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Brought to you by







Tom Fletcher


Let’s get What a year it’s been! We’ve had highs and lows but at long last it looks like life might be slowly getting back to normal… Here at School Notices we’ve had a dynamic year taking full advantage of lockdown to further improve our website and launch some exciting new brand partnerships. If you missed the inspirational careers talks with pioneering industry luminaires click here. Also, learn more about next year’s prestigious Holland & Holland school clay pigeon shoot – make sure to book early! In this bumper Christmas edition, we catch up with Samantha Cameron on her love of fashion, life, kids and her latest collection for Cefinn. Chef Ben Robinson gives us a sneaky peek at life ‘Below Deck’ while Lucia Ferrari reveals her top beauty advent calendars. We talk to McFly’s Tom Fletcher about the band, his books and why he’s braving Strictly Come Dancing and gastronomic legend Ottolenghi, sheds light on his latest book and the fun he had with co-writer Noor creating the recipes.

In addition, florist to the stars, Willow Crossley, tells us how it all began and shares an exclusive wreath arrangement to try at home. Finally, we catch up with the young rising stars from our member schools who are going ‘stratospheric’ within the arts. And not forgetting SN’s ultimate Christmas gift guide – always a favourite! School Notices continues to be the trusted network for schools, parents and alumni within the private school community. You can buy and sell on our fantastic Noticeboard, get the latest in education and lifestyle, check out our trusted school reviews, as well as some great offers, video interviews and exclusive competitions all designed with you in mind – there’s everything you need for independent school life and beyond. The School Notices Team Visit: Email:



Brought to you by







Tom Fletcher


Publisher and Editor Katie Wiggin • Artistic Director Ruth Ellis Founder and Executive Chairman Gordon Dawson • CEO James Nickson Head of Brand Partnerships Milly Steel • Contributor Amanda Morison Head of Schools Tia May • School Partnerships Alex Cox Digital Marketing Manager Natasha Minto • Content Editor Monique Ellis Advertising Tania Buckley and Daniela Flower Cover image Natasha Minto (Downe House School)

For advertising: or call 07884 436210


45 4

36 29



This issue… 04 08 11 16

Our Christmas Gift Guide There’s something for everyone

Win an exclusive MZ Skin Package A virtual consultation and £500 gift voucher

Chef Ben Robinson

Gives us a sneaky peek of life ‘Below Deck’

The Ultimate Beauty Advent Calendars

Fairy Godmother Lucia Ferrari magics up

her favourites

18 21

It Went Off with a Bang!

A day to remember at Holland & Holland

A Passion for Fashion

Exclusive interview with fashion’s first lady Samantha Cameron



It’s All About Tom Legendary popstar, author and now Strictly

Star on dancing his way through life

34 36 45

The Great Escape

We pick out our favourite books of 2021

Gourmet Genius Ottolenghi

On his new cookbook and life in the kitchen

52 53

Florist to the Stars

Willow Crossley shares her love of blooms

and nature

Fun Facts

Dazzle them with your trivia knowledge

Rising Super Stars

The young and super talented going stratospheric within the Arts WINTER 2021 3


stellar CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE Let the shopping commence!

Ladies Star BUY

From top left clockwise: Mystery earrings gold with black onyx £160, • Remi lurex bi-colour crew neck jumper £130, • Replenish & Restore Placenta & Stem Cell Night Recovery Mask £255, • Expresso Martini pre-mixed cocktail £6 • Capaldi sunglasses £75, • Knott colorblocked medium saddle crossbody bag £250, • Turtla wool fringe bib £110, • Phileas rechargeable table lamp in antique brass finish with 20cm empire gathered lampshade in cloud chevrons block printed cotton £149, • Ladybird match bottle £18, • Philip Hog ivory chunky Asta boot £190, • ‘Ciao’ necklace £295,

4 WINTER 2021


Star BUY


From top clockwise: Moncler Pour Homme eau de parfum with LED digital screen £170, • SoundSport® wireless headphones £104.95, • Arundel-check lambswool S houndstooth cashmere blend scarf £68, • SnoozeBand™ Pro Bluetooth sleep mask headphones £49.99, • Midnight navy velvet nehru waistcoat £250, • Condor mesh black white running shoes £130, • Limited edition festive special pear gin (50cl) £35, • Woven elasticated belt £39, • Pro the powerful tracker (2-pack) £49.99, • Monopoly biscuit tin £48, • Badge detail merino zip jumper £225,

WINTER 2021 5

Star BUY


From top left clockwise: Under water LED disco light £10, • Metallic pleated midi skirt from £18, • Hatchimals Pixies Crystal Flyers pink magical flying pixie £29.99, • Stardust unicorn skipping rope £7, • Star hair clips (set of 2) £8, • Rainbow pom pom fairy light chain £30, • Suede novelty boots - college navy rainbow star from £47, • Gold bead letter bracelets £7.50 each, • Benefit ‘Party Like a Flockstar’ makeup set £29.50, • Bobble knitted hat with pom £12.95, • Very Cherry Christmas Jar £7,

6 WINTER 2021


Boys Star BUY

From top left clockwise: Solar phone charger £15, • Waboba Wingman Pro Frisbee £9.95, • The SKWAD Kombo Kit £90, • ‘Create your own’ kids’ custom packable jacket £179, • Nike Air Force 1 EMB older kids’ shoes £64.95, • Airfix A00504 Top Gun Mavericks F-18 Hornet aircraft £29.99, • VTech Kiddizoom smart watch DX2 £48.30, • Quilted hat £155, • Glow-graffi-T Tee-shirt £24.95, • Hoverboard musical with bluetooth and LED flashing lights, £163, • Festive stars for kids boxers £12.50,

WINTER 2021 7

WIN! A virtual

skincare consultation and £500 voucher at MZ Skin


Results that are written all over your face

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THE PRIZE: A virtual skincare consultation with an

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Dr Maryam’s three steps to beautiful skin At the heart of the MZ Skin collection is Dr Maryam’s three step, skin enhancing skincare philosophy of Reveal, Enhance and Protect.



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It’s all

ABOVE BOARD! Below Deck has taken the world by storm. Now in its 9th season, we caught up with the infamous Chef Ben about real life below deck, his love of cooking and what lies in store for the future…

WINTER 2021 11

We’ve always had a fascination with ‘below stairs’, think Downton Abbey and now we are enthralled with the shenanigans from deep within the bows. Mega yachts with the latest toys, unlimited luxury, 24 hour service and multi-millionaire guests – who wouldn’t want a sneaky peek behind the scenes from the show’s favourite chef? Whilst Chef Ben comes across as the quintessential Englishman on board, he does in fact have dual nationality having been brought up in the home counties (Berkshire) and Cape Cod. He has happy memories of boarding school life at Bradfield College, which no doubt helped prepare him for a life away from home where sharing rooms and team spirit were the norm. As a child, he poached trout from the River Pang and pheasants from the local pens. It was an idyllic existence of “farm to table”, complemented by visits to Cape Cod where again food was a priority and part of the fabric of life. Even as a child, Ben had an amazing sense of taste and smell, “I had a very special palette, I could smell and taste things - it was surprising stuff actually.” This resulted in him knowing all the basic sauces

L-R: Ben in his prep school uniform, fishing at his family home in Cape Cod, at a charity event with fellow Below Deck cast members

12 SUMMER 2021

by the age of five. His mother was clearly an inspiration, teaching him and allowing him to experiment with flavours and ingredients. Despite this great love of the culinary, Ben was also a talented artist and was offered a place at Chelsea Art School. To supplement his art studies he worked in restaurants, which is where his heart really lay. “I love restaurants, I don’t know why but I just do.” It was only when he took a job as a deckhand on a boat, that his career began to materialise. Missing a chef, the Captain asked him to step in and cook for the crew which he did with aplomb. Not surprisingly, his role quickly changed with the captain declaring “You’re useless at washing the boat so get in that galley” - the rest is history. This was the start of a stellar career within the yachting industry. At the age of 28, Ben was the head chef on the biggest yacht in the world. Having been in the industry and living on boats for eight years, Ben then felt he’d “capped out” and it was time to move to pastures new. He packed his bag and left for New York believing his future lay there. But after a brief and unsuccessful stint, he decided


There was something quite magical about it and it’s always fun when you start a reality show as no-one knows what they’re up against. to move to Fort Lauderdale which was more of a home from home. Work was tough to come by (it was the eco crisis of 2008) so reluctantly Ben fell back into the yachting world, telling himself “suck it up buttercup and get on a bloody yacht – you’re good at that and you can make some money again”. It was during this time that Ben found an internet forum run by Bravo called Below Deck who were posting that they were looking for a chef. A few cocktails down and Ben had sent over his CV and “an hilarious email – I couldn’t remember doing it to be honest but the next day a rather animated gentleman from LA was telling me how wonderful my application was!” Before he knew it he’d applied to a reality show about super yachts

– “in hindsight it was a pretty good drunken decision!” After the initial intrepidation, Ben admitted “I’ve got the look and I’m probably one of the better chefs in the industry and so I embraced it and I guess to a certain extent the rest is history”. The first series of Below Deck took two years to air. Time was needed to work out how best to film, record and manage the concept but Ben knew that they “probably had something golden”. 10 years later and the series is still going strong but sadly now without Ben, who has moved onto pastures new. Reflecting back on the series, Ben is frequently asked if the series was scripted to which his reply is “I prefer the term driven SUMMER 2021 13

– we do have to develop certain stories in order to tell a story. That’s just the confines of reality TV. A camera doesn’t know what you are thinking so we have to be vocal and this is assisted by an interview process”. The narrow confines of space and the demanding workload are bad enough without having a camera in your face, so it’s surprising that Ben lasted as long as he did on the series. “I questioned myself everyday but I’m a glutton for punishment. As a chef you work twice as hard as everyone else. I was literally working 20 hours a day – if guests came back at 4am and wanted me to cook for them then that’s what I had to do. I just got beasted really hard and I’m quite a strong person but there were times when I broke a bit.” In terms of the actual series, Ben is reticent to say which he found the most demanding but it appears that “the second series became far more difficult”. There is obviously a code of silence amongst reality celebrities not to spill the dirt post filming, although it’s fine to film the dirt while it’s happening! Highlights of the series are more forthcoming with the first series being one of the best “there was something quite magical about it and it’s always fun when you start a reality show as no-one knows what they’re up against. I also enjoyed the first boat series of the

L-R: Ben relaxing on his dock at home in Fort Lauderdale, Seared Tuna Dreamscape

14 WINTER 2021

L-R: a rare selfie with Kate Chastain, Squash Mushroom Soup

Mediterranean as everyone was a fresh face and I was quite enchanted by Greece”. Working so closely and under constant pressure must generate some long term friendships. Whilst staying close to Kate Chastain (she brought a unit in his building and co-hosts Galley Talk with him) Ben points out that it’s hard to maintain friendships in such a transient job. Also, as the show became more successful the deckhands and stewards became more attractive with people taking part in the show for all the ‘wrong reasons’. “They are just far too good looking – like they’ve just stepped out of an Armani commercial – that’s just not normal! I don’t think I had a lot in common with many of them by the end.” When it came to the actual cooking on the yacht, catering must have been a challenge. “You’ll have a staple order in the beginning and then I’ll be dipping into the freezer but for the speciality items I will have someone on island who is very good at provisioning. If you give them 24 or 48 hours they can source most things.” When asked if he has a tried and tested repertoire of recipes that he called on, Ben is keen to point out “I usually changed it up – I think that cooking is an evolution and I’m always looking for better ways of doing something – that’s the way I roll. If I repeated



Showcasing the Chef Ben bandana from his own product line

I’m painting a picture before I start. You can’t just throw things in the oven and expect to come out with a Picasso! myself every time I cooked, I’d rather just go and pump gas somewhere”. The creative side of Ben is obviously strong and combined with his strong work ethic you can see how well suited he was to his on-board job. Passionate about presentation, Ben explains how much thought he gives to this. “It’s actually about thinking backwards. When I envisage a plate of food I have to think what colours will work with what – I’m painting a picture before I start. You can’t just throw things in the oven and expect to come out with a Picasso!”

This passion for food has taken Ben from the super yachts to his own blossoming businesses. Now based in Fort Lauderdale, Ben has fingers in many pies. He’s currently working with Richard Branson on his Virgin cruise liner, The Scarlet Lady, offering an exclusive Chef Ben dining experience. He also has some ongoing restaurant takeovers, wine label collaborations and his own line of products including knives, aprons and bandanas. He also has a keen interest in Integrative Nutrition where food is utilised for its nutritional and medicinal benefits. Alongside this there are celebrity and TV appearances, a possible cookbook in the wings and franchising opportunities. In short - watch this space – there’s a lot in the pipeline and as Ben himself says, “being a chef is a hard grind but I think I’ve earned my time and I’m privileged to have got to where I have. But you always need to keep moving, to keep it hot and topical”. Finally, his advice for the next generation of aspiring chefs? “Run for the hills – no seriously just try and keep it simple don’t try and get into the speciality stuff. Learn from the best and find a mentor. Someone asked me an interesting question which was what would you tell your 20 year old self? My answer would be to try and drop your ego a bit and learn from people that have been doing it for years as they know a lot more than you.” Ben’s last meal on earth would take him back to his childhood days and his love of poaching and foraging from farm to table. “If it’s my last meal I would have to take a lot of animals down with me! So I would start with caviar, followed by lobster and foie gras and maybe finish off with an innocent chocolate cake darling!” Let’s be honest there’s nothing ‘Below Deck’ about Ben… • @benstogram WINTER 2021 15

Liberty Advent Calendar, £225 The original beauty calendar which started the craze. It’s so beautiful to look at – more so than ever this year – and it’s without doubt my favourite. Nineteen of the twenty-five presents are full size and one calendar will include a ‘Golden Ticket’ to spend £5,000 at Liberty. The line up of products is impressive including perfume brand Le Labo and luxury skincare from A listers favourite, Augustinus Bader (the total

beauty THE BEST


Our Beauty Fairy Godmother, Lucia Ferrari, sprinkles her fairy dust and conjures up the best for 2021. The beauty advent calendar is definitely the Christmas stocking equivalent for mums – most of us would choose one over a chocolate advent calendar and hurray, we get a glamorous pressie every day during December. Here’s the best of the best - we know we’re worth it! 16 WINTER 2021

Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Dreams and Secrets, £150 Could also make a lovely Christmas pressie – as the drawers aren’t numbered. It contains 12 well thought out products including some of the bestsellers such as the Hollywood Light Wand Spotlight (a fantastic highlighter for all year round), Pillow Talk Lipstick and the Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray.


value of products would be £840)!


John Lewis Advent Calendar, £159 M&S Collection Beauty Advent Calendar, worth £300 (£40*)

Due to popular demand this will be restocked twice this year. It doesn’t look as chocolate box Christmassy as some of the others but it packs a

Marks and Spencer’s calendar is a great price

punch with its classic beauty favourites including

(*£40 when you spend £30 on fashion or food)

Éstee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair, Sunday

and comes in a reusable tin. There are some

Riley’s Good Genes Skin Brightening Serum and a

lovely classics from Emma Hardie skincare and

fabulous nude lipstick from Mac. Can’t go wrong

Philip Kingsley haircare – truly great products.

with this one for price and product choice.

Diptyque Cabinet of Curiosities, £320

Fenwick Advent Calendar, £150

Candles in advent calendars date back to

A brilliant one for makeup lovers with some

the 19th Century – and what is more stunning

great party makeup from Nars, and Nails Inc’s

than lighting a mini Diptyque scented candle

iconic St James polish. There are some other

(all of the nostalgic festive favourites but with

classics in here like the Clarins Tonic Bath and

some sexy smoky roses in there too) throughout

Shower Concentrate which I have on good

December to scent your home the Parisian way.

authority is a favourite at Buckingham Palace.

There are 12 mini candles and on the other days

Love the Christmas bow design on the box too.

you’ll find beauty treats such as perfume balm, mini perfumes and body creams. It’s just so chic. • @luciaferraribeauty WINTER 2021 17

It went off with a bang! The Independent Schools Clay Pigeon Championships 2021 It was great to welcome so many pupils and schools to the Championships held in May and wonderfully hosted by Holland & Holland. Schools came from far and wide to compete in this annual event and the hotly contested trophies were won this year by Millfield in the senior category and Bredon in the junior.

Brambletye All Hallows



18 WINTER 2021



Bruern Abbey Bryanston



We were thrilled to welcome back the schools for our annual competition. Nicolas Ollivier – Director of Shooting Grounds, Holland & Holland (pictured right with Gordon Dawson, Founder of School Notices)

WINTER 2021 19


2021 Junior champions Bredon

2021 Senior champions Millfield


17th March 2022 Independent School Clay Pigeon Championships Join us for the Independent School Clay Pigeon Championships 2022 held at Holland & Holland’s stunning grounds in Greater London. Get your schools and children ready for another amazing day of competition and fun. For further information please contact 20 WINTER 2021


First Lady of fashion Amanda Morison meets Samantha Cameron and discovers a multi-tasker keen to maximise the uses of technology when planning a sustainable future for Cefinn, her fashion brand..

It’s a bit disconcerting talking to Samantha Cameron. In a good way, but disconcerting nonetheless when the kind of friendly mum chat you might have at drop-off – GCSEs in a lockdown year, whether a summer holiday had been possible - segues. Perhaps into an off-the-cuff mention of what to wear while being constantly photographed on the WINTER 2021 21

steps of Downing Street, or how lucky her daughters are to rummage around in trunks of vintage clothing owned by Granny. Who, of course, has loads of Bruce Oldfield pieces because she’s great friends with the designer. Because however much Samantha Cameron became known to us all as the Prime Minister’s wife, her identity is very much her own making. An arts graduate, she transformed Smythson as its Creative Director and since leaving Downing Street set up clothing brand Cefinn (the name, by the way, is an acronym of her four children’s initials). And in 2009 when a neighbour commented that her next house move was likely to be to Downing Street responded, “I f***ing hope not!”. It’s clear

Above: Gillian Anderson in said Cefinn rose-pink trouser suit Right: Samantha with her mother aged four

22 WINTER 2021

that Samantha’s role in life is not solely a supporting one. Cefinn has a following among the kind of women who like to look chic, not too rigidly tailored, and grown up. Cefinn pieces are not designed to be worn once on Instagram then consigned to the back of a wardrobe. Gillian Anderson has been frequently spotted in a rose-pink trouser suit, as well as a velvet dress when promoting her role in The Crown. Newsreaders including Fiona Bruce and Sophie Raworth are fans, and Samantha loves that they feel confident enough to wear bright tailoring and prints while on TV. She’d love to see Cate Blanchett and Julianne Moore in her clothes – “They’re like Debbie Harry, Charlotte Rampling and Catherine Hepburn; elegant but not too girly”. It’s this sense of quiet confidence that Samantha herself exudes. She says the most exciting thing is when a customer tells her that she wore a Cefinn piece to some moment or event in their lives that gave them huge confidence and felt fantastic. “To get an email like that makes it all worthwhile. My team work so hard to ensure that we are making it as easy as possible for women to feel at their best without having to spend too much time or effort”. Cefinn pieces to look out for this Autumn/ Winter include “a lot more knitwear, and lightweight merino ribbed tops, which are great for layering under jackets and gilets” (and isn’t that a most fabulously mum description of what to wear?). Samantha feels that Covid has brought a “slightly more relaxed aesthetic” to Cefinn because of not knowing whether people would be going back to the office, events and parties. There are items described as ‘sports luxe’ with elasticated waists on trousers (a lot more


My team work so hard to ensure that we are making it as easy as possible for women to feel at their best without having to spend too much time or effort. glam than that might sound!). Advanced fabrics such as Techni Linen does everything that linen does but machine washes without losing its shape, and there’s a recycled polyester georgette with a crinkle that drapes really nicely. A new geometric lips design also looks destined to fly off the shelves.

Heidi Silk Collarless Gathered Blouse - Rust Lips Print £270, Tyson Pin Corduroy High Easy Waist Pleated Trouser Burgundy £220

Samantha says it’s the innovation that keeps her going: “What’s really exciting about running a business is the way that technology constantly changes everything and gives you new ways of working.” She also admits that one of the reasons she carried on working after having children is because she really likes going to the office. “I’ve tried to analyse it and lockdown made me realise that I’m naturally quite a compartmentalised person. When I’m at work I’m good at not thinking about the children, and I find working with people of different ages and backgrounds invigorating”. Long term, Samantha wants Cefinn to become as sustainable as possible, something she acknowledges is not at all easy with fashion. “Ultimately it’s technology that will solve some of these issues and we need to invest in manufacturing”. WINTER 2021 23

hopes some of the dresses by Christopher Kane, Erdem and Roksanda that were worn abroad for big events and during the election period will one day be worn by one of her two daughters. The older, Nancy, loves rustling through Granny’s stuff in the attic and started making some of her own clothes aged 10. She buys “huge amounts of vintage and puts it together very well’.

Sometimes looking too far ahead can feel overwhelming, so it’s good to break things down into small chunks and deal with them one by one. Clothes have always been part of the fabric of Samantha’s life. One of her earliest memories is having a “terrible tantrum” age three over wanting to wear “some kind of summer beach dress in the middle of winter”. She also remembers floral Liberty print dresses with velvet sashes laid out for her and Emily, one of her four sisters, which she describes as the most exciting thing she’d ever seen. As an adult she keeps hold of pieces that she no longer wears, but can’t bear to throw away, because they “represent memories or part of a period of her life”. She 24 WINTER 2021

On to one of life’s truly important questions: what to pack when going on holiday? No stranger to a Cornish beach or a Mediterranean villa, Samantha believes layering is key. “A dress that won’t crease too much, a cardi on top, and I always bring a pashmina.” She also loves a jumpsuit and produces her own designs with chic comfort in mind: “The days when they felt like wearing a catsuit and you had to have a perfect figure are gone”. Her personal motto is to take each day as it comes. “Sometimes looking too far ahead can feel overwhelming, so it’s good to break things down into small chunks and deal with them one by one”. But despite recent global challenges, Samantha says she never felt overwhelmed because she was so busy solving problems caused by factories closing around the world and deliveries not coming through. “There really wasn’t time to panic”. The advice she’d give to a younger version of herself is to ask for advice – “people are more generous with their time than you’d imagine. And be flexible with your outlook but stay true to your passion and the reason why you are doing whatever you were doing in the first place”. And then Samantha’s mother comes in looking for a hairdryer, the dogs need to go out, and a busy day rolls both excitingly and mundanely on.


Our winter lust-list

Enjoy 10% off the Cefinn key pieces you won’t want to miss this season


From top left clockwise: Jade Pin Corduroy Cropped Stretch Blazer - Burgundy £350, Heidi Silk Collarless Gathered Maxi Shirt Dress - Green Lips Print £390, Eva Lurex Blouson Sleeve Cardigan - Green £170, Dakota Silk Long Sleeve Midi Dress with Scarf and Keyhole Neckline - Beige/Blue Leopard Pansy Print £390, Naima Pin Corduroy Round Neck Blouson Sleeve Shirt - Forest Green £170, Eva Blouson Sleeve Fit and Flare Merino Knit Dress - Navy £280

Click here for 10% off WINTER 2021 25

Personal service. Surprisingly good value. Peace of mind. Now is the time to speak to a human being about your insurance needs

At Towergate you'll get to talk to real people who’ll work with you (and have your back) to formulate a health insurance plan for your family or your business giving you complete peace of mind. That’s why School Notices recommends Towergate. They’ll understand you first. What drives, what frustrates, what you need to get on with your life (which is good for everyone’s health). It’s all part of the service. Of course they’ll ask questions, understandably there will be Ts and Cs, but there’ll be a real sense of relationship, first and foremost. It’s absolutely vital when it comes to your families lives or supporting your business. They offer all the policies you’d expect such as healthcare and car insurance cover, as well as a vast array of specialist cover for everything you can possibly imagine,

which many insurers would steer a country mile from. Towergate simply have the bandwidth for your life. Second homes abroad, parachuting, beach huts, school events and even martial arts(!) come under their guiding hand. Few of us may ever be unfortunate to receive a flying roundhouse kick while in said beach hut resorting in total carnage, still, it’s good to know Towergate even have this covered. We recommend starting with your health and life first. The beach hut ninja mishaps can wait a while longer! Let’s get back to a more personal service, hand-in-hand with real value cover, just don’t call them while operating a pony, or while leading a skiing trip. Think of Towergate as a superb personal service, giving you great value coverage and that all important peace of mind.


Hear what other School Notices members have to say I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Towergate to anyone looking for health insurance. The wonderful Gerard looked after us superbly, ensuring that he properly understood our health history and our needs going forward. In the end he found us an amazing deal which suited all our individual requirements not bad given we are a family of seven! Ed (St Mary's Ascot parent) Marlborough College

Speak to a human being 0330 123 3593 School Notices is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Towergate Insurance. Towergate Insurance Brokers and Towergate Insurance are trading names of Towergate Underwriting Group Limited. Registered in England with company number 4043759. Registered Address: 2 Minster Court, Mincing Lane, London, EC3R 7PD. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. PMI and life insurance are arranged by Towergate Health & Protection. Towergate Health & Protection is a trading name of Health and Protection Solutions Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Registered in England and Wales number 4907859. Registered office: West Park House, 23 Cumberland Place, Southampton, SO15 2BB.

Fun facts

In order for Santa to visit every home on Christmas Eve he’d have to visit



of LEGO are sold

PER SECOND during Christmas

According to tradition, you should eat one mince pie on each of the 12 days of Christmas to bring good luck


The record number of Christmas cards sent by a single person in a year

UK consumers use approximately


miles of wrapping paper each year

Popular puzzle gift the Rubik’s cube has a possible

43,252,003,274, 489,856,000 configurations!

There are 364 GIFTS mentioned in ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’

8.2 MILLION people in the UK watch the Queen’s Speech on Christmas day

You’ll NEVER guess what? Before turkey, the traditional Christmas meal in England was a pig’s head and mustard.

GLITTER has been used as decoration since 40,000 BC


The height of the tallest ever snowman, which was built in Maine, America

Jingle Bells is the only Christmas song that doesn’t mention Christmas, Jesus or the Nativity

28 WINTER 2021

Putting tangerines in Christmas stockings comes from 12th-century French nuns who left socks of fruit and nuts at houses of the poor


The width of the largest recorded snowflake

Many parts of the Christmas tree can actually be eaten – the needles being a good source of Vitamin C

Prior to about 1880, most images showed Father Christmas wearing a green coat


We’ve rounded up our favourite festive facts for you to wow your friends with this winter


It’s all about


Everyone loves Tom Fletcher. His sunny disposition, wealth of talent and mischievous sense of fun means his fan club spans all ages. We catch up exclusively with the brilliantly talented Tom to find out more… SUMMER WINTER 2021 29

As well as being a founding member of the band McFly, Tom also has a flourishing career as an author. By the age of 21, he had penned 10 UK number 1 singles and sold over 10 million records worldwide. He has written songs for One Direction, Busted and 5SOS, published best-selling children’s books and is now doing Strictly. Here, Tom gives us a quick insight into his jam-packed and energetic life.

Who has inspired you and your work the most over the years? I’m inspired by so much, my family, my kids. My kids come up with the most brilliant ideas. I just steal all my ideas from them – I’d say that my kids probably inspire me the most.

From writing songs to writing books – where does the creative gene come from? My parents are both creative but I don’t know if it’s a creative gene or just pure luck!

Favourite book you’ve written? ‘The Christmasaurus’ is probably my favourite because it was my first book and I’d always wanted to write a novel. It was really hard work but I had this amazing sense of achievement at the end of it all which I hadn’t had in quite a while.

What advice can you give to aspiring young authors and songwriters? My serious advice would be to persevere – I’m so lucky and I never take that for granted. Both my jobs as a musician in a band and being an author are one-in-a-million opportunities – so I know how lucky I am. It’s really easy to get disheartened and give up, so if you have an idea and believe in yourself, then don’t pack it up, just keep on going – persevere.

Song you’ve composed? Probably ‘All About You’. It was never intended to be a song for my band or even to be released, as I wrote it as a Valentine’s present for my girlfriend - who is now my wife! It just went on to become our biggest song for the band. It was also a Comic Relief song and so has raised lot of money for this amazing charity. So this one track, that was never intended to be released, has ended up being everyone’s song and it’s amazing

L-R: Tom’s wife Giovanna and their three children. Backstage with Dougie, Danny and Harry from McFly

30 SUMMER 2021


Left: Backstage on Strictly Come Dancing with dance partner Amy preparing for a Foxtrot. Below: Reading the newly released ‘The Christmasaurus’ picture book to the boys

My kids come up with the most brilliant ideas… I’d say that my kids probably inspire me the most.


hearing people sing it or using it as the first dance for their wedding. What do you love most about Strictly and are you a natural dancer? I don’t think I’m a natural dancer and I’m not the type of person who gets up on the dance floor! I’m not physically confident but I’m lucky being in a band as I get to have a good time with all the other guys in the band. My guitar is like my safety blanket so taking that away is going to be really weird! But in a way that’s a good thing as I’m at a point in my life where I need something challenging and to learn something new.

I’m really excited about the fact I’m dancing but in front of 12 million people each week, that is slightly terrifying! But I’m really looking forward to just learning something new and hopefully not making a complete fool of myself. If I do, I hope it’s entertaining for everyone! Any other life ambitions still to achieve? I would like to see a UFO and make contact with aliens, that would be really cool! I don’t know if I’m the best qualified person in the human race to do that, so maybe I should just say I’d like to witness that happening. There are lots of other things I’d like to achieve as well. I’d like to write a movie and musicals – there are some things I’m already working on that just haven’t come to fruition yet. There’s a long list of things to do. Life Motto I feel like I should have a motto but I haven’t come up with one yet! Let’s have a think… how about ‘it’ll be alright in the end’. @tomfletcher SUMMER 2021 31

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We look at the extraordinary book portfolio of Tom Fletcher and review his festive new release The Christmasaurus and The Naughty List. Tom Fletcher is a number one bestseller and one of the UK’s most popular children’s authors. The Christmasaurus was the biggest debut middle-grade novel of 2016 and was shortlisted for a British Book Award. Since then Tom has published several more chart-topping children’s novels including The Creakers , The Christmasaurus and the Winter Witch and the instant number one bestseller The Danger Gang. Tom also writes the incredibly successful Who’s in Your Book? picture book series and is one half of the author duo behind The Dinosaur that Pooped

picture book series as well, which has sold over 1.5 million copies. For older readers, Tom coauthors the Eve of Man series with his wife Giovanna Fletcher. Tom’s books have been translated into thirty-five languages and to date he has sold over five million copies of his books around the world.

The Christmasaurus and The Naughty List , is the eagerly anticipated third book in Tom’s bestselling, festive middle-grade series. The book sees the Christmasaurus on a mission to track down children who have found themselves on Santa’s naughty list and help them put wrongs to rights, naughty to nice. This is a story about mischievous kids learning the error of their ways, but it’s also about sharing the true spirit of Christmas and realising that sometimes things aren’t quite as they first appear. £12.99 (hardback) Waterstones SUMMER 2021 33



We all love a good read. Here the SN team list their favourites from 2021, guaranteed to whisk you away to another world…


MONIQUE The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah After devouring The Nightingale and The Great Alone, I knew I’d love this book! A gorgeously written story about love and survival in 1930s Texas during the Great Depression.






The Midnight Library by Matt Haig I loved this book because Matt Haig has a way of showing you the wonder and magic in the life you are living. It gave me all the feels.

The Choice by Edith Eger Truly inspirational story about a promising ballerina sent to Auschwitz at age 16 and made to dance for Nazi leaders. An insight to a period of history that isn’t always easy to read about but which is so relevant to our freedom today.

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera After it went viral on TikTok, my daughter bought this unique sci-fi bestseller and instantly fell in love with the two main characters - two boys who get a call to say they only have one more day left to live.

34 WINTER 2021



The Spy and the Traitor by Ben Macintyre A brilliant, true story of a KGB double agent set in the middle of the Cold War. Gives a great insight into the bravery and selflessness of people risking all for what they believe in.

If In Doubt Wash Your Hair by Anya Hindmarch Inspired insight into how mother of five, Anya Hindmarch, manages her business and personal life, including lessons she’s learnt, how she deals with doubt and advice on how to live better.



Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell I loved this beautifully written, fictional story about the life and death of Shakespeare’s son, Hamnet. It’s a must read and justifiably a Sunday Times bestseller!










The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna The first of a West-African inspired fantasy series about a group of outcasts-turnedwarriors with gold running through their veins. My daughter loved the perfect mix of YA fantasy and very real coming-of-age themes.

Fantastically Great Women Scientists and Their Stories by Kate Pankhurst A wonderful introduction to some fantastic female scientists that will work wonders in inspiring young girls to reach for the stars in previously male-dominated fields. My girls love it!

The Land of Roar series by Jenny McLachlan My son absolutely loved the series as it combines all the elements that make a classic childrens’ story: fantasy, adventure, a world of dragons, magic and super scary villains!

WINTER 2021 35

OFF THE SHELF Noor Murad and Yotam Ottolenghi speak to Amanda Morison about the inspiration behind Shelf Love, the brilliant new publication which encourages you to turn pantry ingredients into fantastic everyday meals.

36 WINTER 2021

After speaking to Yotam Ottolenghi and head of the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen Noor Murad, about their new book Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Shelf Love I want to join the team. Even through the prism of Zoom it’s clear the duo find each other amusing and inspiring company, exchanging compliments on recipes while audibly humming with appreciation of having tried said recipes. Ottolenghi wishes he’d invented the ‘Sesame Crusted Feta with Black Lime Honey Syrup’. “So original! Little feta blocks crusted with seeds and a wonderful warm syrup.” Noor says she should have thought of the ‘One Pan Crispy Spaghetti and Chicken’ herself: “Everyone loves it. Crispy bits of spaghetti, chicken with breadcrumbs, so simple in the pan meaning less washing up”.


If it looks like a sexy plate of food, you’ll want to eat it. larger premises in Holloway, something Noor and Yotam say is bittersweet.

The ‘lava of cheese’ oozing from a ‘Curried Cauliflower Cheese Filo Pie’, Noor and Yotam happily posing by a giant Shelf Love promotional banner near Borough Market, London

There’s banter about Ottolenghi’s young sons visiting the kitchen and never giving any dish a 10 because perfection apparently isn’t possible, even for one of the world’s titans of food. And, of course, anyone who runs a fleet of delis, where the windows are famously piled high with pastries and meringues, clearly has a generous spirit and quest for perfection. The eponymous Test Kitchen that gave the recently published book its title evolved under a railway arch in Camden – “equal parts brick and tahini”, as Shelf Love wryly notes. As the team expanded so did the arches, with three neighbouring arches creating a higgledy-piggledy layout. No longer fit for purpose, the team is moving to

The Test Kitchen is a true melting pot of culinary influences. Yotam was born with Italian Jewish and German Jewish heritage in Jerusalem. Noor was brought up in her father’s native Bahrain and born to an English mother, who she describes as a great cook whose heavy use of spices (when she moved to Bahrain as a newlywed aged 21) was an amazing, if overwhelming, revelation. Noor’s Instagram feed is something of an edible rainbow, and she explains her philosophy is to make people eat with their eyes: “If it looks like a sexy plate of food, you’ll want to eat it”. Her tip to get even the most veg-phobic out of their comfort zone is to inject vegetables here and there. “A lot of people don’t eat cauliflower, but make it into a ‘Curried Cauliflower Cheese Filo Pie’ that when you cut into it is a lava of cheese – so great!”.

Shelf Love strikes just this kind of friendly tone. As Noor says, “It’s casual on purpose because it’s no big deal if you don’t have this or that ingredient”. And although the book was in the planning before lockdown came along, which of us hasn’t tried to make the most of that pile of dried pulses or Ziploc bag of blackberries lurking on a shelf or in a freezer? Yotam says he’s never been as strict about mealtimes as during lockdown, when his family used them to punctuate days that had lost their usual structure – otherwise it all drifted from one thing to the next. With two WINTER 2021 37

By Yotam Ottolenghi & Noor Mur Published by Ebury Press on 30th Sept, £25 flexibind

OTTOLENGHI TEST KITCHEN will focus on relaxed, flexible home c

Stripped-back approach fuelled by classic Middle Eastern flavo

It’s casual on purpose… it’s no big deal From Yotam Ottolenghi, Noor Murad and the rest of the #OTK t if you don’t have this or that ingredient.

The child-friendly ‘Very Giant Couscous Cake’, Yotam and Noor with the OTK team, Yotam’s standout dish ‘Confit Tandoori Chickpeas’.

OTTOLENGHI TEST KITCHEN: Shelf Love by Yotam Ottolenghi and Noor Murad

30ththe September, thethe firstPersian in an innovative newastringent series for the busy hom around Gulf for their young kids at home Yotam published says he loved All the signature Ottolenghi touches are here – big flavours, veggie-forward dish bitter-sour taste, having been cooked in salt quality time, “But it will come as a surprise to influences – but are distilled to maximise ease and versatility. water and dried in the sun. Yotam says if no one that home schooling sucked”. you the understand the flavour profile you recipes, know with way The #OTK books will share Test Kitchen’s tried-and-tested what to do with it. He explains that it’s similar Noor credits cooking for keeping her sane, and modify them using whatever ingredients you have to hand. Designed in an to other ingredients were preserved to notes, and fr particularly in Bahrain which was in “super notebook style, they feature suggestions tothat adapt, spaces to write Insta-inspired extend their shelf life but then become great lockdown”. Sharing on Instagram, she photography. in their own right: “It’s a flavour echo. Use loved the connection this gave her with they’re conjuring newzest, recipes or cooking for themselves at home, t withup juice, freshly grated leaves. It’s the outside world. A strongWhether use of digital Test Kitchen team do what we all do: they raid their kitchens. But then they tur why making up recipes is such fun because platforms was already happening within the they find into approachable, uplifting creations with an ‘Ottolenghi’ twist. This s layering up the flavour is what we do Ottolenghi empire, but Yotam says its use has inspired by the OTK team’s own experience in lockdown, when we’ve all been st intuitively as cooks”. continues to explain accelerated. Noor loves seeing what recipes front of our kitchen shelves, cupboards andHe fridges, wondering what to cook wi that it’s the same reason why basil itsto good use, in stick and says it’s a great feeling to know that we’ve got; how to put a can of chickpeas or a bag of frozenwith peas aniseedy taking an extra trip to the shops.flavour might pair with chervil, she has done her job, “to encourage people tarragon or dill to make the food taste richer. to cook for themselves and their families”.

These dishes pack all the punch and edge we expect from Ottolenghi, but with flexibility to make themFrom our own. There’s the ultimate guide to creamy dreamy a store cupboard point of view, Yotam It’s hard to remember a time before a one-pan route to confit tandoori chickpeas and a not-your-average tomato says he’s always worried about running out Ottolenghi, though perhaps we just need Packed with tips to get ahead and for switching things up, this is Ottolenghi str of tahini paste.flavours “With garlic lemon juice team bring to think of it before-knowing-aboutfuelled by the classic Middle Eastern we alland love. The #OTK there’s nothing better drizzled on veg, meat pomegranate-molasses and after. Noor saysown right following in their of 1.8 million followers on Instagram. it’s so nice to go into a supermarket today and see ingredients that were once hard to get – she spotted black limes in Waitrose recently. She explains they are used all 38 SUMMER 2021

and even fish”. For Noor, it has to be rice. “In the UK a potato is the carb. Back home in Bahrain if you don’t have rice it’s an issue. I love knowing I can do a quick pilaff.


YOTAM OTTOLENGHI how it all happened...

1968 —— Born in Jerusalem to a Chemistry professor father and mother who was a head teacher. He is of Italian Jewish and German Jewish descent. “I grew up in this incredible mumble jumble of food.”. 1997 —— Completed a combined masters and bachelor’s degree in Comparative Literature at Tel Aviv University. 1997 —— Moved to Amsterdam to work as a journalist, then to London to study One-pot Chicken with Orzo, Porchini and Cinnamon

pastry at Le Cordon Bleu 1999 —— Become Head Pastry Chef at Baker and Spice where he met Palestinian chef


Just throw in some veg and spices and you have a meal”. Over the holiday season Noor suggests trying the ‘Celebration Rice with Lamb, Chicken and Garlic Yoghurt’ – a great dish if looking for an alternative for Christmas. The ‘Sweet Spiced Mushroom and Rice Pilaff’ is packed with warming spices like star anise. There are also lots of mezze dishes including ‘Burnt Aubergine with Tahini’. For Yotam a standout is the ‘Confit Tandoori Chickpeas’, “Just throw everything in a pot and it’s full of warming flavours”. A lot of the recipes are child friendly, including the aforementioned crispy spaghetti and the ‘Very Giant Couscous Cake’, which is full of cheese. “Instead of a pizza do the couscous cake. My kids love it. And Yotam makes the ‘One Pot Chicken’ a lot at home and remarks that anyone can make recipes more simple: “Just take away an ingredient or two”. Do either of them have a motto for life? Yotam says he learned the hard way “Not

Sami Tamimi 2002 —— Opened the first Ottolenghi in Notting Hill, with Sami Tamimi and Noam Bar 2006 —— Started writing a column for The Guardian 2008 —— Debut cookery book Ottolenghi published 2021 —— Publication of 9th cookbook – Ottolenghi

Test Kitchen: Shelf Life Shop the full range of cookbooks, plus tablewear, food hampers, totes and more at

to linger. I have a tendency to ruminate and then get in a rut. It’s important to move yourself from a situation”. For Noor, her Grandpa always advised to remember where you came from, something Noor carries with her, particularly in her cooking: “With food, people are doing so many different things, so you don’t need to be anyone else”. We’ll certainly eat to that – all hail being introduced to black lime and pomegranate molasses, not to mention the unbelievably tasty sounding crispy spaghetti. WINTER 2021 39

Sesame-crusted feta with black lime honey syrup ‘Everything is betta with feta,’ says Tara, voted the number one feta fan of all time, and, to be fair, she might be right. We try really hard not to show cheese favouritism (cheesism), but we’d be lying if we didn’t admit that feta makes a prominent appearance in the OTK fridge, its salty, tangy properties lending it well to multiple preparations. This dish is a little bit sweet, a lotta bit salty, a tiny bit bitter and a whole bit crispy. It’s exactly what you’d serve for brunch (with bacon, if you like) and not much else, as it really is quite rich. Get ahead Coat the feta the night before, cover well and keep refrigerated

Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 30 minutes Chilling time: 30 minutes to overnight Serves: 8

INGREDIENTS ● 2 blocks of Greek feta (360g), each cut into 4 triangles (8 triangles in total) ● 35g rice flour (or plain flour if gluten-free flour not needed) ● 1 large egg, well beaten ● 100g mixed black and white sesame seeds, lightly toasted ● 2 tbsp olive oil ● ½ tbsp picked lemon thyme leaves, or regular thyme leaves SYRUP ● 120g runny honey ● 1 tsp ground black lime (optional) ● 3 lemons: 1 juiced to get 1 tbsp and the other 2 left whole 40 WINTER 2021

1 Line a shallow baking dish (or baking tray with a slight lip), about 30cm x 20cm in size, with baking parchment. 2 Pat dry the feta pieces, then dip each piece in the flour, gently shaking off the excess. Coat in the egg, followed by the sesame seeds, making sure the feta pieces are completely coated. Transfer each piece to your prepared dish and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or longer if time allows. 3 Preheat the oven to 220°C fan. Drizzle the coated feta pieces with the oil and bake from cold, for 18 minutes, very gently flipping the pieces over halfway, or until golden and warmed through. 4 While the feta is baking, put the honey and black lime, if using, into a small saucepan on a medium-high heat. Once it starts to bubble, turn the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until it turns a deep amber caramel, about 6–7 minutes. Take off the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes. 5 Use a small, sharp knife to peel and segment the remaining two lemons and stir the segments into the cooled honey mixture. 6 When ready, pour the lemon syrup directly over the feta in the baking dish, sprinkle with the thyme and serve at once, straight from the dish.


Make it your own: Leave out the black lime if you can’t find any – this dish is just as special without it. Swap out the feta for halloumi


cheese instead.

Recipe extracted from Ottolenghi

Test Kitchen: Shelf Love by Noor Murad and Yotam Ottolenghi (Ebury Press, £25) All photography by Elena Heatherwick

WINTER 2021 41

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School Notices, in partnership with abrdn, are delighted once again to offer our member schools the chance to take part in this fully interactive and engaging sixth form programme. Three 45 minute webinars over three consecutive weeks will give a deep dive into the world of finance and investment with industry leaders. On completion of the course, each pupil will receive a certificate to add to their CV and LinkedIn profile with the opportunity to be put forward for an internship at abrdn.

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The Financial Awareness Course arrived at an ideal moment for our Year 13 students. Joining our Life After Marlborough programme, this three part course comprehensively covers an integral part of a young person’s future life and was delivered engagingly, relevantly and tangibly by the experts from abrdn. Thank you School Notices! John Carroll, Head of U6, Marlborough College

Please contact if you would like your school to be included in this initiative. WINTER 2021 43

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Naturally wonderful Amanda Morison meets Willow Crossley, a florist who promotes seasonal blooms to fabulous effect and has worked with everyone from Ralph Lauren to Meghan Markle. Natural, seasonal and beautiful is how florist Willow Crossley might describe her love of flowers. It could equally be used about her. She was thrown into the limelight when she devised the evening’s floral arrangements at a certain royal wedding (say what you like about Meghan; her nuptials were nothing if not impeccably stylish) but she’s been building up a brand for years. Encompassing on and offline floral workshops, authoring four books, collaborations with everyone from Ralph Lauren to Dior, a wallpaper and fabric collection with Barneby Gates and a covetable collection of vases and accessories all designed and found by Willow.

Her work ethic is clearly more hard-working perennial than blowsy annual. Willow grew up in Wales and is the daughter of artist-gardener Kate Corbett-Winder – “My brothers and I got so bored of her constantly weeding, but it’s come full circle and my bedroom reading is now seed catalogues”. Her three young sons seem to be following the same nature path, pointing out the names of trees while out on walks and presenting their mother with fir cones and bits of lichen. In lockdown she believes lots of us, like her, were obsessed with making “little areas of the home lovely”. Her husband does all the cooking, while she describes her role as WINTER 2021 45

L-R: Willow’s influential mother the artist-gardener Kate Corbett-Winder, a gorgeous interior of the family home, harvesting hydrangeas, peonies – Willow’s favourite

about how things look. Pretty gorgeous, if her Instagram profile is anything to go by. A giant coffee table is piled high with art books, sofas groan with a kaleidoscope of cushions and enormous driftwood lamps take pride of place in front of beautiful paintings and mirrors. There are also, of course, beautiful blooms artfully arranged in glass bud vases, tin troughs and hand-painted china. She says she’s built up what she calls a tabletop wardrobe faster than most because she’s constantly sourcing for work. “I love recycling it year after year, getting out the old school Christmas decorations. It’s not curated. The colours have to work but I’m too shambolic for too much theming and scheming”. Much of what’s for sale in Willow’s online shop she designs herself, partly because she couldn’t find the vases that she wanted for her own arrangements. “I’m really trying to buy as local to us as possible. Post-Covid 46 SUMMER 2021

anything from abroad takes so long to arrive and besides, my ethos is to be as sustainable as possible”. With this in mind Willow sources her flowers in Britain for eight months of the year, something she explains is getting easier and easier as local growers proliferate: “During lockdown I was messaged again and again by people who’d decided to give up being a lawyer to become a grower”. She has strong feelings about how bad for the planet so much of the floristry industry is, plastic wrapping, pots, green foam for arrangements and all the rest of it. “Just because things have always been done that way doesn’t mean you can’t change”. Willow originally wanted to go into fashion but was worn down by spending hours in a dark fashion cupboard while simultaneously styling interiors and writing books. She had her lightbulb moment when writing a chapter on flowers and she realised that’s


Kitchen awash with floral decoration, her wallpaper inspired by botanical illustrations of mother Kate, wreathmaking workshop, award-winning Ralph Lauren installation for Chelsea in Bloom 2021

When you realise you’ll be putting up a wedding in the day and taking it down at 3am you’ll see it’s far from a namby pamby job. what she was going to do. Her husband gave her a course at the Covent Garden Flower Academy for her birthday where she learnt the basics, though wryly describes the teachers constantly trying to rein her in. Since then, she’s learnt it all on the job, working out the mechanics of making enormous arrangements hang from the ceiling with no water. It is stressful she admits, because flowers have a habit of dropping down dead

and you never know what the weather is going to do. “I always order more than I need and plan like mad. I did an event at Blenheim Palace and it was so unbelievably hot that candles were burning down in 30 mins rather than eight hours”. May is Willow’s favourite month for flowers. “You’ve got tulips, Solomon’s seal, foxgloves, peonies – my absolute favourite – and beeches with all their gorgeous fresh applyness”. For foliage she turns to oak, variegated ivy and summery sorbus. She also adores dahlias, despite her poor mother – who designed her wedding flowers – being banned from using them at the time. “Not sure what I was thinking, but I love dahlias now!”. If she could give advice to a florist-inthe-making, she says not to be nervous. “On workshops the first thing many say is how scared they are. Start small. Go to a SUMMER 2021 47

Image provi

Their future lies in your hands… Image provided by kind permission of Marlborough College

Get the parent view with our exclusive school reviews


Willow is working with Dior on floral masterclasses with their Creative Director Cordelia de Castelene and her fabric and wallpaper collaboration with Barneby Gates has been a huge success. This came about because she wanted to work with her great friend, Barneby Gates co-founder Vanessa. “Girlfriends are such an important part of my life, especially those like Vanessa who are self-employed too. They’re just on the same frazzled and exhausted page”. She says that working with children is a juggle – “we are doing everything at home as well so having a group of great girlfriends is hugely reassuring and comforting”.

Willow creates floral table decorations for the launch party of her fabric and wallpaper collaboration with Barneby Gates.

hedgerow and pick some things to go in a bud vase. Dot them down a kitchen table and you’ll start to learn how long things live and what goes with what. You’ll always get flowers in the best condition from a local grower. And if you want to work in the industry get as much work experience as you can. When you realise you’ll be putting up a wedding in the day and taking it down at 3am you’ll see it’s far from a namby pamby job”. As career highlights go, there have been many, including an installation for Ralph Lauren for Chelsea in Bloom 2021 that won the People’s Champion award and a Gold. “It was amazing! The theme was Extraordinary Voyages and we turned the store into a train. We built through the night on Sunday and opened on Monday morning after six months of planning”.

What’s to come is a clothing collaboration for which she was the model “The only bit of the otherwise fascinating process” that she wasn’t keen on. In the future she’d love to work with Gucci because she loves their mad clashing floral prints and do a music set stage “the madder the better, though the speakers might get in the way which would annoy me!”. @willowcrossleycreates

Shop Willow’s covetable vase and garden accessories collection or book a floristy workshop at Attend a virtual floristy workshop with Willow at Get inspired by all things floral @willowcrossleycreates

WINTER 2021 49

Wreath masterclass Willow shares her wreathmaking technique for you to try at home in six simple steps. 50 WINTER 2021

You’ll need: ● A metal wreath ring ● Ball of twine, green or

natural coloured

● Damp moss ● Your choice of

evergreen – fir, holly

● Your choice of colourful

shrubs and berries



Create your wreath in six simple steps: 1 2 3 4 5 6

Start with your wreath ring. Remember that the finished wreath will be larger than the ring, so choose a ring size that’s appropriate for your door. Add plenty of damp moss between the two outer rings, scrunching it into the ring with your hands. Take a ball of twine and wrap tightly to secure the moss. When back at the start, you can begin adding your evergreen layer. (Don’t cut the twine at this stage.) Cut your chosen evergreen into equal lengths of 10cm or so and secure to the moss layer, wrapping the twine over the beginning of each length of evergreen. Overlap each piece of evergreen to hide the twine. Press in your stems of shrubs and berries at equal lengths around the wreath, tucking securely into the twine. Add any further delicate pieces of foliage, taking care to secure them. Check that your wreath is looking full by filling any gaps, then add your choice of ribbon to hang.

Further online workshops available at






6 WINTER 2021 51


Bright young STARS As children we often dream of the bright lights but landing centre stage requires hard work, resilience, determination and above all, the essential ingredient, ‘talent’. We catch up with some extraordinary individuals from within the Independent School Network, whose talents are taking them straight to the top. Looking to the arts, we follow these bright young stars… WINTER 2021 53

Katie Kittermaster Singer Songwriter, 21 years

At 13, I was asked to open the Global Gift Gala when we lived in Dubai; It was a starstudded event, hosted by Ricky Martin and Eva Longoria and ignited my passion for performing. On my return to school in the UK, I started posting covers on YouTube, entering songwriting competitions and playing at small pub gigs and local festivals. But it wasn’t until I left school and decided not to go to university, that music became a career choice.

Straight after A Levels, I was invited on tour with Brian McFadden and Keith Duffy from Westlife and Boyzone which enabled me to hone my performance skills on stage in front of big crowds. I also went on tour with Lucy Spraggan before Covid struck. I was fortunate to perform at a few socially distanced shows during the summer including opening for the Kaiser Chiefs and Rick Astley. During the pandemic I used my time to write new music which I then started posting on TikTok. This amongst other things led to a signing with BMG as a writer - so now I write songs for other people as well as myself! At School, I was always in the choir and loved the opportunities I was given to perform. Whilst at Repton in Dubai aged 13, a few of us were asked to perform on live morning television which led to my opening for Global Gift Gala and the Help For Hero’s event at the British Embassy. I am naturally quite shy so always felt a little self-conscious singing at school but I played Penny in the school’s production of Hairspray in Year 13 and this is genuinely my favourite memory from school! What I wish I’d known is that there will be a lot of NO’s and a lot of set-backs but you have



to take it on the chin and become stronger and more determined. It’s hand to mouth living as getting a regular job alongside a singing career is tricky. I am living in London now so the bills are my responsibility. I do some busking, I have a side-hustle on Depop and I do some ‘extra’ work. In fact my last role was a body double in a Disney movie! It’s character building stuff and you definitely have to be entrepreneurial - it’s very rare that the opportunities just land in your lap. I’ve learnt not to wait for anything to come to you. You’ve got to get out there and grind and hustle. Post covers and originals online as social media is so important. Platforms like TikTok and Instagram are literally making people’s careers!! It is easy to become a little obsessed with likes, views, streams and comments but I try not to look. I post what I feel is good content rather than stress about it and it is important to promote yourself across all the channels and to be consistent. Also, play live as much as you can - there is nothing like live experience. The industry is very fickle and you can spend your time trying to please the tastemakers but my advice is to be genuine and stay true to yourself.

STAR STATS School: Cranbrook Instagram - 26.3k Tiktok - 49.4k Most famous follower: Olly Murs Inspiration: Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Lily Allen, Miley Cyrus, Maisie Peters, Holly Humberstone and Griff. Five year dream: Playing a sellout concert at O2, headlining Glastonbury, being financially viable and happy! Motto: You gotta dream big to be big!

I played my first headline show this September which was just amazing! It felt like my wedding ahh!! The fact people came to see ME and knew the words to songs I’d written was just mind blowing! My advice to others would be, don’t be embarrassed to have a passion and to follow your dreams. If it’s making a singing account or singing in assembly - just do it!! Prove them all wrong. @katiekittermaster



George Erith Musician, 19 years

When asked how it all began, I suppose it’s a bit of a sob story really. I lost someone very close to me at the same time I started teaching myself guitar. I found writing songs about him was a great way to deal with my grief, so I released one of them ‘Postcards From Heaven’. A lot of people said they found the video a great way to reminisce and let emotions out and that they liked the song! So I wrote a few more, mainly with the aim of optimism and reassurance, trying to go for a ‘feel-good’ style of music. I released some of them on Soundcloud and ‘We’ll Be Alright’ was the one to stick. I then had it professionally mixed and put it on Spotify, Apple etc. through a self-release distributor called ‘Distro-Kid’. The track must have been in the right place at the right time because it found its way to ‘New Music Friday’ and a

STAR STATS School: Orwell, Uppingham Instagram: 2,000 TikTok: 3,000 Inspiration: The Kinks, Bombay Bicycle Club, Famous follower on SM: Scouting For Girls Five year dream: Living with friends, making music every day and selling out shows. I’d love to be writing songs and collaborating with more famous artists. Motto: We’ll Be Alright

week later the ‘Good Energy’ Spotify playlist. I’m still figuring out my next steps a year later. I have always admired ‘The Kinks’ from a song writing perspective and how they mastered the art of creating a timeless sound. I never get bored of their lyrics and I’m a big fan of their catchy melodies. ‘Bombay Bicycle Club’ probably secure my no.1 spot, I take a lot of inspiration from their first album ‘I Had the Blues but Shook Them Loose’. Their artistic development is one to observe, for me they cover every type of song I like. Writing songs came to me at the very end of my school career. However, half way through I started a band called ‘The Pundits’ which released two songs. I played bass and learnt a lot from the friends I worked with which encouraged me to try and go solo. What I’ve since learnt is to have everything organised in advanced, from future songs, to press photos, to social media content. I wish I’d had a few more tracks to a finished level before releasing my first song so I could have churned out a few others and had more of a platform for people to get behind. @georgeerith WINTER 2021 57

L-R: playing Kenickie in Grease at Hurtwood House, promoting scifi series Pandora at Comic Con and playing character Ralen

Ben Radcliffe Actor, 23 years

I grew up in Leeds, where I started drama and dance classes at a young age. I was signed with a young talent agency with whom I landed a role in London with the musical Oliver! After a year of performing to a crowd of over 2,000, I decided I didn’t want to leave. So I stayed in London to attend theatre school, where I continued to learn and audition. I was then lucky enough to get a place at Hurtwood House A-level college, which confirmed for me that acting was something I had to do. Since finishing college I have worked on a range of exciting projects, including a lead role on a Disney series, a new Netflix drama starring Sienna Miller, and most recently the new mini-series produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg ‘Masters of the Air’, where I play an American Bomber Pilot in WW2. 58 WINTER 2021

Hurtwood House played an immense role in my career. I took part in all of the school shows, the most notable was the Christmas musical where I played Kenickie in Grease. This was not only one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life, but it gave me the opportunity to perform in front of talent agents, leading to a meeting with Waring and Mckenna agency, who I have now been signed to for six years. I have experienced both the ups and downs of being an actor. It is a job that is filled with a lot of uncertainty. I would like to say I wish I had known when the next job is coming but I truly believe experiencing the struggle of waiting and learning to deal with that stress makes you a better person. When the next job finally does come, you appreciate it more. Acting for me is about instinct, knowing how certain people react in certain situations and recreating it. But to deliver on this, repeatedly, in front of the camera and a crew of 100 plus takes confidence. You have to push yourself to try things, be brave, and that can result in the best performance. The show I am currently working on ‘Masters of the Air’ is an upcoming American war drama mini-series based on the actions of the Eighth Air Force of the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. We film scenes at


Apple’s new film studio, in something called a ‘volume’. This is a large cove of LED screens, at the centre, a B-17 bomber plane is rigged to a moving gimbal. So not only does the plane move but when we look out the window we can see everything you would see being 40,000 in the air, flying over enemy territory. Shooting scenes like this on such a big scale, being flung around by the simulator has to be a highlight. There have been many low points, mostly coming from times where I have been very close to getting a big role and just missed out. This is something you have to learn to deal with. I no longer see it as rejection. There are so many reasons why you might not have been cast, but getting any sort of traction with a casting director is a win. They will keep you in mind for another project. My advice for aspiring actors is to get involved and get creative. The first step everyone usually associates with being an actor is getting an agent. But prove yourself first and then an agent will become interested. Get involved in as many projects as you can, gain knowledge, confidence, and learn by doing. @ben_radcliffe

STAR STATS School: Hurtwood House Instagram: 6,023 Inspiration: My friends. Other actors I know and work with. Five year dream: Working in action movies Motto: Everything happens for a reason and be nice.

WINTER 2021 59

Poppy Miles Model, 20 years

When I was young I was scouted a few times but never followed it up as I had no idea about modelling. Then, when I was 16, I was scouted again by my current agency, Linden Staub, at a music festival in Cornwall. My friends told me I would be crazy not to look them up and I really liked the sound of them so decided to get in touch. At school I had no idea I would become a model but boarding definitely prepared me for all the travelling I now have to do. Not only am I used to being away from home but often I have to stay in apartments with up to 10 other models so sometimes it feels just like being back in a boarding house!

friends. However, it has provided me with the best experiences and the opportunity to travel all around the world. This summer I was in Harper’s Bazaar - I get so excited when I’m in a magazine as you can pick it up at the newsstands. London Fashion Week is always a highlight too! A low point would be when Covid hit as I was meant to be modelling in New York, something that has always been a dream of mine. However, they are starting to open their borders again, so fingers crossed I will make it next year… My advice for others wanting to model is that it’s SO important to do your research before signing to an agency. Make sure you share the same morals and ambitions because, at the end of the day, modelling is a career. Don’t be afraid to Instagram message models already signed in order to find out the truth. I know everyone says it but be yourself and take every opportunity. I’ve also learnt not to be scared by rejection, learning how to fail is really learning how to succeed! Oh and no, you don’t get to keep the clothes! @poppymiles_

STAR STATS School: Sandroyd, Marlborough College SM Followers: 1,350 Inspiration: the model Coco Rocha Five year dream: To stay in the creative world whether that is

Modelling is often made out to be a super glamorous job but, in reality, you are mostly running around big cities going to castings and jobs whilst being away from family and 60 WINTER 2021

continuing to model, or a career in art following Exeter Uni Motto: Where there’s a will, there’s always a way!

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