With two months of 2012 already gone, I just have to ask: how are your new year’s resolutions coming along? Mine are, unfortunately, a thing of the past. I started the year with a bang, losing 10 pounds in January, spending evenings and weekends with my family, and actually exercising five days a week. So how’s it going now, you ask? I didn’t lose a single ounce in February, I’ve slid back into working on weekends again, and exercise...well, we won’t mention exercise. As Aristotle so wisely put it: “It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom.” Perhaps I should start getting up earlier. One habit I’m sure we’ll keep at insideKENT is publishing our annual Readers’ Choice Issue. We took votes in January and February for our March/April cover star, beauty feature, travel, reader competition and motors review.
before they are 30. The Bridge Fertility Centre is one of the world’s most experienced fertility centres, and will be there every step of the way when you decide to start a family, whether it be long before or long after your ‘biological clock’ starts ticking (p44). With spring around the corner, it’s time for spring cleaning. This might mean a body detox (including a colon cleanse (yikes) on page 52) or an entire kitchen or bathroom redesign (see our Kitchens & Bathrooms feature on pages 25-35). No matter what spring cleaning plans you have, insideKENT has got you covered. We also have Easter to look forward to, with all its sweetie goodness. Have you ever stopped to think about the history of hot cross buns or chocolate eggs? Have a look on page 74 to ﬁnd out all about our favourite Easter treats. We’ve also featured some of the best Easter events across Kent on page 111. As always, keep your comments and feedback coming, and join us on Facebook & Twitter for all the latest and greatest!
As you’ve already seen from our cover, Robert Downey Jr takes the cake with an overwhelming 80% of votes. Read all about his ‘ironclad success’ on page 56. The other readers’ choice winners are: Enjoy! • Beauty: Complimentary Colours (p50) • Travel: Food Retreats in Wales (p90) • Competition: RC Helicopter (p61) • Motors: Aston Martin Cygnet (p92) Spring is most definitely on the horizon with sprouting daffodils, longer days and soon-to-be baby birds and lambs at every turn. But for the modern woman, did you know it’s a significant and growing trend in the UK to wait until later in life to start a family? In 2002, the average woman had her ﬁrst baby at 25. Today, few British women will even start trying
Donna Martin / Editor
Don’t miss a beat. Follow insideKENT on Facebook & Twitter. www.facebook.com/insidekent www.twitter.com/insidekent
readers’ choice winner
92 readers’ choice winner 56
C O N T E 90
readers’ choice winner
readers’ choice winner
KENT NEWS What's going on in the Garden of England
THE NOT-SO-IMPOSSIBLE DREAM The London Bridge Fertility, Gynaecology and Genetics Centre
BUSINESS Wilkins Kennedy's Robert Reynolds talks about keeping your business on track
A NATURAL APPROACH TO BIRTHING with Foreman & Jones
LOCAL BUSINESS The Kent Baby & Toddler Show
TAKE A BREATHER with Le Whif 'whiffable' chocolate
LONDON BUSINESS The Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel
SPRING CLEAN YOUR TEETH with a 2-4-1 offer at Bel Sorriso
AND THE WINNER IS XL Pools takes the gold at the 2012 SPATA Awards
COMPLIMENTARY COLOURS Finding the perfect match with Gemma Morpurgo
KENT 2020 Vision LIVE Finding new opportunities for your business
BODY DETOX Spring cleaning your body from the inside out
CHARITY News at Demelza and the Kent MS Therapy Centre
THE TRUTH ABOUT RHINOPLASTY with cosmetic surgeon John Davison
SPECIAL FEATURE: KITCHENS & BATHROOMS Kent businesses and products to help you create the perfect space
COVER STORY Ironclad success: Robert Downey Jr
WIN A RC GYRO FLY HELICOPTER from Kent-based HOTcraze
EMBRACE YOUR SHAPE Flattering fashion for all body types
SHAMPAN AT THE SPINNING WHEEL Fine dining at its best
DOES THE SHOE FIT? The latest in men's fashion
RECIPE FROM MICHAEL CAINES MBE Lancashire hotpot with braised red cabbage
61 readers' choice winner
N T S
56 92 50 90 111 28 61
IRONCLAD SUCCESS: ROBERT DOWNEY JR THE ASTON MARTIN CYGNET COMPLIMENTARY COLOURS FOODIE RETREATS IN WALES WHAT'S HAPPENING THIS EASTER GORGEOUS PRODUCTS FOR YOUR KITCHEN WIN AN RC HELICOPTER FROM HOTCRAZE
A MEAL FOR FOUR AT THE NEW GREENCAFÉ AT MILLBROOK GARDEN CENTRE - P36
A MICROLAB HI-FI AUDIO SYSTEM - P106
DINNER AND A MOVIE FOR TWO - P113
SPECTACULAR SEASIDE DINING at The Hythe Bay at Dover
LOCAL ESCAPES Redcot House B&B, Ramsgate
AND THE FINALISTS ARE... insideKENT goes inside the Taste of Kent Awards 2012
TRAVEL Discover the Welsh food revolution
THE AMBRETTE AT MARGATE Unique culinary art with every mouthful
THE ASTON MARTIN CYGNET Combining luxury with responsibility
MOTHER'S DAY DINING Say 'thank you' to you mum in style
SPECIAL FEATURE: KENT'S TOP SCHOOLS Kent education at its best
EASTER TREATS The history behind classic Easter favourites
ROYAL OPERAL HOUSE CINEMA Bringing opera and ballet to Kent cinemas
FACE VALUE Portrait artist Martin Wells
THE LATEST GADGETS from HOTcraze Gadgets & Gizmos
KENTISH AUTHOR ELIZABETH HAYNES Winner of Amazon UK's Best Book of 2011
LONDON EVENTS View London's top picks for springtime fun in the captial
TOWN SPOTLIGHT Spotlight on Chislehurst
KENT EVENTS What's happening in your neck of the woods
EXPLORE LULLINGSTONE A walk through picturesque countryside
insideSPORT From Kent to Monte Carlo with Louise Cook
EVOCATIVE AND SIGNIFICANT 'RailArt' at the Historic Dockyard Chatham
10 BEST The 10 best laptop bags for men and women
DAYS OUT From bluebells to butterflies
insideKENT www.tilemates.co.uk Why buy tiles from us? Since starting business in 1983 we have built a reputation for supplying quality materials at competitive prices. Visit any of our showrooms and you will find a choice second to none: Ceramics, Porcelain, Glass Tiles and Blocks, Mosaics and an extensive range of natural products including Slate, Limestone, Travertine, Terracotta, Marble and Sandstone. We have everything covered, making us your one-stop shop with products such as under-tile heating, tile backer board, adhesives, grouts and various sealers and cleaners. TILE MATES Welling Branch 40-44 Upper Wickham Lane Welling DA16 3HF 0208 303 4023
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TILE MATES Chatsworth Parade Queensway Petts Wood BR5 1DF 01689 878 667
INTERNATIONAL TILE STORE TILE MATES The Warehouse Unit 13 Tunnel Road Bourne Industrial Park Tunbridge Wells Crayford TN1 2BT DA1 4BZ 01892 514 004 01322 555 453
Account Managers Greg Bettles Paul Martin Terry Crawford Contributors Emma Batchelor, Charlie O’Brien, Gemma Morpurgo, Emma Bates, View London, Explore Kent, Jodie Foreman, Peter da Silva, Robert Reynolds, Rachel Gold, Sarah-Jane Stenson, Luke Yates, Wilfred Arasaratnam Photographers Luke Yates Publisher
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PENSHURST PLACE & GARDENS TO BECOME A SEVEN WONDER OF THE WEALD The Seven Wonders of the Weald are delighted to announce that Penshurst Place & Gardens has accepted an invitation to join the Seven Wonders of the Weald tourism partnership. Ben Thomas, General Manager of Penshurst Place Estate said, “We are really pleased to be joining this unique partnership. It is a good fit for Penshurst Place and a clever brand presence for this stunning area of the country and we look forward to working with our new partners.” Peter D’Aguilar of Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest, a member of the Seven Wonders partnership for 7 years said, “It’s great to have Penshurst Place & Gardens in the Seven Wonders of the Weald Partnership. They will fit well with our offer to visitors in the area and to those we are trying to attract in.” Penshurst Place & Gardens joins other Kent and Sussex attractions in the group: Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest, Marle Place Gardens & Gallery, Biddenden Vineyards, Merriments Gardens, Kent & East Sussex Railway, and Chiddingstone Castle & Gardens. Penshurst Place & Gardens will be part of the new 2012 attraction pass offer which gives one free entry to all the attractions for just £25 (a saving of £25 on admission after purchasing a pass). The 2012 attraction pass is available to purchase online via the Seven Wonders website www.sevenwonders.or.uk and also from Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest, Merriments Gardens, Biddenden Vineyards and from the Maidstone, Ashford and Tunbridge Wells Tourist Information Centres.
RAIL EUROPE REMAINS ON TRACK AT KINGS HILL Continental train travel specialist Rail Europe is to retain its Kings Hill headquarters for a further ten years. The company is the UK’s leading specialist in tickets and passes for rail travel around Europe and has been based on the business park since 2001. Its office building, 34 Tower View, was specially designed to suit its requirements. Over 80 staff are based at the Kings Hill offices, and, said Andrew Blevins, managing director of Kings Hill developer LibertyProperty Trust UK Ltd, “It is great news for Kings Hill and for Kent that Rail Europe is remaining here.” Rail Europe offers tickets for high speed, overnight and scenic rail journeys to and throughout Europe. It also offers InterRail passes covering up to 30 European countries, tickets for AutoTrain car carrying services and ski trains. Karen McClellan, deputy managing director of Rail Europe, commented, “Kings Hill is an ideal location for Rail Europe. Our staff come from throughout Kent and all find it easy to reach us due to the excellent transport links with both road and rail. The onsite facilities make it a pleasant and convenient place to work and I’m delighted that we will be remaining here for another ten years.” Kings Hill is set in 800 acres near the county town of Maidstone and is just two miles from junction 4 of the M20. It also has excellent rail links to London and Europe, with trains to London and Ashford International from West Malling for Kings Hill station. Shuttle buses direct from Kings Hill deliver passengers to, and collect from, every train. KingsHill is less than 30 minutes drive from Ebbsfleet station where passengers can travel to St Pancras International in just 17 minutes, or catch the Eurostar to France and Belgium. Kings Hill was a former airfield and is now home to around 6,500 residents and more than 100 businesses employing some 5,000 people. There is an 18 hole golf course, cricket pitch, David Lloyd leisure centre, further recreation and sports amenities, schools and a village centre with shops, restaurants and cafés as well as a surgery, dry cleaners, shoe repairers, pharmacy and opticians. For more information visit www.kings-hill.com
FROM BATS TO BUTTERFLIES, ORCHIDS TO ORNITHOLOGY –
EXPLORE THE WONDERS OF NATURE WITH WILDLIFE STUDY DAYS Kent Wildlife Trust has launched its packed programme of Wildlife Study Days for 2012 with wide-ranging courses designed to help the people of Kent appreciate and learn more about the fascinating wildlife that surrounds them. New courses include: The Ecology of Bumblebees; Advanced Lichens; Birds of Prey of the Stour Valley; Chalk Grassland Flowers; Seashore Investigations; Trees, Woods, Wildlife and People - an introduction; as well as two new geology courses and four new art courses. The Trust’s Jill Evington said, “Beginners are very welcome and those with some experience will be able to improve their knowledge and identification techniques. We aim to create a relaxed, informal, atmosphere in which everyone can progress at their own pace whilst enjoying the company of like-minded people.” Study days run from 10am to 3 or 4pm and most are held outside ‘in the field’, often on nature reserves. Normal fees per person per day are £26 with £5 off for senior citizens, students, the unemployed and volunteers registered with Kent Wildlife Trust. Many courses are very popular with places limited, so early bookings are advised. These can be made by calling 01622 662012. Details of the programme can be found at www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/ourwork/wildlife-study-days/2012-programme
Bridgewood Manor Chatham, Kent
Party at Bridgewood Manor this Spring! Saturday 31st March The Ultimate Ladies Night Perfect for hen parties, girlie get-togethers, birthday celebrations or simply a great night out! Enjoy a 3-course meal with entertainment from our Robbie Williams and Justin Timberlake tribute acts from just £29.95 per person! Why not make a night of it? Residential packages are just £125 for 2 people including Ultimate Ladies Night tickets, bed & breakfast.
Friday 6th April Comedy Club (in association with www.comedyclub.co.uk) A great night out for everybody. Get a delicious 2-course meal, stand-up sets from 3 top comedians and an evening disco until 12am – all for just £24.50 per person! Why not make a night of it? Residential packages are just £110 for 2 people including comedy night tickets, bed & breakfast.
To book, call our team on 01634 201 333 or email bridgewoodmanorevents@QHotels.co.uk and quote IK03 www.QHotels.co.uk
Ashford International Hotel Ashford, Kent
All-inclusive wedding packages from just £2,500* We know the sheer amount of planning that goes into making your one special day truly magical. Our new all-inclusive wedding package is designed with you in mind and aims to take away the stress of organising your day. To request a brochure or to ﬁnd out more and arrange a showround contact our Wedding Planners on 01233 219 988 or email ashfordevents@QHotels.co.uk Quote code IK03 when you enquire. *Terms and conditions apply
Did You Know... We can seat a wedding breakfast for 50 - 280 people
One to inspire you. One of a kind. Tel: 01233 219 988
We have fantastic hen & stag packages available including spa treatments and comedy nights
Tel: 01233 219 988 Email: ashfordevents@QHotels.co.uk Email: Ashfordevents@QHotels.co.uk
KENT INVICTA CHAMBER EXHIBITION 2012
YOUR GREAT BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY OF THE YEAR Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce annual Business Exhibition 2012 will take place at the Ashford International Hotel on Tuesday 3rd July. The exhibition is the 26th organised by the Chamber, and in that time it has grown from a simple business-to-business networking event into one of Kent’s largest business events, with over 120 exhibitors from a huge variety of companies in size and business category.
Hello! Hope you’ve been well since we last spoke. This is my favourite time of year in Kent, as we escape the darkest depths of winter and start to enjoy spring. Trips to Botany Bay and Leeds Castle are definitely on my list of places to visit soon now that it’s getting warmer. I might even get that trip out to the war forts that I’ve been planning for five years! You may have heard us talking on the show about ‘James and Charlie’s 2012 Challenge’ – to get a photo with someone representing each of the 205 nations taking part in the Olympics, before they start. This challenge was set by our producer Matt at the beginning of the year, and back then it felt like we had AGES to get this done, but now July is looming dangerously close and we still have a lot of work to do! This is where YOU come in. Do you know someone from any of the countries left on our list? Check it out at www.heart.co.uk/kent. Or perhaps YOU are from one of the nations we need! If you are, get in touch; I promise we don’t bite! All it involves is having a picture with us and maybe a little chat – and you’ll go down in Heart history. I will be very proud when we get the whole list. I am quietly confident. Honest. We’ve also been very busy on the show with our Have a Heart Appeal 2012. This year we’re supporting Childline and we’ve been asking you to ‘Be a kid for a kid’ to raise money. It has involved me and James getting up to all sorts, including wearing ‘onesies’ – you know those adult baby grows that are all the rage?! James looked particularly fetching. Don’t forget if you want to get involved you can raise much needed funds all year round – just go to the Heart website for details. Talking of websites – mine is now live, and it’s got pink on it – what more could a girl want? Drop by to check out my showreel, pictures, blog and more, or just to say hi! www.charlieobrien.co.uk Thanks so much to www.fairlymarvellous.co.uk for the design. Enjoy the spring, maybe chat to you on Heart and definitely see you in the summer! Listen to Heart Breakfast with James and Charlie every weekday morning from 6am-10am, or online at www.heart.co.uk You can also become a Facebook fan – www.facebook.com/heartkent and follow Charlie on Twitter @charlie_radio
The event offers exhibitors and visitors alike the facility to browse amongst and network with ‘the cream of Kent business’. Kent Invicta Chamber covers the areas of Ashford, Canterbury, Maidstone, Tonbridge, Malling, Sevenoaks and the Thames Gateway area, but exhibitors and visitors come from even further afield. The exhibition provides a unique opportunity for you to obtain the best business advice and information – everything you need to know to run a successful and profitable business under one roof in one day. • Learn from the Best in Business – 2 world-class speakers • Business to Business Exhibition all day – over 120 exhibitors • One-to-one FREE business advice – knowledgeable advice in all areas of business • Meet and learn from successful entrepreneurs • FREE high performance workshops • Find more customers – hear how easy it is to reach new markets overseas • Thinking of starting a business – come and find out more • Book and details of your business will be promoted to over 25,000 businesses in Kent PLUS... Networking breakfast – 7.30-9am (includes full English Breakfast) Kent Invicta Chamber Annual Dinner – 7-9.30pm “Our Exhibition has been extremely successful over the years,” says Kent Invicta Chamber Chief Executive Mrs Jo James. “A lot of business has been generated in a huge variety of business categories, and many contacts have been made and contracts negotiated which have enabled businesses to thrive and expand. “In these difficult economic times, it is important to take every opportunity to promote your business and expand your contacts. We believe that our Exhibition is an ideal event to do both.”
To book as an exhibitor at the Exhibition, telephone 01622 232707. To book as a visitor or on the breakfast or dinner, visit www.kentinvictachamber.co.uk, or just turn up (doors open 9am5pm) with your business cards.
LOCAL COMPANY BRINGS EVENT TO CANTERBURY Kent based business, Craft In Focus, is staging one of their contemporary craft events in Canterbury from 13-15 April this year at Kent College. A visit to the Craft In Focus event at Canterbury will provide an opportunity to buy unique products for your home or garden of a quality that is rarely seen amongst the mass produced items on the high street. Everything at the event is ‘Made In The UK’ by the country’s finest professional contemporary artists and craftsmen. Although exhibitors come from all over the UK, several local makers have been selected. These include jewellers Dave Kilford from Deal and Sabine Konig from Herne Bay, silversmith Edward Mahony from Faversham, artist Deborah Packebusch from Barming, ceramicists Helen Rondell from Wrotham Heath and Louise Hummerstone from Canterbury and stained glass artist Brenda Norrish from Ashford. The event is being held at Kent College, Whitstable Road, Canterbury on 13-15 April. Opening hours are 12-5 pm Friday; 10am-5pm Saturday and Sunday. Admission is £4.00 for adults, £3.00 for over 65s. Accompanied under 14s free. Free Parking. For further information contact Craft in Focus on 01622 747 325 or visit their web site at www.craftinfocus.com
TUNBRIDGE WELLS DAD CREATES TOP 10 CHILDREN’S EDUCATIONAL iPHONE APP Ian Knapp, a father of two from Tunbridge Wells, has topped the Apple education app charts in Australia and reached the top ten in the UK with an iPhone app he created in his spare time to help his children learn their times tables. Creating educational apps for primary school age children has now turned into a full-time job for the 36 year old, who spent the last 10 years working at a local web design company he helped establish, and which he left in January to pursue his new career. The chart-topping game is based around the nasty Maths Monster, who has taken the friendly Squeebles as his prisoners. The player’s job is to help Whizz, the only Squeeble to escape, rescue his friends from the Maths Monster’s evil clutches. This is achieved by answering times tables questions correctly across several different game modes. As each Squeeble is released, quirky details about their personalities are revealed and medals, trophies and stars can be won along the way. The app is now available on the Android platform as well as on iPhone and iPad. Ian says, “Whilst my daughter was learning her tables, I wanted to find a more enjoyable way for her to practice than just reciting from lists so I looked for apps that might help her but couldn’t find anything appealing, so I decided to create one myself. I certainly never thought it would lead to anything but then Apple featured it in their App Store and it started selling and things went from there.” The app is available in the Apple App Store (iTunes) for 69p and the Android Marketplace for 99p by searching for ‘Squeebles Times Tables’.
GET YOUR BUSINESS ON TRACK THE NEW YEAR ALWAYS STARTS AFRESH AND WE ALL MAKE RESOLUTIONS FOR OUR PERSONAL AND BUSINESS LIVES, WHICH USUALLY LAST ALL OF A MONTH. SO WHAT ABOUT WHEN MARCH, APRIL AND MAY ROLL AROUND – HOW DO YOUR RESOLUTIONS LOOK? Here are a few ideas that you could consider taking on to help your business stay on track in 2012: 1. Get cash under control as cash is king – review those credit control policies, consider prompt settlement discounts, make sure your customers are not having loans from you! 2. Diversify your business – are you reliant on too few customers? Are there higher value product ranges you can sell to the existing customers? 3. Can you export to the emerging economies? The EU and USA are now markets in either no growth or recession, so why not look at opportunities in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) with expanding economies? 4. Have you got a business plan? If you are looking to expand you need to know you have the funds in place for the extra working capital that is needed. Make sure you have a look at your projections and get some help developing a plan. 5. How can you retain those key staff that give value to your business? Do you have staff you could not afford to lose? Can you give them incentives to remain with the business over a longer term – such as some ownership of the company?
6. Are you working ‘in’ the business instead of ‘on’ it? It is all too easy to get involved in the day-to-day activity and not have time to step out of the detail and look at the strategy for the business. Where are we now? Where do we need to be in 3-5 years’ time and what steps are needed to achieve this? 7. Have you reviewed how tax efficient your remuneration is? There are many ways to reward staff. It may be in the form of salaries but certain benefits may be attractive to staff and with the ever increasing number of low emission vehicles, company cars can once again be a tax efficient form of benefit for some. 8. Can you be more efficient? Have you looked at your costs and processes? Are they what you have done for the last 5 years? Maybe there are better ways to deliver the service or product that your company provides.
For more information, please contact Robert Reynolds on 01233 629255 or email@example.com.
Calling all bumps, babies, toddlers, parents and parents to be! We are excited to announce news of The Kent Baby and Toddler Show which will be taking place at The Kent Event Centre, The Kent Showground, Detling on Sunday 20th May 2012, 10am until 4pm.
Hoping to bring everything you need from preconception to the primary market all under one roof, the event will host over 100 exhibitors on the day. This gives visitors a great opportunity to see, feel and try before you buy. Just make sure you bring enough cash with you to pick up some fantastic show offers! There will also be free expert and parenting advice from baby and toddler groups and specialist sessions; and NCT and midwives will be on hand to answer any questions and provide information regarding your little ones or pregnancy. Entertainment can be found at the staging area at the event, where little ones will get to meet and greet some of their favourite characters such as Iggle Pickle, Upsy Daisy, Woody & Buzz, Mickey & Minnie, and Peppa Pig will be opening the show! There is a jam-packed event programme of various sessions for everybody visiting the show. One session not to be missed is with Fiona Faulkner, also known as the kids' food guru and fussy-eating expert. She will be demonstrating dishes from her acclaimed book 25 Foods Kids Hate and How to Get Them Eating 24, with vegtastic recipes for breakfast, dinner and lunch boxes. Fiona will also reveal her tips and techniques that have converted hundreds of kids to fall in love with their veg. See
www.fionafaulkner.co.uk for more details on Fiona and her work. Fiona says, "I'm so thrilled to be part of what I know will be a terrific show. My favourite way of working is hands-on and practical - showing parents just how easy and achievable it is to cook vegetables in an interesting and kid-friendly way - even if you rarely venture into the kitchen! I'd also love to answer any questions parents may have - so hopefully my demo will be very interactive too!" The show will be catered for breastfeeding mums visiting with its very own breastfeeding room, sponsored by ‘Boobie Milk’, who will also be exhibiting a fantastic range of nursing bras and can offer fittings on the day. The show will also have a comfortable area for mums and dads to relax and enjoy some food and refreshments. An all-day play area including a bouncy castle for the little ones to enjoy and with the event being held at the great Kent Showground, there is plenty of free parking for visitors. The Kent Baby and Toddler Show is being supported by The Tree of Hope, a children’s charity who offer hope and support to families who need medical surgery, treatment and therapy. The Kent Baby and Toddler Show are hoping to raise awareness for this great charity.
For more details on The Tree of Hope, please visit www.treeofhope.org.uk, or contact Jeremy on 01323 470108. The official media partner for the show is The Kent Family Magazine, who is helping promote and advertise the show. Make sure you attend the event bright and early, to receive a FREE Goodie bag including samples from Pregnacare, Organix, Lansinoh, plus lots more. These will be given to the first 600 visitors who attend the event. Tickets for the event are £2 per adult online (£3 per adult on the day). Children go FREE. Book your tickets today and receive regular updates on the show, viewing times for the characters and you will be automatically entered into our competition to WIN some fantastic prizes. Visit www.kentbabyandtoddlershow.co.uk
If you would like to find out any further information or are interested in exhibiting at The Kent Baby and Toddler Show, please contact Teresa@kentbabyandtoddlershow.co.uk or call 07931 239929.
THE RADISSON EDWARDIAN GRAFTON HOTEL BY SARAH-JANE STENSON
The Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel is an effortlessly stylish and chic destination, perfect for a comfortable business stay or a bounce pad for the Capital’s culture vultures. The Radisson Edwardian is a luxurious privately owned brand of 14 hotels, spread across a variety of prime locations. Each hotel embodies an individual spirit, but all are united by their exceptional service and opulent furnishings. The Radisson Edwardian Grafton is conveniently located literally steps away from Warren Street tube station and is ideally situated close by to Euston and King’s Cross St. Pancras. The hotel boasts further fantastic transport links with all London airports being no further than forty miles away. With both local and international links in the surroundings, the hotel is perfectly placed for a variety of business stays. The sparkling foyer and supremely polite staff immediately evokes a soothing first impression that reassures any guest that their stay will be of the best calibre. The hotel is excellently positioned, decadently designed and ideal for corporate visits. All rooms provide complimentary highspeed wireless internet, a desk and a personal phone. In addition, there is a business centre service that is available 24 hours a day, furnished with computers and a free web printing service. If your work demands such dedication, the Radisson Edwardian Grafton is there to accommodate every guest’s needs. The 14
conference and meeting rooms are ideal for business meetings, small or large, each offering a bespoke service to facilitate and ease the client’s experience. High-speed wireless offers the benefit of fast communication and the capacity for videoconferencing, with members of staff able to help with any technology assistance. Menus can be individually tailor-made for each event, offering anything from energising morning smoothies to high-end snacks. The Warren Suite is the largest conference room that has its own luxury bar and toilets, seating 100 people theatre style, making the hotel an unbeatable corporate destination. The Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel offers a variety of rooms to suit different budgets, without compromising on quality. Rooms are ergonomically designed, spacious and richly furnished. If you’re working late or winding down, 24-hour room service and satellite TV is available to make you feel at home. As the working day draws to a close, the Egyptian cotton bed sheet clad beds offer an inviting sight to relax and gain some much-needed rest. If you’re up early and need to look dapper, each room has an iron and trouser press or alternatively, a dry cleaning and laundry service is available. According to your needs, the hotel offers standard and deluxe rooms, as well as ten lavish suites. There is a suite that offers guests to bring business into a more comfortable domain, with a separate bedroom and lounge that contains a boardroom table. Other hotel facilities include a car valet service, a 24-hour front desk and a concierge awaiting your requests, who are happy to arrange theatre and sight seeing bookings. Ideal if you intend to mix business with some pleasure. There
is also a fully equipped fitness room permitted for all guests, should you wish to take an energising break. Business aside, the real gem of this hotel is the Aston Bar and Restaurant. Originally named after the Aston Martin Club that was founded there in the 1930s, this restaurant is quite simply top class. These high standards are thanks to a recent three million pound renovation of the restaurant and bar area. The restaurant is decorated with sumptuous jewel tones and contains a sleek, contemporary bar, perfect for cocktails. It serves modern British cuisine from an à la carte menu that is impeccably cooked and utterly flavoursome. The restaurant staff provide fantastic and effortless service that only adds to the air of sophistication. Culinary delights include melt in the mouth scallops with pancetta, expertly cooked steak and a rather indulgent chocolate fondant pudding. Cue mouth watering. If you’re visiting the hotel on business, this is an exquisite place to impress clients and revel in a fine dining experience. After waking up feeling refreshed, be sure to head to the restaurant for breakfast. There will be a vast range of pastries, fruits and a full English breakfast available. Whether business is your focus, the theatre is calling or the sights are just waiting to be enjoyed, head to the Radisson Edwardian Grafton. The location is prime, the service impeccable and the food outstanding. Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel 130 Tottenham Court Road London W1T 5AY 02073 884131 www.radissonedwardian.com
AND THE WINNER IS…
XL Pools takes the GOLD at the 2012 SPATA Awards
Every business looks forward to a New Year, and XL Pools is no exception. A New Year brings new challenges and opportunities and a chance to grow and improve; 2012 could not have started better for XL Pools.
needs and dreams into a reality. The clients’ home is architecturally designed with an urban look, which blends perfectly into the beautiful Kentish countryside. A cutting-edge house; modern, chic, but sympathetic to its environment.
As proud members of SPATA (Swimming Pool and Allied Trades Association), XL Pools were invited to submit one of their projects into the annual SPATA awards 2012, being held at The Grand Hotel Brighton on Sunday 5th February. There are several categories for judging, and they decided to enter a pool from their nontraditional pool installation portfolio.
It was critical the swimming pool also complied with such exacting standards. The pool was installed within a semi-enclosed area next to the house and was to incorporate part of the original structure of the property. The design needed to make best possible use of the space allowed and be innovative, practical, stylish and cost effective. A difficult project some may say, but all in a day’s work for XL Pools.
XL Pools attended the awards ceremony and to their joy and pride, they won the Gold. The customer specification for this pool was unusual and the design needed to be multifaceted in order to transform the clients’ wishes,
Membership of SPATA is a must for any reputable swimming pool retailer and the benefits of being part of this organisation are far reaching and dual purpose. The association has an internationally respected reputation for quality,
and customers, whether domestic or commercial, can be sure to find the right supplier for their needs. A new pool is a major investment and you need to be assured you employ an experienced and professional contractor that is qualified and able to give you the pool of your dreams. XL Pools can give you these assurances and have the support and backing of SPATA.
XL Pools The Parlour Saracens Dairy Pluckley Road Pluckley TN27 0SA 0845 206 0420 www.xlpools.com
FIND NEW OPPORTUNITIES AT
Kent 2020 Vision LIVE 2012
THIS YEAR’S SPEAKER LINE-UP FOR KENT 2020 VISION LIVE HAS A NEW FOCUS ON REAL-LIFE SUCCESS STORIES AND ACTIONABLE ADVICE ON KEY BUSINESSES CHALLENGES – COMBINED WITH THE LARGEST B2B EXHIBITION AND NETWORKING EVENT IN THE SOUTH EAST.
Following an extensive consultation exercise by the new organisers, this major annual event has been refreshed and streamlined to provide even more opportunities for the 4,000 visitors and 300 exhibitors that will attend – all in a single information-packed day on Thursday 19th April at the Kent Event Centre near Maidstone. Kicking off the main event will be outspoken entrepreneur, Lara Morgan – founder of Pacific Direct, best-selling author of More Balls than Most and a fierce advocate for innovation, perseverance and excellence within the UK’s vital SME sector. In the opening keynote session, Lara will offer some candid insights into her own success and a wealth of ideas about battling with adverse economic conditions, overcoming
geographical barriers and finding practical ways to grow your business. During the lunchtime keynote, entrepreneur and professional poker-player, Caspar Berry, will deliver some valuable thought-leadership around the critical areas of risk and decision-making. This high-energy session will give you a new perspective on the management of probability and chance in business, helping you to evaluate opportunities more effectively and dramatically improve the decisions you make. Throughout the morning and afternoon, free-to-attend workshops will focus on current business challenges such as maximising sales performance, generating a return from social media, controlling costs and planning for business
continuity – presented by expert practitioners in each area. At the end of the day, guest speaker Jonathan Neame, Chief Executive of brewers Shepherd Neame will offer some final food for thought at the 2020 Networking Reception. Entry to Kent 2020 Vision LIVE 2012 is completely free of charge and pre-registered visitors benefit from priority parking, fast-track entry and a chance to win an iPad 2 when they register online. Reserve your place now at www.kent2020.co.uk
Lucky Ducks, Celebrity DJ, Family Entertainment and New Facilities on Show at Hospice Open Day
DEMELZA WILL BE THROWING OPEN THE DOORS OF THEIR SITTINGBOURNE HOSPICE ON SATURDAY 17TH MARCH WITH A CHANCE FOR VISITORS TO SEE DEMELZA’S NEW FACILITIES AS WELL AS BROWSE STALLS AND ENJOY ENTERTAINMENT.
Butterfly Appeal for Kent’s New Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre Begins in Style
THE WEATHER OUTSIDE MAY HAVE BEEN FRIGHTFUL, BUT INSIDE THE ASHFORD INTERNATIONAL HOTEL IT WAS DELIGHTFUL AT FEBRUARY’S LAUNCH OF THE BUTTERFLY APPEAL, A NEW FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN FOR THE KENT MS THERAPY CENTRE.
Why not join the team for a chance to see how your local support really makes a difference to the children and families who visit Demelza? Visitors will have a chance to tour the new facilities including a brand new hydrotherapy pool, teenage bedrooms and ensuite bathrooms as well as the existing facilities including the hospice sensory room and soft play area. TV presenter and Capital Radio breakfast DJ Dave Berry will be the special guest on the day and the Star Wars Stormtroopers will be on hand to entertain visitors. There will also be stalls selling a range of gifts, refreshments, music and facepainting to help support the hospice service. Visitors will also have a chance to buy a numbered yellow rubber duck to float in the new hydrotherapy pool. There will be prizes for the three people whose lucky ducks are fished out at the end of the day. Steve Hoy, Chief Executive of Demelza said, “After a very successful fundraising appeal we are very proud to unveil the new facilities which the local community have helped pay for as well as show what happens at Demelza on a daily basis. “There will be lots of fun for all the family and we hope people will come along and see just what a positive, friendly place a children’s hospice is and see what a real difference their support makes for local children and their families.”
The Butterfly Appeal aims to help raise the £1.3M needed to construct the new Kent MS Therapy Centre. Over 300 people gathered to enjoy a night of music and dance at the Ashford International, raising £10,000 for the Appeal. The entertainment included a cabaret from the renowned Brat Pack Theatre School from London and the Herne Bay Sea Cadets Band, who have been confirmed as part of the festivities for Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee later this year. Breakfast show presenter on Ashford’s kmfm, John ‘Webbo’ Webster, was also on hand to help the evening start with a bang. Entertainment was followed by a successful fundraising raffle and auction, and everyone danced the night away into the wee hours, ignoring the falling snow outside. The Kent Butterflies – a newly formed group of 14 local volunteers – are working to develop events in the local area help raise the full amount needed for the new centre. They already have a series of events planned throughout the year, and all details can be found on the new Butterfly Appeal section of the Kent MSTC website. Over 1,600 people in Kent suffer from Multiple Sclerosis, a debilitating disease which can strike at any time. Although there is no cure, there are many therapies which can help patients better manage their condition and symptoms. As none of these therapies are routinely available on the NHS, the Kent MS Therapy Centre was founded in 1984 in what were meant to be temporary buildings in Canterbury to provide these therapies. Thousands of people have enjoyed the social and therapeutic benefits the Centre provides, but the current building is no longer fit for purpose and is in urgent need of replacing. It is vital to have a new Centre to allow people in Kent with MS and their families to continue to benefit from all the support they get at the Centre. A suitable site and planning permission have been secured for the new Centre and a team of architects have been engaged to draw up the plans for the state-of-the-art building whose four wings give the Kent Butterflies their name.
Spaces are limited so book your place on a tour now by calling 01795 845288.
Tony Meire, chairman of the Kent MSTC said, “We are absolutely thrilled at the support we are having for raising the funds for our new building. The Butterfly Blast Off event at the Ashford International was outstanding. Our members were absolutely overwhelmed by the generosity of everyone there.”
Entry to the open day, which runs from 10am to 3.30pm, is free.
H A R E S F I E L D S O FA
...beautiful British sofas, 30% cheaper than the high street... www.sofasandstuff.com
phone 0808 1597477
KENT SHOWROOM THE ESTATE YARD ERIDGE, KENT TN3 9JR
Tea, Glorious Tea IT’S PROBABLY SAFE TO SAY THAT THE BRITS LOVE THEIR TEA. WITH OVER 165 MILLION CUPS CONSUMED DAILY (THAT’S OVER 60 BILLION PER YEAR), TEA IS THE UK’S MOST POPULAR BEVERAGE. Epic Sporty Mugs £8 Collier Campbell Mugs £8
Diamond Jubilee Mugs £8 Lotta Jansdotta Mugs £8.50
Olympics Mug Range £8
Did you know… • Tea breaks are a tradition that have been with us for approximately 200 years. • 80% of office workers now claim they find out more about what's going on at work over a cup of tea than in any other way. • By the middle of the 18th Century, tea had replaced ale and gin as the drink of the masses and had become Britain's most popular beverage. • Tea contains half the amount of caffeine found in coffee.
Why not enjoy your tea in one of the fashionable mugs above from McLaggan Smith Mugs? Find all of these and many more at www.msmugs.com 26
• The number of recommended cups of tea to drink each day is 4. This gives you optimal health benefits.
• Tea has potential health maintenance benefits in cardiovascular disease and cancer prevention.
• Tea was created more than 5000 years ago in China.
• 96% of all cups of tea drunk daily in the UK are brewed from tea bags.
• Tea is a natural source of fluoride that can help protect against tooth decay and gum disease
• Apart from tourism, tea is the biggest industrial activity in India.
• The first book about tea was written by Lu Yu in 800 A.D
• 98% of people take their tea with milk, but only 30% take sugar in tea.
• Tea firstly appeared in Europe thanks to Portuguese Jesuit Father Jasper de Cruz in 1560.
For the perfect cuppa, how about a hot cup of Pluckley Tea, hand-packed in the heart of Kent. Their unique blend of finest teas from Kenya and India make for a perfectly strong cup of cha. www.kenttea.co.uk Tea facts from UK Tea Council www.tea.co.uk
THE HEART OF YOUR HOME
Contemporary or traditional, subdued or bright, the choices for kitchen products and appliances are endless. Here are some of insideKENT’s favourites.
Personalised Hand-made Chopping Boards Beautiful handmade, hand-engraved personalised chopping blocks. Available in two sizes and crafted with alternating growth rings to promote stability and durability. From £55 www.giftwrappedandgorgeous.com
Quooker Boiling Water Tap Instant 100C boiling water on tap. From £830.00 including VAT See a working model on display at: City Kitchen Centre, 58 Palace Street, Canterbury CT1 2DY, 01227 760075
Falcon 1000 Deluxe The Falcon 1000 Deluxe combines the build quality and performance you would expect from any Falcon appliance, with the design flair that the modern home enthusiast desires. A capacious full-length fan oven offers extensive space within this one-metre footprint. £3,349 www.barrettsdigital.tv
Rangemaster Classic Deluxe 110 Adds a host of cutting-edge, innovative features to the Classics great styling. £1,488.06 www.heatdesignkent.co.uk
Rangemaster Professional+ FX Leading the way in cooker design, the energy efficient Professional+ FX lets you choose how you want your ovens arranged. £1,893.29 www.heatdesignkent.co.uk
Panasonic Microwave Combination Oven The CF7 series introduces the advantages of a Flat Bed Oven into the Combination range of Microwave Ovens. The absence of a turntable significantly increases cooking flexibilities, and new Panasonic technology guarantees even and uniform cooking. £340.99 http://shop.panasonic.co.uk
Bright Kitchen Spice Jars This set of stainless steel spice jars will brighten up any kitchen workspace and make a great gift for any cooking enthusiast. Set of 6. £19.99 www.tch.net
French Trays Vintage style French trays, pretty enough to display on the kitchen dresser. The larger size takes a dinner plate; the smaller, a drink and snack. Set of 2 trays £17.90 www.nicheaccessories.co.uk
For the ultimate kitchen experience, come and visit our fantastic Miele Centre. Miele trained product specialists are on hand to demonstrate the many flexible options that Miele can offer, including ovens, induction hobs, extractors, steam ovens, steam oven combinations, coffee machines, refrigeration and washing machines. Customers are welcome to call in to enjoy a taste of the Miele experience.
17 Maynard Road Wincheap Canterbury CT1 3RH 01227 767576 www.barrettsdigital.tv Helpful advice from fully trained staff. Wide range of goods from leading manufacturers. Opening Times: Mon to Fri 9am - 5.30pm, Saturday 9am - 6pm, Sunday 11am - 4pm.
The complete kitchen service...
...from a hinge to a complete makeover 100's of Worktops l 1000's of Doors door replacement l made to measure service l worktops appliances l sinks and taps l drawer replacement improved storage and access solutions door refurbishment service
The Kitchen Doctor's bespoke service supplies and fits a comprehensive range of components to give your kitchen a new lease of life.
D ure i s s le M O ea sty s
01689 850000 firstname.lastname@example.org www.thekitchendoctor.com serving London and the South-East for 25 years
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This Spring, Escape with Yankee Candle
REVIVE YOURSELF FROM THE WINTER BLUES THIS SPRING AND ESCAPE TO THE SHORE WITH YANKEE CANDLE’S NEW HOUSEWARMER HOME FRAGRANCES. CLEAN, COOL AND CAPTIVATING, THERE’S NO BETTER WAY TO REFRESH BOTH YOURSELF AND YOUR HOME THAN WITH THE CALMING SMELL OF THE OCEAN WATERS AND FRESH FLOWERS.
Yankee Candle Housewarmers provide authentic, true to life and long lasting captivating fragrances through their pure, natural fragrance extracts, which means whenever you feel like taking a stroll down the beach, you’re only a candle light away. Beach Wood brings the beach indoors with the modern blend of vetiver, salt air and driftwood, infusing your home with the scent of the seaside. Coastal Waters is a clean and bracing fragrance like a rush of the cool ocean spray from the breaking surf, perfect to clear your mind and refresh your soul. Beach Flowers creates a romantic ambiance with the seductive scents of tuberose, lily and
hyacinth blossom, balanced with soft watery notes. White Gardenia stuns with royal beauty of lush white gardenias in full bloom right in your own living room. With up to 150 hours of home fragrance, Yankee Candle’s Housewarmer collection really is the original affordable luxury for your home.
The new fragrances are available from www.yankeecandle.co.uk with prices starting from £1.65 for a votive candle, £7.99 for a small jar and £18.99 for a large jar.
EQUIPPED FOR LIFE. FREE DESIGN SERVICE. A perfectly planned kitchen is where living, cooking, working and enjoyment all happen together.
SWANS KITCHENS & BATHROOMS TRADING IN THE AREA FOR 30 YEARS
2 -3 Echo Square Gravesend Kent DA12 1NP Tel: 01474 569070
ONLY THE BEST FOR YOUR BATHROOM Axor Starck is a collection of bathroom fittings, so slender in its form, so clear in its function, so simple in its effect. Modern, because it is uncompromising minimalistic. Single Lever Basin Mixer in Chrome, from £463.00 Raindance Royale Overhead Shower with Shower Arm, from £1,856.40
available from Ripples 1-3 Iron Bar Lane Off Burgate Canterbury CT1 2HN 01227 459525
12 Union Square Eridge Road The Pantiles Tunbridge Wells TN4 8HE 01892 617462
Xenon symbolizes only pure, simple form, without the distractions of what is obscure and ornate. Xenon epitomizes an ideal of longevity which is function and form at its most pure. A functionalist application of simple geometric form; bold and sculptural Xenon typifies the essence of minimalism without extraneous elements. Using only a small number of like shapes for design unity a single object can become the focal point. Samuel Heath Xenon Dual Control Shower Kit, £2,099.75 also available in Stainless Steel and Matt Black finishes available from The Bathroom Shop 11 East Cross Tenterden TN30 6AD www.the-bathroomshop.co.uk
Using only the finest natural ingredients, these vanilla and poppy seed soaps are free from parabens and suitable for vegetarians. The soaps are so mild and gentle they are suitable for all skins, even the most sensitive. Hand wrapped in glassine paper in a white gift box they make wonderful presents for friends, teachers, children, or just anyone that appreciates something a little different and personal. Vanilla and Poppy Seed Letter Soaps, £5.99 each available from Jonny’s Sister 01935 873186 www.jonnyssister.co.uk
This luxurious mirrored storage cabinet has an internal shaver socket, three adjustable shelves, an automatic internal LED light and integrated external lights. Unlike many cheaper versions out there, this cabinet has mirrored doors on the inside, as well as out. The external LED lights are powered by wave on/off activation, using an infrared sensor. The cabinet is also IP44 rated, so can be used in Zone 2 of the bathroom. Available in a one or two door option. Wave-activated LED Bathroom Cabinet, double price £479 available from BC Designs 01206 827100 www.bcdesigns.co.uk
Aequs Bath in a Stanneus finish complemented by floor standing bath and shower mixer in brushed nickel. The textured feel of the hand-applied tin and brushed nickel sit so comfortably in a natural stone environment. Several shapes and unique finishes are available for a truly bespoke and individual bath which sits as comfortably in a contemporary bathroom as in a more traditional setting. The generous proportions help to create a luxurious environment to pamper and relax and the bath materials warm up instantly retaining the temperature of the water long after you’re wrapped up in a towel! Stanneus Bath, from £4,400.00 available from Ripples 1-3 Iron Bar Lane Off Burgate Canterbury CT1 2HN 01227 459525 www.ripples.ltd.uk
12 Union Square Eridge Road The Pantiles Tunbridge Wells TN4 8HE 01892 617462
IF YOU’RE THINKING GARDENING, THEN THINK
Millbrook is here to help you make the most of your garden, and this spring, they’ve got lots of offers and ideas to get you started in the garden.
Life in a garden centre is dictated by the seasons and Millbrook’s Greencafés are no different. Re-opening on 2nd March, the refurbished and extended Greencafé at their Crowborough garden centre, is a funky, bistro-style restaurant with a new, exciting menu complimented with a selection of seasonal specials. Whether you pop in for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea or just tea and cake, you're sure to find something on the menu to tempt you.
WIN Millbrook prides itself on the quality and range of plants offered. You may not know that over one third of the plants sold in our garden centres are produced at their own plant nursery. In addition, all hardy plants, including roses and specialist plants from other suppliers are covered by the two-year ‘no quibble’ guarantee, so you can buy with confidence at any time.
If you’ve not yet got the gardening bug but want to know more, need some advice on a sickly plant, or guidance on selecting easy plants for children to grow or how to get started with growing your own veg, the friendly, knowledgeable Millbrook staff will be able to help you. Plus, if want to have your garden landscaped, your driveway transformed or even want a luxury swimming pool installed, their experienced landscape and design team will be happy to assist.
• We design • We create • You enjoy
Enter now for your chance to win a meal for 4 people* at the new Greencafé, Millbrook Garden Centre, Crowborough, East Sussex. Enter online at www.insidekentmagazine.co.uk/millbrook
*View full terms & conditions online at www.insidekentmagazine.co.uk/millbrook For further information on the new Greencafé visit www.millbrookgc.co.uk
The Big Yellow Building, St Peters Street, Maidstone. 0800 652 0102 www.lincolnfurniture.co.uk
EMBRACEYOURSHAPE! BY MOLLY NEZNANSKI GIL
BUSTY, ATHLETIC, FULL-FIGURED, WHIPLASH CURVES, OR BIG OL’ LOVELY BOOTY, LADIES OF EVERY SHAPE ARE BEAUTIFUL, AND DRESSING FASHIONABLY FOR YOUR BODY TYPE DOESN’T HAVE TO BE A STRUGGLE. I BELIEVE THIS, I TRULY DO, BUT IF I’M BEING HONEST, AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK YOU’LL FIND ME STANDING IN FRONT OF MY CLOSET, FACING A WALL OF CLOTHES, THROWING SKIRTS AND SHIRTS IN A PILE, AND ANNOUNCING THAT NOTHING LOOKS RIGHT, AND CRYING OUT ‘JUST WHO’S CLOSET IS THIS ANYWAY?’ TRULY, IT’S A BATTLE THAT DOESN’T NEED TO HAPPEN, AND I’M PRETTY SURE I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO HAS IT. You know how it is. Maybe you’ve lost or gained weight recently. Maybe you hopped on the skinny jean wagon too quickly before you realised that you should have leapt on the express train going in the exact opposite direction. Maybe you found a sale on stirrup trousers that you couldn’t pass up. Or maybe, if you’re being honest, there are ten things in your closet that you bought in hopes that they would look good someday, but someday just isn’t happening.
Let’s let all of that go. Let’s join together in solidarity and ditch everything in our closets that makes us pull, tug and readjust all day long. While getting ready in the morning, let’s embrace our shapes and boldy declare curvy, skinny, busty, who cares? I rock and I’m going to make fashion work for me – booty, boobies and all. Making such a bold fashion change doesn’t even have to be hard work. Use the guide below to find your body shape and all of the tips and tricks you need to build a wardrobe that works for you and makes mornings a breeze.
Pear If you have a slimmer top with heavier legs and hips then, like most women, you are pear shaped. Celebrate your lovely backside, but choose clothing that gives your upper half the attention it deserves. Pick pieces that minimise your hips and legs, while creating the illusion that you have more on top. Famous Pears: Kate Winslet, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Beyoncé
EMBRACE: • Eye-catching blouses in bright colours with lots of interest • Belts at the waistline • Plain-coloured skirts that hit just below your knees • Boot-cut or straight-leg jeans • Boat-neck or scoop-neck tops • Wrap dresses in solid colours or simple prints
J by Jasper Conran Large Tote £65, Debenhams
AVOID: • Loose or baggy trousers and skirts • Tapered trousers • Tight trousers or skirts • Belts worn at the hip • Patterned or pleated trousers
Knight in Shining £70, Office
Keep attention above your hip and give the illusion of a fuller bust with a structured statement bag worn close under your arm Print Tunic Dress £35, ISME Look pulled together and perfectly proportioned in a belted A-line dress in a dark pattern
Love it? Hate it? Thirsty for more? Follow insideKENT’s Fashion Editor Molly Neznanski Gil on Twitter @lolachiffon
Apple If you have a larger bust and thinner legs, you have an apple shape. Your chest may be the envy of lesser-endowed ladies everywhere, but take care to dress so your chest doesn’t take over. There’s no need to hide the girls, but it’s best to show off your legs and balance out a top-heavy shape by drawing attention to your bottom half. Famous Apples: Drew Barrymore, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Tyra Banks, Renée Zellweger
EMBRACE: • A well-fitting bra • Simple v-neck or scoop necklines • Solid-colour blouses • Cardigan sweaters • Shorter skirts paired with slimming shirts • Full skirts and wide trousers • A-line solid-colour dresses • Jackets with one button at the waist
AVOID: • Double-breasted jackets • Blouses with bold details or patterns • Chunky necklaces or earrings • Stiletto heels
Textured Zip Skirt £35, Next Draw all eyes downward and let your bottom half shine in a textured leg-baring skirt
Draw eyes away from your fu streamlined Blue Washed Satin Button Vest v-neck cardigan £14.99, Internacionale
Black Blazer, Very.co.uk
Simple bracelets add visual weight to your lower half when your arm is extended
Pick a neutral shoe with a heavier heel to balance your silhouette Snakeskin Bangle Set £15, Very.co.uk
Ajania £130, Pied a Terre
Green Chinos, bonprix Create symmetry with boot-cut capri trousers in eye-popping green and simple sandles that show off a touch of skin
London Loop Sandals £89, Hobbs
Metal Rose Stud Gold £0.99, Internacionale Pied a Terre Silk Cardigan £75, House of Fraser Draw eyes away from your fuller bust with a streamlined v-neck cardigan
Add interest without heaviness by opting for simple earrings
Hourglass You have an hourglass figure if you have a very defined waist and curvy shape. A few quick wardrobe tweaks will ensure that you avoid oozing too much sex appeal from your iconic feminine form – unless that’s what you’re going for, of course! Famous Hourglasses: Marilyn Monroe, Scarlett Johansson, Salma Hayek, Kim Cattrall, Katherine Heigl
Ruth Jacket £80, Monsoon
EMBRACE: • Flared, straight, or boot-cut jeans • Scoop or v-neck tees • Belts at the waist • Three-quarter length full or pencil skirts • Nipped-waist jackets • Halter, wrap, or strapless dresses with defined waists • High-waisted trousers • Rounded collars • Tops with vertical patterns or necklines
AVOID: • Large prints • Clingy fabrics • HeaHeaHKJJLSkinny jeans • Heavy embellishment around the waist or bustline
Love Label PKT Woven Vest £16, Very.co.uk
Boutique by Jaeger Denim Shorts, Indigo £50, John Lewis
Stone Ring £10, Next
Pay homage to your curves in high-waisted shorts
A playful blazer and soft yellow top bring a sophisticated edge, balance your curves and bring interest from head to toe John Rocha Shoes £38, Debenhams Anchor your outfit in chic platform wedges that let your legs steal the show
Wide Hoop £6, Accessorize
Roksanda/Edition Colourblock Crepe Dress £75, Debenhams
V-patterned colour blocking, a skinny belt and soft pleating highlight a narrow waist and fantastic curves
Black Onyx Rosewood Ring by The Branch £52, Accessoriesdirect.com
Abuta £130, Pied a Terre
A chunky ring and rounded heels add just the right amount of neutral touches to the outfit
Straight If you are slim with top and bottom measurements that are relatively equal, you have a straight body type. Congratulations – your body type allows you to successfully take more fashion risks than most, but if you crave curves, choose clothing with detail at the hip or chest. Famous Straights: Keira Knightley, Sarah Jessica Parker, Gwen Stefani, Kate Moss, Gwyneth Paltrow
EMBRACE: • Deep u or v-neck tops • Dramatic embellished blouses • Belted structured tops • Pleated or circle skirts • Ruffled clothing • Drop-waist or full-skirt dresses • Tapered trousers
AVOID: • Boxy shift dresses • Bulky clothing • Wide-leg trousers • Oversized handbags
A short, chunky necklace will break up your figure and make you look more curvy
South Stella Super Skinny Jeans £28, Littlewoods.com
Necklace £18, Next
Draw attention to an accentuated hipline in tapered trousers and colour-popping heels Cropped Jacket £39, M&Co
Add va-va-voom and accentuate your chest in a cropped diagonal-cut jacket and a dimensional striped top
Sabrina £49, Head Over Heels
Foundation Silk Front Vest £29, Mint Velvet
Rectangle Plus-Size If you have a large bust, full hips, and an undefined waistline, you have a rectangular plussize shape. Good news – with the right clothing and proportion, your body can achieve the look of amazing curves. Search for clothing that defines your waist and creates a straight line from your hip down. These pieces will transform your body from straight to dangerously curvy.
EMBRACE: • Fitted blazers with one button or a waistband • Pencil skirts • Wrap dresses • Belts at the waist • Straight-leg or boot-cut trousers • Simple, solid-colour blouses • Round and sleek shoes
AVOID: • Shoes with pointed toes or chunky soles • Large patterns • Tight clothing, clingy fabrics • A-line or empire waist dresses
Famous Rectangles: Adele, Queen Latifah, Oprah Winfrey, Beth Ditto Elegant Pearl Hoop £4.99, Internacionale Linea Le Spot Ponte Jacket £100, House of Fraser
Pink Silk Pocket Vest Top £21, Simply Be Form a straight line through the leg with wide-leg trousers that balance a fuller hip
Define your waistline and create curves in all the right places with a bright top layered under a structured one-button blazer
Lux £55, Dune
Spaniards Jeans £85, Hobbs
Airy chic hoop earrings and feminine flats add sparkle and fun
Love it? Hate it? Thirsty for more? Follow insideKENT’s Fashion Editor Molly Neznanski Gil on Twitter @lolachiffon www.insidekentmagazine.co.uk
WE ALL KNOW ABOUT WOMEN’S SHOE OBSESSIONS – THE MORE THE MERRIER. HOWEVER, THAT DOESN’T LET YOU GUYS OF THE HOOK. IT’S JUST AS IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO LOOK GREAT IN YOUR FOOTWEAR, EVEN IF YOU ARE JUST HANGING OUT CASUALLY. Pasadena Shoe www.birkenstocks.co.uk
Underground Black Military Boot www.underground-england.co.uk
Campus Boots www.thefryecompany.com
One of the most important elements to being comfortable yet still looking buff is footwear. The Frey Company (www.thefryecompany.com) Campus range are smart yet casual and give you just a little height. The leather is gorgeous and they look on-trend yet in a classic way. If you want to look a little more edgy and hip, Underground’s (www.underground-england.co.uk) black military boot does what it says on the tin. They are a heavy funky black shiny military-style boot which looks tough but fun with a pair of loose jeans. Why not try a pair of Birkenstocks (www.birkenstocks.co.uk) – the Pasadena shoe is a moccasin-style lace up shoe with leather suede, very comfortable and also relaxed in a cool way. You can loaf around in them and still look as though you know style! www.newellbespoke.com
“Should I tuck my shirt in?” The answer to that question isn’t a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’; it depends on the size, shape and length of the shirt. If your shirt is a slim fit it can easily be tucked into jeans or trousers, or you could leave it untucked if you undo the bottom button. However, if it’s a looser shirt with more fabric, as long as it’s only half way down reaching your back pockets that is ok; any longer and you run the risk of looking as though you are wearing a dress! I have passed the question onto one of my favourite tailors, David Newell (www.newellbespoke.com), who has recently designed a fabulous multifunction shirt. Here’s what he had to say about his newly designed shirts:
“These shirts where designed to solve the age-old faux pas of wearing your shirt outside your trousers with a jacket. As a result, this combination of long shirt and jacket produces an inharmonious balance between jacket, trousers and shirt. It may be more comfortable in warmer climates
but the sacrifice of function over form is far beyond its worth. That’s why I decided to design a shirt to satisfy consumer comfort, without compromising on the aesthetical balance, coupled with the craftsmanship of a Jermyn Street bespoke shirt maker.” So now that we have the shirt and shoes sorted, keep your eye out for the May/June issue where I’ll talk about the latest cut in jeans and who will be wearing them. Until then, have fun and look good doing it. Rachel x
Are you a little self conscience about the way you dress and know you could look better, but have no clue where to start? If your wardrobe needs updating so you feel more confident and on trend, look no further. Rachel Gold, owner of Wardrobe Junkies and top London Men’s Personal Stylist, will help you achieve the look that will make you look and feel confident and well groomed.
Book today email@example.com 07766 838731 or visit the website at www.wardrobejunkies.com
HOT PRODUCTS FROM
1) Roxanne in Midnight Rose by Freya at Leia
3) Fantasie in Mink by Fantasie at Leia
2) Pixie in Sugarplum by Freya at Leia
4) Ashlee in Sorbet by Freya at Leia
• Bra £31.00 (from C to H cups) • Thong £16.00 (from XS to XL)
• Bra £30.00 (from B to G cups) • Brief £14.50 (from XS to XL)
• Bra £37.00 (from C to GG cups) • Brief £20.50 (from XS to 2XL)
• Bra £33.00 (from B to GG cups) • Brief £16.00 (from XS to XL)
Leia Lingerie 302 Upper Guild Hall Bluewater Shopping Centre DA9 9SN 01322 313 887 www.leialingerie.com
FERTILITY TREATMENT HAS COME A LONG WAY SINCE 1978. SUCCESS RATES AND SAFETY STANDARDS ARE HIGHER AND 40+ AND EVEN 50+ MUMS CAN NOW BE TREATED WITH CONFIDENCE.
The not-so-impossible dream... PATRICIA’S STORY IS ONE WE HEAR INCREASINGLY OFTEN. A SUCCESSFUL CAREER AND A FAILED MARRIAGE HAD LED HER TO THE CONCLUSION THAT CHILDREN WERE NOT FOR HER AND A WELL-ORDERED FUTURE BECKONED. Then everything changed. She met Richard, a whirlwind romance ensued, they married and the decision made some years before was tentatively reversed. (Their real names are withheld for confidentiality reasons explained later.)
“We found friendly expertise from a team that was able to give us a tremendous amount of information about our options in the UK and overseas.”
At 42, Patricia’s chances of a natural pregnancy were reduced but not nonexistent. The much talked about ‘biological clock’ is not a precision timepiece and many factors affect each woman’s fertility age. These include early menopause, cancer treatment, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (which affects ovulation at any age), the simple fact of being over- or under-weight (BMI of under 19 or over 30 can be problematical) and a range of complex and often unexplained reasons.
Faced with the possibility of a 12-month wait for a UK donor (a situation which is showing signs of improving), they opted to go abroad.
After a year of trying, Richard and Patricia concluded it wasn’t going to happen naturally and came to Bridge to discuss IVF treatment.
Bridge offers UK and international egg donation programmes in Ukraine, USA and Spain with outstanding success rates and the outcomes deliver immense happiness. Results from the international programme in Kiev show that 166 of 298 patients have had a live birth – a 56% success rate. This is an accompanied programme that guarantees mature eggs and ISO 9001 treatment standards.
“It was hugely tempting to try one course of treatment with my own eggs,” recalls Patricia, “but the tests showed that my ovarian reserve was poor and that my chances of conceiving were less than 5%.” Faced with a choice between childlessness and treatment using donor eggs, Patricia had few doubts.
“I knew intuitively that any child I carried would be mine, whatever the genetic make-up.” Patricia and Richard’s story is representative of two significant trends in the UK and much of the developed world. Women are conceiving later in life.
Bridge’s American programme delivers the best results of any UK:USA joint programme – a 76% live birth rate was achieved in 2010 and the figures from 2011 so far are indicating that this level of success is continuing.
In 2002, the average woman had her first baby at 25. Today, few British women will even start trying before they are 30 – and an increasing number of studies suggest that women who give birth in their 30s are healthier and more confident as a result. They may also be more financially secure.
The very high success rates of egg donation programmes are achieved because age determines egg quality but not the quality of a woman’s uterus. A 50-year-old can get pregnant with donor eggs but a younger woman will never get pregnant with 50-year-old eggs.
Egg donation has pushed the boundaries even further and, while the ability to conceive with one’s own eggs diminishes, the quality of a woman’s uterus does not and, in individual cases, parenthood is possible throughout the forties and even into the early 50s.
Bridge’s egg donation team believes that the outstanding range and quality of donors available, combined with excellent coordination between the centres in London and the international centres in Kiev and Washington, means that these rates can be sustained.
Patricia and Richard’s decision led them to consult Bridge’s egg donation team.
Patricia and Richard agree.
Like many other egg donation patients, Patricia and Richard have become a little reticent about their experience.
“Our treatment experience was like a magic carpet – we prepared at Bridge, then travel, hotel and support arrangements fell neatly into place. The people at the international centre were as friendly and professional as the team at Bridge and, in no time at all, we saw the magic two blue lines on the pregnancy test.” Richard Junior was born in 2010 and a happy family is looking forward to the future.
“This, at present, is our precious secret. We haven’t discussed our treatment with anyone and, as far as family and friends are concerned, I am just one of more than 40,000 UK women over 40 who gave birth last year – a conception that might have been against the odds but certainly was not impossible. We know we have issues to resolve in the future and we know we will make the right decisions when Richard Junior needs to understand his genetic inheritance but, for now, we’re just happy.”
MORE ABOUT BRIDGE Founded in 1986, Bridge is one of the world’s, most experienced fertility, gynaecology and genetics centres. They believe in treating every patient who can benefit from their expertise and experience. Their success rates are the best indicator of the results you can expect from the dedicated team. Their UK IVF pregnancy rates average over 50% for patients up to 37 and 44% across Bridge’s very wide caseload of patients who can be treated with their own eggs up to the age of 44.
Bridge provides a very comprehensive range of services covering all types of fertility treatment, with provision for the general health, wellbeing and fitness for treatment of our patients in specialist areas such as gynaecology, genetics and cryopreservation. They apply the most advanced treatment technologies available and work as a team, to high and measurable quality standards, delivering value through commitment, professionalism and care.
Over 6,000 babies have been born to happy Bridge parents. A unique approach to IVF treatment includes the option of blastocyst culture at no extra cost. Bridge was the first and, they think, remains the only London centre to offer the choice between 2 and 5 day embryo return within the IVF price – a decision that is made entirely in the interests of the patient. Another unique feature of the Bridge approach is the Mind/Body programme which has been running since 2005. This consists of regular 10 week courses which teach Mind/Body skills to help patients cope with the distress of fertility issues. Records show that 70% of course attendees get pregnant. Egg freezing is another important service – chosen by patients who are not yet ready for a family for social or medical reasons, often after a Female Reproductive Health Assessment, another popular Bridge service.
It’s important also to recognise that it is not always the woman who has the problem. On the contrary, around 40% of cases involve male factor problems. These can often be addressed with surgical sperm retrieval (carried out at Bridge’s Day Care Unit) and ICSI, a procedure by which a single sperm is injected into the egg. In cases where no sperm is available, Bridge’s alliance with the London Sperm Bank provides access to the UK’s largest pool of sperm donors.
The London Bridge Fertility, Gynaecology and Genetics Centre One St Thomas Street London SE1 9RY 020 7089 1449 firstname.lastname@example.org www.thebridgecentre.co.uk
A Natural Approach to Birthing WITH
I have always been fascinated by the process of pregnancy and birth. Over the years I have had the privilege of working with lots of pregnant women and have treated them using herbal medicine, reflexology and massage at the practice in Hythe, at their homes and in the hospital setting. There are so many herbs and reflexology techniques which can assist women through pregnancy and labour. The alternative viewpoint, which I subscribe to, challenges the ‘normal’ understanding around birthing. As a Herbalist and Reflexologist, I work with patients to empower them and trust that their body knows exactly what it’s doing. The herbal medicines themselves assist in this by supporting the natural labour process. The overuse of interventions (such as epidurals, caesareansections, oxytocin drips, and episiotomy) are transforming a normal physiological event in a biomedical procedure and many of my patients work with me to avoid such interventions if possible. Since there are many mechanisms involved in birthing they all need to be taken into account. There are hormonal, physiological, emotional and spiritual processes involved in the birth process and how a woman is supported during labour greatly affects her experience of it. The mechanisms of birth can be greatly affected by stress. It’s no wonder that many women have extremely painful labours as fear and stress affect the sympathetic nervous system. This system needs to be relaxed and not active during labour in order for a normal and straightforward birth to take place. For some it would be extremely difficult to stay relaxed in a starkly lit hospital room linked up to monitors and flat on your back; for others that environment would bring them comfort and reassurance. It’s
so important that as a practitioner I fully understand my patient, how they are constitutionally and their thoughts and feelings around pregnancy and birth as this makes a big difference to the types of herbal medicines they would be prescribed during labour and the kind of support that they might need. A lot of the patients I assist during labour want to avoid conventional pain relief and herbal medicine can be extremely effective in this regard. People are often amazed by the scope of herbal medicine treatment during labour; here is an idea of how herbs can help: • To improve circulation to the pelvis • To assist relaxation of the cervix • To assist and improve regularity of contractions • To improve energy levels throughout • To improve the normal functioning of the uterus • If the cervix is slow to dilate and to ripen cervix • For pain relief • For the release of tension • For restlessness • For emotional strength • To relieve fear • For shock • For bleeding I have found herbal medicines, reflexology and massage to be really effective during labour. There are some fabulous natural medicines available that can assist the body in its normal functioning and I would say that herbs couldn’t be more suited to this most natural of processes. Herbs during Labour Herbs that are used during labour to relieve pain are often ones which calm the nervous system, such as Passionflower, Skullcap, Cramp Bark and Valerian.
by Jodie Foreman BSC (Hons) MNIMH – Medical Herbalist & Reflexologist
Since no woman is the same, often a prescribed herbal mix is given to take during labour. This is following a consultation where the patient’s constitution is assessed and many questions are asked about the pregnancy and previous pregnancies. Herbs for Birthing At Foreman and Jones, we can prescribe a birthing pack which includes herbal mixes to take throughout labour. These mixes can help with relaxation, pain relief, energy levels and lots more. Over the years I have treated many patients to help them conceive naturally, to support them through pregnancy and also support them to have a straightforward and rewarding labour. Here is a testimonial from one of my patients:
After being diagnosed with PCOS and having recently got married, we started trying for a family expecting it to take years or needing intervention. After being on the pill for nearly 10 years and having a regular cycle, I started to get concerned when I either didn’t have a period or they were up to 9 weeks apart. After only a few months of treatment from Jodie my cycle began to regulate and I conceived after only 5 months. I also used herbal medicine for pain relief and to kick-start my contractions during labour when they slowed down. I was able to have a perfectly normal delivery at home with no medical intervention which was my wish come true. I honestly believe that without Jodie’s help I wouldn’t have fallen for my son so quickly or naturally. It is testament to the faith I have in her that I used her medicine during my labour and I cannot ever thank her enough for her support and help with my pregnancy and labour.—L. W. Folkestone
If you have any questions about how herbal medicine can support you to conceive naturally and/or enjoy a healthy pregnancy and birth then do get in touch on 01303 760001 or email email@example.com
THIS MOTHER’S DAY,
take a breather Most, if not all mums love a sneaky bit of chocolate every now and then, and we’re pretty sure all mums wish it didn’t go straight to their hips. What if there was way to enjoy chocolate that didn’t include settling for a tasteless, low-calorie version or ruining your diet?
© Phase One Photography
© Sublim Design
Enter Le Whif – the most unique way to get a chocolate fix without the guilt. Developed by Edwards’ ArtScience Labs network, Le Whif is organic, biodegradable and contains less than one calorie. “Le Whif uses particle engineering to form chocolate in particle sizes that are small enough to become airborne though too large to enter the lungs,” says Professor Edwards, professor of biomedical engineering at Harvard University, lead inventor and founder of ArtScience Labs.
So, how does it work? When you feel the chocolate cravings closing in, reach into your handbag, grab your tube of Le Whif, take a quick ‘whif’ and enjoy.
© Phase One Photography
Le Whif is available in three flavours: pure chocolate, raspberry chocolate and mint chocolate. It’s a first commercial step toward breathable food and provides a completely new tasting experience – the perfect gift for Mother’s Day.
Buy your mum this unique gift at www.prezzybox.com (£5.95), or find out more info at www.lewhif.com
SPRING CLEAN YOUR TEETH WITH
Spring is the perfect time for a new look. And what better way to improve your overall wellbeing and give your confidence a boost than with a brilliant, bright, white smile!
For those of us who enjoy a glass of red wine, an espresso or even an occasional cigarette however, keeping a healthy grin can sometimes be a challenge. With the help of Bel Sorriso, (meaning ‘Beautiful Smile’) it is possible to indulge in those vices and still ensure that your teeth are always healthy and pearly white. Bel Sorriso’s teeth whitening system uses LED lighting and an antibacterial gel which gives instant, long lasting results for men and women without any discomfort. The procedure is safe and gentle on your teeth and gums as it doesn’t use harsh chemicals such as peroxide, chlorine dioxide and bleach, which are often found in many inferior ‘home’ whitening products. Bel Sorriso only uses B-Zero™ - the UK’s first professional teeth whitening that is completely peroxide free. You can achieve a beautiful, brighter, whiter, healthier smile all in the privacy and comfort of your own home too, because Bel Sorriso is a mobile teeth whitening studio available around the UK.
This month, insideKENT is offering readers a 2-4-1 discount on Bel Sorriso’s teeth whitening – you and a friend/partner can enjoy the experience for the price of one person! To book, please call 0800 088 6114 or visit www.belsorriso.co.uk
T&Cs apply: This offer is valid until 30th June 2012. The offer only applies to a single treatment and cannot be used in conjunction with group rates. Only valid in mainland UK. Treatment will be carried out subject to availability.
CHOOSING THE CORRECT MAKEUP TO COMPLIMENT YOUR EYES OR YOUR OUTFIT NEED NOT BE A HUGE HEADACHE. WITH THE HELP OF A COLOUR WHEEL, I AM GOING TO SHOW YOU THE EASIEST WAY TO SELECT THE BEST SHADES TO COMPLIMENT YOUR STYLE.
BY GEMMA MORPURGO
The colour wheel is a fantastic tool when deciding on an eyeshadow or lip colour. For example, find your eye colour on the wheel. Now opt for a shade either side of your chosen colour. Let’s say we selected brown – this falls into the orange category. Now I’m not suggesting we all walk around with neon orange eyeshadow. ‘Orange’ includes golds, coppers, burgundy or paler shades of peach or orange. This will subtly enhance the eye colour. Alternatively if you like to go au naturel on the eyes by introducing a gentle liner and mascara, why not opt for a peach or orange lip colour? This too will enhance the eye colour in the easiest of ways.
However, if you like to make a bold statement and compliment your makeup to its fullest potential then opt for a shade directly opposite on the colour wheel; these colours make each other ‘vibrate’. For example, green eyes with violet eyeshadow works exceptionally well. Violets, mauves and pale lilacs actually work well for every eye colour as it creates the illusion of brightness in the whites of our eyes.
My favourite complimentry colour combination ever has got to be blue eyes and a bold orange lip. MAC Morange lipstick is definately one for those who love to be vibrant! This cannot fail to turn heads. Alternatively though if you prefer something a little more understated, then the safer option with blue eyes would be a red or pink lip. There are so many shades and tones out there, so start with a sheer texture that you can build up if you require more intensity. MAC have a whole range of lipstick shades in a â€˜Lustreâ€™ texture which are fantastic for experimenting with and even mixing to create your own shade. If you are not one for colour, greys, silvers, charcoal and even black, teamed with a gorgeous set of false lashes, are great against every eye colour, and depending on the intensity of colour on the eyes, it leaves the door wide open when deciding upon a lipstick. So throw out your old rulebook, try something new and watch those compliments come flooding in!
To book your own beauty session with Gemma, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.gemmamorpurgo.co.uk Follow Gemma on Twitter @gemmamorpurgo or Facebook at www.facebook.com/gemma.morpurgo
SPRING CLEAN YOUR BODY BY EMMA BATCHELOR BATCHELOR
inside and out
IF YOU’RE YOU’RELOOKING LOOKINGTO TOSHRUG SHRUGOFF OFFTHE THECOLD COLD WINTER WINTER BLUES BLUES THIS THIS SPRING, SPRING, WHY WHY NOT NOT GIVE YOUR YOUR BODY BODYAABIT BITOF OFAASPRING SPRINGCLEAN CLEAN BYBY DETOXING DETOXING IT?IT? Detoxification is essentially ridding the body of the toxins that have built up through diet and external pollutants, which often leave us feeling bloated, sluggish and ready to hibernate. By flushing these toxins out of our bodies, we can help ourselves look and feel much better, inside and out.
Many spas offer fantastic detox programmes and therapies, but there are also some great products on the market for those looking for a solution that is a little closer to home. Although detoxing may sound like hard work, it can actually feel quite pampering, not to
mention effective. To help give you an idea of what you could be signing up to, we have reviewed three quality products that are easy to use in the comfort of your own home.
for concern. After just one treatment, my waist had shrunk by just over 3cm, which I was very pleased with! After a couple of goes, my skin not only felt softer, but my pregnancy stretch marks actually seemed smoother too. The Slimming Solutions Boot Camp Body Wrap is available at www.slimmingsolutions.co.uk for £39.95.
We tested the Elemis body detox skin brush, which is made from natural cactus. To get the best effects from the brush, you should lightly brush your body on the hips, thighs, bottom, tummy and the backs of your arms, always brushing towards your heart. This apparently helps speed up the detoxification process by stimulating circulation and lymphatic drainage, which aids detoxification. I found this brush quite firm, and recommend brushing lightly, especially if you have sensitive skin. I tested it every day for a week, before having a shower in the morning, and noticed a real difference in my skin tone, which looked brighter and smoother, and cellulite was visibly diminished after a week! The Elemis body detox skin brush is available at www.timetospa.co.uk and costs £18.40.
Next, I tried the Boot Camp Body Wrap from Slimming Solutions. The wrap kit consists of wrapping bandages and a pot of volcanic clay, which claims to be an effective natural detoxifier, containing over 70 trace minerals to help detoxify your body, tighten loose tissue, improve cellulite and help you lose inches. The wrap apparently works by compressing the soft tissue on the tummy, buttocks, upper arm and hip area by using Elasticated compression bandages to ‘lift’ and ‘shape’ the body. At the same time, the clay minerals cleanse and purge the body of toxins stored between the fat cells. I found the wrap pretty easy to use and have to admit that I was impressed with the results. I used it on my tummy, which is my main area
Although the very thought may send shivers down your spine, colon cleansing is widely regarded as one of the best ways to clear out your passageways, and eliminate that hard-to-reach faecal matter that is believed to be responsible for an array of unpleasantness; from bloating and constipation, to wind and even lower back pain. I tested the Colon Cleansing Kit™ from Blessed Herbs; which seems to have a near evangelical following. The kit comprises a bottle of Digestive Stimulator pills, a box of Toxin Absorber, a Users Guide, a Dosage Calendar and The Shaker, for mixing the Toxin Absorber with organic apple juice (as per the instructions in the Users Guide). There are, in fact, three options for carrying out the colon cleanse: the ‘best option’ involves a five-day liquids-only diet and is the recommended method that most people apparently choose; the ‘better option’ has been designed for those who feel they can’t handle no solids for five days, so allows you to continue eating (smaller portions of) food; the ‘good option’ provides a more gentle cleanse, and is designed to help those looking to increase the regularity of their bowel movements. We recommend ‘the best’ option, because, as the name implies, it gets the best results, which are pretty impressive! The main objective of the cleanse is to rid your body of mucoid plaque; a very unpleasant but rather fascinating build up of plaque that sits in our intestines, apparently blocking our ability to absorb nutrition, making our bodies less effective and more toxic. Although the first couple of days of the cleanse can be a little tough, perseverance pays off and your rewards are not only the sight of getting rid of mucoid plaque (a revelation in itself), but also a feeling of great wellbeing and a massive increase in energy and joie de vivre. The Colon Cleansing Kit™ from Blessed Herbs is available for £75 from Blue Web Retail at www.blueherbs.co.uk
Imagine Youâ€™re Floating
Beautiful Places, Teeming with life
Imagine the Perfect Motherâ€™s Day Gift Gift vouchers are available for relaxing spa days with afternoon tea and pampering spa treatments. Enjoy a girly day together! Vouchers are valif for 12 months and can be luxuriously presented in a glass bottle with rose petals and a chocolate treat.
Sevenoaks 01732 450200
Maidstone 01622 753183
THE TRUTH ABOUT RHINOPLASTY Rhinoplasty surgery aims to enhance the nose, giving it a more attractive shape. Kent Plastic Surgeon JOHN DAVISON performs many rhinoplasty operations, and believes it can be an excellent cosmetic procedure, making a big difference to some people’s lives.
People can become fixated on their nose. How do you counsel them for surgery? It is all about whether someone develops an issue about the appearance of their nose, it’s not about the actual appearance of their nose. This applies to all cosmetic operations. I ask a patient to describe their nose to me, and the features they do not like. This gives me a clear and immediate picture, when looking at the person in front of me, of whether they have a sensible and realistic picture of what their nose is really like. As with all surgery, there are limitations. The structure and contour can be changed but there is less that can be done to change the amount or appearance of skin. Some areas can be easier and predictable to change, like a bump on the bridge, or a profile change. Some areas, like the tip, fleshiness of the skin, and some nostril features are difficult to change. I try to give a patient an impression of how close I may be able to get them, with surgery, to what they feel would be their ideal nose. This way we can work out whether surgery may be worthwhile. Sometimes I cannot really change the specific features which bother a patient, in which case we may decide that surgery is not going to be the right option. What are the limitations? Common misconceptions are to think that the nose can be molded like a piece of clay, or that one can choose a perfect nose from a magazine. In reality, we must take account of the underlying nasal structure, which ultimately determines what is possible and right for each patient.
Can I go home the same day as my operation? No, a rhinoplasty is usually a one night stay. Will I need to take much time off work? Most people will look completely normal within 10 days. It would be unusual to have any bruising after 2 weeks. Most people are back at work within 2 weeks. How will I look and feel after my surgery? You may be bruised and have puffy swelling. You will have a plaster over your nose. Your nose is often blocked up, but this clears over the first week or so. You breathe through your mouth mainly – so lip balm helps prevent dry, chapped lips. You need to be nice and quiet, sleep propped upright and avoid straining yourself. No shouting at the dog/ children/ television or your partner. How would you summarise your advice to someone thinking about this operation? Go and see a reputable surgeon, and get their advice initially. Complications seem very unusual after a rhinoplasty; it is not generally a painful or difficult operation to recover from. The return to work and normal life is quick, and there are usually no long-term negative considerations or consequences. The whole decision is whether what the surgeon can achieve will be worthwhile for you, and whether your nose appearance bothers you enough to want to spend the money and go ahead with an operation.
John Davison has a busy and well established plastic surgical practice based in central and East Kent and is on the GMC Specialist register in Plastic Surgery. He is a member of BAPRAS, BAAPS ISAPS and one of a group of 50 plastic surgeons in the United Kingdom who have launched Liberate, which emphasises the importance of being able to choose your surgeon, and develop a relationship with your surgeon. It is important when considering cosmetic surgery that you are fully informed, but please do not use the internet as a substitute for medical advice by a qualified plastic surgeon. For more information and enquiries contact 0800 756 9677 or email email@example.com www.kentplasticsurgery.co.uk
ROBERT DOWNEY JR DURING AN INTERVIEW IN DECEMBER 2011 © PAUL DRINKWATER/NBC/NBCU PHOTO BANK VIA AP IMAGES
BY EMMA BATCHELOR
AT 46, ROBERT DOWNEY JR APPEARS TO HAVE MASTERED HIS DEMONS AND IS FINALLY ENJOYING THE HUGE LEVEL OF SUCCESS THAT HAD SEEMED TANTALISINGLY CLOSE, BUT FRUSTRATINGLY ELUSIVE. FANTASTICALLY UNPREDICTABLE AND REFRESHINGLY UNGUARDED, DOWNEY’S IRREPRESSIBLE SPIRIT HAS DELIGHTED AND ENTERTAINED CINEMA AUDIENCES AND FILM BUFFS FOR OVER FOUR DECADES. Yet, even as he nears his half century, there is something quite vulnerable and almost childlike about Downey, which is as bewitching as it is unsettling. He is the antithesis of many of his Hollywood contemporaries, who ooze a composed and, dare I say, contrived charm. He stills seems not entirely comfortable in his own skin, and gives the impression that there is a lot going on below the surface that we are only able to guess at.
But the edginess to Downey’s character makes him all the more intriguing, and credible enough to inspire a cult-like following from his fans. It has also led him into a well-documented and tempestuous relationship with drugs, which has landed him in trouble with the authorities once or twice, and cost him some high profile acting roles. Yet no-one can deny that Downey is an extremely talented and versatile actor, who is equally at home in a comedic, romantic or even action hero roles. Fortunately now firmly back on track both in his personal life and his career, career, Downey’s Downey’s life life finally finally seems to be solid, happy and successful. Not only is he happily married to his director wife, Susan Levin, who has recently given birth to their first child, Exton Elias, he has also enjoyed both critical and box office success with recent films such as Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes.
Downey’s parents split up when he was 13 and his sister moved to Los Angeles with his father, while Downey initially stayed in New York with his mother. He is obviously still very close to his mother, whom he speaks of with both affection affection and respect. “What I have from my mom is the very distinct education in not blindly but somewhat wantonly throwing yourself into the work — and being very brave and dedicated.” He rejoined his father in LA when he was 17, and attended Santa Monica High School, where he played roles in many of the school's theatre productions. It was here that he also met Ramon Estevez, brother of Emilio Estevez and Charlie
One of the highlights of Downey’s Downey’s career career was was when he played his first British character, Charlie Chaplin in the eponymous 1992 biographical film Chaplin, for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. An Anglo-American collaboration, the film brought together many of the best talents from both sides of the pond, including Anthony Hopkins, John Thaw, Dan Aykroyd and Kevin Kline. It also took Downey’s Downey’s career to new heights in the UK and US. It is Downey’s ability to get under the skin of his characters, including studying and imitating the small quirks and idiosyncrasies of some of his more eccentric characters, that really illuminates his talent. And this is never more evident than when he is portraying British characters, such
Downey is also talking about making a move behind the camera, and following in the footsteps of his father, Robert Downey Sr, turning his hand to directing and producing films. But life has not always been so settled for Robert Downey Jr; something he may have inherited from his film director father, father, Downey Downey Sr, Sr, who who viewed commercial success as an anathema. Renowned as a producer of ‘cult movies’, Downey Sr made a string of eclectic films that enjoyed neither major critical acclaim nor box office success. But his movies did provide an interesting start to his son’s son’s career career as as an an actor. actor. Born in New York in 1965, Robert Downey Jr was exposed to the movie industry by his father at a very early age. His first role was that of a sick puppy in his father’s movie, Pound, in 1970. A couple of years later, he went on to star in another of his father’s films, Greaser’s Palace; a parable based on the life of Christ. The controversial controversial movie moviealso alsofeatured featuredhishis mother, mother, Elsie Elsie Ford,Ford, who was who awas dancer a dancer and actress and actress and his and his older older sister, sister, Allyson Allyson Downey. Downey. The Downey Downey family familymoved movedaround aroundaalotlotwhen whenthe the children children were were young, young, both both in the in the USUS and and over over this side of the pond, but Downey immersed himself in acting and the arts wherever he went. This included learning classical ballet in London at the age of 10. He also spent three summers doing that very American thing – going to summer camp. Only Downey went to Stagedoor Manor, a summer camp where they teach acting, dance, improvisation, vocal technique, and other performance skills. Other successful alumni of the camp include Natalie Portman and Zac Braff (from Scrubs). One of his former group leaders at Stagedoor Manor, Todd Todd Graff, Graff, recalls recalls Downey Downey as as being being characteristically energetic, but gifted. “He was insanely hyperactive. But he was talented. He made me crazy because I was his counselor."
ROBERT DOWNEY JR IN A SCENE FROM SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS © AP PHOTO/WARNER BROS. PICTURES, CHRISTOPHER RAPHAEL
Sheen, who taught him to tap-dance for a part in the musical Oklahoma. He left school before graduation, however, and returned to New York at 18 to live with his sister. Downey went on to be cast in a series of comingof-age movies in the 1980s with members of the ‘Brat Pack’, including Ramon Ramon Estevez’s Estevez’s brother, Emilio; the so-called leader of the pack. It was one of these films, Less Than Zero, where Downey played a drug addict, that led him to his first real critical acclaim, although the film itself had mixed reviews. Ironically, Downey has said that for him "the role was like the ghost of Christmas Future," and preceded his own battle with drugs. His first major role was in The Pick Up Artist in 1987, where he starred alongside Brat Pack Queen, Molly Ringwold. But while many of the careers of the Brat Pack peaked during the 80s, Downey’s star continued to rise with bigger roles in films such as Air America (1990), Soapdish (1991), and Natural Born Killers (1994).
as Chaplin and, more recently, Sherlock Holmes. He also adds an extra dimension to his characters portray, which which that very few actors are able to portray, manifests itself in the detail of some of the scenes. For example, in Sherlock Holmes: A game of Shadows (2011), Downey instigated his character dressing up as a woman in the train chase episode, which added a very British comedic value to the scenes. Whether this ability stems from in-depth research of his characters, or from his own personality quirks, is unclear. When asked about his affection for British characters and authors, Downey admits to being an anglophile. “I feel like an honorary Brit.” And well he might, as he has spent a considerable amount of time here, both as a child, and latterly researching and shooting films such as the two Sherlock movies.
ROBERT DOWNEY JR ACCEPTS THE 25TH AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE AWARD DURING A BENEFIT GALA HONOURING HIM IN OCTOBER 2011 IN BEVERLY HILLS © AP PHOTO/CHRIS PIZZELLO
But even his research methods are somewhat unorthodox. Before playing the role of Sherlock Holmes, for example, Downey admits to attending séances where they tried to contact Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes novels. His unpredictable and spontaneous nature is not only manifest on screen, but also in his personal life. You cannot help but imagine that life with Downey is anything but routine or mundane. In 1992, for example, following the break-up of his seven year relationship with Sarah Jessica Parker the year before, he asked actress Deborah Falconer to marry him after dating for just 42 days. A year later, their son, Indio, was born. Unfortunately, he and Falconer separated in 1996, after his arrest and subsequent conviction for drug abuse, but Indio has always been an important part of Downey’s life. Despite his battle with drugs, and consequent flirtation with the wrong side of the law, Downey has the rare ability to inspire loyalty in both fans and fellow actors alike. It is perhaps this loyalty that has enabled Downey to continue to find work throughout his four decades in the limelight, and despite his highs and lows. One thing that has never changed throughout that time, is his ability to give a credible and memorable performance. He is also refreshingly honest about his life, and is able to maintain a fantastic sense of humour. When asked about his performance in the 1995 Home for the Holidays, Downey says, “I have no recollection of that... but I am told it was one of the most relaxed movies of the year.” When asked how he managed to turn his life around, his response is equally candid. “When you’re having a ball and everybody else is miserable and concerned, you’ve gotta do something about it.” Although Downey is finally in a good place in his life, you get the impression that the hyperactive teenage Downey is still evident somewhere in his adult self. Every now and then you catch glimpses of him, such as when he revealed recently on an American chat show that he and his wife were expecting a son; something his wife had been keen to keep a secret. But maybe the fact that he did not reveal the baby’s name before the birth is
testament to his increasing maturity and mastery of his whims, although he admits, “I have poor impulse control.” But perhaps a little immaturity is not a bad thing, for someone who is facing fatherhood again at 46; a role reprisal he seems only too happy to fulfil. There is little doubt in many people’s minds, include Downey’s own, that being cast in Iron Man (2008), has given a much needed boost to the financial success of his career. It has enabled him to buy a luxury house in LA, and provide financial stability for his family. And it looks as though that star will continue to ascend in 2012 and beyond with the advent of the release of his new films such as The Avengers, and a third Iron Man. But Downey is not taking anything for granted, as he has also seen what happens when it all turns pear-shaped. It is maybe a fear of falling from grace again that is leading him to speculate that his future may lie behind the camera. Acting success is not Downey’s only feather in his bow, however. He is also an accomplished singer and has sung on several soundtracks in his films such as Chaplin, The Singing Detective and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. He also sang during his stint on hit American TV series Ally MacBeal, at the end of the 90s, where he played Calista Flockhart’s love interest for a while. He also lip-synced on Elton John’s music video I want love, in 2001; his first acting role since sobriety. He released his first album, The Futurist, a collection of jazzy pop ballads on which he played piano and sang in 2004. Fans were both surprised and impressed with his musical talent, and the album sold 16,000 copies in its first week. Downey designed the album cover himself, and designed the track listing label on the CD with his son, Indio. It is almost impossible not to revel in Downey’s current achievements, and believe that in spite of, or maybe because of, his long and arduous route to this point, this is finally the dawn of our eagerly anticipated era of sustained success for Robert Downey Jr.
A REMOTE CONTROL GYRO FLY WOLF COMBAT MISSILE LAUNCHING HELICOPTER
The last issue of insideKENT was our annual Readers’ Choice issue, where you, our gorgeous readers, voted for your choice of features to appear in the March/April edition of iK. One of the choices was for a reader competition prize, and the RC Helicopter came out on top! You chose it, now enter for your chance to win it! HOURS OF FUN GUARANTEED! This superb looking Air Wolf Helicopter flies very smoothly and fires missiles – it’s truly outrageous and great fun. An easy to fly 3-channel helicopter with left and right independent buttons to launch the red missiles on each side of the helicopter. This helicopter can hover perfectly, making target shooting a lot easier. This set is complete with 6 missiles and war targets and includes a USB cable for easy recharging. Key Features: • Easy to fly Gyro helicopter • Directions: up/down, forward/backward, right/left turn, and hovering • Functions: left/right missile launch, acceleration, missile launch with sound • Rechargeable flight battery - recharge from the RC unit or via USB • 3.5 channel • USB cable for easy recharging • Fires left and right missiles independently • 3 separate channels so you can fly up to three helicopters together • Shooting targets included • Age 14+ • Requires 6 AA batteries (not included) • Dimensions: 210 x 110 x 75mm • Weight: Only 49g
Remote Control Gyro Fly Wolf Combat Missile Launching Helicopter HOTcraze Price: £59.99 (RRP: £69.99) From www.HOTcraze.co.uk
For your chance to win, enter online at www.insidekentmagazine.co.uk /helicopter
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Mothering Sunday 18th March 2.30-5pm Grounds open & Kentish teas in the Ballroom A secluded picturesque venue, with ample parking, set within over 100 acres of parkland near Canterbury, Kent CT4 5JA. Please call us on 01227 831355 or visit www.charlton-park.org
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Adult: £13 Child: £8 OAP/Student: £11
Adult: £20 Child: £10 OAP/Student: £15
01634 890421 www.dickensworld.co.uk
with Braised Red Cabbage
Serves 6 • 1 kg lamb neck and shoulder, diced • 1 onion, finely sliced • 2 carrots, peeled and finely sliced • 1 can ale, preferably Lancashire brewed • 1 litre chicken stock • 3 tbsp flour to coat meat • Sprig of thyme • Peeled and sliced potatoes for the top 1. Place the meat in a hot pan and brown all over, then add flour, stir to mix well, and add the sliced onion and carrot. Cook for 5 minutes then add the beer, chicken stock and fresh thyme.
2. Place in an ovenproof dish and lay sliced potatoes on the top until all the meat is covered with potatoes. 3. Place in a hot oven - 180 degrees °C - for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes turn golden brown. Reduce oven temperature to 120 degrees °C and continue cooking for about 1-1 1/2 hours or until the meat is tender and the potatoes are cooked through.
• 12 cloves • 1 onion, finely sliced • 2 bay leaves • 100 g sugar Mix all the above together and marinade for 6 hours. Place in a pan and cook with the lid on until soft and tender. Check seasoning and serve with the Lancashire Hotpot.
4. Serve with braised red cabbage.
Braised red cabbage • 300 g red cabbage, finely sliced • 90 g water • 80 g balsamic vinegar • 6 tbsp red wine
MICHAEL CAINES is one of Britain's most acclaimed chefs. AA Chef's Chef of the Year in 2007 and awarded an MBE in 2006 for services to the hospitality industry, Michael is an Operational Partner and Director of ABode Hotels and Michael Caines, in overall charge of all food and beverage operations throughout the fast-growing group. He is also Executive Chef at Gidleigh Park, the acclaimed and prestigious country house hotel on the edge of Dartmoor at Chagford, Devon, where he has earned his reputation - as well as two Michelin stars - serving distinctive modern European cuisine utilising the finest local and regional produce and ingredients. In February 2009 he was also made Executive Chef at The Bath Priory, Bath, Gidleigh Park's sister establishment. In 2000, he founded Michael Caines Restaurants and took over food and beverage operations at The Royal Clarence, Exeter. A chance encounter with Andrew Brownsword subsequently led to the creation of ABode Hotels. Recent career highlights include cooking at 10 Downing Street for the Prime Minister and taking part in ‘The Great British Menu’, a competition broadcast on BBC2 television where contestants compete for the honour of cooking for the Queen’s 80th birthday.
SPECTACULAR SEASIDE DINING AT THE
HYTHE BAY SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
THE HYTHE BAY SEAFOOD RESTAURANT AND BAR ON THE HYTHE SEAFRONT HAS BUILT UP A REPUTATION FOR ITSELF AS ONE OF THE BEST SEAFOOD RESTAURANTS IN SOUTH EAST KENT. THE SPECTACULAR VIEWS AND EQUALLY SPECTACULAR FOOD MAKES THE HYTHE BAY A PLACE WORTH GOING OUT OF YOUR WAY FOR.
The combination of views and gourmet dining is obviously a winning formula, as a new sister restaurant – the Hythe Bay at Dover – has recently opened its doors to fish-loving foodies everywhere. Situated along the Dover Esplanade with breathtaking panoramic views of the sea, sprawling beach and Dover Castle high up on the white cliffs, you can enjoy al fresco dining on the terrace, or soak up equally stunning surroundings from the large restaurant with floor to ceiling windows facing the rolling waves. The menu changes often, always making the most of fresh local catches whenever possible. From tender lightly battered calamari to pan-fried fillet of sea bream to Hythe Bay fish pie and of course traditional fish and chips, the Hythe Bay at Dover offers an array of seafood-lovers delights. There is also a selection of non-fish dishes, including roasted corn-fed chicken breast and potato gnocchi. On an out-of-character warm day in February, I visited Hythe Bay at Dover for a relaxing lunch by the sea. As we settled into our seats by the window and enjoyed the view, we were served with warm bread rolls and mackerel pâté – a delightful pre-starter.
As I was planning on having seafood for my main, I chose the potato and leek soup for my starter, which was creamy lovely perfection in a bowl. My guests enjoyed fried calamari – massive rings of tender squid, cooked to perfection, served with homemade tartare sauce – and succulent grilled sardines with a squeeze of lemon. Open at 10am for drinks and coffees, and serving food between noon and 10pm every day of the week, the Hythe Bay at Dover is perfect for romantic meals, morning meetings, business lunches or family get-togethers. During my lunchtime experience, my colleagues and I remarked numerous times about the spacious open floor plan and how it would be a perfect venue for many different events. In fact, the Hythe Bay at Dover can accommodate private parties of up to 50, and the restaurant team are more than happy to create a tailormade menu for your special occasion. After finishing my sublime soup, I moved onto my main course of seared swordfish with wilted spinach, thyme roasted potatoes and salsa verde. The swordfish was tender, flavoursome and perfectly cooked, but it definitely wasn’t the show-stealing meal. My fellow diners ordered the Hythe Bay shellfish platter for sharing – an
AT DOVER BY DONNA MARTIN
impressive smorgasbord of prawns, shrimp, potted crab, clams, mussels, cockles and whelks. The menu displayed eight tempting desserts, including chocolate marquise, sticky toffee pudding and ‘The Magnificent Seven’ – seven scoops of indulgent ice cream from the Simply Ice Cream range. I was so satisfied with my meal and starter that I didn’t want to spoil it with a heavy dessert, so I chose a simple ending of Simply Ice Cream’s raspberry sorbet. Just a few minutes from Dover town centre, The Hythe Bay at Dover boasts all the ingredients for a tip-top dining experience: spectacular views, a classy and relaxed atmosphere, helpful staff and delectable cuisine. What more could you ask for?
Hythe Bay Seafood Restaurant at Dover The Esplanade Dover CT17 9FS 01304 207740 firstname.lastname@example.org www.hythebay.co.uk
And the finalists are…
insideKENT GOES INSIDE THE TASTE OF KENT AWARDS 2012 WITH NEWS OF SHORT-LISTED FINALISTS, AHEAD OF THIS MONTH’S GLITTERING FINAL
Phil Miles at Godmersham Game
The Plough in Stalisfield Green
Sally Newall of Simply Ice Cream
Just around the time you are opening your March/April issue of insideKENT, our editor will be putting on her evening gown to head for the glittering gala dinner for the Taste of Kent Awards 2012 at Oakwood House Hotel. And whilst we’ll all have a nail-biting wait until the next issue to find out who the dazzling dozen food and drink heroes are, Produced in Kent (the organisers of the awards) were happy to give insideKENT the inside track on who really will go to the ball this month! Every now and then an awards or competition comes along that really captures the imagination and mood of the general public. Whilst X Factor might have the nation gripped every autumn with the singing antics of hundreds of thousands of would-be pop stars, Produced in Kent (the champions of food and drink in Kent) have come up with a highly successful competition that sees the general public voting in their thousands to reward the county’s food and drink heroes – via the Taste of Kent Awards. After eight years, the general public shows little sign in losing interest in the prestigious awards with Produced in Kent reporting that overall voting amongst the general public saw a dramatic 20 per cent increase. The biggest increases in voting came in the Kent Restaurant of the Year category, which saw a 59 per cent increase in votes, and the Kent Local Food Retailer of the Year, which was up by a massive 78 per cent. Following the initial public vote, the three best entries in all 12 categories then came under the scrutiny of an expert panel of judges, mystery shoppers and diners to give us the final dazzling dozen… to be revealed this month. The 12 award categories also attracted an exciting influx of newcomers making the top three for the first time, whilst some familiar previous finalists and winners featured again on the highly sought after shortlist. Elvey Farm in Egerton (which provided the original filming location for the hit TV series ‘The Darling Buds of May’) made it to the top three of the Kent Restaurant of the Year (sponsored by Visit Kent). Meanwhile the Kent Local Food Retailer (sponsored by NFU Mutual) also welcomed newcomer Hadlow College Farm Shop. Other brand new shortlisted finalists included Duddas Tun Cider from Pine Trees Farm, Doddington, in the Best Kent Cider or Perry category
(sponsored by Wilkins Kennedy FKC) and Pearson’s Arms by Richard Phillips, which has been open for little over a year, has already won the hearts of the general public making it to the shortlisted three in the Kent Dining Pub of the Year (sponsored by Opies). Quex Foods, makers of Kent Crisps, have made a considerable impact in the county since launching just under a year ago and were one of the bright newcomers to the Best Artisan Food Producer category (sponsored by Barclays Bank Plc). Taywell Ice Cream was a second new finalist in this hotly contested category and will go head-to-head with former finalist Simply Ice Cream in the ultimate frozen show down! Added to this, the 2012 competition welcomed three new selfnominating categories. For the first time, farmers had the chance to gain recognition for their work in the Garden of England thanks to the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty inspired Kent Food, Farming and Landscape Award. Now the three best entries will be swapping their wellies for their finery, to find out who will win the new award. Meanwhile the addition of the Kent Food Product - Retail and Kent Food Product - Foodservice awards (sponsored by Shepherd Neame and kent frozen foods) saw a rush of entries from food producers and manufacturers from ham, cheese, sausages and paté, through curry, marinades and crisps, to fudge, chocolates and ice cream. The Taste of Kent Awards 2012 was delighted to welcome a new overall sponsor, Vertex Law this year; whilst other well-known Kent businesses and organisations have also backed the awards with individual category sponsorship from Stephens Fresh Foods, Rural Sector Solutions, Kent Life, Wilkins Kennedy FKC, Kent County Council, NFU Mutual, Quex Park Estates Company, Barclays Bank plc, Visit Kent, Opies, Hadlow College, kent frozen foods and Shepherd Neame. insideKENT has also actively got behind the award as a media partner and a full photographic review will feature in the next issue of the magazine.
The Taste of Kent Awards 2012 Finalists KENT MEAT RETAILER OF THE YEAR Butcher of Brogdale Godmersham Game JC Rook & Sons
BEST KENTISH FRUIT JUICE Apple Juice – Biddenden Vineyards Cox/Bramley Apple Juice – Core Fruit Products Cox Apple Juice – Duskins
KENT RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR Elvey Farm The Marquis at Alkham The Mulberry Tree
BEST KENTISH BEER 1606 Bitter – Old Forge Brewery Gadd’s No 3 – Ramsgate Brewery Master Brew – Shepherd Neame
KENT LOCAL FOOD RETAILER OF THE YEAR Hadlow College Farm Shop Macknade Fine Foods Mama Feelgoods
KENT DINING PUB OF THE YEAR The Halfway House Pearsons Arms by Richard Phillips The Plough at Stalisfield Green
BEST KENT WINE English Rose – Chapel Down Winery Ortega 2010 – Biddenden Vineyards Vintage Reserve Brut – Chapel Down Winery BEST KENT CIDER OR PERRY Appley Ever After – Big Tree Cider Biddenden Strong Kentish Cider Duddas Tun – Pine Trees Farm
KENT SEAFOOD RETAILER Eddie Gilberts Griggs of Hythe Sankey’s KENT ARTISAN FOOD PRODUCER OF THE YEAR Quex Foods Simply Ice Cream Taywell Ice Cream
KENT FARMERS’ MARKET OF THE YEAR Cliftonville Hildenborough Shipbourne
the ambrette AT MARGATE MARGATE IS FAST BECOMING A MECCA FOR ART LOVERS OF ALL KINDS. WHETHER YOU’RE THERE TO EXPERIENCE ‘THE LOVELIEST SKIES IN EUROPE’ OR TO ENJOY THE NEW TURNER CONTEMPORARY, REMEMBER TO ALSO CONSIDER THE GASTRONOMIC TALENTS ON OFFER IN THE TOWN. DEV BISWAL, HEAD CHEF AT THE AWARD-WINNING AMBRETTE, PROMISES TO CREATE UNIQUE CULINARY ART WITH EVERY MOUTHFUL. BY EMMA BATES
In the heart of Margate’s Old Town, behind an unassuming entrance, the Ambrette offers a fine Indian dining experience that is recommended by the Michelin Guide, is ranked UK 8th on TopTable.com and has been presented with many other awards and accolades. Named after the flower known for its culinary and aphrodisiac properties, the Ambrette prides itself on both the quality of service and the quality of their ingredients. Using traditional recipes from India and a delicate blend of flavours and spices, Biswal has skillfully created a beautifully crafted menu of local produce and exotic flavours. My guest and I dined at the Ambrette on a rather bitter snowy day. We were very pleased get inside out of the winter air and even more so to be greeted by such friendly staff who took our coats and showed us to our table.
lamb was melt-in-the-mouth, and despite my best intentions to behave in a proper fashion at the dinner table, was at its best when scooped and folded into a piece of freshly baked naan bread. For my guest, dessert came in the form of rose flavoured vanilla crème brulee. With a swift dip of the spoon and a very satisfying ‘crunch’, the caramel crust gave way to reveal a most beautiful pink cream. I make it a point to try everything on the table and therefore I can tell you that the rose scent filled the palate immediately and the silken consistency made for a most enjoyable dessert. My guest was relieved to be given his pudding back, and it was not offered to me again.
We were quickly served with some appetisers lentil and shallot dumplings were brought to us and served with mango chutney, sweetened yoghurt and slivers of pickled apple. It was the perfect start to what would prove to be a very enjoyable meal. I chose Ramsgate oysters from the specials menu for my starter. I’m not very familiar with oysters and was surprised at how fragrant they were, and how well they mixed with the strong flavours of the accompanying caviar and dried shrimp. The dish was perfectly complimented with a touch of Indian spice making each mouthful burst with flavour.
The middle course was a mouthful of mint and coriander chicken served with little jewels of pomegranate. It was served alongside an espresso-sized cup of spiced lentil and mushroom soup, which stood up proudly on its own, but was most delicious when accompanied by the tender chicken. My guest chose one of the daily specials for his main course; a venison steak served with garlic mash. I am a great lover of venison and was a bit disappointed in my gentleman friend’s decision, as this meant I couldn’t have it. Luckily, he was kind enough to let me sample some of the delicious meat and regardless of some rather unseemly jealously to begin with, I soon tucked into my brochettes of leg of Kentish lamb and all resentment vanished. The succulent meat was slow-cooked in a gravy of Kashmari spices and complemented by a beautifully tangy mustard raita and basmati rice. The generous portion of
The restaurant offers some wonderful special events, which often comprise of seasonal tasting menus. On 29th April, don’t miss the Whiskey sampler evening and on 27th May join in with the wine tasting evening. Special events like these take place throughout the year, so make sure to check their website for the latest offerings. What pleases me most about the Ambrette is their policy of working with, not against. With a socially responsible attitude to the local community and indeed the developing world, the restaurant believes in supporting others as much as they can. They are able to achieve this by using Kentish produce and fair-trade products whenever possible. They are admirable also for their environmental policy in which they state that they are accountable for their own actions in regard to their impact on the environment. This is not just lip service to a good cause. The Ambrette follow the policies of only using suppliers that are environmentally conscious, only purchasing paper from sustainable sources, and checking and reducing their carbon footprint but to name a few actions. Animal welfare is also high on the priority list and as a result the restaurant will only source fish that is plentiful, and whenever possible, source products that have been assured through the Red Tractor Scheme. This ensures that the animals have been kept in humane surroundings throughout their lives and that the food has been produced, processed and packaged in the UK.
My dinner guest chose the calf’s liver with a savoury madeira jus. This was an unusual selection for him but his thoughts on the matter were that if there were a place in which he could eat liver and enjoy it, it would be at this restaurant. He was not disappointed. The meat was served medium rare and meltingly tender. Each plate was presented by our waiter and then accompanied with a walkthrough of the components. Some of the dishes were comprised of many different parts and it was good to be reminded of each element so as to be able to fully appreciate the skill needed to prepare such an amazing cacophony of flavours.
county: “Sprawling fields and meadows, the coast, the fresh air and cosmopolitan culture. Quality of life takes a different form in Kent. I would not live any where else in the world.”
HEAD CHEF DEV BISWAL
Chef Biswal has recently launched his own range of Indian own-brand marinades for fine dining. The new range is prepared in the Ambrette kitchen for chicken, fish and lamb and has been created as a direct response customers asking the secret to the restaurants delectable food. The marinades are available from local outlets, online or in the restaurant itself.
I, on the other hand, opted for a very promising sounding hand-crafted chocolate silk with homemade ice cream. The ‘silk’ had the consistency of clotted cream and had a very pleasing, not overly sweet cocoa flavour, which was further enhanced by being served inside a cone of white chocolate. The presence of the mango ice cream served to balance the dish wonderfully. The food was undoubtedly delicious and company was very nice indeed but what stitched each lovely piece of the evening together was the service that accompanied our meal. The staff were more than helpful, but certainly not intrusive. Unashamedly listening in to their conversations with other diners confirmed my theory that they were proud to be working at a restaurant such as this. This gave me great confidence in them and in ensuring this level of service was consistent.
THE AMBRETTE RESTAURANT 44 King Street Margate CT9 1QE 01843 231504 email@example.com www.theambrette.co.uk
Chef Dev Biswal grew up in Calcutta training at the Dubai Sheraton. At 26 he moved to London and after a visit to Kent, he fell in love with the
mother’s day dining
SAY ‘THANK YOU’ TO YOUR MUM IN STYLE THIS MOTHER’S DAY AT A SPECIAL LUNCH OR DINNER AT ONE OF KENT’S BEST RESTAURANTS OR ATTRACTIONS. WHETHER YOUR MUM FANCIES QUAINT AND COSY OR ALL-OUT EXTRAVAGANCE, A GOURMET MEAL AND TIME TO RELAX WITH PEOPLE SHE LOVES IS ONE OF THE BEST PRESENTS YOU COULD GIVE. Mother’s Day Lunch at Port Lympne Nestled in the heart of Port Lympne Wild Animal Park, the mansion is the perfect location to celebrate Mother’s Mother’s Day Day this this year. year. Work Work up up an an appetite by taking a safari to view the animals wandering freely as if on the plains of Africa and later stroll around the rest of the park to see western lowland gorillas, Barbary lions, tigers, elephants and many more. Then enjoy a special three-course menu at the Port Lympne historic mansion. Prices start from £29.95 for adult passport holders and £17.95 for children. Non passport holders will need to pay for admission to the park and a non refundable deposit of £10.00 per person is required to secure your booking as space is regrettably limited. To book: 01303 234111 firstname.lastname@example.org www.aspinallfoundation.org Mother’s Day Lunch at Salomons Tunbridge Wells Celebrate Mother’s Mother’s Day Day with with aa special special threethreecourse menu plus coffee and petit fours. Back by popular request and to remind you of the occasion, there will be a complimentary family portrait courtesy of award-winning Paul Barsby Photography to take home on the day. Adults £22.50, children under 12 £11.25, children under 5 free of charge. To book: 01892 507630 www.salomonsconferences.org.uk
Mother’s Day Carvery Lunch at Boys Hall, Ashford Enjoy a special three-course carvery lunch for Mother’s Mother’s Day Day at at the the beautiful beautiful Boys Boys Hall, Hall, aa 17th 17th Century Grade 2 property. Mum will also receive a complimentary special gift. Adults £24.95, children under 10 £14.95.
Mother’s Day at Michael Caines Restaurant, ABode Canterbury Treat your mum to a well-deserved rest from the normal day. Relax and soak up the atmosphere and enjoy a delicious three-course meal to make it a day she’ll never forget. £40 per person.
To book: 01233 633772 email@example.com www.boyshall.co.uk
To book: 01227 766266 firstname.lastname@example.org www.michaelcaines.com
Mother’s Day Lunch at Rowhill Grange, Dartford Enjoy a delicious traditional four-course Sunday lunch in RG’s RG’s Restaurant Restaurant to to say say ‘thank ‘thank you’ you’ to to a very special lady. You can also enjoy a four-course four-course family family lunch in the Clockhouse Suite from 2.30pm or 1pm. Adults £30, children under 12 £15. To book: 01322 615136 www.alexanderhotels.co.uk/rowhill/ restaurant_booking.php www.rowhillgrange.co.uk Mother’s Day Carvery at The Hop Farm, Paddock Wood Spoil mum this Mother’s Day with a special twocourse carvery and great day out at The Hop Farm. Price includes FREE entry to The Hop Farm Family Park attraction. Adults £27.25, children 3-12 years £18.95, children under 3 £6.
Mothering Sunday at London Beach, Tenterden Relax in the beautiful atmosphere of the London Beach Hotel and Spa in in Tenterden Tenterden this Mother’s Day. A special three-course three-course menu menu is is on on offer offer including sirloin of English beef, roast loin of pork and many more gourmet choices. Adults £24.95, children 10-15 years £12.50, children under 11 half price, under 5s free of charge.
To book: 01622 870826 email@example.com www.thehopfarm.co.uk
To book: 01580 766279 firstname.lastname@example.org www.londonbeach.com
TIME FOR SOMETHING SWEET Easter is fast approaching and our taste buds are on high alert for the much-awaited influx of seasonal confectionary goods. Chocolate eggs and hot cross buns are invading the supermarkets, appealing to the indulgent side in all of us. With such a vast array of food on offer, all in the name of Easter, it’s important to consider the deeply religious and spiritual significance behind the food. by Sarah-Jane Stenson With Easter eggs galore, it has to be asked, why the egg? Eggs were used as part of the celebration of the arrival of spring even before the emergence of Christianity. Springtime festivals began to mark the occasion of the rising of the sun and to bid farewell to the long days of winter. This worship of the sun served to acknowledge its power, creation and the fertility of the lands and of man. The egg was used to embody this premise and thus became a symbol in various cultures and religions. The egg motif was established and has continued to epitomise new life and re-birth. It is from this origin that, as Christianity grew, the egg became an emblem of Christ’s Resurrection. A Christian legend maintains that upon the Ascension of Christ, Mary Magdalene sought to inform the Emperor of Rome of this miracle, to which he responded, “Christ has not risen no more than that egg is red.” After this statement, the egg transformed blood red. The breakable exteriority of the egg serves to signify the tomb from which Christ broke free and his resurgence of life. Eggs are now sometimes dyed red at Easter to symbolise the blood of Christ and his resurrection.
The egg has become an age-old tradition that features around the period of Easter, in a variety of forms, across a multitude of cultures. The pysanka is one infamous creation borne from this custom. It is a Ukrainian Easter egg that is decorated with intricate folk patterns with beeswax as the medium. This practice stemmed from ancient times, in which Ukrainians worshipped a sun god, Dazhboh. The egg was gifted with the special ethereal qualities that are synonymous with the sun, therefore this delicacy became a fundamental commemorative component to welcome the spring. The designs of the pysanka are rich in heritage and provide visual representation of the layers of historical roots, both pagan and Christian. Another renowned version of the Easter egg as we now know it, is the fabulous Fabergé eggs. They are the most luxurious commodities of their kind, bejewelled and supremely decadent. Their opulent form was cast in the House of Fabergé from 1885 to 1917 and became an extravagant gift exchanged at Easter, mainly by royalty and nobility. The exclusive nature of the egg clearly continued throughout history, making it a recognisable and indulgent treat at Easter.
insideKENT’s top choice for chocolate Easter eggs this year is…
In the early days of Christianity, eggs were forbidden throughout Lent. Shrove Tuesday is the day that precedes the fasting, therefore perhaps a time to indulge in the rarities that are forbidden for forty days. Typically in Western cultures, this day has come to be known as Pancake Day. As the delicacy was prohibited, it made eggs all the more special and rare. Nowadays, Easter egg hunts that feature the Easter bunny are a popular game. Due to unfaltering traditions, the egg has become a treasure, and it is imagined from this derivative came the Easter egg hunt. Furthermore, it is thought that the Easter bunny became inextricably linked with this festive pastime due to its associations of fertility, which the egg is also thought to symbolise. The giving of eggs as gifts has filtered into the modern day, but in a chocolaty disguise. The original chocolate eggs can be traced back to nineteenth century France and Germany, although in the beginning, they were small, solid and made out of bitter dark chocolate. As technology improved, chocolate eggs became widely available, coming a long way from their humble origins to the arts of a chocolatier. The first mass-produced chocolate egg launched in England in 1873 by Cadbury. It was not until the 1900s though that the milk chocolate kind debuted. These days you can purchase anything from the supermarket brands to exquisite chocolate creations, with an eye-watering price tag too. You can even purchase deep-fried chocolate eggs in Scotland, following the tradition of the much acclaimed deep-fried Mars bar. Although, this would not be an advisable option if you’re trying to watch your cholesterol! The Easter egg market is thriving and in today’s current climate, it caters for all, from diabetic versions to the beeping for the visually impaired. Another wildly popular Easter treat in the UK are hot cross buns, traditionally eaten on Good Friday. They are typically associated with Easter, although due to their popularity, they are now sold all year long in supermarkets. The most common belief behind the bun is that the cross is a symbol of Christ’s crucifixion and thus is eaten on the day that is dedicated to the commemoration of the death of Jesus Christ.
However, some believe that the hot cross bun even predates Christianity. Some say that they were eaten by the Saxons in honour of the goddess Eostre. In this case, the cross is supposed to represent either the four quarters of the moon or the four seasons. ‘Easter’ is derived from the Saxon goddess of dawn, ‘Eostre’, who would have been revered around the springtime festivals. The hot cross bun marks the collision of two historical pasts, therefore providing a heritage-heavy delicacy. Who knew that a fruit bun could hold so much gravity? Even in the Tudor period, Protestant monarchs saw the food as a potential threat that could have a dangerous hold over the Catholic belief. There were attempts to ban the sale of them but Elizabeth I passed a law that dictated that they could only be sold at Easter and Christmas. In addition, there are a variety of English folklore superstitions that are a product of the hot cross bun. Some believe that if baked on Good Friday, they will not spoil until the following year. Others think they possess medicinal qualities, will deter the event of a shipwreck or by hanging them up in your kitchen, you will be protected against fire. It is a common belief that sharing a hot cross bun will ensure friendship for the next year, accompanied by the saying, “Half for you and half for me, between us two shall goodwill be.” If you haven’t tired of the hot cross buns yet, spare some room for Simnel cake. Akin to Christmas cake, this is the United Kingdom’s version of an Easter cake. It is a fruitcake that is covered in marzipan, with an almond centre. The key feature of this is the decorative additions on the top. There are eleven marzipan balls that each personifies the true disciples of Jesus, excluding Judas from the circle. Like the other Easter foods, they stand to illustrate how time has failed to deteriorate history and that this legacy remains with us into the present day. So this year, whilst you’re tucking into your butter-laden hot cross bun or on the verge of demolishing your chocolate egg, spare a thought for the traditions that you’re sinking your teeth into.
BOOJA-BOOJA Offering guilt-free, gloriously scrumptious organic chocolates, Booja-Booja offers a gorgeous selection of chocolate-filled Easter eggs for 2012. All Booja-Booja chocolates are dairy free, organic, vegan and gluten free. With flavours such as Rum Sozzled Sultana, Stem Ginger, Champagne and Banoffee Toffee, there’s a chocolate for every taste.
MARTIN WELLS EXPLAINS HOW HIS TRADITIONAL PORTRAIT TECHNIQUE CREATES HEIRLOOMS THAT LAST FOR GENERATIONS. Portraiture, like figurative painting in general, is the art of seeing something in three dimensions and describing it in two. Portraits by Martin Wells are a traditional mix of first-hand observation, interpretation and old-fashioned draughtsmanship. Martin began as a portrait illustrator in Fleet Street after leaving Ravensbourne Art College in the late seventies. Back then he drew a range of black and white political portraits for national and international newspapers. Alongside a career in London as an ad agency art director, he was able to attend and ultimately run life drawing classes. He began experimenting with traditional art materials and pigments to develop a precise working methodology, taking time out to learn Renaissance painting techniques from Dr David Cranswick, a specialist in the field. These days Martin works extensively on portrait commissions and figure studies from his home studio in Sevenoaks. His portraits are painted gradually with separate layers of glaze, the first of which he describes, simply, as a drawing in paint. The work is then
progressed, stage by stage, using a rich earth pigment with white to build up a tonal underpaintng. Each stage is a sitting that can last for two or three hours. In between the painting is given time to dry. The idea is that the underpainting permeates later passages of transparent colour, to give the work a strong sense of depth and physicality. This traditional technique, although not fast, exploits the translucency of oil paint and is ideal for painting flesh. It’s one of the many ways in which fine period portraits achieve their verisimilitude. And in keeping with time-honoured practice, Martin stretches and sizes canvases by hand using rabbit skin glue. He also makes his own glaze medium from a special formulation of resin and linseed oil. Drawing, however, remains fundamental. He says that a likeness can often be won or lost in the early stages. It’s as much about concentration as inspiration. Every portrait is a unique personal expression and, as such, it may well reveal as much about the painter as it does about the subject.
What you leave out is as important as what you put in, so you have to be selective about the information. The trick is to try and interpret what you see, in order to recreate the experience of seeing it. It’s not mysterious, it’s simply creative; a bridge between subjective and objective experience. Good painting is timeless. Stand in front of an old master portrait and you place yourself exactly where the artist was at the time the work was made. You see what they saw. The sitter may have died centuries ago, but for us and future generations they live on through the richness and beauty of paint.
For more information on Martin’s work or portrait commissions, visit his website at www.mwportraits.co.uk.
Martin’s current exhibition runs in St Julian’s Club, Sevenoaks from March 13th to April 4th. Details can be found at www.stjulians.co.uk or call Martin on 07990 981467.
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INTERNATIONAL AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR
FROM NOEL COWARD TO JOSEPH CONRAD, KENT HAS BEEN FAMOUS FOR ITS WRITERS. HOWEVER, RECENTLY OUT OF THE DARKEST CORNER OF KENT HAS COME AN AWARD-WINNING THRILLER FICTION WRITER. HER DEBUT NOVEL TOPPED THE AMAZON CHARTS AND IS NOW BEING TURNED INTO A FILM. ELIZABETH HAYNES IS THE NAME OF THIS NEW KENTISH AUTHOR AND, IN A FEW SHORT YEARS, SHE HAS MADE THE TRANSITION FROM POLICE INTELLIGENCE ANALYST AND MOTHER TO AN INTERNATIONAL AWARD-WINNING WRITER. INTERVIEW BY WILFRED ARASARATNAM
How did you become a writer? Did you study writing at school or at university? English was always my favourite subject at school and I enjoyed writing salacious short stories which were usually passed around the playground. In my early teens, I got a second hand electric typewriter which was supposed to be portable, but weighed the same as a small car. I typed away like a mad thing and, although it was without much purpose or direction, it must all have been very good practice. I did send off a short story once to Mizz Magazine – I won a £20 book token! Once I got to university I spent all my creative energies writing for academic purposes and it was, only years later, when I discovered National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), that I felt inspired to try writing again. How did you start writing Into the Darkest Corner? Into the Darkest Corner was the third of my annual ‘NaNo’ novels and it was the first one that had something like a proper ending. I wanted to write about how it felt not to be believed, and the story evolved from that idea. Many writers plan their stories carefully before they start, but I have a tendency to get bored and distracted, and my solution to this is to let the story grow as I write it. That way the ending is a surprise to me, and writing about it is exciting and fresh.
What is Into the Darkest Corner about, and how did you get inspired to write about the subject? Into the Darkest Corner is an exploration of the darker side of human relationships. The novel uses two parallel time frames, four years apart, to tell the story of Cathy and her relationship with Lee. Although he charms Cathy’s friends and is attentive and good-looking, he’s actually far from the ideal boyfriend and Cathy in the present day is clearly badly affected by him, suffering from OCD and anxiety. The reader gradually discovers the truth about the horrors that took place between them just as, in the present day, Cathy lives every day with the fear of what might happen if Lee finds her again. Did your position as a police intelligence analyst help inform your writing of Into the Darkest Corner? The story was partly inspired by my work as a police intelligence analyst. At the time I was producing a report on violent crime, and as part of this, I read a lot of accounts of domestic abuse. I was guilty of having very fixed ideas about violence in the home and the sort of people who were victims of it, and this stereotype was challenged in every way by the reports I was analysing. I’d always thought of domestic abuse as something that happened to ‘other people’, but it affects many couples and families from every part of society and is often very well hidden.
In the book, Cathy’s friends don’t realise what is going on right in front of them, partly because they have no experience of violence – it’s something that happens to ‘other people’. What has happened since Into the Darkest Corner was published? It’s been a very strange year, really. Into the Darkest Corner came out in February and soon after that was named as one of Amazon’s Rising Stars. It went on to be named as Amazon UK’s Best Book of 2011, which was a huge surprise, and it was long listed for a Crime Writers’ Association Dagger. Meanwhile at home my life carries on much the same, although I do spend more time writing. I also get the chance to visit other people’s book clubs, which is great fun and a tremendous privilege. You're a relatively unknown author published by an independent publisher, how did Into the Darkest Cornerbecome such an amazing success? I think it must be because there is something in the story that touches everyone; we’ve all felt lonely or isolated at times, or felt that our friends and loved ones don’t understand or believe us. Cathy suffers from OCD and although her rituals are extreme, I think everyone has little superstitions and habits that are on the same continuum. There is also the sense that Cathy’s situation could happen to any of us – most of us have
WIN A SIGNED COPY OF ELIZABETH HAYNES’S NEW NOVEL, REVENGE OF THE TIDE! taken risks, especially on nights out when we’re with friends and we feel curiously invincible. Into the Darkest Corner is a chilling reminder of the dangers that can threaten us even behind the closed doors of our homes, where we should feel safe and protected. Moving on to your next book, Revenge of the Tide, how were you inspired to write this book? My books always start with a germ of an idea that I keep safe until November, trying not to think or plan too much. I have a scene, a theme or a location and usually a couple of characters and when NaNoWriMo comes along in November I let them loose and see where they take me. In the case of Revenge of the Tide, I’ve always been fascinated by the houseboats moored on the Medway around Strood and Rochester. I imagined my main character renovating a boat and being awoken one night by a noise, then finding a body against the side of the hull. I was certain of one thing: that she recognised the person but couldn’t tell anyone who it was. I wanted to give the story a definite sense of place and I think anyone familiar with the Medway area will recognise many of the locations in the book. Is Kent a good place for a writer to live and write? Yes, definitely. Kent has a long history of nurturing
and inspiring writers across all genres. Writing can be a very solitary business but there are many supportive writing groups here. I’m a member of the Medway Mermaids and I’ve also had a lot of encouragement and help from other NaNoWriMo participants in the Kent region. At a more personal level, I find I write best when I’m out in a café somewhere with my netbook – there is something about the murmur of conversation and the smell of good coffee that helps the words to flow. What's next? I’m already working on my third book, which is called Human Remains. It’s quite a dark story about loneliness and the dangers of a solitary existence. Where my previous two books have been centred around relationships, the third one is much more about what happens in the absence of them. Writing it at the moment is scaring me half to death, which is a very good sign. Human Remains will be published early in 2013. Before that, though, Revenge of the Tide will be in the shops at the end of March 2012, and hopefully the film version of Into the Darkest Corner will begin shooting later in the year, so there is plenty for me to look forward to! FoFor more information on Elizabeth Haynes and her novels, visit www.elizabeth-haynes.com
For your chance to win, answer the following question and enter online at www.insidekentmagazine.co.uk/revenge: Which award did Elizabeth Haynes win for her debut novel, Into the Darkest Corner? a) Orange Prize for Fiction 2011 b) Amazon UK Best Book of 2011 c) 2011 Costa Book of the Year
Chislehurst BY SARAH-JANE STENSON
LOCATED JUST SOUTH EAST OF LONDON ON THE BORDER OF KENT LIES THE PICTURESQUE TOWN OF CHISLEHURST. ITS LOCALE OFFERS CLOSE PROXIMITY TO THE CAPITAL, GREAT TRANSPORTATION LINKS AND IS POPULATED WITH A NUMBER OF GORGEOUS BOUTIQUES, RURAL PUBS AND FINE DINING RESTAURANTS.
The origins of Chislehurst can be traced back to an Anglo Saxon footnote in 973AD found on the king’s boundary. It is thought that the name itself is derived from ‘chisel’, indicating stony terrain and ‘hurst’, signifying woodland. Chislehurst can be found in historical records as part of the Royal Manor of Dartford, therefore it is likely it was used as hunting ground for the king, in particular due to its gravelly tree-filled landscape. In ancient times, there were three manors in this area: Chislehurst, Scadbury and Kemnal. Kemnal manor dates back to 1250 and was one of the largest households to be found within the town. The house was first endowed to monks by Henry II and has existed throughout a tumultuous history. Scadbury Manor overlooks Cray Valley and was inhabited by a collection of wealthy and influential people over the years, namely the Walsingham family. A member of this family was the Secretary of State to the Queen, founding the Elizabethan secret service and another was a friend of playwright Christopher Marlowe. The Chislehurst area is rich in heritage,
which is particularly evident in its buildings and its previous famous personages. Another historical pillar of Chislehurst is Camden Place. The mansion was built in the 18th century and gained its name from a much-acclaimed Elizabethan and Jacobean historian, William Camden. He resided in Chislehurst from 1609 until his death in 1623. A gentleman that owned the property mid-19th century converted it in the style of a French chateau in preparation for the French Imperial family who lived there from 1870 onwards. After being defeated by the Prussians, Napoleon III, Emperor of France and nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, escaped to Chislehurst where he resided in exile. As a good friend of the Empress, even Queen Victoria visited. He later died whilst living here and was buried in the local St. Mary’s Church. The royal links carry through to modern day Chislehurst with an example being Royal Parade, which is now a row of shops and restaurants.
Chislehurst was initially a quiet village but after the arrival of the railway in the 1860s and the French Royal Family as residents, it became an extremely fashionable place to live. From this point onwards, growth accelerated, property development expanded and the rich flocked to Chislehurst. Although housing was on a steep incline, the Commons were left untouched and are protected even to this day. This influx of inhabitants and development now leaves behind a legacy of a variety of Victorian and Edwardian buildings, although the devastation of both world wars inevitably impacted Chislehurst and destroyed many architectural masterpieces.
inscription for the World War I reads, “In proud and grateful memory of the men of Chislehurst who fell in the great wear 1914-1919”. For World War II, it is inscribed, “They gave us peace by their warfare and life by their death”. The memorial is a symbol of not only the proud remembrance of fallen heroes but it also stands to represent the importance of history in Chislehurst.
the Druids enacted macabre human sacrifices within the caves. The caves hold a history of their own, once being used as an air raid shelter. A child was even born within them in World War II and was given the middle name of ‘Cavina’. Furthermore, the likes of The Who, Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones have all performed within these depths.
Contemporarily, the people of Chislehurst take pride in their surroundings and appreciate the town’s history, which is why some people were outraged at the infiltration of superstore Sainsbury’s on the high street.
The legacy of the wars and the men of Chislehurst that were lost are remembered on the war memorial that permeates the high street. The
A modern day attraction in the town is the Chislehurst Caves. They were initially used to mine flint and chalk but it is also speculated that
Nowadays, there is an abundance of heritage to explore and places to visit in Chislehurst. Plan a day to look back into the past, take guided walks or to just revel in the boutiques and cafés. The town offers a perfect destination for commuters wanting the best of both worlds and remains a vibrant, fashionable town.
SPOTLIGHT ON CHISLEHURST PARKVETS Because all vets are not the same
Parkvets returned to its Chislehurst roots in November 2011 and is proving to be a popular addition to the High Street. Providing the very best quality animal care, supported by a hospital in Foots Cray and four other branches, Parkvets Chislehurst prides itself on being able to offer a huge range of services and expertise in-house, along with its own out-of-hours emergency service. All vets have to provide emergency cover but Parkvets is different as, rather than outsourcing to a facility many miles away, at which clients see unfamiliar vets, Parkvets’ Foots Cray-based OOH service is staffed by the usual team and is underpinned by nurses who work through the night proving TLC for the patients. Vets stay on the premises, ready to attend emergencies at a moments’ notice and if an animal is admitted it stays in the same kennel throughout its stay and is not ferried to another facility each night.
Parkvets 70 High Street Chislehurst BR7 5AQ 020 8295 1100 www.parkvets.com
Wrattens is a charming double-fronted shop, full of a great variety of gifts with a wonderful café to the rear. The goods on sale range from jewellery, soft furnishings, furniture and photography to ladies and children’s wear.
Wrattens 51-53 High Street Chislehurst BR75AF 020 8467 7400
discovery and delight
LULLINGSTONE IS RENOWNED FOR ITS STUNNING VIEWS OF THE KENT COUNTRYSIDE, LAVENDER FIELDS, HOP GARDENS AND WONDERFUL HISTORIC BUILDINGS. SO WHY NOT TAKE SOME TIME OUT, AND ENJOY AN AFTERNOON’S WALK OF DISCOVERY AND DELIGHT?
LOCATION: Lullingstone, DA4 0JF DISTANCE: 6.5 miles (10.4km), allow 4 hours STEP COUNT: approx 13,000 OS EXPLORER MAP: 147 TERRAIN: field paths and woodland paths, some steep slopes STILES: 10 GATES: 8 PARKING: there is pay and display parking at Lullingstone Country Park REFRESHMENTS & FACILITIES: Lullingstone Park Visitor Centre and public houses in Shoreham village centre
This idyllic 6.5 mile (10.4km) walk starts and ends at Lullingstone Country Park Visitor Centre. Follow the Darent Valley Path across the fields until you reach the riverside and continue along the banks of the river Darent. Heading towards the village of Shoreham, pass by the Kings Arms public house; one of four traditional independent pubs in the village. Shoreham is known locally for its annual duck race, a great event that takes place every May Day bank holiday. Entrants pay a small fee to enter their 'duck' which can be anything from a rubber duck, to a hand-made model. The duck has to travel along the river Darent from the war memorial to the bridge before the old Mill. A lovely way to spend a spring afternoon. Leaving the village we pass by the Shoreham Aircraft Museum, a fascinating visit if you have
some extra time on your hands. Walking uphill, take time to savour the dramatic views across the valley below as you near Meenfield Wood. Leaving the woodland and wildlife behind us and continuing on through open fields we pass by Lullingstone Castle. Owned by the Hart-Dyke family, Lullingstone is one of Englandâ€™s oldest family estates. The 120 acres of Castle grounds house the famous World Garden, created by resident horticulturalist Tom Hart-Dyke. The gardens are open to the public at various times of the year and again can be a great add-on to this beautiful walk. If your time is short, numerous footpaths make it simple to plan shorter walks. Or you can just stay in the park and explore the wonderful open grassland. Lullingstone Country Park is considered internationally important for its
collection of ancient trees, with over 300 veteran oak, beech, hornbeam, ash and sweet chestnut. The park also has many areas of chalk grassland that are filled with spectacular displays of orchids and other colourful wild flowers in summer.
WITHIN 5 MILES: The picturesque village of Eynesford With a couple of Kentish pubs, the ford and of course the Norman Castle, now in the care of English Heritage. Shoreham Aircraft Museum Founded in 1978 by local enthusiasts with an interest in the Battle of Britain. Enjoy a slice of home made cake in the tea room after spending some time reviewing the carefully collected artefacts.
For more walks and great days out in Kent visit www.kent.gov.uk/explorekent, call 08458 247 600, or follow @explorekent on Twitter.
EVOCATIVE AND SIGNIFICANT
AT THE HISTORIC DOCKYARD CHATHAM
THE HISTORIC DOCKYARD CHATHAM, WHERE STEAM AND DIESEL LOCOMOTIVES CAN STILL BE SEEN RUMBLING ALONG THE TRACKS, WILL BE PRESENTING AN ECLECTIC COLLECTION OF HERITAGE AND MODERN WORKS OF ART FROM THE HUGELY TALENTED MEMBERS OF THE GUILD OF RAILWAY ARTISTS, INCLUDING LEADING RAILWAY AND WILDLIFE ARTIST DAVID SHEPHERD. ‘RAILART’ WILL BE SHOWN IN NO. 1 SMITHERY: THE GALLERY AND RUNS FROM THE AFTERNOON OF 31ST MARCH UNTIL 13TH MAY. Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust’s Collections and Galleries Manager Alex Patterson said, “We are thrilled that the Guild of Railway Artists has chosen The Historic Dockyard Chatham for its 2012 exhibition. The dockyard - and in particular our award-winning No. 1 Smithery - is an appropriate venue for such significant works of art. These evocative pictures explore a variety of styles and themes - including day to day life - that will appeal to not only railway enthusiasts but the wider public.” Formed in 1979, The Guild of Railway Artists was established to forge a link between artists whose interests include the depiction of the railway scene, both heritage and modern. Members of the Guild include full time artists and those who undertake their work in their leisure time. Although predominately oils, acrylics and watercolours, members are known to produce works in pen and ink, pencil, pastel, crayon, gouache and even digital. Whilst the Guild exhibits only original works of art, a number of its members do have their works available as high quality fine art prints. Some are available through the Guild web site at www.railart.co.uk. The Guild membership spreads the length of Britain together with some members residing beyond these shores in Europe, the USA, Canada and South Africa.
In addition to the Rail Art exhibition, art, craft and other activities will run during the school holidays from 31st March – 15th April. 'Railway Children' includes painting, a family learning printing activity, a railway ‘hidden tour’ and story telling. On Easter Sunday and Monday, 8th and 9th April will be The Medway Festival of Steam & Transport which has a special Railway theme for its 10th Anniversary year. Joining the varied assortment of specialist vehicles that visitors have come to know and love over the past ten years, will be a new Steampunk village, a folk and blues music stage and an Airfix Make and Take activity.
The Historic Dockyard Chatham Chatham ME4 4TZ 01634 823807 www.thedockyard.co.uk
A ‘BLUE’MING MARVELLOUS DAY
at hole park gardens LATE APRIL AND EARLY MAY IS THE TIME OF YEAR TO SEE BEAUTIFUL CARPETS OF BLUEBELLS IN WOODLANDS ACROSS BRITAIN. NEW THIS YEAR ON THE HOLE PARK WEBSITE IS A WEBPAGE DEDICATED TO INFORMING VISITORS ABOUT WHICH FLOWERS ARE CURRENTLY IN BLOOM AROUND THE GARDENS INCLUDING A SPECIAL BLUEBELL WATCH FEATURE. Visitors to Hole Park Gardens in Rolvenden will be captivated by one of the most spectacular displays of bluebells in the country, when millions of these beautiful flowers come into bloom across its gardens and woodland. The seating on the circular bluebell walk offers visitors a quiet place to reflect and enjoy the intense carpet of blue. The recently restored Ice House can also be discovered on the bluebell walk. In spring, the gardens will be open daily between 8th April and 31st May from 11am to 6pm followed by Wednesday and Thursday opening from June to the end of October with additional openings on Sundays in October. Before the bluebells come into flower, visitors can see an impressive display of daffodils and narcissus, primroses and blue scillas followed
by camellias, magnolias and other early flowering spring bulbs.
grandfather of the present owner, in the years between the two World Wars.
Another highlight in spring will be the mature rhododendrons and the magnificent standard wisterias which flower in late April and early May. The wonderfully fragrant wisteria can be found in the pretty vineyard area of the garden.
Light lunches and delicious homemade cakes are available in the coach house, where apple juice, beer made on the farm and homemade jam and honey produced from the fruit and bees on the Hole Park Estate can be purchased.
In June, scented roses and colourful herbaceous borders take centre stage and later give way to the vivid blooms of the exotic border.
Admission £6.00 for adults and £1 for children.
Hole Park is a family owned estate which has been in the Barham family for the past four generations. Formalised gardens combine with natural woodland and cover some 15 acres. These extensive gardens were developed, laid out and planted by Colonel Barham, the great-
Hole Park is situated 4 miles west of Tenterden on the B2086 between Rolvenden and Benenden. For more information please visit www.holepark.com or telephone 01580 241344/241386.
LET YOUR IMAGINATION TAKE FLIGHT AT
MacFarlane’s World of Butterflies
Experience a taste of the colour and magic of the tropics, without leaving the county. Nestled between the M20 at Folkestone and the A2 near Canterbury, this butterfly oasis first opened in 1985 and now has one of the largest collections of beautiful and exotic butterflies and moths in the UK. From the world’s largest moth – the Atlas moth – to the beautiful blue morphia, scarlett woman, swallow tails, owl butterflies and even our native red admirals, there is a huge variety of shapes, sizes and colours to captivate the imagination of both adults and children. The whole family can walk among the butterflies while strolling through the tropical rainforest garden. Home to around 30 different species of butterflies and moths, the garden also has an abundance of tropical plants. These include hibiscus, oleander, gigantic fruiting banana plants and lantana; a favourite source of food for butterflies and caterpillars. For those who are a little more adventurous, you might want to wear brightly coloured clothes on your visit, which could attract the butterflies enough to land on you as they mistake you for a flower. You can also learn about the lifecycle of these amazing insects and see for yourself how the different species look as eggs, caterpillars and then, finally, as butterflies and moths – not forgetting the cocoon stage! It is even possible to see some of the butterflies hatching from their cocoons on bright days. The best time to witness hatchings is apparently between 11am-3pm during May, June and July. Free guided tours are available for schools, groups, families or
individuals, which include educational talks and fun worksheets. Although the World of Butterflies normally houses up to 200 insects at any one time, the number and variety on display depends on the weather to a certain extent. The warmer the temperature, the more likely it is for the butterflies to hatch. Some of the first butterflies to hatch are the blue morphia, owl butterflies and some swallow tails. The typical lifespan of a butterfly varies from 34 weeks for the larger varieties to 3-4 months for the smaller species. The life expectancy of the large Atlas moth is just seven days, and they normally hatch in the summer, when it is hottest.
Interesting butterfly facts • Butterflies taste with their feet • They can see in red, green and yellow • They are related to crabs and lobsters • They weigh up to the equivalent of two rose petals – but can fly thousands of miles • They don’t have lungs, but breathe through tiny openings in their abdomen, called spiracles
And if you work up an appetite during your visit to the World of Butterflies, the restaurant at MacFarlane’s serves a selection of afternoon and cream teas, including homemade cakes. The World of Butterflies at MacFarlane’s is open from 31st March until 30th September this year and is open every day from 10am-5pm during that period, except for Easter Sunday. Prices range from £3 per adult to £2 per child and children under three go free. Senior citizens and students have a special price of £2.50 per person. Family tickets are also available at a cost of £8.50 for two adults and two children. Group bookings should be arranged in advance.
MacFarlane’s World of Butterflies Canterbury Road Swingfield, Nr Folkestone CT15 7HX 01303 844 300 firstname.lastname@example.org www.macfarlanesgardens.co.uk
The World of Butterflies forms part of MacFarlane’s Garden Centre and Restaurant; an independent, family-owned business, which first opened its doors 90 years ago. www.insidekentmagazine.co.uk
BOUTIQUE AT ITS BEST:
BY EMMA BATCHELOR
NESTLED IN A QUIET RESIDENTIAL STREET NEAR THE SEA’S EDGE AT RAMSGATE, REDCOT HOUSE IS A SECRET OASIS OF COMFORT, STYLE AND HOMEMADE DELICACIES.
The neat redbrick front of the tall Victorian building belies the beautiful interior of this five bed house. Lovingly restored by owners Mike Noble and Mike Stace, the building is a charming mix of elegance and comfort, with breathtaking attention to detail that can’t fail to impress. Not only is each of the three guest rooms tastefully decorated, the ensuite shower rooms attached to the two main bedrooms would pass the test of even the fussiest American. Being a bit of a bathroom anorak myself, I was extremely pleased to find that the shower in my room (the luxury bedroom), not only looked great, but was also powerful. I could tell that even the toiletries had been carefully selected, with the sea kelp range perfectly befitting the location and sea views. The fine linen and soft furnishings look like something out of an interior design magazine, but the eclectic mix of reclaimed furniture – sourced locally – and colourful photos from some of the Mikes’ travels, give you a feeling of luxurious homeliness. Although my schedule didn’t allow me to arrive in time for afternoon tea, my host kindly prepared me a sumptuous array of my favourite Earl Grey tea, served in a beautiful art deco pot, along with a range of tempting homemade treats in the shape of chocolates and biscuits. Ignoring the vague recollection that I was meant to be on a diet, I sampled everything with gusto, and was not left wanting. Although I had planned to spend the evening taking advantage of the free wifi and doing a little work on my laptop, the lure of the comfortable king-size bed and feather down duvet soon put an end to any such thoughts. Before I knew it, I had slipped quietly into the land of nod. After a much longer sleep than I had anticipated, I wandered downstairs to the elegant breakfast lounge in eager anticipation. Being a
big fan of “The Great British Bake-off”, I was very excited to learn that Mike Stace is an avid baker and pastry chef. The first thing that I noticed was the welcoming fire in the restored fireplace; a perfect start to a wintry morning. My attention was then brought to the large sideboard, which housed the breakfast cereals, including homemade muesli and a colourful display of fresh fruit. But instead of the usual line-up of cardboard boxes, the cereals were presented in a tasteful array of pots and jars. Having pre-ordered smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on (homemade) sourdough toast, I was reluctant to fill up on cereal, but couldn’t resist the homemade red berry smoothie, which was simply delicious. A freshly baked brioche accompanied my pot of morning tea, which tasted every bit as good as it smelled. Served with a selection of homemade jams and three-fruit marmalade, I was already in breakfast heaven before my smoked salmon and scrambled eggs arrived. But all concerns of being too full to eat everything quickly evaporated after my first delicious mouthful. My only regret was that my husband hadn’t been able to accompany me on my stay, so I wasn’t able to sample the other breakfasts, but as I didn’t have time to take a long constitutional walk along the wind-swept promenade, I think that it was probably for the best. Although I was dining alone, I felt completely at home and in no rush to bolt down my breakfast. This was not only because of the attentiveness of my hosts, who were utterly charming, but also in part due to the serene background music of the Mikes’ favourite female classical singers; a compilation they had put together themselves. I felt so at home, that I was almost tempted to settle into one of the comfy sofas in front of the fire at the other end of the breakfast lounge and spend the rest of the morning reading a novel.
A quick glance through the visitors’ book made me realise that I was not alone in my approval of this gorgeous boutique B&B. I had joined the ranks of some very high profile clientele, including a well-loved Dr Who will remain a secret for those lucky enough to stay at this amazing house. And that is something I would highly recommend!
With the opening of the Turner Contemporary a few miles along the coast, and an increasingly impressive number of good local restaurants, this B&B truly sets a very high standard for others to follow. I hope the arrival of the high speed rail service from London to Ramsgate will bring with it some of the tourist trade that has helped transform the fortunes of Whitstable.
Redcot House 3 Lyndhurst Road Ramsgate CT11 8EA 01843 595659 www.redcot-ramsgate.co.uk
THE WELSH FOOD REVOLUTION ACROSS
Afternoon tea at Bodysgallen
Wales enjoys some of the UK’s most unique settings both inland and across the coast. Add to that a ‘food revolution’ and you really do have plenty to discover on a break that will showcase all the vital ingredients to relax, recharge and taste modern and contemporary Welsh recipes. The produce in Wales is exceptional and the riches of the land allow this country to highlight the vast choice available through many food festivals and award-winning establishments fusing food and spectacular surroundings. BY PETER DA SILVA
Food at Bodysgallen
A selection of notable food festivals in Wales in 2012: • Pembrokeshire Fish Week, June 2012 • Abergavenny Food Festival, 15 -16 September 2012 "As Cannes is to Film, so is Abergavenny to food" (Observer Food Monthly) • Welsh Food Festival, September 2012 • Aberystwyth Food and Drink Festival, September 2012 • Anglesey Oyster and Welsh Produce Festival, October 2012 • Brecon Beacons Food Festival, October 2012
Head Chef MichaelCheetham of Bodysgallen Hall
Pork Trio at Bodysgallen
Dining Room at Bodysgallen
WHERE TO ENJOY THE FINEST WELSH CUISINE: BODYSGALLEN HALL The award-winning Bodysgallen Hall in Llandudno is Wales’ leading destination offering a picturesque setting combined with the finest food and drink to keep guests and diners returning time & time again. Bodysgallen Hall has two restaurants: the Fine Dining Restaurant in the main 17th century building and the attractive Bistro 1620, where light meals are served. Both restaurants have breathtaking views over the countryside and look out towards Conwy Castle and the Isle of Anglesey. 1620 also has a beautiful terrace for al fresco eating in the summer months. Michael Cheetham is the Welsh wizard in charge of both restaurants, and his speciality is to concentrate on the superb seasonal fare for which Wales is so famous. Particular favourites of his are scallops with a truffle and cauliflower purée, terrine of foie gras with tea-smoked duck, roast loin of venison with sweet and sour red cabbage and a port and shallot sauce, and warm fillets of Conwy salmon on pickled vegetables. There is a carefully selected wine list with prices to suit everyone’s pocket. Puddings are a delight, with many of the fruits from Bodysgallen’s own gardens included in Michael’s delectable creations. For those who appreciate a savoury, the famous Welsh Rarebit is always available on request. The hotel regularly hosts foodie events designed to interact with guests and showcase food at its best. These include cookery demonstrations with the head chef, garden tours and champagne evenings. On 22nd March 1982, Bodysgallen Hall was opened officially as a hotel following its restoration
by Historic House Hotels Ltd by Lord Tonypandy, George Thomas, the former Speaker of the Houses of Parliament. Bodysgallen Hall will mark the 20th anniversary of this occasion in style with a Champagne Laurent Perrier Evening. The price per person to include canapés on arrival, four delicious courses with champagne to accompany is £95 (attire is black tie). Extend the experience with an overnight stay and awake to a mouthwatering Welsh breakfast. www.bodysgallen.com 01492 584 466 Llandudno, North Wales
YNYSHIR HALL Ynyshir Hall has held Michelin stars at various points in its long history. There’s a wealth of superb, fresh local ingredients available locally making dining at Ynyshir Hall simply divine. Enjoy succulent seafood including lobsters, crabs and shrimp landed at Aberystwyth and Borth. There is wild salmon in the local rivers, venison and wild game are in abundance, the pork is all organic, the bacon is all hand cut for breakfast and sausages are all made by the local butcher to Ynyshir’s own recipes. The free range chicken and the beef are second to none, the Welsh farmhouse cheese is the finest anywhere, and, of course, Ynyshir Hall have tender-sweet Welsh Mountain Lamb. The restaurant’s large kitchen garden produces plenty of herbs, asparagus, salads, soft fruit and baby veg. Owner Joan Reen collects samphire and other wild foods, including wood sorrel and wild garlic because the air, soil and
water are all so pure. Guests are offered the opportunity to head out with Joan and forage – a great way to explore this beautiful part of Wales. www.ynyshirhall.co.uk 01654 781209 Eglwysfach, Machynlleth
PETERSTONE COURT From the outside, Peterstone could be considered imposing, but then fits into its impressive mountain backdrop with ease; however, on the inside is where things really start to happen. Avant-garde and distinctive in its style, Peterstone remains loyal to its Georgian heritage, but compliments the old with funky details and modern touches. Peterstone court is run and owned by a group of restaurateurs rather than hoteliers so it’s no surprise that food lies at the heart of the house. The family farm provides 90% of the free range meat and poultry used in the kitchens, supplemented by a loyal and brilliant network of hardworking and passionate local suppliers. The award-winning restaurant – complete with excellent service – make this the ideal foodie stay in mid Wales. www.peterstone-court.com 01874 665 387 Llanhamlach, Brecon
T H E
A S T O N
M A R T I N
COMBINING LUXURY WITH RESPONSIBILITY
WORDS AND PHOTOS BY LUKE YATES
IN 1956, THE WORLD WAS A VERY DIFFERENT PLACE TO HOW IT IS TODAY. POST-WAR, THE COUNTRY WAS IN THE GRIP OF ECONOMIC STRESSES AND STRAINS, IN WHAT WAS A PERIOD OF AUSTERITY. THE SUPERPOWERS WERE VERY KEEN TO MAINTAIN AND EVEN TIGHTEN CONTROL OVER THE MIDDLE EAST, MAINLY DUE TO THE VAST OIL RESERVES THERE. SEE – TOTALLY DIFFERENT!
So this may help to explain why in 1956, Britain and France found themselves squaring up with Egypt, whilst being told off by the USA and Russia, and it very much looking like another World War might be on the cards. The direct result of all this was the Suez Crisis, which led to Britain and France becoming rather unpopular for their underhanded naughtiness and resulted in a government being deposed. In short, and most importantly for the interests of this article, the Suez Crisis led to a massive shortage of oil.
But then the situation turned on a sixpence. Quite by chance it seems, some pop stars with funny haircuts in London, the Goons and even royalty observed that this was a magnificent little car. Their patronage changed things entirely. Suddenly it was a cool (or ‘very groovy’) car to own or be seen in. In the time of free love, the smart set of London adopted it, skirts were named after it and it became an icon of the swinging Sixties, and a much-loved little car for many decades to come.
As a response to this, the race was on to build a car that would aid the burden of all this austerity and lack of petrol. So far, the only viable solutions offered seemed to be hideous ‘bubble cars’. Enter the brilliant, heroic and all-round good egg, Sir Alec Issigonis, and his even more brilliant design for the BMC Mini; a car designed to be a working-class car, a car for the common man: affordable, cheap to run, and cheap to keep running.
The Aston Martin Cygnet comes from a very different nest, in a very different age, where we are all too aware of fashion, and how to market a product to sell it to a certain type of people; but in many ways, the reason for its origins are not dissimilar to the humble Mini. And rather like the Mini, this car has initially had its fair share of critics, whose main problem with Aston’s latest offering seems to be that it is very expensive.
And what was the initial response of the Great British Public to this mechanical marvel? Utter disgust and contempt!
But I think the way they’ve gone about things is genius, adhering to their own rules and standards entirely. This is not a cheap car for the common man. It’s a practical Aston Martin for a discerning man or woman very much of their time who refuse to compromise on style or quality.
You see, being a typical geek and knowing loads about cars and machines, but not quite so much about people and their perceptions, Issigonis had missed a very important point entirely. A car is a statement. It represents you to the world, and tells the world how well you are doing. So when you turn up for a school reunion in a Jag, your ex-classmates dig each other in the ribs and say, “Ooh, he’s done well!”
In these times where oil reserves are reporting to be dwindling, the 4x4 is driven by the emissaries of Beelzebub, and where once again small is becoming beautiful, it is nice to see a motor company with the courage to think outside the box and to finally design a car that combines luxury with responsibility, and frugality with fashion.
In 1956, the last thing you’d want is to own a car that screamed from the rooftops, “I am too poor to own a decent car!”. The Mini seemed to do exactly that and poor initial sales reflected this sad fact. A brilliant and innovative design, backed by appallingly naive and sub-standard marketing.
A S T O N
M A R T I N
C Y G N E T Price as tested: £30,995 / Top speed: 106MPH / 0-62MPH: 11.8 seconds Economy: Combined 56.5MPG / CO2: 116G/KM / Engine: 1.33 litre dual VVT-I Power: 97BHP / Torque: 92LB FT at 4400RPM / Gearbox: 6-speed manual
Relegating many of the other small economical cars currently around into the same class as the ‘bubble cars’ I mentioned, the Aston Martin Cygnet plays in a different league altogether. As you might expect from Aston Martin, who make some of the most beautiful examples of cars I’ve ever seen, ‘eco’ does not in any way infer cheap and nasty, or that the owner is impoverished. Take for example the amazing interior, which inspired me to come up with a little joke: How many cows can you get in an Aston Martin Cygnet? Two in the front, and two in the back. Okay it’s not exactly a Peter Kay quality gag, but it is entirely spot on. The interior is caked in the most jaw-dropping amount of sumptuous leathery goodness, from the seats to the dash to the side pockets in the doors, and even those little handles on the ceiling that aunties or grannies always hang onto whilst not in the driver’s seat. All this leatherage looks, smells and feels utterly magnificent. And the heated seats in the Cygnet are comfier and more luxurious than you’ll find upstairs in most sitting rooms. They don’t just hold you, they cuddle you. On the outside, as well as that beautiful and familiar badge, there are enough tell-tale signs to let you know at a glance that this is most certainly an Aston, from the aluminium front grill, right down to the eye-catching blue and silver 8 or 16 spoke alloy wheels. Thoroughly modern-
looking, but yet still managing to hold onto the heritage and grandiose of its bigger relatives, I imagine this car will most often arrive to the sounds of onlookers going “ooh!”
if you prefer, you can give them a sample to match to. This really is tailoring to a customer’s wishes at its finest, something you’d expect nothing less of from Aston Martin.
Engine-wise this car is obviously designed for efficiency and will manage an impressive 56mpg combined, if you go for the 6-speed manual version. Despite being tailored to achieve this, the Cygnet can still manage 0-60 in just over 11 seconds, and will eventually wind itself up to a top speed of 106mph, which in such a tiny car must be quite exhilarating! At lesser speeds I still found it very nippy and fun to drive, and as with all small front-wheeled cars of its ilk, it is especially fun on the corners.
Festooned with all the mod-cons, and given the lovely range of options you can have it configured in, this car will make a lot of people very happy. I can imagine it will be popular with the modern London smart-set, the pop stars, fashionistas and the Made In Chelsea girls. It is perfectly practical in every way for the inner city, but if you roll up outside a stylish Italian café in Mayfair driving the Cygnet, you will look right at home.
Driving this teeny tiny Aston does not leave you feeling you are in a teeny tiny, vulnerable car. On the contrary, when behind the wheel it feels much bigger and sturdier than you’d imagine, and it is a very pleasant experience. Visibility is great, there’s no bonnet getting in the way of your view of the road, and the driver position is very comfortable indeed. Add to this many safety features including 9 SRS airbags, safety head restraints, and ABS all contained within a solid steel body, and you’ve got a very robust little car. The Cygnet is available with all sorts of options, and you can even have it painted in any of the lovely Aston Martin colours that have come before as well as the full range of Aston Martin trims. Or
Which leaves me wondering: Will the ‘Cygnet skirt’ be making an appearance anytime soon? If it does I imagine it will be made of leather...
Special thanks to Boys Hall, Ashford for the use of their beautiful venue and grounds. Boys Hall www.boyshall.co.uk
114-115 London Road Riverhead, Sevenoaks TN13 2DN 01732 456777 www.jardinemotors.co.uk/aston-martin
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