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so DECEMBER 2016

WWW.SOMAGAZINE.CO.UK

‘TIS THE SEASON... MARY BERRY AT CHRISTMAS ★ ETIQUETTE GUIDE ★ SPARKLING STYLE FESTIVE EVENTS ★ LUXURY GIFTS ★ SEASON’S EATINGS ★ DECK THE HALLS

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CONTENTS

M A G A Z I N E

SO

EDITOR’S LETTER

16 Lonsdale Gardens Tunbridge Wells Kent TN1 1NU Tel: 01892 779 650 www.somagazine.co.uk

EDITOR Charlie Bond cbond@onemediauk.co.uk HEAD OF DESIGN Rowena Cremer-Price rcremer-price@onemediauk.co.uk COMMERCIAL Gemma Hak ghak@onemediauk.co.uk EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Richard Moore rmoore@onemediauk.co.uk

PUBLISHED BY

WELCOME TO YOUR DECEMBER ISSUE OF SO So, it’s that time of year again – the time when

someone you don’t like their gift? Thankfully,

everything gets a lot more sparkly, the music

there’s help on hand, as etiquette experts Debrett’s

gets a bit louder and I get more and more irate

have shared their advice on how to serve up the

as I attempt to wrap gifts.

perfect Christmas while avoiding social pitfalls on

Usually I hate it when people say ‘hasn’t the year flown by’? But, it’s true – 2016 seems to have come

If you’re looking for a party outfit, check out our

and gone before there was even time to take the

selection of sparkly showstoppers on page 65, and

decorations down from last year. Perhaps it’s

if you need some ideas of how to spruce up your

flown past because so much has happened – from

tree, then check out the trend report on page 144.

Brexit to the Brangelina split, it’s been a busy time. On page 43 we reflect on some of the stories that made the headlines in 2016.

All rights reserved. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher. The publisher cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions relating to advertising or editorial. The publisher reserves the right to change or amend any competitions or prizes offered. No part of this publication may be reproduced without prior written consent from the publisher. No responsibility is taken for unsolicited materials or the return of these materials whilst in transit.

page 93.

Have a very merry Christmas, and I’ll see you in 2017!

One of the best things about Christmas is all the food, and this year I’m thankful I don’t have a wedding dress to squeeze into – bring on the roast potatoes! To give you some festive feast inspiration, Mary Berry talks turkey timings on page 54, Rosemary Shrager shares her trifle tips on page 102 and on page 98 there’s a guide to baking your own festive decorations. Sometimes, knowing how to handle celebrations can be a minefield – is there ever a right way to tell

EDITOR cbond@onemediauk.co.uk

CONTENTS 08 DOOR DÉCOR A beautiful festive wreath at

54 BERRY CHRISTMAS

Astilbe & Sorrel in Hawkhurst

Mary Berry serves up a festive treat

12 WEALD ON THE WEB

68 WATCH OUT

How you’ve been getting

A guide to second-hand

social this month

luxury timepieces

22 CALENDAR

85 BEAT THE BLUES

Your guide to local

Were you at this

festive events

Pickering event?

43 YEAR IN REVIEW

94 POLITE NOTICE

A round-up of 2016’s

Become an etiquette

biggest stories

expert this Christmas

04

DECEMBER 2016

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OUT AND ABOUT

 DOOR DÉCOR

A beautiful festive wreath at Astilbe & Sorrel in Hawkhurst

WWW.ASTILBEANDSORREL.COM

Have you got a local picture you’d like to see printed? Email info@somagazines.co.uk

PICTURE BY SOPHIE HILL

08

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ONLINE

WEALD ON THE WEB TOPICAL TWITTER

This is how we feel when it’s finally Friday!

WHAT YOU’VE BEEN SAYING IN THE WEALD ■ My Tenterden @TenterdenTown High winds overnight in Tenterden flatten A-board at the William Caxton ... didn’t see this one coming! @caxtontenterden ■ Becky Griffin @BeckyGriff90 @waitrose hawkhurst thanks so much to car park attendant who laid on the ground in the pouring rain to pick up my key I dropped under my car ■ Katie Collis @her_welshness 26 miles into our Kent/ Sussex run. Lunch stop at Rolvenden Layne and 20 miles to go. Late Autumn beauty abounds

† It’s rare to see Tunbridge Wells station

† We’re completely in love with these stairs,

looking this peaceful

which can be found in Tenterden

■ Sammie @sammieward Lovely drive to Biddenden for a hot chocolate. Ended up having Brie, cranberry and warm bread too. #bakehouse #lush ■ Vicki @TinchiStrila Another 60miler ride with buddies to Tenterden, Kent next visit will involve the steam train! @SunsportRt training ride #K&ESR

12

Check out more pictures over on our Instagram account – @somagazines

DECEMBER 2016

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ONLINE

SO

TALKING POINT The story everyone’s been discussing this month…

TAL The mo

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COSTA CONCERNS Local residents and businesses in Cranbrook have expressed their annoyance after planning permission was granted for a new Costa coffee shop to be opened in the town. The planning documents state that the 16th century building, which was formerly the Crown Inn pub, will be converted into the new café after proposals were submitted to the council by Goldex Investments LTD back in August. Permission was granted recently by the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and plans are being frowned upon. Hilary Hosford, member of the Cranbrook Conservation Advisory

committee, revealed in the planning documents that the committee are hesitant about this new outlet and hold concerns, such as its longevity potential and also the effect it’ll have on other independent cafes in the area. A spokesperson for Costa, says: “As the UK’s favourite coffee shop brand and one of the success stories on the UK high street, we work closely with planning departments across the country to open new stores for the benefit of their local communities, creating new jobs and providing attractive and popular social meeting places.”

THE SOCIAL SCENE Here’s what you’ve been getting in touch about this month… n Rencraft @RencraftLtd Thanks so much @SoMagazines chuffed to say the least. n The Oxygen Clinic @HyperbaricUK @SoMagazines - have you heard the news? The Oxygen Clinic is now at @Bellavou in #TunbridgeWells!

n Mount Edgcumbe TW @TMountEdgcumbe Lovely mention in @SoMagazines November issue! Great pics in there from a shoot out on the rocks near us! #photoshoot #tunbridgewells n Basia Wilson @basia_wilson Lovely read: Paul Dunton talks

@turinbrakes ahead of their tour date #TunWells in this month’s issue @SoMagazines. Love a bit of folk/rock n Ifour @ifourdesign Thrilled to be featured in the SoMagazines #TunbridgeWells

edition with the #ifourparty! Such a fun night! #agencylife n Digitom @DigitomTV As fellow @timeslocalnews ‘Creative Business Finalist’ we can confirm it wasa great party, cheers @ifourdesign @SoMagazines

Want to see your tweet in So? Tweet us @SoMagazines

DECEMBER 2016

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LUXURY

THE FINER THINGS BECAUSE LIFE’S TOO SHORT NOT TO...

SPOIL For that special someone at the very top of your nice list, what could surprise them more than a gift of the striking – and exceedingly rare – Infiniti Q60 Neiman Marcus Limited Edition.

NEIMAN MARCUS

Neiman Marcs is offering the sports car for £50,237. Only 50 are available in the stunning Solar Mica paint, with enhancements so special they’ll make hearts flutter faster than the twinturbocharged V6 engine.

TRIM For a tree topper to top all others, the ultimate luxury website VeryFirstTo is offering the most remarkable Christmas tree star ever created for £615,000.

IMBIBE

Adorned with a grand total of 281 diamonds and cradling the five Carat D flawless diamond as its centrepiece, no other star will sparkle quite so exquisitely. And, to keep that brilliance with you all year round, the centre diamond removes to transform into a stunning necklace, keeping it close to your heart until the next year.

16

Treat Santa this Christmas with the Glenlivet Winchester, vintage 1966 to wash down his mince pies. As the pinnacle of the Glenlivet range, the series of rarefied 50 year-old single malt whiskies have been crafted over generations, matured over decades and hidden within the walls of the distillery. With only 100 bottles of this precious liquid in existence, the historic Scotch will be priced at £20,000 and sold in the equally lavish setting of Harrods for its UK launch. You can certainly make someone very merry with this special gift.

DECEMBER 2016

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SO

LUXURY

VERYFIRSTTO

WELCOME Astound your guests before they even step a foot through the door with the world’s most expensive Christmas wreath. Coming in at a total of £2,835,000, the 138.83 carat piece is sprinkled with over 40 diamonds and rubies, laced with some of the most expensive flowers in the world and delicately bound by top Finnish Floral Designer Pasi Jokinen-Carte. Mind those carol singers keeps their mitts off!

FEAST At this time of the year, food deserves centre stage, and what could make a better show stopper than the world’s most decadent Christmas hamper?

Bring back that pure childhood elation to your Christmas dinner party this year as your guests pull their crackers to reveal, not another paper hat, but an Aston Martin Vanquish Coupe, a diamond Cartier necklace or even the key to their brand new yacht. £4,018,600 is the price for the world’s most luxurious Christmas crackers, and with prizes like these, losing may sting just that little bit more.

For £85,605 some of the most delectable desirables on offer could be garnishing your own festive celebrations. Complete with Versace for Rosenthal Champagne flutes, a gorgeous mother of pearl caviar dish and a striking mother of pearl bottle opener. It’ll be very hard to give this gift away…

VERYFIRSTTO

TREAT

SOAR

NEIMAN MARCUS

Perhaps the only thing faster in the skies than Santa’s sleigh, the Cobalt Valkyrie-X private plane will be one of the fastest piston aircrafts in the world when it debuts in 2017. And being available in a glorious rose gold, it looks to be one of the most spectacular too. For £1,190,000 this magnificent aircraft joins the illustrious Neiman Marcus fantasy gifts list, and something tells us this one may be a little tricky to hide under the tree…

DECEMBER 2016

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SO

LUXURY

THE FINER THINGS BECAUSE LIFE’S TOO SHORT NOT TO...

SPOIL For that special someone at the very top of your nice list, what could surprise them more than a gift of the striking – and exceedingly rare – Infiniti Q60 Neiman Marcus Limited Edition.

NEIMAN MARCUS

Neiman Marcs is offering the sports car for £50,237. Only 50 are available in the stunning Solar Mica paint, with enhancements so special they’ll make hearts flutter faster than the twinturbocharged V6 engine.

TRIM For a tree topper to top all others, the ultimate luxury website VeryFirstTo is offering the most remarkable Christmas tree star ever created for £615,000.

IMBIBE

Adorned with a grand total of 281 diamonds and cradling the five Carat D flawless diamond as its centrepiece, no other star will sparkle quite so exquisitely. And, to keep that brilliance with you all year round, the centre diamond removes to transform into a stunning necklace, keeping it close to your heart until the next year.

18

Treat Santa this Christmas with the Glenlivet Winchester, vintage 1966 to wash down his mince pies. As the pinnacle of the Glenlivet range, the series of rarefied 50 year-old single malt whiskies have been crafted over generations, matured over decades and hidden within the walls of the distillery. With only 100 bottles of this precious liquid in existence, the historic Scotch will be priced at £20,000 and sold in the equally lavish setting of Harrods for its UK launch. You can certainly make someone very merry with this special gift.

DECEMBER 2016

SO TW_DEC16_TheFinerThings.indd 2

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SO

LUXURY

VERYFIRSTTO

WELCOME Astound your guests before they even step a foot through the door with the world’s most expensive Christmas wreath. Coming in at a total of £2,835,000, the 138.83 carat piece is sprinkled with over 40 diamonds and rubies, laced with some of the most expensive flowers in the world and delicately bound by top Finnish Floral Designer Pasi Jokinen-Carte. Mind those carol singers keeps their mitts off!

FEAST At this time of the year, food deserves centre stage, and what could make a better show stopper than the world’s most decadent Christmas hamper?

Bring back that pure childhood elation to your Christmas dinner party this year as your guests pull their crackers to reveal, not another paper hat, but an Aston Martin Vanquish Coupe, a diamond Cartier necklace or even the key to their brand new yacht. £4,018,600 is the price for the world’s most luxurious Christmas crackers, and with prizes like these, losing may sting just that little bit more.

For £85,605 some of the most delectable desirables on offer could be garnishing your own festive celebrations. Complete with Versace for Rosenthal Champagne flutes, a gorgeous mother of pearl caviar dish and a striking mother of pearl bottle opener. It’ll be very hard to give this gift away…

VERYFIRSTTO

TREAT

SOAR

NEIMAN MARCUS

Perhaps the only thing faster in the skies than Santa’s sleigh, the Cobalt Valkyrie-X private plane will be one of the fastest piston aircrafts in the world when it debuts in 2017. And being available in a glorious rose gold, it looks to be one of the most spectacular too. For £1,190,000 this magnificent aircraft joins the illustrious Neiman Marcus fantasy gifts list, and something tells us this one may be a little tricky to hide under the tree…

DECEMBER 2016

SO TW_DEC16_TheFinerThings.indd 3

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EVENTS

DECEMBER

CALENDAR 1st » Castle Celebrations

Get involved with Hever Castle this December as they celebrate the history of pantomime in Once Upon A Castle from December 1 to 24. There will be beautiful decorations and welcoming log fires to see as you walk through the rooms of the castle learning about the origins and evolution of pantomime, right through to reminding yourself of the wellloved and current characters that we know today. On top of all that, discover the story of Jack and the Beanstalk as you follow the snowy Christmas trail and meet various characters. From December 14 to 24 in particular, collect fairy-tale objects along the trail to receive a reward. Allow three hours for the experience. Castle open between 10.30am and 6pm. Tickets cost £16.50 for adults and under 5s are free. www.hevercastle.co.uk

2nd » Beauty Sleep

This year, for their eighth annual pantomime, The Stag Theatre in Sevenoaks, along with company Magic Beans, is holding the heartwarming tale of Sleeping Beauty from December 2 to January 8. Included in the show is former EastEnders star Ricky Norwood and pop girl group Cleopatra. Featuring stunning sets and costumes, a live band and a star cast, it really is a fantastic panto. Performance start times vary from 11am, 3pm and 7pm. Tickets cost from £25. For info and to book, visit www.stagsevenoaks.co.uk

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3rd » Ho Ho Farm

Join Father Christmas at The Hop Farm in Paddock Wood from Saturday December 3 to Friday December 23 for kids to have a meet and greet in his magical grotto, enjoy his workshop and take part in lots of cool, Christmassy activities. This includes balloon modelling, live entertainment, receiving a gift and there is even access to indoor soft play, crazy golf and an outdoor play area. Entry costs £10 per child (under 16) and £2 per adult and includes free entry to The Hop Farm Family Park. Available 10.30am to 3.30pm. Booking essential. For more info or to book, visit www.thehopfarm.co.uk

4th » Crafty Christmas

Discover some amazing local talents while picking up some unique Christmas gifts at Newenden’s art and craft Christmas market on Sunday December 4. From 11am to 4pm in the village hall, you’ll find jewellery, paintings, cards, ceramics, Swedish decorations, seasonal gifts and edible delicacies, as well as enjoying music and mulled wine. Once the fair finishes, head outside and celebrate the switching on of the Newenden Christmas lights. www.newenden.org

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EVENTS

SO

9th » Merry Market

Get your gift buying thinking caps on at Sevenoaks’ diverse Christmas Market located on the vine for the second year in a row. Being held from December 9 to 11, stalls for all the family will be available and even traditional fairground rides. Have mouthwatering moments as you walk around delicious food stalls such as Harold’s Hog Roast and The Fudgery before becoming intrigued by numerous accessories and craft stalls. These vary from costume jewellery and handbags to homemade dog biscuits! If that isn’t enough, enjoy the festive backdrops with Santa’s grotto, stage and tavern. www.marketsquaregroup.co.uk

4th » Wildlife Wonderland

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Father Christmas and his elves at Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve on Sunday December 4. Visit the unique ‘bird hide’ grotto, where each lucky ticket holder will get a private meet with Father Christmas and will receive a special gift. While you’re there take part in the exciting Christmas trail. Sessions last 45 minutes overall and there is a shop and café full of nature related gifts to buy. Sessions available between 11am and 3pm. Tickets cost £8, booking essential. www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk

5th » Santa Specials

From Monday December 5 to Saturday December 24 the Kent & East Sussex Railway have one of Kent’s most loved festive attractions to offer. Make sure to take a magical steam train journey at Tenterden’s Steam Railway where the kids will receive a special visit on-board from Santa, presents from the bearded man himself and refreshments to keep their energy up! These Santa Specials will run from 10.30am to 5pm. Tickets from £17. Booking essential. For more info and to book, visit www.kesr.org.uk

9th » Grotto Fun

Spend a magical evening at The Tenterden Club on Friday December 9 as you visit Santa’s grotto, receive a special present and have a go at guessing the name of the teddy bear. A lucky dip raffle will also be available while you wait to enjoy the Cinderella pantomime at 7pm which is performed by touring pantos. Once worn out, have a refreshing drink from the bar. The evening kicks off at 5pm and finishes at 10pm. Tickets cost £15. www.thetenterdenclub.co.uk

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EVENTS

9th » Pantomime Time

Whistle while you work with Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs at The Assembly Hall Theatre from Friday December 9 to Monday January 2. Starring Jamie Rickers as Muddles (from CITV and Nickelodeon) Su Pollard as the Wicked Queen, Millie Booth as Snow White and Jamie Steen as Nursie, UK Productions brings you this family pantomime that cannot be missed! Bite the apple… we dare you! Tickets cost from £18 and performance times vary. For more information and to book, please visit www.assemblyhalltheatre.co.uk

10th » Christmas Joy

On Saturday December 10, St Andrew’s Church in Paddock Wood are holding a joyous Choral Society Christmas Concert for the whole family. In addition to sing-a-long traditional carols, the festive Christmas Joy evening will include wonderful contributions from The Messiah, pieces by contemporary Canadian composer Leonard Ballantine and music from the Bloomsbury Brass Quintet. The concert begins at 7.30pm and tickets cost £12.50. Children are free. Charitable donations will be made from proceeds. www.paddockwood-choral.org.uk

26

15th » A Royal Performance

Join young Clara this December 15 and be swept away through the Land of Snow to the Kingdom of Sweets in Trinity Theatre’s The Nutcracker, created by Peter Wright. To celebrate Wright’s 90th birthday, The Royal Ballet dances to Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score, presents an exquisite pas de deux between the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Prince and demonstrates Wright’s choreography elegantly. The performance will be a recorded live transmission. The show begins at 7pm and standard adult tickets cost £18. For info and to book, visit www.trinitytheatre.net

17th » Castle Carols

If there’s any event you can trust, it’s Carols at the Castle at National Trust’s Scotney Castle. On Saturday 17 December, for their first year, Scotney will be carol singing around the Christmas tree, with the chance to shop for gifts and enjoy a mince pie in the tearoom. A necessary calm day in the build up to a busy Christmas. The event is 2pm to 2.30pm and is free when included in normal Scotney admission entry fee. www.nationaltrust.org.uk

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EVENTS

SO

17th » You Can’t Catch Me

Between December 17 and 24, Groombridge Place is sparkling even more this Christmas with a magical area where families can create their own decorations and Christmas cards to add to the ‘Groombridge Gingerbread Village’. After being given a template and instructions, visitors of all ages are able to contribute and creatively add their own touch to the gingerbread world. The event runs from 10am to 4pm and, making the magic last, photos of the completed village and the children mid-decorating are available too. Feel free to leave the kids to it and go and have a mince pie in the festively decorated café while you’re there! Entry and price for this event is included in admission fee to Groombridge Place. www.groombridgeplace.com

20th » Deck Your Halls

Feel outdoorsy and crafty by heading down to the Hub at Grosvenor & Hilbert Park in Tunbridge Wells on Tuesday December 20 to make Christmas decorations. From simpler ones such as baubles and cards to much more challenging things like reindeers and even Christmas trees, this is an activity day that all ages can participate in and enjoy. Take your own creations back home ready for the whole family to see! No booking is required and the event is free. Time of event is 3.30pm to 5.30pm. www.tunbridgewellsevents.co.uk

22nd » To Market, To Market

Need last minute Christmas gifts? Or even a Christmas tree? Head to the heart of Tunbridge Wells on Thursday December 22 where a Christmas special farmers’ market will be held outside the Town Hall. Take your pick from hot food and drinks, craft stalls and even listen to the popular carol singers and take part in the raffle. Fresh local produce ranges from artisan producers bringing their cheeses to Rye fish fresh from the boats. This market has been shortlisted as one of the top seven farmers’ markets in the country and is open 9am to 2pm. www.visittunbridgewells.com

25th » Special Christmas

This Christmas Day, John Hazell, Caroline Hickmott and at least 10 volunteers are giving people the opportunity to do something different to celebrate the holiday. Highbury Hall, Tenterden, is offering a traditional Christmas meal, allowing all a chance to meet new friends while indulging in delicious roasties. Dropping in for a drink and a chat is also on the plate. They are now taking bookings over the phone ready to cater accordingly. Arrival from 12pm, meal from 1pm. Payment by donation. 01580 764 395

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INSIDE VIEW Paul Dunton takes us through what’s happening on the local music scene this Christmas

opportunity to have a skate! For details of which acts are performing visit www.twforum.co.uk/listings There is plenty of wonderful live music taking place at The Grey Lady during the festive period and if you’re donning the dancing shoes then The Violet Jive on the December 10 and Funkin’ Function on the 17th are both superb live acts. Plenty of excellent local bands will be in action at the thrice weekly showcases too. You can catch local three piece Cracks In The Land on December 9 at Cassidy’s Bar and The Beau Nash Tavern will be hosting Matt Bridle on the December 10 and Kharma & The Devil on the 17th. Renowned guitarist

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December 17 supported by Zombie Met Girl.

Morrison Duo on the 16th. For Jazz piano

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enthusiasts, the highly talented Ed Watts will

headline on the 21st with support coming

be at Scallywag Cafe on the 16th and 23rd.

Durrant will be performing a candlelit show at

from Bluetones front man Mark Morriss and

There are two Christmas shows at The Royal

Trinity Theatre on the December 20. Durrant

local group The Crew.

Oak pub with The Heartbeats on the 10th

the wonderful live music events on offer. Internationally renowned guitarist Richard

is a world class virtuoso, compelling

Local & Live has a stellar five act show on the

and The Harveys on the 17th. The Bedford Pub has a busy programme

storyteller and genial host. Audiences will be

30th with local groups Riff Raff, Sarah Tonin,

treated to a varied repertoire spanning

The Floodgates, Higgs & The Bosuns and Alex

too, with The Badflys on the December 3,

renaissance, christian, pagan and folk music

Metcalfe’s Catastrophic Organ Failure.

Sean Fennessey & Friends on the 17th and a

plus Durrant’s own tunes. On the afternoon of December 4, The Royal

The Forum has also collaborated with The Assembly Hall Theatre to bring live music to

three act special on December 19 with Amber Anderton, Jem & Paul and TW3. My top choice for New Year’s Eve is the

Tunbridge Wells Symphony Orchestra will

the ice rink in Calverley Grounds. Up and

be hosting their opera gala featuring soloists

coming local bands and artists will be

Hug-Many event on the Pantiles, which

Susana Gaspar, Jean Rigby, Jung Yoo Yun,

performing on Thursday nights playing rock

raises money for numerous local charities

Richard Morrison and Conductor Roderick

to indie to folk. Until December 15, exciting

and features live music on the bandstand,

Dunk. The programme includes a whole

acts will take to the stage from 7pm to 9pm.

culminating in a superb fireworks display.

afternoon of favourite operatic excerpts

Situated inside the skate marquee, there will

including La Bohème, The Magic Flute, La

be the chance to see live music, enjoy a drink

round and best wishes for Christmas

Traviata, Aïda, Fidelio, The Thieving Magpie

and have a bite to eat. And of course – the

and the New Year!

Keep supporting live music all year

and The Barber of Seville. The orchestra will also feature a number of items, including the lively Bacchanale from Saint-Saëns’s Samson and Delilah, the Grand March from Verdi’s Aida and the rousing overture to Wagner’s Die Meistersinger. The Forum have a jam packed music programme during December and my top recommendations include local band The Bay Rays on December 3 supported by Purple Stains, Havelock and Artificial

DECEMBER 2016

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23/11/2016 11:39


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ADVERTORIAL

The Fairfax Gallery will hold its 21st Christmas Exhibition until 18th January at its Tunbridge Wells gallery. We have an exciting line up of original paintings and sculpture by established, award-winning and emerging talent displayed over both floors of the gallery with a large selection behind the scenes. Further images of the original paintings from the artists featured and many more can be viewed on our website www.fairfaxgallery.com

ON THIS PAGE Teal Blossom, Oil on Metallic Foil, 100 x 100 cm ‘Battersea Dusk’ Oil & Metal Leaf on Canvas 80 x 100 cm ‘Towards the Evening’ Oil on Canvas 71 x 76 cm ‘Envoy II’ Oil on Aluminium 30 x 30 cm

Open seven days a week • 23 The Pantiles (Lower Walk), Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN2 5TD

2

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21/11/2016 15:42


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ADVERTORIAL

The Fairfax Gallery was founded in 1995 on the elegant Lower Walk of the Pantiles and is one of the longest established businesses in the historic part of town. Whilst the Fairfax Gallery has another gallery in Burnham Market as well as regularly exhibiting in London, New York, Singapore & Hong Kong, the original Pantiles gallery always ensures it has the latest and strongest examples on display in its spacious gallery set over 2 floors of its listed building..The gallery offers services for private clients, interior designers including a home trail service to view art works in your own home or office to ensure the perfect piece. We welcome visitors to the gallery.

ON THIS PAGE ‘Hummingbird’ Oil on Panel 122 x 122 cm Purity & Element Oil & Metal Leaf on Canvas120 x 100 cm Leicester Square XI Oil on Canvas 70 x 70 cm Beckie Reed The Jive Acrylic on Canvas 80 x 80 cm (2)

Tel: 01892 525 525

www.fairfaxgallery.com

3

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21/11/2016 15:43


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21/11/2016 15:44


ADVERTORIAL

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AWARD ACHIEVEMENTS

Purity Bridge wins prestigious industry award and highly commended in another

W

e are thrilled and proud to have been recognised at a national awards ceremony – the My Face My Body awards. The ceremony was held at The Hilton Hotel in central London, and was attended by many of the leading figures in the world of cosmetic medicine and surgery. We won the prestigious award for Best Customer Experience. This was especially rewarding as we feel it reflects on every member of our team – both clinical and non-clinical. It is also an area we have been particularly focusing on improving over the last year, which makes especially fulfilling. We are extremely grateful to you, our

patients and friends of the Clinic who have supported us and helped us achieve this recognition – without you we would not be where we are today, and constantly striving to improve our standards. Thank you to each and every one who has supported us through the years and to all of you who have voted for us. We also owe a thank you to all members of our Purity Bridge Team who are determined to provide the best possible experience for our patients at every step of their journey with us – from the first contact with the clinic through to the post-procedure recovery. In addition to our achievement in the

“We won the prestigious award for Best Customer Experience. This was especially rewarding as we feel it reflects on every member of our team – both clinical and non-clinical”

Best Customer Experience category, we were also Highly Commended in the category for Best Cosmetic Practice, proudly representing Kent in this national category. Congratulations to the winner… but watch out, Purity Bridge are hot on your heels!

Purity Bridge at Tunbridge Wells Plastic Surgery Ltd 19 Mount Ephraim Tunbridge Wells Kent TN4 8AS 01892 536 960 www.puritybridge.com

DECEMBER 2016

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If you love ice skating, there’s no better way to celebrate the winter weather than twirling around the ever popular Royal Tunbridge Wells ice rink. Get your skates on! A favourite festive destination, Royal Tunbridge Wells offers something for skaters, shoppers and spectators across the season. Calverley Grounds has been transformed into a beautiful winter ice rink. By day or night, visitors can skate in the beautiful splendour of Calverley Grounds’ amphitheatre, bathed in twinkling festive lights. Open to people of all ages, there’s fun for the kids with skate aids in the shape of seals, as well as parent and toddler sessions and main skating sessions. There’s also live music nights in association with The Forum, warming refreshments – gourmet BBQ smoked pulled pork and steak burger brioches from Apple & Cor!, hot chocolate from Basil On Ice and craft beer from Fuggles Beer Cafe. You can also meet Father Christmas. Opening times, until January 2 2017, are

ENTERTAINMENT ENTERTAINMENT

IT’S THAT TIME OF THE YEAR AGAIN (OH YES IT IS!)

Monday to Sunday (excluding Christmas

Let’s get into the festive spirit!

Tickets are on sale from

T

Day), first skating skate session at 9.45am and last skate session starts at 8pm. Tickets cost from £10.50 per adult, from £7 per child, including the cost of skate hire. Family tickets, concessions and Go! Card tickets are also available. www.tunbridgewellsatchristmas.com

he festive season is well and

join in and that there is always a happy

01892 554 645, in person at the Assembly

truly upon us, and amidst the

ending with everybody going home

Hall Theatre Box Office or the Ice Rink

Christmas nights out and

having had a marvellous time. I can’t

Box Office, Calverley Grounds.

long-awaited catch ups with

wait to get the audience going with the

Twitter @RTW_Xmas

usual pantomime boos and hisses”.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Friday

friends and family, there is some serious fun to be had.

Everyone loves Snow White and there

December 9 2016 to Monday January 2 2017

couldn’t be a more beautiful Snow

www.assemblyhalltheatre.co.uk

without shouts of “It’s behind you” and

White than Millie Booth. Chris Warner

Box Office 01892 530 613

“oh no it isn’t”. A trip to the pantomime

Drake plays her Prince and then, there’s

www.facebook.com/AssemblyHallTheatre

is a treat shared by many families, so it’s

Jamie Steen as over-the-top nurse Dolly

Twitter @ahttw

time to think about getting your

Cough-Drop. Completing the line-up will

pantomime tickets! Oh yes it is!

be the cheeky seven dwarfs creating

Whether its pantomime or ice skating,

more madness and mayhem.

make your Christmas more magical.

Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas

This December the Assembly Hall Theatre proudly presents Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs from Friday December 9 2016 to Mon Jan 2 2017 – one of the best-loved fairytales of all time. Hi-de-hi’s Su Pollard headlines the cast which also includes CITV and Nickelodeon’s Jamie Rickers. TV and Panto legend Su,

DAVID BARTHOLOMEW

who has appeared in 37 pantomimes, will star as the Wicked Queen. Su says: “I just so enjoy the tradition of it. I love the corny jokes, the fabulous costumes, the way that the audience can

DECEMBER 2016

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ADVERTORIAL

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“In our minds there are two types of frame, the mass produced and readily available or those where style and craftsmanship are the overriding principles”

SUCCESS IN SIGHT Edney & Edney optometrist and opticians in Tunbridge Wells are the experts you need when it comes to your eye care

A

t Edney & Edney our philosophy is based on providing the very best in terms of eye care, and artisan eyewear, the practice has been set up with a state of the art consulting and screening suite along with stylish and sophisticated showroom. In our consulting room we have invested in the Triton OCT. Optical Coherence Tomography or OCT as it is more commonly known is a sophisticated scanning system that produces highly detailed images of the retina. It is often likened to an MRI or x-ray of the eye. This scan allows us to see detailed images of the retina (the inner most layer of the interior eye), enabling us to accurately detect, monitor and control changes to the retina. This procedure is currently the only one that shows indepth images of the eyes internal structures. Other procedures only show the surface of these structures. An OCT scan can detect the early signs of macular degeneration, glaucoma, detached retinas and other eye disorders. This

procedure only takes minutes and the equipment never touches the eye, so there is no discomfort. We have compiled a frame portfolio which we believe is second to none. “In our minds there are two types of frame, the mass produced and readily available or those where style and craftsmanship are the overriding principles. As you browse amongst our stunning collection you will find handmade frames from Germany, Denmark, France, Italy and Hungary to name but a few. Amongst the beautiful

frames are sunglasses from the likes of Tom Ford, Givenchy and Jimmy Choo”. Two collections that we are delighted to be working with are Vinylize and MYKITA. Vinylize upcycles vinyl records into fashionable eyewear. Frames are crafted by hand over the course of months in a Budapest workshop using the finest quality acetate. Genuine vinyl records are then seamlessly bonded to the front surface giving a unique and completely individual look. We believe its the human touch that turns Vinylize frames into award winning art. MYKITA is a modern manufacturer that combines precision craftsmanship with new technologies. A constant search for innovation, the visionary use of materials and a wealth of experience in eyewear design are the defining elements behind MYKITA’s collections. Hand made in Berlin, MYKITA’s frames are functional, directional and above all desirable.

We are proud to be the only MYKITA stockists in Kent. Jamie & Ayshah Edney 35 Monson Road, Tunbridge Wells 01892 517986 www.edneyandedney.com

DECEMBER 2016

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FLASHBACK

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IN REVIEW Sometimes, it’s easy to forget just what happened over the course of the year. From celebrity splits to political issues, often they become tomorrow’s chip papers and we’re on to the next headline before you can say ‘Brangelina’. But, as the year nears an end and we start thinking about 2017 and all it will bring (please, no more rail fare hikes – wishful thinking), it’s also a good time to reflect. And, what better to reflect on than the stories that shaped our year. Read this quickly though because you might need to go out and stock up on avocados…

DECEMBER 2016

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23/11/2016 11:19


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FLASHBACK

CLOSING TIME In the biggest shock in the retail sector since the closure of Woolworths in 2008, in April this year it was announced that British Home Stores had entered administration. After no buyer was found, all 164 BHS stores had closed by the end of August, with 11,000 employees losing their jobs in the process. At the time of going to press, a battle with Philip Green to reclaim pensions was still ongoing. Thankfully, those still looking for a BHS fix are still able to do so, as the website was relaunched, selling homeware, lighting and fashion.

FALLEN STARS 2016 is understood to be the ‘worst year for celebrity deaths’, with 82 stars dying between January and April alone. David Bowie’s passing on January 10 shocked the world, and just a week later, beloved actor Alan Rickman passed away. By the end of January, we’d also lost Sir Terry Wogan. Sadly this year also saw the passing of music legend Prince, comedians Ronnie Corbett and Victoria Wood, world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali and actress Caroline Aherne, to name but a few. Here’s hoping 2017 will be a little bit cheerier!

ROYAL REVELRY There aren’t many people a whole country would eat cake and throw parties for, but that’s exactly what happened when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth turned 90 this year. Windsor Castle held a four day celebration of the Queen’s life, using 900 horses and over 1,500 participants to highlight her achievements, while street parties and huge community events were held up and down the country and across the Commonwealth to commemorate her birthday.

REFERENDUM REACTION Even the polls didn’t predict the outcome of the EU referendum, which took place on June 23. But, with 51.89% of those who voted choosing to leave the European Union, ‘Brexit’ became the issue everybody had an opinion on. The immediate reaction to the result saw David Cameron resign as Prime Minister, the pound slump to a 31 year low and consumer confidence take a dive. However, since then there have been signs of recovery in some sectors. Article 50 is due to be triggered in March 2017, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens next…

44

DECEMBER 2016

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23/11/2016 11:19


FLASHBACK

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CAKE CATASTROPHE Seven series of soggy bottoms and star bakers came to an end when perhaps one of the most upsetting stories of 2016 broke – the news that iconic television show The Great British Bake Off was moving from the BBC, and in the process, losing judge Mary Berry and presenters Mel and Sue. Although it is due to continue on Channel 4 next year, will watching people bake cakes in a tent ever be

SPORTING SUCCESS

quite as entertaining again?

After the incredible efforts of Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics, some feared they might not be able to recreate their achievements again at the Rio Olympics this year, but those worries were quickly forgotten when the gold medals started rolling in. Rio 2016 became Team GB’s most successful Olympics ever, with them finishing second in the table and picking up 67 medals – two more than they received in 2012. We also broke some Olympic records along the way – now the wait begins to see how many accolades the team can rack up in 2020…

RUNWAY RESULT After years of campaigning and waiting, Heathrow airport finally got the news it had been waiting for, when the government approved a third runway. However, the decision proved controversial, with Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith resigning in protest, and Boris Johnson calling the scheme “undeliverable.” After a public consultation, the government will vote again next year, but it is thought that should plans be given the go-ahead, no work would begin until at least 2025.

PITT SPLIT While a celebrity split is no surprise, when one of Hollywood’s hottest couples – Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie suddenly announced they were to divorce, the world was shocked. The seemingly-perfect pair, who had been together for 12 years and have six children together became the focus of intense media speculation as everyone tried to work out exactly what had happened to cause the split. Jolie, who filed for the divorce citing ‘irreconcilable differences’ has sole custody of the children, and is said to have asked for ‘miscellaneous jewellery and other personal effects.’ We assume that’s the huge engagement ring taken care of, then!

DECEMBER 2016

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FLASHBACK

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PEAK PANIC If there’s one thing you need to know about chocoholics, it’s that they don’t cope well with change, especially when that change means the modification of a classic

AVOCADO ABSENCE

confectionary treat. Consumers were outraged when they opened their Toblerone

When the news broke last year that there was to be

bars to discover larger gaps between the

a potential Prosecco shortage, panic mounted, but in

chocolate triangles – which apparently

equally devastating news, this year it was reported that

is down to the rising cost of ingredients.

avocados could soon become a luxury item. With droughts

Although the bars are the same length, they

in areas where the fruit grows, and an increase in

now contain fewer triangles and weigh less.

demand, we could soon be having to find something else to smash on toast with poached eggs.

We can confirm after extensive tasting that the flavour is the same…

In New Zealand, the shortage fuelled a crime wave, with major thefts taking place at avocado farms. Head to M&S now and stock up while you can!

PRESIDENTIAL SHOCK Another one the polls didn’t predict – after months of campaigning to become the next US president, Republican candidate Donald Trump was elected, beating his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. Trump secured more electoral votes than Clinton, and despite being a controversial character with little political experience, he’s set to take over from Barack Obama and become president of the United States in January.

TENNIS TRIUMPH After a phenomenal year for Andy Murray, becoming a father for the first time, Wimbledon champion for a second time and winning gold at Rio, the sports star achieved his life-long dream when he was ranked world number one, unseating rival Novak Djokovic in the process. Murray is the first British man, and only the 26th different man, to attain the world No.1 ranking in singles since records began in 1973. Andy and his brother, Jamie Murray, also became the first brothers to finish as year-end No.1 ranked players in singles and doubles, respectively.

DECEMBER 2016

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OVERHEARD REMEMBER, WE’RE ALWAYS LISTENING…

OVERHEARD IN A SEVENOAKS SHOP

Woman 1: “These Christmas decorations are gorgeous, but I don’t need any more.” Woman 2: “Oh, just do what I do, buy them one by one and hang them on the tree straight away. My husband still hasn’t noticed, and I’ve spent hundreds!

OVERHEARD AT A WEALDEN CHRISTMAS FAIR

“Mummy, are mince pies made from spaghetti bolognese and lasagne?”

OVERHEARD IN A TUNBRIDGE WELLS CINEMA

“I really don’t want to cry in this film. I have such an ugly crying face.”

OVERHEARD IN BLUEWATER SHOPPING CENTRE OVERHEARD IN WAITROSE, HAWKHURST

“It really upsets me that pigs in blankets are only a Christmas thing. Why do shops think we don’t want to wrap our sausages in bacon all year round?”

OVERHEARD AT A DINNER PARTY IN TUNBRIDGE WELLS

“This is a very comfy seat, but unfortunately I’m too far away to reach my Prosecco.”

Woman: “Wow, that woman has the exact baby bump I want. From behind you wouldn’t even know she was pregnant.” Man: “But you’re not even pregnant. Why do you want a bump?”

Visit www.somagazine.co.uk every Wednesday for more Overheard

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MY RANT

UN-MERRY CHRISTMAS Jolie from Tunbridge Wells is wondering why turning down a festive tipple causes such a to-do I’VE JUST HAD another email inviting me

to Christmas drinks. It’s my third this week. They all start the same – some jovial message about how we must have a catch up in Tunbridge Wells over a tipple, and a joke about heading to work the next day with a hangover. From colleagues to friends, everybody is in full-on festive mode, where lunch breaks have evolved from an M&S salad to a mulled wine in a pub, and business meetings have moved from a coffee in the boardroom to Prosecco in a bar. When you’re a non-drinker, as I am, Christmas socialising becomes a bit of a

minefield. Throughout the rest of the 11 months of the year, on the odd occasion you get an invitation, it is usually completely acceptable to sip on a lime and soda without a second thought, but over Christmas, when you turn down a cocktail in favour of a Coke, heads swivel, eyes roll and you’re mmediately labelled a scrooge. The reasons behind me not drinking are personal, and I don’t feel the need to justify myself to anyone, but I’m constantly being eyed with suspicion when I tell people I don’t drink, especially between November and January. Sometimes, they look at my

stomach to see if I’m pregnant; other times they’ll look at me with sympathy, as though I’ve just accidentally chucked a winning lottery ticket in the toilet. The thing is, I don’t feel like I am missing out. What’s so great about spending ages planning a night out, only to have huge memory blanks the next day? Is having a few wines really worth spending the whole of the following day in bed, or, worse, having to take care of the kids while suppressing the urge to vomit in the Christmas tree? The trouble is, drinking to excess is expected at Christmas – everything revolves around a tipple or two. It’s even in the music that’s incessantly pumped around shops at this time of year and blaring on the radio every time you get in the car – ‘Christmas time, mistletoe and wine’. From fizz deals in the supermarket to brandy butter to ladle over the mince pies, everything is a booze-filled bonanza, but one that can be very isolating if you don’t want to indulge. Unlike being vegan or vegetarian, where Christmas can understandably be difficult, being teetotal is a whole other ball game. Family and friends will begrudgingly serve you a nut roast when you tell them you don’t eat turkey, but turning down a post-lunch port induces raised eyebrows and mutterings. Most of my friends and family are understanding, and for 11 months of the year they don’t bat an eyelid when I opt for water over wine, but even they, when it comes to December will still try and encourage me to have a drink ‘because it’s Christmas’. Would I force them to eat Brussels sprouts if they didn’t like them? No. So why do they think it’s acceptable to try and ply me with Prosecco? Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas and most of the merriment that comes with it – I’d just rather stick to orange juice and avoid getting too merry at Christmas.

DO YOU HAVE A RANT YOU’D LIKE TO RELEASE? Email your views, in no more than 600 words, to Editor Charlie Bond: cbond@onemediauk.co.uk. We won’t publish anonymous letters and contact details must be supplied, but if you’d prefer not to be named in print, please make this preference clear.

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23/11/2016 11:33


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FOOD

HAVE YOURSELF A BERRY MARY CHRISTMAS From perfect potatoes to top-notch turkey, this is how to do Christmas, the Mary Berry wayâ&#x20AC;¦

54

DECEMBER 2016

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FOOD

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S

he’s the firm but fair baking queen who isn’t impressed by shop-bought fondant icing or binned Baked Alaska, but Mary Berry insists her loved ones won’t be nervous when they present her with their own home-made

offerings this Christmas. “As a family, we all get together. Usually, I host it, and various members of the family bring a pudding, or they help me on Christmas morning or bring a batch of shortbread – even though I’m a cook, they love to bring their own things to share,” she says in that warm but no-nonsense voice, now so familiar thanks to the mammoth success of The Great British Bake Off. Aren’t her relatives and friends worried she’ll shoot them that disappointed look if they’re cooking’s not up to scratch – you know, the one she reserves for underproofed bread or shoddily presented pies on the hit TV show? “Good friends who I’ve known for a long time, they’re never nervous,” insists the judge. “We often go around to friends’ places for supper. They often say, ‘This is my mother’s recipe, you might want to share it with your readers’, or whatever. Our friends are very generous.” Bath-born Berry, who lives in Buckinghamshire with her husband Paul, is well-versed when it comes to avoiding festive hosting headaches. “I think it’s a good idea to get organised and know what you’re up to,” she says. “The first thing is to rally your family and find out where you are for Christmas, and how many there are. Then you can start to buy some of your heavier things like tinned goods, and order your turkey. “A big sheet of paper of what you plan does help. And then you can do some dishes you can freeze - you may choose to make something you can have after Christmas.” When it comes to turkey, Berry recommends “the best you can afford”, and she’ll also rustle up different stuffings, mince pies and Christmas pudding – although, she notes: “I nearly always find people nowadays don’t choose to have Christmas pudding; they choose to have the lovely fruit salad with lots of exotic fruits in it, because they’re quite full by the end of the meal.” The 81-year-old has plenty of little helpers at Christmas, in the form of her five grandchildren: “They really do help, they’re jolly good.”

DECEMBER 2016

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23/11/2016 11:23


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FOOD

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Mary’s guide

TO A STRESS-FREE CHRISTMAS CHEAT

KEEP IT SIMPLE

SAVE TIME

“Buy in your gravy. It’s only once a year, and

“The most common mistake people

“Cook bread sauce, red cabbage, roast potatoes,

just throw away the packaging so nobody

make with the dessert course is offering

parsnips and stuffing the day before, and cut

knows you’ve done it. The people are more

too much choice. After turkey and all the

sprouts in half to save the cooking time.”

important than the food. You don’t need to

trimmings two desserts is plenty, although

make mince-meat. Quality mince-meat is

you may also want to bake mince pies too.

readily available and you can always add a

Try making them topped with frangipane

HEATING HELP

dash of brandy.”

instead of a pastry lid for a new variation

“A good tip, if you don’t have spare oven space, is

of an old favourite.”

to put the plates on a quick dishwasher cycle so

GET AHEAD

they’re ready five minutes before you want to eat”

“My family all love Christmas pudding, which

PRE-PREPARE

I make well ahead. Traditionally it is made at

Roast your potatoes the day before. That really

DON’T STRESS

the end of November but it can be made even

worries people. Put them in a cupboard where

“The food isn’t the be-all and end-all, having

earlier than that. To keep it moist I simply add

people won’t pinch them. Do them to a pale

your family around you is what it’s about. So if

a little more brandy or rum to the pudding

golden brown and use the fat for something

there were to be a culinary disaster, the only

once it is cooked and cold, keep it in a cool

else. Then put them back for 20 minutes

important thing to remember is not to get

place then reheat on Christmas Day.”

tomorrow to crisp up.”

terribly upset about it.”

DECEMBER 2016

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23/11/2016 11:23


SO

FOOD

DINNER IS SERVED Get your turkey and trimming timings spot on, thanks to Mary (To serve at 2pm, based on the

1pm Check to see if the turkey is nearly

minutes. Reheat gravy, adding skimmed

assumption you have already half-roasted

cooked – turn back foil and turn heat up

roasting juices from the cooked turkey.

your potatoes and parsnips the day

to 220°C/ Fan 200°C/Gas 7 for last 30

Check seasoning. Heat serving dishes

before and pre-made the red cabbage,

minutes to crisp skin. Put sausages

and plates (if you didn’t do so before).

bread sauce, stuffing and a basic gravy).

wrapped in bacon into the second oven,

7.40am Take turkey out of fridge to allow

at 190°C/ Fan 170°C/Gas 5 for 45

1.50pm Cook sprouts, drain and put in

minutes until cooked and crisp.

serving dish. Carve the turkey. Add a little milk and reheat the bread sauce

to come to room temperature before cooking. Arrange oven shelves so that

1.20pm Take turkey out of oven. Test to

gently in a small pan on the hob.

the turkey will fit.

make sure it is cooked. Leave to relax,

Remove everything from the ovens,

loosely covered in foil and a thick towel

and put into warm serving dishes.

8.10am Preheat the oven to 220°C/ Fan

for about 30 minutes before carving.

200°C/Gas 7.

Re-roast potatoes (presuming you had

2pm Check water level on Christmas

half roasted) in oven at 220°C/ Fan

pudding, before you sit down to eat.

8.40am Turkey into oven for 40 minutes

200°C/ Gas 7. Reheat red cabbage on

at the high temperature.

hob in a large pan, or microwave for a

Serve.

few minutes, spoon into a serving dish 9.20am Reduce oven temperature to

and keep warm. Arrange first courses

160°C/ Fan 140°C/ Gas 3 and cook turkey for

on the table.

a further 3½ hours, basting now and again. 1.40pm Re-roast parsnips (half 10am Arrange smoked salmon or

roasted) by putting into the

gravlax on plates for first course. Butter

same hot oven with

brown bread. Cover the plates with

the potatoes. Reheat

clingfilm and keep in the fridge.

stuffing in second oven, at 190°C/

12.30pm Re-steam Christmas pudding

Fan 170°C/Gas 5,

to reheat. Warm plates and serving

for about 20

dishes if you have a hot plate. If using a second oven, heat in a low oven later.

58

DECEMBER 2016

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THE LOOK

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FASHION INSIDER

HEADING TO A PARTY BUT STUCK FOR INSPIRATION? OUR STYLIST CATHERINE DE CREVECOEUR HAS THE FOLLOWING ADVICE FOR GIVING YOUR STYLE AN ADDED TOUCH OF FESTIVE SPARKLE…

A

s the party season approaches, there’s often a sense of dread that comes with it and you’re probably asking yourself ‘what am I going to wear?’ It is in fact the best time to maximise your current wardrobe by complementing some of your existing favourite pieces with some new, on trend items. This season is all about texture and embellishments so you’ll find plenty of velvet, sequins and metallics to help you create that perfect party look. If like me you love to stay comfy and warm then pairing a black, fine knit cashmere jumper with a pair of fake leather trousers like these ones from Topshop (£28 www.topshop.com) www.topshop.com or a sequined skirt is a stylish solution to keeping it relaxed and chic. Finish the look with some bold earrings or a necklace before choosing an ankle boot or killer heels depending on what your feet can handle. For a more dressed up occasion, it’s good to have a couple of go-to dresses. This dress from Monsoon (£79 www.monsoon.com) ticks a lot of boxes, providing a flattering cut for any hourglass figure, it also exudes classic Hollywood glamour with an edge thanks to its metallic fabric. Throw a faux fur stole over your shoulders for an extra wow factor. For something quick and easy to throw on, the perfect LBD (little black dress) is your best friend during any party season. My recommendation here is to have fun trying different styles on until you feel you have found the perfect fit and look to suit your style. Putting the finishing touches to any party outfit can be just as much fun than finding the perfect dress, so enjoy and don’t refrain from trying new things while doing so.

Catherine de Crèvecoeur PERSONAL STYLIST www.stylepourmoi.com

STEAL HER STYLE

The statement tee is one trend that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Embrace your inner grunge rock chick like Sienna Miller by pairing this t-shirt (£16 La Redoute) with a gorgeous A-Line skirt (£49 La Redoute) and finish the look with a pair of killer heels (£80 Dune)

style

TIP

“NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF A GOOD OUTFIT ON A BAD DAY.”

Make a few alterations to the length and fit of an old dress to bring it back to life and into your party season wardrobe. Look at having some sparkled embellishments sewn in and around the collar area to give it a complete new look.

Splurge vs Steal Who doesn’t love a little bit of sparkle? This gorgeous Michael Kors crossbody bag is perfect for finishing off your party look (£170 www.michaelkors.com) as is this cute bag from River Island for just a fraction of the price (£18 www.riverisland.com).

DECEMBER 2016

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THE LOOK

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TIME TO SHINE

STEAL THE SPOTLIGHT IN THIS SELECTION OF SPARKLING SHOWSTOPPERS

MONSOON

Katy maxi dress, £299 www.monsoon.co.uk

TED BAKER

Gold and black dress, £199 www.ashforddesigneroutlet.com

PHASE EIGHT

Bronze wrap jumpsuit, £120 www.phase-eight.co.uk

JIGSAW

Sparkle knitted slit skirt, £98 www.jigsaw-online.com

D.ANNA

Floral sequin maxi, £139 www.littleblackdress.co.uk

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Beaded dress £189 www.prettyeccentric.co.uk

LINEA

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TOPSHOP

Sequin dress, £150 www.topshop.com

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LUXURY

WATCH OUT Martin Wilson, a leading independent wrist watch collection consultant, sets out some of the risks involved with investment in the second hand watch market

C

ollecting watches has grown in

producing cases in precious metals with

popularity over the last few years.

fine hand engraving, jewelled

The lull in the production of

movements and pieces with a level of

mechanical timepieces in the 1970s and

technical complication not seen before.

80s, primarily caused by the introduction

For this reason there is a significant

of quartz movements, has slowly been

collectors market with the better

followed by a resurgence of fine

watches ranging from the thousands, to

timepiece manufacturing. The industry

the hundreds of thousands of pounds.

is not just back on track but some of the

Buying new from an authorised dealer

watches made now are better than ever

is the best way to buy. Top

before. High end manufacturers are

manufacturers ensure that retail staff are

68

DECEMBER 2016

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LUXURY

highly trained to offer the very best

up a service history. Fake watches will

advice on your investment and in using

often use movements made in the Far

such a dealer you have that direct

East. Look at it if you can and watch for

connection with the brand, their

signs of rust or scratches on engraving

guarantee and access to their service

that may indicate poor quality servicing

centres. Buying a second hand watch is

in the past.

SO

also a great way to get your first watch or to add to a collection and the fact that

 PATINA

so many of the finer watches, like Patek

Older watches can be expected to have

Philippe, represent a great financial

some fair wear and tear. Re-polishing is

investment is underpinned by a strong

generally frowned upon unless it has

used market in retail and at auction.

been done by the original manufacturer

The challenge here is to know what you

or it has been applied with a very light

are looking for and to have a real

touch. Beware of highly polished used

understanding of the potential pitfalls.

watches as in some cases that can

Similar risks and rules apply when

actually reduce the value.  RARITY

buying a used car. Could it be stolen? Has it got all the right paperwork? Has it

 DIALS

Many of the watch manufacturers will

been serviced by an approved dealer?

Dial configuration or colour can make a

put out limited edition and

Are all the parts genuine? If we’d apply

huge difference to a watch. A simple

commemorative pieces. Usually rarity

that sort of rigour to the purchase of a

Rolex submariner with an indication that

will add to value but not in all cases. If

used car or a fine art work then it follows

it was made for the French diving firm

you think you are buying a limited

that it may well be needed at the higher

COMEX can be worth ten times as much

edition then go online and do some

end of the watch market.

but they’re often faked. Look for the very

research. Is that particular model really

subtle signs of repair or retouching as

sought after or not?

The market in watches is no different from many other investment classes in

dials are prone to damage and poor

this regard. Within the market here are

restoration ruins value.

www.watchconsultant.co.uk

stolen pieces and fakes. Just like a car there is paperwork that will come with a

Pre-owned Breitling for Bentley Barnato watch

fine timepiece and this usually includes

with all certificates, paperwork and packaging

the serial numbers of the movement, the case and sometimes even the strap. An original box and papers are a must. If you’re buying a used watch here are my top five things to look for:  BOX AND PAPERS A good watch from makers like Patek Philippe, Rolex, Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet, Cartier etc will come with a presentation box and a certificate. Some makers authenticate and quality assure their own watches to a very high standard and others use third party standards like the COSC chronometer certificate or the Geneva Seal. You should know what the box should look like for your piece and it should come with the right type of certificate with matching numbers.  MOVEMENT Really good watches have highly complex movements and can be expensive to service or repair. A better dealer will be able to show you the movement, point out that the serial numbers match the paperwork and offer

DECEMBER 2016

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THE LOOK

SO

ASK THE STYLISTS GARY RUSSELL FROM THE CHAPEL AND MAKEUP ARTIST DAVID HYNES ARE ON HAND TO ANSWER ALL OF YOUR HAIR AND BEAUTY DILEMMAS...

BRUSHING UP My daughter has asked for makeup brushes for Christmas. A google search has left me totally baffled! What do you recommend?

DAVID: When choosing for your daughter, firstly decide what kind of a makeup girl she is. If she is a nude/natural kind of girl that does her makeup on the Charing Cross commuter, go for a small brush set that’s travel friendly with brushes that double up in function. Laura Mercier, MAC and Bobbi Brown always produce affordable, travel-friendly sets like this at Christmas. Or find out if she just needs complexion brushes, or eye brushes and customise her a set of individual brushes. If shes an Instagram tutorial addict who wears full contour and smokey eyes every day, then spoil her a little more. Go for a full set of brushes – including face, eye, brow and lip brushes – from a professional makeup-focused brand, e.g. MAC, Makeup Forever, Kevyn Aucoin or Artis. WARNING: Avoid cheap, imitation brushes made from plastics or synthetic blends.They don’t work and will scratch your skin, causing breakouts and infections.

ROUTINE QUESTION I’m considering getting a course of microdermabrasions over the next few weeks. What do you recommend I do with my skincare routine throughout this process?

DAVID: I get asked this quite a bit. I would always recommend a good course of exfoliating/regenerating skincare using a combination of glycolic and retinol before considering dermabrasion. But, if you have tried these and want something more thorough, by all means go for a course of dermabrasions. To assist this process, I would recommend a gentle balm cleanser, teamed with a daily moisturiser packed with anti-oxidants. These are like a shield for your skin and protects it against anything that tries to age or dehydrate us. Use a rich night-cream/oil to keep the skin fresh and moisturised. If you want to use any anti-ageing products, do so at night. And, most importantly, never leave the house without having an SPF on your skin that’s 25 or higher.

DRYER DILEMMA My girlfriend’s hairdryer has exploded! I think I’m going to buy her a new one for Christmas but there are loads to choose from. What should I be looking for?

GARY: Aren’t you a considerate boyfriend! Well done you. Every girl needs a good hairdryer in her life. First think about how often your girlfriend is going to be using it. Does she blow-dry her hair every day? If she does, you will need something that is a little more professional than your bog-standard travel hairdryer. Parlux are a reliable pro brand and are available online.

Next, consider the weight of the dryer. If she has long hair and a lot of it, she will knacker her hand if the hairdryer is really heavy. Aim for sturdy, but light-weight. Make sure it has a cold air button. It cools the hair down and sets her hair straight for longer.

MAKING WAVES My daughter has naturally curly hair. I think it’s beautiful, however she wants to look more ‘fashionable’ by making it look like loose waves. What can I get her to help her out in doing this?

GARY: My suggestion would be to stick to a styling brand and use the combination of products that they’ve designed to achieve this specific look. For example, REDKEN’s Curvaceous range is designed specifically for loose bouncy curls. The Curvaceous shampoo is low foam. It has moringa oil for shine and frizz control and even has UV protection so your curls won’t dry out in the sun. Follow this with the conditioner. This will add moisture to the hair and can be left in for an added styling benefit, use these with Ringlet the styling product in the range and you will create a three-day curl definition. If she wants a more structured look, give the hair a tonging and separate with fingers. www.thechapel.co.uk www.davidpatrickhynes.com

DECEMBER 2016

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THE LOOK

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BEAUTY

bulletin Here are some of our favourite new hair and beauty discoveries this month

 MURAD

 REAL TECHNIQUES

LIMITED EDITION MULTITASK SET, £20.99 Cult brush favourites Real Techniques have released a special set, just in time for the Christmas wishlist. The collection, which comes with a gorgeous panoramic carry case includes three new brushes, each with various purposes. The multitask face brush is angled and can be used for powder, bronzer and contouring, the cheek brush is perfect for applying colour to the cheeks, highlighting the cheekbone and contouring the jawline and the eye brush can be used for eyelids, brows and the lash line.

MERRY & GLOWING SET, £60 Over the festive period skin can sometimes suffer, but Murad’s collection of festive sets are the perfect way to keep the glow even through the cold weather and late nights. Our favourite is the Merry & Glowing set, which contains the Essential-C Cleanser – a vitamin-rich cleanser to remove impurities and rehydrate the skin, the Essential-C Day Moisture – a powerful antioxidant-rich moisturiser to revitalise and protect skin from the ageing effects of the environment, and the Advanced Active Radiance Serum, which reverses visible signs of environmental damage, and boosts brightness. www.murad.co.uk

www.realtechniques.com

 PERRICONE MD

MULTI-ACTION OVERNIGHT TREATMENT, £89 As much as we all try to get our beauty sleep every night, the festive season can take its toll – so handily, the clever folk at Perricone MD have created this restorative night cream, which ensures your skin gets a nightly luxurious treat. Containing a blend of Dr. Perricone’s patented sciences combined with natural ingredients, this cream is both nourishing and hydrating, and quickly gets to work diminishing the signs of ageing.

 BAREMINERALS

GLOW TOGETHER KIT, £29 Ideal for all skin tones, Bareminerals’ beautiful powder trio, which includes a gold shimmer, bronze shimmer and rose matte, gives a naturally luminous complexion. Formulated to instantly vanish on the skin, the tell-tale signs of winter skin will be gone in an instant, and instead you’ll be left with a soft, natural glow. Wear alone, or use over foundation to set. www.bareminerals.co.uk

www.perriconemd.co.uk

 HYLAMIDE

UP ALL NIGHT SET, £34 Not only does this gift set come in a beautiful vegan leather pouch, it contains five small but perfectly formed Marc lip crèmes. Each lasts 10 hours and provides a vibrant colour, and they’re the perfect size to pop in your clutch for a Christmas party. In five iconic shades, there’ll definitely be one to match each party dress too.

HYDRA-DENSITY MIST, £15 Use Hylamide’s new mist morning and night to add an extra dimension of hydration to your routine. This handy spray has a higher water-retaining capacity than hyaluronic acid, and marine exopolysaccharides with glucuronic acid offer both immediate and lasting oil-free hydration to the skin. Within seconds of a quick spritz your skin is calmed and rested – who knew hydration could be this simple?

LIQUID GOLD 24 HOUR MOISTURE REPAIR CREAM, £51 The ideal gift for anyone looking for a sumptuous new moisturiser, this luxurious transitional day to night cream refines and regenerates healthy skin while boosting radiance and luminosity. Perfectly suited to skin over 30, the product contains powerful anti–wrinkle peptide Matryxl 6, glycolic acid (5%) to gently dissolve dead cell build up, and many other skin conditioning ingredients. It’s the perfect treat for a loved one, but on second thoughts… you may want to keep it for yourself.

www.harrods.com

www.hylamide.com

www.lookfantastic.com

 MARC JACOBS BEAUTY

 ALPHA-H

DECEMBER 2016

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P R O M O T I O N A L F E AT U R E

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face and neck. They are quick and relatively painless treatments which help reduce the signs of ageing. Fillers are also an ideal treatment to enhance and define your lips, which are one of the most vulnerable areas when it comes to ageing. FACIAL SURGERY If you have loose or sagging skin on your face and neck, there’s still time to treat yourself to Bella Vou’s unique ConceptTM Facelift. Carried out under local anaesthetic, you can be in and out of surgery within a couple of hours and fully healed within a week. The procedure can be combined with a neck lift, so the only turkey anyone will be talking about this Christmas will be the one on your dining table! LIPOSUCTION AND TUMMY TUCK SURGERY Christmas is usually a time for overindulgence, and many of us will feel the pressure on our waistline come the New Year, so what better time to shed a few pounds and face 2017 with a tighter, sleeker abdomen? Fat cells removed with liposuction won’t grow back, so it’s an effective procedure to remove stubborn fat that diet and exercise can’t shift. Tummy tucks mean it is now easier than ever to reverse the years and achieve your desired look and shape.

PARTY PREP

EYELID AND EYE BAG SURGERY If heavy eyelids or puffy eye bags are dragging you down then eyelid surgery

Look your best for the Christmas party season with Bella Vou

W

is a great option to achieve a fresher and more youthful appearance of the eyes. Eyelid surgery is a relatively simple

ith the Christmas party season nearly

it offers a break from the ordinary where

procedure with a fast recovery that

upon us, now is the perfect time to

a bit of R&R can be arranged. So

leaves you ready to face the New Year

take steps to look and feel your best,

Christmas holidays allow clients to fully

with your eyes wide open.

and increasing numbers of people are

recover and return to work without the

turning to cosmetic surgery to help them

need to hide behind dark glasses.

achieve their desired appearance.

“Cosmetic surgery has also become a

Bella Vou has perfected numerous minimally-invasive procedures which are carried out under local anaesthetic,

Demand for cosmetic procedures

very popular gift for men and women and

avoiding the risks of general anaesthetics

increases by up to 30% around the

many of our clients have been treated to a

and lengthy hospital stays. The walk-in

Christmas holiday period, as many

procedure by their loved one. Others use

walk-out procedures significantly reduce

people want to look picture perfect for

the excuse to treat themselves and

scarring, bruising and swelling, allowing

the party season and start the New Year

injectables, fillers and rejuvenating

clients to heal very quickly.

with a brand new look.

chemical peels are very popular gifts.”

“Christmas is a particularly busy time

If you’re interested in hearing more about

for the UK’s cosmetic surgery sector,”

ANTI-WRINKLE INJECTIONS AND

how cosmetic surgery can help you to

says Amir Nakhdjevani, lead cosmetic

DERMAL FILLERS

achieve your desired look, contact Bella

surgeon at Bella Vou. “The holiday

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clients want to look their best. For others

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visit www.bellavou.co.uk

DECEMBER 2016

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ADVERTORIAL

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“A variety of facelift techniques are possible but the key is that there is no ‘one size fits all’ and the right technique has to be determined after examining you and discussing your wishes and expectations”

SURGERY SOLUTIONS

Consultant plastic surgeon Marc Pacifico talks to us about the procedures he performs and the benefits of them

T

he ageing process affects us all sooner or later and, as a plastic surgeon, I see patients daily who are distressed and concerned that the person looking back at them in the mirror is not the person they feel they are. As a result there is a very wide variety of treatments that we can now offer in the modern setting to rejuvenate the face and improve tired appearances and the tell tale signs of ageing. Nowadays there is no need for an appearance that shows that you have had ‘work done’ and all procedures now should primarily have the goals of not only being safe and effective but also very natural in appearance. These range from treatment to the eyes and brows through to treatments

that can improve the jowls and the dreaded ‘turkey neck’. The gold standard of facial rejuvenation is still a facelift which now can be done in such a way that the scars are very well hidden and there is no obvious way to tell that someone has had a facelift. The result is very natural, not only when the person is at rest but also when they are talking and smiling. A variety of facelift techniques are possible but the key is that there is no ‘one size fits all’ and the right technique has to be determined after examining you and discussing your wishes and expectations. Sometimes facelifts can be performed with you awake under local anaesthetic but more commonly, and for the more

comprehensive facelifts that will really address the ageing neck as well as the face, they are performed with you asleep. This also allows the opportunity to address other aspects of the face at the same time such as the eyes and the brow if needed. Other local anaesthetic aesthetic surgical procedures have revolutionised plastic surgery over recent years. The mainstay of these remains eyelid lifts which produce brighter, fresher appearances with hard to see scars. In addition other procedures can be done to the lips, the ears and much more! I am proud to undertake many procedures at The McIndoe Centre which offers specialist expertise in cosmetic plastic surgery right through from the nursing staff to the theatre staff and everyone in-between. Should you wish to find out more please do get in contact and we will be on hand to help.

Holtye Road East Grinstead West Sussex RH19 3EB Tel: 0800 917 4922 Email: info.mcindoe@horder.co.uk www.themcindoecentre.co.uk

DECEMBER 2016

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WEDDINGS

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THE SECRET DIARY OF A BRIDE TO BE It’s our secret bride’s final column, and she’s sweating the small stuff…

‘I NEED YOU to call me urgently RE cutlery.’ That’s the email I woke up to today from my caterer, who is doing nothing to calm me down in the run up to my big day, which is now just days away. There may be mere weeks until Christmas now, but while you’re probably excited about decorating the tree, the thought of mince pies and Yuletide cheer couldn’t be further from my mind. Instead of buzzing about tinsel, I’m having a breakdown about teaspoons. As the wedding draws closer, the phrase I hear most often, is ‘it’ll all come together.’ While I admire other people’s optimism, at this stage I’m doubtful. Today, when I did call the caterer, I had a 15 minute conversation with her about how many forks we needed, and whether we required pastry forks as well as regular dessert forks. Then, she decided we probably needed neither. A married friend, who has already been through the whole wedding planning

debacle has assured me that on the day I won’t notice if small things don’t happen or if things go wrong. This is reassuring, but it doesn’t stop me having little meltdowns whenever there’s a wobble. I couldn’t sleep the other night because the confetti we ordered hadn’t turned up yet, and I’ve been obsessively googling the weather because it’s still the one thing that could, quite literally put a dampener on my day. Hoping someone would sympathise with my neuroticism, I logged on to a wedding forum and shared my stresses. The first response: ‘well you did book a winter wedding, did you really expect it not to rain? To be honest, it sounds like you’re having a bit of a meltdown.’ Not quite the reassurance I was after. I think I’m sweating the small stuff because all the bigger things are taken care of – I’ve collected my dress, my fiancé finally has a shirt (after various late night Bluewater trips to source a plain white

shirt – who knew there were so many?!) and we’ve paid most of our balances. Now that I don’t have to worry about booking the band or sourcing caterers, I’m finding myself kept up at night worrying about every minute detail. What if it snows and nobody can make it to our remote country venue? What if the makeup artist suddenly gets a celebrity booking and I get sacked off for someone from Strictly? Deep down, I know it’s completely pointless worrying about ‘what if ’. The chances are, the day will be perfect, and my friend is probably right – even if it’s not, I won’t notice. But until I’ve walked down the aisle without tripping up, cut the cake without slicing off a finger and managed to successfully steer clear of guests dancing wildly with red wine in hand, I think a few more sleepless nights might be on the way, so I can add ‘looking tired’ to the list of worries. Still, at least when it’s all over, I’ll be carefree…oh wait, there’s the small matter of Christmas first...

DECEMBER 2016

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P R O M O T I O N A L F E AT U R E

LIFE & STYLE

We look at some of the best ways to enhance your home and lifestyle this month

THE RUG CENTRE

H

come in a wide variety of styles, colours, and

Centre; an art gallery, an Aladdin’s cave, and

sizes. Starting at pillow-sized mats and hearth

happy to give advice or arrange a try-at-home

a place of personal service in South Street,

rugs, the range includes long runners and

before you buy.

Dorking. It’s an independent family business

circular feature rugs and goes up to whole

with three generations of experience in all

room scale. There is a huge choice from subtle

years on active service, put them in safe

stages of design and traditional craft

zieglers to chunky gabbehs, rich tribal kazaks

hands with their expert cleaning and

production. Whether your ideal rug is no

and qashqais, to deep red khans, super soft

restoration service.

nonsense child and pet proof, a special

bokharas, or kelims in vibrant or monochrome

character or luxury piece, or something for

patterns, and – for intricate detail and

The Rug Centre, Dorking

warmth and sound insulation, their selection

luxurious sheen – fine silks. When you find

T: 01306 882 202

is the place to look.

the right piece to express the personality of

E: rugsinfodkg@gmail.com

and-knotted oriental rugs in natural materials are the speciality of The Rug

Rugs from the famous weaving regions

your home it will lift your spirit every day. Never pushy, the friendly team is always

If your rugs need some TLC after a few

THE ALTERNATIVE BREAKFAST CLUB – A DIFFERENT WAY OF PROMOTING BUSINESS THROUGH NETWORKING Almost 14 years ago, Andy Brett decided

fed up with the regularity of meeting

Tunbridge Wells having become

every week and the constant pressure to

disillusioned with the club that he was

bring referrals to the meetings joined the

attached to. His aim was to create a

group straightaway. The new group had

sociable and friendly group where

to have a name and Andy came up with

members could meet for a great

The Alternative Breakfast Club. Meetings

breakfast and promote genuine business

are held every three weeks, and about a

amongst each other and with the

year ago the club found a new home at

contacts that they all had. The club has

The Nevill Golf Club.

really flourished under Andy’s leadership

82

Six other business people who were

to set up his own networking group in

The key was to create a fun and

skills and now has 40 members, all from

sociable environment with members

different professions.

looking forward to coming along to the

DECEMBER 2016

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P R O M O T I O N A L F E AT U R E

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HADLOW COLLEGE STUDENTS AND STAFF VOLUNTEER FOR BBC TELEVISION’S DIY SOS: GREAT ORMOND STREET HOSPITAL ROOF TOP GARDEN INSTALLATION

BEAUTIFUL THINGS FOR YOU AND YOUR HOME Artspring Gallery at the North end of

S

Tonbridge High Street is showcasing work

taff and students from

difference to the lives of so

the 10th November and is

by 18 artists and designers in a

Hadlow College

many children and their

available on iPlayer.

contemporary and stylish setting.

Set in the heart of the Kent

volunteered in an amazing

families by providing their

project over the summer,

time and expertise for six

countryside amidst 265

dazzling jewellery, stunning glass and

involving Great Ormond

days of the three week

acres of prime arable land,

unique ceramics. The Winter exhibition is

Street Hospital and the BBC

project, which ran from the

woodland, lakes and other

now on display as well as a variety of gifts

TV series: DIY SOS: The Big

23rd May to the 10th June.

natural habitats, the Ofsted

for Christmas – so there should be

‘outstanding’ Hadlow

something to suit everyone’s taste and to find the perfect gift for a loved one.

Renee Dewhurst, Science

Build. The project saw the

Come and discover inspiring artworks,

Big Build team move Chris

Technician at Hadlow, says:

College prides itself on an

Beardshaw’s Gold medal-

“This was a fantastic

80-year history of delivering

winning garden from the

opportunity for us to do our

educational excellence,

Mondays, and there’s also a late night

Chelsea Flower Show to the

bit for the hospital’s young

offering a huge range of

opening until 8pm on the first Thursdays

rooftop of Great Ormond

patients and their families.

courses, from entry level up

of each month when customers can

Street Hospital.

All the volunteers were

to honours degrees, and

browse and shop while enjoying a free

very keen to dedicate their

apprenticeship routes. The

glass of Prosecco.

members of staff, from

time to such a

college is heavily involved

across the College’s garden

compassionate project and

with the county’s rural

167, High Street

design, landscape

were hugely excited about

community, being a major

Tonbridge, Kent, TN9 1BX

management, horticulture

the build.”

sponsor of the Kent County

Tel: 01732 365924

Show and co-partner in

Email: gallery@artspringgallery.co.uk

Produced In Kent.

Website: www.artspringgallery.co.uk

The 16 students and two

The programme was

and RHS diploma courses volunteered to make a

broadcast on BBC One on

The gallery is open every day except

meetings. The format hasn’t changed and all members have an opportunity to introduce themselves and elements of their businesses. There is a 10 minute presentation by one of the members, and at the end a chance to deliver testimonials and referrals, although there is no pressure, manufactured referrals isn’t the name of the game, genuine leads only! Membership rates are more than reasonable and meetings are paid for six

A GRAND OPERA GALA

O

ur December concert is another

Act 3 of Verdi’s Rigoletto and Papageno’s

departure from our traditional RTWSO

aria from Mozart’s The Magic Flute.

programmes – a whole afternoon of favourite operatic excerpts with a line-up of top soloists, performing popular highlights

T

he orchestra will also feature a number of items, including the lively Bacchanale

from Saint-Saëns’s Samson and Delilah,

months in advance, plus a nominal

from: La Bohème, The Magic Flute, La

the Grand March from Verdi’s Aida

administration fee twice a year. Meetings

Traviata, Aida, Fidelio, The Thieving Magpie

and the rousing overture to Wagner’s

start at 7am sharp and run for 90 minutes.

and The Barber of Seville. There will be

Die Meistersinger.

If you would like to know more

many popular arias: we will include che

about the club, why not visit

gelida manina from Puccini’s La Bohème,

At the Assembly Hall Theatre in Tunbridge

www.altbreakfastclub.co.uk

the Largo al factotum from Rossini’s The

Wells, Sunday 4th December at 3pm – for

Barber of Seville, the famous Quartet from

more details visit www.rtwso.org DECEMBER 2016

SO TW_DEC16_Life&Style.indd 3

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23/11/2016 14:04


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p84_SO TW_DEC16_Advert.indd 2

2016

23/11/2016 13:10


EVENT

SO

SOCIAL BEATING THE WINTER BLUES Shaking their tail feathers like there was no tomorrow, 160 people joined together at The Spa Hotel in Tunbridge Wells in support of Pickering Cancer Drop-In Centre, when they held a Blues Brothers fundraising evening. Guests enjoyed bangers and mash, a raffle and entertainment in the form of a magician, before acts took to the stage to perform, including local favourites Blues Brothers Little Brother. The evening was a huge success, with around ÂŁ11,000 raised for the charity, who support anyone touched by cancer. www.pickeringcancercentre.org.uk PHOTOS BY DAVID BARTHOLOMEW

DECEMBER 2016

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SOCIAL STYLE SHOWCASE To help style-savvy shoppers gather inspiration for updating their autumn/winter wardrobes, the Royal Victoria Place shopping centre in Tunbridge Wells hosted a two day ‘art of fashion’ event. As part of the showcase, RVP staged 18 live runway shows featuring more than 35 of the centre’s top fashion, jewellery and accessory brands. “The live runway shows really brought alive the diverse fashion offer which is available here at RVP,” says Marc Burchett, marketing manager for RVP. “We hope it helped provide shoppers with some inspiration on how to create the perfect look for the new season ahead.” www.royalvictoriaplace.com PICTURES BY DAVID BARTHOLOMEW

DECEMBER 2016

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SOCIAL PAMPER PARTY A fabulous evening of makeup and merriment took place at Space NK in Tunbridge Wells last month when they hosted a pamper evening. Guests were treated to glasses of fizz and canapĂŠs as they browsed the store after hours and enjoyed makeovers, facials and hairstyling among other treatments. Experts were on hand to offer advice on products and beauty regimes, and during the event there were makeup masterclasses and exclusive gifts for those in attendance. www.spacenk.com PICTURES BY CRAIG MATTHEWS

DECEMBER 2016

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SOCIAL CASINO NIGHT For the second year running, Nourish Foodbank and designer childrenswear retailer Childrensalon hosted an exciting fundraiser evening at High Rocks in Tunbridge Wells. This year a roulette table, wheel of fortune, live music by Rocco the band and Adam Smith the magician kept the guests, including the Mayor of Tunbridge Wells, entertained throughout the evening. The highlights of the evening were a raffle and live auction with unmissable prizes donated by local businesses, including One Warwick Park Hotel, Cook, Assembly Hall, and Kent cricket. More than ÂŁ6,000 was raised towards providing emergency food for families in and around Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge. www.nourishcommunityfoodbank.org.uk PHOTOS BY CHILDRENSALON

DECEMBER 2016

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CHRISTMAS

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THE FESTIVE

ETIQUETTE GUIDE

‘TIS THE SEASON OF GOODWILL, AND GOOD MANNERS… Although this time of year is filled with an abundance of celebrations, merriment and mince pies, it can also be a bit of a social minefield. From navigating away from awkward mistletoe mishaps to politely eating roast turkey at the in-laws because they forgot you’d gone vegetarian, this time of year is filled with the potential for gaffes. So, how best to tackle any tricky scenarios that might present themselves this festive season? Short of shunning the sherry and locking yourself indoors until the tinsel is safely packed away, what can you do? We’ve spoken to etiquette experts, Debrett’s about how to sidestep the social pitfalls that can often present themselves at Christmas time…

DECEMBER 2016

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CHRISTMAS

It’s the office Christmas party. What’s the correct way to behave and socialise? A Christmas party is packed with countless variables as no two gatherings are ever the same. Arrive in good time but avoid being early, leaving any anxiety at the door. You are here to enjoy yourself and a drink will help you to unwind, however be careful not to over indulge. This also applies to food – avoid stationing yourself by the buffet all evening. When engaged in a one-on-one conversation, give the other person your full attention and be as lively and stimulating as you can.

You receive a gift you don’t like. How should you react? To receive a present graciously, always open it when the giver is with you. Always show enthusiasm and engage with the giver beyond a simple thank you. If appropriate, ask them pertinent questions about the present, or muse on when you will use it. Disappointment, distaste or just indifference must be hidden at all costs and a written thank you is appropriate.

When it comes to Christmas dinner, is there a right way for it to be served? As Christmas is a time for everyone to come together, you may be juggling several different generations. The festive season all too often strains good manners to the limit and because of this, it is best to plan ahead – don’t demand too much of yourself on the day. Make sure your guests feel involved in planning the structure of the day and meal, let them help you serve and pour drinks and remember, always ask for help when you need it. 94

DECEMBER 2016

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CHRISTMAS

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What’s the proper way to write a thank you, and how soon after Christmas should you send it? In a digital age a handwritten thank you note will always look spontaneous and heart-felt and is infinitely preferable to an email, text message or phone call. It should always be written promptly and at the latest by January 5th. Refer to the present, and make a positive comment about it. Add a little news about your own Christmas, and make polite enquiries about the recipient’s, then reiterate your thanks and good wishes. Thank you letters should be written on behalf of small children but as soon as they’re old enough to write, make sure they write their own.

How should one dress for a Christmas lunch with relatives? Both men and women should make it clear that an effort has been made even for relatives, and especially for those of an older generation. It is important for all guests to feel comfortable and if you are unsure, find out as much as possible about what other people are intending to wear – it is always more polite to the host to dress up.

When someone is invited to more than one engagement and has to turn one down, what’s the correct way to make an apology? Guests should always use a reply card if one is sent out with the invitation. Alternatively, replies to invitations are sent on writing paper, showing the senders address and are written in third person. Always give the host plenty of time to find someone else and avoid cancelling at last minute.

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Are there dinner table topics that should be spoken about, and others that should be avoided over a Christmas meal? A host should always keep an eye on the conversational dynamic during the meal. It is their duty to ensure conversation flows throughout the meal. Topics that are awkward for any of the table guests should be avoided or steered away from. In any environment it is polite to include all your guests, even if some take more work than others.

For more etiquette advice, take a look at: DEBRETT’S A-Z OF MODERN MANNERS www.debretts.com/product/a-z-of-modern-manners DEBRETT’S GUIDE TO ENTERTAINING ETIQUETTE www.debretts.com/product/ debretts-guide-to-entertaining-etiquette DEBRETT’S HANDBOOK www.debretts.com/product/debretts-handbook

DECEMBER 2016

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FOOD

MERRY MAKING For Christmas decorations that really take the biscuit, have a go at making these festive treats

STEP ONE: MAKING THE BISCUITS

 Add the butter. Using just the tips of your fingers, rub the ingredients together until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  When all the butter is evenly mixed in,

STEP TWO: THE ULTIMATE ICING...

make a well in the centre and add the syrup

Now this is where things get tricky, but

biscuits. These wonderful creations are based

and the egg. Mix well, drawing in any of the

bear with me – they will be worth it. The

on the Biscuiteers recipe – and if you’ve ever

flour left at the sides of the bowl and stop

icing on these biscuits is divinely decorative

tried a Biscuiteer biscuit, you’ll know why.

as soon as a ball has formed.

and, therefore, a wee bit complicated, but

They’re delicious, look beautiful and will last

 Place the dough onto your clean worktop.

I can testify that patience and practice are

up to one month, even when left to hang on

Divide into two and squash the dough into

all you need.

a twinkling Christmas tree

two even-sized flat discs. Cover and chill

First things first, you need to make your

PLAIN BISCUIT RECIPE (MAKES: 24)

Ingredients: • 350g plain flour

until ready to use, or roll out immediately.

then you’ll tweak it slightly in order to

parchment, cover with a second sheet and

create the line icing (this is used for your

use a rolling pin to roll it properly until it is

outlines, creating pattern and detail, while

5mm thick all over.

stopping the other icing spilling over the

 Transfer the whole sheet (still

edges) and flooding icing (the larger area

sandwiched between parchment) to a

of icing on top of the biscuit).

baking tray and place in the fridge to chill for 20-30 minutes before cutting.

• 100g self-raising flour • 125g granulated sugar • 125g salted butter, diced • 125g golden syrup • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

 Cut your biscuits carefully using cutters and save the trimmings to be re-rolled.  Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 4.

ROYAL ICING (MAKES ENOUGH FOR 24 BISCUITS. YOU’LL NEED ABOUT A THIRD OF THIS RECIPE TO MAKE YOUR LINE ICING AND THE REMAINING TWO-THIRDS FOR THE FLOODING ICING)

Cut a hole at the top of each biscuit with the end of a drinking straw before baking.  Evenly spread the cut biscuits on a baking tray and bake for 14-18 minutes.  Cool the biscuits on cooling racks completely before either icing, storing

 Sift the flours together into a mixing

or eating, but be careful, as they will

bowl, add the sugar and mix well.

be fragile and hot!

98

Start off by making a basic royal icing,

 To roll the dough, place it onto a sheet of

Ingredients: • 4 pasturised egg whites • 900g icing sugar

DECEMBER 2016

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FOOD

 Add the dry ingredients to the egg whites

 When you have finished, cover the

 Once you’ve completed your lines, your

and whisk or beat for about five minutes if

surface of each icing with cling film as

first biscuit should be dry enough for the

using an electric beater or whisk, and

soon as you have mixed it, so that the

flooding icing. This is the easy – and

longer if using a wooden spoon.

icing does not start to go hard at the

surprisingly calming part.

 Continue until the ingredients form

edges, and chill until ready to use.

 Choose your colour then squeeze the bottle

a thick, smooth paste that is bright

to release the icing into the area you need it, and swirl it around, using the nozzle to fill the

the surface of the icing with cling film to

STEP THREE: CREATING YOUR MASTERPIECES...

stop it drying out, and refrigerate.

 Once your icing and biscuits are ready to

stunning effects at this stage, such as blobbing

go, it’s time to get creative.

another colour of flooding icing around a

 You’ll want to pop your line icing into piping

bauble biscuit, then taking a cocktail stick and

 Check to see how many colours of line

bags (two-thirds full, end snipped off, so you’re

drawing a line through the middle of them – it

icing you need and then divide up the royal

creating a line that’s around a millimetre thick)

almost looks like an Orla Kiely design!

icing. Spoon required amounts into clean

and your flooding icing into squeezy bottles

 Once all the biscuits are flooded, they need

little bowls.

(you can use a spoon but it will take longer and

to dry properly, which means popping them in

white in colour and has the consistency of toothpaste.  If you’re not using immediately, cover

LINE ICING

SO

space. If there are any tricky corners, use the tip of a cocktail stick to eke it out to the edge.  You can also try out some simple but

 If you’re using gel colours, use the tip of

be messier).

a low oven for 30-45 minutes – 50°C or gas

a cocktail stick to add a tiny amount of the

 Study the biscuit and icing you want to

mark 0.5 is fine for this.

gel to the icing. Stir the gel into the icing

copy, then take the line icing and pipe on your

 Once they’re dry, take them out of the oven

until it is totally mixed in and you see the

outline. It’s a good idea to have a few goes on

and make the finishing touches.

resulting colour.

parchment paper first, until you’ve got the

 Use the line icing to go over any detailing,

 Slowly add more gel, stirring well

pressure right. Make sure your piping bag is

and there you have it – amazingly professional-

between additions, until the colour has

twisted and held tight and keep the pressure

looking biscuits, simply requiring a thin bit of

reached the shade that you need. It is worth

on throughout. The higher you lift your hand,

ribbon to be slotted through the hole, tied

taking the colouring process slowly, as a

the more control you have over the line. And

together and hung on the Christmas tree, or

little gel colour goes a very long way!

stop squeezing before you reach the very end,

given as a very lovely gift.

 Cover the surface of the icing with cling

touching down on the biscuit at each join. This

film and chill each bowl as you make it,

is tricky, but you’ll find yourself getting better

Biscuiteers Book of Iced Biscuits by Harriet

until you have all the colours that you need

the more you do. Be sure to go around the

Hastings & Sarah Moore is published by

for the collection.

hole with line icing, too.

Kyle Books, priced £12.99.

FLOODING ICING  Place your royal icing in a large bowl, gradually add enough water, a few drops at a time, stirring constantly until you have a smooth, just pourable mixture that has roughly the same consistency as custard.  Repeat the colouring process with the flooding icing. Look at your designs and count up the number of shades of flooding icing needed. Divide up the mixture, leaving a little spare white icing, just in case you need to make any extra later.

DECEMBER 2016

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FOOD

THOUGHT FOR FOOD With Christmas on the way, this month our celebrity chef is getting a trifle excited for the festive season

L

ast December I explained I had

pomegranate seeds, tabbouleh,

freeze it in a container, and defrost on the

just finished filming Chopping

sambousek, roasted lobster, and of

day. I then add the juices from my

Block, well, guess what, we have

course roast poussin with rice fruit and

Christmas turkey to it before serving.

done it again. We have just finished

nut stuffing. This will be very different, I

series two, and this time we slightly

will let you know how it goes.

Bread sauce also freezes well, but it also keeps for a remarkably long time in

If you are planning to do a traditional

the fridge – just make it a few days

three couples at the beginning of the

Christmas, with a little pre-planning, the

before, and you won’t even need to

week. The pressure is on for them to get

chaos can be a ghost of Christmas past.

defrost it. Cranberry sauce can also be

through to the end of the week.

At the end of the day, remember,

made ahead. You can even freeze your

Christmas lunch is just a roast – and

stuffing in an ovenproof dish, so once

accomplished cooks, which makes it a

there’s plenty of elements in a roast that

it’s defrosted, you can pop the dish

lot more challenging. The program will

can be prepared days, if not weeks,

straight into the oven.

be transmitting in early spring.

ahead. We all deserve to have some time

changed the format so we had only

This year we have also got some really

Cold desserts can be made ahead and

to enjoy the festivities. There’s

served straight away – my raspberry and

we are doing something completely

absolutely no need to peel veg or whisk

rum trifle is ideal. Making this in

different. believe it not, I have one

up your bread sauce on Christmas

individual glasses means you don’t have

vegetarian and two pescatarians in my

morning! I like to relax, like the rest of

to serve it out yourself, saving you even

family, I don’t quite get it, probably

my family, on Christmas Day, before

more time! It does look quite spectacular

because I’m a carnivore! Anyway, we are

starting on the Christmas lunch. So for

made in one large bowl if you want to

going for a Spanish Tapas-come-

me, I will get the bulk of the Christmas

give it a go. And of course do not forget

Mediterranean type thing, so it’s a huge

cooking done and put away in the fridge,

the Christmas pudding.

sharing feast, but I will cook some poussin

where it will be fine for a few days.

Christmas – here we are again! This year

stuffed for those who want some meat.

For a flavoursome gravy, put vegetables

What ever you decide to do, an alternative lunch or a traditional lunch,

like carrots, parsnips, celery, onions and

plan it well and have a great Christmas

in butter and garlic, chickpeas with

garlic underneath your joint or bird. The

and a very Happy New Year.

yoghurt topping and pitta croutons,

vegetables will caramelise and get

roasted cauliflower with citrus and tahini

covered in all the juices from the meat,

sauce, and also cauliflower fritters with

and the caramelisation will bring an

roasted red pepper dip. There’ll also be

added depth of flavour to the gravy.

mutabbal batinjan aubergine dip with

I make my gravy a month before. I simply

My menu will be: large prawns seared

102

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FOOD

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RASPBERRY AND RUM TRIFLE SERVES 4

• 4 tablespoons rum • 200ml double cream • Toasted flaked almonds FOR THE SPONGE BASE: • 100g ground almonds • 100g caster sugar • 1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk • 25g soft unsalted butter • 20g plain flour • 3 egg whites FOR THE JELLY: • 6g gelatine leaves • 700g frozen raspberries • Icing sugar, to taste • 2 tablespoons boiling water FOR THE CUSTARD: • 500ml double cream • 2 vanilla pods, split open lengthways • 10 egg yolks • 80g caster sugar

 First make the sponge base. Put the

raspberry juice. Mix well and pour evenly

ground almonds, caster sugar, whole egg

over each glass of sponge. Place in the

and egg yolk, butter and flour in a large

fridge to set.

bowl and stir together. Whisk the egg

To make the custard, put the cream and

whites to soft peaks. Using a metal spoon,

the seeds scraped from the vanilla pods in a

fold two tablespoons of the whites into the

saucepan and bring to a simmer. Put the

almond mixture, then gently fold in the rest.

egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk

Do not beat.

until the sugar has dissolved. Whisk in the

Pour the mixture on a baking sheet lined

hot cream, then return the mixture to the

with baking parchment and bake in the

saucepan, bring to the boil and stir until it

centre of an oven preheated to 180°C/Gas

thickens. Cover with cling film, placing it

Mark 4 for 10 minutes, until golden brown.

directly on top of the custard to prevent a

Set aside to cool on the parchment.

skin forming, and set aside to cool.

 Using a pastry cutter, stamp out circles of

Pour a thick layer of the custard into each

the sponge and use to line the bottom of four

trifle glass. Whip the 200ml cream until stiff,

large wine glasses. Drizzle a tablespoon of

then pipe or spoon some into each glass.

rum over each one and leave to soak in.

Decorate with the reserved raspberries and

To make the jelly, soak the gelatine in cold

the flaked almonds.

water for 15 minutes, then squeeze dry. Meanwhile, set aside a dozen of the best-looking raspberries. Rub the remainder through a sieve to make a thick juice. Sift in enough icing sugar to sweeten. Put the squeezed gelatine in a bowl with the boiling water. Stir to dissolve, then add to the

www.rosemaryshrager.com Twitter: @RosemaryShrager Cakes, Bakes & Puddings by Rosemary Shrager, Published by Hamlyn £18.99 (www.octopusbooks.co.uk) DECEMBER 2016

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DECEMBER

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2016

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21/11/2016 16:04


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CHRISTMAS

THE CAT’S WHISKERS Struggling to know what to buy the cat lover in your life for Christmas? Perhaps book them an experience at the Big Cat Sanctuary. Or, treat yourself instead and hope they’re happy with a lump of coal…

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he Big Cat Sanctuary in Smarden is an animal charity with a primary objective of breeding endangered cats, as well as giving sanctuary to retired cats who have lived their life in either circus or zoo environments. Since the Sampson family arrived in 2000, the sanctuary has become a charity and now has in excess of 50 cats including African lions, white lions, amur leopards, north Chinese leopards, snow leopards, Amur tigers, Sumatran tigers, cheetah, lynx, fishing cats, jaguars, pallas cats, pumas, rusty spotted cats, jungle cats and servals. This year has seen big changes for the sanctuary – as well as a rebrand and developing their breeding programmes, they’ve also welcomed a new face to the team. The arrival of Giles Clark, their new managing director happened in June. Giles

arrived from Australia Zoo where he had been head of big cats, and produced the documentaries Tigers About the House and Tigers About the House, What Happened Next, where he hand-reared two Sumatran Tigers in his home in a bid to raise awareness and funds for Sumatran Tiger Conservation. As well as around 30 dedicated staff members who look after the welfare of the animals, the sanctuary relies on 35 passionate volunteers who give up their time to help look after the cats in their care. Although they hold an official zoo licence, they don’t operate as a conventional zoo – the site is supported independently by funds raised from personal big cat experiences, these include tours, big cat photography, overnight stays and adoptions.

PHOTOGRAPHY The ideal gift for anyone who’s a dab hand with a camera, these photography experiences allow the participant to get up close with the cats and capture some amazing shots in the process. With group options where you can enjoy shooting with friends, to one-to-one workshops where you can really build up your portfolio, these day-long experiences will put you at one with nature, and you’ll have beautiful pictures to preserve the memory too. From £149 per person

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CHRISTMAS

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THE BIG CAT WALKING SAFARI AND OVERNIGHT LODGE EXPERIENCE Afternoon tea, VIP treatment and sleeping close to the creatures – the big cat walking safari and overnight lodge experience is the ultimate must for animal lovers. The immersive experience includes the chance to hand feed one of the cats, a VIP tour and food and drink, as well as a night’s stay in the luxury lodge where you’ll wake to the sound of the lions roaring. From £500 per couple

BIG CAT ENCOUNTERS Much more fun than spending time at home with your pet, the big cat encounters are a fantastic opportunity to meet one of the professionals who look after the big cats, and enjoy a guided tour of the site with the chance to hand feed one of the cats. Your tour guide will explain to you the conservation status of the cats and how work is helping to save many of them from extinction. From £199 per person

RANGER EXPERIENCE Get to know the cats in a whole new way, by joining a keeper as they go about their daily activities. As well as preparing and delivering food to the cats cleaning out enclosures, you’ll be given an exclusive tour by one of the keepers, who will explain about the conservation work both in Kent and around the world, and you’ll have the opportunity to hand feed one of the cats, as well as the chance to get some really good photos as mementos of your day. From £275 www.whf.org.uk

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21/11/2016 16:44


SO

LUXURY

CITY CHIC

Planning a city break in the next year? Here are the places you must visit in 2017

REYKJAVIK

Winter Adventure With fantastically unusual attractions, Reykjavik in Iceland really is a city like no other. The spectacular Northern Lights are one of the earth’s most outstanding natural phenomena and best seen in the winter months, which has now been dubbed as one of the top winter experiences in the world. To see the lights choose from a group tour or our personal favourite – a snow mobile or army truck adventure to conquer the rocky snow land while seeing the fascinating lights at the same time!

MILAN

Shopping Heaven The Italian fashion hub bursting with everything elegant is a shoppers dream for 2017. It’s designer heaven along the famous ‘Quadrilatero d’Oro’ (‘rectangle of gold’) ; numerous streets make up this lustful array of the best Italian designers – Prada, Fendi and Valentino to name just a few, where you can blow your budget and beyond. The impressive array of designers and lavish window displays are well worth a

110

gaze, even if your wallet won’t quite stretch to buy anything. If you are looking for more of a bargain then you’ll need to head just outside Milan to the Fidenza Village. This impressive discount outlet houses brands such as Michael Kors, Versace and Paul Smith alongside some great restaurants and cafés. A luxury express bus will take you here from Milan in around an hour and a half.

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LUXURY

SO

BUDAPEST

Relaxing Spas With warm thermal springs bubbling up from the ground, Budapest is known as one of the best spa cities to enjoy these historic Roman baths. This relaxing activity should be firmly on your list when visiting this city. Take a visit one of the best – the top photographed historic bath, Gellert, with its beautiful Art Nouveau features – from decorative mosaics to ornate stain glass windows, this traditional bath will be sure to be a relaxing memorial experience. They also have a fantastic list of luxury spa treatments to choose from, so go on pamper yourself!

BARCELONA

Rediscover Brunch This thriving city is a trendy Mediterranean hub busting full of style and energy. This is by far a must visit during spring 2017, with both the city and the beach to explore you’ll have a great mix of things to see and do. A Barcelona must-do is a visit to one of the small boutique-like cafes for breakfast or brunch. Try the urban yet homely, Brunch & Cake which serves the most delicious eggs benedict on waffles, black brioche with smoked salmon and strong coffee to start the day – you won’t be disappointed. Or head down to the beach at the W Hotel, Salt Café where the cocktails are as good as the food!

VERONA

Perfect for Couples The romantic city of Verona is one of our firm top picks for 2017, due to its world famous Summer Opera Festival – it really is music to our ears! It starts in June right through to the end of August every year with a choice of different performances, all of which are located in the beautiful open-air arena – but be quick as the tickets do often sell out especially during peak times. The top must see apart from the opera when visiting Verona is the famous Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet balcony (‘Juliet’s House’). Legend also has it, that if a couple leave a written love message here Juliet will bless them with eternal love! www.baldwinstravel.co.uk #HolidayInspirations

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ALPINE ADVENTURES For a winter wonderland getaway you can’t get more magical than the snowy scenery of Chamonix...

L U X U R Y T R AV E L

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– or tackle the rest of the extensive off-piste skiing. But there is a lot more to skiing in Chamonix than just challenging slopes, and skiers and snowboarders of all levels should find runs to the suit them. And, you certainly don’t need to be an expert to enjoy the truly spectacular scenery. There’s an efficient ski bus which links the five main ski areas. At the foot of the majestic Mont Blanc massif, the resort’s setting is both unique and breath taking. The town of Chamonix offers an excellent range of sporting and leisure facilities, and the nightlife, complete with an excellent choice of restaurants, is unrivalled. The choice of skiing is remarkable, with testing slopes for ambitious skiers at Argentière, cruisy blues and fun reds at Brévent-Flégère and Le Tour and skiing for beginners in Chamonix and at the pretty nearby village of Les Houches. Intermediate skiers will be spoilt for choice with long runs at Le Tour or to progress to off-piste and narrow reds and blacks. Most will be able to tackle the famous Vallée Blanche (with a guide). Advanced skiers love Chamonix,

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which is the ideal resort. The Grands

hamonix is often referred to as

activities for all the family, including

Montets in Argentière offers the most

the home of Alpine tourism

paragliding, swimming, ice skating, ice

difficult terrain, although Brévent,

with adventure seekers and

climbing and husky rides. Chamonix also

Flégère and le Tour all also offer some

casual holiday makers holding it in

has a cinema, casino and nightclubs.

unforgettable itineraries. For powder

high regard. The town of Chamonix

Take a trip up the spectacular Aiguille du

hounds, all Chamonix’s areas offer some

sits in the shadow of the mighty Mont

Midi, one of Europe’s highest cable-cars,

of the best off-piste available anywhere

Blanc – which is one of Europe’s highest

or a ride on the famous rack railway to

in the world. And as well as a short

mountains at 4,810 meters. This

6,200ft to admire the stunning Mer de

transfer from Geneva airport, the

dramatic and world famous backdrop is

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DECEMBER 2016

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23/11/2016 12:03


Hilden Oaks School & Nursery

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23/11/2016 14:39


SCHOOLS

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TALKING HEADS Each month, we ask two local headteachers for their opinion on topical education issues. This month, we talk to John Hewitt, head of Sackville School, and Angela Culley, Headmistress of The Mead School about how their schools view the importance of homework, and how they assist pupils in extra-curricular learning

VS VIRTUAL HOMEWORK

A GOOD ROUTINE

John Hewitt, Sackville School

Angela Culley, The Mead School

There have never been official guidelines on the setting of homework and, given that it can be a bit of a political ‘hot potato’, the debate on its usefulness tends to regularly become the subject of public debate. Research suggests that homework plays an important role in a student’s academic development. However, endlessly increasing the amount does not equate to better outcomes. Each student will have a different capacity to cope and absorb so the blanket setting of work can lead to stress for students and parents alike. For many schools it is impractical for a teacher to cater for each student by setting individual amounts; one of the advantages of the small classes which we enjoy here at Sackville School is that teachers can tailor the amount of work both within and outside the classroom to stretch or support as necessary. We believe that enhancing what has been learnt in the classroom with meaningful homework is the key to academic success and the amount of time spent on homework is usually a strong indicator of better exam performance. We have found our Virtual Learning Environment, Firefly, to be invaluable for students, teachers and parents in the managing and monitoring of homework. Parents have the ability to see online every homework set and whether it has been completed by their child. They can also check on the amount of work set which opens a dialogue with the school on whether it is appropriate given the individuality of each child. An additional benefit is that teachers can also upload additional resources and of course the online return of work saves on “the dog ate my homework” excuse!

There is absolutely no point in either setting or doing homework for homework’s sake, for this inevitably results in a negative experience for all concerned but particularly for the pupils. Properly structured, positive tasks, clearly defined and building on current or previous learning or interests can however be both positive and rewarding. Our main responsibility is to prepare our pupils for the next stage of their educational journey and in doing so ensure they have a strong work ethic, solid study skills and a firmly established belief in themselves with the confidence to succeed. At The Mead we also aim to instil a passion for learning together with the appreciation that the ‘world and life’ are our constant teachers. For pupils to really get the most out of the homework experience we adults, teachers and parents must take certain responsibilities very seriously: 1. Spend time sharing the task, showing interest and discussing where and when appropriate. 2. Provide a supportive, calm environment in which to complete the homework so the child can settle and remain focused. 3. Establish a good routine. Mead children love doing their homework in school because they know exactly what will happen – tea at 3.30, clubs until 4.30, followed by supervised prep in their classrooms until 5.30 and then home. 4. Support but never dominate or take over. After all, this is the child’s homework not the adult’s. 5. Communication is vital, as a parent liaise with your child’s teacher, sharing both the positive and negative. Teachers must equally share information with their colleagues when relevant.

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BUSINESS

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MON£Y MATT£RS The latest updates and advice from the finance and business markets

ANNUITY RATES SEE SOME IMPROVEMENT Annuity rates – which give people a fixed income when they retire – are back on the increase after a tough year, according to website Moneyfacts.co.uk. Moneyfacts says gilt yields, which affect annuities, have recently recovered, giving annuity providers more room to manoeuvre when setting their annuity pricing. Richard Eagling, head of pensions at Moneyfacts, says it will be interesting to see whether these latest annuity income rises are enough to convince people to take up annuities in order to fix their incomes for life.

ARE WE A NATION OF ‘FASHION STASHERS’? New research has found that many of us are ‘fashion stashers’ – and it’s a habit that can cost dearly. One in six (17%) of shoppers have bought items in the last 12 months that they have never used and failed to return – with clothing and shoes topping the list. A survey from Barclaycard has found that, on average, we wear less than half of the items

in our wardrobe. Only 41% of items typically get used. A woman’s closet is crammed with around 109 items that never see the light of day, while a man has 90 such items of clothing. Barclaycard calculates we’re wasting around £1,033-worth of storage space by giving house room to unworn clothes, based on the average value of a property per square foot.

CHEAPEST ENERGY COSTS ‘ON THE INCREASE’

The average cost of the cheapest energy tariffs available has increased 7% in just two months, according to new analysis from MoneySuperMarket. It looked at the cheapest tariffs offered by providers and found that, on September 7, the average cost of the top 10 best deals was £784. Two months later, it had risen by 7% to £839. Stephen Murray, an energy expert at MoneySuperMarket, says: “Against a backdrop of rising wholesale energy costs, energy prices are on the up and customers are the ones footing the bill.”

EASTENDERS WINS ‘BATTLE OF THE BRICKS’ EastEnders beats Britain’s other major soaps when it comes to property values, a report has found. With the average brick in a home in Albert Square estimated to be worth nearly £150, many of the soap’s fictional characters would find themselves priced out of the property market

there in real life. The research was carried out by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) for Barclays Mortgages. Emmerdale came second in the “battle of the bricks”, followed by Hollyoaks, Coronation Street, River City and Pobol y Cwm.

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21/11/2016 16:05


BUSINESS

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BORN ON A FEELING Hygge has become the buzzword of the moment, but Danish Collection were ahead of the times when they developed a business to recreate that Scandinavian ambience

A

s with many great stories, the tale behind Danish Collection started when Judith Jørgensen and her husband Leo moved to the UK in 1999. He had taken up a new working role in England and Judith immediately fell in love with the country as she and her family received such a warm welcome from all that they met. However, she was missing the Danish ‘hygge’; the Danish word for a cosy ambience in your home. Hygge is partly created by lit candles, snug throws and decorative cushions, flanked by the serenity of white walls. Judith found herself overloading suitcases with candles, paper napkins and other trinkets from every trip back to Denmark. Soon, her English friends started to ask “where did you get this?” and “where did you get that?” This was the inspiration behind Danish Collection and the import of hygge products to England. Danish Collection initially started as a UK supplier for the Danish brand HOME ART. The company grew and Danish Collection began selling the brand to other retailers throughout the UK and Ireland. Then in 2004, a very small Danish Collection retail store opened in Sevenoaks. In 2005, the business outgrew the premises and a larger retail store was opened in Riverhead, then two years later, to add a greater variety to the already successful business, a clothing store, Tommelise by Danish Collection, was also opened in Sevenoaks, Kent. In 2014, the retail store moved again into larger and more centralised premises in Sevenoaks. Since its inception in 2003, the range of products at Danish Collection has evolved and expanded, by blending Danish and Scandinavian design with the best of British designs as well. Hygge has become the buzzword of the moment, and with a huge interest in the Scandanavian lifestyle, Danish Collection now brings a slice of that lifestyle to the rest of the world. Just over a year ago www.danishcollection.co.uk was launched as an online store, and after a successful first year, the online store now reaches a wider audience across the UK and Europe. Hygge is well and truly here to stay.

As the festive season comes around, store manager Jane Braakensiek describes the build up to Christmas at Danish Collection as: “warm, cosy and atmospheric,” and jokes almost wants to light a fire to complete the look and feel good factor. Her season must-haves are winter sheepskin throws, Lene Bjerre candles, ONSTAGE wool coats with leather sleeves and Christmas calendar candles.

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23/11/2016 12:41


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ONE FOR THE ROAD David Thacker gets behind the wheel of the new Audi Q2 to discover what this stylish new SUV has to offer…

T

he small SUV marketplace is

scaled down the Q2 to enter this

all-round visibility, rear seating is just

becoming ever more crowded

segment of the market yet still

about adequate for a six footer, the

with most manufacturers

successfully managed a balancing act

extra roof height giving a less

offering crossovers designed

with the styling to keep the overall

claustrophobic feel, so for a young

to fill the gap between hatchbacks and

sense of continuity of the Q family.

family this would be fine. The boot

SUVs. Now Audi have entered they had

The interior is intuitive with a good

space consumes 405 litres of luggage;

better be on top of their ‘A’ game with

balance of aesthetics and functionality.

folding down rear seats increase

their new Q2 – a supermini-sized SUV

The list of services on the Infotainment

flexibility for storage while also

which sits, as you would expect, below

system is endless coupled with the

enabling that maximum volume to

the Q3. But what it lacks in dimensions

Virtual Cockpit which instantly

grow to 1050 litres.

it more than matches in refinement.

supplies updated data at the touch of a

Our Q2 has a 1.4 litre petrol engine

button or a twist of a knob on the

which I think is a masterpiece of

Q2 S line, and although a smaller and a

steering wheel. As you would expect on

modern engine design. This diminutive

younger sibling it has the same family

this premier brand the quality of finish

power plant has mid range torque that

resemblance in its styling as the Q7

is superb and for this segment of the

is truly staggering but with a boastful

and Q5 4x4 off road SUVs . That

market has shamelessly raised the bar

output of 150 ps @5000-6000 the

purposeful front grille arrangement

for others to follow.

expectations would be horrendous for

My test drive for the day is the Audi

makes as bold a statement as its Q7 luxury big brother. Audi have cleverly

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The driving position as with all in this class is relatively high giving good

fuel consumption – however, with the sophisticated engine mapping, this

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SO power unit never feels unduly stressed

FACTS AT A GLANCE

and in fact, if the loads are light enough, shuts two of the cylinders off

PRICE: £27,820.00

and becomes a twin cylinder to save

ENGINE: 1.4TFSI cylinder on demand S tronic

fuel. I have to say that from the driving

TRANSMISSION: 7-speed S tronic

perspective, as hard as I listen there is

PERFORMNCE: Top speed 132mph, 0-62nph – 8.2 secs

no audible difference on two or four

FUEL ECONOMY: Combined 52.3 mpg

cylinders – if not for the information on

EMISSIONS: 123 (g/km)

the 7 inch screen on the dashboard you would never know. This is coupled with 7-speed S tronic automatic transmission making a good combination that suits the Q2’s Heading the list is a pedestrian and

when the electronic stability control

collision prevention automatic braking

(ESC) is set to off-road mode, the car’s

obviously has a well executed

function, with traffic jam assist and

drivetrain adjusts to work in slippery

suspension and chassis layout giving

adaptive cruise control making use of

conditions and ground clearance is

almost sports hatchback roadholding

the same hardware. Additionally, the

increased to 200mm. But I don’t think

with virtually no body roll, which does

camera-based active lane assist and

the Q2’s true purpose is a rufty-tufty

give confidence and a firm ride,

traffic sign recognition technology

off roader.

Adaptive Cruise Control has safety and

makes for safer journeys.

character well. On the road it’s defiantly spritely and

driver assistance features fitted.

Audi say it has off-road ability and

For this segment of the market I can see the appeal. It has class, comes from a good family, is intelligent, no

“It has class, comes from a good family, is intelligent, no bad habits, looks good, gets on with the young and my dad doesn’t mind being seen with it”

bad habits, looks good, gets on with the young and my dad doesn’t mind being seen with it. I think the Q2 has found an open goal in this crowded marketplace.

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SPYDER S T Y L E Darren Cassey gets behind the wheel of the new Audi R8 V10 Spyder to see how it’s been updated and restyled

T

he latest generation Audi R8

LOOKS AND IMAGE

than overjoyed by the experience.

coupe has been on the market

Just one of the Audi R8 Spyder’s many

Steering is a little on the light side,

for a year now, so aside from

key selling points is its gorgeous styling.

which makes driving it near the limit a

the Spyder’s retractable roof,

It somehow manages to look understated,

lesson in trust, but it doesn’t take long

there’s nothing particularly new to shout

imposing and elegant in equal measure.

to gel with the car – you’ll never have to

about. That’s not a problem, though,

Quality exudes from every inch of the car,

worry about finding the limit on the

because the roof’s opening and closing

from the perfect shut lines of the body to

road, there’s that much grip.

mechanism is certainly worth a

the minimalist interior.

mention. It takes 20 seconds to

Every R8 is handmade on its own plinth

SPACE AND PRACTICALITY

complete its movement, with the rear

in a dedicated factory, and the attention

Supercars aren’t known for being

deck lifting up as arms twist and turn

to detail that affords is immediately

spacious and practical, and so the R8

to accommodate the cloth canopy.

evident. The only bugbear is the driving

Spyder struggles here. The

position, which is hindered by the roof

aforementioned driving position makes

previous generation R8 Spyder? Well

mechanism’s packaging. The seat doesn’t

it less comfortable for tall folk,

that’s where things start to get a bit

slide as far back as it does in the coupe,

particularly on long-haul trips, and the

more interesting. It’s 25kg lighter but

meaning drivers more than six feet tall

low-slung seats require learning an

50% more rigid thanks to the new

will struggle to fit.

undignified slide and drop on entry.

What’s new compared with the

That aside, there are few cars that

With the engine located in the middle

only weighs 8kg more than it does in

pack quite such a performance punch

of the chassis and behind the driver, the

the coupe. Extra stiffness comes from

into such an exquisite package and,

only place to put luggage is in the front

reinforcements in the sills, A-pillar and

coupled with the purity of the glorious

trunk. It’ll easily hold a small weekend

windscreen frame so the car doesn’t tie

naturally aspirated 5.2-litre engine, few

bag, but you might struggle to squeeze

itself in knots when the road gets fun.

keen drivers will be left anything other

a family’s weekly shop inside. As far as

aluminium-intensive chassis, which

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FACTS AT A GLANCE MODEL: Audi R8 V10 Spyder

dumping all 532bhp and 540Nm of

choose from. ‘Our’ R8 Spyder came with

torque through the all-wheel-drive

about £30,000 worth of extras, including

system and pinning you to the seat.

£4,900 for the gloss carbon exterior

That pinprick on the horizon will

styling pack, £3,150 for laser headlights and £2,350 for 20-inch alloys.

ENGINE: 5.2-litre FSI

scream past the window alarmingly

TRANSMISSION: Seven-speed

quickly. The light steering and wide

S tronic dual-clutch automatic

stance make it a less-than-ideal

WHO WOULD BUY ONE?

PERFORMANCE: 0-62mph, 3.2 secs.

companion for a back-road blast but,

This car is ideal for those with a lot of

op speed, 197mph

particularly with the optional sport

expendable income who want a

ECONOMY: 24.1mpg

exhaust, it can still be fun at sane speeds.

weekend performance car that doesn’t

EMISSIONS: 277g/km

Its party piece is how docile and easy to

scream ‘look at me’. OK, so people will

drive it can be when you’re not stamping

look at you, but the R8’s relatively

on the loud pedal at every opportunity.

understated styling makes it a less

Use the Drive Select toggle to put the car in comfort mode and you’ll cruise

shouty option than others. While those who buy the coupe could

about unassumingly. Parking can be

just about use it every day with a little

tricky, again because of just how wide

compromise, the R8 Spyder’s more

this thing is – it’ll barely fit in most

cramped interior makes it more of a

bays width-wise – but thanks to a

weekend special. For people who just

reversing camera and parking sensors

want to enjoy the performance and

the job is made a little less stressful.

aural pleasure of a V10 screaming towards the redline, the Spyder should

VALUE FOR MONEY

win out over the coupe.

It’s hard to talk about something that costs a six-figure sum being value for

VERDICT

money, but when you look at the build

The Audi R8 Spyder is not a

quality, performance and desirability in

sensible purchase. It’s something

comparison with its rivals, it does seem

that can only be justified by how

like something of a steal.

it makes you feel in your heart,

With a starting price of £129,990, it’s

and for car enthusiasts that stunning,

less expensive than a Porsche 911

naturally aspirated V10 engine alone

Turbo Cabriolet and much more

is worth the price of admission.

exciting to look at, too. It’s

Add sublime build quality and

considerably more expensive than a

ludicrous performance and if

Jaguar F-Type SVR and marginally

you’ve got a spare £130k there’s

more than a Maserati GranCabrio, but

not much to complain about.

feels better put together than both. Audi’s stunning Virtual Cockpit,

To really make the most of this car you might need to add the price of

family appeal goes, the kids will love it

which replaces the traditional dials

another family hatchback in options,

for the occasional outing, but with only

with a configurable 12.3-inch

but for those at this end of the

two seats and limited luggage space it

screen, comes as standard. Also fitted

market that’s to be expected. Is it

won’t replace the family hatchback...

at no extra cost are 19-inch alloy

better than the coupe? If you’re tall

wheels, LED front and rear lights,

or want to enjoy your purchase out

BEHIND THE WHEEL

Nappa leather interior upholstery

on track, probably not. But for those

Once you’re behind the wheel – and

and a complimentary Audi R8

who want to cruise the open road,

assuming you can fit – you start to

driving experience.

enjoying the sunshine and the

forget about any impracticalities. Thumb the big, red wheel-mounted

Naturally with exotic cars such as this, there are countless expensive options to

sonorous soundtrack, the Spyder can’t be beaten.

starter button and the motor stutters for a moment before unleashing the sound of 10 glorious cylinders on your eardrums. It’ll stir something deep within even those who claim not to care about such things. Out on the road, the R8 Spyder is something of a battering ram, offering searing performance whenever you stamp the throttle. Even with the gearbox in full auto mode, there’s only a moment’s hesitation as the S tronic system dives down the cogs before

DECEMBER 2016

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Contact Cooper Tunbr1dg1e WeUs on 01892 628 120 to book a test drive."' Coop er Tunbridge Wells Long ·eld bad 1 Royal

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01892 628 120 www.coopertunbrldgewe1lsbmw.co. k

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DECK THE HALLS

PAGES OF HOMES, INTERIORS & GARDENS

Tree-spiration for your home PAGE 144

GIFTS FOR GARDENERS Perfect presents for the horticulturalist in your life PAGE 177

DESIGN BRIEF

Skinners tell us about their latest project PAGE 143

BEAUTIFUL HOMES…STYLISH SEATING…GLORIOUS GARDENS F E B R UA RY 2 0 1 5

SO TW_DEC16_Interiors_Cover.indd 3

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beautiful wardrobes - desig1ne,d to, fit

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21/11/2016 16:11


INTERIORS

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THE FRENCH BEDROOM CO

Very velvet chaise longue, £620 www.frenchbedroomcompany.co.uk

TAKE A SEAT IAN SNOW LTD

Striped velvet armchair, £799 www.iansnow.com

ICON

Fur bean bag in mono ombre, £119.99 www.beanbagbazaar.co.uk

With extra guests to accommodate this Christmas, this selection will ensure there’s somewhere stylish for everyone to sit…

PIB HOME

Saint Paul Chesterfield sofa, £2,740 www.pib-home.co.uk

BLACK BY DESIGN

Baa stool, £209 www.black-by-design.co.uk

THE OLD CINEMA

Art deco cloud back armchair, £1,650 www.theoldcinema.co.uk

DECEMBER 2016

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23/11/2016 12:43


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134

DECEMBER

p134_SO TW_DEC16_Advert.indd 2

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ADVERTORIAL

The specialist machines vacuum away the imbalanced bacteria leaving a completely hygienic and dry surface. WHAT CAN I USE IT ON? Dry steam cleaning can be used on practically any surface with the exception of those that are extremely heat sensitive. Surfaces such as fine silks, some very thin plastics, and some types of upholstery which need to be treated with delicate methods.

SUPER STEAM

WHERE DOES THE WATER GO? The water is put into a special tank or boiler that super heats it and changes it

For a safe and healthy way of cleaning, consider Blue Sky’s services

H

into hot dry steam. The unique benefit of our steam cleaners is that they produce a low moisture, high temperature steam that

ere at Blue Sky Steam Cleaning,

replacement think of like having a shower

carries only about 6% water. We like to call

we offer a professional cleaning

instead of bathing in a bath that has been

this dry steam because so little water is left

service which is unbelievably clean,

used many times before you got in it!!

behind to re-contaminate the cleaned area

but also gentle on our health and your environment.

By using steam via purpose-built

and so little is used.

professional quality pure steam cleaning machines with extraction (vacuum

DO YOU USE DETERGENTS IN

hygienically improve the way in which we

removal) we can offer a service that will:

COMBINATION WITH STEAM?

clean our homes? Our place of work, our

steam vacuum germs, remove bacteria in

In most cases, the controlled real steam

care homes and medical centres where it is

a safe controlled manor using powerful

method is all that is needed, but for

vital and important to remove dirt which

steam methods. Reduce the need to

specialist applications such as medical

create and spread germs, viruses, and foul

use harmful chemicals which can have

requirements or high build of dirt and

smelling odours?

damaging effects to ourselves and the

grease in commercial environments a bio-

waterways when we empty the waste

logical neutralising cleaning aids materials

was created. For instance, the Icelandic

water into the drains along with the harsh

may be required. The cleaning process can

population harness the power of natural

cleaning chemicals that have been added

also be accelerated in some cases through

steam coming out of the ground to heat

to that water.

the use of natural solvents derived from

How can all of us move on up… and

Steam has been around since the planet

natural citrus skins (natural dissolving

their towns and homes. As the steam cleaning method came

WHAT IS A STEAM CLEANER?

about, we found that professional power

A steam cleaner is an appliance that

level of steam machines available that

uses only a small amount of water to

not can only steam clean without non-

sanitise, clean and deodorise virtually

biological chemicals but also remove

any surface without using sticky dirt

by extracting/ vacuuming the dirty

holding detergents.

solvents). Blue Sky Steam Cleaning Ltd

Blue Sky STEAM CLEANING

Blue Sky Steam Cleaning Ltd

moisture in the same process. Traditional warm(hot) water cleaning methods

WHAT IS DRY STEAM VAPOUR?

62b High Street

work well, but rely on the use of strong

Steam is called ‘dry’ if it only contains

Rusthall

cleaning chemical aids and lots of water,

around 5% to 6% water and is much less

Tunbridge Wells

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M: 07788 281 647

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138

DECEMBER 2016

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DECEMBER

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24/11/2016 10:00


INTERIORS

AFTER

SO

BEFORE

and were very involved in the decision making from the start to finish. WERE THEIR IDEAS EASY TO CREATE? Our clients are a pleasure to work with although they have very different tastes to each other which meant that reaching decisions could occasionally take a little longer than usual. However, it is of paramount importance to us that everyone is pleased with the end result as they have to live in the house not us!

PAST TO PRESENT Skinners of Tunbridge Wells recently helped to redesign a period property with historical interest in Horsmonden. We spoke to them about the process

WHAT’S NEXT? The next stage of the project will be the master en suite and dressing room although, due to the house being a listed property, planning permission will be required which can occasionally be a somewhat lengthy procedure. We are already collating ideas and

THE PROPERTY

the history of the property whilst

along with the clients have a clear

A beautiful Grade II Listed property

injecting a more contemporary look

vision of how the space will work.

dating back to the 15th Century

with the careful use of colours and

formerly used as an old Clothmaster’s

textures. The drawing room (featured)

Hall and was once the property of

which is predominately used by our

John Austen, a forebear of the famous

clients when entertaining needed to be

novelist Jane Austen. He died in

elegant, refined, welcoming and exude

1620. It was during this time that the

an air of calm and tranquility.

Kentish ‘Broad Cloth’ industry reached its peak. The property is a fascinating

DESCRIBE THE PROCESS

combination of Tudor, Queen Anne and

Communication is essential throughout

Georgian styles. Henry VIII owned

a design process. Part of our job is to

two cloth mills here, and subsequently

understand our client’s lifestyle and

the Austen’s made cloth for Queen

interpret their vision and understand

Elizabeth I who visited it in 1573.

what the space will be used for. Consequently each room created and

THE BRIEF FROM THE OWNERS

designed by Skinners of Tunbridge

The owners wanted to take things

Wells reflects this. The areas finished

slowly, working through the house

thus far all have a very definite look

room by room to make sure that the

and feel to enhance our client’s needs

decisions made would stand the test

and requirements. Although the

of time and changing fashion. The

owners enlisted our help, they had clear

brief was to remain sympathetic to

ideas of their own likes and dislikes

DECEMBER 2016

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22/11/2016 16:40


SO

INTERIORS

SPRUCE IT UP

‘Tis the time to dress your tree to impress, as Gabrielle Fagan finds out… Decking the halls is all very well, but the real focal point at Christmas is the tree, which makes a statement about your decor taste and seasonal style. There are four top-of-the-tree looks to choose from this season, to ensure yours is festively fashionable and a star of the show...

{ ARCTIC CHIC {

“The must-have look is modern minimalism – in other words, less is more – and that’s made white trees and white lights this year’s most popular choice,” says Stephen Evans, managing director at Christmas Tree World. “This is a sleek, fuss-free but magical setting and works brilliantly with blue decorations – they’re a really strong trend. Combine with silver, grey and white for a Frozen or Narnia-inspired look. This cool palette brings a frosty sparkle to the home, but if this is a little too chilly for your taste, intersperse accents of gold and copper to warm up the theme.”

144

DECEMBER 2016

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INTERIORS

{

TARTAN { TRADITIONAL

SO

“This classic seasonal look is being shaken up this year, with a tartan twist,” says Dobbies seasonal buyer, Kate Hepworth. “Traditional style – particularly the pairing of red and green – is enduringly popular, but the accents change every season to give this theme a new injection of interest. By using plaid, we’ve aimed to ramp up the cosiness, and it’s easy to tie this look into a room’s decor theme, by accessorising with tartan throws and cushions. “While stags are still running wild all over decor, and trees are no exception, they’re starting to make way this year for owls, robins, reindeer, and even bear baubles.”

{ SHIMMER AND SHINE {

“People are lavishing more and more care and attention on decorating their trees, so they’re an eye-catching talking point in a room,” says Hepworth. “Metallic finishes always impress and attractively capture the light. Silver is always a contemporary choice, although there’s a real growth in the popularity of more antiqued silver and vintage baubles. We have an unusual clock face bauble in gold or silver, which is an example of the trend. It encapsulates the fashionable style of a mix of shabby chic and Victoriana. “Gold’s still strong for decorations, with rose gold featuring – but champagne gold is taking over because it’s glamorous and sophisticated, and suits more gentle, subtle schemes. Bright, shiny gold is still strong for traditional themes.”

{ NORDIC STYLE {

“I love a simple, country-style look inspired by Scandinavian style, which emphasises the natural beauty of the tree foliage and uses a pared-back approach to decorations,” enthuses Hepworth. “To achieve this, use clear glass, white, or silver decorations, which will conjure a feeling of snow-laden landscape, or play up the natural theme with green baubles. “Accessorise around the tree with lanterns, wooden candle holders, and chunky cream knits for throws and cushions, and maybe wreaths and garlands of mistletoe and holly. The beauty of this interpretation is that it’s so versatile, and can look pure and elegant or rustic and log cabin.”

DECEMBER 2016

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FIREPLACES~ vVOOD ·TOVES - GAS FIRES

Showroom : 'Vi tori.i 1:-f 79 mL Joba'. Road. T•.mlwid,ge \\'e lls IK.C11t TN419TU Tt:1t.;J 01 2 I ) •· Em I ~a1 .ll ., ...,..,,.. r_,,. ••~ul'ii ~on ~1..n 1

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BEAUTIFUL HOMES

SO

HOME FRONT

T

he festive season is all about spending quality time with the family in a relaxing, homely environment that everybody feels comfortable in. What better way to get into the seasonal spirit than to start thinking about how many family celebrations you could have in a new home? This month we’ve got a number of stunning properties wanting to be celebrated in. There’s the amazing penthouse if you fancy

escaping the country for city living, or if country living is what you’re after, we have an abundance of charming countryside properties with stunning views. Whether it’s modern open plan living space, a luxurious living style or acres of land with superb views, you’re sure to find the perfect home this holiday with one of these beautiful properties. With Juliet balconies and skyline views, a new home is something not just for you to enjoy, but your family, too.

PREMIER PENTHOUSE

PERIOD PLACE

SPACIOUS LIVING

A traditional, period-style

A stunning penthouse with

country house with

spectacular views in London

52 acres in Uckfield

Price: £17,300,000

Price: £2,500,000

An elegant family home with traditional features in Sevenoaks Price: £1,300,000

ROOMS WITH A VIEW

FANTASTIC FARM

A family home with wonderful

with fabulous grounds

views in Southborough

in Woodchurch

Price: £715,000

Price: £1,450,000

A Georgian Farmhouse

DECEMBER 2016

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23/11/2016 14:09


Knigrn Fr.a.nk Tunbfiid'.ge Wells

Season's Greetings from Knight Frank. Co necting people and property pe, ec ly.

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Ke;ot; TN 1 lPX l,tlrnNe:lts@knightfraflk.i:om T 01892' .310285 IKnightFr.ankco..uk:/ nbridge '1N8lls: Follow us on 'Twitter @KF_JWeUs

21/11/2016 16:12


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21/11/2016 16:13


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BEAUTIFUL HOMES

PERIOD PALACE

A traditional, period-style country house in Uckfield LOCATED IN A private rural location, this substantial and traditionally built farmhouse is a rare opportunity to acquire, set in over 52 acres of its own land with superb views over its grounds to the South Downs. Woodlands Farm was built by the present owners in 2005 and their sympathetic design, use of quality materials and eye for detail has resulted in a superb Sussex style farmhouse which has mellowed nicely into the landscape with every modern convenience. With the use of oak joinery, timbered

150

ceilings and the lovely fireplaces, this is a very desirable and flexible family home. Up the first flight of stairs, the master bedroom has a vaulted timber ceiling with double aspect windows and an en suite bathroom and shower. The guest bedroom also has an en suite, with the family bathroom and a third bedroom being nearby. Stairs turn and rise to the second floor where there are two further bedrooms awaiting. The second staircase gives access to a further guest bedroom with an en suite

shower room and the second floor attic room. To the exterior, Woodlands Farm is approached over a long driveway which culminates in a large parking and turning area in front of a double cart lodge garage. This contains two offices, a shower room and a tractor store with a workshop to one side. There is also a single garage. To either side of the drive there are paddocks enclosed and there’s mixed hedging. The property also features a grand 40’ x 20’ swimming pool set into a broad terrace with a pool house.

DECEMBER 2016

SO TW_DEC16_Property_KnightFrank_DPS.indd 2

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BEAUTIFUL HOMES

SO

PROPERTY: Uckfield LOCATION: Hadlow Down, Uckfield PRICE: £2,500,000 BEDROOMS: 6 BATHROOMS: 4 BEST BITS: The luscious 52 acres with spectacular views and the relaxing outdoor pool n 6 bedrooms n 4 reception rooms n 4 bathrooms n Outbuildings n Period n Garden n Land n Swimming pool n Private parking n 52 acres (21.04 hectares)

For more details contact: Knight Frank • 01892 882 763 • www.knightfrank.co.uk

DECEMBER 2016

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23/11/2016 14:11


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COVED CONDO

A cosy, coved five bedroom home in Tunbridge Wells THIS GENEROUSLY proportioned family home is situated within a popular development on the sought after southern side of Royal Tunbridge Wells. The panelled entrance door with an oval fan light leads on to the entrance hall, downstairs cloakroom, study, sitting room, dining room, utility room and kitchen/breakfast room. Coved ceilings feature throughout, with the sitting room presenting multi-paned double doors through to the dining room and double glazed patio doors to the rear garden. These compliment the room nicely, with the heat from the coal effect gas fire, with a raised hearth, adding to the homely atmosphere. The kitchen/breakfast room is fitted with a range of oak fronted walls and has a free-standing cooker. It’s large enough to accommodate a table or to use the space accordingly. The downstairs cloakroom contains a WC

and a wall mounted oval wash hand basin. Up the stairs from the entrance hall, this accommodation offers plenty of space with its five bedrooms and three bathrooms to the first floor. The master bedroom shows off a dressing area with built-in mirrored wardrobes and its own en suite, the second bedroom also containing an en suite. Along with the other three bedrooms comes a family bathroom, with a panelled bath and tiled shower area. To the rear of the house, you’ll find a paved patio area, pathway to the lawn and a wide selection of shrubs and plants. An integral double garage with an electric up and over door lies here, also. The property also enjoys a mature front garden, double width driveway providing off road parking, gas central heating via radiators and leaded light double glazed windows to add to its attractive appearance.

PROPERTY: Harescroft LOCATION: Tunbridge Wells PRICE: £775,000 BEDROOMS: 5 BATHROOMS: 4 BEST BITS: The generous space, both inside and out, make this an ideal family home n Five bedrooms n Four Bathrooms n Two en suites n Multi-paned double doors n Kitchen/ breakfast room n Central heating n Dining room n Downstairs cloakroom n Sitting room n Dressing area n Built-in wardrobes

For more details contact: Wood and Pilcher • 01892 511 211 • www.woodandpilcher.co.uk

DECEMBER 2016

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BEAUTIFUL HOMES

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ROOMS WITH A VIEW

A spacious family home with wonderful views in Southborough THIS SUBSTANTIAL DETACHED house was built in the early 1900s and is located in an elevated position between Southborough and Tonbridge, with enviable views across farmland. It is an ideal location for easy access to the A21, mainline station at Tonbridge and the renowned secondary, grammar and independent schools in the area. To the ground floor, there is a spacious sitting room enjoying a feature open fire and far reaching views from the double aspect windows, a separate dining room with doors to the terrace and garden, and a fitted kitchen/ breakfast room also features double doors to the captivating garden. A useful utility room, along with a downstairs cloakroom is also awaiting discovery on this level. Upstairs, this property boasts four generously sized bedrooms, the master

bedroom having built-in cupboards, a feature fireplace and enjoys more double aspect windows with beautiful views. A bathroom is situated on this floor, too. A real feature of this accommodation is the delightful grounds and gardens. To the rear, there is a paved terrace area, a large area of lawn, a sunken pond and a further area of garden as well as the garden shed and greenhouse, providing plenty of room for quality family gatherings. The raised position gives a real feeling of space and a stroll around the garden would certainly lift the spirits as you take in the farmland view. Round the front, a gravel drive leads to the entrance, offering plenty of space for parking. Garaging included. It is easy to see the potential to modernise this house and consider alteration and extension.

PROPERTY: Half Acres LOCATION: London Road, Southborough PRICE: £715,000 BEDROOMS: 4 BATHROOMS: 1 BEST BITS: The far-reaching views from the garden and the master suite with built in cupboards and a fireplace n Spacious terrace n Captivating garden n Far-reaching views n Master bedroom n Comprehensively fitted kitchen/breakfast room n Garaging n Four bedrooms n Ideal location

For more details contact: Barnes Kingsnorth • 01732 771 616 • www.bkestateagents.com

DECEMBER 2016

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BEAUTIFUL HOMES

SPACIOUS LIVING

An elegant family home with traditional features in Sevenoaks SITUATED IN A quiet, elevated position, this property is in the most convenient place on the desirable southern side of Sevenoaks. It is in the centre of its land and the surrounding gardens are a significant feature. This home is of brick construction with traditional style decorative timber and tile hanging to the upper elevations, with hardwood double glazed casement windows and a tiled roof. The property is approached via a gravelled private drive through an electric gate, culminating in a large parking and turning area in front of the house and a double garage which is located under the property – perfect for plenty of guests. Internally, this house is extremely well presented and provides spacious and flexible family accommodation with lovely views across the Sevenoaks treeline. The welcoming reception hall atrium with galleried landing is light and spacious and provides access to the majority of the ground floor accommodation, while the

drawing room is a particularly fine room with a limestone fireplace and Hunter wood-burning stove. Beautiful French doors lead to the reception hall. There is a further study and family room on the ground floor offering flexible accommodation, and the dining room also benefits from an attractive outlook with French doors to the terrace, garden and beyond. The kitchen/breakfast room consists of a range of white fronted wall and floor cabinets with extensive granite work surfaces, a breakfast bar, tiled floor and built-in appliances. There are five bedrooms and a family bathroom on the first floor, including the master suite and guest suite, both supplying en suite bathrooms and dressing rooms. All of the bathrooms feature white suites with chrome fittings. Steps lead from the front lawn to the traditional Swedish style Wendy house. To the rear is a beautiful stone built patio garden and a built-in outdoor fire and stone seating area.

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PROPERTY: The Beeches LOCATION: Bramble Lane, Sevenoaks PRICE: £1,300,000 BEDROOMS: 5 BATHROOMS: 4 BEST BITS: Attractive front and rear gardens with a traditional style Wendy house n Master bedroom suite n Guest bedroom suite n Kitchen/ breakfast room n 5 bedrooms n 4 bathrooms n Double garage with storage room n Attractive front and rear gardens n Traditional Swedish style Wendy house n About 0.36 acres

For more details contact: Strutt & Parker • 01732 459 900 • www.struttandparker.com

DECEMBER 2016

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FABU OUS

VILLAGE LIVING "' Available with Help to Buy I.

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BEAUTIFUL HOMES

PREMIER PENTHOUSE

A glamorous penthouse with spectacular views and luxurious living in London LOCATED ON THE seventh floor, this stunning, four bedroom penthouse comes complete with a spectacular roof terrace offering unrivalled views of the iconic London skyline, including St Paulâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Cathedral, The Shard and Tower Bridge. Influenced by the glamour and grandeur of nearby five star hotels such as The Savoy, the interior offers a sophisticated, boutique style of living with all of the attributes one would expect from a five star hotel, updated to suit modern lifestyles. Stepping inside from your own private lift entrance, elegant designs bring the art deco style into the modern era. The ironmongery on all doors and joinery is a unique design

162

by the interior designers, alluding to the classic 1920 detailing at The Savoy. The penthouse features a spacious living area with space for two separate seating areas and a glass grand piano. A feature fireplace creates a striking focal point of the residence and is a rarity in London developments. The dining area looks out upon the wrap around terrace, where diners can enjoy a glass of champagne overlooking spectacular views of the city. The superior kitchen reflects the design elements used elsewhere, such as a nickel trim adding a delicate detail to the large stone worktops and bespoke shelving units. A large family room also awaits

discovery, with the overall feel being one of inclusivity, enabling communication between social spaces and a refined, elegant space for entertaining. True quality and design is seen in the master bedroom, with bespoke walk in wardrobes reminiscent of a classic Saville Row tailor. This is achieved through the contrast between the dark smoked chestnut and the warm walnut and a structured grey lining to the wardrobe interiors. The impressive bathrooms are a sanctuary, containing combinations of stone, polished chrome and a stunning free standing bath in the master one, with huge bespoke glass showers in the guest bathrooms.

DECEMBER 2016

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BEAUTIFUL HOMES

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PROPERTY: Milford House Penthouse Suite LOCATION: 190 The Strand, London PRICE: £17.3m BEDROOMS: 4 BATHROOMS: 4 BEST BITS: Spectacular views of the London skyline, elegant designs and a luxurious living style n London skyline views n Seventh floor of 190 Strand n Bespoke walk in wardrobes n Free standing bath n Sophisticated style of living n Four bedrooms n Four bathrooms n Family room n Dining area n Superior kitchen n Feature fireplace n Private lift entrance

For more details contact: St Edward • 020 3051 1022 • www.190strand.co.uk

DECEMBER 2016

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BEAUTIFUL HOMES

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FANTASTIC FARM

A Georgian Farmhouse with fabulous grounds in Woodchurch SHIRKOAK FARM IS situated in the most delightful rural location on the fringes of the village of Woodchurch, near Tenterden. The property is an impressive Grade II Listed Georgian house of brick construction, with tiled elevations to the first floor, all beneath a hipped and pitched tiled roof. This stunning country farmhouse extends to some eight and a half acres and comprises: the main farmhouse, a detached cottage with two bedrooms (both with en suite bathrooms), an open plan living area and an office, a garden store and a triple carport. The glorious grounds display beautifully landscaped gardens, a tennis court, a large pond and the most magnificent fully stocked fishing lake which extends to some two and a half acres. The detached cottage has previously been

granted permission to be run as self-catering holiday accommodation, with old owners having run a highly successful B&B business. For the farmhouse itself, a wooden panelled door opens into an entrance hall on the ground floor where a drawing room, dining room, sitting room, kitchen, breakfast room and laundry room await discovery. The drawing room contains a magnificent inglenook fireplace and an attractive sash window, with the sitting room providing stunning views of the rear gardens, pond, fishing lake and the surrounding Kentish Downs, just a few of many great features. Up the stairs, the first floor reveals five generously sized bedrooms, three en suites and a dressing room.

PROPERTY: Shirkoak Farm LOCATION: Bethersden Road, Woodchurch PRICE: £1,450,000 BEDROOMS: 5 BATHROOMS: 4 BEST BITS: Stunning grounds, a detached cottage, a tennis court and a fishing lake n 5 bedrooms n 4 bathrooms n Detached cottage n Tennis court n Large pond n Fishing lake n Drawing room n Dining room n 8.5 acres

For more details contact: Country Property Group • 01580 211 888 • www.countrypropertygroup.com

DECEMBER 2016

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BEAUTIFUL HOMES

MODERN MAISON

An open plan, contemporary home in Southborough THIS STUNNING, CHIC property has been created for modern day living, with many features ideal for a comfortable family lifestyle. Located on the St Johns and Southborough borders, the property is in close proximity to a number of shops and a selection of Primary and Secondary schools in the vicinity. Entering into a spacious entrance hall, the ground floor welcomes a generous open plan space with the living area and modern kitchen which includes a central island/curved breakfast bar. The bi-fold door links the outside space to the property, making it perfect for the summer

months. The exterior decking provides plenty of room for outdoor furniture, complimenting the space nicely. Upstairs from the landing you have the master bedroom, a second bedroom, a family bathroom and a spare room that would make a lovely dressing room to the main bedroom or a cosy nursery for a little one. The loft has been converted to create a further bedroom with en suite shower and Juliet balcony to the rear. Outside there is parking to the front for two cars. To the rear, the garden has been landscaped and there is a home office space with three separate rooms and a WC.

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PROPERTY: Reynolds Lane LOCATION: Southborough PRICE: £550,000 to £575,000 BEDROOMS: 3/4 BATHROOMS: 2 BEST BITS: The beautifully converted loft is a real feature n 3/4 bedrooms n Semi-detached n Open plan living space n Modern kitchen n Garden office/studio n Central island n Bi-fold door n Master bedroom n Juliet balcony

For more details contact: Andrews • 01892 515 144 • www.Andrewsonline.co.uk

DECEMBER 2016

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DEVELOP'MENT' OPPORTUN ITV ,_ Guide price £800, 000 Sh,e epstreet Lane1 Etchingham,. East Sussex T , 19 7AY 1

A.STUNNING BRtCKAND Sl"ONE BUILT BARN SET IN A.RURAL LOGATION DESIGNATED AS AN AREA OF

OUTSTANDING NATURAL BEAUTV. PLANNING PERMfSStoN EXISTS FOR:THiE: CONVERSI.ON TO PROVIDE A 6 BEDROOM CWElllNG, ·CIRCA 6,297·sq. . IN GROU:N OS OF AP - R:OXIMATElY 1.75, ACRiES ('~b"v-1 New House Fe.mo G-. ria.i)i as t ·e rname s1.199ests. IS a tom1er granary build;ng of part 'bri:cl. aoo :st:oo4;1 aonishuctian wilfl elevated vie\'iS aoo a d ouble garnge. The 1

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GARDENS

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Season’s Plantings Tim Sykes from Gardenproud tells us why December is a great time for planting fresh thoughts for your garden

A

s the garden closes down for the

pond, a firepit, or a kitchen garden. Perhaps a

specialist websites like GapPhotos.com.

winter, the comparative warmth of

friends’ courtyard has sparked the interest in

And, of course terrific TV programmes like

indoors seems rather seducing. It’s

the use of outdoor lighting.

BBC Gardeners’ World.

all too easy to forget the great role outdoors

Or your flower beds and shrubberies are

played in our spring, summer

looking like they need a refresh.

and autumn enjoyment. So, what better time to reflect and consider more objectively how your garden might be enhanced in 2017? It may be that you

Central to this is the work of other garden designers. There’s no better a place to see

All of these factors may play a role

their work but at the Chelsea (May 2017) and

in improving the enjoyment of your

Hampton Court (July 2017) flower shows. So

garden in 2017.

if you haven’t already booked your ticket,

Need some inspiration? Well, I gain mine

then do so now, at www.rhs.org If you can’t make either of these shows then

inherited it from your previous owner and

from visiting gardens, talking with

you want to make your mark. Or, a crumbling

enthusiasts and of course my team of

it maybe that another local event will provide

old terrace that needs repair has stimulated

gardeners and fellow designers. Other great

the catalyst for some fresh thinking.

fresh interest in how best to use the space.

sources of ideas come from design

It’s possible you might be keen to add a new

magazines, including RHS’s The Garden, and

time is precious, then you might want to talk

feature, such as a garden retreat, a pergola, a

SGD’s Garden Design Journal. There are also

to a professional and get their views on what

If none of these ideas tickle your fancy, or

may be possible. Most designers like myself will happily meet up, discuss your brief and share some initial thoughts. Then if you wish to progress these further they will agree a fee, and invariably it’s well worth the investment. So time is of the essence, plan now, create or improve your garden early next spring and then you’ll gain even greater enjoyment next summer – what a great Christmas present for all your family! Enjoy the festivities. For advice on how your garden could be transformed, or just improved, contact Tim Sykes at Gardenproud, on 07725 173 820, or email Tim at reallygardenproud@btinternet.com

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GARDENS

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Ferntastic Evergreens This month Richard Gillham from Coolings is enthusing about evergreens

A

rchitectural, versatile, colourful,

Blechnum penna-marina (hard fern): Good

dainty are just a few words to

ground cover fern. Produces elegant

sum up this popular group of

glossy dark green fronds and bronze new

plants. They are surprisingly useful in

growth. Height 15cm.

many a situation, from walls and steep banks to shady woodland stumpery

 Evergreen ferns (planted in the top of

environments or even pots, containers and

the basket) including:

hanging baskets. Below are a few of my

Asplenium scolopendrium (hart’s tongue

favourite evergreen ferns.

fern): Native fern with glossy leathery tongue like fronds. Will grow anywhere, even in the

TO ACHIEVE THIS LOOK YOU WILL NEED:

cracks of walls. Grows 50cm x 50cm.

 1 x 35cm (14”) wire hanging basket

Cyrtomium fortunei (Japanese holly fern):

 1 x 35cm (14”) natural moss look basket liner

Add an oriental touch to the planting

 Ericaceous compost

scheme with this vigorous fern which

 Water storing crystals to add to compost

produces sword shaped lime green

in order to aid water retention

juvenile leaves. Grows 60cm x 50cm.

 Small log for decorative effect

Polystichum setiferum ‘Congestum’

 Evergreen ferns (planted in the side of

(congested soft shield fern): This dwarf

the basket) including:

fern produces lacy soft fronds with a fine

Polypodium vulgare (common polypody):

texture which will grow in virtually any

Native fern for all soil types. Comb like

shady location. Grows 30cm x 30cm.

fronds with deeply cut leathery leaves often covered in orange spores. Grows 30cm x 30cm.

www.coolings.co.uk

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Garden Flora by Noel Kingsbury, £29.99 Did you know that epimediums contain a compound similar to that which you find in Viagra? Or that ancient armies were reduced by eating poisonous rhododendron honey? This fascinating book examines the cultural and natural history of 133 of the most beloved garden plants, revealing their survival strategies, growth habit and uses. It includes everything from the acer to the zinnia.

RHS A-Z Encyclopaedia of Garden Plants, edited by Christopher Brickell, £75 This is a Christmas gift to end all Christmas gifts for gardeners, a beautiful reference tool packed with fantastic images and clear descriptions and growing advice for more than 15,000 plants. It’s been updated with more than 5,000 new plant entries and new photographs and comes in a majestic presentation box.

Thenford: The Creation of an English Garden by Michael and Anne Heseltine, £40 This coffee table tome tells the story in words and pictures of Michael and Anne Heseltine’s Northamptonshire home, charting the development of the garden over 40 years. It started off as an overgrown woodland, but today there’s an arboretum with more than 3,000 varieties of trees and shrubs, medieval fish ponds, a rill water feature and a beautifully restored walled garden.

The Quest for Shakespeare’s Garden by Roy Strong, £14.95 Published in association with Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Sir Roy Strong’s lively account traces the origins of the Elizabethan garden and tells the story of the Bard’s own garden. Accompanied by quotations from Shakespeare’s works, it features beautiful illustrations of his gardens, past and present.

Vertical Gardens by Leigh Clapp and Hattie Klotz, £16.99 Gardening no longer needs to be confined to the ground. If you have limited space, this innovative guide offers quirky low-maintenance, space-saving, water-smart solutions, with ideas for vertical gardening on your balcony, your rooftop or courtyard. Learn how to turn bare garden spaces, such as a blank wall or fence, into living walls where you can tend edibles, annuals or even perennials.

House of Plants: Living With Succulents, Air Plants and Cacti by Caro Langton and Rose Ray, £20 If you love indoor greenery with the minimum of fuss, this book focuses on houseplants that are perfect for urban living, showing both the aspiring and experienced plant enthusiast how to nurture, share and enjoy them, as well as arranging them stylishly in the home.

Gardenista: The Definitive Guide to Stylish Outdoor Spaces by Michelle Slatalla with the editors of Gardenista, £28.99 Full page pictures illustrate the terrific ideas offered by this first book from the team behind Gardenista.com. With more than 1.1 million visitors a month, Gardenista has become one of the online destination source books for garden and exterior design fans. It features tours of 12 outdoor spaces including a fairy-tale garden, a cottage garden and a posh and pampered greenhouse.

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