So Magazine October 2022

Page 26

Just for laughs

Why

OF

Say yes to the dress

Bridal

FOOD

What’s on the menu

We

OctO ber 2022 WHY HADLOW COLLEGE IS COMMITTED TO EDUCATING ITS STUDENTS TO BE SUSTAINABLE & INNOVATIVE GUARDIANS OF OUR LAND FARMERS
THE FUTURE CULTURE
some of the UK’s top comedians love coming to Tunbridge Wells BUSINESS
boutique Isabella Grace celebrates 11 years in business
& DRINK
reveal what’s cooking at some of our favourite restaurants for Christmas

NATURE’S PALETTE THROUGHOUT OCTOBER

As the air turns crisp and we say our final goodbyes to summer, pack your walking boots and head over to Hever Castle where you’ll be met by glorious displays of autumn colour. Rich yellow, red, and orange leaves will form the backdrop to the garden’s magnificent line-up of events including weekly tours and workshops with head gardener Neil Miller along with an immersive self-guided trail that will unveil the unique and unusual trees of the grounds as they turn from green to gold, orange, and red. More information can be found on: www.hevercastle.co.uk/whats-on/

Molly Miller’s edit of the month’s most entertaining events happening in October

SHOWING SUPPORT

OCTOBER 7 – 16

Following the success of last year’s event which raised an incredible £5,000, West Kent Mind will be hosting another silent auction this October running from 7 – 16 and the charity is hoping to make it even bigger and better! Encouraging more people to bid on amazing prizes to help local people suffering with mental health, donations include paddleboarding lessons, pamper treatments, holiday vouchers, dining experiences and more. If you’d like to show your support, prize donations can be made by emailing fundraising@westkentmind.org.uk

BOTTOMS UP OCTOBER 8

If it’s free flowing drinks you’re after, then The Grey Lady is the place to be on October 8. Head over to The Pantiles where the music lounge, known for its eclectic line-up, will be hosting a bottomless brunch with live music. Enjoy two delicious courses washed down with 90 minutes’ worth of limitless prosecco. Even better? It’s all in the name of charity.

Tickets cost £35 and can be bought from www.hospicesofhope.co.uk/ Event/bottomless-brunch-tw

AWARD-WINNING COMEDY

OCTOBER 12

On Wednesday (October 12), Russell Kane’s bringing his gutpunch funny, award-winning take on the last two years to Assembly Hall Theatre. Hailed as The Guardian’s Number 1 comedy performance to come out of 2020, this high-octane show brings nuclear-energy belly laughs and pant-wetting observations which prove laughter really is the best medicine.

DID YOU KNOW?

Russell Kane was nominated for the prestigious Edinburgh Festival Comedy Awards four times before he actually won the prize in 2010. That same year he also won Melbourne Comedy’s Barry award and made history as a result.

6 | OctOber 2022 | SO Magazine Calendar

GHASTLY GHOULS

OCTOBER 13

Immerse yourself in the haunted myths and legends of Ightham Mote as you trail through a very special after-hours tour of the house on October 13. Travel back to the 1800s when a group of ill-fated medical students make a gruesome discovery hidden in the walls of the great hall. Join them as they explore the house and brace yourselves for a few shocks along the way!

Sessions begin at 6.30pm, 7.00pm, 7.30pm, 8.00pm and 8.30pm.

EMBRACING DIVERSITY

OCTOBER 21

Learn how the fashion industry is calling existing practices into question in this brilliantly put together exhibition at The Amelia Scott running from October 21 – November

25. Body Beautiful – Diversity on the Catwalk examines how fashion creatives are embracing inclusivity and body positivity, exploring themes such as size, gender, age, race, and disability. See pivotal garments from designers including Max Mara, Ferragamo, Ashish, Vivienne Westwood, Pam Hogg, Dries Van Noten and Jean Paul Gaultier in these free, all day

FANG-TASTIC FUN

OCTOBER 22 – 30

Treat the kids to a spook-tastic feast of fun for the half term holidays (October 22 – 30) at The Hop Farm. Get into the spooky spirit and dress up in your best fancy dress costumes before enjoying a host of scarily good rides, a Halloween trail and some tricks and treats along the way!

DID YOU KNOW?

Mostly we think of the term ‘fall’ as an American reference to the autumn season but rather surprisingly it actually originated in England in the 17th century from the phrase ‘fall of the leaf’.

TRICK OR TREAT

OCTOBER 29 & 30

Packed full of slapstick comedy, magic, and mayhem, Spa Valley’s Trick or Treat Express is set to be another sell-out show. Taking place on October 29 and 30 and departing from Tunbridge Wells West, Radtastic Theatre will kickstart the fun with a wacky experiment or two, before boarding the steam hauled trick or treat express. Along the way, Dr Frankenslime will hand out activity packs to keep the little monsters entertained as they journey through the haunted countryside to Eridge station where the mad doctor will show the ghouls and ghosts how to make his famous, glow in the dark slime!

Grab your tickets from https://www. spavalleyrailway.co.uk/

SO Magazine | OctOber 2022 | 7 Calendar
Grow with us Dulwich Prep Cranbrook is expanding to GCSE Find out more about our forward-looking and dynamic curriculum at our Senior School Open Morning on Friday 14th October Based in the Weald of Kent Contact Admissions on 01580 712179 or admissions@dulwichprepcranbrook.org Find us at @DPCranbrook www.dulwichprepcranbrook.org Dulwich Prep Cranbrook DSC-Advert-SO-275mmx340mm.indd 1 26/09/2022 11:20

All whihite now…

This month our resident music editor Paul Dunton chats to rising star Marie White about her music, winning Glastonbury’s Emerging Music Award, touring with Keane and playing the Royal Albert Hall ahead of her gig at Trinity Theatre on October 7

Tunbridge Wells is blessed with an abundance of creative music talent from up and coming singersongwriters to numerous emerging bands spanning a wealth of styles and genres.

But one artist who has really broken through and taken her career to new heights is Tunbridge Wells resident Marie White. Originally hailing from Hastings, Marie has been performing on the local Tunbridge Wells music scene for nearly 10 years now and two years ago decided to move and base herself in Tunbridge Wells.

At the age of 16 Marie made her debut at The Grey Lady Music Lounge and I was absolutely spellbound by her beautifully crafted songs and incredible voice. She is an incredibly soulful performer and writes heartfelt honest songs. Listening to her perform, there are shades of Joan Armatrading, Carole King and Tracy Chapman within her writing - and maybe even hints of Norah Jones - but having said that Marie really does have her own unique style and sound that has to be seen to be believed.

Marie performs all over the UK but can often be enjoyed at The Grey Lady, Trinity Theatre and The Local & Live Music Festival where she has previously headlined in Calverley Grounds.

Three years ago in 2019 Marie entered the Glastonbury Emerging Music Award competition and the year proved to be a breakthrough one for her. After submitting a selection of her songs, she battled through various heats and made it to the final where she had to perform in front of leading industry persons including Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis

himself!

At the final Marie was up first, she was the only soloist and she was performing against an array of four and five piece bands. However she absolutely stunned the audience with her performance of her song 'Blue Jumper' leading Michael Eavis to say...”There was only one winner and it had to be Marie!”

The prize for winning this coveted award was a primetime slot on the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury where Marie performed to thousands of festival goers to great acclaim.

Marie also performed on the BBC Introducing stage and following Glastonbury she was invited to tour with Keane throughout the summer including the tour’s finale at The Royal Albert Hall. Marie has gone on to work with Elbow's Guy Garvey and her song 'I am You' is now part of the official soundtrack for the TV series 'Trying' which is featured on Apple TV.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Marie to discuss all things music related including her up coming gig at Trinity Theatre…

What are your favourite venues to play locally?

I have grown up playing the Grey Lady and Trinity Theatre, The Forum and Local & Live but it’s at The Grey Lady where it really started for me in Tunbridge Wells, so I feel like it’s my home venue really. I love playing there.

What are your fondest memories of Glastonbury in 2019?

Glastonbury is the greatest festival in the world so to achieve the dream of playing the Pyramid stage at such an early stage of my career was really unexpected. It was completely life changing and the most incredible experience. The crowd was huge and the atmosphere was unbelievable, sometimes I had to pinch myself to believe it was really happening. It led to signing to Universal, airplay on BBC Radio 1, touring all summer with

Marie White is performing at Trinity Theatre on Friday Oct 7 tickets are available at www.trinitytheatre.net

Follow Marie on social media @mariewhitemusic

Keane and playing at The Royal Albert Hall. It was certainly a summer that I will never forget.

You perform regularly alongside your partner Em, who performs on piano and vocals, do you ever write songs together?

Years ago I used to write completely on my own but nowadays I feel like I have more of an open mind and have really enjoyed many co-writing experiences ever since. Doing so allows you to push creative boundaries and try new things. It’s all about exploring new ideas and sharing creative output. Em and I really enjoy writing together, she is an amazing musician and aside from our personal connection we also share a natural music chemistry. Often I will go to her with an initial song idea and we can develop it together.

How would you describe your musical style?

I would say Soulful Pop is a fairly accurate description of my

music with an emphasis on honest heartfelt storytelling. Someone once told me I could be the love child of Tracy Chapman and Lewis Capaldi which was a very lovely complement!

Growing up I felt very inspired by my mum's collection of 70s and 80s disco and soul music and also my dad’s classic rock collection.

Tell us about your forthcoming gig at Trinity Theatre on Oct 7th

We love performing at Trinity, there is something magical about that theatre, it’s a beautiful building, which has a lovely positive vibe and good energy.

On October 7, people can expect a whole gamut of emotions, exciting new songs, plenty of laughter and maybe some tears. I strive to take audiences on a journey at gigs and really connect with them. My hope is that people can relate to my songs and feel inspired by my melodies and lyrics. I will bring bucket loads of atmosphere and positive energy so please come along and enjoy the show!

SO Magazine | OctOber 2022 | 9 Music
@PaulDuntonmusic
11:20

D forceGround

Hadlow College is an educational establishment committed to teaching its students sustainable and pioneering agriculture and horticulture. Here its Head of Curriculum Alan Harvey tells Eileen Leahy about its history and how it is securing its future in farming too...

riving up the leafy lane that leads to the Hadlow College campus one sunny late September morning, I am immediately struck by just how utterly pleasant it is. Having passed by the college’s signage more times than I can remember over the years, this is the first occasion I’ve actually ventured through the gates and seen what a huge going concern this agricultural and horticultural seat of learning is.

I’m here to interview Alan Harvey, Hadlow’s Head of Curriculum, as part of a publicity drive for the college which wants to both spread the word about its myriad of specialist courses, as well as its firm commitment to being as sustainable as possible.

Alan and I meet in the site’s original manor house – a grand, historic building with ornate

period detailing and leadlight windows which sits at the heart of the campus. It boasts a number of classrooms and meeting spaces, as well as the main reception area where you can immediately spot the college’s responsibility to being sustainable thanks to the large slogan inscribed on the wall. It reads: “Sustainability takes forever, and that’s the point. Educating our students as farmers of the future.”

And as I discover during the course of my visit, sustainability - along with exceptional teaching and impressive industry links - are what essentially lie at the core of Hadlow College’s ongoing success.

“Sustainability is definitely woven into everything we do,” agrees Alan as we sit down to chat. “As custodians of the land we have to be sustainable. If we look at some practices in history that were not as sustainable as they could have been then there’s a lot of evidence which points to the negatives of this. For example,

there are pockets of the country where there’s only around 50 or so years left of top soil because things haven’t always been managed in a sustainable way.

“There’s been a lot of research done over the years to see where we’ve made errors and we in turn feed this back to our students. Rather than looking at the problem and fixing it with chemicals you have to look for alternatives in all aspects of both agriculture and horticulture.

“There’s still a slight misconception that we’re just about wellies and wheelbarrows here but I can tell you farming is so much more than that,” smiles Alan.

He goes on to tell me that Hadlow is a land-based college. And that means it delivers full-time and part-time courses in horticulture and agriculture as well as floristry, fisheries, animal management and equine studies. Since 2013 the equine department has had a satellite campus at the Royal Borough of Greenwich Equestrian Centre, where students can benefit from a wide range of custom-built facilities and study at a site that is part of the London 2012 Olympic legacy. And its gardening courses are supported by the prestigious Royal Horticultural Society.

The college, which boasts over 500 students, was founded in 1967 and officially opened the following year by the late Duke of Edinburgh. Since then it has occupied the 200 plus acre site in the village of the same name and seen its success go from strength to strength.

Two years ago North Kent College acquired Hadlow College and as a result it has invested heavily in both the campus and what it is able to offer students.

“Since we were taken over by North Kent College in August 2020 we can now also offer courses in Motor Vehicle, Motorcycle and Carpentry too,” explains Alan.

“It’s good to be part of a larger organisation and have a bigger team around us,” he continues.

“The investment into the campus has been fantastic over the last couple of years.”

This has included some of the college’s residential accommodation being refurbished and also a new eco-friendly glasshouse for growing crops being built – more of which later. Alan adds there are further plans down the line to also improve the college’s garden design studio.

Hadlow College sits in 265 acres of beautiful countryside which

SO Magazine | OctOber 2022 | 11 Cover feature
“There’s still a slight misconception that we’re just about wellies and wheelbarrows here but I can tell you farming is so much more than that”
Photos
© David Bartholomew

includes woodland, natural river habitats, commercial farms, natural lakes and established show gardens – all of which give students an enriching and practical education outside of the traditional classroom environment. This enables students to gain real-life skills and experience a real-life work environment, guided by their expert lecturers.

There is also a working beef herd of around 50, over 600 sheep and 60 horses on the land to further help students with their studies in both agriculture and horticulture.

And what, I ask Alan, is the difference between the two? “Well a few years ago I would have simply said that with horticulture

we get off our tractors to harvest crops but with agriculture we stay on them,” says Alan.

“But horticulture is becoming a longer haul, larger scale operation with more crops being harvested by machines and robots. Traditionally you would have got off your tractor to harvest your strawberries, apples, potatoes, and lettuces for example. But robotics are changing all of that. Of course you will always need people in both agriculture and horticulture – there’s always going to be head gardeners and landscapers required– but with areas like fresh produce things are becoming far more technical.”

This brings Alan onto the subject

A brand new nursery is being built on the main campus comprising of a new Venlo glasshouse which includes:

Suspended gutters running hydroponics for tomatoes and peppers in separate houses

LED and High Pressure sodium lighting

Vertical growing farm

Latest environmental control computers – PRIVA

Fogging systems for plant propagation

Dedicated space for individual glasshouse research

Outdoor standing down beds for shrub and herbaceous plant production

New structures for seasonal bedding plant production

of a couple of new projects which have been recently set up.

“The college has recently developed a new ‘robotic’ 3-hectare orchard which will also incorporate a vineyard. Both are aimed at promoting sustainability which, as I previously said, is an important part of land-based studies and the industry as a whole. In the orchard we have planted fruits such as apples, cherries, apricots and plums, while in the vineyard grapes are being grown with the aim of creating table wine for corporate occasions.

“But these are not maintained in the traditional way. They are very much technically developed, using robotic sprayers and drones which are a far more sustainable way of applying product and monitoring it,” explains Alan.

“The sprayers specifically target individual plants and trees instead of liberally spraying everywhere. And we can now fly drones through the orchard in order to take individual pictures of blossom. This helps us to predict the yield and in turn enables students to forecast how much fertiliser will be needed. Doing this removes much of the labour intensive aspects but also develops the highly skilled labour requirements of orchard management. Adopting this approach means we become far more efficient in terms of resources and ultimately more sustainable. We want to inspire the next generation of fruit growers and horticulturists.”

Alan tells me that planning of the orchard has been conducted in conjunction with industry experts to

12 | OctOber 2022 | SO Magazine Cover feature
HADLOW COLLEGE’S NEW
VENLO
GLASSHOUSES
AND VERTICAL GROWING FARM
“Sustainability is definitely woven into everything we do here at Hadlow”

ensure Hadlow College is meeting the future demands of the industry.

“We have a rich history of fruit production, working with industry and providing training opportunities for students. This latest development is an exciting opportunity for industry to engage with the college to shape the future of the fruit industry in Kent and further afield. It’s very exciting.”

Alan explains that embracing this new technology means students can learn about key fundamentals in 21st century farming which they can then put into practice in the work place after graduating. It also helps them problem solve and work out ecofriendly solutions to any issues.

“Take climate change for example. As we experience hotter, drier weather we’re becoming more and more reliant on water so we are looking for more drought tolerant plants and drought resistant crops to introduce into sustainable farming.”

Alan adds that generally students who go into landbased studies genuinely have a love for the environment already and so a desire to be more sustainable and seek out alternatives comes naturally.

“They naturally want to be doing that anyway. Our students will always be looking for a sustainable alternative.”

He says that the college and its students also recognise the need to keep the farming industry financially buoyant so finding ways in which to do this is another

challenge they are tasked with during their studies.

One such area where this is apparent is in the Broadview Garden centre which is located on the campus, open to the general public and also where horticulture students spend a lot of time.

“They will have lectures and then practicals – known as duty sessions – at Broadview. And depending on their level of learning, they will also do stints in our 10 acres of formal gardens, as well as our new and very exciting glasshouse project.”

This, Alan explains, is located just next to the garden centre and is currently being set up so there are no crops at the moment but eventually it will have irrigation tanks and light pollution screens in order to improve crop performance.

“We’re hoping to grow peppers and tomatoes in it and have a special area for students to

NEW SUSTAINABLE ORCHARD WITH LATEST TECHNOLOGY IN PRODUCTION SYSTEMS

A new orchard is being planted on a 3-hectare site which will grow apples, plums, cherries and apricots under cover. The orchard will demonstrate the latest technology in production systems ensuring high quality

yields in a sustainable and environmental way. A vineyard is also being planted with varieties suitable for UK wine production again using the latest systems available. Robotics will be used to where possible to

experiment growing more unusual crops. The ultimate idea is to get far more yield than a traditional field grown crop. It’s about lowering the inputs but maximising the outputs, if you like.”

Attached to the glasshouse there is also a purpose-built vertical farm which Alan says will teach students ways in which they can grow things that aren’t in traditional spaces. Plants are grown vertically to optimise yields but without the need for soil. He says it is a pioneering practice which means crops can be grown pretty much anywhere…

“It could be a piece of land that would be of no use because it’s too arid or it could be done in something very untraditional like a sea container. Actually there’s an interesting company in London which grows a lot of salad leaves like this. It’s based in Clapham and called Growing Underground. It’s proving that if we are growing in non-traditional fields or greenhouses then it leaves more land for food production elsewhere.

“And that’s exactly what we do here. We replicate what industry is doing but on a smaller scale and then we’ll go out to industries to see how it’s done on a grander one.”

assist with planting, harvesting and pruning. Sustainability is top of Hadlow’s agenda - looking closely at decarbonisation and innovative crop diversity, cleaner storage and robotics.

Alan adds that whether they’re studying agriculture, equine or carpentry, students come to Hadlow from a variety of different educational settings and for a number of different types of qualifications.

“Some come to learn on the land while others are from farming families who’d like an official degree. Social media has a big part to play in terms of recruitment too – the importance of good food production, the popularity of house plants right now and even the TV programme Jeremy Clarkson’s Farm all help to build enthusiasm for agriculture and horticulture.”

And as for the male/female ratio Alans says that it’s pretty even across the board. So which of the many courses offered at Hadlow at both Further and Higher Education levels tend to be the most popular?

“Animal management is a large faculty for us but things do tend to change year on year. Since North Kent College introduced courses in carpentry and motor vehicles (mechanics) numbers have been very good. Courses range from one year to three years at degree level. Some students may exit

SO Magazine | OctOber 2022 | 13 Cover feature
“Many former Hadlow students are a key part in the county’s rural economy”
35 Monson Road, Tunbridge Wells TN1 1LS 01892 517986 www.edneyandedney.com I SEE CLEAR VISION through Nikon spectacle lenses Model - Mishima | Colourway - Rover | From the Kyosho Campaign shot in Japan 35 Manson Road, Tunbridge Wells TN1 1LS 01892 517986 www.edneyandedney.com

into industry after doing one year while some might go onto to do levels 2 and 3 and then go onto a degree. It’s very important our students are on the correct course in order to be successful.”

Alan reveals the college is also very supportive of students getting as much work experience as possible thanks to Hadlow’s strong links with the farming industry – both here and abroad.

Italy and Iceland too. The benefits of doing this are multi-layered.

It’s all about what we can share with others, and what intel we can bring back. As the UK changes its production of crops we can see what we can do from overseas.”

“There are a lot of well-paid jobs and opportunities in our industry – now really is a fantastic time to get into horticulture or agriculture”

“We work with colleges around the country but we have also had international students from France,

And in terms of employment what kind of jobs do graduating students go into?

“At degree level it tends to be fresh produce and research and development,” reveals Alan.

“By fresh produce this could mean going to work for a big

supermarket but also going into the production of crops: apples, tomatoes, there are so many options in this area – we are very lucky.”

Many former Hadlow students have won major prizes in several prestigious national events and some are a key part in the county’s rural economy he adds. As a result the college has a strong alumni which is made up of ex-staff and former students.

“A lot come back to talk to our current crop about their experience. This is very good for students as they learn about a particular focus or a direction they can go in after studying.

“We offer lots of work experience too. We have very good links to industry – especially the local one. In fact, having these links is one of our biggest strengths at Hadlow. There are a lot of wellpaid jobs and opportunities in our industry – now really is a fantastic time to get into horticulture or agriculture.

And finally what would Alan say was Hadlow’s ultimate goal for its students?

“I’d say for students to gain the key skills they require to progress in their chosen career and to have a fantastic future in both that - and protecting our land in general.”

Hadlow College COURSES AVAILABLE AT

aGrICuLturaL

eNGINeerING

Our Agricultural Engineering courses reflect the latest developments in farm machinery and practices. You’ll work on all types of agricultural machinery, take part in restoration projects and learn everything from fabrication to diagnostics. Ultimately gaining an indepth understanding of the skills needed to work within the Agricultural Engineering industry.

aGrICuLture

Through practical experience on the College farms as well as working on machinery and in our workshop facilities, you will gain an in-depth understanding of the skills needed to work within the Agricultural industry.

aNIMaL MaNaGeMeNt

Providing a comprehensive introduction to all aspects of animal care, you will benefit from a mix of theory combined with a large

degree of practical work in our custom built animal management unit.

CouNtrYSIDe

This course is designed to give students the practical and theoretical knowledge required for employment into the land and wildlife sector. You will study ecological concepts and application along with environmental interpretation, water management and how to manage volunteers in the workplace.

eQuINe MaNaGeMeNt

Our Equine Unit at Hadlow has extensive facilities including two indoor arenas, a large outdoor arena and stabling for 64 horses.

fISHerIeS MaNaGeMeNt

The fisheries team has an array of experience ranging from freshwater fisheries management specialists, construction, marine, fish health and disease, angling, fish farming and aquatics specialists.

fLorIStrY

The floristry department takes pride in the fact we work to high commercial standards and makes sure our equipment, sundries and fresh materials reflect this.

L aND aND WILDLIfe

MaNaGeMeNt

This will give you the opportunity to study a range of specialist technical, practical skills and knowledge. required for working in the Land and Wildlife sector. Such as health and safety, working in the industry, machinery used in the industry, conservation, identification of species and surveying, land and countryside use and countryside interpretation and recreation.

HortICuLture aND GarDeN DeSIGN

Thinking about studying Horticulture? There’s such a breadth of jobs available as the industry is so incredibly diverse! Hadlow College is an approved centre for delivering RHS Qualifications.

Cover feature
SO Magazine | OctOber 2022 | 15
Vinehall is now a member of the Repton Family of Schools. Come and explore the wonders of Vinehall School during our Open week Monday 3rd - Friday 7th October. Meet the Head, tour the grounds, and speak to our teachers and pupils about life at Vinehall. #WeAreVinehall Register: www.vinehallschool.com Email: admissions@vinehallschool.com

As we all live longer, more active later lives, it’s more important than ever to understand all your financial options to ensure you can live your best later life – whether that’s having a dream holiday, helping a loved one onto the property later, knowing you can pay your bills comfortably or being able to relax knowing that your estate will go to the right people. The Finance Hub on The Pantiles in Tunbridge Wells has pulled together a team of experts to help you live your later life dreams.

DEFINING YOUR LATER LIFE

Did you know that, with the last of the baby boomer generation turning 60 in 2024, there have been more people entering the 60+ demographic every day in the last 16 years than at any other time? That means there are more of us than ever before who are reaching and crossing this key milestone where we need to think about what we want our later life to look like.

And with life expectancy continuing to increase, albeit at a slower pace, those aged 60+ have got to plan for funding a longer, more active later life than previous generations.

Fortunately, there are many options available that can help you capitalise on your assets, including bricks and mortar and cash in the attic – in fact, the solution could be in the smallest room in your house!

CASH IN THE ATTIC

“During a recent routine probate valuation, I initially spotted nothing of any note in the home, but asked to use the cloakroom before I left, where I happened to spot a rather interesting bowl holding spare toilet rolls,” remembers Joseph Trinder of Tunbridge Wells auctioneers Gorringe’s. “The family didn’t like it but felt they couldn’t get rid of it as it had belonged to their great aunt. Unbeknown to them, it happened to be an early Chinese bronze censor – after learning of its true value, in the region of £30,000, it is likely to soon be featured for sale in an upcoming fine auction at Gorringe’s!

“Identifying value and releasing cash from an unwanted family heirloom that may have never previously brought you joy is a wonderful way of giving yourself more options in later life, whilst decluttering at the same time! The trick is knowing where the value is held and how to maximise it,” enthuses Joseph.

UNLOCKING POTENTIAL

For most of us, our home is our biggest asset. “If you don’t have enough income

or savings to fund the lifestyle you want, releasing equity from your property can be an option to live your best later life or help loved ones while you are around to share their enjoyment,” explains Astra Birch, equity release adviser with SN Financial Services.

“I had clients whose son was struggling to buy a home, so they released equity from theirs. This gave their son the deposit he needed, the wife got her dream kitchen, and the husband got a boat – it was win-winwin! At the other end of the scale, I was approached by a woman who was struggling with her bills; she released £30,000 from her property, enough to give her peace of mind with her dayto-day finances,” Astra recalls.

PEACE OF MIND

With one in five baby boomers in the UK classed as a millionaire, a key challenge might be estate and inheritance tax planning. “Former Chancellor Dennis Healey described inheritance tax as ‘a voluntary levy paid by those who distrust their heirs more than they dislike the Inland Revenue’. What he meant is that, with the right planning, there are lots of ways to reduce the inheritance tax bill on your estate, to ensure your loved ones, rather than the Treasury, benefit after you’re gone,” explains Daniel Carr of White Deer Wills.

“Having confidence that your estate will go to the people you intend it to can also help you to relax and enjoy this next chapter. With blended families, sideways disinheritance (whereby children are side lined by a

SO Magazine | OctOber 2022 | 17 ADVERTISING FEATURE
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Wedding belles

On September 6, Isabella Grace celebrated its 11th Birthday. Since opening in 2011, this four-storey bridal boutique set on the picturesque Mount Ephraim has helped more than 5000 brides to find their dream wedding dress and been crowned the UK’s Best Bridal Boutique no less than five times. Launching with one fitting room and a team of four, the boutique quickly grew and within 10 months of opening had tripled in size, taking on the two-storey building above and expanding their team to nine. The team celebrated its birthday with a special photoshoot in the boutique and a private birthday dinner in the beautiful wine cellar at Coco Retro in Tunbridge Wells.

SO Magazine | OctOber 2022 | 19 social scene
Photos © Mollie Manning Isabella Grace Bridal founder Rebecca Doyle

Three ways to secure your family’s finances

The uncertainty of the past couple of years has shown how important it is to have a robust plan in place for securing your family’s finances. While no-one knows what is around the corner, reviewing your protection, updating your will, and creating an estate plan will help you rest assured that the financial side of things is taken care of.

A financial adviser can help you determine what is right for your individual circumstances but, in the meantime, these are some of the main considerations.

BDM4082_So Mag_Oct 22_Three ways to secure your family's finances.indd All Pages

Protect against illness and death

Protecting your finances against illness and death is a fundamental part of any financial plan. Death and illness are tough topics to think about, but they could have a devastating impact on your family’s financial security. Without your income, your loved ones could struggle to pay the bills and may need to make large sacrifices at what is already an upsetting and stressful time.

There are several protection products that could help your family’s finances hold up should the worst happen to you. Life insurance pays out a lump sum on death, and is typically used to pay off the mortgage and / or provide a cash buffer. Critical illness cover provides you with a lump sum if you’re diagnosed with a specified critical illness, perhaps helping you to pay off debts or adapt living arrangements to your new circumstances. Income protection pays out a regular income if you’re unable to work because of an accident or illness, with some policies paying out until retirement.

There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ protection solution, so it’s important to seek advice on the right products and level of cover for you and your family.

Write or review your will

If you still feel relatively young and healthy, it might seem odd to start thinking about how to pass on your assets on death. However, you are never too young to write a will. Having a will ensures your money and other assets go to the people and causes that matter to you. It also enables you to appoint guardians for your children, so you can rest assured they’ll be looked after by people you know and trust. If you die without a will, your assets and possessions will be distributed according to the rules of intestacy, which might not reflect your wishes.

It’s important to bear in mind that your family’s circumstances are likely to change over time, and you may wish to update your will to reflect this. Marriage, birth, death and divorce are just some of the triggers to review your will and ensure it still reflects your wishes.

Create an estate plan

A comprehensive estate plan could make a substantial difference to your children and grandchildren’s financial future. Many people assume estate planning is only for the very wealthy; however, the steep rise in house prices over the past decade and the freezing of the inheritance tax (IHT) nil-rate band until April 2026 mean the so-called ‘death tax’ could hit more families. There are several ways to mitigate IHT – from making lifetime gifts to using pensions and trusts – yet people often fail to take advantage of what is on offer. A financial adviser can help you build a tax-efficient estate plan that ensures you are laying the firmest foundations for your family’s future.

Next steps

In uncertain times, taking some smart advice can help you feel confident you’re doing everything you can to secure your family’s finances. A financial adviser will look at your personal, family and financial circumstances to recommend the right products and solutions for your individual needs. You can focus on enjoying life today, safe in the knowledge that you’re prepared for whatever the future may bring.

Louise

The value of investments, and any income from them, can fall and you may get back less than you invested. Tax treatment depends on the individual circumstances of each client and may be subject to change in the future. Information is provided only as an example and is not a recommendation to pursue a particular strategy.

RBC Brewin Dolphin is a trading name of Brewin Dolphin Limited. Brewin Dolphin Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Financial Services Register reference number 124444) and regulated in Jersey by the Financial Services Commission. Registered Office; 12 Smithfield Street, London, EC1A 9BD. Registered in England and Wales company number:

number:

2135876. VAT
GB 690 8994 69 BDM4082_2209_0.1
Shaw Divisional Director T. 01892 739580 / E. louise.shaw@brewin.co.uk brewin.co.uk/royal-tunbridge-wells
30/09/2022 11:13:24
CONTACT 01580 890 106 ADDRESS High St, Staplehurst, Tonbridge TN12 0AH DINING HOURS Mon - Sun 5:00pm – 10:30PM Savour the finest cuts of meat, expertly prepared, elegantly served now also doing collections for online orders.

Painting by

Royal Tunbridge Wells Together BID Art

If you spent some time in Royal Tunbridge Wells in August and September, chances are you will have seen our unexpectedly popular Art Week colouring book –the first of its kind, and part of Royal Tunbridge Wells Together’s FREE Art Week events and workshops that took place in local businesses across the town from 22nd – 29th August 2022.

High Street, the Millennium Clock at Fiveways, Chapel Place, The Pantiles, Calverley Grounds, and the Spa Valley Railway, among others.

itself. The wonderful Royal Tunbridge Wells locals hunted down the books in their droves, picking them up from local businesses across the town and even the printing shop where they were made, posting on social media to track down copies, and even contacting the BID to ask for more to be made available! Within a matter of days, we were printing another 1,000 books to meet demand.

RISING TO THE OCCASION:

Full of familiar Royal Tunbridge Wells scenes, the colouring book has allowed our community to colour in the town that we all love, featuring the work of local artists commissioned by us to create beautiful black and white landscapes. The book contains 20 illustrations of local businesses, places, and landmarks, including The Ivy on the

In partnership with local businesses M. Saltmarsh and Rymans, both of Monson Road, the BID also ran a competition to win one of three hampers full of arts, crafts, and stationery goodies across three age categories – under 10’s, 11-17, and 18+.

"The new colouring book has brought our community together, united local businesses, and showcased our town in a truly unique way"

Entrants could submit as many masterpieces as they liked, using any materials. As the oldest art shop in England, M. Saltmarsh cast their expert eye over the entries before choosing the winners.

The initial concept for the colouring book came as an extra element to the Art Week events, but as soon as the first 1,000 copies were printed, it was clear that the book was going to be an event all by

As your Business Improvement District, we couldn’t be happier with how popular the colouring book has been. It has brought our community together, united local businesses, and showcased our town and its most wellloved local spots in a truly unique and special way. Thank you to the local artists who created the beautiful and compelling landscapes that make up the colouring book – without you, there wouldn’t have been a colouring book at all! Thank you also to Kall Kwik, who printed the book in record time, and the local businesses that displayed it.

Above all else, we are so pleased to be able to celebrate the wealth of creative and artistic talent that exists in our town. A limited number of colouring books are still available at RTW Together HQ, at 52 High Street.

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This month SO chats to Darren Tickner about all the places he loves to support in the area. Here the founder of Bean Smitten coffee roasters tells us about his favourite spots to stroll, shop and socialise…

Where do you live?

I live near The Moor, in Hawkhurst.

How long have you lived there and what made you decide to move there?

I’ve lived in Hawkhurst for a little over a year now. I relocated so that I’m a little closer to the roastery which is now a 10-minute drive away, between Flimwell and Lamberhurst.

What’s your favourite shop locally?

I love the Little Green Pantry in Lamberhurst. Run by Vicki and Roo, it’s crammed with delicious food and drink from local producers.

Where’s the best place to go for a Sunday stroll?

Known locally as the Delmonden Loop, it’s a 5k stroll from The Moor, through farmland, orchands, Delmonden and back to The Moor via Horns Road. It’s vary varied and doable in a couple of hours.

The best place to get a cup of coffee?

Why at our roastery of course!

Bean Smitten is located at Cedar Gables campsite on the A21.

Opposite where the Little Chef used to be – those who have lived in the area for a while will know where I mean! We serve awardwinning flat whites, lattes and mochas direct from the door.

Where do you take people when they come to visit?

I like to go to Rye. It’s a favourite place of mine. I love the little cobbled streets and the shops which are full of curios.

What’s the night life like where you live?

I’d say it’s fairly reserved but we do benefit from a Kino cinema in

a beautiful beer garden, and lots of indoor space. They do great Sunday roast too.

What do you do when you spend a weekend or day off in the local area?

It’s quite nice to sit at a pavement café on The Pantiles and people watch. Even better if it happens to be a farmers’ market day.

Why do you love where you live?

It’s a privilege to live in an area of outstanding natural beauty such as The Weald of Kent. I’m never more than a few minutes away from rolling countryside and never more than an hour away from coast.

Hawkhurst. The Prince of Kent is a great Indian and pub-wise for me, it’s either The Queen’s Inn or The Great House which are both in Hawkhurst.

Where’s your favourite place to eat locally?

I would have to say The Curlew, in Bodiam. Their small plates and platters for sharing are of an outstanding quality.

What are your favourite nearby views?

As I approach Rye, driving along the B2089, there are stunning views to the right, over Winchelsea and out to sea.

If you’re looking to relax and unwind, where’s your favourite place to go?

A run around Bedgebury Forest is a great way to clear my mind.

Where’s the best place to meet friends and socialise?

The Chequers at Lamberhurst has

SO Magazine | OctOber 2022 | 25 Community
“It’s a privilege to live in an area of outstanding natural beauty such as The Weald of Kent”
www.beansmitten.co.uk @beansmitten The Curlew. Photo © Key & Quill Rye. Photo © Swoop Media Bedgebury Forest The Little Green Pantry
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to Farmfork..

The TN card is the Tunbridge Wells loyalty scheme that rewards shoppers for supporting local. This month its founder Jess Gibson chats to Samantha, the manager of Groombridge Farm Shop which has been championing local produce for over 25 years

Samantha, thank you for joining the TN card. Why did you want to be part of the scheme?

We have relied on the support of local people from the beginning. It is therefore right that we should offer some reward for their loyalty, whilst at the same time encouraging their patronage of local, small businesses by becoming members.

The Farm Shop is an important community hub where local producers can showcase their products. How did the farm shop first come about? When we first grew asparagus at New Park Farm in 2009, we were determined that it would first be available to local people. Once our stall was fully stocked, we then took our asparagus around the South East. Our little roadside stall then became a small farm shop and then was completely rebuilt in 2019, becoming the shop it is now. We have inspired many small and local businesses to supply us and in turn we have a community feel, looking after our local customers as well as inviting new ones.

ABOUT GROOMBRIDGE FARM SHOP

WHERE: Groombridge Hill, Tunbridge Wels TN3 9LY

VISIT FOR: Healthy, local fresh food. The best of Kent and British produce.

MEMBER REWARD:

10% off purchases over £30 Mon-Thurs.

You sell a vast array of seasonal produce grown right on the farm, what do you farm yourselves?

Asparagus, the first vegetable of an English season, remains our signature crop. Following asparagus of course are the quintessential English summer season crops, strawberries and raspberries. These now go from the end of May to the end of October.

We now grow lots of other crops too. Our fruit now includes cherries, plums, blueberries, blackberries, gooseberries, damsons, greengages and rhubarb. Our vegetables include pumpkins, courgette, marrow and squash (spaghetti, gem and crown prince varieties).

These have their season and are then available in our farm shop. When the season finishes we move on to the next. There is no asparagus or strawberries in our shop at Christmas!

Why is provenance so important to you?

It is absolutely vital to us. In an uncertain world, we need to make sure that our growers and local manufacturers have a platform to sell their goods. We are fortunate to be in the middle of the Garden of England where a lot of fantastic fruit is grown. Climate change focuses the mind; we believe that provenance gives us a guarantee of freshness and flavour, without the wide scale use of harmful packaging. Throughout the shop we promote recycling and the reduction of food waste. All our strawberries are sold in compostable punnets; our hens are fed any food that is no longer saleable. We have minimum waste.

How many suppliers do you work with and what are your best sellers?

We have 56 local suppliers, some of which were here, some grew with us. We are fiercely proud of them and the work they put in to ensure we have the best they can offer. We also offer COOK’s range of ready meals, for those with busy lives.

Ally in Langton Green or carrot and coriander soup from Mags in Paddock Wood.

What would you say to those who say they can’t afford to support local?

We are totally focused on supporting local but we agree that with rising costs it can be difficult.. Our fruit and veg is very competitively priced, normally no more expensive than the supermarket; so cooking at home with local fruit and veg is a healthy option that does not cost the earth. Customers can buy items individually rather than in plastic wrapped bags. We are also part of the 'Too Good To Go' scheme where we supply 'Magic Bags' for a much reduced price.

How do you thank TN members for supporting local?

We currently give members a 10% discount on a shop over £30 from Monday to Thursday across our complete range, including our online shop. We want to reward customers for their support; they are supporting the local economy, ensuring that we do not lose these essential growers and manufacturers.

www.groombridgefarmshop.co.uk

Jess Gibson Founder the TN Card

We do offer Christmas veg boxes, meat hampers and lots of other local goodies at that time though, as well as Christmas trees.

What your best selling products?

Besides asparagus, I’d say probably our salted caramel brownie, baked for us by Karen at Baketastic in Speldhurst, cheese scones from

SO Magazine | OctOber 2022 | 27 Community
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Just forlaughs

Jenny Eclair is touring the UK with her new show all about confronting the new decade.

A seasoned comic, podcaster and author, the audience is in safe hands as Jenny brings us along for her journey to discover what her 60s will hold.

Jenny will be holding court at the Assembly Hall on Friday 14th October 2022.

Tickets start at £20.50.

HARRY HILL

Harry Hill’s ‘all-singing, all-dancing, one-man spectacular’ returns with his new live tour.

Harry’s silly style comedy is best known from his show ‘Harry Hill’s TV Burp’ and as the voice of ‘You’ve Been Framed’.

With the assistance of his famous sidekick Stouffer the Cat and a few new friends, Harry’s new tour, ‘Pedigree Fun!’ will be showing at the Assembly Hall Saturday 22nd October 2022 and returning for a performance on Friday 25th November 2022.

Standard tickets start from £34.25.

GRAHAM NORTON

Late night chat show presenter, broadcaster and national treasure, Graham Norton will be coming to Tunbridge Wells to talk about his new novel ‘Forever Home’.

With numerous bestselling and award-winning books, Graham’s tour ‘An Evening with Graham Norton’ is a live conversation exploring his latest book which discusses his incredible career and ends with a chance to ask him questions.

Graham will be at The Assembly Hall on Sunday 23rd October 2022.

Tickets start from £28.

October sees a slew of stars appearing at the Assembly Hall Theatre – many of whom are some of the country’s top comedians. They include Sarah Millican, Russell Kane and Jenny Eclair. Here Lilly Croucher reveals why Tunbridge Wells is such a hot spot for humour this month…

If you’re a fan of stand up then Tunbridge Wells is the place to be this month as a host of funny men and women descend on the Assembly Hall theatre. Just last month Ricky Gervais sold out the venue courtesy of his two night stints showcasing his new stand-up routine which is entitled Work in Progress.

And for October

bring their own style of stand up to the masses.

Sarah’s new show - Bobby Dazzler – is her sixth international tour while former doctor Harry Hill brings his current show Pedigree Fun to TW audiences. Former comedian and popular TV presenter Graham Norton meanwhile waxes lyrical about his new book Forever Home. You can also catch Jenny Eclair, Henning Wehn and Russell Kane.

The venue’s Theatre Director, Mikey Powell tells SO magazine: “We’re incredibly proud to bring high class talents to the Assembly Hall Theatre. It’s important we provide something for everyone and feel we’re doing this with high profile performances from the likes of Sara Pascoe, Harry Hill, Russell Kane and of course Ricky Gervais, through to more personal conversation such as our evening with Graham Norton. We want people to associate the Assembly Hall Theatre with performers of this calibre and can’t wait to bring even more top level comedians to Tunbridge Wells.”

Here’s a round up of what you can expect to laugh out loud at over the coming weeks….

SARAH MILLICAN

The outrageously funny Sarah Millican is back on tour with her new stand up show Bobby Dazzler. Her sixth international tour will be showing at the Assembly Hall, Tunbridge Wells for two nights.

Sarah’s hilarious observational and candid stand-up will rock up on Friday 7th October 2022 with an additional performance on Saturday 8 October.

Tickets are priced £31.50.

RUSSELL KANE

The multi award-winning comedian and Essex funny man, Russell Kane is back with his funniest show yet.

His high-energy and lightening wit has bagged Russell numerous awards including the esteemed Edinburgh Perrier award and two chart-topping podcasts.

Russell’s tour ‘The Essex Variant’ was hailed by The Guardian as the Number 1 comedy performance of 2020. Russell will be playing for one night at the Assembly Hall on Wednesday 12th October 2022.

Tickets start at £26.25.

JENNY ECLAIR

Turning SIXTY! popular comedian

HENNING WEHN

The German comedy Ambassador returns to Tunbridge Wells with his tour “It’ll All Come Out In The Wash!’.

Henning is known for his TV and radio appearances including BBC1’s ‘Have I Got News For You’, ‘Would I Lie to You?’ and Channel 4’s, ‘8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown”.

It’ll All Come Out In The Wash is returning for a second show on Friday 28th October 2022 at The Assembly Hall after a stand-out performance of the tour earlier this year in March 2022.

Tickets are £27.75.

All tickets are available from www.assemblyhall theatre.co.uk

Kick start the new school year

Ninju, the Tunbridge Wells start-up that’s waging war on childhood obesity.

The UK is amid an obesity pandemic; 28% of UK children are obese or overweight 1, increasing to 40% in children aged ten & eleven 2, and rising to a staggering 60% in UK adults 3

This is a tiny snippet of the countless statistics illustrating this crisis, and Tunbridge Wells based Ninju founders, David Blackman & Aaron Rowe, are on an absolute crusade to change it – seeing there’s a clear correlation between obesity in kids and adults:

“When you look at these statistics it’s obvious that so much of this problem begins in childhood when we form those crucial associations that ultimately shape us as people.

If we can positively impact children during their most formative years, enabling them to develop a natural understanding of why a healthy lifestyle is important, then they stand a stronger chance of carrying those beliefs into adulthood and leading a happier life.”

It's a huge long-term challenge with many contributing factors, so how do Ninju intend to make an impact? Aaron and David believe it starts with encouraging kids to form healthy habits,

because lots of little healthy habits eventually become a healthy lifestyle, and healthy kids become healthy grown-ups!

Cue Ninju’s first innovative product, the Kids Super Shot - a 100ml chilled blend of water, fresh fruit juices, vegetables, added vitamins and minerals (A, C, D, Calcium, Magnesium & Zinc).

It combines functional attributes (supporting immune system, digestion, bones, and teeth) with fun engagement and taste – is there another drink that gets kids consuming pumpkin and courgettes for breakfast? Nope!

Low in natural sugar, no nasties, just a little daily shot of essential goodness to keep our superstars fighting fit and starting that habitual process of daily healthy living.

The product is aimed at children aged 4 –11 years and comes in the form of an ‘on the go’ 100ml shot or in a larger 750ml multi-shot ‘dosing’ bottle, containing 7 shots. There are currently two tasty flavours – Orange Power and Apple Punch – think veggies like pumpkin and courgette paired with superstar ingredients such as chamomile and elderflower, all blended with kiddie favourite fruits plus added vitamins and minerals. There’s also Ninju bamboo shot cups available, as well as another two flavours on the horizon. Check it all out at Ninjuworld.com

Ninju’s existence all started in the kitchen at home when Aaron was drinking his daily ginger shot and his 5-year-old son asked to taste it, following which he swiftly spat it out -“it’s too spicy!”. So, what happened when the guys toned down the flavour, threw in some fresh fruit & veggies with a few Ninju powers? Boom! It was a winner and a light bulb moment – fresh, nutritional shots for kids, helping them to consume fresh fruit, more veggies, plus added vitamins and minerals in a quick, easy, and fun way.

Fast forward 18 months, Ninju now partner with one of Europe’s leading juice manufacturers and are primed for

partnership across multiple retail outlets over the coming months. Inspirational and very exciting!

Fruit juices have been subject to a lot of negative press recently, being linked to excessive sugar, and speculation around HFSS (High Fat, Sugar, and Salt) has certainly impacted societies awareness of the problem.

Ninju research showed a huge proportion of parents were concerned about sugar consumption, even with existing deemed ‘healthy’ products, it seems many simply don’t work hard enough. Ninju contains only natural sugar from fresh fruit, no higher than 6.2g per 100ml; approximately 30% lower than most other kid’s juices. Add in 5% veggies per 100ml, Vitamins A, C & D, Calcium, Magnesium and Zinc, it’s easy to see why Ninju is proving so popular.

There’s another critical part to the Ninju puzzle that needs some spotlight too, which is Aaron and David’s plans for NinjuWorld:

How can we truly help them to understand? We need to speak their language.

And what’s the language of kids? It’s imagination, excitement, and stimulation. Character led environments and immersive storylines that kids connect with and trustbut good ones, laced with education, encouraging daily mental and physical activity driven by true purpose to help the kids of today be healthier and the adults they become to be happier.”

Ninjuworld will bridge the gap between healthy child nutrition and the kids themselves, impacting sole reliance on parents having to convince children to consume what they tell them to – it will help steer kids toward the right behaviour and associations to progress the healthier daily habits explained earlier.

Head over to NinjuWorld.com to find out more about Ninju’s Master Goji and his secret missions!

It’s certainly an exciting time for Ninju & the Kids Super Shot, not to mention their innovative future product pipeline.

Follow their movement on socials @ninjuworld and check out the website ninjuworld.com

“It’s easy for us to talk about the changes we will make and how we’ll influence our children by better education, but what does that actually look like?
1. UK National Child Measurement Programme 2. NHS Digital 3. Healthsurvery.hscic.gov.uk
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French restaurants are not as dominant on our high streets as they used to be. There are far less Parisian style bistros and haute cuisine restaurants to choose from these days here in Tunbridge Wells given the competition from flavours from elsewhere around the world.

Yet there are many who continue to rate French food as the world’s best, and with a restaurant such as Coco Retro in Tunbridge Wells still around to show off some of the best cuisine from Paris and Northern France has to offer, it is hard not to agree with them.

The Vale Road restaurant has

been showcasing some of the finest in French food since it opened in 2017, and I’m pleased to say that five years since it opened Coco Retro has lost none of its lustre.

From the moment you step inside, the Parisian-style dining room, complete with classic French sonic chansons being gently piped through speakers, along with unmistakable Gallic aromas emanating from the kitchen, you really know this is a place where French food is taken seriously.

You only have to take a quick look at the wine to confirm this.

With more than 450 bottles to choose from, and not just France but the new world too, this is a

restaurant that rates drink as seriously as the food it serves up.

UNDER STARTERS ORDERS

A quick glance at the ‘Entrees’ menu reaffirms that Coco Retro is a traditional French bistro. Some of the distinctive classic dishes on the menu include Cuisses De Grenouilles (sautéed frog legs, £8.25), Escargot A La Bourguignonne (snails in garlic sauce £8.10) or the classic French Charcuterie board (£9.95).

For a taste of rustic France, the Terrine De Porc (homemade pork terrine £8.25) is deliciously textured and comes with melba toast an array of pickles.

The calamari (£8.85), in particular is perfectly deep fried and makes a delicate and light starter.

THE MAIN EVENT

Traditional French farmhouse dishes do not stop at the entrees menu. Coco Retro’s ‘Plats Principaux’ (main menu) is full of traditional homely French dishes, but there are also influences from across Europe.

The Rouleaux De Porc (rolled pork, £19.90), is slowly cooked in a ‘secret’ herbes de Provence recipe and is a clear standout dish

32 | OctOber 2022 | SO Magazine Food & drink
When Coco Retro launched in 2017 its aim was to serve up the finest gallic-inspired dishes this side of the Channel to the discerning diners of Tunbridge Wells. Richard Williams went along to see if the bistro still has that certain ‘je ne sais quoi’…
“Coco Retro has been showcasing some of the finest in French food since it opened in 2017”
Photos
© Key & Quill

from the traditional French aspect of the menu.

But the Ratatouille (£15.20) and chicken Schnitzel (£17.90) offer enough diversity for those wanting more Mediterranean flavours.

Other favourites include Steak Flamande (£19.50) and a classic duck confit (£19.20) in orange and Grand Marnier sauce.

Fish remains plentiful on the main menu too, with the Friture (£20.50) an incredibly fresh plate of fruits de mer, all delicately golden brown and deep fried, complete with Mediterranean salad and tartare sauce.

The specials menu is also always worth a look at Coco Retro too.

During our visit there was 48day aged Cote De Boeuf (£75.00 to share), consisting of 1kg of finest quality beef marinated in

single malt whiskey and aged in Coco Retro’s state of the art refrigerator – absolute heaven for meat lovers.

AFTER DINNER

Desserts, as you can imagine, are every bit as well presented as main meals at Coco Retro.

These range from traditional favourites such as Panna cotta à la noix de coco (coconut panna cotta with peach coulis ) to ananas et cerise gateau (rustic pineapple and cherry cake with black forest sauce ) or you can go for a selection of mini desserts. All our priced individually.

One of the most distinct aspects of Coco Retro is just how large the actual footprint of the restaurant is.

While the bistro dining takes

place on the ground floor, the first floor makes for more intimate dining, especially next to the open kitchen where you can see the chefs at work, but perhaps the best kept secret is Coco Retro’s ‘La Cave’, where diners are surrounded by wines from all over the world, in the intimate setting of the restaurant’s wine cellar.

After a first class meal I am happy to report that Coco Retro remains one of Tunbridge Wells’ best dining experiences.

Whether you are after a light lunch, romantic evening or a large party, there are few places where you get the same combination of excellent French food, friendly service and great value which has kept its regulars coming back to Coco Retro for the last five years.

SO Magazine | OctOber 2022 | 33
Food & drink
www.cocoretro.co.uk
After a first class meal I am happy to report that Coco Retro remains one of Tunbridge Wells’ best dining experiences

The Stile Bridge Inn is a centuries old pub located in Staplehurst but since its new management team, who also own The Poet in Matfield, took it over it’s proving to be anything but traditional…

Let's start by you telling us how the last few years have been for you?

We (Chris and Debbie) have owned the lease for The Poet in Matfield for the past 10 years –six and a half of those with our business partners Petrus and Andy. Overall it’s been a very successful operation so a couple of years ago we decided to start looking at how we could expand the business further. But then of course Covid hit. This was a very tough time for us all in the restaurant trade but we had to do something. So during the numerous lockdowns the management team decided we should do a takeaway service of restaurant quality food that you could effectively warm up and enjoy in your own home. This proved exceptionally popular and we started delivering all over Kent and Sussex. The absolute peak of this was delivering Valentine’s steak and lobster packages to a very receptive audience! During this whole process

we found ourselves delivering every day to areas around Marden, Staplehurst, Linton, Coxheath and Chart Sutton and we soon realised that no-one was servicing these areas with high quality food.

Was delivering The Poet’s food elsewhere in the area how you came across The Stile Bridge Inn?

Effectively yes! When the food deliveries took off we contacted our friends who run the Curious Eatery in Boughton Monchelsea and decided to partner up in order to give some variety to each other’s customers. We would switch our individual offerings for a week so that we could sell to their customers and they could sell to ours. It was very successful but it also meant we drove past what used to be The Stile Bridge Inn. We loved the building and the location spoke for itself given our experience with success of our takeaways so we decided to see if the pub was for sale…

GO ON A GLOBAL culinary adventure

What made you so determined to get your hands on it?

We thought it would be a good opportunity for us, given the plans we were trying to formulate before lockdown. And before we knew it, we were in negotiations to buy the pub! Thankfully they were successful and suddenly we were faced with having to refurb the place. We absolutely hated the decor but loved the floors and although we tried to hire tradesmen to carry out the work we had no real luck in securing anyone – apart from an

excellent painter/decorator but he was only available for three weeks! So we spent the first two weeks doing it all ourselves...

Tell us how you initially brought the pub back to life?

During this period of decluttering the pub, we were contacted by the family of one of the pub’s best customers, the late John McCann.

He was a regular drinker at The Stile Bridge Inn for many years before its closure but sadly he passed away during the pandemic. Apparently he had left strict instructions in his will that he had to have his wake at The Stile Bridge as he had never bought a drink in his drinking life! His daughter and son were very keen to execute the conditions of his will and therefore asked us to open the pub to fulfil their obligations. So we obtained a special license to accommodate them, and got The Poet team to supply the food and order drinks according to their requirements. The pub was in a really bad way as we were only a short way into the refurb, but the family didn’t seem to mind! We were so busy at The Poet that we had to personally

34 | OctOber 2022 | SO Magazine
ADVERTISING FEATURE
Photos
©
Jason Wain

staff this event along with our two daughters. The occasion gave us the opportunity to meet so many of The Stile Bridge Inn’s amazing locals and we immediately felt the pub was a very important place to so many in the community.

Are you looking to replicate a similar feeling at The Stile Bridge to that of The Poet?

Initially our idea was to staff The Stile Bridge Inn from the The Poet and make it a sister restaurant which would be a bit more publike and less formal than The Poet. But it soon became obvious to us that the area needed a food-led hospitality offering as the previous incarnations had not been successful. So our goal was to change the reputation of the pub from a pure drinking establishment to a more balanced food orientated environment.

Tell us about your Head Chef there, Oscar Fonesca...

We are blessed that Oscar, who

had been a friend of The Poet for a number of years, and is also a close friend of its chef Petrus, decided to change direction and join this new venture. He explained to us he wanted to take great local British produce and take it on holiday, all over the world. We were instantly sold on the concept so Oscar ended up bringing his team onboard.

What is Oscar’s culinary USP? He likes to cook everything on fire with loud music and lots of fun! To be honest he is a joy and people need to experience his flavours as his style of cooking is not anything we have ever experienced.

Which of his signature dishes are proving popular?

The octopus, pork and pineapple combo is an absolute must, but we also recommend the chuleta which is a huge cut of beef and can be shared with lots of delicious accompaniments. It is covered with a sauce that only Oscar can ever make and aged in our own ageing chambers for two weeks.

Do you offer private dining for guests?

We have a 50-seater function room attached to the venue and have already hosted a number of events. If SO readers want to let us know their requirements we will do our best to accommodate!

What can customers expect from your autumn/winter and Christmas menus?

Our autumn and winter menu will reflect what is locally available. Diners can expect game and some gorgeous earthy mushrooms as well as other seasonal vegetablesall further enhanced with Oscar’s unique flavour twists. Our Christmas menu will be online soon - but don’t expect it to be predictable!

And finally, congratulations on making it into this year’s Michelin Guide...

Thanks! We found out we were in it in Apil - only five months after opening! We didn’t ask them, they came incognito - we guess because of the pub’s link with The Poet.

SO Magazine | OctOber 2022 | 35 ADVERTISING FEATURE
“Oscar likes to cook everything on fire with loud music and lots of fun! People need to experience his flavours and style of cooking is not anything we have ever experienced.”

The breakfast club

aged sixteen, and I have never looked back. I completed all three levels of catering at West Kent College (now North Kent College) and studied there for three years. It was here that my passion for food grew, and whilst working my first job as a kitchen porter, I uncovered a new side to the industry – the adrenaline. Cooking hundreds of dishes each night made to the highest of standards to see the beaming smiles fill the restaurant floor is a feeling like no other!

Tell us about the concept of The Brasserie, One Warwick Park

We wanted to introduce a new breakfast and brunch spot that focused on fresh food and celebrated Tunbridge Wells’ suppliers. A place that was much more than your average café, but a relaxed spot filled with the highest quality dishes and coffee ideal for every occasion. From breakfast schmoozing to afternoon brunching, the menu showcases home-cooked classics you can’t help but indulge in.

What’s the menu’s USP?

From full English breakfasts that include vegetarian and vegan options to homemade pastries and smashed avocado, The Brasserie’s menu focuses on tasteful favourites that give our guests a nice boost for the day – after all, breakfast is the most important meal! We incorporated hearty ingredients with healthier trends such as our blueberry and chia seed overnight oats for those looking to try something new.

They say the early bird catches the worm, but in this case, it catches eggs royale and breakfast burritos as Tunbridge Wells’ One Warwick Park Hotel opens its doors to Brasserie - a new hotspot for breakfast & brunch…

The Brasserie, One Warwick Park which opened its doors on September 20, is dedicated to serving the town’s best breakfast and brunch, so whether you’re hungry for a classic full English or want to satisfy your sweet tooth with triple stacked American pancakes drizzled in maple syrup, The Brasserie’s head chef, Ollie Funnell has created a menu full of breakfast favourites.

Talented chef Ollie has spent time with his sous-chefs to create a menu which nods to the locality of Tunbridge Wells and our town’s wealth of fantastic suppliers. Boasting local flavours, traditional classics and homemade treats, Ollie tells us more about what lead him to The Brasserie, and what guests can expect from the new menu…

How long have you worked at One Warwick Park Hotel? I’ve worked for Elite Leisure

Collection for over a year, starting off at Salomons Estate, One Warwick Park’s sister hotel, conference, and wedding venue, as a Chef de Partie where I would assist the Head Chef and Sous Chef in creating delicious menu items. I then began working across both sites as my role developed into a junior sous chef where I’d often get involved in running the kitchen which was pretty exciting!

What lead you to cooking?

‘Feeding people happiness’ is what drives me. Like many chefs, my love for food began during childhood. All I have ever wanted to do was create delicious dishes that make people happy – you can’t beat the feeling seeing your regular customers return time and time again because they love the food that you cook.

Tell us more about your culinary studies… I took the leap to starting my career

What particular dish would you recommend?

If you visit, you must try our breakfast burritos as they are a

36 | OctOber 2022 | SO Magazine Food & drink
“We chose to work with independent producers such as Southborough Butchers and Tunbridge Wells Coffee Roastery. By supporting local businesses we’re also doing our part to help grow our community”
One Warwick Park Hotel is owned by the Elite Leisure Collection who also own SO Magazine

super tasty and filling option for any time of the day. Filled with scrambled eggs, Cumberland sausage, smoked streaky bacon and baby spinach wrapped in a delicious tortilla, this flavoursome cocoon is packed full of nutritiousrich ingredients.

Molly Miller swung by the new Brasserie at One Warwick Park to see whether the town’s latest breakfast and brunch spot delivers the goods…

You focus a lot on independent producers. Why is this important to you?

We chose to work with independent producers such as Southborough Butchers and Tunbridge Wells Coffee Roastery for two reasons. Firstly, keeping money in our local economy is important to us, especially with rising living costs. By supporting local businesses we’re also doing our part to help grow our community.

Secondly, purchasing local, freshly grown produce often results in better tasting dishes. We know where our ingredients come from and can promise a shorter time between harvest to table, allowing for not only more flavourful meals, but healthier ones too.

What’s not to love about breakfast? Beautifully scrambled eggs, perfectly crisped bacon, and sweet pancakes enough to make anyone drool. When it comes to getting your morning fix, I can unashamedly say it is my absolute favourite meal of the day, so when SO’s editor asked me to review The Brasserie at One Warwick Park, I immediately said yes.

Nestled in the heart of Chapel Place, just a stone’s throw away from the famous Pantiles and only a short walk from Tunbridge Wells station, The Brasserie is perfectly located for commuters and shoppers alike.

I visited one Sunday morning with my partner, and as soon as we turned the corner onto Chapel Place the results of the restaurant’s stylish refurbishment were unveiled. Previously ‘STEAK’, One Warwick Park Hotel’s lunch and dinner steak house, the once dark and moody exterior has been given a new lease of life. The fresh lick of pale grey paint harmonises with the charming row of independent shops that follow, causing Sid and I to be taken aback by the restaurant’s fresh new look.

Early birds lined the opening as Sunday shoppers and coffee lovers filled the pleasant outdoor seating before we made our way through to the restaurant. Upon entering, we were welcomed into a deli-like space that incorporates elegant and chic interiors. Think black marbled countertops, intense dark green walls and warm lighting contributing to an imminent feeling of relaxation.

Greeted with a smile and led to our table by a friendly and attentive waitress, I quickly found myself relaxing into banquette seating dressed in plush cushions for all round comfort and style.

Of course, no morning can begin without a coffee and as big fans of the brew we began to order. Sid opted for a cappuccino which he described as having ‘great flavour’ and I asked for the caffè latte which was smooth and creamy. As we discovered the coffee was sourced from independent supplier Tunbridge

Wells coffee roastery, we admired the décor that surrounded us.

From antiqued mirrors and vintage prints to velvet soft furnishings and statement light fixtures, the interiors of the main seating area are flooded with charm and character declaring this breakfast eatery a far cry from your typical greasy spoon. As you’d expect from the immaculate exterior, inside was very clean and well-kept too.

The breakfast menu (available every day between 7.00am – 1.00pm) offers a wonderfully diverse choice of food for meat eaters, vegetarians, vegans, and health-conscious diners alike and while I had my heart set on the triple stacked buttermilk American pancakes with blueberries, natural yoghurt and maple syrup, the chef’s recommended breakfast burrito (£7.95) won me over.

When my breakfast arrived, it did not disappoint and those who have hearty appetites will be most impressed. While burritos were invented in Mexico and the

breakfast adaptation is American, this dish was packed full of British breakfast staples that filled me up well into the late afternoon.

Generous in portion size and cocooned in a thin and soft tortilla wrap, I indulged in an impressive mix of fluffy scrambled eggs, Cumberland sausage, streaky bacon, and baby spinach. Now I have to say, if you’re feeling peckish rather than starving, this dish would probably be enjoyed best as a brunch as it’s very filling –not that I was complaining!

Sid’s order of the full English breakfast (£12.95) was equally impressive and much to his delight came paired with soft, not hard (a pet hate for us foodies) butter ready to spread onto his sourdough toast.

After kicking things off with a toasty crunch, Sid tucked into his full English made fresh with two eggs, a Cumberland sausage, smoked streaky bacon, grilled cherry vine tomatoes, a Portobello mushroom, hash browns and baked beans, which he swiftly

demolished leaving the plate clean.

The Brasserie certainly hits the spot and leaves you delightfully satisfied without feeling overly full. The quality of meat (also locally sourced) particularly stood out and was cooked to perfection.

With a superb location sandwiched between the best of Tunbridge Wells, beautiful décor and a relaxed atmosphere that eases you into your day, The Brasserie at One Warwick Park is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat and I can confirm the quality and value for money is up there with the best of eateries I have had the pleasure of visiting. We left feeling impressed and will definitely return…

Food & drink
“My burrito was an impressive mix of fluffy scrambled eggs, Cumberland sausage, streaky bacon, and baby spinach”
SO Magazine | OctOber 2022 | 37
The Brasserie’s menu focuses on tasteful favourites that give our guests a nice boost for the day dine Rise &

A festive

feast

SO magazine profiles what some of our favourite local restaurants and gastro pubs have in store for Christmas 2022…

Once Halloween is done and dusted our thoughts naturally turn to Christmas. But have you thought about where you’d like to celebrate the season with your family and friends? So have you got any ideas on where you might like to spend an evening eating fine food and drinking good wine - with perhaps the opportunity to kick off your shoes and dance afterwards? No? Well no worries as we’ve

actually done all the hard work for you!

Over the next few pages we showcase some of our favourite restaurants and country pubs who will have something for everyone over the Christmas period. Whether you’re after a hearty seasonal lunch following a long chilly walk in the countryside or want to throw on your best party gear and celebrate in a chi-chi eatery in town, we have covered all epicurean options for you. Read on and eat, drink and be merry…

Roasted Celeriac & Bramley Apple Soup, Salt Baked Celeriac Suet Dumpling, Herb Oil

Dingley Dell Pork & Pistachio Terrine, Apple Chutney, Toasted Bloomer Beetroot & Orange Cured Salmon, Fennel, Orange Gel & Dill Roasted Butternut Squash Ravioli, Parmesan & Squash Velouté

Roast Free Range Bronze Turkey, Cranberry & Apple Stuffing, Pig in Blanket, Seasonal Vegetables, Turkey & Marjoram Jus Slow Cooked Blade of English Beef, Smoked Carrot Puree, Creamed Potato, Crisp Onions, Pancetta Jus

Roast Cauliflower Steak, Garlic & Chestnut Crumb, Labnah, Crisp Cauliflower Leaves

(All the above come with a selection of Beef Dripping Potatoes, New Potatoes & Seasonal Vegetables)

Pan Roasted Fillet of Sea Bream, Aubergine Purée Courgette Ribbons, Crab & Chive Butter Sauce, Seasonal Vegetables and New Potatoes

Abergavenny Christmas Pudding, Brandy Custard, Berry Compote Dark Chocolate Parfait, Malted Crumb, Horlicks Cream Pear & Almond Cake, Spiced Pear Puree, Vanilla Ice Cream Selection of English Cheeses, Quince Jelly, Apple Chutney, Pickled Onions, Date & Walnut Bread & Crackers

book call 01892 750233

38 | OctOber 2022 | SO Magazine Food & drink
To
or e-mail xmas@abergavennyarms.co.uk www.abergavennyarms.co.uk ABERGAVENNY ARMS CHRISTMAS PARTY MENU 2 Courses for £27.50 Per Person 3 Courses for £32.50 Per Person Minimum 4 persons. £10 deposit per person and pre order of menu choices required *Prices maybe subject to change if subjected to extraordinary supplier increases

Christmas at Salomons Estate

carpet

Hollywood

Christmas, step into

themed gala nights!

out with friends

best in yuletide spirit…

STARTERS

Leek, potato & chestnut soup with feta cheese & thyme croute (v) (can be made vegan & gf on request)

Duck liver parfait, spiced clementine chutney, toasted spring onion & sesame seed bread

Hot smoked halibut, radish, cucumber ribbon, sautéed pearl onions with dill crème fraiche (gf) (can be df on request)

MAIN COURSE

Roasted free range turkey breast, apricot stuffing, pigs in blanket, roast potatoes, seasonal vegetables & turkey jus (gf, df)

Roasted haddock fillet, cumin roasted new potato cake & braised leeks with a fennel & tomato sauce (gf, df)

Butternut squash, leek & spinach gratin, celeriac ribbon, sunflower seed purée with wilted greens & rosemary potato cake (v) (vegan on request)

DESSERT

Chocolate tart au citron, white chocolate ice cream & raspberry gel

Locally sourced cheeseboard with farmhouse chutney, celery, grapes and crackers (gf available on request)

Ginger & caramel apple pudding, rhubarb compote with cinnamon whipped cream (can be made vegan & gf on request)

SCAN HERE FOR MORE INFO & TO BOOK

FESTIVE GALA NIGHTSONLY £54pp
We’re rolling out the red
this
the glitz of our
Glamour
Book a table for your work do or a festive night
or family, our Christmas parties boast the
DRESS TO IMPRESS HOLLYWOOD GLAMOUR THEME! WELCOME GLASS OF PROSECCO | THREE COURSE FESTIVE MENU CASINO TABLES | PHOTOBOOTH | DJ & DANCING UNTIL 1AM @salomons_venue @salomons.venue @salomons_estate TO BOOK Call 01892 515152 or email reception@salomons-estate.com Booking essential for all Christmas events

STARTERS

Peter Marley’s Warren venison sausages, Madeira sauce, sourdough bread

Sussex beef carpaccio, parmesan shavings & balsamic reduction

Baked Dorset snails, homemade garlic; chilli, coriander, ginger lemon, butter or cream of blue cheese, toasted sourdough

Jerusalem artichoke soup, croutons & oak smoked cheddar (Vegetarian)

Plant based feta salad, red cabbage, hazelnuts & dried fruit (Vegan)

MAINS

Sautéed lamb cutlets, new potatoes, heritage tomato salad, Moroccan spices & black olives

Roast Norfolk Bronze turkey or loin of Sussex pork, all traditional Christmas trimmings

Pan seared Bream, spinach purée, spicy garbanzo, shrimp & caper beurre noisette

Spicy seitan, heritage tomato salad, coriander & pickled shallots (Vegan)

DESSERTS

Half dozen egg box of homemade Warren macarons

Chestnut cream, Kraken spiced rum

Affogato, Frangelico, vanilla ice cream, almond amaretti & double espresso (Vegan)

Warren Christmas pudding crumble, custard

Flourless French molten chocolate cake, meringue & rhubarb sorbet

Three notable English cheeses, crackers, Warren preserves, fruit, pickled celery

Warren festive petit fours

per person

offer

CHRISTMAS

Bread & butter Glass of English sparkling wine Amuse bouche

STARTERS

Pig cheeks, pumpkin cream, crispy onions & Port jus

Warren pheasant, buttermilk, winter slaw & sautéed potatoes

Pan seared foie gras, Ashdown Forest apple sauce & toasted brioche

Sussex beef carpaccio, parmesan shaving & balsamic reduction

Half dozen Colchester Oysters, vinaigrette, lemon, variety of Tabasco sauces

Plant based feta salad, red cabbage, hazelnuts & dried fruit (Vegan)

MAINS

Loin of Warren venison, Duchess potatoes, Brussel sprouts, beetroot & Madeira jus

Roast Norfolk Bronze turkey or loin of Sussex pork, all traditional Christmas trimmings

Baked lobster tail & monkfish, Thai-style salad

Warren Beetroot Wellington, mushroom duxelles, seasonal vegetables, red wine sauce (Vegan)

DESSERTS

Apple tart tatin, berry compote & vanilla ice cream

Chestnut cream, Kraken spiced rum

Warren Christmas pudding crumble, custard Affogato, Frangelico, vanilla ice cream, almond amaretti & double espresso (Vegan)

Flourless French molten chocolate cake, meringue & rhubarb sorbet

Three notable English cheeses, crackers, Warren preserves, fruit, pickled celery

Warren festive petit fours & Christmas Crackers

£105.00 per person

Farm to table 5a The High Street, Tunbridge Wells 01892 328191 contact@thewarren.restaurant www.thewarren.restaurant
DAY MENU 2022 CHRISTMAS FESTIVE MENU 2022
Bread & butter Christmas cracker Amuse bouche
£54.00
(special
£45.00 Wednesdays & Thursdays)

FESTIVE BUFFET BANQUET

Minimum of 20 people-up to 35 people

Available between 21st of November to 27 of December (Excluding Sundays and Christmas Day) £27.50 Per Person

Pigs in Blankets

Smoked Salmon Blinis Chickpea & Coriander Cakes, Coconut Dipping Sauce (ve) Quinoa & Orange Salad with Cranberries & Walnuts (ve, gf,n) Stilton & Celery Quiche (v)

Roasted New Potatoes with Garlic & Rosemary (ve, gf) Honey Roast Gammon (gf)

A Whole Dressed Salmon (gf) Tomato & Chili Spiced Chicken (gf) Chocolate Brownie (ve,gf,n) Mince Pies

CHRISTMAS SET MENU 2022

Glass of Prosecco & Christmas Cracker included 2 Courses £27.95/ 3 Courses £34.95

Available between 21st of November to 27 of December (Excluding Sundays and Christmas Day)

STARTERS

Spiced Pumpkin and Butternut Squash Soup, Rustic Breads (ve) Chickpea & Coriander Cakes, Spinach & Capers Salad, Coconut Dipping Sauce (ve) Salmon Gravadlax, Cucumber Relish, Dill Cream Cheese, Blinis Chicken Liver Pate, Edgcumbe Chutney, Mini Bread Rolls Ham Hock & Pea Salad, Edamame Beans, Watercress, Pumpkin Seeds, Cranberry Dressing (gf)

MAINS

Roast Turkey

Roast Potatoes, Roasted Vegetables, Red Cabbage, Brussel Sprouts, Stuffing, Pigs in Blankets, Gravy Roast Gammon Pineapple, Roast Potatoes, Roasted Vegetables, Red Cabbage, Brussel Sprouts, Stuffing, Pigs in Blankets, Gravy Nut Roast (ve,n) Roast Potatoes, Roasted Vegetables, Red Cabbage, Brussel Sprouts, Vegan Sausage & Stuffing, Gravy Edgcumbe Fish Pie, Broccoli (gf)

Vegan Beetroot Bourguignon, Rustic Breads (ve) (gf with gf bread)

PUDDING

Christmas Pudding, Brandy Custard (n)

Sticky Toffee Pudding, Vanilla Custard (gf,n) Vegan Brownie, Coconut Ice Cream (ve,gf,n) Chocolate Orange Cheesecake

Festive Ice Creams (v) OR Fruity Sorbets (ve)

Selection of Local Cheeses (£3 supplement) With Crackers, Homemade Chutney, Grapes & Celery Only available to tables of 6+

V=Vegetarian VE=Vegan N=Contains Nuts GF=Gluten Free (GF Bread available). Please alert our team to any dietary requirements. A discretionary 10% service charge will be added to your bill for the Festive Buffet Banquet or 12.5% for the Christmas Set Menu. 100% of the service charge is shared equally with the team at The Mount Edgcumbe. Thank you. Please note all buffets will be located on the first-floor restaurant (accessible via stairs only) and the area will have to be vacated by 10.30pm. All drinks will have to be ordered at the downstairs bar. To confirm a Festive Buffet or Christmas Set Menu booking we require a deposit of £10 per head (not refundable if cancelled with less than 48 hours’ notice). Tel: 01892 618854 Email: hello@themountedgcumbe.com Website: www.themountedgcumbe.com Eat. Drink. Stay. Enjoy.

FESTIVE BUFFET BANQUET

Minimum of 20 people-up to 35 people

Available between 21st of November to 27 of December (Excluding Sundays and Christmas Day) £27.50 Per Person

Pigs in Blankets

Smoked Salmon Blinis Chickpea & Coriander Cakes, Coconut Dipping Sauce (ve) Quinoa & Orange Salad with Cranberries & Walnuts (ve, gf,n) Stilton & Celery Quiche (v)

Roasted New Potatoes with Garlic & Rosemary (ve, gf) Honey Roast Gammon (gf)

A Whole Dressed Salmon (gf) Tomato & Chili Spiced Chicken (gf) Chocolate Brownie (ve,gf,n) Mince Pies

CHRISTMAS SET MENU 2022

Glass of Prosecco & Christmas Cracker included 2 Courses £27.95/ 3 Courses £34.95

Available between 21st of November to 27 of December (Excluding Sundays and Christmas Day)

STARTERS

Spiced Pumpkin and Butternut Squash Soup, Rustic Breads (ve) Chickpea & Coriander Cakes, Spinach & Capers Salad, Coconut Dipping Sauce (ve) Salmon Gravadlax, Cucumber Relish, Dill Cream Cheese, Blinis Chicken Liver Pate, Edgcumbe Chutney, Mini Bread Rolls Ham Hock & Pea Salad, Edamame Beans, Watercress, Pumpkin Seeds, Cranberry Dressing (gf)

MAINS

Roast Turkey

Roast Potatoes, Roasted Vegetables, Red Cabbage, Brussel Sprouts, Stuffing, Pigs in Blankets, Gravy Roast Gammon Pineapple, Roast Potatoes, Roasted Vegetables, Red Cabbage, Brussel Sprouts, Stuffing, Pigs in Blankets, Gravy Nut Roast (ve,n) Roast Potatoes, Roasted Vegetables, Red Cabbage, Brussel Sprouts, Vegan Sausage & Stuffing, Gravy Edgcumbe Fish Pie, Broccoli (gf)

Vegan Beetroot Bourguignon, Rustic Breads (ve) (gf with gf bread)

PUDDING

Christmas Pudding, Brandy Custard (n)

Sticky Toffee Pudding, Vanilla Custard (gf,n)

Vegan Brownie, Coconut Ice Cream (ve,gf,n) Chocolate Orange Cheesecake

Festive Ice Creams (v) OR Fruity Sorbets (ve)

Selection of Local Cheeses (£3 supplement) With Crackers, Homemade Chutney, Grapes & Celery Only available to tables of 6+

V=Vegetarian VE=Vegan N=Contains Nuts GF=Gluten Free (GF Bread available). Please alert our team to any dietary requirements. A discretionary 10% service charge will be added to your bill for the Festive Buffet Banquet or 12.5% for the Christmas Set Menu. 100% of the service charge is shared equally with the team at The Mount Edgcumbe. Thank you. Please note all buffets will be located on the first-floor restaurant (accessible via stairs only) and the area will have to be vacated by 10.30pm. All drinks will have to be ordered at the downstairs bar. To confirm a Festsive Buffet or Christmas Set Menu booking we require a deposit of £10 per head (not refundable if cancelled with less than 48 hours’ notice). Tel: 01892 618854 Email: hello@themountedgcumbe.com Website: www.themountedgcumbe.com Eat. Drink. Stay. Enjoy.

Plans for Christmas?

Celebrate in style at the Bottle House Inn in Penshurst where head chef Gary Jarvis has prepared this cracker of a menu. Backed up by a wonderful wine list, great ales, log fires, a private room and stylish restaurant oozing Christmas charm, there’s no better place to be jolly this season.

Call now to book on 01892 870 306 thebottlehouseinnpenshurst.co.uk The Bottle House Inn, Coldharbour Road, Penshurst, Kent, TN11 8ET

12 Noon - 2.00pm 3 courses, coffee & mince pies £80pp

2.45pm - 5.00pm Welcome drink, 4 courses, coffee & petit fours £95pp

Spend Christmas Day with us and enjoy a seasonal feast at one of our two special sittings taking place at midday and 2:45pm. Let us take care of you (and the washing up) on December 25th

STARTERS

Scallop ceviche with pickled golden beetroot, apple & sorrel gel (GF) (DF)

Terrine of ham hock, celeriac apple slaw, pickled vegetables (GF) (DF)

Lightly spiced parsnip soup, sourdough croutons, parsnip crisps (GF on request)

SCAN FOR MORE INFO & TO BOOK

MAINS

Roasted free range turkey, sage and onion stuffing, smoked bacon wrapped chipolata, seasonal vegetables, roast potatoes, turkey jus (GF)

Sweet potato, chard, goats’ cheese and pine nut loaf, garlic and herb stuffed mushroom, wilted greens with a butternut and caraway purée (V)

DESSERTS

Selection of cheeses with farmhouse chutney, celery, grapes and artisan biscuits (GF on request)

Christmas pudding with brandy butter and vanilla cream sauce

Dark chocolate marquise, orange marscapone, lemon verbena shortbread

onewarwickpark.co.uk | 01892 520 587 | @onewarwickpark
SO Magazine | OctOber 2022 | 45 ADVERTISING Paul Gunn Collective Friday 11 November 7.30pm. The Grey Lady, 70-72 Pantiles. New tunes - World rhythms! “Brilliant Musicianship” Mainlypiano.com “Wonderful Musicians!” Latest Brighton “Joyful and energetic” Tickets £10 Lark Reviews 01892 544700 tickets, music and videos at paulgunn.net

ON

A

cockney sing-along - in the buff - is being held at a coffee house and bar in

Royal Tunbridge Wells.

Yes, that’s right. You’ll be singing Knees Up Mother Brown but showing off more than your, er, knees.

The Nothing On Cockney Singalong is being held at The Green Duck Coffee House & Bar in Grosvenor Road in association with the East Sussex Naturists.

The Green Duck Emporium in September 2020 after being unable to work during most of the pandemic.

He initially decided to set up the shop to sell homewares and interiors, but it has since grown and his small empire now includes a coffee house and bar - where the event will be held - and another shop in Brighton, and last month we opened our new flag ship store In Royal Victoria Place in the heart of Tunbridge wells

Christmas

Singa-long

Owner of the venue Matt Elesmore admits it’s not the type of event which had ever crossed his mind until he was approached by the naturist group.

“They originally asked if they could do a naked supper club here,” he explains. “We do a sing-along on the last Friday of every month so I made the suggestion that we could do a naked sing-a-long. I managed to find a pianist who will actually do it in the buff, too.”

Matt admits he just thought ‘why not’ after being asked.

“I was intrigued when they approached me and I thought we’ll give it a go,” he says. “It’s just a bit different and I think it will get people talking - what’s the harm?”

For several years East Sussex Naturists have been organising events, countryside walks, yoga and sporting activities and the sing-along is their latest venture in social nudity.

Naturism is a legitimate form of self-expression - it’s legal, moral and is believed to enhance physical and mental well-being.

“I don’t know who will come to the event, we may get some locals and we may get some people that we did not expect to come along,” says Matt.

“I’ll be there - clothed. I was

“It’s been going really well, we’ve expanded and just opened the Brighton shop,” he said.

“We’re in Grosvenor Road in Tunbridge Wells which is a little off the beaten track and a road we’re trying to give a bit of love to.

“There are independents there and we’re trying our very best to peddle it.”

The Nothing On Christmas Singalong is on Friday 2nd December, from 7pm to 10pm.

Tickets are £22.50 and this includes an antipasti meat, cheese or vegan board per person.

Only 24 tickets are available and you will all be seated at tables with table service.

The event is hosted by performer Mister Meredith who has 25 years of sing-along experience under his belt.

He’ll be encouraging guests to sing along to anything from old music hall to cockney favourites, current

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The eyes have it…

This month optician Jamie Edney - who runs Edney & Edney with his optometrist wife Ayshah on Monson Road – talks about the benefits of building a bespoke eyewear wardrobe for clients…

For most people a trip to the opticians means buying a pair of spectacles, if needed, that are then worn for the next two, three, four or even more years until a new prescription is required and a new pair chosen. This same pair is worn for every occasion, smart, casual, work, social, active, or relaxing. Given the difficulty of finding one pair to fit all occasions, it is thankfully becoming more and more common place to own multiple pairs of ‘up to date’ glasses.

This is where we work closely with our clients to build their ‘Eyewear Wardrobe’. Other than the obvious cost of owning more than one set of glasses, there really isn’t another reason why you shouldn’t!

Thinking of your spectacle collection as a wardrobe, helps to cater for multiple different looks

and trends. For me, when curating a wardrobe, I encourage clients to consider how the frames sit together as a collection. This way we ensure that not all pairs are subtle variations of each other.

A client might want/need a stylish ‘professional’ pair for their work, but when it comes to ‘down time’ would prefer a more expressive, creative pair. So, my advice is to start with an easy to wear stylish frame for pair one, from the likes of MYKITA, Orgreen or Garret Leight.

Jacques Marie Mage or CUTLER

AND GROSS; or by colour using the bright explosions the likes of KIRK & KIRK and theo have built their reputations on.

GET IN CONTACT: www.edneyandedney.com

@edneyandedney

Often by moving to the very edge of your comfort zone you end up with the best pair of glasses that you have had, leading to more positive comments and a new confidence in wearing glasses. Those clients that take this journey then look to add more pairs at this end of the scale and interestingly return with a much larger comfort zone as they look to be challenged again.

@edneyandedney

@edneyandedney

This concept also applies to sunglasses, as a pair you wear to the beach may differ hugely, to a pair that you might wear to a wedding or special occasion.

Then allow pair two to be right on the edge of your comfort zone in terms of creativity and stylistic expression. This can be achieved by the form of the frame, for instance heavy block acetate specialised by

Careful curation of your glasses collection should, over time, give you stunning options for each and every outfit.

Your optician should always have something new and exciting to tempt you with when you visit.

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This summer saw the launch of Capturing Cranbrook, an artled programme looking to celebrate the natural landscape of the treasured Kent town. Hosted by local developer, Berkeley, the initiative is calling creatives of all stripes to showcase Cranbrook through their eyes – through lens or on canvas –and have a chance to feature in a special exhibition.

The programme has kicked off with a photography competition in partnership with award-winning wildlife photographer, David Jenner, which has seen aspiring photographers capture everything from animals, flowers, landscapes through to woodland creatures.

Now in full swing, is the nature art competition, which is inviting enthusiastic artists of all ages to get creative and capture Cranbrook’s natural world, landscapes, fauna and flora. Berkeley has partnered with Claire Murthy, a Kentbased painter and illustrator, who specialises in capturing

the wildlife residing in Kent’s gardens and local countryside.

The competition will comprise the following two categories, with the winners of each category awarded a professional arts materials bundle worth up to £150!

The competition will be judged by a panel of three judges, including Claire Murthy herself, a Berkeley representative and a figure from Times of Tunbridge Wells.

CATEGORIES

Beginners – open to those looking to explore their artistic talents but are new to drawing Intermediate – open to those with experience in illustration looking to hone their skills and perfect their talent

HOW TO ENTER

Submit your entry via this dedicated website: https:// www.berkeleygroup. co.uk/developments/kent/ cranbrook/farmstead-attannersbrook/capturingcranbrook. Here, full competition T&C’s can also be found. The competition is open with final submissions to be sent by Wednesday 19th October.

PAINT WHAT YOU LOVE - LOVE WHAT YOU PAINT

Find your niche; whether that’s trekking through the jungle or the back-garden weeds – enjoy using artistic licence.

Know your subject’s anatomy, habits and habitats through workshops, interest groups, books and other resources. Explore how wildlife is represented in art, including the mediums used – consider styles you can try out. Confidence in painting what you know will shine through your art.

BEFORE REACHING FOR THE PENCIL –STOP, LOOK AND THINK

Prepare a mental picture of the wildlife you want to draw and how to portray it. Observe its shape and how to simplify it for sketching. Note ways to present its significant colours in your finished piece. Consider how to manage your reference sketches – on loose sheets or perhaps in a nature journal. Thinking ahead will help achieve your goals.

BEWARE OF DISAPPOINTMENT

– IGNORE DOUBTERS AND DOUBTS!

Work loosely and lightly to capture motion and form.

Quickly move between sketches; repeatedly update and refine gesture lines, shapes, proportions, and angles. Use techniques like hatching and colour for extra detail. Initial results may feel disappointing but each sketch will build a mental store of images, right and wrong – helping you create art you are pleased with.

IN SHARP FOCUS: WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY COMPETITION

Time running out to enter the ‘Capturing Cranbrook’ wildlife photography competition – so don’t forget the deadline is October 12.

Local developer, Berkeley, is inviting you to take part in a brand-new wildlife photography competition celebrating Cranbrook. From buzzards, beetles and butterflies through to owls, Capturing Cranbrook will be asking local amateur photographers to pick up their cameras or iPhones and submit their best wildlife pictures.

David Jenner, as part of a panel of three judges, comprising a Berkeley representative and a figure from Times of Tunbridge Wells, will be selecting the best pictures with fantastic prizes up for grabs.

The competition will comprise the following categories, with the winners of each awarded a £300 voucher to Jessops, a leading UK photographic company specialising in printing and specialist photography equipment.

CATEGORIES

11-15 year olds: open to those with a fledgling interest in photography and/ or nature

16+: open to those with basic experience looking to develop this further

HOW TO ENTER

Submit your entry via this dedicated website, where full competition T&C’s can also be found. Final submissions are to be sent by Wednesday 12th October. https://www.berkeleygroup.co.uk/ developments/kent/cranbrook/farmsteadat-tannersbrook/capturing-cranbrook

MAKE IT REAL –WHATEVER THE DETAIL

Decide how much effort and time to commit. Work loosely, blocking in areas, or slowly add layers and details with finer brushes. Save time on individual hairs and feathers by painting or drawing clumps. Notice the direction of the fur and feathers. Ensure whiskers shine with a bold but delicate ‘swoosh’ and add a dash of white to bring the eyes to life.

BEYOND THE CAMERA – THE BIGGER PICTURE

When a good photo doesn’t make for a good painting - try creating your own background.

Use thumbnail sketches and other references for ideas - vary colour and detail to adjust depth, light and shade. A constructed composition may relate to the subject better than one photographed – and develop drawing skills. Plenty of rests will help highlight any errors. Enjoy your art and create something you love!

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Reminding all budding artists to pick up their canvas and capture Cranbrook
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As we settle in to autumn I am reminded of the wonderful words of John Muir, the Scottish-American naturalist, “This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapour is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.” It is such a comfort to meditate on those words.

Leaving summer behind we settle in to a new phase with its own unique beauty and reassurance. The acorns of the mighty oak adorn the ground, the sweet chestnut with its bright green, prickly coat offers up its sweet nut - the only nut rich in vitamin C. Its medicinal leaves provide supreme anti-viral and anti-bacterial agents. The Hawthorn is a classic heart remedy and the rosehip is brilliant for

light… See the

With the clocks going back at the end of this month, Naomi Murray from Botanica Health in Rusthall looks at how we can best cope with the changing of the seasons in order to ensure positive physical and mental well-being during the darkest days

immediate effects were noted by patients being treated for SAD.

A positive winter mindset also helps. A study carried out in Norway showed that those living in the north of the country, embraced the winter months and had a more positive mindset compared to those in the south who didn’t like the winter much.

helpful for a stable mood and relaxed nervous system. Low levels of B-12, B6 and Folate are linked to depression.

immune support and is also antiinflammatory.

In short then nature gives us to much to be appreciative of through the autumnal months. And yet this change in season can, for some, trigger Seasonal Affective Disorder – or SAD as it’s commonly known - which seems to strike as the season changes and the nights draw in.

STRATEGIES TO THRIVING THROUGH THE DARKER MONTHS

Regardless of the cause of SAD, bright morning light seems to reverse symptoms. So spending time in early morning light is therefore important, as it lifts the spirits with the opportunity to appreciate one’s surroundings.

Enjoy an early morning walk in natural surroundings if possible. Be completely in tune with sights and sounds.

Numerous studies show that light therapy is at least as effective as drug treatments and you may find investing in a Light Box beneficial.

Interestingly a ’light room’ in a therapy clinic in Sweden consisted of white chairs, white coffee table, white cups, white napkins etc. In fact white everything. The room was warm and bright. Almost

Perhaps it is time to welcome the change the new season brings and rather than trying to maintain the same pattern of behaviour and habits we adopt during the summer embrace the new phase.

It is a time for slowing down, going to bed earlier, eating warming foods, sensing that nature is showing us a new way of being for a time.

Many people are now experiencing the health benefits of cold water activities. Cold water (even splashing the face with ice cold water) triggers the release of endorphins, a hormone that makes us feel good.

At the extreme end, a hot sauna may also be a mood booster as neurons that release serotonin respond to increases in body temperature.

It is clear that short bursts of cold, being warm and early morning light all improve mood.

MOOD SUPPORTING SUPPLEMENTS AND HERBS

Now is the time to optimise Vitamin D levels. If you think you might be deficient you can order an inexpensive test online and supplement accordingly. You can also increase your food sources with butter from grass-fed cattle, egg yolks, oily fish, mushrooms and liver.

A Vitamin B Complex can be

Rhodiola rosea, Holy basil and Ashwagandha are all known as adaptogenic herbs, herbs that help the body adapt. Now may be the perfect time to consider one of these uplifting herbs for physical and emotional support.

In The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine, written around 300 BC, it is noted how the season prompts changes in all living things, and suggests that during winter, a time of conservation and

SYMPTOMS OF SAD

Sometimes known as the ‘winter blues’ symptoms can include;

Hopelessness

Low mood

Weight gain

Low energy

Fatigue

Poor concentration

storage we should ‘retire early and get up with the sunrise ….Desires and mental activity should be kept quiet and subdued, as if keeping a happy secret.'

There are several theories as to why this happens as the winter looms. The leading view is because the sun rises later during the winter months this delays our biological rhythms and so they are no longer in tune when we go to sleep and wake up.

SO Magazine | OctOber 2022 | 51 WELL-BEING
“Perhaps it is time to welcome the change the new season brings rather than trying to maintain the same behaviour and habits we adopt during the summer”
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Good

Confusion, fear and sometimes even elation can crowd the thoughts and is at the beginning of the curve.

This is often the state of mind of those dealing with bureaucracy and funeral arrangements, which leave little time for processing emotions. In our society, once the funeral is over, the bereaved are often expected to return quickly to a semblance of normal with little in the way of support or sympathy. Some find this easier than others.

ANGER

At some point, as the numbness fades, reality kicks in and life seems really unfair. This uncompromising stage is when we can lose faith and rage against God, the universe and everything. Throughout life, anger is discouraged but it’s hard to control in the depths of grief. Repressing that fury when dealing with loss can slow the healing process and cause mental health issues. Anger helps us to start fighting for survival and turn our focus towards living.

BARGAINING

Sufferers of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder know all about bargaining. Their repetitive rituals are often fuelled by a powerful belief that bad things happen if they don’t do things a certain way. This distorted thinking can temporarily torment the bereaved with ‘if only’ and ‘what if’ narratives. Atheists have been known to pray for miracles at this stage and guilt creates a toxic debrief about past events or behaviour despite the fact that all that could have been said and done has been said and done.

DEPRESSION

Experiencing loss inevitably leads to feeling helpless, hopeless and not in control of circumstances or life in general. Some people get ‘stuck’ with their depression while flipping between other stages of the grief curve,

grief

Following the death of Her Majesty The Queen, hypnotherapist Karen Martin looks at the issue of grief and how to deal with it

As the nation is adjusting to the loss of a globally revered monarch, the gentle demise of Queen Elizabeth II after a lifetime of service has touched the hearts of all but the most staunch republicans.

In her wisdom, she described how ‘grief is the price we pay for love’. Indeed, the only way to avoid grief is to avoid love. Not a healthy strategy for a happy life. Many will still be grappling with their losses as the impact of Covid wanes. Its consequences to those left behind are profound and far reaching.

The way we grieve is influenced by culture, custom and religion. The Queen cut a lonely figure

at the funeral of her much loved husband during the height of the pandemic. Stoic and dignified, her tears were shed behind closed doors. This was a far cry from the joyful wakes of Irish custom or the Toraja people of Indonesia who keep the corpses of their loved ones in their homes for years.

How we grieve has been simplified into what’s described as the grief curve. Each of its five stages will be familiar to anyone who has suffered any form of loss in their life. However, grief is not a linear process. It loops round and comes back to bite us in different ways as we learn to live with it.

DENIAL

The experience of grief has many facets. The loss of a job is distressing but nothing like the loss of a child. The initial shock of bereavement can be so overwhelming we protect ourselves with a state of denial.

SYMPTOMS OF GRIEF:

Crying - make time to let the tears flow in private or with those close to you

Headaches and other aches and pains - rest and take painkillers

Insomnia - catch up on sleep when you can and ask the GP for a short course of medication

Questioning spiritual beliefs and purpose in life - seek answers from family, community or religious leaders according to your faith

Feeling detached and isolatedthe longer you leave it to get back out there, the harder it will be. Speak to someone every day

Behaving oddly - you may not feel yourself for a while but friends will understand

Anxiety - a catastrophic loss can lead to catastrophic thinking. Get busy and distract yourself so you don’t have time to dwell on things

Stress and fatigue - be kind to yourself while you adjust. Just getting through the day may be exhausting for a while

Loss of appetite - beware dehydration and low blood sugar. You’ll feel ten times worse if you don’t take care of yourself so eat even if you don’t feel like it

revisiting their sadness and pain, sitting with misery, withdrawing from life and losing all sense of purpose.

While grief is not regarded as a mental illness, there are elements of it which can develop into chronic problems which need treatment. In the early stages of loss, any intervention will ease but not cure the pain. Isolation and loneliness should be avoided at all costs. Suffering in solitary silence can be a death sentence for an elderly widow or a young soldier who has witnessed battle fatalities.

ACCEPTANCE

Many people feel guilty when they start to enjoy life again. It’s almost as if smiling or having fun is an insult to the memory of the loved one. So many memories of the end of a life are traumatic and overwhelming. Recovery makes it possible to remember happier times and to reconnect with someone who was loved and is no longer around.

For example, parents have a profound influence on our lives and inform our beliefs, values and way of life. They still exist in our behaviour, our children’s smiles and are part of an internal narrative when we make decisions in life or reach important milestones.

When we choose to step out from beneath the shadow of grief and loss depends on the relationship we had with the person or thing we have lost and our relationship with all that is living and breathing in the world around us.

SO Magazine | OctOber 2022 | 53 HypnotHerapy
Many people were affected by the death of The Queen last month

Jodie Claridge has just opened the dental box in Southborough. Eileen Leahy meets the business entrepreneur to find out why this state-of the-art dentistry practice is at the cutting edge…

Luxurious Soho Home furniture, smart Amtico flooring, silk orchids and glossy marble detailing is not what you’d associate with walking into a normal dental practice but then that’s exactly what the co-founder of the dental box, Jodie Claridge, wants you to feel when you enter her stunning new premises on Southborough High Street.

Located in the building opposite the new Southborough Civic Centre, the dental box has just opened its shiny doors to the general public after months of it being painstakingly developed and designed to Jodie’s exacting – and highly impressive – standards.

“I’ve had a vision for creating this type of dental and orthodontist practice for a long time. One of my key aims was to make the experience feel as luxurious as possible,” explains Jodie as we sit down on one of the aforementioned designer chairs and begin our chat.

“I started out in the industry in 2008 as an apprentice dental nurse when I was 18 years old,” Jodie continues as her clinical

administrator Sue serves us cups of coffee in the welcoming reception area which resembles that of a boutique hotel rather than a dentist’s.

“After I’d qualified as a nurse I then became a head nurse but I became a locum dental nurse after I underwent jaw surgery,” Jodie says. “I didn’t know how long the healing would take but as it turns out I only had two weeks off! I’ve worked in almost every dental practice in Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge!”

Jodie says she then ‘spread her wings’ by going to work in London’s Harley Street as a treatment coordinator for a period of time.

“After I left there I created my own marketing and business development consultancy called DevelopDent where we work with numerous dental practices, consulting them on how to improve their business processes, to run their digital marketing, train staff on patient lead nurture. I’ve also renovated two dental practices.”

So it would seem that Jodie is quite the business entrepreneur especially given she is still running DevelopDent alongside the dental box.

THE DENTAL BOX’S FOUR KEY FUNDAMENTALS:

To provide honest & transparent care

To exude a sense of calm

To deliver a modern luxurious experience

To dedicate as much time to our patients as possible

“I’ve taken someone on to assist me with DevelopDent as I couldn’t juggle the two. But in essence the whole business concept is we go in, look at how practices are performing and then we build a tailored strategy to help them improve. That can include running all their social media platforms, print & digital advertising campaigns, graphic design and website development.”

So far, so busy then I say, to which Jodie responds that she’s also found the time to get married and have a baby over the past year!

All this hard work is clearly paying off as last year she won a Private Dentistry industry award for the Best Dental Website in London and will be entering the dental box for various categories for 2022.

And as we begin a tour around the new state-of-the-art space, which boasts a private consultation room with iTero scanner, an individual CBCT scanning area, plus one - soon to be three - dental surgeries, and a separate staff room it’s easy to see that Jodie stands a very good chance of winning those categories hands down.

But Jodie stresses the success of the dental box will not just be down to her. It’s very much a team effort including clinical administrator Sue, and her clinical team Dr

Avinash Sharma, Jenna Buttle, Lianne Dobson and Lily Jones and her business partner Anthony Lam who is one of the country’s leading specialist orthodontists.

“Sue is my matriarch. She’s been in dentistry for years and knows exactly what she is doing. The moment I met Dr Avinash –or Nishi – I knew that our ethics totally aligned. We both knew what we wanted to give our patients: with the main focus being time. We don’t want them to feel rushed and we want to ensure we always offer the gold standard. Being fully transparent and committing to being totally ethical are two other key goals.

“I had been working already with Anthony in his other practices and I said to him ‘if I find somewhere in Tunbridge Wells to set up will you go halves with me?’ And he said ‘Absolutely. Find somewhere and I will back you.’ He trusts me 100%!”

Jodie, who has accrued 15 years of rich experience in dentistry, adds that everyone she has worked with over the years has backed her new initiative.

“As well as Anthony, my former boss, all the nurses, the practice managers, dentists, hygienists –even my tutor who taught me dental nursing - have all been so supportive of this project.”

So what is so different – apart from the high tech and stylish décor of course – about the dental box then?

“I want to be totally honest with clients. Whether they are coming in for an initial consultation, a filling or something more complicated like root canal I want them to be able to trust us.”

Jodie says that the dental box project, which has been in the pipeline since 2019, offers everything from regular dental check-ups to specialist treatments such as Invisalign and facial aesthetics – and no expense has been spared in terms of the equipment she has invested in.

When I visited- just before it opened - Jodie showed me the cutting edge CBCT scanner she has bought so her staff can carry out in-depth scans – and also offer referrals to other dental practices.

“We welcome referrals from all local practices. Any dentist can go on our website and fill out a referral form. We’ll then get in touch directly with the patient, book them in and do the scan then email out to them.”

Next, Jodie shows me a dental surgery which, like everywhere else is painted in pale hues with smart LED lighting detailing. They boast a light and airy feel and the best dentist chairs and accessories available on the market. Jodie also reveals she has invested in Covid compliant air circulation

54 | OctOber 2022 | SO Magazine ADVERTISING FEATURE
“Here at the dental box we will keep seeing you until you are blissfully happy with your result”

and conditioning to keep the air circulating through the premises clean and fresh.

It’s clear that this is a passion project for Jodie who tells me that when she spotted the building while sitting in traffic in Southborough three years ago she instantly knew it was the perfect location.

“All over the windows it said ‘Could this be your business space?’ So I parked up and said ‘I want to buy it’. But at the time it was being used as the developer Crest Nicholson’s HQ so they told me it wasn’t possible.

A corona shaped curveball obviously put paid to things moving on as quickly as she’d liked but late last year things started to pick up momentum again.

“Last October I received an email from Crest Nicholson saying if I was still interested in the building then I’d need to complete

before Christmas! I’d just had my baby and thought ‘Aagh! But in all honesty the idea had never gone anywhere. I’d never really let go of my dream.”

Jodie and her partners completed in January this year and even though she ordered her first high tech dentist’s chair in February it wasn’t available to deliver until this summer which further delayed things.

“The project has taken around six times longer than I’d anticipated as we’ve also had to wait for the Care Quality Commission to sign off on things. But now we’re open and we are so excited to have people coming through the doors.

“We have had an amazing response so far. People have come in and said ‘Wow this doesn’t feel like a dental practice’ and that’s exactly what I want people to feel. I hope clients walk in and feel calm and experience that moment of self-care. That’s really important to me. We want it to feel like real value for what you’re spending. The appointment will take as long as it takes – there’s no sense of being on a conveyor belt here.”

As well as regular hygiene and dental appointments, the dental box can also offer an array of specialist treatments too.

And after chatting at length to Jodie, it’s clear the Invisalign packages offered are not only excellent value for money (£4950 including iTero scan, fixed & removable retainers, 2 years aftercare and unlimited aligners and adjustments), but they’re also unrivalled. They will be overseen by her business partner Anthony who is one of Europe’s leading Invisalign specialists.

“He’s accredited as a Diamond Apex Invisalign specialist and is therefore in the top five percent in Europe. He is our lead orthodontist and will write all the treatment plans. He won’t carry out all of them but will definitely monitor everything. Our Orthodontic Team will work to his treatment plan prescription and under his direction. To be honest, most orthondontic cases, especially in hospitals and corporate practices, are taken care of this way but it isn’t typically common knowledge.

“Here at the dental box we will keep seeing you until you are blissfully happy with your resultyou have to be delighted with your

treatment. In fact we invite you to be fussy! It’s your money, your treatment.”

Jodie has also invested in an iTero element scanner which creates a 3D image of teeth in just minutes. The precise technology takes 6000 images per second to make an interactve digital model of teeth and instantly stimulates your predicted Invisalign treatment results.

Before I leave Jodie confides that another ‘huge’ part of running her business is giving back to the community.

And talking of visibility it’s worth noting that although the dental box has a very prominent position within Southborough, clients’ privacy is protected thanks to the special branded window films which enable you to look out while you are having treatment but no one can actually see in from the outside.

Join the dental box for an open day on 15th October 2022

For timings see www.thedentalbox.co.uk

“That idea stems from creating a practice that doesn’t feel closed and claustrophobic,” says Jodie.

“Whether it’s doing oral health sessions at local schools and nurseries or the fact that we are giving £2 for every patient consultation to the Hospice in the Weald, I really want us to give back. We’re very visible within the community here in Southborough so I want people to know we are a genuine part of it.”

“Eliminating fear from dentistry is another goal for us.” She also reveals that she wants to help rather than compete with other practices in the local area.

“I think we definitely want to offer something different but I do think with things like the CBCT scanner and that we’ll take walk-in emergency appointments we can help support others. I believe there’s enough room for everybody.”

WHAT’S ON OFFER AT

the dental box

OPENING OFFER:

New patient assessment just £95comprehensive dental exam, oral cancer screen, radiographs, clinical photography, a free aesthetic scale & polish with dentist

EXTENDED DENTAL HYGIENE: Gum assessment, oral hygiene demonstration, deep scale & polish, plus Free AirFlow Polish

INVISALIGN: £1000 discount to the first 25 patients that sign up. With Diamond Apex accredited orthodontist Anthony Lam heading up this

service clients can be assured of excellent results. Invisalign are virtually invisible, removable aligners which will improve your smile with no wires or brackets

GENERAL DENTISTRY:

A regular check-up is a way of ensuring your oral health is maintained. the dental box offers white fillings, crowns, veneers, composite bondings and teeth whitening. It also offers walk-in, same day emergency treatments.

ORTHODONTICS:

This is the alignment

of crooked, spaced or poorly positioned teeth and jaws with fixed, hidden and removable braces in a variety of shades.

AESTHETICS:

At home White Dental Beauty Tooth Whitening just £199 (usually £350) The dental box offers some non-surgical treatments including Botox and treatment of fine lines around the mouth area. “Dentists make for great facial aesthetic practitioners as they spend seven years studying the muscles of the face and are very dexterous,” explains Jodie.

SO Magazine | OctOber 2022 | 55 ADVERTISING FEATURE
56 | OctOber 2022 | SO Magazine Advertising TWODS M&MG So Magazine Ad 148x255mm + 3mm bleed 300DPI.indd 1 23/09/2022 16:16

from your favourite products are distributed to the correct layers of the skin providing four times more absorption than fingers alone and five times better results.

REINVIGORATE THAT SUMMERTIME GLOW:

2. Decléor Green Mandarin

Aromaplastie Glow Booster Mask £37.00 Available from decleor.co.uk

This glow-getting mask is packed with nourishing, radiance boosting ingredients and Decléor’s highly encapsulated vitamin CG, a light blend of AHA’s and the star essential oil - Green Mandarin. In as little as ten minutes, one can expect a brighter, smoother and more even complexion. Also creating the perfect base for make-up.

3. Vintner’s Daughter | Active Botanical Serum - £185.00 |

Available from: vintnersdaughter. com + farfetch.com + netaporter. com + cultbeauty.com

Autumn’s glow getters

In her beauty column for SO magazine this month

Natalie Piacun Professional Make-up Artist at TAW Salon on The Pantiles looks at how we can ensure our skin stays in tip top condition over the winter months…

During the summer we tend to use less products on our skin as we naturally have a healthy glow. Once autumn has arrived and as the leaves begin their transition from green to golds, browns, and redsthe hot sunny weather has already left its mark upon our skin.

Pigmentation from excessive UV exposure, dehydration from too much rosé and nights around the barbecue have all taken their toll. Suddenly a noticeable drop in temperature begins and as we watch daylight slowly draw shorter, these factors can both drastically impact the way our skin performs, looks, and feels. Cool winds, driving rain and of course, the central heating at home (dare we turn it on right now?) can easily cause inflammation, sensitivity, and redness. Our skin type can change over

time due to seasonal changes, environmental factors, age, hormones and other health related issues so it’s worthwhile getting to know your skin and adjust your beauty regime where needed. For example, drier skins can benefit from richer moisturisers, balms or oils to help replace lipids lost and reduce flakiness. While more oily skins can afford less heavy creams and oils. Oh and remember to exfoliate as summer damage can lead to a build-up of dead skin cells. Treating the surface of your skin is all very well, but it’s important to complement your autumnal skin routine with a nutritional and seasonal diet. Include in your diet vegetables that are rich in betacarotene - dark leafy greens, such as kale and spinach, sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, and pumpkin. These will aid cell renewal, balance skin function and collagen production.

MY TOP PICKS

THIS MONTH:

FOR THE BEAUTY TECH LOVER

1. Réduit | Réduit BOOST - £179.00 |

Available from: reduit.com Réduit is here with their innovative beauty gadget BOOST. This Swiss engineered device is the world’s first bespoke skincare tool that works using electro-magnetic waveforms and an accompanying personalised app, the vital actives

Uber cool brand Vintner’s Daughter is a 100% natural botanical powerhouse. This A-list love skincare derived from a precise, gentle and temperature controlled 21-day infusion process.

A time-honoured formulation process allows ingredients to be extracted maintaining their fullest nutritional content while simultaneously supercharging their active nature. This unique and vital procedure formulates the perfect serum that will repair, renew and transform your skin, giving you the perfect glow.

4. Olivanna Intense Repair Night Cream -£68 Available olivanna.com

Luxury British beauty brand Olivianna introduces their Intense Repair Night Cream which melts into the skin, providing rich nourishment with collagen-boosting organic cotton thistle extract and a proven powerhouse blend of botanicals to restore and revive skin whilst you sleep. Skin awakes looking refreshed, glowing, and renewed. Use nightly for a plumper and smoother looking skin with improved elasticity.

YOUR PLANT DERIVED ALTERNATIVE TO RETINOL:

5. Collagen Intensive Phyto-Retinol Renewal Mask £44 | Available Liberty London, Harvey Nichols, facethefuture.co.uk and cosmania.nl

This supercharged next-generation hydrogel mask is a scientifically formulated with Hydrolysed Collagen and Bakuchiol, a plantderived alternative to retinol without having any of the negatives associated. Not only can this mask be used during the day, it is clinically proven to reduce multiple signs of aging, including dryness, the look of fine lines and wrinkles, uneven skin tone, dullness, and the loss of elasticity and firmness. Groundbreaking technology has derived hydrolysed collagen from fish skin.

SO Magazine | OctOber 2022 | 57 2. 4. 5.
1.

Moody blues

A plush velvet sofa to sink into, this sofa’s memory foam topped seat cushions offer elevated comfort and support. And with the black gloss piano feet and button back detail, this indigo blue shade looks and feels lavish.

It may have long been a wardrobe essential, but indigo blue can work wonders in the world of interiors too.

Introducing inky shades and decos to your scheme can really set an atmospheric tone, conjuring thoughts of oceans and dusky skies. From striking contrasts to harmonious washes, glazes and trimmings, indigo blue furnishings feel fresh, modern and fluid too –not to mention timeless.

Like pulling on your favourite pair of jeans, it’s a colour that goes with pretty much everything. Here’s how to get the look…

InterIors
This statement shade always looks the part, says Sam Wylie-Harris
Mya 3-Seater Sofa in Indigo Blue – Simply Velvet, £699, DFS
58 | OctOber 2022 | SO Magazine

Whale Of A Time Wallpaper in Ocean Blue, £45, Lust Home

If you’re feeling adventurous, this whale print design makes a brilliant addition to a bedroom or bathroom. Team with crisp white bed linen, wicker furniture and sun-bleached wood for a seafaring vibe.

Creative touches, such as grouping these curvy shapes, bring a little bit of whimsy to a sideboard or table setting. And it only takes the addition of a sprig or two to make a statement.

George Home Matt Navy Dispenser, £5, and Matt Navy Tumbler, £3, Direct.asda

Somehow, blue bathroom accessories seem to have the edge, especially when you pair them together.

Blue Ceramic Gluggle Jug Mini, £10, Oliver Bonas

We’re completely hooked on this gorgeous ‘glug glug’ jug, which makes a similar sound when you pour liquid from it. Plus the colour is perfectly in tune with wild blue flowers.

Blue Flutterby Window Film, from £11.50, Purlfrost

A creative way to enhance your window dressing, especially if you don’t have a room with a view or need a bit more privacy. This eye-catching Flutterby design’s taken from photographs of real blue butterflies. Beautiful.

The Memo Board

– Landscape, Cobalt Blue –designed by Peg & Board, £80.

MADE.com

With shelving and pegs for memos, to-do lists and visuals, decluttering your desk has never been easier – or more stylish.

Blue Glass and Satin Brass Base Table Lamp, £35, JD Williams

Moody blue lighting creates a calming ambience, and this stylish dark-blue glass stand, with its brass detailing and satin shade, looks designer – minus the price tag.

Sequin Fan Cushion, £17, J D Williams

With a showy, peacock design and sequin detailing, this handsome cushion will glam up an accent chair or plain sofa.

SO Magazine | OctOber 2022 | 59 InterIors
Medium Mhairi Set of 3 Stoneware Vases –Blue, £45, Cult Furniture

DINING CLUB MUSIC SESSIONS

DINING CLUB MUSIC SESSIONS

As we approach the winter months, join us at our Dining Club and enjoy the sounds of live music, and the taste of our new winter menu.

As approach winter months, us at our and enjoy the sounds of live music, and the taste of our new winter menu.

Each musician has been chosen to complement your evening of great food and delicious wine.

has chosen to complement evening great food wine.

These exclusive dinners, hosted within our beautiful tasting room, The View, are a wonderful way to spend an evening with friends or family.

These exclusive dinners, hosted within our beautiful tasting room, The View, are a wonderful way to spend an evening with friends or

Arrive at 7.30pm for a welcome drink, before being seated for a tutored tasting of three of our Balfour Wines followed by a delicious four-course dinner. The evening concludes at

Arrive at 7.30pm for a welcome drink, before being seated for a tutored tasting of three of our Balfour Wines followed by a delicious four-course dinner. The evening concludes at 10.30pm.

Saturdays available: 15th and 29th October 19th November and 17th December £45pp | visit www.balfourwinery.com to book.

Saturdays available: 15th and 29th October 19th November and 17th December £45pp | visit www.balfourwinery.com to book.

Oak Lane, Staplehurst, TN12

Oak Lane, Staplehurst, Kent, TN12 0HT

60 | OctOber 2022 | SO Magazine ADVERTISING
01622 832794 Balfour Winery, Five
60 | OctOber 2022 | SO Magazine ADVERTISING
01622 832794 Balfour Five

DINING CLUB MUSIC SESSIONS

the winter months,

chosen

Dining Club

evening

beautiful tasting

60 | OctOber 2022 | SO Magazine ADVERTISING
As we approach
join us at our
and enjoy the sounds of live music, and the taste of our new winter menu. Each musician has been
to complement your
of great food and delicious wine. These exclusive dinners, hosted within our
room, The View, are a wonderful way to spend an evening with friends or family. Arrive at 7.30pm for a welcome drink, before being seated for a tutored tasting of three of our Balfour Wines followed by a delicious four-course dinner. The evening concludes at 10.30pm. Saturdays available: 15th and 29th October 19th November and 17th December £45pp | visit www.balfourwinery.com to book. 01622 832794 Balfour Winery, Five Oak Lane, Staplehurst, Kent, TN12 0HT

By design

As autumn is well and truly with us now, our gardening guru Tim Sykes reveals why now is the perfect time to get planning your garden for spring

I

t's October and I’m sure for most of us nothing could be further from our minds than 2023 and our garden plans.

But, if you consider yourself a good planner, this time of year is actually a great opportunity to gather your thoughts.

It's also the best time to engage a designer and line up contractors if your aim is to enjoy a new garden by summer 2023.

Whether you are contemplating some planting improvements, or something more radical, it’s best to chat through your ideas with a professional.

Luckily Tunbridge Wells is well catered for when it comes to talented designers. A good starting point is a Google search - try putting in key words such as ‘Garden Design’, or ‘Garden Designers Tunbridge Wells’. Or ask for personal recommendations from friends who’ve recently undergone a similar garden design project.

SO HOW DO YOU SET YOURSELF A BRIEF?

SO HOW DO YOU SET YOURSELF A BRIEF?

Your budget?

Your circumstances?

equipment maybe subsidised, so it can be very misleading.

Your budget?

Your circumstances?

Your needs? environment?

Your needs?

Your likes and dislikes?)

Your environment?

Your likes and dislikes?)

THE BUDGET

pool

There are all types of catalysts for change outside. Sometimes it’s a house extension, or refurbishment, sometimes it's a new terrace, swimming pool or garden building. Often it’s just the desire to enjoy and utilise the space more effectively.

A planned approach with a garden designer is definitely the best route. It helps you look more objectively at your space, benefit from their specialist knowledge and creativity and provides a plan that can be easily interpreted and costed by a landscaper.

This, together with your brief, will deliver you a more cohesive and cost effective plan.

Here is a little diagram with 5 key factors that help order your thoughts and give a designer a decent brief:

THE BUDGET

Very few clients ever offer up the budget. This maybe because many may not have appreciated what gardens cost to build and maintain, but possibly because they are fearful of divulging their real budget. It is really important to discuss some budget parameters at an early stage, as otherwise a lot of time and thought can go into a solution that may never see the light of day.

Very few clients ever offer up the budget. This maybe because many may not have appreciated what gardens cost to build and maintain, but possibly because they are fearful of divulging their real budget. It is really important to discuss some budget parameters at an early stage, as otherwise a lot of time and thought can go into a solution that may never see the light of day.

And do NOT believe the ridiculous sums referred to on television shows! Very often prices quoted do not include the labour, and no doubt other costs like equipment maybe subsidised, so it can be very misleading.

And do NOT believe the ridiculous sums referred to on television shows! Very often prices quoted do not include the labour, and no doubt other costs like

Building a garden is a bit like

“A planned approach with a garden designer is definitely the best route to success when creating an outdoor space”

investing in a new kitchen, or indeed a new extension. It often involves the re-landscaping of land surrounding your house, the preparation to take new services and steps, and the creation of walls and terracing which apart from aesthetics are often load bearing. Apart from the labour costs, materials, equipment and plants all cost money.

Building a garden is a bit like investing in a new kitchen, or indeed a new extension. It often involves the re-landscaping of land surrounding your house, the preparation to take new services steps, and the creation of walls and terracing which apart from aesthetics are often load bearing.

Apart from the labour costs, materials, equipment and plants all cost money.

materials and size of plants and trees you may specify. But it’s only a guide.

trees you may specify. But it’s only a guide.

There was an interesting campaign on Instagram recently by one of the UK’s top garden designers Andy Stedman. There is no precise science, and Andy is at the top of his profession, but he suggests smaller gardens between 100-250m2 cost in the region of £60,000+. Medium size gardens 500-1000m2, cost £90,000£145,000. Whereas larger gardens 1000m2 - 5000m2, range between £145,000-£300,000. If you are lucky enough to have a property larger than this - say 10,000m2, then expect to invest £900,000 - £1.5m. All these prices can be greatly affected by the choice of materials and size of plants and

There was an interesting campaign on Instagram recently by one of the UK’s top garden designers Andy Stedman. There is no precise science, and Andy is at the top of his profession, but he suggests smaller gardens between 100-250m2 cost in the region of £60,000+. Medium size gardens 500-1000m2, cost £90,000£145,000. Whereas larger gardens 1000m2 - 5000m2, range between £145,000-£300,000. If you are lucky enough to have a property larger than this - say 10,000m2, then expect to invest £900,000 - £1.5m. All these prices can be greatly affected by the choice of

Interestingly our own rear garden is c800m2 and when we moved in nearly seven years ago it was a field. It now has new boundary fencing, terraces, herbaceous borders and a kitchen garden. All together we spent around £80,000 in 2015. At today’s commercial rates this would probably cost in the region of £150,000. So you definitely need to do some thorough research…

Whilst the aforemetioned figures might seem a little frightening, they are all inclusive and include labour, materials, plants, trellising, water features, electrics, machinery and of course VAT. But they don’t include high capital items like swimming pools, summer houses, greenhouses and other garden buildings. Smaller gardens will appear on a per sqm more expensive, but that’s because in many cases a disproportionate effort goes into making a smaller space work harder, or more soft landscaping appears on larger plots.

Interestingly our own rear garden is c800m2 and when we moved in nearly seven years ago it was a field. It now has new boundary fencing, terraces, herbaceous borders and a kitchen garden. All together we spent around £80,000 in 2015. At today’s commercial rates this would probably cost in the region of £150,000. So you definitely need to do some thorough research… Whilst the aforemetioned figures might seem a little frightening, they are all inclusive and include labour, materials, plants, trellising, water features, electrics, machinery and of course VAT. But they don’t include high capital items like swimming pools, summer houses, greenhouses and other garden buildings. Smaller gardens will appear on a per sqm more expensive, but that’s because in many cases a disproportionate effort goes into making a smaller space work harder, or more soft landscaping appears on larger plots.

SO Magazine | OctOber 2022 | 61 Outside edge
“A planned approach with a garden designer is definitely the best route to success when creating an outdoor space”
2022

By design

As autumn is well and truly with us now, our gardening guru Tim Sykes reveals why now is the perfect time to get planning your garden for spring

I

t's October and I’m sure for most of us nothing could be further from our minds than 2023 and our garden plans.

But, if you consider yourself a good planner, this time of year is actually a great opportunity to gather your thoughts.

It's also the best time to engage a designer and line up contractors if your aim is to enjoy a new garden by summer 2023.

Whether you are contemplating some planting improvements, or something more radical, it’s best to chat through your ideas with a professional.

Luckily Tunbridge Wells is well catered for when it comes to talented designers. A good starting point is a Google search - try putting in key words such as ‘Garden Design’, or ‘Garden Designers Tunbridge Wells’. Or ask for personal recommendations from friends who’ve recently undergone a similar garden design project.

There are all types of catalysts for change outside. Sometimes it’s a house extension, or refurbishment, sometimes it's a new terrace, swimming pool or garden building. Often it’s just the desire to enjoy and utilise the space more effectively.

A planned approach with a garden designer is definitely the best route. It helps you look more objectively at your space, benefit from their specialist knowledge and creativity and provides a plan that can be easily interpreted and costed by a landscaper.

This, together with your brief, will deliver you a more cohesive and cost effective plan.

SO HOW DO YOU SET YOURSELF A BRIEF?

Your budget?

Your circumstances?

Your needs?

Your environment?

Your likes and dislikes?)

Here is a little diagram with 5 key factors that help order your thoughts and give a designer a decent brief:

THE BUDGET

Very few clients ever offer up the budget. This maybe because many may not have appreciated what gardens cost to build and maintain, but possibly because they are fearful of divulging their real budget. It is really important to discuss some budget parameters at an early stage, as otherwise a lot of time and thought can go into a solution that may never see the light of day.

And do NOT believe the ridiculous sums referred to on television shows! Very often prices quoted do not include the labour, and no doubt other costs like

“A planned approach with a garden designer is definitely the best route to success when creating an outdoor space”

equipment maybe subsidised, so it can be very misleading.

Building a garden is a bit like investing in a new kitchen, or indeed a new extension. It often involves the re-landscaping of land surrounding your house, the preparation to take new services and steps, and the creation of walls and terracing which apart from aesthetics are often load bearing. Apart from the labour costs, materials, equipment and plants all cost money.

materials and size of plants and trees you may specify. But it’s only a guide.

There was an interesting campaign on Instagram recently by one of the UK’s top garden designers Andy Stedman. There is no precise science, and Andy is at the top of his profession, but he suggests smaller gardens between 100-250m2 cost in the region of £60,000+. Medium size gardens 500-1000m2, cost £90,000£145,000. Whereas larger gardens 1000m2 - 5000m2, range between £145,000-£300,000. If you are lucky enough to have a property larger than this - say 10,000m2, then expect to invest £900,000 - £1.5m. All these prices can be greatly affected by the choice of

Interestingly our own rear garden is c800m2 and when we moved in nearly seven years ago it was a field. It now has new boundary fencing, terraces, herbaceous borders and a kitchen garden. All together we spent around £80,000 in 2015. At today’s commercial rates this would probably cost in the region of £150,000. So you definitely need to do some thorough research…

Whilst the aforemetioned figures might seem a little frightening, they are all inclusive and include labour, materials, plants, trellising, water features, electrics, machinery and of course VAT. But they don’t include high capital items like swimming pools, summer houses, greenhouses and other garden buildings. Smaller gardens will appear on a per sqm more expensive, but that’s because in many cases a disproportionate effort goes into making a smaller space work harder, or more soft landscaping appears on larger plots.

SO Magazine | OctOber 2022 | 61

You need to discuss the budget with your designer and they will guide you further.

YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES

It is important for the designer to understand your circumstances and needs as a household.

For example:

Do you live on your own?

Are you a retired couple?

Do you have young children?

Pets?

Are you active gardeners, or do you have busy careers, or other outside interests?

Do you travel a lot and if so how might this impact the garden, could it be to do with the months you are home?

YOUR NEEDS

This is about how you plan to use the garden.

Here you can create your list of “must haves” and “like to haves”

Is the garden primarily about having an entertaining space?

Do you like barbecuing?

Do you hanker after a fire pit?

Do you need to create more peace and seclusion?

Is it a place for your children to play?

Must it be low maintenance?

Is it your hobby?

Do you want to grow herbs and vegetables?

Is it important to have garden lighting?

Do you want to integrate an irrigation system?

WHAT’S GOING ON IN THE GARDEN IN OCTOBER:

It’s Autumn. You’ll probably need to pop a jumper on as it will inevitably feel colder. But October is a lovely time as the trees change colour. We always start raking from day one and the leaves go into the compost. It can be frustrating as no sooner have you cleared one fall then it starts all over again!

This month is also a very good time to prepare for the early frosts. So if you have less hardy plants in your garden consider getting the fleeces out.

Cut back perennials that have died down.

Divide any herbaceous perennials.

If you haven’t already done it harvest any remaining apples, pears and grapes you may have growing in your garden.

Start thinking about your last mow.

Plant out your Spring Bulbs.

YOUR ENVIRONMENT

A great garden design works in harmony with the surrounding landscape.

Consider the style of your house and any improvements you may have made and how they physically impact on the garden and their aesthetics.

Consider the materials and colours that have been used in the building, in your boundary walls and pathways, in your new kitchen etc.

Take stock of the soil type, or ask your designer to check this out. Consider the plants and trees already in your garden as these may give a clue to plants that are more likely to flourish in any new scheme.

Consider the orientation of the garden and where the sunny spots are, and when in the day.

LIKES AND DISLIKES

Knowing what you like, or dislike could save an awful lot of time and heartache! So be honest. If you really hate Tree Ferns, or Dahlias then say so. If your favourite colour is purple and pink is a no

no, then let your designer know! It’s worth noting the following points:

Do you already have a vision for your garden?

Are there particular planting styles you like?

Are there colour schemes you like and dislike?

Are there plants you dislike?

To help you and your designer further you may want to create your own mood board of gardens or features you like. An easy way to do this is to view one of the following websites: Gapphotos.com Houzz.com Pinterest

You can search pretty much

anything then screen grab scenes and features you like and pop these in a Powerpoint, or Word file for discussion.

Off line you could look at publications such as House & Garden, RHS The Garden, Homes & Gardens, Gardens Design Journal, The English Garden, or Gardens Illustrated.

So, armed with all this information you have an excellent starting point to create a magnificent garden in 2023!

For further information or help with designing your garden contact tim Sykes at Gardenproud on 07725 173820, email him at reallygardenproud@ btinternet.com, or google the Gardenproud website

62 | OctOber 2022 | SO Magazine Outside edge
Station Road, Robertsbridge, East Sussex TN32 5DG | 01580 880567 Visit Culverwells for all of your Autumn Garden Tool needs. Stihl, Husqvarna and Mountfield essentials in stock to help you with your seasonal garden chores! Don’t forget to ask us about servicing your lawn mowers and tools ready for next spring!

Caribbean Queen of the

Hannah Stephenson finds a haven of health-enhancing flora and fauna on the Caribbean island of St Lucia

D

ragon’s blood, hanging crab claws and giant fishtails surround me, heightening my senses – although

I’m in an environment far more calming than these strange horticultural names might suggest.

Working my way through acres of palms, I brush past scarlet ginger lilies, fragrant frangipani and a tree offering trailing black berries, which my guide Coady describes as Bob Marley’s dreadlocks.

I’m in St Lucia’s Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens (diamondstlucia. com) – six acres of horticultural exotica and a UNESCO world heritage site, featuring a natural gorge with healthenhancing waters.

This is where dragon’s blood, a striking deep red sedum, provides creeping ground cover. Spiky red flowers with yellow tips give the illusion of suspended crab or lobster claws, and huge palms mimicking giant fishtails form part of the exotic planting within this tropical landscape, part of the 2,000-acre Soufriere Estate.

most imposing at 50ft high, but whose therapeutic mineral-laden cascades have tinted the rocks a blend of yellow, green and purple. It is served by sulphur springs upstream, its mineral-rich volcanic waters spilling over the rockface.

While you can’t swim at the foot of the falls, hot spring baths nearby should satiate anyone’s desire to take a dip. It is said that bathing here aids rheumatism, respiratory complaints and ulcers.

Volcanic soil is the key to the lushness of this Caribbean island, situated between Martinique and St Vincent and to the northwest of Barbados, its richness and tropical rains encouraging even the most difficult of plants to thrive.

Volcanic soil is the key to the lushness of St Lucia which is situated between Martinique and St Vincent and to the northwest of Barbados

Around 300,000 years ago, volcanic activity created a legacy of beauty in the famous Pitons –Gros Piton and Petit Piton – majestic mini mountainous lava globes rising from the Caribbean Sea, and now covered with vegetation and trees. They’ve become prime hiking trails accessible to tourists wanting to get a better view.

Coady points out wafts of lemon grass, which make a great alternative to regular mosquito repellent if you rub the leaves on your skin, as well as St John’s Bush, which is said to ease menstrual cramps, and the aptly named tree of life, which apparently aids the immune system and helps reduce cholesterol.

Further on, we reach the Diamond Waterfall, not the

Nestled between those Pitons like a perfectly fitted Cinderella’s slipper is the luxurious Sugar Beach resort, itself a botanical paradise spread across more than 100 acres of tropical forest with enough planting to mimic Diamond Botanical Gardens’ flora and fauna.

Formerly a working sugar plantation, the property has a long history of owners including Lord Glenconner, famously known for his friendship with Princess

64 | OctOber 2022 | SO Magazine Travel

Margaret, and is now owned by the Green family, owners of The Connaught and Claridge’s in London, and managed by Viceroy.

It’s super-luxe with white-onwhite interiors, a plunge-pool in each accommodation and butler service. But its stand-out beauty lies in the majestic scenery which envelops it. From one end of the large swimming pool near the beach, it feels like you could touch Petit Piton’s almost vertical charcoal-coloured rockface.

Following a steep meandering road down from the barriered entrance, there’s no indication that Sugar Beach houses 105 resort accommodations and 25 residences, because they are all so subtly positioned, from the beachfront bungalows which overlook the shimmering white

HOW TO PLAN YOUR TRIP

Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort (viceroyhotels andresorts.com/sugarbeach), has rooms from £414/$500 per night (two sharing) including breakfast. For more information on St Lucia visit stlucia.org.

sand imported from Guyana, to luxurious, vast villas secreted among the plantings of palms, flamboyant trees and other tropical gems..

Sugar Beach was the first resort on the island to re-open after the pandemic, and wisely kept the gardeners on throughout lockdown, explains head gardener Julian Joseph.

“The gardens have evolved over the years, as landscapers had different ideas. We’ve tried to avoid the use of imported materials and plants which are going to become invasive,” Julian explains.

A major refurbishment – the resort closed for five months

last year – has produced nine new luxury accommodations, upgraded culinary outlets, a beachside fitness facility, a refreshed spa and a new main pool area, as Sugar Beach celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.

You can dine on oysters and Tomahawk steak in the grand colonial splendour of The Great Room or go to the beach for more informal pizza, pasta and tacos at the Bayside Restaurant.

Edibles including bananas, mangoes, coconuts and avocados are pointed out in the regular garden tours, which are conducted by the horticulturalists on site.

Much of the produce goes into the salads, salsas, sauces and other delicacies on the menus, or is incorporated into the plethora of cocktails served in the stylish resort bars.

Wellbeing is big here – from yoga to Piton hikes, rainforest spa treatments featuring natural products, and gentle walking

trails where you may spot hummingbirds, will certainly encounter lizards, and according to one young guest, may come across the odd scorpion.

Deep within the network of tropical planting is a rainforest spa, a lantern-lit long wooden corridor leading to treehouses on stilts, perched high above the ground and fringed by a stream.

Here, singles or couples can have a range of treatments, many with a nod to the landscape – bamboo massages, body scrubs made from cinnamon, and coconut and sulphur mud wraps to detox and relax.

But if a hotel beauty treatment feels a little sterile, there are natural remedies a short drive away, which will provide a grittier, smellier experience altogether. Venturing out, I dunk myself in toecurlingly hot muddy water at Sulphur Springs – Soufriere (the former capital) gets its name from the French meaning sulphur mine – slathering myself in gritty, sandcoloured volcanic mud, known for its exfoliating and skin-enhancing properties.

While waiting for the mud to dry on my skin, an artistic aide war-paints me with a necklace of charcoal-coloured mud for fun, before I wash the whole lot off in another slightly less scalding pool. The healing mud is said to relieve sunburn and ease sore joints and arthritis. My skin feels smooth, soft and refreshed.

In the heat of the day, I find that the lush forested oasis of Sugar Beach is beckoning to me once again.

Hanging crab claws and dragon’s blood never felt so inviting...

SO Magazine | OctOber 2022 | 65 Travel
“If a hotel beauty treatment feels a little sterile, there are natural remedies a short drive away, which will provide a grittier experience altogether”

Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid

Bentley’s luxury saloon uses a combination of petrol and electric power – so what’s it like? By Jack Evans

WHAT IS IT?

Bentley and big engines have a history that goes back decades. Even today, Bentley’s V8 and W12 engines form a key part of its engine range, delivering that luxurious performance many buyers are after. But even Bentley has to acknowledge the future of motoring is electrification, which is why the Crewe outfit is continuing to explore alternatives.

Following in the wake of the Bentayga Hybrid comes the Flying Spur Hybrid – a version of Bentley’s luxury saloon outfitted with a fuelsipping petrol-electric setup. But can it deliver the kind of sumptuous experience Flying Spur customers are traditionally after?

WHAT’S NEW?

From the outside at least, this Flying Spur gives away very little about its hybrid underpinnings. Sure, there are some small ‘Hybrid’ badges on the flanks, but it’s a car that doesn’t shout loudly about its electrical assistance. Inside, you’ve got the same ultraluxurious cabin as you’d find on the regular Spur, albeit with a few hybridspecific driving mode buttons.

The Flying Spur, despite its switch in powertrain, still has a firm focus on comfort and refinement. This new Hybrid version, it should be mentioned, doesn’t replace existing petrol-powered versions but acts as an addition to the range for now.

WHAT’S UNDER THE BONNET?

With its promise of being the ‘most environmentally friendly Bentley to date’, the Flying Spur comes complete with a 2.9-litre V6 petrol engine, which is then linked to 100kW electric motor. Combined, you get 536bhp and 750Nm of torque, with zero to 60mph taking 4.1 seconds and a top speed of 177mph possible if you have the space and ability to do so.

But thanks to an 18kWh battery, the Flying Spur Hybrid will also

FACTS AT A GLANCE

MODEL: Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid

PRICE AS TESTED: £168,300

ENGINE: 2.9-litre V6 petrol with electric motor and battery

POWER: 536bhp

TORQUE: 760Nm

0-60MPH: 4.1 seconds

TOP SPEED: 177mph

ECONOMY: 85.6mpg

EMISSIONS: 75g/km CO2

manage over 25 miles on electric power alone – and after a full charge (which takes two-and-a-half hours on a rapid charger), we saw around 30 miles in the electric tank. Bentley also claims up to 85.6mpg combined and impressively low CO2 emissions of 75g/km.

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?

The ability to drive on electric power alone only elevates the quiet experience you get from the Flying Spur. It can be used at motorway speeds too, but we found the EV power was best saved for around town, where it makes the Flying Spur even more relaxing to drive.

But this hybrid engine definitely isn’t lacking in performance. In fact, with that battery fully topped up, there’s some real zip away from the line, with the petrol engine chiming in when more performance is required. But it’s all extremely well calibrated together – there’s very little to showcase the transition from electric to petrol power – and once the electric energy is fully depleted, you’re still left with a very refined V6 engine.

HOW DOES IT LOOK?

As mentioned, there’s not an awful lot to distinguish the Hybrid from the rest of the Flying Spur range. You’ve got an extra filler cap to cover the charging point, of course, while oval exhaust pipes are another telltale feature of these battery-assisted versions. But, in truth, this approach works well for the Flying Spur. The only real flag came from pedestrians, who look at this more than fivemetre-long saloon and wonder why it’s moving without making any noise.

Our test car came in a particularly striking green shade with contrast orange sections, though as with any Bentley, there are loads of exterior colours and trim pieces to choose from.

WHAT’S IT LIKE INSIDE?

The cabin remains as exquisitely fashioned as you’d expect a car from

this brand to be. There are some clear aspects that come from Bentley’s Volkswagen Group owners – the steering wheel buttons being the most noticeable – but everything is well fitted together and easy to access. Those sitting in the rear can enjoy loads of legroom too, alongside independent seat adjustment controls and motorised fold-out tables.

In terms of boot space, the Flying Spur Hybrid offers 351 litres. That’s considerably down on the 420 litres you’d get in the petrol-powered Spur and much of the Hybrid’s boot is taken up by the charging cables.

Having said that, you’re most likely to leave the large three-pin connector at home rather than carting it around with you, so this does free up more luggage space.

WHAT’S THE SPEC LIKE?

Our particular Flying Spur Hybrid came in at £168,300, accompanied by that aforementioned British Racing Green paintwork alongside 22-inch wheels and a dual-tone cabin finished in tan and exteriormirroring green leather. Some options had been added, including Bentley’s rotating display which, though awfully secret spy-esque, comes with a £4,865 price-tag.

The level of fit-and-finish you get feels more than up to the standard you’d expect from a car this price, with the quality of screens and displays right up there with some of the best around.

VERDICT

The Flying Spur Hybrid is a really compelling example of why the future doesn’t have to be bleak for big-engined Bentleys. It’s got the kind of performance that you’d expect from a car of this type, while its ability to travel on electric-only power means that the refinement levels are taken up a notch over the petrol version.

It’s a shame that this transition in powertrain has dented boot space considerably, but in all other areas this is one impressive plug-in hybrid.

66 | OctOber 2022 | SO Magazine Motors
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