tobys is a fantastic shop with a friendly welcome. The business has seen many changes over the years with the most recent being the previous owner’s retirement and the long-term manager taking over at the helm. Whilst still stocking huge amounts of building materials, timber,

garden ornaments, fireplaces, doors and everything else you would expect to find in a traditional reclamation yard, they have moved the focus towards sourcing top quality reclaimed and antique furniture from within the UK, Europe and further afield. With an on-site workshop and full-time restorer, as well as long term partnerships with cabinet makers and other craftspeople, they can offer bespoke and one-off pieces made to measure too. New and unusual stock arrives on an almost daily basis, so there is always something new to see and the shop is a proper Aladdin’s cave of colours and styles. It is a fabulous shopping experience only a short drive from the middle of Exeter, with Powderham Castle just down the road and the coast and beaches not far beyond, it is a great place to start a day out. A large amount of their stock is listed on their website and the regular updates of their newest finds on Facebook and Instagram are well worth following. But there is so much to see at the yard that you really can’t beat a trip down for a good old browse, haggle and a cup of organic coffee... who knows what you will find, and you might even meet the shop cat, Rusty! ■

Tobys Reclamation, Station Road, Exminster, Devon, EX6 8DZ; 01392 833499; 14 I EXETER LIVING I


Autumn’s in the air Keep your home cosy with the help of DUSK LIGHTING


utumn is well underway and the darker nights have crept in. While some dread the autumn and winter, others look forward to the cosiness of home and the family time that brings. However you feel about autumn and winter, the inescapable truth is you need lights in your life! It goes without saying that, during the colder and darker months, we depend on lighting more than perhaps we actually give thought to. It’s crazy when you stop and think how much we depend on lighting in our day to day life. Lighting has both positive and negative effects on our mood, sense of safety, ability to carry out practical tasks. As well as triggering sleep and arousing the body to wake. All this considered, I am sure you will agree that good lighting in your home makes for a safer, more enjoyable and relaxing space. When it comes to lighting in your home, many of our customers can feel overwhelmed by the sheer range of lighting that is available and can often feel intimated by the technical information. Dusk Lighting is here to assist and guide you through the process and will hopefully make the process as stress-free as possible. Based at Exeter Airport Business Park, our team of advisors are on hand to answer questions, inspire and guide you to find the perfect

lighting for your home and garden. The Dusk team believes in friendly and relaxed customer service and will always work hard to ensure that you do not spend a penny more than what is necessary – ultimately, to ensure you achieve the style and functionality that suits the personality of your home. Primarily an internet-based company, Dusk can offer fantastic internet prices to our local customers, with free expert advice – you would be mad not to drop by. This year is our tenth anniversary, and for this landmark, Dusk has made a commitment to reduce the plastics that are involved in our packaging and reduce, reuse and recycle where possible. A green future for Dusk makes sound business sense as well as reassuring our customers that we take environmental responsibilities seriously. ■

DUSK’S TOP TIPS Exeter Showroom 1 Lancaster Court, Exeter Airport Business Park, Clyst Honiton, Devon, EX5 2DP; 01392 363200;

In the bedroom, avoid glaring light and ensure that you use lighting that is diffused to create a softer, more relaxed atmosphere. The colour of the light in your bedroom can affect how you sleep. Choosing a warmer, more amber tone will be better suited. Avoid blue light (with a kelvin above 3000) which can have a detrimental impact on your ability to sleep. Lounge lighting is relatively simple. A combination of ceiling, floor and table lamps enable you to create various, versatile lighting effects for functionality and to create mood lighting. This is often referred to as the three levels of lighting rule. Smart technology opens up a whole new world of possibilities that do not require an electrician. You can add dimming lights, timers, sensors, and set bespoke colour settings for different parts of the day, all at the touch of a remote controller or phone app. Light fittings are generally a long-term feature in our home. Try to consider how the lighting would look if you were to change the interior style of the space. Sometimes it is worth considering a neutral style, to avoid conflicts of style in the future. I EXETER LIVING I 15

Exeter Foodbank needs you Your food donations are absolutely vital to their ability to give everyone referred to them a balanced and nutritious three day supply of food. You can help Wilkinson Grant support Exeter Foodbank this Christmas Simply drop in any of the items on the list to our offices in Exeter or Topsham before December 10th


(less than 2 weeks stock) Fruit Juice – 1L Long-life Sponge Puddings


(less than 6 weeks stock) Pasta Sauce Biscuits Toiletries – Shower gel/Shampoo, Deodorant, Tooth-brush/paste Jams + Spreads Squash / Cordial


(less than 12 weeks stock) Rice – 500g/1kg Fish – tins (tuna) Potatoes – tins/instant Sugar (granulated) Custard – tins/cartons Meat - tins Milk – 1L UHT semi-skimmed Vegetables – tins (eg sweetcorn/peas/carrots) Rice Pudding - tins Fruit - tins Cereals – small/medium size packs

Exeter Office: The Old City Library, 1 castle Street, Exeter EX4 3PT | Topsham Office: 72-73 Fore St, Topsham, Exeter EX3 0HQ | Tel: 01392 455926


This was in 2016 when I climbed Mont Blanc. I’ve always enjoyed spending my down time outside, and climbing this mountain was always a dream of mine. We got the most unbelievable weather for summit day and whenever I look at that photo I want to start planning more adventures

This is my MCC tie. I’m a keen cricketer and a particular highlight was becoming a member of the MCC at Lords

This is the benchmark we use to judge our clients' investment portfolios' performance and asset allocation. Whilst it’s important to be benchmarkaware, we’re proud of our bespoke style and use this to guide our strategy


I was bought this mug as a gift following a weekend climbing in Scotland. We chose to go in early January and it always reminds me of a night spent camping just below Ben Nevis in about -14ºC wishing the sun would come up!

Imperative to keep the troops fuelled!

I’ve always been a big Star Wars fan, so this office Secret Santa R2D2 desk hoover was a brilliant idea

These are our Gold Card tickets for the Chiefs. I tend to make quite a few games a season and we’re so lucky that we get to watch one of the best club sides in the country week in, week out

My Mont Blanc Meisterstuck

It’s always important to stay abreast of market news and updates



oung people! If you want proof that work experience pays off, witness the career of William here, who gets to manage huge sums of money (and own a Mont Blanc pen) as an investment advisor at Charles Stanley. While at Exeter University, he spent an afternoon a week doing work experience at the Southernhay-based wealth management company – and was offered a job on graduation. Five years on and, says William, “I can never get bored – nearly every single piece of news has an impact on the markets. I look after private clients, trusts, charities and company investment portfolios. I’m also spending increasingly more of my time talking through clients’ wealth planning and how their investments can meet their personal needs.” But it’s not all reviewing client portfolios and scrutinizing the FT. “Fridays are quiz days,” says William, “with the office split into different Hogwarts houses – with house flags – to add that competitive edge. “We’re Gryffindor, of course!” ■ For more: I EXETER LIVING I 17

Elizabeth Ann of Exeter

Come to us for the festive season




• Just White • Barbara Lebek • Lunar Shoes • Pause Cafe • Olivier Philips • Marble • Frank Lyman • Brax • Joseph Ribkoff

AUTUMN/WINTER COLLECTION Now in stock Church Street, Sidmouth, Devon, EX10 8LZ

Tel: 01395 579181

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

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



IT’S A WRAP Welcome to Exeter Living’s unique, 100% local, independent Christmas gift guide – we’ve got something for everyone on Santa’s list...

DEVONSHIRE RED TRUCKLE CHEESE, £32 From Quickes, Home Farm, Newton St Cyres, Exeter; I EXETER LIVING I 19


DONKEY SANCTUARY MUG, £10 From The Donkey Sanctuary, Sidmouth;

DANSK SMYKKEKUNST PEARL EARRINGS, £49 From Kathea Boutique, 18 High St, Crediton;

PLATINUM RUBY AND DIAMOND DOUBLE ROW CLUSTER RING, £11,950 From Mortimers, 87 Queen St, Exeter;

CHRISTMAS CACTUS, £3.49 From Urban & Rural Plants, Powderham, Exeter;

FAIR TRADE ‘KUSAN’ HAT, £25 From Leela, 69 Magdalen Road, Exeter;

EGOS SLIPPERS IN DUSTY ROSE, £39 From Sancho’s, 126 Fore St, Exeter;

AVEDA HAIR STYLING CRACKER, £18 From Amanda Marsden, 75 Queen Street, Exeter;



‘RENATA’ COAT, £220 From Busby & Fox, 21 Cathedral Yard, Exeter;



STUART LAMBLE ‘CONVOLUTION’ TABLE LAMP, £110 From Amos Lighting, Bridford Rd, Marsh Barton Industrial Estate, Exeter & Dart Business Park, Topsham;

DONKEY SANCTUARY MONOPOLY, £32.95 From The Donkey Sanctuary, Sidmouth;

SAILCLOTH/CANVAS MIX SHOPPERS, £48 EACH From Sails & Canvas, 9 Topsham Rd, Topsham;

LONG BLACK SUEDE BOOTS BY BRENDA ZARO, £285 From Elizabeth Ann, 3 Cathedral Close, Exeter;

OYSTER CATCHER JUG, £17 From The Shop at RAMM, Queen Street, Exeter; ARCTIC LEOPARD CLUTCH BAG, £55 From Julia’s Collection, 6 Roman Walk, Princesshay, Exeter;

BRACELET, £9.95 From Leaf Street 53 Magdalen Rd, Exeter; I EXETER LIVING I 23

toot garook Exeter’s No.1 Lifestyle Store - 19 Queen St, Exeter

Quote code 20@19 to receive 10% discount E: f  #tootgarookexeter. Open 7 days a week.


TINSEL TASSEL EARRINGS, £16 From Boka, 3 High St, Crediton;

FELICITY REINDEER BY JELLYCAT, LARGE £44, MEDIUM £23 From Toot Garook, 19 Queen Street, Exeter;

EMPREINTE ‘DIANE’ BRA, £92 AND SHORTY, £51 FromDe Bora, 34 South St, Exeter; A-Z OF EXETER BY CHRIS HALLAM (AMBERLEY), £14.99 From Crediton Community Bookshop, 100 High Street, Crediton;

RHS ‘TENDER PALM’ HAND & BODY WASH, £9.99 From Otter Garden Centre, Gosford Road, Ottery St Mary;

TRANSPARENT GREY LAMP, £269 From Dusk Lighting, 5 Topsham Units, Dart Business Park, Exeter;

NAKED SHAVE KIT, £28 From Sancho’s, 126 Fore St, Exeter; I EXETER LIVING I 25

Jewellery Made With Love to Give With Love This Christmas

24 Sidwell Street, Exeter, EX4 6NN 01392 272228


ARCTIC LEOPARD ASYMMETRIC SCARF, £45 From Julia’s Collection, 6 Roman Walk, Princesshay, Exeter;

CAMPOMAGGI OVER NIGHT BAG, £549 From Monsieur Mojo 42 Gold St, Tiverton;

YELLOW SUBMARINE LED LAMP, £19.95 From Hyde & Seek, 1 Paul Street, Exeter;

WAFFLE THROW WITH EMBROIDERED SILHOUETTE OF DEVON HILLS, £200 From Naturalmat, Odhams Wharf, Topsham, Exeter;

CHRISTMAS BUNNY IN A STOCKING, £22.95 From Rose & Reign, Church Street, Exmouth; THE BREWERY BIBLE, £6.99 From



DONALD TRUMP DOG TOY, £17.50 From Hyde & Seek, 1 Paul Street, Exeter;

KATIE LOXTON ‘TIME TO SHINE’ JEWELLERY CASE, £19.99 From Caramel, 17-18 The Strand, Exmouth;

HAND-PAINTED INDIAN FAIR TRADE MIRROR, £70 From Leela, 69 Magdalen Road, Exeter;

CHRISTMAS TREE CANDLE, £5 From The Recycled Candle Company, 16 Gandy Street, Exeter; www. therecycledcandlecompany.

‘ANTIBES’ CHELSEA BOOT, £105 From Raffy & Me, 35 Gold St, Tiverton;


‘ELOISE’ EMBELLISHED HEADBAND, £28 From Busby & Fox, 21 Cathedral Yard, Exeter;

ENVY NECKLACES, £15-30 From Snob, Tiverton/Budleigh/Crediton;


Chris t mas in topsham for all your christmas shopping and dining this year!

Local, Optical excellence 6 days a week Optometrist & Contact Lens Practitioner 21 High Street, Topsham Tel: 01392 873612

Topsham Jewellers 01392 873180 63 Fore Street, Topsham, EX3 0HL

Merry Christmas to all our customers

Add a little sparkle this Christmas with Topsham Jewellers Gifting made easy


PRODUCTS & CHRISTMAS OFFERS AVAILABLE! Late nights on Wed & Thurs 01392 666333 |

support independent shopping... support topsham this christmas!

Seasons Greetings from

HONITON Come and visit Honiton for a special Christmas Shopping experience!

Dilly’s Florist Seasons Greetings to all our customers For all your festive owers, gifts & arrangements this Christmas 66 High St, Honiton, EX14 1PD ď ś 01404 42338

MOBA BOUTIQUE anything but...


      1 Dorset Place, New Street, Honiton, Devon, EX14 1QS •


‘NOPE’ PRINT, £16.95 From Hyde & Seek, 1 Paul Street, Exeter;

NAVY ‘RUGBY SCRUM’ T-SHIRT, £25 From Invisible Friend Design;

DANSK SMYKKEKUNST GOLD NECKLACE, £39 From Kathea Boutique, 18 High St, Crediton; ‘HATTY THE HARE’ BY CAROLA VAN DYKE, £275 From Mademoiselle Mojo, 36 Gold St, Tiverton;

CHRISTMAS MUGS, £9 EACH; CUP AND SAUCER SET, £16.50 From Buckfast Abbey, Buckfastleigh;

GOLD BAUBLE, £11 (150G) From Chococo, 22 Gandy St, Exeter;

GIN MAYO, £4.95 From Moko, 17 Gandy St, Exeter; I EXETER LIVING I 31

Seasons Greetings from

CREDITON Come and visit Crediton for a special Christmas Shopping experience!

Call us on: 01363 775884 Courtney House, 14 High St, Crediton, Devon EX17 3AF

A.J. COX Quality Family Butchers

16 High Street, Crediton, Devon EX17 3AG Tel: 01363 772091 |


01363 777719

Gifts and gadgets for the festive season.





Evans Newsagents Fully stocked newsagents with a large stock of cards, wrapping and craft supplies (wool & haberdashery) as well as your usual newsagents needs! 10 High St, Crediton EX17 3AE • 01363 772432

Give them a book this Christmas! 21 High Street, EX17 3AH | Tel: 01363 774740 Email:

Merry Christmas from Lewis’s of Crediton. Your local euronics centre.


MUG, £9.99 From Caramel, 17-18 The Strand, Exmouth;

‘SHE WHO DARES’ IKAT SILK TRAINERS, £130 From World Secrets; BBQ HOT SMOKING KIT, £28.50 From Hotsmoked of Tiverton;




Meet The Maker Honest, humble and made with integrity. Erin of ERIN COX JEWELLERY tell us more about her work and what inspires it


idden away in historic Exeter, Erin Cox Jewellery holds the promise of hard work and skill, a love of home, and the ingredient of a personal approach to each client and their story. Erin has experienced some big adventures since her days studying fine jewellery at university, but she has always been a pioneer. What inspired you to start creating your products? I couldn’t believe at first that people can train to become goldsmiths, and be paid to make beautiful things. When I was training at Sir John Cass College London, I learnt the fundamentals of silversmithing and goldsmithing and how to manipulate the different metals. During this process I began to explore the limitations of each metal, and formulated my designs and inspiration for my molten way of working, and how it referenced the Devon landscape I love.

What is the most enjoyable aspect about what you do? Jewellery is hugely sentimental, and I love creating another page in the story for our customers. Either remodelling and repurposing our clients own gold, platinum and gemstones, or making bespoke pieces to meet an individual's brief. I enjoy creating purposeful jewellery that can be worn for a lifetime. What are your future aspirations for your products? I am excited by the shift in customers' awareness of the origins of the metal in their jewellery. I try to be as ethical in my business as I am in my home life. I would love Erin Cox Jewellery to be truly ethical in only being made from Fair Trade materials in the future. Tell us something unique about your products. Although some designs can be replicated, I try to make each piece have its own unique character. The materials drive the design; I design more on

the bench than on paper. My 'design' process usually starts with an exceptional stone, that I have hand sourced from ethical gem dealers, and evolves with playing with the colour and tone of the different metals available to me. What achievement are you most proud of when it comes to your work? The part I’m most proud of is the customers and relationships I have built over my career. It wouldn’t happen in many vocations, but I love the many families I have worked with, starting with remodelling work for grandparents, going through to making engagement and wedding rings for the grandchildren, and all the other pieces in between. ■

14 Castle Street, Exeter, Devon, EX4 3P; 01392 660836;

Premier Clock, Watch & Barometer Sales, Repairs, Restorations & Jewellery Repairs. We have a wide selection of Antique & Modern Clocks, Watches & Barometers for sale. Left: Attractive, French, timepiece mantel clock. Fitted with an enamel chapter ring. Of 8 day duration. Housed in a at top black slate & green marble engraved case. Circa 1900

Left: Delightful, German, 'Lenzkirch' timepiece mantel clock. Fitted with a silvered engraved dial. Of 8 day duration. Housed in an attractively carved walnut case, with a pitched tiled roof. Circa 1890/1900

Stockists of: Orientique Capri Passioni Rabe Aventures des Toiles Anna Montana Marble Just White Toni Ireland’s Eye Michaela Louisa Shoes:

Left: High quality, French, 'Jean Baptiste Deletrez' striking table clock. Fitted with an enamel dial. Of 8 day duration. Housed in a large 'drum head' black slate & red marble scroll design case. Circa 1865/1875

27 Magdalen Road, St Leonards, Exeter, Devon EX2 4TA Tel: 01392 207707. Email:


VISIT SANTA Friday 6th Dec 3pm-8pm and Sat 7th Dec 10.30am-12.30 and 2pm-4.30pm. Free of charge.

An incredible, authentic market shopping experience in the heart of Exmouth, offering a superb range of Christmas gifts and every day items at fantastic prices.

Exmouth Xmas Fayre - Friday the 6th of Dec, with fireworks at 8pm.

For all your Christmas shopping under one roof, plus our cafe serving fantastic quality food visit us at: 12 The Strand, Exmouth EX8 1AB Open Mon-Sat: 9am - 5.30pm CLOSED - 25th, 26th, 27th December

The Flexx Riva Cefalu Adesso

12 High Street, Budleigh Salterton EX9 6LQ Tel: 01395 443117. Open Mon to Sat, 10am - 4.30pm.

Chris t mas in


No.39 The Art House Local art, pottery & framing Unique Christmas Gifts 39 Gold St, Tiverton Tel: 01884 252661  No39TheArtHouse

CAROLE KING LIFESTYLE Stockists of shoes, fashion, homeware and gifts. 37 Gold St. Tiverton. EX166QB Tel. 01884798065. “Who ever said money can’t buy happiness, doesn’t know where to shop”

support independent shopping... support tiverton this christmas!

tiverton’s festival of christmas make tiverton your christmas shopping destination this december. This year Tiverton is offering shoppers unique & flexible shopping with its Festival of Christmas. Proudly boasting an array of unique indie’s, the activities kick off with the Light Switch On, Lantern Parade & Electric Nights on Saturday 30th November and include over 50 shops, eateries and stalls open every Sunday, free Saturday parking in the multi storey car park, street entertainment and much more...

Visit us for specialist food and inspirational Christmas gifts.

18 Bampton Street, Tiverton EX16 6AA. 01884 255310

RoseTime Flowers Unique, affordable floral designs for all occasions. Eflorist Agent 01884 561763 43 Bampton Street, Tiverton, EX16 6AH Email:

Merry Christmas

to all our customers! To book:01884 252229 22 Bampton St, Tiverton EX16 6AA

Add the finishing touches to your room We provide bespoke design and fitting services. With 25 years of experience in the business, we can ensure high-quality services at low prices.

4 Fore Street • 01884 258271 / 07838 387110


Independent Living Aids - Aiming to make your life easier - Vast range of products - Mobility scooters walking aids bath lifts - Hire service available

Call us on 01884 258080 9-11 Westexe South, Tiverton, EX16 5DQ

Chiropody clinic: Wed, Thur & Fri

support independent shopping... support tiverton this christmas!

Happy Christmas to all my clients Offering friendly, professional beauty treatments in the heart of St Leonard’s, Exeter Monu and Renu facials | Lash and Brow Treatments Jane Iredale make-up sessions | Manicures and Pedicures Shellac Manicures and Pedicures (two week varnish) Electrolysis | Waxing | Massage

4 Roberts Road, St Leonard’s, Exeter EX2 4HB. 01392 410055

NOW OPEN Weds 10am - 8pm, Thurs 9am - 5pm, Fri 9am - 7pm, Sat 9am - 5pm

The perfect Christmas Gift from Sirona Spa Sirona Spa at Finlake, nestled into the stunning Devon countryside on the edge of the Dartmoor National Park, is just a 25 minute drive from Exeter city centre. Set within 130-acres of beautiful woodland, the location offers a chance to unwind, indulge and recharge perfect for couples retreats, family getaways or weekends away with friends. Sirona Spa vouchers make fantastic Christmas gifts for your loved ones. Why not treat someone special this year to a wonderful pampering experience? Visit the Sirona Spa website for more information. For more information about the Finlake Resort visit *T&C’S 1. Winner will be drawn on 22nd December 2019 2. Open to residents of the UK aged 18 years or older 3. Sirona Spa reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition and these T&C’S without notice 4. The winner will be announced the day competition closes and will be contacted via Facebook. 5. The winner agrees the use of his/hers name and image in any publicity material as well as their entry 6. Entry will be deemed as acceptance of these T&C’s

We are offering Exeter Living readers the chance to win a pair of Simply Sirona spa packages worth over £200. To be in with a chance of winning, simply head over to the Sirona Spa Facebook page and like and share the Exeter Living Competition Post. T&C’s apply*

 sironaspafinlake |  @sironaspafinlake 



If, like us, you rarely give seaweed much thought, the fascinating and otherworldly Sea Garden at RAMM is a must-see this winter. The new, contemporary art exhibition shows how seaweed is more than marine debris, and is, in fact, a vital part of our ecosystem that floats at the overlap between feminism and the environment. RAMM’s own collection of historic seaweeds serves as a starting point – many of them collected from Devon beaches by women during the 19th century, to be used in research by male scientists. One of the standout artists taking part in the show is Mikhail Karikis, whose mesmerising and moving film Sea Women follows a group of elderly women on the South Korean island of Jeju who free-dive to gather seaweed, seafood and pearls. Pictured here is one of Karikis’ watercolour and ink Breath Portraits of the women – to reflect their underwater feats, he completes each one in a single breath. Something to think about next time you tiptoe gingerly through the bladderwrack on your nearest beach. Sea Garden runs until 26 January at RAMM; I EXETER LIVING I 39



22 November – 22 December

Killerton’s all aglow for Christmas

EXHIBITIONS Until 17 December


Young photographers capture local people with their childhood toys. Organised by Quirk Theatre. Exeter Phoenix;

Until 21 December

PRESENT MAKERS Unique Christmas gifts from carefully selected SW crafters. Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Honiton;

Until 5 January

MAKE2019 Gorgeous, handcrafted local gifts. Devon Guild, Riverside Mill, Bovey Tracey;

Until 12 January

THE LOST WORDS Collaborative exhibition by nature writer Robert Macfarlane and artist Jackie Morris, based on their book of the same name. RAMM, Queen Street, Exeter;

Until 26 January

SEA GARDEN Contemporary artwork inspired by seaweed, and combining film, sound, textile and print. See also page 39. RAMM, Queen Street, Exeter;

22 November – 2 February

ANTHONY SHAPLAND: A SOUND NOT MEANT TO BE HEARD Solo exhibition by the Cardiff-based artist exploring “the gaps between what is seen and said, heard and understood” in narrative filmmaking. Exeter Phoenix;

11-14 December

CERAMEXE Third exhibition by the local, semi-pro ceramics group, including domestic ware and sculptural work. AWE Gallery, 27 Paris Street, Exeter; Facebook: ceramexepotterygroup

14-15 December



Shop for unique, affordable work by 34 South West craftspeople. Jubilee Hall, Chagford; www.


WALKING WTH GOD Substance & Shadows’ new piece of immersive theatre inspired by the Jack the Ripper murders. St Nicholas Priory, The Mint, Exeter;

30 November – 5 January BEAUTY & THE BEAST See feature, page 46. Northcott Theatre;

7 December – 1 January

SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS Exeter Panto celebrates its 10th anniversary, with another classic

panto. Stars Ella Gilling from CBBC’s The Next Step. Exeter Corn Exchange;

8 December

HARRY & CHRIS: THIS ONE’S FOR THE ALIENS New show from the hugely rated “comedy-rap-jazz” pair, which explores how a PR agency might spin planet Earth to the rest of the universe. Exeter Phoenix;

11-13, 15-17, 21-24 & 28 December

THE VELVETEEN RABBIT Quirk Theatre’s charming version of the classic children’s story. Exeter Phoenix;

12 December

PIP UTTON READS A CHRISTMAS CAROL Hear the classic tale in this candlelit performance. Northcott Theatre;

WHAT’S ON 12-24 December

HUMBUG! Welcome revival of award-winning Wandering Tiger’s 2018 sell-out Christmas show inspired by A Christmas Carol – expect live music, video and buckets of atmosphere. St Nicholas Priory, The Mint, Exeter;

22 December – 5 January

HANSEL & GRETEL Interactive Christmas show for ages 3+ full of music, gentle interaction and integrated signing. Barnfield Theatre;


Toy at Exeter Phoenix middle: Well here it is... Slade are at the Lemmy! bottom: Humbug! is back at St Nick’s Priory

27 November

LUCY SPRAGGAN Singer-songwriter who shot to fame on 2012’s The X Factor airs fifth studio album Today Was A Good Day. Exeter Phoenix;

29 November

GRICE Exeter-based art rock musician performs songs from latest album One Thousand Birds. St Stephen’s Church, High Street, Exeter; DODGY ’90s indie chaps of Staying Out For The Summer and Good Enough fame perform their breakthrough album Homegrown in full. Exeter Phoenix;

30 November

EXETER BACH SOCIETY: BACH’S MASS IN B MINOR Muscial director Jonathan Lucas Wood leads the choir and orchestra in one of the Baroque era’s most famous choral masterpieces St David’s Church, Hele Road, Exeter; EXETER SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA WINTER CONCERT Elgar’s Cello Concerto, with soloist Kristiana Ignatjeva (see page 9), plus pieces by Bax and Shostakovich, conducted by conductor Brian Northcott. United Reform Church, Southernhay, Exeter;

1 December


2 December

SCOUTING FOR GIRLS The million-selling indie popsters return to air new album The Trouble With Boys. Lemon Grove, University of Exeter;

4 December

G4 CHRISTMAS 2019 The operatic four-piece deliver Yuletide classics from Silent Night to All I Want For Christmas Exeter Cathedral;

5 December

BOURNEMOUTH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: TCHAIKOVSKY MAGIC The entrancing Nutcracker Suite is on this festive programme conducted by Kirill Karabits. The Great Hall, University of Exeter, Exeter;

7, 12 & 13 December

30 November

30 November

Return of the likeable Brit-folk/ rock troubadours, touring their ninth album Chi Chi And The Jaguar. Exeter Phoenix;

CHRISTMAS WITH THE CATHEDRAL CHOIR Clear your throat for carols with Exeter Cathedral’s choristers, directed by Timothy Noon. Exeter Cathedral;

8 December

HANDEL’S MESSIAH The Cathedral Choir and earlymusic specialists Devon Baroque deliver Handel’s epic, seasonal oratorio. Exeter Cathedral;

9 December

STEELEYE SPAN The folk-rock pioneers, still led by Maddy Prior, hit town with their 50th anniversary tour. Exeter Corn Exchange;

10 December

NATIONAL TRUST CHRISTMAS CONCERT Exeter School perform a selection of Russian Christmas music. Readings and carols, too. Exeter Cathedral;

15 December


WHAT’S ON Remember lost loved ones with readings, poetry, music and carols in aid of the local hospice charity. Exeter Cathedral;

17-18 December

EXETER PHILHARMONIC CHOIR: CAROLS IN THE CATHEDRAL The local singers join forces with Winchester College Quiristers and Chaconne Brass. Exeter Cathedral;

21 December

SLADE Hmmm. If only the Brit rock legends had a Christmas song they could play at this greatest hits show. Lemon Grove, University of Exeter;

OTHER EVENTS Until 19 December

18 December

BAD MANNERS Lip Up Fatty, Can Can et al from the immortal ska/2-Tone survivors. Exeter Phoenix;

EXETER CATHEDRAL CHRISTMAS MARKET The finalist at the 2018 Exeter Living Awards returns, with wooden chalets full of gorgeous gifts, food and drink and an atmospheric, Exeter Living Award-winning bar. Cathedral Green, Exeter;

19 December

23 November-5 January

JOOLS HOLLAND AND HIS RHYTHM & BLUES ORCHESTRA Boogie-woogie big dog returns with banger-packed live show, and pals Ruby Turner and Pauline Black. The Great Hall, University of Exeter, Exeter;

CHRISTMAS AT KILLERTON See the Georgian mansion with decorations inspired by the festive poem T’was The Night Before Christmas, and follow a twinkling trail through the grounds. NT Killerton;


EMILY MACAULAY shares the latest from Exeter Library Tis the season to be jolly... and at Exeter Library we are proud to provide opportunities for our wonderful community to help others. Our winter clothing rail, in partnership with Julian House Devon, has returned to the top floor. We need donations of warm winter clothing, particularly coats, jumpers and trousers (for men and women). We can also accept boots and sleeping bags. Simply drop off your items to the rail and those in need will help themselves. Also, in a black box opposite the toilets, is our Beauty Banks collection point. This is part of a national scheme whereby donations of toiletries, nappies, make up and sanitary products are shared with local charities to pass on, much the same as food banks. In Exeter, these are passed to the Exeter Baby Bank, supporting families escaping domestic violence, refugees and those on low incomes. The Owl & the Pussycat Coffee House are running the popular ‘suspended coffee’ scheme, which allows you to buy a hot drink that someone in need of one can later request. And don’t forget your local library is run by Libraries Unlimited, a staff- and community-owned charity and social enterprise. Every penny we raise goes directly towards library services that help make a difference to people’s lives and communities. www.librariesunlimited.



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.

27-29 November

TWO SHORT NIGHTS FILM FESTIVAL The winners of this year’s commission scheme for South West filmmakers. Exeter Phoenix;

30 November – 24 December

THE CREALY CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR Christmas On Ice show, cookie decorating, Santa’s post office and other seasonal larks. Crealy Adventure Park & Resort, Clyst St Mary;

6 December

ST NICHOLAS FAYRE: A FEAST OF GIVING Charity stalls and refreshments from 11am-5pm, with Christmassy concert at 6pm (ticketed, see website).

St Nicholas Priory, The Mint, Exeter;

7 December

FROZEN SING-A-LONG Join Elsa, Anna et al in Market Square for a festive sing-a-long. Guildhall Shopping & Dining;

7-8 December

WESTCOUNTRY EQUINE FAIR Equestrian gathering, showcasing talent from across the region, plus entertainment, shopping, advice, breed village and more. Westpoint Centre, Clyst St Mary;

14 December

THE STEAMPUNK YULE BALL Join Fey Pink and her motley crew of intergalactic creatives. Exeter Phoenix; ■


Rehearsals for the Exeter Northcott’s Beauty & The Beast are well underway. ANNA BRITTEN watches in wonder – and you can too Photos by Emma Solley 46 I EXETER LIVING I


SHOW left to right: Steve Bennett (Monsieur Marzipan), Sebastian Rasmussen

(understudy), Samson Ajewole (Prince Valentin), Sarah Moss (Belle), Hollie Nelson (understudy), Dafyyd Lansley (Cupid), Martin Ramsdin (Dame Betty Bonbon) and Suzie Boyle (choreographer) I EXETER LIVING I 47


e’re in an empty retail unit on Paris Street, on a cold Tuesday afternoon in November. Raising the temperature, in front of us, are seven fit professional performers and their choreographer, all vigorously warming up to dancefloor banger Sorry by Joel Corry. This is day two of rehearsals for Beauty & the Beast, which opens at Exeter’s Northcott Theatre on Saturday 30 November. Panto might be a seasonal distraction for most of us, but for theatre folk it’s a yearround obsession. Work started on Beauty & The Beast last December, before the final curtain had even fallen on that year’s panto, Jack & The Beanstalk. By the end of June, the script had been written and the cast selected. In July, no less than Sir Ian McKellen launched the Northcott’s ‘pay it forward’ campaign, which will give away 1,000 panto tickets to people who would not otherwise be able to see the show. In a further community-spirited move, it was announced just before rehearsals began that the general public would be able to watch rehearsals at Make Tank, the creative space that sprung up at 3-5 Paris Street in January (thanks to Exeter Phoenix, Exeter City Council, Princesshay and MacArthur Wilson) and where we find ourselves today. For an hour from 3pm every day except Sunday, the screens across the large storefront windows will be rolled back so passers-by can watch the cast fine-tune their interpretation of the classic fairy story.

Francesca Pim plays Belle’s sister Soufflé


And what a story. Northcott has never staged Beauty & the Beast before – the 1740 French fairy tale about beautiful Belle and the handsome prince-turned-hideous beast who can only be rescued by a heartfelt smacker. It’s a narrative that has endured, says Northcott artistic director and chief executive Daniel Buckroyd, for good reasons. “Beauty & The Beast is a very emotional story,” he tells us, raising his voice as the backing track to – spoiler alert! – This Is Me from The Greatest Showman, blasts out and the cast begin learning one of the show’s standout song-and-dance numbers. “My approach as a storyteller is to trust the drama within the story. It’s lasted because it’s a great universal story that talks about our hopes and fears as human beings. “Some commercial panto can become an excuse for doing something more superficial, emotionally. But one has to recognise there’s life and death, and hearts are broken, and people die as well as get married.”

...but you’re allowed to peer through the window


“It’s a great universal story that talks about our hopes and fears as human beings”


Fortunately, if you’ve cast high quality, professional performers, Daniel points out, they won’t need telling to play it like they mean it. “As an audience, we want to care about people. We want to genuinely care whether the goodie prevails, we want the lovers to come together because we are invested in them. And the only way that can happen is if we play all the jeopardy seriously.” Although, he adds hastily: “I’m very conscious that makes it sound like we’re going to do a serious panto and we’re not, it’s going to be a huge amount of fun. Making sure there is a very high joke count and a lot of silliness is vital!” Also vital Daniel says, is casting “a group of performers who look like the world we recognise. “Panto – maybe it’s tradition, maybe it’s just laziness – can be a place where old-fashioned views of the world persist, whether that’s racism, sexism, whatever it might be. Some of those stories are founded on views of the world that we would perhaps look at Belle and Prince Valentin are played by Sarah Moss and Samson Ajewole now and think that doesn’t feel right to us any more. But we have a diverse cast, and it’s really important that The whole cast picks up the dance routines in a flash – proving dancers that if we are going to breathe modern life into the story we need to don’t only have superhuman bodies but superhuman memories. We make sure the cast reflect that.” can only sigh at their leaps, spins and general physical excellence. The From what we can see, they’re a charismatic, fully committed bunch, word “Beyoncé” is heard. Interactions are warm and believable. We’re who are gelling beautifully as an ensemble. We watch as Belle, played buying it. In fact, we’ve got shivers that have nothing whatsoever to do by Sarah Moss, and Dafydd Lansley’s Cupid sing to each other (via one with the weather. rapidly-quelled outburst of giggles). Downstage, awaiting his entrance, “They work so hard,” says Daniel fondly. “We call on them to have stands Brit School graduate Samson Ajewole, playing Prince Valentin. such an extraordinary range of skills. So they’re wonderful singers, King of Exeter panto Steve Bennett is here, too, preparing for his 22nd fantastic dancers, really compelling actors – they can either play the professional pantomime, playing Belle’s father, Monsieur Marzipan. drama or the comedy depending on what’s required of them in a given role. The show is full on, and the run is really full on – they’re doing two shows a day for five or six weeks. It’s a real test.”


Today, everyone’s in leggings/joggers, T-shirts and trainers, but a fortnight from now will be rehearsing while encased in the bustles, bodices, bonnets and epaulettes of their ornate costumes. The bare floors and concrete walls of Make Tank, where scraps of gaffer tape demarcate the position of scenery and props, will be swapped for the Northcott’s broad stage, where a breathtakingly pretty, glittery stage will evoke the story’s Paris setting. And instead of a little wireless speaker there’ll be live music and a state-of-the-art sound system. “We’ve invested an awful lot this year in what I would call our production values: the quality of sets, costumes, lights and effects,” says Daniel. “It’s a really big part of what people go to the theatre for. They go for spectacle as well as fun, and so we put a lot of effort into that. Panto can be a part of the theatre year where people get away with lower production values – and it shouldn’t be.”


Dafydd Lansley, aka Cupid

Every decent panto also needs a scattering of topical references and gags. Straightforward enough in a common-or-garden year, you’d imagine, but in the febrile, fast-moving British political world of 2019, how on earth do you keep up? “Even approaching the start of rehearsals, we weren’t sure which references or jokes would be topical and which would be out of date!” says Daniel. We’re guessing there will be Brexit gags? “Whatever makes you I EXETER LIVING I 49


“We’re probably going to panto to forget about a lot of what’s going on in the world” think that?” he says faux-coyly. “It’s in there – but not masses, because we’re probably going to panto to forget about a lot of what’s going on in the world.” The general election will take place mid-run – will the team be rapidly stitching in some new gags on the morning of 13 December? “We’ll probably have to...”


Panto is one of the toughest types of theatre. It’s a marathon. A marathon in heavy make-up, and under hot lights, and with no long, lazy afternoons on the sofa with a bucket of eggnog like everyone else over Christmas. But ask anyone involved in panto and they will tell you it’s worth it. “Not only because it’s a lot of fun,” says Daniel, “but because it’s that time of year when the Northcott is full of people for whom it’s the main opportunity to go the theatre. “It’s the part of the year where the majority of your audience are having their formative theatre experiences. It needs to be the most amazing thing we put on in a year. “If I’m not in it for that, what am I in it for?” n Beauty & The Beast runs at Exeter’s Northcott Theatre from Saturday 30 November to Sunday 5 January. Relaxed, BSL (British Sign Language) and AD (audio description) performances on selected dates. Tickets £10-£29 from 01392 726363 or


above: Reaching for the Christmas stars; below: director Daniel Buckroyd

I AM THE LAW Who are their idols, what are their dreams, and do they watch Suits? Meet some of the best and brightest Exeter lawyers under 30 Photos by Emma Solley





ost young lawyers are barely out of law school by 30, let alone blazing trails in their chosen fields. We talk to five young legal eagles, nominated by their bosses, who each took different paths into the profession and are already making an impact on the Exeter law scene.


The 26 year-old qualified as a solicitor on 1 November, and works in the company and commercial team at Wollens in Exeter. “Beth has been at Wollens for six years,” explains her boss, Daniel Gresswell, “and in that time she has sat her law degree, Masters and LPC. Beth’s enthusiasm and client-focused approach makes her a valued addition to the corporate and commercial department.” What inspired you to become a lawyer – and how old were you?

I was around 11-years-old, when I watched the film Twelve Angry Men, an old black and white film set in a jurors’ room. From that moment, I was fascinated by the forensic nature of the work. What was your route into law?

Reasonably conventional. I completed my law degree, then law school for my Legal Practice Course and master’s degree, finishing with a training contract. I felt that gaining practical experience in my specialism was just as important as the academic training, and I chose to complete my degree through Open University, which allowed me to practice as a paralegal.   What surprised you the most when you began studying law?

Prior to starting my legal training I assumed that the law was black and white with the possibility Bethany Donnelly for defence or mitigation in some cases. I quickly realised that the reality is quite the opposite; who knew that there would be three separate rules for interpretation? Who are your inspirations in the field of law, internationally?

Although not involved in my area of law, Erin Brockovich is an internationally renowned legal consultant who rose through the ranks without any formal or specialist legal education, at a time when the profession was still very much a male-run environment. I first came across her work in my teens; her determination in the field inspired me to realise that anything is possible.  

What are the most exciting fields of law in 2019?

The advances in technology through artificial intelligence or smart contracts with IT coding have really stretched our current laws – they were simply not designed for the significant changes that we have seen over the last decade. I envisage that these are the areas in which we will see an overhaul in legislation. Also, without wishing to mention the B-word, the legal issues arising out of the Brexit debacle.        If we interview you again at 40, where will you be and what will you be doing?

An equity partner at Wollens in the Exeter office.

“I watched the film Twelve Angry Men... from that moment I was fascinated”

Best and worst TV/film depictions of lawyers? Best: Silk. Worst: Any form of soap opera gets the system completely wrong

– how many times have you seen the Queen Vic change hands on nothing but a handshake?! I EXETER LIVING I 53


The dispute resolution solicitor at Stephens Scown LLP is 26. “Laura is definitely a rising star in the Exeter legal sector,” says her manager Catherine Mathews. “The mark of a good dispute resolution solicitor is to be proactive and resolve disputes quickly. Laura does this incredibly well and, as a result, helps to reduce stress for her clients during what can be a very difficult time. She shows a lot of empathy for her clients, but always gives practical and commercial advice. Laura is an absolute star in terms of teamwork and always offers assistance to colleagues. Although she is at the start of her career, she is already developing niche areas of specialism, such as defamation and reputation disputes, particularly involving social media.” What inspired you to become a lawyer – and how old were you?

The first time I considered a career in law was whilst I was in my second year at university. I applied for some work experience with a law firm in Newcastle and really enjoyed it. I didn’t look back from there! What was your route into law?

Conversion course followed by a training contract.

What surprised you the most when you began studying law?

The weird and wonderful nature of the case law – I never expected I would be learning about the legal implications of a slug that was found in a batch of ginger beer. Who are your inspirations in the field of law, internationally?

For me, Baroness Hale (President of the UK’s Supreme Court) is one of the most inspirational people in the field of law. I think it is important for the international community to see women in prominent positions in the judiciary. What are the most exciting fields of law in 2019?

Defamation. With the rise of social media, it is fascinating to see how the courts are dealing with defamatory tweets, blogs and Facebook posts.   If we interview you again at 40, where will you be and what will you be doing?

Well, I have completely fallen in love with the coastline and moors of Devon so I cannot imagine living anywhere else apart from Exeter! I am lucky enough to be working in a great team and the ultimate goal would be to become a partner at Stephens Scown.  

“It is fascinating to see how the courts are dealing with defamatory tweets, blogs and Facebook posts” 54 I EXETER LIVING I

Best and worst TV/film depictions of lawyers?

The BBC comedy Defending The Guilty with Katherine Parkinson is definitely one to watch. Although I am very relieved to say that my training contract was much less cut-throat than their depiction of a barrister’s pupillage! I am a big fan of Suits however I think it is probably one of the most unrealistic depictions of lawyers. I would say it is fairly uncommon for a lawyer to be dealing with a high-profile murder case one week and a big corporate deal the next!

Laura Britton


Just 22 years old, Dan from Cartridges is the youngest of our selection. “Dan started at 18 as a legal apprentice and is now motoring through his CILEx exams, “ says his boss Penny Scott. “He must be one of the youngest private client practitioners in the Devon & Somerset Law Society (DASLS) area.” What inspired you to become a lawyer – and how old were you?

I first decided that I wanted to become a lawyer at the age of 13, and that stage I had no idea at all as to what being a lawyer entailed! I’ve always enjoyed learning new things and the idea of joining a profession where you spend the entirety of your career constantly learning new things appealed from the very outset to me. When the Leveson Inquiry was frequently in the press during 2011 and 2012, I would regularly watch the summary of the day’s events on the news and recall being impressed at the intellect and ability of the advocates in the courtroom. Whilst much of the legal jargon was indecipherable to me, it reaffirmed my desire to one day work in the legal sector. What was your route into law?

I started as an apprentice at Cartridges Law in 2017 in the private client department. After completing my apprenticeship, I have subsequently joined the residential property department, where am I continuing to study through CILEx with the hope of qualifying as a chartered legal executive. What surprised you the most when you began studying law?

I was taken aback at the sheer amount that you learn on a daily basis, whether that be because there has been a change in regulations, law or simply a new area of work that you haven’t had previous experience in. I quickly realised that, no matter how much you learned from the textbook, throughout your career you would be constantly trying to expand and update your knowledge and your understanding of the area that you work in.

Dan Smith

Who are your inspirations in the field of law, internationally?

Amal Clooney is one of the leading human rights lawyers in the world. Her ability to identify with many of her clients through her previous experience of having fled Lebanon during the war in 1982 is nothing short of amazing and inspirational for people who wish to enter the legal profession irrespective of their upbringing or their background. Another inspiration would be Bryan Stevenson who is the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, which is an organisation that has fought against the injustices in the legal system and has most notably represented children that have been prosecuted and convicted as adults in the US justice system. What are the most exciting fields of law in 2019?

Some of the most exciting fields of law in the last year have revolved around data protection and the Pandora’s box that has been opened since the Cambridge Analytica story was revealed to the world. We have seen how the law can often provide a safety blanket for large social media companies to avoid the scrutiny of the press and the public, but we have also seen ingenious ways as to how the law can take the challenge directly to unscrupulous companies. This is going to be a field that will only continue to develop and change over the coming months and years, whilst having a significant impact upon all of our lives.

If we interview you again at 40, where will you be and what will you be doing?

I’ll be fully qualified and working in law, that much I can say. At this stage in my career I’m not yet certain in which direction my career will take me. I very much enjoy working in the legal sector and I know that this is where I’ll spend my working life. Best and worst TV/film depictions of lawyers? Best: Gregory Peck in the 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird. American

lawyer Atticus Finch defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge and his children against prejudice in the Depression-era Deep South. Atticus is totally rooted in his beliefs and doesn’t get affected by what other people say or think. He is calm, wise, intelligent and upholds his ideals throughout. Worst: Bob Odenkirk in the television series Better Call Saul. In this offshoot from Breaking Bad, Odenkirk plays dodgy lawyer Saul Goodman. We learn that no trick, no lie or no ruse is too low for this man. Saul is the most crooked lawyer I’ve come across in film or on television. I EXETER LIVING I 55


“Nothing fazes her,” says The Family Law Co’s Rachel Buckley of this 28 year-old associate solicitor. “Hannah came to us as a new qualified solicitor and since then she has thrown herself into the law with relish. She volunteers for tasks that others would shy away from – she is keen to gain experience as quickly as possible. She is a kind and caring person who has a huge amount of empathy for clients and her colleagues. Hannah is very ambitious and dedicated to achieving her goals. We recently promoted her to associate solicitor and, while she was delighted, her first statement was, “Right, I will now look at what I need to do to achieve senior associate, and start planning….”! What inspired you to become a lawyer – and how old were you?

I was 15 years old – I loved the TV series Silk and wanted to become a barrister like the main character, Martha Costello. Apart from her awful love life, she was incredible! What was your route into law?

I studied a law degree at Cardiff University and stayed there to complete my LPC. I completed my training contract with Blake Morgan LLP in Oxford before starting my qualified career with The Family Law Company. What surprised you the most when you began studying law?

That the prejudices about law being for people from affluent backgrounds were, for the most part, still true. The majority of my peers had wealthy parents and when I started studying the LPC I was one of the few students who was also working part-time to support myself through the course. Who are your inspirations in the field of law, internationally?

Michelle Obama is amazing. Although she’s not practising law now, her strength, grace and determination throughout her career as a lawyer and beyond is inspirational. What are the most exciting fields of law in 2019?

The EU law and how that intersects with the current parliamentary decisions and votes has been fascinating to watch. I really enjoyed watching Baroness Hale, an inspirational lawyer, give her landmark judgement about the legality of the Prime Minister’s actions over Brexit. Very soon the impact of the UK leaving the EU will have huge consequences for the family law arena in the UK, particularly the area of child abductions due to the Brussels II agreement.

“I was one of the few students who was also working part-time to support myself” 56 I EXETER LIVING I

If we interview you again at 40, where will you be and what will you be doing?

Perhaps I’ll be a director of a law firm or working for an NGO that supports victims of modern slavery. Then again, I might be travel blogging somewhere hot and sunny!

Best and worst TV/film depictions of lawyers? Best: Martha Costello from Silk. I also love Suits but being American

it’s not anything like the practice of English law, and I can’t tell how true to life it is. Worst: Probably BBC One’s drama The Split – the behaviour of many of the family lawyers is completely unrealistic. Hannah Porter


“Nicola is going to make a feisty litigator.” So says Penny Scott, partner at Cartridges, of trainee solicitor Nicola Hall who has just turned 27, and demonstrates that you can get into law via unconventional routes. “Nicola has suffered from ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis) and as a result was partly home-tutored,” explains Penny. “She went on to get her law qualifications by distance learning.” What inspired you to become a lawyer – and how old were you?

As a Christian, I feel like I was always called to be a lawyer; there was no defining moment in my life where I suddenly realised it was what I wanted to do, it was always just a given. I do have one memory when I was about 12-years-old though. My grandfather was very poorly at home and he wished to change his will before he passed away. A solicitor attended his house and I remember him having a briefcase. He saw me staring at it and told me that I could have one like it one day if I worked hard enough. Clearly, I’m not yet at that point as I have no such briefcase! What was your route into law?

I became unwell at the age of 13 with ME and had to self-teach my GCSEs from home, with attendance at school a couple of times a week. I was too unwell to go to college/sixth form to complete my A-levels, so I started distance learning with the Open University at the age of 16. I was registered as a young applicant and began my degree. It took me six years part-time to finish this, during which I did some volunteering as an appropriate adult and for the local youth offending team. I then completed my master’s and Legal Practice Course at the University of Law in Exeter in 2016 and began working as a paralegal at Cartridges Law in June 2017, after receiving endless rejections for training contracts. I was offered a training contact by them within a few months and began this in April 2018. I qualify in just six months’ time.

Nicola Hall

What surprised you the most when you began studying law?

What are the most exciting fields of law in 2019?

Who are your inspirations in the field of law, internationally?

If we interview you again at 40, where will you be and what will you be doing?

How law affects every part of our lives and everything we do. One of the first tasks I had to do in my law degree was write everything I had done that day and then think about whether there was a law that governed it. Driving, shopping, going to work, using social media; law governs everything in some way. One of my greatest inspirations as a woman in law is Baroness Hale. She was the first woman to be appointed to the Law Commission, the only woman to have been appointed as a Lord of Appeal in the House of Lords and was the first woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court and is now President. She qualified as a barrister through a selftaught course whilst working. She is a lady I inspire to be like.

“Driving, shopping, going to work, using social media; law governs everything in some way”

Brexit. Need I say any more? Quite simply, Brexit will be the largest ever change to the UK’s legal framework and its effect will be significant. Brexit has been fascinating in terms of getting people talking about the law and the effect leaving the EU will have on us as a country. Everyone has an opinion. Hopefully a partner at Cartridges Law!

Best and worst TV/film depictions of lawyers?

I really enjoyed watching The Good Wife on Netflix. Although based on the American legal system, it was a really good depiction of some of the difficulties female lawyers face and gave a good indication of the amount of negotiation that takes place between solicitors, rather than it all being about ‘a day in court’. It covered a wide range of topical issues, which were interesting and relevant. The worst is Silk. It was full of clichés and did not do much for selling the profession! I EXETER LIVING I 57



Scones, jam and cream too prissy for you? Cucumber sandwiches a bit on the mimsy side? For many carnivores and old-school bon viveurs, the traditional, Downton Abbey-style English afternoon tea will never quite hit the spot. For that reason, The Pig & Pallet in Topsham has created its own version, using almost entirely hand-produced meat, straight from the smokehouse. Think cheese scones with bacon jam, chorizo jam and cream, Devon Ruby steak, wild shot venison, and pork/pulled pork sliders with fries, slaw, pickles and onion rings, all served with a beer flight or a glass of prosecco. Book in advance; £18 per person (or £15 on a Sunday). Whatever would the Dowager Countess say?

Afternoon tea – now with added meat

Check out The Pig’s squash haul

GAME OF SQUASH It’s not just in the kitchen that The Pig at Combe is making use of its bumper crop of squash this winter. As they cure – a process that takes, on average, between a week and a month depending on species – the colourful specimens will be serving as decorations around the hotel. Head kitchen gardener Pete Harris also wants to encourage local home gardeners to nurture their own crop for 2020. “Supermarket squash are often immature and sold uncured,” he explains, “so can be worlds apart from what you can grow at home yourself. All they require is a good amount of space and regular watering. “Plant out your winter squash in May/ June time with plenty of organic matter and

YES, WE CANS Otter Brewery’s Tarka Four lager is now available in cans. Previously only available to drinkers in pubs and clubs, the deep golden brew is named after its alcohol content – 4% compared to Tarka Lager’s 4.8%, making it a quality ‘session’ lager, ie something you can drinks several pints of without falling over. Cold fermented for two weeks and further matured for two weeks, Tarka Four has been described by renowned beer writer Adrian Tierney-Jones as having “a strikingly deep gold colour with a firm mouth feel. A refreshing feel of palate excitement, hints of lemon and an appetisingly dry finish.” It was also voted the ‘UK’s Best Session Lager’ in March by SIBA, the Society for Independent Brewers. Find it at various local stockists as well as through the Otter Brewery website.


enough space for them to grow in to (up to 1.5m for trailing varieties), ready to harvest from August to October.” After which you too could be rustling up dishes like those by head chef Dan Gavriilidis: “Once they are cured we tend to split them in half,” says Dan. “After that we season them with salt, pepper, oil and herbs from the garden and garlic. We put them back together and we wrap them in tinfoil. One they are cooked you can purée the flesh to make a purée. We use that then to make a mix for potato gnocchi, finished off with some sage, cheese and pine nuts. We also sometimes leave them unpuréed to accompany a dish as a side.”

Celebrating 20 Years of e xcellence!

Offering delicious balanced dishes at superb value

Christmas Party Menu 2019 Available from the beginning of December £32 (per person) Open Wednesday to Saturday from 6.00pm Now open Saturday & Sunday Lunch from 12.00pm

The Triangle, Kenton (Nr Powderham Castle) Exeter, EX6 8LS. 01626 890195

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

FESTIVE LUNCH & DINNERS FESTIVE AFTERNOON TEA CHRISTMAS DAY & BOXING DAY LUNCH FESTIVE BREAKS NEW YEARʼS EVE FRANCIS HOTEL BATH Embrace tradition in both history and style. Step back in time for a memorable Christmas.

CASTLE HOTEL WINDSOR Immerse yourself in the finest Georgian architecture of this beautiful period hotel.

QUEENS HOTEL CHELTENHAM Discover the luxury of a bygone era of opulence and refinement in this exquisite boutique hotel.

Exeter Living team 01225 475800


ADVERTISING FEATURE FAMILY LAW Award-winning Senior Associate Solicitor Imran Khodabocus lets us into some of the secrets of his success as a specialist family lawyer.


At university I was a voluntary counsellor for other students - I always had an aptitude for listening and helping people to deal with their problems. When it came to choosing a branch of law, family law gave me the chance to help others to get through difficult experiences.


I qualified as a solicitor in 2008 and joined The Family Law Company in 2016. Since then, things have moved rather quickly! I became Team Leader after only six months and this year I was promoted to Senior Associate. I’m very positive about my career here, maybe one day I might progress to Director.


I’m Team Leader of the Children and Domestic Violence Team together with Gemma Sparks. My specialisms include cases involving children, working with victims of domestic violence and also grandparents.


I’m a good listener and very patient. I’m available at evenings and weekends as many clients can only contact me after work. It’s important to me to be easily accessible to clients; often they are going through very difficult periods in their lives and need to know they can trust me. Being a specialist in family law has a lot of value – this is a complex area of law and it’s crucial to understand those complexities. Preparation for anything I do is key, as is the ability to offer a solution to problems.


I really appreciate the opportunity to use my experience for complicated cases to achieve the best possible result for clients. I also enjoy supporting colleagues in my team when they need help. We are all about teamwork and there’s great camaraderie. We bounce ideas off each other and buoy each other up.


Spending time with my own children – if you could call that relaxing! Seriously, I love being with them, doing arts and crafts together and taking them to exhibitions. I’m also involved with their school, and our local community. I’m a big fan of crime thrillers – I’ve just finished The Capture - and I love comics and films. I’m a huge Sheffield United supporter so if they’re playing then that really takes my mind off work.


If you are interested in a career with The Family Law Company, please email and

Balliol House, Southernhay Gardens Exeter EX1 1NP.


I won the award for Solicitor of the Year in the Devon and Somerset Law Society Legal Awards 2019 which was a real highlight. There was a lot of excitement when I won, my wife Sariqa tweeted that she was going to wake the children up to tell them; that became the ‘Tweet of the Night’!


I did a talk for DASLS recently and afterwards I was invited to become an observer of the Contentious Business Subcommittee, with a view to joining. So that’s something rather different that sounds really exciting to me!


Joanne Caine

Hanna Mepstead Ama Williams

Glenn Woodcock, Derek Phillips, Penny Endersby, Mark Pellow and Mark Hodgson Penelope Endersby


Roz Woodward

This year’s Exeter Chamber of Commerce Dinner took place at Sandy Park recently. A sparkling wine reception and dinner were followed by a powerful speech from Professor Penelope Endersby, chief executive of the Met OďŹƒce, who shared her expertise on climate change and how delegates could best address the greatest environmental challenge the world has ever faced.

The black tie event was held at Sandy Park I EXETER LIVING I 63

It’s the city’s business

EXETERWORKS Exeter City Council’s John Street and Ann Hunter, InExeter manager

The ayes have it


Exeter businesses vote for another five years of InExeter

ity centre businesses have voted to continue InExeter, Exeter’s Business Improvement District (BID), through to 2025. Over the next five-year term, which starts on 1April 2020, InExeter will invest more than £2.8million across the city centre in projects including the development of the city’s programme of events and experiences, the improvement of Exeter’s street environment and delivering more support and information services to business. “I am incredibly proud of the work InExeter has achieved and pay sincere thanks to our volunteer board of directors for leading the BID over the last five years,” says Ann Hunter, InExeter manager. “Thank you also to the passionate team at InExeter, but thank you most importantly to the business community who have

voted in favour of continuing to invest in business and the city. This is a tremendous result and we look forward to delivering more, achieving more and supporting you more over the next five years.” Adds Patrick Cunningham, InExeter board chair and director of Exeter Phoenix: “I am very pleased that the city centre businesses have seized the opportunity to continue InExeter. I am sure the effect of this positive vote will encourage greater business collaboration, more events and activities to draw footfall and more business support initiatives. I look forward to working with the other directors on the board to grow business.” Overall turnout of the 731 InExeter businesses eligible to vote was 352. Of these, 255 – representing £16,096,600 of rateable value – voted in favour. For more: I EXETER LIVING I 65

Roger Wilkinson (centre) accepts his award

SPECIAL AGENT Exeter-based Wilkinson Grant & Co has been named one of the top estate agents in the country by the website Best Estate Agent Guide. The website provides an independent reference source for sellers and landlords, and is compiled by Property Academy, an organisation that works with agents to improve service standards in the property industry, with the support of Rightmove, the UK’s leading property portal. The plaudit puts Wilkinson Grant & Co among the top 3% of the roughly 15,000 estate agents in the country. The awards are made for property marketing, results and customer service – over three billion data points were analysed and 20,000 mystery shops carried out in the search for this year’s top performers. Says Wilkinson Grant & Co principal, Roger Wilkinson: “These awards follow a rigorous and independent assessment and we are thrilled to have been recognised as among the best in the country – national recognition for our hard-working team.” For more:

SPACE EXPLORERS New research carried out by Exeter’s workspace transformation experts Space has revealed the changing nature of work in the city. The new Future of the Workplace report shows that only a third of employees in and around Exeter are now permanently based in a set workplace for their job. It also found that most people now operate from a mix of locations, with over 80% sometimes working from home. Alongside the rise of flexible working, the report reveals that employee well-being initiatives are on the increase, with 62% of companies offering flexible working and 51% having wellbeing initiatives. In all, 84% of respondents recognise that a workplace impacts on people’s well-being and productivity. However, less than half of businesses say their current workspace is the right size for their organisation and a third do not think their workplace will be suitable in five years. Tim Wadsworth, director of Space says: “There are very positive signs around practical initiatives to support mental health, wellbeing and work-life balance, but there are also


Tim Wadsworth, director of Space and David Bartram, director at Exeter City Council, at the launch of the Future of the Workplace report

businesses who are not adjusting quickly enough to today’s modern workforce. “Exeter is a rapidly growing city and it’s vital that businesses stay up-to-date with best practice and technological developments to attract and retain the very best talent. The Future of the Workplace report includes case studies from the businesses in Exeter who are not only leading the field but already preparing for future changes.”

The report, which also includes practical tips for companies, is part of Space’s Future of the Workplace initiative, which helps organisations improve their workspace through shared learning and celebrating best practice, including through the annual Space Awards. Read the full Future of the Workplace report and survey at:

For more:



MOVERS, SHAKERS ETC Exeter’s largest housing association, Cornerstone, has appointed Tom Woodman as its new chief executive – he succeeds Rick Williams, who retires as one of the country’s longest serving chief executives… Tozers has promoted Karen Lucas to associate solicitor in its wealth management team… Stephanie Nestaval joins recruiters Acorn as executive search partner, transferring from Prague to Acorn’s Exeter branch… Consulting, civil and structural engineers, surveyors and designers, StructureHaus, which has offices in Exeter, London and Stuttgart, has announced the appointment of Gemma Thornhill (pictured) as new principal engineer… Hawksmoor Investment Management has welcomed Sarah Soar as its new chief executive (designate), taking over from John Crowley, Hawksmoor’s founder… Dave Allen joins Ottery St Mary restaurant Rusty Pig as executive chef…

Nominations are in full flow for the 2020 Exeter Living Awards and, following a record-breaking year, organisers are anticipating many in the Exeter business community putting themselves forward for the chance to win. Traditionally, the prestigious Awards have sold out many weeks in advance, with over 480 attendees and dozens on the waiting list. Businesses bring their best case forward for an Award if they wish to attend – with the chance to sweep up a glamorous trophy. “Entering the Exeter Living Awards is a super stylish way to show everyone just how your business is a great part of the Exeter business scene,” says Steph Dodd, events director at MediaClash. “Winning an Award is highly beneficial for company profile, and serves as great recognition for teams and individuals who go the extra mile for your company.” The deserving winners receive coverage in Exeter Living, a hand-crafted trophy, window stickers to proudly display and two places at a special Winners’ Dinner – plus the long-lasting memory of an awardwinning moment. Nominees are encouraged to check the ‘12 Top Tips’ and ‘How To Win’ pages on the Awards site,

Imagine that ‘And the Winner is…’ moment

which cover everything from what to include within a nomination to making a strong case that will surely wow the judges. Finalists are announced 22 January.

For more: Twitter: @ExeterLivingAwd

Ethical trips to Morocco are among those organised for schools by STC Expeditions

HAVE ETHICS, WILL TRAVEL As schools demand a more sustainable and responsible approach to travel, an Exeter-based schools’ tour operator specialising in ethical travel has reported an increase in sales of 55% over the past year. “From the moment we launch a trip to when the group returns, we aim to educate students and teachers on how to be more responsible tourists,’ says Adrian Ferraro from STC Expeditions, which has been organising ethical school travel around the world since 2006. “Flying less and making each flight count, avoiding single use plastic by drinking filtered water and employing and training local

leaders from the destination instead of sending staff from the UK – are just a few examples of many of the things we do. “STC Expeditions is the only school tour operator and one of only two in the UK and around 90 worldwide with ‘Travelife Certified’ status, an accreditation formally recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. While we have been providing ethical trips for schools for nearly 15 years, it is fantastic to see that teachers and senior leaders are starting to place a greater emphasis on responsible and sustainable travel.” For more: I EXETER LIVING I 67


Investing the Amazon way


Carolyn Matravers of OLD MILL tells us more...

ith current political and economic uncertainty, it can be hard not to worry about your investments. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, explains what’s not going to change in the next few years: "We know that customers want low prices, fast delivery and vast selection. It's impossible to imagine a future 10 years from now where a customer comes up and says, ‘Jeff I love Amazon; I just wish the prices were a little higher…'’’ Bezos’ wisdom also applies to investing and we know certain things will work to benefit sensible investors.

We rely on a number of truths which are core to how we structure our portfolios: ● We capture the market return on offer using lower-cost, well-structured products

● We spread our assets broadly to ensure risks are well-diversified ● We balance out the risks of equities by owning high quality bonds ● Patience through the short-term dips, and discipline to maintain your strategy, are fundamental

Diversification protects us from unfavourable outcomes Our portfolios are well-structured around the value of deep diversification. They reduce the risk of being caught out by material negative impacts in specific markets. Owning non-Sterling assets If Sterling falls, overseas equities in our portfolios can benefit. A fall in Sterling will increase the value of non-UK assets in their own currency.

Owning high quality, shorter-dated global bonds High quality bonds act as a strong insurance policy against falls in equity markets. We include bond holdings diversified across a number of different global bond markets. Even in uncertain times, principles of good investing, like the ones described above, should hold true through market conditions. Ultimately, what our clients get is an investment portfolio that is designed for their goals, which lets them sleep at night. For help with your investments contact our expert advisers. ■

See how we can help you secure your financial future. Contact Carolyn Matravers on 01935 709334 or email


EXETER LIVING AWARDS 2019 NOURISH A new wave of zero-waste stores is spreading across the UK, in response to our increased concerns about climate change. Exeter-based Nourish, which has branches in Topsham and on Magdalen Road, was one of the first – aiming to minimise the environmental impact of our consumer habits by encouraging sustainable shopping. An easy choice for our 2019 judges, then. We asked owner Sarah Martin to tell us more… RETAILER WINNER SPONSORED BY

So how did it feel to win an Exeter Living Award?

Phenomenal! As such a new business and with such a strong field in the Retailer category I really wasn’t expecting to win, so it was a wonderful surprise and really bolstered my confidence that I had a sustainable business model. Why do you think Nourish won?

We were a unique offering to Exeter, introducing a completely different approach to shopping to help people eliminate plastic packaging waste. Our environmental focus connected with consumers who were just beginning to make major changes to

their lives to reduce their impact on the planet. This means that we are able to thrive in a struggling market and hopefully bring a feelgood factor to everyday shopping. What are your best memories of the night?

Meeting so many incredible business people. The evening really highlighted to me what an extraordinary and forward-thinking city Exeter really is. Celebrating so many innovators and change-makers was really inspiring! My funniest memory is being so unprepared to be announced as winner I had to scramble to get my heels back on! What inspired you to open the shops?

As an environmental scientist, I had long been concerned about the devastating effect single use plastic is having on the planet, and was becoming increasingly


frustrated with being forced to buy provisions in plastic packaging in the supermarkets. I knew that public awareness was growing on the back of Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet documentary, so I decided to try and provide customers the chance to change their habits to try to improve the situation by opening my own packaging-free shop. What makes you different from other shops?

Nourish offers a revolutionary way of shopping. Every individual sale we make is counted as one piece of plastic; at the time of the Awards, just nine months from opening, this equated to 30,000 pieces of plastic saved – and now stands at over 100,000. We take our message out to the younger generation and help others to use our success to build their own businesses. We also provide a facility for recycling types of waste that too often end up in landfill.

feel like they can make a quantifiable difference to the future of our planet. It floors me every time, and makes me feel proud of the business, and optimistic that we can turn the tide on plastic. What’s the bestselling item in your shops right now?

Some of our most popular items are those we stock by local makers. This includes lovely crochet items from Vanessa Bunting, eco cleaning products from Elmkind and soaps and shampoo bars from The Natural Spa and Soap Daze. Tea from Dartmoor blenders Tea’s Me and, of course, coffee from Exe Coffee Roasters and Crankhouse are very popular. Our customers have a genuine and earnest interest in supporting small independent local businesses.

What’s the nicest bit of feedback you’ve ever had from a customer?

“Thank you for opening this shop”. Lots of our customers say this and that Nourish has allowed them to make changes that have made them

For more: Facebook: @nourishzerowaste I EXETER LIVING I 69


Extensions, loft conversions & new build Building design & specification Planning & building regulations Over 25 years local experience

Call for a FREE initial consultation

01392 666410 |

Intruder Alarms | Fire Alarms | CCTV Specialist installers of electronic security systems, tailored to suit your every need Existing systems maintained and updated

Call us for a chat about cost effective security solutions

01392 368830


Exeter’s The Board Basement ships all over the world

These pieces of information are simple: one tells the customs who you are, the other what you are exporting. It is worth reviewing your courier and carriers to see how they deal with customs documentation. The same can be said of the software you use. We’ve just installed a system that creates a customs label with our details and a product harmonisation code on the shipping label, which saves time . Check out the Royal Mail website, which has a wealth of information. The majority of the couriers offering international services are companies based outside of the UK so their systems are already able to cope with Brexit bureaucracy. You must make allowances for returns. If you send something out, you may need to get it back. You can offer free returns but that will lose you money on every return.


EXPORTING IS EASIER THAN YOU THINK STUART TAIT, co-founder and director of Exeter’s Board Basement, explains how to sell your goods abroad


rexit often paints a negative picture for businesses, but whatever the outcome, it’s not the end of exporting. Sure, there might be new red tape, maybe taxes, but nothing should stop you selling your goods abroad. For 10 years the Board Basement has sold all over the world; we haven’t sold snow to the Eskimos but we have sold them snowboard boots. We’ve also sold snowboards to the Arabs in Dubai, north and central America, Asia and the Isle of Wight. It makes me smile every time Emma, our bookkeeper, asks for the non-EU sales, because they’re a significant part of our business. Regardless of whether we stay in Europe or not, this is how we have made ourselves one of the county’s leading retail exporters. EORI, harmonisation and export licence First piece of the puzzle is getting your identification numbers. If you have not already done so, apply for your EORI (Economic

Operator Registration and Identification) number. It is your world VAT number and it helps different countries tax you appropriately. HMRC is full of really helpful articles and tips about this. Start here: uk/government/ publications/hmrcbrexit-communicationsresources The good news is that the EORI is useful for trading all over the world. Brexit is just bringing these things to the forefront, which is actually a positive. Harmonisation codes are where the ‘bent bananas’ jokes all came from – they identify your product types so customs can apply the correct tariff. Export licences may be required for certain goods, such as foodstuffs. As we sell sporting goods, we don’t need one.

DDP vs. DDU? A DDU term stands for ‘Delivery Duty Unpaid’, while a DDP term stands for ‘Delivered Duty Paid’. So, what does that actually mean? One is where you organise duties; the other is where it is the buyer’s responsibility to pay any duties. The country you’re shipping to may impose a duty or tax on your shipment, depending on the declared value of what you’re shippin, and what we know is every country has its own set of rules, regulations, and taxes for importing. Who pays these duties is a key decision. If you ship to France or anywhere in Europe, do you pay the duties as part of the price you sold the product for? Or is the onus back on the buyer? It is your choice, and given you’ve already got your harmonisation code, it is easy to know the tariffs. There is a flip side. You need to look into your own sector, however, in simple terms, VAT is not applicable to sales outside of the EU if we remain; and you will not have to pay VAT on sales outside of the UK if we exit, but will be responsible for duties. So if you’re paying the duties abroad, you won’t need to pay VAT in the UK. If you pay VAT on sales outside of the EU, you should seek advice as you may be able to reclaim VAT dating back up to four years. Exporting is not difficult. Do your homework and get organised.


The Board Basement, 4 Bridford Road, Marsh Barton, Exeter EX2 8QX; 01392 275 256; I EXETER LIVING I 71


HUNTER’S LODGE You won’t find a more Christmassy home this side of Lapland, reckons KITTY KANE I EXETER LIVING I 73



ith its Victorian cast-iron gates, fairy tale façade, crimson-coloured entrance hall, huge fireplaces, cosy country kitchen and other gorgeous, olde worlde features, this period family home at the foot of the Blackdown Hills could easily double as the set of a Christmas movie. Hunter’s Lodge nestles in a rural nook between the villages of Kentisbeare and Dulford, eight miles from Honiton. It was originally the lodge house to the former Dulford House to the north, and has been substantially extended and improved, while retaining and restoring original features including high ceilings, timber floors and bags of character. Talk about a pad to inspire peace and goodwill. Imagine Christmas Day here: you’d wake up in one of the five pretty-windowed double bedrooms (the current owners are using one of these as a family room), and scrub up in the immaculate family bathroom or separate shower room. Then, a breakfast of scrambled eggs and smoked salmon prepared in the range cooker and solid-fuel Rayburn of the bright, vaulted breakfast room attached to the kitchen. Both have free-standing Shaker-style timber units, and handsome slate floors with electric underfloor heating to keep the morning chill at bay. There’s a pantry here too, for all those extra, festive supplies. The hardier among you and your seasonal guests can even enjoy a morning dip in the heated swimming pool, or a stroll through your own copse of mixed woodland, or down an avenue of hundred-year-old lime trees and around your lovely 2.87 acres of gardens and grounds.


Later, you’d probably invite the neighbours round for prelunch bucks fizz in the stunning, red-painted reception hall – sliding across the polished wooden floor in your new socks to answer the front door. From here you would proceed to the double-aspect, sapphire-hued dining room for turkey and all the trimmings. Post-prandial brandies and board games next, yes? Simply step into the spacious, yellow-walled, parquet-floored, pictureperfect drawing room – where there’s a fire blazing in its new, large wood-burning stove – and settle in for the evening. As it’s Christmas, and you’re digitally detoxing, you probably won’t be going into the office that’s also on this floor, lovely though it is with its exposed beams and recently laid wood laminate flooring.  Family descending from all angles? No worries. You’ve also got two lots of flexible, ancillary accommodation: an interconnected annexe containing a kitchen, sitting room, bedroom and en suite shower room; and the generous Blackdown Barn, formerly a purpose-built office, which has been cleverly split into three bedrooms (including a master en suite), bathroom, cloakroom, kitchen and two mezzanine floors each side of an absolutely fabulous, expansive, open plan living room area. If, like the current owners, you decide to use this as a holiday let, you’ll be able to raise your Christmas pressie budget considerably. Equestrian types will also be thrilled at the paddocks, substantial timber stables with terracotta tiled roof, and lean-to stores with the potential for other uses, subject to planning. Hunter’s Lodge is an absolute cracker. Just add your own enormous Christmas tree. n

HOUSE NUMBERS Guide price Bedrooms

£975,000 4/5

Reception rooms






Heated swimming pool Acres

1 2.87

For more: Stags, 66 Bank House, Honiton EX14 1PS; 01404 45885; I EXETER LIVING I 75


Prices from £575,000

The Grove is an exclusive development of just five luxury homes, with each one having been created with elegance and comfort at the forefront of its design. Situated in the centre of the village with fabulous countryside views and large gardens. The properties are a mix of four and five-bedroom detached houses.

For further details telephone Lisa Storer on 01392 455926 or email



Guide Price £600,000 - £650,000

A truly quintessential example of a Grade II Chocolate Box cottage in the heart of the peaceful South Devon countryside. Oozing charm and character with a modern twist. Five bedrooms four with en-suite, three reception rooms, modern kitchen. Stunning country cottage gardens and the most beautiful countryside views. Double garage and parking for three vehicles

For further details telephone Gemma Neale on 01392 427500 or email



“I’ve got a strange crush on Deborah Meaden from Dragons’ Den. Powerful woman” is such fun and I live five minutes around the corner from the theatre in London, which is handy. Which role in which musical would you most love to play?

Something I’ve always liked the idea of is Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar. Awesome character with awesome songs. Are you allowed to tell us anything about the film you’ve just shot with Michael Caine?

ALISTAIR BRAMMER The Broadway and West End star is coming home for Christmas! Musical theatre fans will need no introduction to Alistair Brammer, 31, the goldenlarynxed Exmouth lad turned star of stage and screen. Alistair auditioned for TV talent show Any Dream Will Do in 2008 while at Exeter College, before joining the cast of the UK tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. In 2009, he made his West End debut as Marius in Les Mis, and went on to appear in the 2012 Universal Pictures adaptation with Hugh Jackman, as Jean Prouvaire. On Broadway and the West End he’s played Chris in Miss Saigon and, since July, Fiyero in Wicked in London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre. Oh, and last year he shot three films, one of them with Michael Caine. We grabbed a moment with him between vocal warm-ups for his Exmouth concert...

How would you sum up your childhood growing up in Exmouth?

It was perfect. I was a five-minute cycle from the beach and as the youngest of seven I always had someone to play with. It’s such a wonderful place to grow up. What are your happiest memories of your time at Exeter College?

Hanging out on Cathedral Green with my friends. It felt more like university than college really. I should probably mention the drama department also, they played a large part in cementing my passion for acting. Penny and Eithne, particularly. Congratulations on Wicked! How’s it going?

It’s going great! Eight shows a week so it’s a little tiring, particularly as I have a newborn baby now! But life is good. The show is great, the part


Yes! It’s called Medieval. To be released in 2020. Also starring Matthew Goode and Ben Foster. It’s about a Czech hero called Jan Žižka and I play Freddy, who is a crossbow expert – sort of a medieval sniper. We shot for three months in Prague.

What can we expect from your concert in Exmouth on 1 December?

Some musical theatre classics, modern tunes and loads of special guests. Plus a choir! It’s at the Pavilion on the sea front and there’s two shows, 2.30pm and 7.30pm, so you can make a day of it. Get a pasty and an ice cream then come see my concert! Do you have a nickname/ nicknames?

My wife, Rachel, calls me Ali. My siblings call me Al! At Exeter College my mates called me ‘All Star’, which I rather liked. When I did the Les Misérables movie my mates on that started calling me ‘Brammerhammer’, but that’s getting a little too weird, I feel. What job would you be terrible at?

Anything where you have to multitask. Organising something. For every thing I remember, I forget three other things.

Who’s your celebrity crush?

My wife laughs at me, but I’ve got a strange crush on Deborah Meaden from Dragons’ Den. Powerful woman. When did you last cry, and why?

Probably at my son. Sometimes you sit and stare and get overwhelmed, in the most fantastic way. He’s 12 weeks old. Favourite places to eat and drink in the Exeter area?

An old hangout used to be Boston Tea Party. Their white hot chocolate was the bomb. And they do a good soup. I like a good soup. Who’s the coolest person you know in Exeter?

That’s a tough one. I’d say my Auntie Liz is pretty cool. She’s in her ’70s and goes on about three amazing trips to various places around the world every year. And I mean far-flung corners. I’d love to have that kind of zest for life when I’m her age. What do you want for Christmas? My Mum asks me this every year, and every year I struggle. Maybe a voucher for the Northcott! I love to see what they’re up to. I have great memories of seeing fab things there at college. What are you doing after this?

I have a rehearsal this afternoon with one of my special guests for the concert who is coming with me from London. She’s amazing. It’s going to be fun. n Back From Broadway Starring Alistair Brammer is at Exmouth Pavilion on 1 December, 2.30pm and 7.30pm. Tickets: 01395 222477; whats-on

Profile for MediaClash

Exeter Living - Issue 254  

Exeter Living - Issue 254