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My Local Magazine ®

Issue 84 | May 2018 | The BEST of Stockton’s Business, News, Reviews and To-Do’s

Local Stories | Local Businesses | Gardening | Car Reviews Health & Beauty | Home | Horoscopes

distributed by GPS Leaflet Distribution

Keep Me for 2 Months



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Quality in the materials that we use for all our installations and the fact that all our loft packages are fitted by time served tradesmen so our customers are assured of the best job. Integrity in that we will turn up at the time we The company, based locally, say and make sure the house offers homeowners the opis spotless when we leave, portunity to maximise their and Value in that we offer storage space with a loft our services at a price people ladder, 50 sq ft of boarding can afford. Our business and a light all fully fitted in relies on referrals and we got less than a day from just a huge amount of our calls £277 + VAT. But it’s not just from people who have been the affordability of the pack- referred to us by our existing age the company offers that customers - that simply makes Yorkshire Loft Ladwouldn’t happen if we didn’t ders stand out as manager adhere to our overriding Mark Hodson explains: principles. These days most homeowners suffer from a lack of storage space. So many precious items that need to be kept – but where to store it all? That’s where Yorkshire Loft Ladders come in.

‘Our watchwords are Quality, Integrity and Value.

lead to more happy customers is true and we work hard to make that happen for every installation we carry out!’ So, if you want to make use of your loft space, however

big or small, call Mark on 0800 612 8359 and he’ll be happy to pop round and give you a no obligation quote so you too can make use of your loft!

At the end of the day the old adage that happy customers | E:


Sense of Summer While most of us are pretty good at slapping on the sun cream these days, it’s all too easy to forget about protecting our hair. Sun damage can make hair frizzy, dry and hard to manage, as Anabel Kingsley, Trichologist at Philip Kingsley, explains, “UV rays act on hair in a similar way to bleach; they degrade its protein structure, leaving strands weaker and more vulnerable to breakage and further damage.” Philip Kingsley’s Sun Shield, £22, can help to keep your hair healthier. As well as offering sun protection, this lightweight spray also helps to prevent damage caused by chlorine and salt water. And, as an extra bonus, it reduces colour fade, and smooths and conditions to boot. See Skin does a pretty good job of renewing cells but a helping hand is always appreciated. Green People’s Age Defy+ Soft Buff Skin Exfoliator, £22 from, uses pineapple extract and finely ground bamboo stems to gently remove old, dead skin cells and stimulate cell renewal. The exfoliating cream also includes bentonite clay to


unblock your pores. In all, there are a whopping 24 beauty-enhancing active ingredients, including orange peel oil and extracts of rosemary leaf and hibiscus flower. Use it two to three times a week for softer, smoother skin that looks and feels healthier. If you’re looking for a new tinted lip balm, Bobbi Brown’s Extra Lip Tint ( should be on your wish list. It’s super nourishing and works wonders on dry, chapped lips. There are four shades to choose from, all of which work to accentuate your own natural lip colour. So Bare Pink, for example, gives your lips a flushed glow, while Bare Popsicle adds a hint of deeper red. Think moisturising lip balm combined with a lightweight gloss. At £25.50, this is certainly not a budget buy, but it does feel like a real treat so is well worth splurging on. It can feel like there’s a new super-ingredient being touted in the beauty world every week. However, sometimes the old, tried and tested ingredients really are the best. Retinol, for instance, is probably the best ingredient for

stimulating collagen production. It’s pretty potent, so most creams only include 1% or less of retinol, to avoid irritation. However, IMAGE skincare have found a way to formulate an overnight mask which includes 3% retinol, without any of the usual side effects. The results of regular use are impressive – firmer, softer skin, with fewer visible lines. Ageless Total Overnight Retinol Masque retails at £80. Call 0345 504 0461 to find your nearest stockist. If you’re ready to swap your foundation for a tinted moisturiser, check out Weleda’s new Beauty Balm Tinted Day Cream, £18.95. It’s packed with botanical goodness, including shea butter, jojoba oil, organic iris and cucumber extract, so is really nourishing.You won’t get the full coverage of a foundation, but the balm is lightly tinted and does a good job of covering imperfections and evening out skin tone. All in all, it’s perfect for summer, as it’s lightweight, doesn’t clog pores, and saves you time in the morning. What’s not to like? See

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May 2018 Last month, I had to say was a little bit hectic. As my dear Mother in Law would have said “ I don’t know whether I was Arthur, Martha or George” We were, to say the least struggling to keep up with customer enquiries and taking on new people to help us with our businesses. We did not have a clue how to cope with the level of enquiries we were getting.We tried different things to get us on track. New technology, better email systems, multiple telephone numbers to handle incoming calls more efficiently. All failed.

What a brilliant idea for keeping everything in one place and easily accessible. I have concluded that regardless of what technology comes our way, it is going to be challenging to replicate paper. All this technology with its fingerprint recognition, downloading a fancy app to try and decipher your working and daily life on a seven inch screen just doesn’t cut it. Somethings in life I think will never be superseded by technology. Good old-fashioned paper and pen can’t be beaten in my view.


The only way we could get back on track was to revert to a fantastic eighties product called the Filofax. Some of you may have owned one.

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Features Recipe


Brilliant Bathroom lighting


Tees Grandfather Brings Top Ukrainian Pianist To Ne


Super stylish children’s rooms


Curl up with a book


Milan Cathedral


Jeremy Middleton Managing Director T: 01642 924847 M: 07533 265 475 E: W: My Local Magazines Ltd, Office 4, Walker House, 3rd Floor, High Street Stockton on Tees TS18 1BG My Local Magazine does not endorse any advertisement with in this publication. My Local Magazine cannot be held responsible for breach of copyright arising from publication artwork supplied. It is the advertisers responsibility to ensure conformity with the Trades Description Act 1975 Business Advertisement Disclosure Order 1977 and The Consumer Act 1974. Reproduction of this magazine is in anyway is strictly prohibited. If you wish to use any of the advertisements or content within this publication please contact Jeremy Middleton 01642 924847 Whilst we, the publisher take great care to be accurate, no liability will be accepted under any circumstances should any of the contents of this publication be incorrect.







What’s wrong with a little rosetinted nostalgia? 21 Carry on Camping


Top Travels


Iconic Routes: The North Coast 500


Striking Sunflowers


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Care for our elderly that’s good enough for the Queen! You’re never too old to try something new, whether it’s joining a local exercise class, learning a language or making new friends – age is just a number! Social connections promote positive health and wellbeing, all of which help combat social isolation and loneliness and enhance wellbeing. Home Instead Senior Care is a local company who are specialists at providing exemplary care and support to older people who want to remain happily, safely and independently at home. Their award winning care model is centred on companionship, ensuring older people have someone to talk to who genuinely cares about them and who spends quality time with them. The company is very proud of its dedicated, passionate Caregivers who provide companionship and care to their clients every day. Home Instead does this so well that they have been


are there as a friend and you spend time talking to a getting to know the client; you develop a relationship and become a friend. And it is for that that you have an award for innovation – relationship care, matching the carer to the client and of course making sure that the same person sees the same client over a long period.”

awarded the Queens Award for Enterprise for their endeavours! The Queens official representative, Lord Lieutenant David Briggs, MBE, K.St.J. saying “The Queen has been so impressed with your single minded determination to give the elderly what they want – to cherish, or dare I say to love and truly care for them. You have also understood that one of the biggest killers in old age is loneliness and so you are not just there to clean or cook or to change the person being cared for, but you

Genuine care for the elderly is only ever as good as the people employed to deliver that support and so that’s why the best care providers use ‘value based’ recruitment practices. This makes sure that people employed are genuine, true and honest people, many of whom the company finds have never had formal care experience with another organisation but have looked after a family member for example; they know from the heart what it takes to provide and receive that support. Home Instead then provides its bespoke, award winning training to the right candidates. Alison P. joined Home Instead recently and had this to say … “I believe there is a difference between needing a job and wanting a job! I want this job. I’ve been so full of enthusiasm about it since I left the initial interview. I’ve done all the humdrum jobs, had my self-confidence knocked out of me by motherhood and now I believe it’s my time to shine, not just my time, but for the people whom I feel I have so much to offer. . I’ve always had so much to give and feel this would be the vocation in life that I have always aspired to. I don’t want to ‘care’ for people in an environment that doesn’t allow the operative word. I want to make a difference to both the client and the relatives who are putting their faith into outside care, usually due to outside commitments of their own.Therefore they must have complete confidence / reassurance that the care for their loved one is second to none” …. Are there anymore ‘Alison’s’ out there …?

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COCONUT SEAFOOD CURRY Full of flavour, this speedy curry is great for a summer supper. Replace the asparagus tips with green beans or sugar snap peas, if liked. Serve with boiled noodles or steamed Thai jasmine rice. Serves 4 Ready in 50 minutes 1tbsp vegetable oil 8 shallots, peeled and halved 2-3 tbsp Thai green curry paste (see Tip)

225g new potatoes, scrubbed and halved 1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced 400ml can reduced fat coconut milk 150ml vegetable stock 2tbsp light soy sauce 450g cod fillet, skinned and cut into chunks 175g fine asparagus tips Juice from 1 lime 200g cooked tiger prawns, thawed if frozen

2tbsp freshly chopped coriander Salt and freshly ground black pepper Chopped red chilli and fresh coriander leaves, to garnish 1 Heat the oil in a large deep frying pan over a medium heat and fry the shallots for 5 minutes until golden. Stir in the Thai green curry paste and cook for 1 minute. 2 Add the potatoes, carrot, coconut milk, stock and soy sauce. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are almost tender. 3 Add the chunks of cod and asparagus tips to the pan. Cover and simmer gently for a further 6-8 minutes until the fish is just cooked and beginning to flake. 4 Gently stir in the lime juice, tiger prawns and chopped coriander. Simmer for 5 minutes until the prawns are piping hot, then season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve in warmed bowls garnished with chopped chilli and coriander leaves. | E:


Brilliant Bathroom lighting Use a range of light fittings for a flexible scheme, for brisk morning ablutions to leisurely evening baths. In the morning, you’ll need bright, efficient light in the bathroom but for a soak in the tub you’ll want soft, relaxing lighting. A lighting scheme for a bathroom requires careful consideration and should be planned at the same time as the plumbing, considering the availability and direction of natural light, who uses the bathroom, what for and when, and the overall style you require. It should be flexible and combine directional task lights with adjustable general background light – and using fittings suitable for wet and steamy conditions. For washing, shaving and putting on make-up, it’s useful to install bright, ‘working’ lights above the bath, shower and basin areas, with additional lighting for any remaining dark areas. Use mirrors to reflect light around the room and make it seem brighter. All-purpose downlights set into the ceiling are neat, and small, directional lights on tracks are useful, too, and come in a range of


inexpensive styles. Mirrors and mirrored cabinets with integral lighting are a great two-in-one solution; alternatively light a conventional mirror with theatre-style bulbs all around or wall lamps on either side. When placing lights make sure the lights is even, and avoid a single, very bright light from above. Supplement ceiling lights with LED strips behind baffles or panels. Other ideas include: storage units incorporating lighting; uplighters in flooring; a remote control LED colour-changing lamp; basin taps with a water-activated LED light; illuminated rainfall shower heads; and low-level lighting that comes on automatically when someone enters the room – great for night-time toilet visits. For real luxury, install two bathroom lighting circuits – one for everyday lights, and the other for ambient dimmable lights. Finally, candlelight is ideally suited to relaxing in the bathroom. BOX Bathroom lighting regulations Bathroom lighting regulations are

strict. The lights you choose must have a suitable IP (ingress protection) rating, which relates to how close to water the fitting will be. Typically, the room is divided into three zones. Zone 0 is inside the bath or shower, so fittings must be immersion-proof, rated at least IP67 and low voltage. Zone 1 is the area above the bath or shower, to a height of 2.25m from the floor, and a minimum rating of IP45 is required (though most shower lights are rated at IP65). Zone 2 is outside the bath and shower, reaching 60cm on either side and 2.25m from the floor; any area within 60cm of a tap is also considered within zone 2. Here, a rating of at least IP44 is required. Outside these areas there are no specific IP requirements, though experts recommend fittings with a minimum rating of IP20.You should always consult a qualified electrician.

To advertise call Jeremy T: 01642 924847 M: 07533 265475

Tees Grandfather Brings Top Ukrainian Pianist To North East

A grandfather who was inspired by the talent of a young pianist he discovered on social media has found himself to be a music impresario after persuading her to come and play in the North East. After bringing up his five children and a career in accountancy, Alan Wilkinson, 73, shunned a retirement in front of the TV to spend more time listening to music. It was while he was surfing YouTube that he came across a recording of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 5 played by the Mannheim Philharmonic and a young soloist, Olga Zado. “I was very impressed by how Olga played with such precision, it was obvious that she knew how important every note was to the score. Also, something that isn’t always obvious with other pianists, very expressive and enjoying what she was doing with a smile regularly crossing her face,” said Alan, of Stockton. He sent Olga, who is part of

the exclusive group of Steinway Artists, a message on Facebook to congratulate her on her playing. He added: “To my total surprise she replied and subsequently we have become good friends and I have enjoyed finding out all about the life of a professional pianist.” Olga, who is from Ukraine, received her musical education in Bern, Switzerland, and played her first solo recital aged seven. She has gone on to perform in concerts across Europe, including being invited to play at the new 2,500-seat Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall in Hamburg last November. Alan decided to take the opportunity to treat himself and go and see her play in person and afterwards was invited to join Olga and some of her friends in the green room. With no experience in organising or promoting events, Alan invited Olga to come and play in England in June, selecting the Princess Alexandra Auditorium in Yarm as the venue. “When her positive reply came

back it suddenly dawned on me that this was going to happen,” said Alan, whose daughter Rachel has developed an event website for him, He added: “There are many problems in life these days, so I want to encourage people to come along, open their minds and hear some truly beautiful music that will leave them with memories of a talented artist who has happily shared her talent with us all here in the North East.” Olga has also been invited to provide a workshop for six piano students at the newly re-furbished Middlesbrough Town Hall on Sunday 17 June 2018 and she has happily agreed. She has also agreed to provide a workshop for some of the young aspiring pianists at Yarm School, while she is in the region. The concert is on June 16 at 7.30pm. Tickets, at £14 for adults and £8 for children, can be booked at https:// olga-zado-in-concert/ or by phoning the box office on 01642 792587. | E:



To advertise call Jeremy T: 01642 924847 M: 07533 265475 | E:


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Super stylish children’s rooms Rooms for little ones should be highly practical and also full of fun. Make your kid’s room great • Start by considering how much space is available, who will use it and how often. How old are your children? What are their likes and dislikes? What is your budget? Sketch a floor plan on graph paper, including positions of doors, windows, radiators and light fittings, plus bed(s), perhaps seating and clothes storage, and space for books, toys, games, art and craft activities. • The key to designing a child’s room is flexibility. Keep the basics plain and simple and theme the less expensive and easily changed items (such as blinds, cushions or storage boxes) to whatever colour or character fascinates your child that particular month. • Soft carpet may be tempting but, ideally, floors should be non-slip, easily cleanable and durable, as well as not too hard underfoot. Wooden or laminate boards plus a soft rug (with an anti-slip mat beneath) are great, and you could also consider vinyl, linoleum, cork or rubber. • When it comes to lighting, inset ceiling lights and high-up wall lights are better than floor or table lamps that could get in the way of games and be knocked over. • Brighten up walls with framed pictures (your child’s own, maybe),

removable stickers, or perhaps something more inventive such as artists’ canvases painted in bright blocks of colour, a camouflage net, flags, maps, blackboard or magnetic paint, or an entire wall of goodlooking storage. 1 Transform your little one into an astronaut in their sleep. Rocket single duvet set by Snurk, £49, Beaumonde. 2 Designed and built by hand in the Scout & Boo workshop, this versatile ‘rainbow’ cabinet could be used for books, clothes or toys. It’s made from sustainable birch ply and finished with water-based satin lacquer. £1,250 from Scout & Boo.




3 Bold and bright, this toucan wall sticker adds a touch of the tropics. It costs £10.50 from Chameleon Wall Art. 4 Three deep drawers provide plenty of storage room, while the modern, simple styling make the Oeuf Sparrow dresser a good-looking piece for any bedroom or nursery. £789 from Diddle Tinkers.


5 You can never have too much storage in a child’s room. Släkting storage bag, £6, Ikea. 6 Banish boring bunk beds! The Scandi-inspired Linus features curved edges and a contrasting pine-andwhite finish. It’s £499 from made. com. 7 A rainbow of colours fills this ABC alphabet print (unframed) by Ingrid Petrie. Perfect for kids of all ages. £16 from Mini Maison.



7 | E:


For May 2018


By Astrologer Russell Grant

ARIES (March21st-April20th) Accepting a new job is a strong possibility at the middle of May. The New Moon on the 15th will give you a chance to gain hands on experience. Accept a temporary assignment.You will make such a success of this venture that you will be offered a full-time position. There will be plenty of growth opportunity at this company. This greatly appeals to your desire for leadership role.You’re tired of taking orders from people who are less talented and capable. On the 29th, you might be coming home from a long trip.Visiting a friend who lives far away will open your eyes to different ways of living. If you’ve found a particular routine oppressive, take this opportunity to change. Don’t defend your choices to narrow minded relatives. Seeking other people’s approval is always a losing proposition. It’s better to obey the call of your own heart. It knows what is best for you. TAURUS (April21st-May21st) Take this opportunity to show off your creative work. The New Moon on the 15th will attract an appreciative audience. If you’ve been longing for a career in the arts, this is the time to make your move. Submit your portfolio to a gallery, manager or publisher.You’ll quickly find representation. Don’t be surprised when you feel compelled to change your look after taking a big risk. Updating your hairstyle, revamping your wardrobe or undergoing a cosmetic procedure will cause people to take you more seriously. On the 29th, the Full Moon will prompt you to make a merger official or break things off with an oppressive partner. Give careful thought to your financial situation. If it will be improved by a romantic or business alliance, go for it. If you’ve been dealing with someone who has been draining your resources, head for greener pastures. A legal professional will give you excellent advice; take it. GEMINI (May22nd-June21st) After a frenzied period of partying, you’ll be able to rest and relax in the middle of May. The days surrounding the 15th urge you to take time off work and recharge your batteries. Obey the call of the New Moon and stay away from social media. Solitary activities like reading, writing and even a little contemplative meditation will be therapeutic. They will also give you a renewed appreciation for sensual pleasures. Treat yourself to a gourmet meal, a collection of music by your favourite 16

artist, or a film festival. The Full Moon on the 29th marks an exciting turning point in a relationship. Getting engaged or married is a strong possibility. If you’re in a committed partnership, your amour will have exciting news.You might be going on an overseas trip together. This holiday will feel like a second honeymoon. Exploring a cosmopolitan city will bring out the best in you both. CANCER (June22nd-July23rd) Joining a political organisation or professional club will be lots more fun than expected. On the 15th, you’ll be inspired to work with a group that shares your beliefs or ambitions. Many members of this team will delight and inspire you. After feeling like an oddball, it will be a real relief to find your tribe. Are you in the market for love? You will meet someone special who is a prominent participant. Let them pursue you; it will be good for your ego. A big job will come to a successful conclusion on the 29th, filling you with pride. The profits from this work will bring long term financial stability. Instead of raising your standard of living, maintain the status quo. Put your extra earnings into a savings, retirement or college fund. Having a financial cushion will leave you free to pursue the relationships and work you want. LEO (July24th-August23rd) You’ll be able to make fresh inroads in your career, thanks to the New Moon on the 15th. It’s a good time to take a job involving art, luxury goods or cosmetics.Your warmth and humour will attract loyal clients who trust your judgement. If you’re not looking for work, you might be invited to take the helm of a cultural organisation.You’ll be a great fit for this position. Use your extensive social connections to raise money for this institution. Thanks to your influence, more people in your community will be able to participate in programs designed for their enjoyment. The Full Moon on the 29th causes you to reveal a crush or make a serious romantic commitment. If you already have a partner, take this opportunity to do something special for your amour. A gift that reflects their taste will be greatly appreciated. If you’re not sure what to buy, ask their best friend for suggestions. vIRGO (August24th-September23rd) May invites you to go after a cherished dream.

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Earning an advanced degree, living abroad and publishing a book are among the possibilities.You’ll get a green light near the 15th, when the New Moon beckons you into unfamiliar territory. Don’t be afraid to leave familiar surroundings for an intimidating environment. Being surrounded by accomplished people will force you to work harder than ever before. That’s definitely a good thing.You’re tired of resting on your laurels; it has dulled your intellect and made you complacent. By the 29th the Full Moon will find you wrapping up a household matter. Relocating to a different area, finding care for an elderly relative or tending to a youngster’s needs will give you a sense of accomplishment. Once this matter is concluded, you’ll have more time for yourself. Take this opportunity to enjoy the people and activities that fill you with happiness. LIBRA (September24th-October23rd) Moving in with your significant other, getting engaged or exchanging wedding vows are among the possibilities this month. On the 15th, the New Moon will urge you to merge with someone who has earned your trust. If you’re not interested in romance, you might form a business partnership or collective. Pooling resources will allow you to devote more time to the work you love best. Creating things that are useful and beautiful will renew your zest for living during the middle of May. The Full Moon on the 29th could find you commanding the spotlight. Promoting a good cause, passing on your knowledge to others or posting an article will draw favourable publicity.Your fan base is growing. It’s gratifying to know people are eager to hear from you. So many of us are drowning in a sea of negativity.Your ability to deliver an uplifting message is getting an enthusiastic response. Keep up the good work. SCORPIO (October24th-November22nd) It’s time to turn a fresh page in a relationship. The New Moon on the 15th will cause you to see your business or romantic partner in an entirely different light. Maybe you weren’t aware of the full extent of their abilities. Perhaps you took their help for granted. Whatever the reason for this oversight, it will be corrected towards the middle of the month. If you are single, you’ll meet someone special, possibly at a sporting event or professional conference. Playing hard to get with an admirer will pay off handsomely.You’re dealing with a person who loves the thrill of the chase. On the 29th, the Full Moon will put a little extra cash your way. Use this money to launch an extensive home repair project. If you don’t own your place, take this opportunity to buy one.You could find a lovely property in an offbeat neighbourhood. SAGITTARIUS (November23rdDecember21st) Hiring an assistant or additional staff is strongly advised on or around the 15th. That’s when a New Moon will put helpful people in your path. Getting upbeat, enthusiastic people to join the team will take a lot of work from your shoulders. This change in responsibility will allow you to focus on the big picture. Improving products and services or expanding into new territory will increase your bottom line. If you’ve been looking for work, you’ll

be offered a steady position. Having a regular income will allow you to pay off debts and put money into savings. On the 29th, the Full Moon will prompt you to put the finishing touches on a personal project. Promoting this venture will drive lots of business to your door. People are charmed by your friendly, all inclusive attitude.Your work will bring people from all walks of life together. In this era of have and have nots, that’s quite refreshing. CAPRICORN (December22ndJanuary20th) If you’ve been yearning for romance, you’ll find it near the 15th. That’s when the New Moon puts an interesting person or opportunity in your path. A gifted artist will seek your company.You’ll admire their impeccable taste while they’ll praise your impressive accomplishments. This will be a match made in heaven. Do you already have a partner? Your amour will give you a beautiful token of their affection. Instead of fretting over how much this item cost, accept it with a happy and grateful heart. The Full Moon on the 29th marks the end of a period of seclusion. Leave the darkness and step into the spotlight. Recently, you’ve been gathering your energy together for a bold project. Launching a business or showcasing your creative work will earn you fame and acclaim during the final days of May.You’ll have to spend money to make it, so prepare to dip into savings. AQUARIUS (January21st-February19th) Spending time with your nearest and dearest is important at mid-May.You’re not especially sentimental, but you do need the support of family. The New Moon on the 15th gives you a chance to connect with people who love you unconditionally. If you’re estranged from your relatives, focus on creating a support network consisting of friends, neighbours and colleagues. Even a lone wolf like you can benefit from joining a tribe. On the 29th, the Full Moon will prompt you to wrap up a group project.You’ll be singled out for your extraordinary contributions. Don’t be surprised when you are named most valuable player. If you’ve been trying to move forward with a personal plan, ask an influential friend for a letter of recommendation. One word from this bigwig shall cause doors to fly open. An organisation that previously turned you away will suddenly welcome you into the fold. PISCES (February20th-March20th) The New Moon on the 15th is ideal for planting seeds for renewed health. Starting a fitness regime will pay off handsomely. Investing in a gym membership, joining an exercise class or hiring a trainer will keep you focused on your goals. Being able to socialise while getting physical activity will make this routine a labour of love.Your hard work will pay off towards the end of the month. If you’re not satisfied with a medical diagnosis, get a second opinion. An attention getting Full Moon on the 29th will result in a promotion or high-profile job offer. Playing a greater part in a non-profit organisation or charitable venture will give you a wonderful opportunity to make a living through philanthropy. Getting paid to make the world a better place will be a dream come true. This position will involve lots of overseas travel. If you need childcare or a pet sitter, start looking for the ideal candidate. | E:



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Curl up with a book Make the most of the longer evenings by curling up with one of this month’s top reads. The Witchfinder’s Sister – Beth Underdown Alice Hopkins finds herself caught up in her brother Matthew’s war against witches in 17th century England. How far will she go to draw suspicion away from herself and those she loves? When a birthmark can be seen as evidence of witchcraft, no one is safe. Tense, atmospheric and chilling in its reimagining of historical events, The Witchfinder’s Sister makes for a gripping read. Only Child – Rhiannon Navin Seven year old Zach Taylor’s world changes forever when his brother is killed in a mass shooting. As his parents struggle to cope with their grief, Zach finds his own ways of dealing with his loss. A beautiful story that is as much about forgiveness and family as it is about loss. We can’t guarantee you won’t cry, but you certainly won’t forget Only Child in a hurry. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton Groundhog Day meets Agatha Christie meets Quantum Leap in this tightly plotted debut novel. A man wakes up in the forest with no memory of who he is or how he got there. He soon finds out that he needs to solve a murder, and will keep reliving the day over and over again until he does so.Very clever, highly original and a real page turner to boot, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle deserves to rocket up the bestseller charts. The Radleys – Matt Haig Rowan Radley has no idea why he feels so lethargic all the time, is sensitive to light and suffers from insomnia. Until, that is, his sister kills a would-be attacker and Rowan’s parents reveal that the whole family are vampires. A witty, easy read from the bestselling author of The Humans and How To Stop Time, The Radleys is less gothic horror and more a gentle poke at middle-class life and the pressure put on people to conform. Not a recent release this one, but worth a mention nonetheless. The Sealwoman’s Gift – Sally Magnusson Historical fiction at its finest, The Sealwoman’s Gift is based on the true story of Ásta and her family, who were kidnapped by pirates in Iceland in 1627. Along with hundreds of other Europeans, Ásta was shipped across the globe and sold into slavery in Algiers. In this fictionalised account, Magnusson imagines how Ásta, a pastor’s wife, would have coped in a culture that was completely alien to her. In the end, Ásta has to choose between her freedom and the only child who hasn’t yet been ripped away from her. Save this book for a long train journey, because you won’t want to put it down. The End of Loneliness – Benedict Wells Jules is sent to boarding school with his siblings following the death of his parents. As his brother and sister drift away, Jules finds solace in a classmate, Alva. Spanning 40 years of loneliness, disconnection and disjointed memories, this novel touches on many themes, from dementia to grief, via hope, love and friendship. Quietly brilliant, The End of Loneliness was awarded the European Prize for Literature in 2016 and has recently been translated from German to English. | E:


Milan Cathedral Listed among the largest churches in the world, the Duomo rises on a magnificent square at the heart of Lombardy's capital. It is dedicated to St Mary of the Nativity, an iconic landmark which took almost 600 years to complete.The last gate was inaugurated in 1965. Work began in the late 14th century by the church of St Maria Maggiore. Foundations were laid for three naves, soon increased to five as both the local bishop and duke aimed to raise the city to new heights. A canal network was designed to transport material. Gothic architecture would rival the great cathedrals in northern Europe but flexibility and innovations were welcome. Marble was used, foreign architects, artists and craftsmen joined the Italian team, and on this ancient pagan site building progressed unusually, from back to front. It started with the apse while the façade of St Maria Maggiore remained in use until 1682. The new one was only completed in the 1800s by order of Napoleon. Elegant buildings line the vast panoramic square but all lead the eye to the Duomo, stretching 92 x 158 metres. Inside are 98 gargoyles, 135 spires and over 3,400 statues which found their niche around the cathedral. The pink-hued marble of Candoglia cleverly hides the brickwork, playing all day long with light and shade to take your breath away. The main bronze door greets visitors with stunning bas-reliefs, while the 18th century sundial is still used


to set the clocks around town. Large enough for 40,000 people, the interior is striking, with five broad naves supported by 40 columns. At 45 metres, the central aisle is the highest in a finished Gothic church and is decorated with impressive stained glass windows. Up above the apse, a small red light marks the holy place where a nail from the cross is kept. On the Feast of the Holy Cross in mid-September, the archbishop of Milan is slowly hoisted up in an angeldecorated basket to bring the relic down for display on the altar. Statues, frescoes, sarcophagi, pulpits and the largest organ in Italy – there is much to see inside the cathedral, but most famous is the 16th century statue of St Bartholomew Flayed, a sad disturbing figure by Marco d'Agrate. More enticing are the three superb altars by Pelligrino Tibaldi, who was appointed by archbishop Borromeo to lighten up the old Gothic style with the flourishing Italian Renaissance. The treasury is

housed in the Duomo Museum, a separate building next to the Palazzo Reale, where displays include some 200 items, tapestries, paintings, terracotta models, statues and more. Visitors could easily spend an hour or more in the cathedral but most exciting of all is the rooftop walk. Beyond the first terrace accessed by a lift are narrow passageways and slippery steps up to the wide open space of a safe but steeply-slanted roof. Up there, above pinnacles, flying buttresses and statues, the golden Madonna rises on the very top to bless the city at her feet.Views are superb and in clear weather the Alps are visible. It's the perfect place to reflect on this unique building and the work of so many architects and artists over the centuries. Mark Twain described it as 'so grand, so solemn, so vast' and across the square, on the equestrian statue flanked by lions, Victor Emmanuel II, first king of the newly united Italy, certainly seems to approve.

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What’s wrong with a little rose-tinted nostalgia? “When I was young ...”; “In my time …”; “The good old days …” Be honest. How often do you use expressions like this to talk about the past? Of course, there’s no harm in a little nostalgia; thinking back to the experiences we’ve enjoyed in our lives helps us hold on to our identities in this fast-changing world. But some would argue that constantly reflecting on the past makes it harder for us to appreciate the present or look forward to the future. How we make memories Nostalgia is a wistful longing for the past. Hearing a song, visiting a place linked to your youth or seeing an object that connects you with happier times can result in a flood of positive emotions, but it’s often the memories made in childhood and as young adults that affect us most. A study by the University of Leeds has revealed that our early memories are closely connected with the way we develop a sense of self. As children, and later as young adults,

our strongest imprints develop around new experiences – that’s why, years later, we can recall exactly where we were, and who was with us, when we first tried something new. Self-deception or rosy retrospection? The French novelist and critic Marcel Proust wrote: “Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were.” In order to fully enjoy our nostalgic memories, psychiatrists have found that our minds tend to blank out any details that might spoil the picture. This behaviour – known as ‘rosy retrospection’ – allows people to remember events in a positive light, even though they may have been less than happy at the time. In one study of this phenomenon, researchers found that a group of Disneyland visitors who complained about their experience on the day of their trip recalled it as a great experience when they were quizzed several weeks later. While there’s clearly an element of self-deception at play when it

comes to reliving past memories, research suggests that nostalgic thoughts can actually be good for you. A study carried out in America in 2013 concluded that reflecting on happier times provides comfort and improves our mental health, particularly when we are upset or unhappy. Researchers also discovered that far from being backward-looking introverts, people who enjoy thinking about the past believe they are more open to new experiences than many others. Keeping it real Of course, not everyone dons rose-tinted glasses when they reflect on the past. Joan Fraser – contributing to a forum discussion on the SilverSurfers website (www. writes: “Thinking back to freezing bedrooms, one bath a week, and times when we couldn’t travel so widely, and women faced such a number of ridiculous restrictions, makes me appreciate the home comforts and freedoms I have”. But even Joan admits that she indulges in a little nostalgia from time to time: “I often also yearn for the people and places I loved so much; but this seems OK and natural, and doesn’t detract from me looking ahead and hoping for good (better) times ahead.” Perhaps the argument about whether it’s better to hark back or look forward is best summed up by 19th century Danish Philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, who wrote: “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” | E:


Carry on Camping

Campfires, bike rides, toasted marshmallows, bug hunts, star gazing … there’s a lot of fun to be had on a family camping trip. Camping on a budget While camping is one of the most wallet-friendly ways to holiday, the equipment doesn’t always come cheap. Try searching Ebay, Gumtree and Facebook for second-hand tents.You’ll often find people selling a full camping package, including tent, airbeds, gas stove and chairs. Do you have Tesco points to spend? You can pick up a 4-man tent from Tesco Direct for around £50. Rent a tent Love the idea of camping, but don’t have space for all the equipment, or just don’t fancy pitching a tent in the rain? Why not rent a tent? Your tent will be put up for you and you can even hire all the equipment to go with it. All you need to do is turn up, unpack and head to the beach. Search online for companies or ask your chosen campsite for recommendations. If you want a few more mod-cons, you could look into hiring a campervan or 22

caravan.Try for retro VW campervans. Where to go We really are spoilt for campsites in the UK.There are literally hundreds to choose between, from tiny farm fields to entertainment-filled holiday parks. The National Trust has lots of smaller, peaceful sites on offer, including in the Lake District, Cornwall and Snowdonia; see Camping festivals Kids entertainers, live music, food and drinks stands, craft tents … some festivals are fun for the whole family. Check out: Cornbury (13th – 15th July):The line-up for this year’s festival includes Alanis Morrisette, Amy Macdonald and Pixie Lott.The Oxfordshire festival also boasts a kids’ area, with discos, yoga, den building, circus skills, live shows and craft activities; see www. Bluedot Festival (20th – 22nd July): Set in the grounds of a deep space observatory in Cheshire, Bluedot offers children’s areas, live shows, hands-on activities, animations, interactive experiments, and a line-

up that varies from The Chemical Brothers to The Halle Orchestra. Science lovers will be in their element; see Camp Bestival (26th – 29th July):This Dorset festival includes onsite camping in the ticket price.There are craft workshops, a circus school, live shows, a 50 foot inflatable whale to explore, demos by Mister Maker and other popular presenters, and a lot more besides; see Farmer Phil’s Music Festival (10th – 12th August):With a week’s camping included in the £80 ticket price and tickets for under-12s priced at just £2, this is a great festival for families on a budget. It’s a much smaller festival than many of the others, but there are plenty of bands and lots of activities for children. Beautiful Days (17th – 19th August): With a huge children’s area, handson workshops, live entertainment, bushcraft, story-telling, a free shuttle bus to and from the local train station and a car-free camping field reserved for families, Beautiful Days is ideal for a weekend away; see www.beautifuldays. org.

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Top Travels New sandals and a bikini aren’t the only holiday essentials you’ll want to add to your shopping list this month. We’ve found plenty of travel-friendly health and beauty goodies to tempt you, whether you’re planning to backpack through Thailand, sightsee in Italy, or go camping in Cornwall. Towels, bucket and spade, Kindle, water, snacks…beach bags can get pretty heavy. Try decanting your suntan lotion into a smaller bottle, or pick up a travel sized one. Green People’s Scent Free Sun Lotion has an SPF of 30 and is gentle enough for all the family to use. It’s waterresistant and packed with skin-loving natural ingredients such as green tea, olive oil and avocado extract. The full size 100ml tube is £14.50, while the 30ml travel size is £6.50 from www. Marks and Spencer’s also have lots of travel sized products to choose from, including this Nature’s Ingredients Lemon Shower Gel. The 50ml size costs just £1.50 and is perfect for a short break away. Planning a longer break? A bar of soap takes up less space in your suitcase than a bottle of shower gel. Check out TK Maxx for luxury bars at a budget price, or treat yourself to the gorgeously scented Geranium,Ylang Ylang & Neroli Soap by Cole & Co, which costs £4 plus delivery from www. Hotel bathrooms never seem to have enough cupboard space. Keep the clutter at bay with a wash bag that can be hung on the back of a door. This floral one from Paperchase is £15 and has three separate compartments. Pop cosmetics in one, pills and plasters in another, and lotions and potions in the third. See Hot and sticky days at the beach call for a hydrating spray. Make your own by adding a few drops of essential oil to pure rose water or a cup of green tea. Or just pick

up a bottle of Crabtree & Evelyn’s La Source Refreshing Body Mist (£16). It’s cooling, revitalising and smells amazing. Think cool ocean breeze with a hint of citrus. Rich in antioxidants, it leaves skin feeling softer and more hydrated. Bliss. See If you’re catching a 4am flight, or have a packed itinerary, you might benefit from Tisserand Aromatherapy’s Little

Box of Energy. For £11.95 you get three pulse point rollerballs, each of which contains a 10ml blend of pure essential oils. Energy High, for example, is a refreshing citrusy blend of lime, grapefruit and orange leaf. Holiday still weeks away and feeling a bit stressed? There’s also a Little Box of Sleep and a Little Box of Relaxation, see Kate Duggan | E:


Iconic Routes:The North Coast 500 Italy has the St Bernard Pass (made famous in the opening scene of ‘The Italian Job’). America has Route 66 of course. And Scotland? Well, that has the North Coast 500. Winding for 16 miles over the 500 that gives the route its name, it was the 2015 brainchild of the North Highland Initiative to create a tourist driving loop around the uppermost part of mainland Scotland. And it’s on my bucket list to drive this year. Driven clockwise, or anti, the


accepted start/end-point is Inverness, a beautiful city and worth exploring before the drive. From there you take the A862 to Mull of Ord, before choosing clockwise and westward on the A832 to Applecross, or taking the A9 northbound to John O‘Groats if you prefer the opposite way. Either way, you will travel through some of the most stunning scenery the UK has to offer: in the southern section, looping roads with nearvertical mountains on either side, and surprisingly flat, almost East-Anglian pasture-like highways in the north around Thurso. And the beaches up there are something to behold too.

How long it takes is up to you (cyclists have ridden it in 31 hours!) but speed is not the point: it’s the journey that matters. Just writing about it makes me want to jump in the car and drive the ‘500 right now! The only detrimental thing I can see is its increasing popularity. We go to the Highlands to get away from it all, yet it could be a victim of its own success and turn into Scotland’s M25. So, let’s keep its secret to ourselves, eh? driving-road-trips/north-coast-500/

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Striking Sunflowers They’re bold, they’re brash, they’re larger than life and they’re gorgeous! Yes, sunflowers are one of the most stunning and impressive flowers you could have in your garden – and one of the easiest to grow too. If you get your skates on you can sow them this month and achieve a fantastic flowery display in just a few months’ time. So which ones should you choose and how do you go about getting the best crop of flowers? There are some fantastically fastgrowing and potentially very tall varieties such as ‘Russian Giant’ and ‘Titan’. The latter is exceptionally tall, reaching a potential height of up to 360cm or 12ft and having heads of anything up to 60cm (2ft) in diameter! If space is limited, or you simply

prefer you flowers lower to the ground, there are some delightful miniature or dwarf varieties available. The F1 variety ‘Little Dorrit’ grows to about 60cm (2ft) and has rich yellow flowers with very dark centres, and looks great as a border edging. Another favourite is ‘Little Leo’ at just 45cm (18in), which makes lots of impact with golden yellow heads on multi-branching stems. Forget the idea that sunflowers are yellow and ring the changes – nowadays there are many other colours readily available. One of the richest shades I know is ‘Black Magic’, which has maroon flowers and is multi-branching, reaching a height of about 180cm (6ft). Grow yourself a few for cutting too, and you’ll have a vase or more full of flowers that would cost a fortune in the shops. Many varieties are suitable, including the orangey-brown ‘Velvet Queen’, ‘Black Velvet’ and the bicoloured ‘Magic Roundabout’ (great for those who suffer from hay fever as this variety is pollen-free). If you want some in containers, that is also possible: ‘Pacino Colada’ is

a compact variety growing to just 40cm (16in) and has 10cm (4in) wide golden-yellow flowers, making a wonderful plant for a colourful container on a sunny patio, sheltered balcony or in the flower beds. I’ve still got a fascination with tall sunflowers, and I’ve never met a child who doesn’t enjoy a sunflower competition. The really sturdy and tall varieties like ‘Russian Giant’ and ‘Giant Single’ are perfect for smaller gardeners, and as they reach heights of about 180cm (6ft) will soon dwarf them! Sunflowers make a cheap and cheerful addition to a garden boundary, adding splashes of colour to even the most dreary fence line or helping to mask the ugly appearance of a garage or decrepit garden shed. They’re a lot faster growing than Leylandii but these colourful beauties won’t get out of hand. The seeds of sunflowers can be sown right now – in fact you should get a good crop of blooms if you sow them anytime between March and May, depending on the weather and where you live. You can sow them straight into the soil or into pots of compost. I like to use RootTrainers as these encourage really well-developed and deep roots to develop, and make it easy to plant out the sunflowers with minimum root disturbance; see products/grow-great-crops for more information. As their name suggests, sunflowers love, indeed need, plenty of sunshine


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to thrive and put on their best possible show of blooms. The great thing is that although many are pretty tall, each plant does not actually take up much space at ground level. Slugs and snails love sunflowers and can literally eat them to the ground, especially if the weather is damp. I always grow sunflowers in small

individual pots and then plant them out when they’re a few inches tall. It may sound like I’m pampering them, but it means they’re bigger and tougher and better able to resist attack. As an added precaution, put a ring of slug-deterring material around the base of each one – crushed shells, crushed eggshells, coco-shell

or pine needles for instance. If you’re growing sunflowers on anything other than a protected site, it may be necessary to give the taller varieties a bit of extra support in the form of a sturdy bamboo cane or slim stake, just in case the wind blows too strongly! | E:




WORDWHEEL Using only the letters in the Wordwheel, you have ten minutes to find as many words as possible, none of which may be plurals, foreign words or proper nouns. Each word must be of three letters or more, all must contain the central letter and letters can only be used once in every word. There is at least one word that uses all of the letters in the wheel.





TARGET Excellent: 28 or more words Good: 24 words Fair: 20 words 28


Puzzle Page

1. First sold in the UK in 1935, what brand of biscuit has become popular as a good luck charm in Japan as its name sounds similar to a Japanese phrase that means “you will surely win”? 2. What type of cheese is rolled down Cooper’s Hill at Brockworth each spring bank holiday for competitors to chase in a famous annual cheese-rolling event? 3. What type of cream cheese is traditionally used when making a tiramisu? 4. Which 1970s TV series featured a private investigator called Jim who kept his gun in a biscuit jar? 5. In which English county is the village of Cheddar, where Cheddar cheese originated? 6. What brand of biscuits have been advertised using the slogan “A drink’s too wet without one”? 7. According to a famous scene from the film Pulp Fiction, which McDonald’s product is called a “royale with cheese” in Paris? 8. What biscuit was named after a royal house of French origin, with kings from this house ruling France from 1589 to 1792 and again from 1815 to 1848? 9. Before being left to mature, the cheese Cornish Yarg is wrapped in what to form an edible rind? 10.Why have McVitie’s been keen to ensure that Jaffa Cakes are classed as cakes and not biscuits?

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May 2018 - Stockton on Tees  
May 2018 - Stockton on Tees