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LIVING September | October 2017 £3.50



a two-night mini-moon at Cotswolds retreat The Cottage in the Wood



Spend the day

in Nantwich


handbag essentials

you need this season

One pot recipes

of Africa


buying key pieces for the home. From sofas and armchairs, to bathtubs, dining tables and beds.

to warm your soul!

Education Supplement Inside:

The benefits of state boarding, getting your kids ready for university & our 3-page school listings guide.

Armani • Barbour • Belstaff • Boutique Moschino • By Malene Birger • Canada Goose • Coach Diane Von Furstenberg • Escada • Gant • Hackett • Hugo Boss • J Brand • Marc Cain • Marella Max Mara Studio • Max & Moi • Michael Kors • Paige • Paul Smith • Repeat • Riani • Sand Stuart Weitzman • Ugg • Weekend Max Mara • Woolrich • 7 For All Mankind • 360 Sweater and many more...

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Official fuel economy figures for the 718 Boxster S in l/100km (mpg): Urban 10.7-9.5 (26.4-29.7); Extra Urban 6.5-6.0 (43.5-47.1); Combined 8.1-7.3 (34.9-38.7). CO2 emissions in g/km 184-167. The fuel economy and CO2 figures quoted are sourced from official EU-regulated test results, are provided for comparability purposes only and may not reflect your actual driving experience.


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Use Home Exchange to move on up to a bigger home at Sancerre Grange! The Montpellier - 4 bedroom home from £339,995

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How does it work? Home Exchange allows you to trade in your house as part payment for your new home. We buy your house, giving you the certainty about timescales you don’t get when selling on the open market through an estate agent. Make your move a lot more straight forward all-round: No estate agent fees - No frustrating property chains And you can stay in your old property until your new Bovis Home is ready for you to move in!

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Photographs depict typical Bovis homes interior and exterior. Home Exchange scheme is subject to independent valuations, survey and contract on your existing property and is subject to criteria, which include the property you are selling is worth no more than 75% of the value of the new Bovis Home you wish to purchase. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer or promotion. Prices and availability correct at time of going to press. YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON A MORTGAGE OR ANY OTHER DEBT SECURED ON IT

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Watches, Jewellery, Paintings, Furniture, Silver, Ceramics and Works of Art Appointments are available at the office, or in the privacy of your own home or bank.


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Cover stories


18 30 Handbag Essentials

You Need This Season 33 Wedding Special!

September | October 2017

52 Taste: One Pot Recipes

To Warm Your Soul! 64 Home: A Seasonal Switch

To Autumn Accessories 76 A Guide To: Buying Key

Pieces For The Home


94 Travel The Many Sides

Of Africa 103 Education Supplement 143 Spend The Day

In Nantwich

147 A Mini-Moon At The

Style 12 AW17 For Everyone 16 The Who’s Who Of British Fashion Designers 18 30 Handbag Essentials To Carry This Autumn 20 The Beauty Of Food

You 22 The Diet Trap 29 Ask An Expert: Corrective Eye Surgery 30 What’s Your Mindfulness Rating? 32 Could You Adopt In Staffordshire?

Wedding 34 Bride Special: She’s The One 42 All You Need is Love…And A Wedding Planner 47, 49 Real-life Staffordshire Weddings 50 Feeling Floral: All About Wedding Flowers

Cottage In The Wood In Malvern Wells


Prestige Homes 83 Find Your Dream Home In Staffordshire

Travel 94 Travel Africa 99 REVIEW: The Vicarage Hotel In Holmes Chapel 100 Boutique Hotels In The UK 102 REDISCOVER: La Gomera In The Canary Islands

Win! 19 An Ultra-Chic Every-Wear Tote Bag 62 A Gin Masterclass At Nelson’s Gin Distillery And Gin School 144 Spooky Haribo Treats For Halloween 147 A Mini-Moon At The Cottage In The Wood In Malvern Wells


52 RECIPES: One-Pot Wonders 57 Celebrating Staffordshire Foodie Delights 60 Weird And Wonderful Food Pairings We All Need To Try 62 New Gin Flavours To Tempt Your Taste Buds

104 Getting Your Young Adults Ready For University 109, 113, 125 Staffordshire Schools Directory 111 The Best Books For Children To Read 115 Reaching New Heights 120 The Benefits Of State Boarding School 127 Sweet 16 Success 128 A Guide To Homework For Parents



64 Home Trends For Every Room In The House 72 Make Your Home More Efficient For Winter 76 How To Buy Key Pieces For The Home 82 Gadgets To Keep Your Home Fresh

130 The Film Club 132 INTERVIEW: The Hoosiers Are Back 134 What’s On Events Calendar 138 LIVING’s Book Corner


Dorothy Perkins

Living 140 How To Teach Kids About Finance 143 Spend The Day In Nantwich 144 Spooky Happenings Around The Globe 147 Win a Mini-Moon At The Cottage In The Wood In Malvern Wells 149 How To Do Arm Knitting 150 Gardening Tips For Autumn

Regular Features 10 LIVING it 153 Special Wedding Gifts 154 Coming Up


logo 50x50.pdf 05/03/2010 14:49:46










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Nancy Emery DESIGN & PRINT

Natasha Nicholson Debenhams


WELCOME September | October 2017

elcome to the September / October 2017 edition of Staffordshire Living. Another unpredictable British summer has come and gone but would we have it any other way? We’ve got one big fat Staffordshire WEDDING supplement inside and this time we have devoted most of it to the most important person – the bride, of course! But don’t tell your other half! Find all the latest dress trends and everything you’ll need to do to get operation bride underway. Don’t miss our real life Staffordshire weddings either – they are truly fabulous this issue! We’re striding into autumn with confidence and style and this issue is packed with all the essentials you’ll need to transition from summer queen to winter goddess. Check out our trends pages in the STYLE section covering all the latest must-have items for your new wardrobe – for her, for him and for the kids. That’s everyone sorted.



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We looked deep inside the stylish shoppers and clutches that flow through the doors of LIVING HQ every day and found out just what every girl needs in their bag to be

prepared for anything this season – have a look for yourself starting on page 18. Plus, you can even win your very own every-day fabulous tote bag to make sure you have enough room to fit all of our 30 items in! So how else are we preparing you for autumn? Well, there’s some delicious and comforting one-pot recipes in the TASTE section starting on page 52, as well as a round-up of the latest gin flavours we should be sampling. And we have some tempting seasonal recipes to try for yourself curated by one of Staffordshire’s finest chefs using local produce from the area, see page 57 to have a go. Ever wondered what you should consider before buying a key piece of furniture for your home? Check out our guide in the HOME section on pages 76-77 and also find out how to save upwards of a £100 on your energy bill this winter on pages 72-73. Our TRAVEL section takes us to Africa as we explore the various adventures on the continent and don’t miss a very interesting take on the Canary Islands (something you might not expect), plus some of the most unique and stylish boutique hotels in the UK, perfect for a romantic break. Win a mini-moon at a cottage hidden in the woods, find out if you know the tricks of mindfulness and spend the day in Nantwich, it’s all about relaxation and enjoyment before the hectic schedule of Christmas beckons – but we’ll save all that excitement until next time! We hope you enjoy this issue as much as we enjoyed putting it together. Happy reading!

love Living x Follow us for the latest news, competitions and much more...

Hush Autumn Winter 2017




Mandy Peach David Mellenchip GROUP OPERATIONS MANAGER

Cheryl Osborne PUBLISHER

Craig Rushton Scan the QR code

While every care has been taken during the preparation of this magazine, Staffordshire Media cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of the information herein or any consequences arising from it. The contents of this magazine may not be reprinted or reproduced without prior written permission. All rights reserved. Competition terms and conditions: The prizes are as stated and no cash alternative can be given. The winner will be notified by phone, post or e-mail. The editor’s decision is final. The competition is not open to Staffordshire Media and their families. Entrants must be aged 18 and over. Staffordshire Media or the competition supplier may contact you with news and information. If you would prefer not to receive further communication please tick the opt out box on the competition entry form. Staffordshire Living is published by Staffordshire Media, the trading name of Staffs Media Company Ltd, registered in England. 08841939. All rights reserved. Staffordshire Media, B1 Trentham Business Quarter, Bellringer Road, Trentham, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 8GB. Tel: 01782 644456 Fax: 01782 657411

Staffordshire Living’s Media Partners


Last issue we asked: ‘What motivates you the most?’ but we came to the conclusion that it all depends on what is It’s our news & views section. Time to catch up on what’s in front of us. If we’re been happening in on Staffordshire and what you had to trying say‌ to lose 10 pounds Getting your opinions life’s thought– our motivational provoking questions... tactics might be different to when we’re desperately seeking a new job. Motivation can come in many forms; we might stick a picture displaying our fitter self on the fridge to keep temptation at bay, and the idea of having a few extra pounds in the bank could be the mental persuasion we need to finally get set for superTake the strain Eddie! Reward forneed reading We all a little push Heidi isthe job we’ve always teen stardom nowinand again, whether Who better to open the latest Children Stoke-on-Trent are it’s wanted. Whatever get out ofto bed onupa afrosty One Staffordshirewegirl facility at Blakemans in beingtoencouraged pick want out of is gearing Newcastle than ‘Stokie’ favourite book winter every day and read life, let’s make morning ormore jump on up to take to the stage of the and the 2017 World’s Strongest widelythe by treadmill, taking on the Stoke start of 2017 Great Britain when all we Miss Junior Teenthe Man, Eddie Hall. In true muscle- 100 Reads Challenge. our motivation, after really want to Primary do is dive competition this October, bearing style, he opened the new school pupils who read every title winning the title of Miss it’s a new Junior under the covers! ÂŁ1.35 million production facility on the Stoke 100 Reads list can beginning Teen Staffordshire earlier in the by having a go at pulling the first claim a special limited edition and year. Heidi Leake from Blythe load from the premises - he’ll copy of Roald Dahl’s beloved whatever Bridge is just 14-years old but is do anything for a sausage! The classic, The BFG and receive a you want, expected to take the industry by investment signifies further certificate for their achievement. can storm due to her stunningyou looks, expansion into the cooked The beautiful gift books have have it! confidence and active community product market from the sausage been donated to the Stoke Reads involvement. The junior teen company which was established campaign by Penguin Random competition for girls aged 13-15 in the 50s. I wonder how that House and retail at ÂŁ20 each. includes a prize package of ÂŁ500 to compares to some of your other Visit spend at The Dress Studio among strong man duties, Eddie? to find out more. other prizes. Good luck Heidi!


What motivates you the most?

“The main thing that gets me up in the morning is... Q: the anticipation of a satisfying bowl of cereal, accompanied with a good brew.� - Rachel via Facebook PM


“Being in the fresh air at my allotment... What are you

looking forward to my health and environment by #growingyourown motivates me� to the - Sue most? Durrani via Twitter

...and knowing it makes a difference

As summer ends, holidays have been taken and

“What motivates me to getthe sunshine fades away but there are still plenty of exciting times ahead. So, let’s turn those frowns “Definitely people up in the morning is... upside down and look forward to the next big thing! you and the Staffs what’s meLiving theteam most.� thinking about how proud I will be on We askedmotivate whatabsolutely was said. nothing all my graduation day for all the extra work coming up“Iand canhere’s sit doing I put in to my degree!� - Lydia Eccleston “I know I shouldn’t say night it but Ibut can’t to comes get theto fire andI if await friend calllitthen via Email cosy up with a good book. This summer has been a wash out!� am motivated into being a good hostess, Stacey via Email making tea or pouring wine, and getting the snacks. If I knowissue theynow areand coming “It’s Christmas! We’reout working on the Christmas I can’t “My kids!� help but be totally over-the-top Christmas Features then the whole crackers!� place getsNancy, a makeover� - Linda Facebook “All the motivation I need comes from looking a “I am really forward to via a whisky adventure in Scotland� kiss and a cuddle off them.�Sheila via Facebook - Samantha via Email

S win! TA R win! R E Awin! DER S TA R L E Tmaking TER Who’s been “Dear Staffordshire Living us smile lately?

Home, as a regular reader of your “I hope Iyou mind me in magazine wasdon’t very interested contacting you, but I feature have your Christmas presents recently moved Staffordshire this month. It's atovery welcome change to see some actual genuine, (a tiny village on the Derbyshire affordable and inspirational border) and have had thegift ideas, forStaffordshire those 'what pleasureespecially of reading to buy for the person who has Living, whose content and layout everything' family member. And puts other similar titles I’ve read as I love flamingos I will definitely in the be leaving the shadows.� magazine open on the page with them via on, Email. just to give - Daniel Reeds, a clue for my own present! Keep up the excellent work.� - Sue Hawkins, Meir Park, Stoke on Trent

Thanks Daniel! We love to hear what you think, so if you have something to say about any of the features and topics in this issue, We loveget to hear what please in touch! you think so if you have Tell us your thoughts via email to something to say about putting any of, STAR LETTER in topics the subject or the features and in this through our social media channels issue, please get in touch! listed at the bottom of the page.

Tell usThanks your thoughts via email for reading! to, putting STAR LETTER in the subject, and be in with a chance of winning a one-year membership to online yoga service www.* worth £90! Plus, the do‌will Are winningI letter feature right here in our next issue. you tying the

knot soon?

*Yogaia is an online yoga service perfect for all levels from beginners right through to the advanced yogis. It has more than 100 live and interactive online classes a week so you can ďŹ t your exercise in to suit your lifestyle. Plus you can access recorded classes so you never miss one - get ďŹ t with experienced teachers from the comfort of your own living room! The one-year membership includes unlimited access to all available classes on the service. Winner will be given a gift code to use when signing up to the service online. For a full set of Staffordshire Media T&Cs please see page 9.

Coming up next time... Coming next time... was the best piece of advice that your mother gave you? Mother’s Day is Sunday 27th Nextup time we’re asking‌What March and as it’s time to celebrate the one true love of our lives, please share your best piece of motherly advice for a chance to up be our featured in the March/April edition! The year is almost out and we’ll be fastening dancing heels for an end 2017 of year party Connect via: Your wedding can feature in our we’ll never forget but if you could change one thing about 2017, what would it be? ‘Living It Q&A’, Real Life Weddings section in the January/ Share your thoughts with us via: B1ofTrentham Business Quarter, February 2018 issue Staffordshire Living. Email  Staffordshire-Living-Magazine  ‘LivingStaffordshire-Living-Magazine It Q&A’, B1 Trentham Business Quarter, @StaffsLiving Bellringer Road, Trentham for more information.  @StaffsLiving Bellringer Road, Trentham Lakes, Stoke-on-Trent, Lakes, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire ST4 8GB Staffordshire ST4 8GB




STYLE 30 Handbag Essentials

AW17 Trends, Best Of British Designers and The Beauty of Food

£7 M&Co

River Island


rc h

£25 M&S



£1 ief

5 Accessor ize

£289 Hobbs

eld • A

£79 Monsoon


shop local


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Plum Shirred Roll Neck £16, Black Floral Asymmetric Skirt £35, Black Patent Heeled Boot £39 Dorothy Perkins

Marks and Spencer

Scarf £9.50 M&S



£25 Evans

From power dressing and mature styling to 70s embellishment, soft leather and patterns that might resemble your Nan’s carpet; it’s the autumn fashion edit. £50 House of Fraser

£80 Very

Weekend Max Mara ^ £219 Young Ideas

£65 River Island

£65 Laura Ashley

£35 Monsoon

£69 Monsoon

Marks and Spencer

Jumper £20, Scarf £16, Bag £22, Jeans £24 M&Co

£129 Monsoon

£89 M&S

Lulu Guinness Bag £175 House of Fraser 12

£69 Monsoon

STYLE Burton

£29 M&Co

£20 Burton

£28 River Island

£75 House of Fraser

£40 Burton £25 Burton


River Island

Marks and Spencer

£45 River Island


FOR HIM The fancy man returns as prints, plaids and patterns are matched with gentleman-esq accessories and smart tailored jackets. Handsome and dapper reign supreme.

Scarf £20 House of Fraser

£16 Debenhams ^

£39 M&Co

£120 River Island


£28 River Island £35 River Island

£95 River Island ^ £35 Burton

£7 M&Co

£155 House of Fraser

£69.99 H&M


You don’t need to own yo home – but you do need a sp and the time and commitment local child.

“Could you be who we’re looking fo r?” Evan, aged 4

Come and Meet Us Could Thursday you be 14 who Thursday 19 September 7pm October, 7pm e’re looking for?” Staffordshire Place 1, Staffordshire Place 1, Evan, aged 4

Tipping Street, Stafford, ST16 2LP

Tipping Street, Stafford, ST16 2LP

You don’t need to be a ce there is no upper age limit. If y or over, and fit and healthy yo

You don’t need to be mar can be single, co-habiting or in gender relationship. The only need to be able to offer is a st caring home.

You don’t need lots of exp skills – your own life experien support and training will help our children through life’s ups

With us, you could be a family sooner than you think

ormation pack





to make a difference

STYLE £16 Matalan £43 Monsoon

£25 Monsoon £30 River Island £20 Monsoon

£14.99 H&M

£16 Monsoon F&F Hat £10 Monsoon AUTUMN TRENDS



FOR KIDS Bright and breezy, kids are effortlessly chic. Cute ankle boots, chunky knits and motif tees are all wardrobe essentials for your cool kid this season. £16 M&Co


£32 Monsoon

£16 Monsoon

£2 F&F

£10 Matalan

£9.99 H&M

£4 F&F £15 Matalan ^

£13 M&Co

£14 M&Co

£7 F&F £5 F&F £12 Matalan ^ £15 Next ^

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15 15


BEST OF BRITISH DESIGNERS Britain has always been at the forefront of fashion and our beloved designers have made history on the catwalks for centuries. As the world prepares for London Fashion Week in September, we look back (and forward) at some of the icons of British fashion.


Stella McCartney

Christopher Kane


The Icons Mary Quant is a Welsh fashion designer that was instrumental in the 60s in giving fashion a more playful and individual guise. She was one of the main instigators of hot pants and miniskirts and is well known for her short pixie cut, a defining look for the era. She has since gone on to be an author of several books and is widely considered one of the standout British fashion icons of all time.

Sarah Burton


Fashion forward

Alice Temperley

Born in the 40s, Westwood exploded onto the fashion scene during the 60s bringing a new form of expressionism through fashion and design and is widely regarded as starting punk fashion in the 70s. Still going strong today, her fashion is just as outrageous as it always has been but her ability to extrovertly mould designs to the time makes her one of the most iconic designers in the world.

Alice Temperley burst onto the fashion scene at the turn of the millennium with her fashion label Temperley London launching in London in 2000. She has earnt worldwide acclaim for bringing a fresh and flirty approach to fashion and has even been described as an English version of Ralph Lauren. Her Celebrity following includes Kate and Pippa Middleton and Hollywood starlets, Eva Mendes and Halle Berry.

Vivienne Westwood



Christopher Kane

John Galliano has been one of the most influential and controversial British designers of modern fashion. Having had his own-name label since the 80s, he has also worked as head designer for a number of iconic fashion brands including Givenchy and Christian Dior and has a cult celebrity following. He has won British Designer of the Year four times and was named as the fifth most influential person in British culture by the BBC in 2004.

As a fresh Masters graduate, Christopher Kane launched his label in 2006 after his final collection caught the eye of the global fashion media, catapulting him to catwalk stardom straight away. His label is known as one of the biggest in fashion today with his catwalk shows at London Fashion Week said to be the hottest tickets in the fashion calendar. His designs for both men and women are playful and fun.


Alexander McQueen was at the forefront of contemporary fashion during his life, he passed away in 2010 when he was just 40. He worked as Chief Designer of Givenchy before setting up his own Alexander McQueen brand, and won British Designer of the year four times, as well as bagging the International Designer of the Year award in 2003. His brand continues to be a favourite among the rich and famous today.

LEADING THE W AY T O D AY Stella McCartney The daughter of Paul and Linda McCartney, Stella McCartney has become one of the most recognisable and desirable fashion labels not just in Britain but across the globe. Her attainable fashion not only captures the eye of A-list Hollywood stars but women everywhere. Her designs are energetic, bold and most importantly comfortable! Stella, we salute you! Sarah Burton Sarah Burton took over the reins at Alexander McQueen as Creative Director in 2010 having worked alongside Alexander McQueen for more than 14 years. She shot into the mainstream spotlight in 2011 when Kate Middleton wore her iconic design to marry Prince William. She was also named as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in April 2012 and won British Designer of the Year in 2011.


Sophie graduated in 2015 and went on to win the Midlands Emerging Fashion Designer at the Midlands Fashion Awards in October last year, as well as bagging third place in the Accessory Designer Award. She now plans to show her first collection at the 2017 awards show being held on 20th October at the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Centre. Find out more about the awards at Follow Sophie on Instagram @sophievictoriapittom or visit her website

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Portable charger

Card holder

Samsung Galaxy A3

Lip oil

Have that instant caffeine fix to hand wherever you may be with this super cute travel mug.

Never see that dreaded ‘low battery’ message again. Stay connected all day!

Because spending on plastic never looked so good. This metallic card holder is to die for!

Every classy girl needs an equally classy phone. Keep your social media up-to-date with this sleek Samsung number.

Perfect your pout all day long with a touch of blush.

£12 Debenhams

£39 Amara

£25 Whistles

£279.99 Very

Elizabeth Arden Sheer Kiss Lip Oil - Heavenly Rose £18 Boots

Oil control

Water bottle

Instant camera

Hair grips


Stay on top of your complexion anywhere.

Make your hydration as glamourous as it can be!

Chanel Papier Matifiant De Chanel Oil Control Tissues £25 Harvey Nichols

bkr Limited Edition Glass Water Bottle with Metallic Heart £35 Amara

Capture every moment in an instant with this ultracool polaroid style camera. Fujifilm Instax Mini 70 Camera with 10 Shots £99.99 Argos

Pin up the stresses of the day and keep your hair on point with a trusty hair pin. No girl should be without!

Stay dry and avoid the autumn drizzle with this graphic print brolly.

Passport holder

Hair brush


Hand gel

Flying off for a mini-break this autumn? Don’t forget your passport!

Keep your hair tangle free with this handy compact styler from Boots.

No keys are complete without a cute pompom keyring! Get yours from Amara.

Keep clean and germ free in every situation with a travel size bottle of hand gel.


s t er • B che i

ID Tag Personalise your tote and make sure it always finds its owner with a special ID tag. £12.50 Kate Spade at Amara


ha m

sh i n s op & o t or e nli ne





Travel mug

£29 House of Fraser

Tangle Teezer Compact Styler £12.49 Boots

£27 Amara

£8.99 H&M

Carex Protect Plus Hand Gel 50ml £1 Boots


30 items every girl needs in her bag this autumn!



(your fave) magazine


Look the part with this cute white kindle – the perfect accessory for the stylish bookworm.

Never suffer from chapped lips or fly away eyebrows with this handy tin in your handbag!

A handbag without a purse is like an apple without its core. Choose this stylish neutral tone from Dune.

Be inspired when you need it with your favourite lifestyle mag in your bag!


£1.95 Boots

£32 Dune

£14.95 for the year! Call us on 01785 644456 to subscribe

Because you never know when you might need to write your number on a napkin! Old-skool is always best.



s t er • B

ha m

sh i n s op & o t or e nli ne



Ted Baker Ballpoint Pen £46.95






Safety pins


Travel spray

Listen to your favourite tunes whenever you want!

A little touch of this scent at 5pm and you are ready for those after work drinks. Tom Ford Orchid Soleil Eau De Parfum 30ml £56 Harvey Nichols

Cold season is upon us so be totally prepared for your sniffles with these pocket tissues in your bag.

Freshen up wherever you may be!

Volume Control Earphones £3 Primark

It’s been a handbag essential for decades because you just never know when you might need one!

KleenexBalsam 8 pack Tissues £1.57 Boots

Acqua Di Parma Iris Nobile Travel Spray 20ml £90 Harvey Nichols, Available online





Get rid of any stragglers straight away with a handy pair of tweezers in your bag.

A girl needs to keep her strength up so always keep a handy snack in your bag!

“On a bad day there’s always lipstick” - Audrey Hepburn.

Tweezerman Mini Slant Tweezers £18

White Chocolate with Matcha Tea Pistachio 85g £1.60 Waitrose

Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick in Night Crimson £24 House of Fraser

Take on the day with this ultra-chic every-wear tote. We’ve the perfect handbag to store all your essentials in this autumn courtesy of! One lucky reader can win this gorgeous functional MARTIN tote in black or tan, worth £64. Just follow the QR code to go direct to the competition page at to enter now!

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Bean Body’s Coffee Bean Scrub £14.95 (220g) Holland & Barrett contains skin loving coconut oil, vitamin E and sea-salt all the way from Australia. The coconut oil will hydrate and moisturise the skin.


This vegan friendly night moisturising cream helps to smooth out lines while promoting skin regeneration. The nourishing cold-pressed avocado and olive oils provide protein, minerals and anti-oxidant vitamins. Great for mature skin! Avocado 24-Hour Replenishing Cream £22 Dou bl a lea es as cond ve in ition er

^ Noughty Detox Dynamo 2-in-1 Shampoo & Conditioner £6.99 contains Beetroot, Peppermint and Cucumber for fighting pollution and product build up in your hair. Peppermint cleanses to leave your hair minty fresh!


The Bay Rum in this Malin+Goetz Rum Body Lotion provides a light yet quick absorbing scent that stays on the skin all day if you fancy smelling of rum, that is!?



The Multi-tasking Quinoa protein in this Quinoa & Avocado Hair Serum £9.95 (100ml) www. helps to add volume to your hair by coating each hair shaft. Working alongside Irish Moss (a mineral rich seaweed), the Quinoa protein and Xanthan gum act as a natural hairspray to hold your style in place.



Indulge in this vegan Chocolate Shower Gel & Foam Bath (400ml) £5.60 for its luxurious blend of organic cocoa and vanilla, infused with sage to nourish your senses.


How can our beauty regime be boosted by food?



Peppermint oil has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, insecticidal, antispasmodic, and carminative properties and the entire plant contains menthol – which is why it produces a cooling and refreshing sensation. This oil contains a good deal of minerals and nutrients including, calcium, copper, folate, iron, potassium, magnesium, and manganese along with omega-3, and vitamins A, and C. Need we go on? Try Peppermint Hair Remedy from Alchemy Oils £25

Lash Alert Mascara £19 This helpful little mascara has a botanical-fuelled energising formula with a dash of caffeine to lift your eyes from bed bug to glamour puss!

^ Pomegranate and Acai Facial Mask £20 This creamy face mask includes pomegranate extract and Acai oil to firm and plump the skin while mushroom extract helps to reduce pores.




What’s Your Mindfulness Rating? The Diet Trap, Ask An Expert: Corrective Eye Surgery and Could You Adopt?


THE DIET trap Losing weight is tough and there are times when we’ll resort to anything to drop the pounds, especially if we have an important event or occasion coming up, but are we just getting caught in the diet trap? LIVING’s putting the latest weight loss trends under the microscope!


* Diets may not be suitable for everyone. Before starting any new diet and exercise program please check with your doctor and clear any exercise and/or diet changes with them before beginning.


ou want to lose weight and quickly but there are so many diets out there claiming to be the real deal, it’s hard to know where to start. Lose inches, drop a dress size and shed the pounds are all familiar tag lines but how many of us can say they worked or were long term solutions to weight loss? The Association of UK Dieticians says: “A fad diet is the kind of plan where you eat a very restrictive diet with few foods or an unusual combination of foods for a short period of time and often lose weight very quickly. However, most people then get fed-up, start over-eating and choose less healthy foods and pile the pounds back on.” So, should we steer clear of these ‘fad diets’ or are they the quick fixes and lifestyle changes we’ve been looking for?* Nutritionist, Jennifer Blow, provides her expert analysis on each diet below.

The MIND Diet

Lifestyle The MIND diet aims to improve brain function and reduce dementia by promoting brain healthy foods. Using the basic principles of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, it encourages classic Mediterranean ingredients such as green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, with peppers, carrots, tomatoes, nuts, fruits such as blueberries and strawberries, fish and olive oil, as well as maintaining a wholegrain and low-sodium rich diet that is integral to the DASH diet. Foods to avoid include red meats, butter, cheese, pastries and fast food. A study by the Rush University Medical Centre in Chicago found that participants who followed the diet were 52% less likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. LIVING says: This is less of a fad diet and more of a lifestyle change and it follows the mantra of healthy balanced nutrition. If you want to give this a go you need to watch your fish intake to keep mercury levels at bay. Expert analysis: The MIND Diet is a development of the Mediterranean and DASH diets, and focuses on eating foods linked to protecting against dementia. On the MIND diet you should eat more plantbased foods and limit animal-based foods and too many saturated fats. Recent studies have revealed an association with a slower rate of cognitive decline.

South Beach Diet

With more than 11 million followers world-wide, the South Beach Diet says it has a scientific solution to weight loss and claims you can lose up 13lb in just two weeks. Created by American cardiologist, Dr Agatston, it uses a three-phased approach that involves a two-week body reboot stage, where you strip back the foods in your diet, restricting sugary and refined carbs, and eat gluten-free to encourage faster weight loss. Then, gradually, you expand your food intake over the next two stages adding in good carbs from unprocessed, low refined sugar, whole grains, fruit and a wider selection of vegetables. It says the formula will help you lose weight without feeling hungry or craving a sugar hit. It also provides a menu of pre-made frozen and ready to go meals to help with managing the strict regime. LIVING says: The idea of eating low-carb is nothing knew but it does encourage steering clear of high fat ingredients in replacement of the calories and instead opt for a more balanced approach. The initial reboot stage could be a struggle especially if you are used to eating lots of carbs and it could get expensive if you opt to pay for the set meals each week. Expert analysis: This three-stage weightloss diet is based on eating high-fibre carbohydrates with a low glycaemic index, lean proteins and unsaturated fats. Stage one severely restricts carbohydrate intake (which means missing out on vitamins, minerals and fibre), while the following stages involve following a generally healthy diet. This diet’s effectiveness and long-term safety isn’t backed up by scientific evidence.

5:2 The 5:2 diet was created by doctor and journalist, Michael Mosley, and has become a firm favourite among celebrities thanks to its fast results and nonrestrictive food allowances, so what’s the catch? Well, you do have to restrict your diet and eat just 500 calories (600 for men) on two fast days a week. Recently, Dr Mosley suggested that it would be ok to increase this to 800 calories to make it a more achievable goal. The other five days you eat as you would normally and it encourages you to go at least 13 hours overnight without food. The book is now an international best seller. Quick Fix



2017’s diet trend! Intermittent Fasting: Based on the idea that food wasn’t originally readily available to us so our body would adapt to a fasting period. It is the integration of short periods of fasting into your day to help burn stored body fat for energy and is said to make you feel less hungry and more energised overall.

2 Meal Day Another diet which has jumped on the intermittent fasting train is the 2 Meal Day, the brainchild of ex-London broker, Max Lowery. It is based on the principle that integrating short periods of fasting into your day will help burn stored body fat for energy and make you feel less hungry. With the 2 Meal Day, you don’t eat breakfast and have healthy balanced meals for lunch and dinner, fasting overnight for approximately 16 hours. Max says that fasting retrains the body to become “fat adapted,” meaning you burn stored fat instead of being dependent on sugars from food. Tried & Tested! LIVING says: We tried this diet and you do lose a steady amount of weight. By day 4 we had lost 4 – 6 pounds. It’s tough at first but once you get used to the fasting period, you don’t really think about it. If you love breakfast though, this will be difficult and it is a challenge to stop those late night or midafternoon snack habits which we’re sure are more to do with boredom than hunger! Expert analysis: This diet is based on eating only two meals per day instead of three. The idea is that the body dips into fat stores for energy during long periods without eating. In reality, this diet simply supports calorie-restriction by missing meals. The benefits of intermittent fasting versus other calorie-restricted diets haven’t been proven.

LIVING says: We’re not sure if this is sustainable for any length of time but it’s great if you have a special occasion or holiday coming up and you need to drop the weight quickly. Expert analysis: On this weight-loss diet, you can eat normally (while making healthy choices) for five days and fast (~500kcal/day) for two days per week. Some might find it easier to reduce their calorie intake drastically for just two days per week, however, the benefits of intermittent fasting versus other calorie-restriction techniques are yet to be scientifically proven. w w w. s ta ffo rdsh i re l i vi n g.c o .u k


YOU Raw Food Diet

The Zone Diet

High protein

The raw food diet is Lifestyle about eating food in its most natural form, mostly unprocessed and uncooked foods, so you are taking in all the nutrients without any of the nastiness that’s added in through processing and cooking. “Raw foodism” is not a new diet choice, it’s thought to have been around since the 1800s and advocates claim the benefits include lowering inflammation, improving digestion, improving heart health and even preventing cancer.

The Zone diet is a low-carb Fad diet that is devised by biochemist, Barry Sears. With this diet you increase your daily meals to five and consume a carefully measured amount of carbohydrates and protein to discourage overeating. Zone eating is about balancing your plate so that you have one-third protein, the size and thickness of your palm, two-thirds of the plate should be filled with carbs that come from fruit and vegetables, as well as a small amount of fat.

A high protein diet allows you to eat an unlimited amount of meat, poultry, fish and eggs, as well as most

LIVING says: There are countless studies to suggest that eating raw food is a healthier and more environmentally friendly way to live but you’d really have to be sure you are getting a fully balanced meal. Expert analysis: On this diet, you can eat only uncooked and unprocessed foods. The benefits are that unprocessed foods often contain more nutrients that processed foods and also cooking some vegetables reduces nutrient content. However, for some vegetables, our bodies can actually absorb more nutrients after cooking. It’s also harder to get enough protein in your diet.

LIVING says: Eating small meals and often is good in theory but in practice it can be difficult to execute. We all have busy lives and less time to prepare meals as it is, this diet could be difficult to do properly. Expert analysis: This diet is based on keeping insulin levels within ‘the zone’ – not too high and not too low – to reduce risk of heart disease and maintain a healthy weight. To do this, you’d eat regularly, eat more fruit and vegetables as carbs and have a wellbalanced diet. There isn’t any strong scientific evidence to back it up, but eating regularly to avoid hungriness/overeating seems sensible.

Paleo Fancy eating like our caveman ancestors? The Paleo diet, devised by Loren Cordain, PH.D, is based on

Quick Fix

a hunter/gatherer premise, so you don’t eat anything you couldn’t have gone out into the wild and caught or picked in prehistoric times. It says this lets you be your best self while minimising your risk of chronic disease and of course losing weight in the process. You can’t eat cereal grains, legumes, including peanuts, dairy, refined sugar, processed foods, refined oils, salt and pepper, and potatoes. You can eat grass produced meat, fish, fresh fruit and veggies, eggs, nuts and seeds and healthier oils like olive, coconut or walnut oil. LIVING says: There is nothing bad about cutting out refined and processed foods as these are the biggest culprits when it comes to weight gain and ill-health, however completely eliminating foods like seeds and pulses can mean we don’t get enough of the nutrients we need long-term!


Expert analysis: The paleo diet is based on eating foods that were available to Paleolithic humans (cavemen), including fruits, vegetables, nuts and meat, while avoiding foods such as alcohol, diary, grains, legumes, sugar, processed oils and salt. While eating less sugar, salt and processed foods seems to be helpful, some aspects of this diet can lead to nutrient deficiencies.


cheeses but encourages you to keep carbohydrates limited. However, there are ways to increase protein intake without going overboard or restricting too many foods, such as including protein shakes and supplements like MyProtein into your regular health and fitness regime. They are not promising you will lose the pounds but rather increase muscle, which might actually make you weigh more, but become leaner and be stronger all around. LIVING says: Cutting carbs is not easy but increasing protein without going overboard should help to satisfy your hunger. Expert analysis: The Myprotein diet is primarily based on consuming supplements and high-protein foods in order to build muscle mass and lose fat. Protein is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks for muscle and are essential in the diet. Evidence shows that diets with adequate levels of protein help build muscle mass and increase thermogenesis and fullness.

Be your best. No matter how much dieting you do, to be your best self and maintain a healthy weight you need to combine exercise with a healthy eating lifestyle. Curb the sugar, watch your refined carbohydrate intake and steer away from saturated fats and salt. The NHS recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate activity every week for adults aged between 19 and 64. Jennifer Blow is Myprotein’s registered nutritionist. See more at

Need advice on family law? We offer a fixed fee initial interview and can assist you with: • • • • • • • • •

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Cannock – 01543 466660 Lichfield – 01543 263456

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The world’s finest wine glasses. Riedel the wine glass company, Trentham Shopping Village, Stone Road, Trentham, Stoke-on-Trent ST4 8JG.

Why wait to see clearly? Our state of the art clinic offers fast treatment times for a wide range of eye conditions including: • Cataracts • Laser eye surgery or clear lens exchange for long or short sightedness • Glaucoma • Squints

FREE information event Questions about laser eye surgery or clear lens exchange to correct long or short sightedness? Join us at our FREE information evening

Wednesday 13 September from 6pm

• Cosmetic eyelid complaints

To book your complimentary place call

All procedures are carried out at Spire Little Aston in Sutton Coldfield, just 25 minutes’ drive from Birmingham City Centre.

0121 580 7171


Specialists in you.

Nuffield Health Wolverhampton Hospital has a team of eye specialists that are experts in cataract removal, and laser eye surgical procedures. If you are experiencing problems with your vision from cataracts, and want to know more about fast, effective treatment as a patient paying for yourself, our specialist consultant ophthalmologist Prof Yang will be available to answer any of your questions at a free patient event here at our hospital on Tuesday 19th September. If you would like to know more about many of the other treatments and health services we provide, then why not come along to one of our other free Patient Events held at our hospital on Wood Road, Tettenhall WV6 8LE. Full details opposite:

Free patient events. Events start at 6:30pm with snacks and refreshments. You will receive a presentation from our specialist consultants, and you will also have the opportunity to receive a mini one-to-one consultation if you so wish. Call us to reserve your place. Parking is free.




01902 793 269


Nuffield Health Wolverhampton Hospital

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ASK AN EXPERT: Corrective Eye Surgery

We’ve got your eye surgery questions covered with Midlands based Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon, Mr Daniel Calladine.

Eye Surgery explained... Laser Refractive Surgery - LASIK Laser-Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis or LASIK surgery has been around for over 30 years. Using two separate lasers, your eye surgeon will create a protective flap on your cornea with the first before using the second laser to correct the vision. This treatment has a quick recovery time of approximately 24 hours but it can take a few weeks for your eye sight to settle. Treatment can cost from £1600 per eye. Laser Refractive Surgery – LASEK Laser Assisted Sub-Epithelial Keratectomy or LASEK surgery uses just one laser to correct the vision. Many people find this type of treatment is more suitable. Your Ophthalmic Surgeon will use a very thin sheet of alcohol solution to delicately move aside the cells on the surface of the eye to enable the laser to reach the cornea and correct your vision. After the laser, a protective contact lens is usually worn for a few days to help with healing. Treatment can cost from £2000 per eye. Clear Lens Exchange/ Replacement Surgery Nuffield Health in Wolverhampton offers lens replacement surgery. Premuim lens implants such as trifocal or multifocals which are custom made can be inserted to aim for driving standard vision without spectacles or contact lenses. Treatment can cost from £2400 per eye. Professor Yit Yang has extensive experience in a wide range of eye conditions. Catch his presentation on cataract surgery – a patient journey on 19th September. To book your free place at ‘Let’s Talk Cataracts’, please ring 01902 267619.

I usually just wear glasses for driving, does this mean I can have corrective eye surgery? Needing glasses just to sharpen up the vision for driving and not requiring them day-to-day often means your spectacle prescription is quite small. It could be that you are either a little bit short or long sighted or you may have astigmatism. This can often be easily corrected with either laser refractive surgery of the cornea, or by using lens exchange surgery. Deciding on which surgery is best for you will depend on factors such as your age and visual requirements following surgery.

I’ve been told by my optician that I have an Astigmatism – can this be treated? Yes, astigmatism is due to the shape of the cornea, which is the clear window at the front of the eye. Astigmatism can be corrected either by lasering the cornea to correct its shape or by inserting a toric 'anti-astigmatic' lens implant inside the eye.

I’m worried that my vision won’t get back to normal after the treatment, how long is the recovery time? Recovering from refractive surgery on your eye is often quicker than you think it will be. Typically patients can see well the day after surgery and can drive again within 48 hours.

I’ve noticed that my vision has started to be blurry in the last few weeks. Would you recommend laser eye surgery as a treatment? If your vision is noticeably more blurred the best thing to do is to pop along to your local optometrist. They will check your vision to see if it is something simple like the need for an up to date pair of glasses, or something more complex. They can also advise whether or not you need to see a consultant eye surgeon about any possible investigations or treatments you may require.

I’m turning 40 this year and wanted to treat myself to ‘new eyes’ for my birthday. Can I have laser eye treatment? Sometimes turning 40 can bring with it problems with vision such as the need to start wearing reading glasses! Typically most people need to start wearing reading glasses between the age of 40 - 50 years, and for those who are already 'long sighted' this will be nearer the age of 40. Laser or lens surgery can be used to correct these problems and provide a good range of vision. At SEC we have been using lens implants with extended range vision properties - these help with reading vision without glasses while maintaining excellent middle and distance vision. Mr Daniel Calladine has been performing lens surgery for over ten years. He is based at Spire Eye Centre, Little Aston Hospital. Find out more at




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MINDFULNESS RATING? You’ve probably heard the term being bashed around in 2017 but what does it actually mean to be in a state of ‘mindfulness’? What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness and mental health

The Oxford Mindfulness Centre defines the term mindfulness as “moment-tomoment awareness of one’s experience, without judgement.” It’s a state of consciousness about our environment and how situations can and will affect us, knowing exactly what is happening to us both inside our own mind and around us.

Of course, if we are thinking clearly without any fog or judgement for ourselves then it goes without saying that this will ultimately improve our mental wellbeing, and as one in three of us will suffer from some form of mental health issue in our lives, it’s important we all have the tools we need to cope.

Registered General Nurse, Nikki Harman, is known as The Mindful Nurse, and is a mindfulness coach to adults, she says: “Mindfulness is defined as being in the present moment, rather than dwelling on the past or thinking about the future. For example, if you are out for a walk somewhere in nature, try focusing in on the scenery around you, using your senses to interact with what's going on around you during the walk. Stop every now and then to take in some deeper breaths, noticing where you might be feeling tension in your body, and breathe it out, to help relax you. “Being mindful means really paying attention to what's going on around and within you, with a sense of peaceful acceptance. If you are walking through a forest but looking at your phone, you are not present in the forest, you are living in the past or the future, depending on the nature of what you are looking at. Put the phone away, look around you, pay attention and enjoy living in the moment!” Mindfulness is as much about preventing and minimising episodes of depression and anxiety as it is enjoying moments in life to the fullest. Having clarity about a situation no matter how difficult allows us to act appropriately without inhibitions.


“Various studies have shown how regular mindfulness practice has a positive impact on the individual, causing changes in the parts of the brain that affect selfregulation of emotions, empathy, memory and mood, and how they react to life situations and common daily stress triggers. Any or all of these changes over time can positively influence emotional well-being, leading to a positive emotional state,” explains Nikki. But we shouldn’t put too much pressure on ourselves to get it right, says Superdrug’s mindfulness expert, Claire Diamond. “One of the tricky things with techniques like mindfulness or meditation is that sometimes people get stressed or blame themselves because

they are not able to be mindful or to be in the present moment or to calm the mind. This can add to the stressful thinking. The most helpful thing of all is to see that our entire experience is created from thought. A revolution in mental health (sometimes called the Inside Out Understanding or Three Principles) is gathering pace. It helps people see that we live in individual realities created through thought and that a single new thought can create a whole new perspective of ourselves and the world. This realisation is life changing. As people see this more clearly they become aware of their own psychological well-being. They can allow the mind to do whatever it does, knowing that underneath the changing thoughts they are healthy, inspired and clear.” The Mindfulness Centre at Oxford University is dedicated to proving the benefits of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) of which it says reduces the recurrence of depression by up to 50% for those who have suffered regularly in the past. MBCT combines certain elements of cognitive therapy with mindfulness techniques like meditation, breathing and relaxation to help break the cycle of negative thoughts and train a person to put more focus on the present moment rather than looking back to what has happened in the past or worrying about the future.

 Need some doodle therapy? Adult colouring books are a great tool to help combat stress. Grab your pencil and colour in the border next time you feel anxious or overwhelmed!

YOU Are you being mindful?

Take our quiz to find out your own mindfulness rating. 1. Do you practice regular meditation? a. I can’t live without it (4) b. When I feel stressed or anxious (3) c. Occasionally (2) d. Never (1)

2. How often do you find yourself in uncomfortable situations? a. All the time, I can’t help it (1) b. I feel stressed regularly (2) c. I do get anxious but I can calm

myself down (3)

d. Stress is all in the mind (4)

3. Do you find social occasions difficult? a. I do but I cope with it (3) b. Being social is my thing! (2) c. Facing difficult situations correctly

is therapy (4) d. I rarely go out because I hate feeling awkward (1) 4. How often do you have negative thoughts? a. Not very often, I avoid them (2) b. All the time, it’s crippling (1) c. Most days I struggle but I have ways

to cope (3) d. I turn negative thoughts into positive energy (4) 5. How important is having ‘me’ time to you? a. I hate being alone (1) b. I’ve no time for me time, I’m

so busy (2)

c. I try and take some time a few

days a week (3)

d. Every day, I have to process

my emotions (4) 6. When was the last time you stopped and really took notice of the things around you? a. Just today, I spent time examining

a raisin from my morning cereal as if it was the first time I had ever seen one (4) b. I don’t have time to eat let alone look closely at my food (2) c. When something really catches my attention, I’ll focus my mind (3) d. Thinking too much about one thing makes me feel anxious (1)

If you scored: 20-24 pts: Congratulations! You truly are a mindful individual. You know what is likely to cause you stress and you have the power and tools to focus this energy into a much more positive outlook. You recognise the importance of spending the time to focus your mind to the present not just during negative situations but for the everyday too - understanding that mindfulness is preventative as well as a reactive tool for life. Tip: Share your mindfulness approach with your work colleagues by asking them to join you for a lunchtime session of meditation and breathing exercises or get together before a brainstorm to really draw out those lightening ideas! 15-19 pts: You are aware of what it takes to be mindful but you are not as confident in how to use them in the best way for mindful success. You often wait until a situation brings you down before you pull on your mindfulness techniques to get you through it. Remember that you can use mindfulness as a way of life, as much of your daily routine as a cup of tea and brushing your teeth. Tip: Try incorporating a session of mindfulness breathing during your morning shower to prepare you for the day ahead. 8-14 pts: You have the tools to really be a mindful person but you are sometimes guilty of pushing it back on your list of priorities. Being too busy to practice mindfulness will only cloud your judgement further and actually if you take the time to centre your mind at regular times during the day you will be much more productive and thankful of the things you have in life. Less than 8 pts: Don’t worry that you are not there yet. Being mindful is not challenging, everyone is capable of mindfulness if they know how to use the techniques and apply them to every day life. If you are feeling down in the dumps, anxious or depressed regularly, you are not alone. While talking to your doctor if you feel this way is important, you can also help yourself by incorporating some mindful techniques into your day.

Check out our tips on how to be more mindful and find a fresh new approach to living your life! How can you be more mindful? “One of the most transformative realisations we can ever have is to realise that everything in our lives is experienced through thought. We don't always see this in the moment, says Claire. “The only thing we can do is to be curious about our experience of the world. The more we read, watch and listen, the more likely it is that we will have an insight about the nature of thought that will shift our perspective and change our outlook.” Mindful Tips 1. Stop for a second and take notice of everything around you. The warming colours of your bed sheets, the fresh fruit salad in the fridge and the softness of the rug under your feet. Be aware of the way these things make you feel and find yourself in the present moment rather than just going about your day on autopilot mode. 2. Make mindfulness part of your daily routine whether that’s during your morning commute or workout session or while you load the dishwasher. Find that half an hour where you give yourself some TLC. 3. Try to break the mundane routine of your day, whether that means wearing a new colour to the office or swapping to a hot desk in the office for the day. Try and view your surroundings from a different perspective. 4. Make time for yourself to meditate or practice your breathing to help with the stress of everyday life. If you have had any confrontation or negative energy during the day try and take the time to process this and make sense of it in your own mind before facing it head on and dealing with it. 5. Workout the warning signs when you start to feel down, control thoughts and organise them in your brain so you don’t let negativity affect you in the wrong way.

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COULD YOU ADOPT? Between April 2016 and April 2017, 42 children were adopted through Staffordshire County Council with 13 children having been adopted since January. Could you be the next carer to help in your community?

Are you considering sending your child to a state boarding school? LIVING is taking a closer look at the benefits of this form of education. Stock photo


doption is the process which adoptive parents go through to become legally responsible for a child forever. The numbers of children waiting to be adopted changes on a regular basis as decisions about a child’s future are made by court. “At Staffordshire County Council, we believe that all children have the right to a secure, stable and loving home. We are looking for adopters who can offer love and understanding and be there to support our children through childhood and beyond,” says Emma Howitt, Recruitment Officer. “In the past financial year we approved 25 adopters and so far this year (July 2017) we have approved 14 adopters, but we still need more!”

Could you adopt? “There is no such thing as a “typical adopter”,” says Emma. “We need people from all backgrounds and ages to adopt with us. You can be single, married, in a same sex relationship, already have children or not, you can also rent or own your own home.” Basic requirements include: • All adopters need to have a spare room and if in a couple, have been in a stable relationship and lived together for at least 3 years. • If you are thinking about adoption you need to be in a stable financial situation with no significant debt and have considered the costs and financial implications of raising a child.


• You also need to be able to take a minimum of 6 months off work post adoption to spend time bonding with the child or children, longer if possible.

Sally and Sean* share the highs and lows of their adoption story... “From the moment we started talking about adoption we always wanted to adopt siblings. We really didn’t mind what gender they were; I suppose initially we thought a boy and a girl would be lovely, but in reality we just knew we wanted to adopt two. “We knew that adoption was the only way for us to have a family, and we believed that our family meant us and more than one child. We also thought that siblings would mean they always had someone who was 100% ‘theirs’ and had been through similar things; I suppose we hoped that this would help them as they got older as they were ‘in it together’. “We knew that we wanted one child to be under school age, but we were happy for the other child to be older. We thought we would probably be placed with a 3 and 7 year old, but in reality we adopted a 13 month and a 3 year old.

“From the moment we started talking about adoption we always wanted to adopt siblings.” “Since adopting our beautiful girls, and from talking to their foster carer, we are now aware that there had been talk about not placing the children together. Our eldest was classed as ‘hard to place’ due to a medical condition, whereas our youngest was an ‘easy to place baby’. The thought now of our girls not being together doesn’t bear thinking about. They have a wonderful relationship; yes they fight like cat and dog at times, just like most siblings, but they truly love each other and are always looking out for each other. *Names changed

Stock photo

“Before our girls came to live with us we were totally prepared for the challenges we knew we would face; we went into adoption with our eyes wide open and the rose tinted specs well and truly put away but nothing can really prepare you for the rollercoaster that is adopting two children. But when the going gets tough you have always got the support of your family and friends which is crucial when you are adopting. “Every day little things happen that make us burst with pride, our girls have come on so much since those early days and we know that they love us, and we love them. Since day one we have had some amazing highs, and some heart breaking lows, but we love our girls with all our hearts, and cannot imagine life without them (or remember what life was like before them!) “There are constant challenges that we need to face; adoption is never easy, but then again, being a parent is never easy but we know that whatever obstacle we have to face next (and we envisage lots!) we know that we will get through it together as a family, and we wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Staffordshire County Council is actively recruiting adopters across Staffordshire. If you think you could adopt and want to find out more visit, call 0800 169 206 or book on to one of the council’s monthly information meetings held in Stafford.



WEDDING Feeling Floral

She’s The One, All You Need Is Love And A Wedding Planner and Real Life Weddings

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The perfect bride-to-be

You have dreamt about this day for years and you finally have the date set. Now it is time to find the perfect dress but which bride will you be?

The vintage bride

VINTAGE Lace detailing, embellishment and demure neck lines give you just the right amount of ethereal beauty.

The classic bride

CLASSIC Bold and beautiful designs make you a traditional bride, everything your mum would want you to be.

The modern bride

MODERN Contemporary hem lines, cute shapes and cinched in waists makes the modern bride a style queen down the aisle.

Irina Lace Bridal Dress £299 Monsoon

Lucia Embellished Bridal Dress £299 Monsoon


Inga Embellished Bridal Dress £499 Monsoon


W hat to do next:

We’ve created this style activity so you can begin to visualise the bride you want to be. Carefully cut around the dotted lines of each dress on the opposite page and start designing your look using our model to the right. Add to your scrap book so you can start to bring your entire look together over the next few months while you are choosing the right dress for you.

Try it on in t he


Armed with the look you want to go for, time to book your appointments with bridal shops so you can try the styles on for real!

Top tips to make the most of your appointment • Look online first to make sure you have a few dresses in mind as a starting off point. Bridal boutiques will have hundreds of dresses so giving the stylist something to go off will help to get the ball rolling. • Set a budget and stick to it. Know what you can and can’t afford and only view dresses in your price range. You don’t want to be re-mortgaging the house just to pay for your dress. You’ll need to consider costs for accessories and alterations too. • Take shoes with you. They may not be your exact wedding shoes but make sure they mimic the style and heel height of your intended wedding shoes so that you and your stylist can see where and what alterations will be needed. • Don’t invite everyone. Keep it to two or three of your very closest friends and family. You will need honesty from them but they also need to understand exactly what it is you want. It’s your dress, not theirs! • Make sure you have some decent underwear on. You’ll probably spend a lot of time in front of a mirror in-andout of dresses and not always privately and you’ll also want to make sure you are showing off the dresses at their best. • Be confident, patient and have fun! You might not find the dress of your dreams on the first go. It’s always a good idea to shop around even if you go back to the first dress you tried on. Remember, this is your time and you are the centre of attention so just relax and enjoy it!

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Trend W atch!

Diary of a

THE 2018 DRESSES Wedding stylist, Michelle Paterson,* has these tips for choosing your wedding day hair.

“One of my favourite bridal hairstyles for 2018 is the low ponytail. This look is chic and elegant and looks especially great when the hair has been styled into loose waves before being put into a pony, giving it a more romantic look. The ribbon is one of the most on trend bridal accessories for 2018 and works perfectly with this look to secure the ponytail together. “Buns and chignons are also popular bridal hairstyles for 2018. The chignon is classic and looks great when worn low, whereas a bun can be worn low with some sections of hair left out for a relaxed look or can be worn high for a more sleek look.”

Let operation bride commence!

It’s out with the old and in with the new for wedding dresses next year as unique tailoring and quirky accessories makes every dress an individual expression of the girl wearing it!


Here’s what to look out for to stay bang on trend in 2018.

MONTHS TO GO The date is set and you are feeling overwhelmed by the choices of dresses out there...

C A PES A ND C A P E L E T S : Covering

up never looked so good. Designers couldn’t help but add a little cover up to their catwalk showstoppers. From cropped to floor length designs, heavily embellished to delicate netting, brides are keeping things under wraps in 2018.

Inmaculada Garcia (2018)

“When it comes to having a trial run for your bridal hairstyle, it’s always a good idea to book this the same day as your dress fitting and makeup trial. The reason for this is that it gives the bride the chance to see the overall look together. This allows the bride to see everything altogether there and then, rather than on the wedding day where they may not feel it looks right and it’s too late, as most often the stylist has left before the bride puts on their dress.


B E LT S : Add extra style and glamour to your dress with a detailed belt, embellished and even sown in designs were featuring highly on the catwalks giving your dress an extra dimension and giving you serious curves.


* Michelle is Hair Manager at Pouts & Pinups.

S H O R T A N D S W E E T : Hem

lines are rising giving a cute touch to your bridal look but they are also getting a new lease of life with playful fringes, layers and even with the addition of lace tights underneath!

£79 M&S


£200 Lipsy

Designer tip: “The trend for lingerie inspired dresses with floaty skirts is only set to become more popular. Off the shoulder sleeves and 3D floral embellishments or touches of heavy beading are very in. Brides are still enjoying the two-piece and detachable skirts that we saw a lot of in spring this year accompanied often with soft lace cropped jackets. Emphasis on the back is also increasingly popular for us and works to compliment high coverage at the front.” - Inmaculada Garcia 36

Bejewelled dresses, gems, beads and pearls all featured highly on the catwalks but think regal rather than old Hollywood. Timeless designs, elegant features and a hint of sparkle create a refined and graceful style that’s a winner with every bride.


Taking your neckline to the skies is £299 Monsoon making it big in 2018. Elegant designs give height and lace detailing makes a powerful statement on your wedding day. Interestingly, plunged necklines and naked back designs also featured highly, some as low as your waistline, if you dare!

The style you have always dreamed of doesn’t even seem appealing anymore. In fact, you feel like if you stepped inside another bridal boutique with your mother, one of you might not come back out! But, don’t panic. Take a look back at your wedding scrap book or Pinterest page and find those original style ideas. Sometimes, we just need a little reminder to get us back on track.

By now you will hopefully have chosen your dress but don’t worry if you haven’t, there is still plenty of time.

Do bear in mind that if you are ordering your gown it could take anywhere from 3-9 months for delivery depending on how busy the designer is at that time of year. There is always the opportunity to buy ‘off-the-rack’ but if you need major alternations (and by the designer) then you must factor this into your timeline also.

6 MONTHS TO GO Your dress has arrived or is on its way. Now that you can breathe a sigh of relief it’s time to think about the rest of you!

You’ll want to look your best on your big day so begin a healthy eating and regular exercise plan and decide on how you would like to style your hair and makeup. Have as many hair and beauty trials as you need to, most artists will provide one or two as part of their service but make sure you are 100% confident with your look ahead of your big day.

4 WEEKS TO GO You can’t believe there is just one month left until you say “I do.”

With all the wedding preparations, you might have forgotten to show your other half just how much you love and adore them! We’re all guilty of becoming a little too Carrie Bradshaw to our Mr Big pre-wedding so book in some well-deserved quality time together as the next few weeks are guaranteed to be super busy! Head off for a mini-moon, a night away or just a few dates but try and steer clear of talking about table decorations, and wedding favours. Keep these special nights all about both of you.


“When it comes to having a trial run for your bridal hairstyle, it’s always a good idea to book this the same day as your dress fitting and makeup trial... it gives you the chance to see the overall look together.”

MONTHS TO GO No bride is complete without the proper underwear. You want to look and feel sexy but you want underwear that gives you a sleek and toned look too.

Wedding shoes should be comfortable and classy and match the colour to your dress, avoid bright white shoes if you have more of an ivory coloured dress. Always break in your shoes a couple of weeks before the big day so you won’t be limping during your first dance. And always pack a few plasters just in case!


With just 2 weeks left until the big day, it’s likely that you will be knee deep in wedding day prep, from table plans to organising transport and finalising your special touches.

Giving your skin a little TLC to help combat stress and fatigue is a very good idea! Keep up the healthy eating plan and give yourself a face mask and a couple of early nights if it’s possible. Be sure to check in with all your scheduled hair, beauty and dress appointments for the following week to make sure everyone is scheduled to come when you want them to.

Be the THE BRIDE beautiful you You’ll look the best you have ever looked on your wedding day but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to look like you! Stay true to your style, your partner wants to recognise the woman they chose to marry walking down the aisle but you can glam it up a little, of course! Keep makeup natural if that’s what you are used to, avoid being too harsh or overdone as you might feel uncomfortable. Take time choosing a lipstick and eye shadow, work with your makeup artist so you get just what you want for the day. Lashes are a great way to add some glamour to your look without it being too much. Pack some simple touch up products for the day like a highlighter and blemish stick and keep your lipstick with one of your bridesmaids so you can easily re-apply when you need to. Keep your wedding scent light and floral, you don’t want anything too bold especially as you will wear it all day and night. But most of all feel pretty and confident with your chosen look. Hair and makeup trials are really important even if you decide to do your own makeup.

1 WEEK TO GO OMG! The countdown has begun.

You’ve hopefully finished work and now you are just a bikini wax and a massage away from being the bride of your dreams. Book in for some spa treatments – a facial and a relaxing massage to keep the stress levels at bay and start your week-long detox. Eat lots of greens, drink lots of water and keep alcohol to a minimum. Your skin will thank you for it when the big day arrives.




This is all about relaxation.

With a little over eight weeks until you tie the knot, it’s time to revisit your outfit – do you have all the accessories and jewellery you need to create your final look on the day?

You’ll probably need to have another dress fitting around about now too. Suss out where you want to have a spray tan before the big day and make your booking as early as possible for two days before your wedding day. It’s also a good idea to have a trial tan to make sure you know how dark you want to go. Book in your nail appointment too for the same day.

“On your wedding day you should look like yourself at your most beautiful.” - B O B B I B ROW N

You are 80% the bride after a week of beautician and stylist appointments so now you need to make sure you get a good eight hours of sleep and keep well hydrated. Send that text to your partner and then switch off your phone and close your eyes. You have done it! Close your eyes and dream away, your big day is finally here! All that’s left is to enjoy and create memories! w w w. sta ffo rdsh i re l i vi n g.c o .u k


Uttoxeter Town Hall

The ideal venue for your perfect day Uttoxeter Town Hall is an enchanting Grade II Listed Building providing the perfect setting for Weddings & Civil Partnerships.

Uttoxeter Town Council, Town Hall, High Street, Uttoxeter, Staffordshire ST14 7HN T: 01889 564085 E:

S t Jo h ns H o us e is an elegant G eo rgian H o us e located in the heart of historic Lichfield licensed for C iv il C eremo nies up to 7 0 gues ts . T h e H o us e is av ailable f o r ex clus iv e us e f o r th e day, o v ernigh t o r th e w h o le w eekend acco mmo dating w eddings f ro m 2 0 up to 1 0 0 gues ts . T h e h o us e h as 1 2 indiv idually s tyled bedro o ms including th e w o nderf ul S t Jo h n S uite th at is a p erf ect s p ace f o r th e Bride and G ro o m to enj o y. P ro p rieto rs Dan and E leano r R alley s triv e to make each w edding bes p o ke to yo ur needs and requirements .

Wedding Fayre 10th September 2pm- 5pm P leas e call to make an ap p o intment 0 1 5 4 3 2 5 2 0 8 0 E mail: dan@ s tj o h ns h o us e. co . uk w w w . s tj o h ns h o us e. co . uk


Everyt hing


Digital BRIDE


Wedding LookBook by The Knot:


Browse through thousands of recommended wedding dresses, accessories, wedding rings, engagement rings, bridesmaid’s dresses, and more.



Style Me Pretty Weddings: 2

Collect inspiration from real weddings to develop your own style and theme.


1. £29.99 Lovehoney 2. 9ct White Gold Diamond Heart Stud Earrings £395 3. £99 Dune 4. Veil £89 Monsoon 5. £10 6. Silver Cubic Zirconia Bracelet £150

No bride should be without this handy app to collate inspiration for your look from across the globe all onto one neat board.









4 7 2

Don’t make these common bride-to-be mistakes Don’t pick your dress before your venue.

1. Chanel Powder Eyeshadow In Rose £25 Selfridges 2. Bobbi Brown Highlighting Powder In Pink Glow, £35 Selfridges 3. La Prairie White Caviar Illuminating Pearl Infusion £366 House of Fraser 4. Estee Lauder Double Wear In Rich Chesnut £32 Selfridges 5. YSL Tatouage Couture Matte Lipstick £28 House of Fraser 6. Kat Von D Saint Eau De Parfum 100ml £72 Debenhams 7. Tom Ford Nail Polish In Pink Crush £29 Selfridges

W edding Day


You want to match your dress to the style of the day. Don’t limit your wedding dress choices. You might find the perfect dress is the one you least expected.


Don’t think you have to wear heels.


If you never wear high heels, don’t wear them for the wedding. You will regret it.


Don’t think the more makeup the better. Yes, you will have a lot of photos taken but you really want to look natural, the photographer will do the rest. Don’t crash diet. 3 4


It is unlikely to work and you might end up crashing out on the big day! Don’t forget to eat! You are going to need to eat throughout your special day even in the morning to keep your strength up for the full day of festivities. Don’t forget to delegate. Dedicate the running of the day to trusted and organised members of the wedding party. You are there to enjoy and have fun!

1. Personalised White Wooden Wedding Hanger £12.99 2. Bag £55 Dune 3. Wedding Notebook by Katie Loxton £20 4. Ivory Bridal Robe £26 Next 5. Bride Satin Eye Mask £10 Boux Avenue 6. Ivory Bride Sleep Set £16 Next

w w w. sta ffo rdsh i re l i vi n g.c o .u k


Exclusive Waterside Wedding Venue * Licensed for indoor & outdoor civil ceremonies * Seats up to 150. Max capacity 180 * Nearest accomodation 1 mile away * All food and beverages catered by our award winning team Call Call to to book book a a private private viewing viewing or or visit visit us us for for our our Autumn Autumn Wedding Wedding Showcase Showcase on: on: 15th 15th October October 2017 2017

Sttne, Staffordshire

01785 01785 819 819 702 702 || ||


AT THE IZAAK Heading into Autumn it’s the perfect time to get out and visit the beautiful Dovedale Valley. Why not take the opportunity to visit us by taking advantage of one of our fantastic special offers...

‘4 NIGHTS FOR 3’ MID WEEK OFFER... Book 3 Nights Dinner, Bed & Breakfast (for 2 people) and get the 4th Night absolutely FREE! This offer is valid for any Sunday to Thursday mid-week stay until 26th October 2017 (excluding Bank Holiday Sundays & Mondays). FREE SUNDAY LUNCH WITH WEEKEND STAYS... Stay Friday and Saturday Night Dinner, Bed & Breakfast and get Sunday Lunch (for 2 people) for FREE! This offer is valid on stays until 29th October 2017 (excluding Bank Holiday weekends). to qualify, simply quote SLSEP17 when booking. Please note that the above offers cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer and to qualify your booking must be made directly with the hotel.

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Staffordshire Living SEPOCT 2017.indd 1

28/07/2017 09:51:49

getting AT COUNTY BUILDINGS Save the date for


Steve Sutton

Sunday 15th October, 11am – 3pm. County Buildings is a magnificent grade 2 listed building located in the heart of Stafford. The venue provides an elegant setting for a unique and distinctive ceremony. There are 5 rooms to choose from, each varying in size and character. The elegant sweeping staircase offers a breathtaking backdrop for a grand entrance.

Steve Sutton

We can cater for any dining experience from afternoon tea to champagne and canapes or bespoke dining options. It is only a short walk to a choice of Stafford’s restaurants and hotels which are a perfect setting for formal and informal receptions. Join us at our Wedding Fayre on Sunday 15th October 2017. Entry is free. Enjoy a complimentary glass of bubbly whilst you browse the exhibitors at this elegant venue. The suppliers will include; florists, photographers, caterers, bridal wear, wedding cars and hairdressers. Our wedding co-ordinators and Registrars will be on hand throughout the day to answer all your questions and to showcase the venue. Steve Sutton

Wedding Fair: County Buildings, Martin Street, Stafford. ST16 2LH SPECIAL OFFER

£100 off your Wedding at County Buildings if your ceremony takes place before 31st December 2017. Please quote “Staffordshire Living Magazine” when booking. Applies to new bookings only.

For more information call us on 03001118001 or email us on  @marriagestaffs


A LL YO U N E E D IS L ♥ V E …

…AND A WEDDING PLANNER! The countdown to your big day has begun but how on earth are you going to get there? For some couples, there is only one way to organise the best day of your lives – hire a professional!


ou’ve set your date and you have even decided on where you want to do it, but you probably haven’t booked it or even looked at a save the date design yet. Let’s face it, choosing the ring took the best part of a year. But don’t despair, it doesn’t mean you are not excited or desperate to get your big day organised, far from it. It just means that you might not be the best person for the job. So where do you turn? A wedding planner, of course. They are the people dedicated to making your day special, to finding everything you ever dreamed of well within your budget, and for knowing which company is the best at what they do. I mean, who wants to spend hours sifting through an endless list of wedding services collecting quotes and reading reviews when you are not even sure what you want in the first place?

The job of the wedding planner So enter the wedding planner, the bestest friend you have ever had (well, at least for the next 9-12 months), who will not only organise your day meticulously but actually turn your wild ideas and childhood dreams into a reality. They will listen to what you want (and I promise you they will have heard wilder than yours before so don’t hold back) and magically bring it to life. They will present you with the possibilities, plan, check and triple check everything on the lead up to your big day so that you and your partner can relax and imagine your future life together, or at least the beaches you will spend three wonderful weeks on for your honeymoon. The idea of a wedding planner has evolved over the years, we can’t help but imagine elaborate themes and mountains of expense all topped off with a camp as Christmas co-ordinator at the helm, complete with head set and clip board. But that’s probably because we’ve watched Father of the Bride too many times. In fact, wedding planning isn’t quite as glamourous as we’ve always thought. 42

Secondly, are you the best person to take control of the organising? Can you manage the logistics of your small or grand wedding on top of your existing daily schedule? Think about your current commitments from work, family and your everyday and if you have the spare time to devote enough hours to planning your day.

“You’re joking, right? The words ‘event/ wedding management’ and glamorous do not go together!” Emma Christopher, who runs Emma Jane Weddings based in Stone, says. “I’ve worked in the hospitality industry since I was 16 and operationally managed large scale events from the age of 19. The industry is massively rewarding but incredibly hard work. The successful delivery of an event is the end result of weeks and months of planning; everything you’ve planned and worked towards hinges on that one shot you have to execute it all perfectly. I love what I do and at 2am on a cold, dark winter night when you’re waiting for the last of the suppliers to pack up, it’s that love and passion for the industry that motivates you through the day.” Do you need a wedding planner? So is a wedding planner the right option for you? Firstly, you need to consider what type of wedding you are going to have – will it be a small and intimate affair with less than 50 guests or have you always imagined a bigger and more elaborate affair? If you have already lost count on a guest list or dream of a big three-day celebration in the country but have no idea how you will ever organise such a massive event? Then the answer is probably yes.

Finally, do you know exactly what you want and who you want to be involved in your day? If you have always known where and when you will get married, how you want it to look and the suppliers you want to use then that’s the job half done. But if you are starting from scratch and feel overwhelmed by the prospect of sourcing everything then this is where a wedding planner can help. You may want to plan your wedding on your own but it’s a logistical impossibility so you have to call on a professional to help. Perhaps you live abroad or out of the area where you are planning on saying ‘I do’ and need someone local dedicated to getting everything in order? But hiring a wedding planner doesn’t mean you won’t get to enjoy the journey. Anyone who has got married will tell you that planning the day is almost as exciting as the day itself! You will still play the most important part in the process but without all the ‘wedmin’ hassle that comes with it. A wedding planner is largely at your disposal. They will give you the options to choose from and advise you in their professional capacity but they won’t take over. You can use them to plan your entire wedding or just certain elements of it. “It can vary between couples looking for full wedding planning, including venue sourcing and full planning assistance,” Emma explains, “to couples that already have a venue (or marquee or tipi) but have no idea where to start after that.”

“My one piece of advice is to set a budget and stick to it. Be honest with each other and only spend what you can afford.” How to choose a wedding planner Once you have processed all your ideas and inspiration, decided what you can and can’t do on your own and sat down with your partner to set a budget, it’s now that you might consider appointing a professional. “In recent years, wedding planning has taken a new turn with more companies setting up as ‘stylists’ and focusing more on the look of the day,” says Emma. “My business is more of the old school planner style, preferring to concentrate more on the logistical elements that bring the day together.” Finding a wedding planner that is suitable for you can take time but there are a few things to look out for. Recommendations from friends or family are invaluable but when searching online, you want to have a chat over-the-phone or in-person with them to make sure you are both on the same page. In any case, you need to ask the following questions as a minimum: • Are you available on my wedding date? You will need to make sure they can be there on the day to keep everything ticking over. • Can you handle what I want? Make sure they have the skills or experience to handle all the aspects you want them to. Perhaps you are more concerned with the style and look of your day or you need more help with the operational side of it. Be clear what it is you need.

• How many weddings are you planning at the same time? This is one for you to decide what you are happy with and your chosen wedding planner will know what they are capable of. “Naturally, weddings tend to happen during the summer months so I can find myself working on more than one wedding at a time. I only take a select number of clients on a year to ensure I can provide the best service possible to all clients. It’s very much quality over quantity,” Emma adds. • How much does one of your weddings cost? The average cost of a wedding in the UK is around £25,000 but you should be clear with your wedding planner on what you can and can’t afford to stop things spiralling out of control. “I’m always very realistic when discussing initial ideas with my clients,” says Emma, “they have to be honest with me on their budget so I know which suppliers would be best to recommend based on their style. My one piece of advice is to set a budget and stick to it. Be honest with each other and only spend what you can afford.” • Have you dealt with our venue before? If you have already decided on your venue then working with someone who has been on site and is familiar with the staff might be an advantage. • How would clients describe you? Hearing feedback from previous weddings will help you to feel comfortable with your chosen wedding planner. Ask to read testimonials so you can get an understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. “I would say the most important thing you need to consider when choosing a wedding planner is chemistry and whether or not they can do the things you are looking for. Choose someone who is based in your area and has working knowledge of suppliers as they will know how things work and where to avoid any would-be disasters!” concludes Emma.



to your big day 9-12 M O N T H S B E F O R E :

Start a wedding book, work out a budget, decide on your date, pick your wedding party, hire a wedding planner, book your venue and ceremony, have an engagement party. 6 -9 M O N T H S B E F O R E :

Draft a guest list, send out save the date cards, hire a photographer and videographer, book your entertainment, research and book caterers (if not with venue), find your dress, start a wedding website. 6 MONTHS BEFORE:

Consider accommodation options for guests, set up your engagement photography, get planning your honeymoon, start looking for bridesmaid dresses, book your florist, wedding cars and any guest transport. 4 - 6 MONTHS BEFORE:

Order your invitations, draft a loose timeline for the day, order your cake, have a dress fitting, book hair and make-up, choose the rings. 3 MONTHS BEFORE:

Finalise the menu, choose your wedding favours, select people to read and/or do the speeches, book your wedding night accommodation, finalise bridesmaid dresses and accessories, reserve or block book guest accommodation. 2 MONTHS BEFORE:

Send out invitations, choose your music, send your band/DJ your first dance song, purchase your underwear and shoes, purchase any gifts for your wedding party, have another dress fitting. 1 MONTH BEFORE:

Manage your RSVP list, check in with vendors and confirm times, meet with photographer, send out a timeline to vendors, book in your hair and make-up trial, enjoy your stag or hen do, check in with whoever is conducting the ceremony, confirm vows if not in a church, draft up a seating plan. WOW (W E E K O F T H E W E D D I N G):

Break in your shoes, delegate wedding day tasks to wedding party, speak to all your vendors one final time, visit the beautician, pack your overnight case, send final guest list to caterer and venue, final dress fitting. Speak to Emma at Emma Jane Weddings on 07809 329723 or visit

w w w. sta ffo rdsh i re l i vi n g.c o .u k


PA C C OM KA G PLE £3 E S T ,85 F E 0 RO M

An intimate Wedding Venue nestled in the Staffordshire countryside. • Exclusive venue hire • Licensed for Civil Ceremonies • Bespoke Wedding House • Licensed Gazebo for Garden Weddings • Wedding breakfast up to 90 guests • Evening reception up to 160 guests • 14 luxury en-suite rooms plus 3 family suites ©images courtesy of kim shaw scott sharman and others

• Slaters Country Hotel & Inn • Stone Road, Baldwins Gate, Newcastle under Lyme, Staffordshire. ST5 5ED •

Weddings at Slaters

• Telephone: (01782) 680052 • e.mail: • •


Weddings at Stapleford Park 2017/18 PA C K A G E S F R O M £ 7 , 9 9 7 . 0 0 * * BASED ON 80 GUESTS


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REAL LIFE too. He very kindly agreed to come out of retirement to marry Rob and I.” The Reception and Evening Do: A marquee was erected in the paddock adjacent to Naomi parents’ farm for the reception and evening do. “We sourced the main marquee from family friends, Harvey and Carol Northwood. We were so lucky with the weather and were able to have our reception on the lawn with the Jelly Roll Jazz band on the patio entertaining everyone as the bubbles and canapés were circulated. Rob and I went to have some photographs around the pond – much to the surprise of the fishermen!”

ROB &NAOMI Both 28, Rob and Naomi Browne met at university in Shropshire and have been together ever since. Naomi lifts the lid on their magical village wedding day. Date: 3rd June 2017 Venue: Moors Covert Farm, Bednall (Naomi’s parents’ house) Number Of Guests: 240 (Day: 165 Night: 75) Your Wedding In 3 Words: Fantastic, Relaxed and Fun. The Proposal: Rob proposed to Naomi back in 2015 while they were walking their favourite route through the Sandon Estate, where they were living at the time, with their fox red Labrador, Damson. He waited until they reached the top of the hill overlooking Sandon Hall before popping the question. “We were in the process of buying our home in Abbots Bromley. I had purchased a sofa from eBay, which involved nearly a fivehour round trip to collect! Clearly Rob was not impressed by this news as he had other plans. It was supposed to be 21st October (my birthday), however, the ring that Rob had commissioned broke just before it was delivered and so the date was postponed 10 days to 31 October 2015 – Halloween!” Wedding Theme: Rob and Naomi opted for a country feel to their wedding day with a real community vibe. “There was not a specific theme but we were keen to keep it as “country” as possible with lots of local homemade goodies from the honey produced from our hives on the farm for the favours

to Sloe and Damson Gin on the tables. Tonnes of flowers, pinks, creams and greens – and plenty of bales. We just wanted to make sure that the day was relaxed and fun.” Special Touches: Naomi and Rob’s wedding was full of personal touches adding to the elegance and simplicity of the day. They called on the help of family and friends to create favours and special touches for the tables with some of the bridesmaids and groomsmen arriving the week before the big day to make signs and confetti and prepare the tractors and trailers. “Our parents, grandparents, aunties and uncle were all tasked with making Sloe or Damson Gin which proved excellent fun gin tasting before the big day!” Other special touches included tractors to ferry the guests from the church to the farm, music performed by family and friends, a table of photographs from their parents and grandparents’ weddings, and a friend lending his drone to take photographs of the couple using a bird’s eye view. The Dress: Naomi bought her dress from Silk Brides in Kings Bromley and had it adjusted by Helen Jupp at Sew Chiq in Lichfield. “I knew that I wanted something simple and elegant – I have never really been one for unnecessary paraphernalia. I tried on a few dresses but as soon as I put my dress on my mum, sister and bridesmaid, Alice, all agreed that this was the one. My particular favourite features where the dropped waist line (very flattering), the buttons at the back all the way from top to bottom, the long train and also the pockets!” The Ceremony: The ceremony was held at Bednall Church. “It would never have been anywhere else. I was christened in this church along with my brother and sister and all my Bramley family cousins. My father and grandparents are buried here and my Mum remarried here – there is a big family connection. The Vicar, Geoffrey Staton, has been involved with our family for many years and seen the good days and the bad ones

The Food: The food was catered for by long standing family friend and business owner, Pam Griffiths of Pear Tree Catering. “There was never any question of having anyone else! We had a large variety of canapés and bubbles at the reception followed by roast ham carved at the table with Mediterranean vegetables, asparagus and a range of new and dauphinoise potatoes. For pudding, we had crème brulee with shortbread and strawberries.” Rob’s mother, Maggie Browne, along with local Butchers, Perrys of Eccleshall, laid on the evening buffet with a variety of salads and an exquisite carvery with hot beef and pork. First Dance: Mumford and Sons - “I will wait” sung by my sister and her band Fusion.

Special thanks to the rest of those who made the day possible… P H OTO G R A P H E R : Cris Lowis

Photography, Staffordshire. 07870269856. F LO R I S T: Naomi’s mother, Carol Bloxham

is a professional wedding florist. Carol Bloxham Bespoke Florist 07973 427030. D J O R B A N D : Reception: The Jelly

Roll Jazz Band, thejellyrolljazzband. Evening: Fusion Function Band. Imogen Bloxham 07517 490584. fusionsfunctionband C AT E R E R : Pear Tree Farm Caterers. Pam

Griffiths 01785 712534. W E D D I N G D R E S S: Barcaza by Pronovias

from Silk Brides, Bromley Hayes, Lichfield W E D D I N G C A K E : Naomi’s granny, Ann

Foster, made the cake. The decoration was done by Sue Harper. S U I T H I R E : Whitfield and Ward, Wilmslow. H A I R & M A K E - U P : The Hair Shop, Eastgate Street, Stafford. Jennie Horton Naomi did her own make up on the day. w w w. sta ffo rdsh i re l i vi n g.c o .u k

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12-16 Hope Street, Hanley, ST1 5BS Telephone: 01782 215438

REAL LIFE “The wedding was beyond our wildest dreams and flowed without any issues - don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, you only get married once and you have a lifetime of memories to hold on to,” adds Jamie. First dance: Ed Sheeran – Perfect Jamie and Rachel’s Top Tip: Pick your photographer - someone who you feel at ease with, someone who makes you laugh, you will spend a lot of time with them. What Life Is Like As A Married Couple: “It’s no different, still very much in the bubble, getting married has really highlighted just how many people we have around us that love us.”

JAMIE & RACHEL Paramedic, Rachel and charity Chief Executive, Jamie met through work in 2013 when Jamie worked for the Staffordshire Fire and Rescue and Rachel for the West Midlands Ambulance. They fell in love and got married four years later but there were no 999 emergencies on their special day in Stone! Rachel and Jamie tell us more. Date: 20th May 2017 Venue: St Saviours Church, Stone Reception: Lymestone Brewery, Stone Number of Guests: Day 65 Night 120 Your Wedding In 3 Words: Happy, Relaxed and Quirky The Proposal: The proposal happened on 26th August 2015, two years after the couple first met. Rachel came home from a long day at work at around 10.30pm to find Jamie waiting in the garden. “He had filled it with candles, lights, music, and champagne, says Rachel, “a totally unexpected and amazing surprise.” Wedding Theme: Rachel kept it simple and stayed away from having a particular theme. She made a lot of the decorations herself and collected items over the months before the big day to give the wedding a really personal touch. “We didn’t really have a theme and we didn’t have a colour scheme, it all just came together. The day before the wedding saw pom-poms, bunting, lights,

fresh flowers and vintage tablecloths transform the working space into a wedding venue.” Special Touches: Rachel’s Auntie Denise read aloud a children’s story during the church, one that she would read to Rachel and her brothers, Stephen and Daniel, as children. Rachel also had a photo of Stephen in a vintage frame attached to her bouquet in memory of her brother who sadly passed away five years ago. In memory of Jamie’s Gran, who sadly passed away three years ago, the couple used all of her old vintage table cloths on every table at the venue. The Dress: Rachel originally wanted a vintage tea dress but then decided on the total opposite and had a floor length dress with train instead. “There was small delicate lace detailing to the was a big dress!”

Special thanks to the rest of those who made the day possible… P H OTO G R A P H E R : Scott Sharman Photography, Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire., 07729 633499 F LO R I S T: Simply Petals, 17 High Street,

Stone, Staffordshire, ST15 8AJ, 01785 818241 V E N U E D R E S S E S: Rachel dressed the

venue herself with the help of family

The Ceremony: The couple were married at St Saviours Church in Aston, Stone. “The church had huge meaning for both of us, we felt completely at ease there, beautiful building and a hilarious vicar.”

D J O R B A N D : Local busker, Shaun Walker in the afternoon www.facebook. com/shaunwalkermusic/ and the Lost the Plot band in the evening

The Reception and Evening Do: The couple chose The Lymestone Brewery for the reception and evening do. “As soon as Rachel saw the venue it was a must,” says Jamie, “but I thought she had lost her mind! It was just perfect. It has character and the space really works for any function. We didn’t have a table plan – much to the guests’ horror – but it worked out really well in the end as everyone sat with who they wanted to! All of our guests commented on the venue, we even had the owner, Brad, do a brewery tour whilst the venue was converted ready for the night time guests. I think everyone went home knowing something about brewing! The children were kept entertained with model aeroplanes, arts & crafts and bubbles. The adults were kept entertained with Dominoes, Jenga, Tiddly Winks and playing cards.”

C AT E R E R : The Lymestone Brewery, The Old Brewery, Mount Road, Stone, Staffordshire, ST15 8LL

The Food: Keeping it truly Staffordshire, the couple had Lobby and crusty bread in the day followed by a huge selection of tray-bake style cakes. During the evening, they ate pulled meats and cheeses.

C A R S: The wedding cars were Fred, a VW

Beetle and Wilma, a VW Camper Van from VWoccasion, 07800 985114 W E D D I N G D R E S S: Wed2Be, 95 Church

Street, Stoke-on Trent, Staffordshire, ST4 1DE, 01782 958065 W E D D I N G C A K E : Made by Rachel’s

Sister-in-law, Jess Gallimore S U I T H I R E : Jamie’s suit was from Next and the ushers and best men were dressed in Primark suits. H A I R & M A K E - U P : Hair was by Hairs and

Graces, 9A High St, Swadlincote DE11 8JA Swadlincote and Make up was by Zuzana Welengoda, based in Hanley. 07538 371236. wwwww. w.ssta ta ffo ffordsh rdshi re i rel il vi i vinng.c g.coo.u .ukk

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floral FEELING

Flowers are an integral part of any wedding day so getting it right is imperative! Keen to find out the floral trends that couples are loving in 2017? LIVING has rounded them up for you!

There is no denying that flowers make up a massive part of a wedding day and the look and style of flowers feature highly on any wedding planning to do list. They not only bring a wedding to life but they tend to set the theme and co-ordinate colours too. Flowers feature not just in the bride’s bouquet but as part of the venue dressing, the groom’s outfit and most of the wedding party too. Flowers are a wonderful part of the planning process and while you may be a little apprehensive at the sheer choice available to you, once you get stuck in to bouquets and centre pieces, you’ll find it hard to focus on anything else!

How to choose your wedding flowers Cost it out It’s important to consider what wedge of your budget you want to dedicate to flowers, as fresh flowers (and silk ones) can be expensive. Decide where and when you want to have flowers and what areas are most important. Having a bouquet and selection of styles at your venue might outweigh the need to have them hanging from the pews at the church. Consider you theme If you have already decided on a vintagestyle theme then you will need to consider the types of flowers that go well with this. They will differ from the styles that suit a more contemporary and modern wedding. Similarly, an outdoor fete style wedding will usually require a different floral display to a wedding held at a castle, for example. Choose your blooms wisely Choosing flowers is not just down to shades and shape, a lot of flowers have special meanings which might not be appropriate for a wedding! For example, the rose meaning love and passion is a


hugely popular wedding flower but a marigold is associated with grief and cruelty so not something you want to proudly show off at your wedding! The Dahlia is another great flower for a wedding, especially at autumn time, as it symbolises commitment forever.

Compliment your dress Your wedding flowers should act as a perfect accessory to your dress. You don’t want to overpower a simple design with a huge bouquet as much as you don’t want to lose your classic bouquet behind an extravagant dress. White on white works fabulously but if your dress is off-white then you are probably better off going for a bit of colour in your bouquet.

Explore your senses It’s important that you research and explore plenty of different flowers before making a decision with your florist and we’re not just talking about scrolling through Pinterest. Visit a flower show or florist shop and really get a feel for the types of flowers that are available to you, let your senses explore the visual and scented displays. You might find that you will fall in love with something you didn’t expect to.

W H AT W E L♥ V E :

2017 standout floral trends Think about colour schemes You may visit the florist with a colour in mind but listen to their advice on shades and tones that will give your display more dimension. Sticking to one colour might not get the guest reaction you were hoping for. Experiment with shades and see the options before making a final decision. Add some special touches One of the best ways to add some special touches to your day is by customising your wedding bouquet with personal and sentimental items, whether that’s a particular flower that has special meaning or an actual item that you place inside to walk down the aisle – from a photo of a loved one to a trinket representing an important part of your life. This will not only add to the priceless memories from your day but give guests a really great talking point when they admire your stunning flowers.

Classic and natural: a beautiful bouquet of white flowers and a touch of greenery will create your classical fairytale just perfectly. Romantic bouquets: Deep reds and pretty pinks create a sensual display perfect for any vintage inspired day. Dahlias: Autumn’s flower has a bold colour and big head guaranteed to add some punchy floral love to your day. It’s all in the vase: Gone are the standard glass vases and in their place are statement vases, extravagant holders and Beauty and the Beast style glass cloches. Hanging on: Floral displays have taken flight as a trend to include hanging arrangements of wreaths and even floral chandeliers and statement entrance towers are making a big impression. Pick you own! The best of British homegrown blooms, picked from the beautiful gardens of family and friends and cleverly arranged are giving a rustic and authentic edge to a laid-back day.



TASTE Let’s Begin

Nice ‘N Easy One Pot Wonders, The Taste of Staffordshire and Double Act!

Bullards Strawberry & Black Pepper Gin £40


NICE ‘N EASY ONE POT WONDERS Nothing signals the start of autumn better than a hearty dish of colourful and flavoursome food. Warm up your body and soul with these all-in-one-pot recipes.



Lamb & Apricot Biryani Recipe: Serves 4 Ingredients • 1 tbsp sunflower oil • 330g pack essential Waitrose British Diced Lamb Shoulder • 1 onion, thinly sliced • 225g essential Waitrose Basmati Rice • ¼ tsp ground turmeric • 2 tbsp Patak’s Korma Spice Paste • 350g pack Waitrose Diced Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato • 500ml hot lamb stock • 75g dried apricots, diced • 2 tbsp flaked almonds • 2 tbsp coriander leaves • Patak’s Plain Mini Pappadums, to serve Method 1. Preheat the oven to 200˚C, gas mark 6. Heat the oil in a large, flameproof casserole and cook the lamb and onion for 5 minutes until browned. 2. Stir in the rice and turmeric and cook for 30 seconds, then add the curry paste, butternut squash, sweet potato, stock and apricots. 3. Cover the dish and bake for 30–35 minutes until the rice is tender and the stock absorbed. 4. Meanwhile, sprinkle the almonds into a frying pan and toast for 2–3 minutes until lightly browned. Fluff up the rice with a fork and scatter over the almonds and coriander. Serve with pappadums on the side.


Squash, Celery Leaf, Turmeric and Smoked Garlic Soup Recipe: Sally Gurteen @thecafecat Serves 4 Ingredients • Knob of butter • Splash of olive oil • 1 large patty pan autumn squash, chopped • 1-2 bulbs smoked garlic • 1 small onion, diced • 1 stick of celery, diced • Pinch of sugar, salt and pepper • A large handful of celery leaf, chopped • 1 tsp turmeric • 1 thumb sized piece of ginger, grated • 600ml boiling vegetable or chicken stock Method 1. Melt butter and add a small splash of olive oil to stop it from burning. 2. Sauté your onion, garlic, ginger and celery with the sugar and salt on a medium heat for 20 minutes, or until they begin to caramelise. 3. Add the chopped patty pan, coat in the oil and cook for a further five minutes. 4. Cover with stock, bring to the boil, and then simmer part-covered for 30 minutes or until the squash is tender. 5. Blend with the celery leaf until smooth, season with pepper and serve. (Pictured left)



Add a handful of baby spinach and stir in before serving for an extra veggie boost

Atlantic Coast Seafood Chowder Recipe: Serves 6 Ingredients • 300g new potatoes, halved • 75g sliced squid • 200g raw shell on prawns • 1kg live mussels • 1 onion, sliced • 200g streaky bacon, chopped • Olive oil • A pinch of mace • A pinch of saffron • 1tsp Cayenne pepper • 500ml fish stock • 4tbsp single cream • 4tbsp chopped chives • 2tbsp chopped parsley • Salt and pepper Method 1. Rinse the mussels in cold running water while you sauté the onion and bacon for about 5 minutes. 2. Add the potatoes and stock and bring to a gentle boil for 10 minutes. 3. Add the seafood and spices, and cook for 5 minutes. 4. Remove any unopened mussels and add the cream and pepper. Stir well and check the seasoning. 5. Stir in the herbs and serve with a crusty baguette and green salad. w w w. sta ffo rdsh i re l i vi n g.c o .u k


RECIPES Sri Lankan Beef and Potato Curry Recipe: Serves 4 Ingredients • 600g Maris Pipers, cut into 2cm cubes • 450g diced lean braising beef • 1 large white onion, finely sliced • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed • 1 thumb of ginger, grated • 2 green chillies, sliced (more if you like it hotter) • 1 tin of light coconut milk • A large handful of baby spinach • Salt and pepper • Coconut or olive oil • A handful of coriander leaves and a squeeze of lemon juice to serve

For the spice mix: • 1 tsp turmeric • 2 tsp ground cumin seed • ½ tsp chilli powder • 1 cinnamon stick • 4 cardamom pods • 4 cloves • 12 fresh curry leaves Method 1. Heat the oil in a heavy, lidded pan. 2. Add the cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and curry leaves and cook gently for a minute. 3. Add the remaining spices and cook for 30 seconds. 4. Add the onion, garlic and ginger, season well and cook for 6 to 7 minutes. Add the beef and stir well. Tip in the chillies. 5. Add the coconut milk, bring to the boil, cover with a lid and simmer for a total of 45 minutes, adding in the potatoes after 20 minutes. 6. Just before serving, stir in the spinach leaves and lemon juice and season to taste. 7. Serve with the coriander sprinkled over and a pile of warm chapatis.

Mustard and Honey Glazed One Pan Roast Chicken with Lemon and Parsnips Recipe: Tracklements Serves 4 Ingredients • 4 chicken thighs and 4 chicken legs • 2 parsnips, peeled and quartered • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered • 3 tbsp Tracklements Robust Wholegrain Mustard • 1 tbsp olive oil • 1 tbsp honey • Salt and pepper • 1 lemon, quartered • 1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into wedges • 120ml white wine • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar Method 1. Preheat the oven to 200˚C /400˚F/gas mark 6. 2. Place the chicken portions, parsnips and potatoes in a very large roasting dish. 3. Mix the Wholegrain Mustard, oil and honey together with a little salt and black pepper then brush over the chicken, potatoes and parsnips. 4. Add the lemon wedges and red pepper and pour over the white wine and balsamic vinegar. 5. Roast for 45 minutes until golden brown and the chicken is cooked and tender. 6. Remove the chicken and peppers from the pan and keep warm. Discard the lemon. 7. Increase the oven temperature to 220˚C/425˚F/gas mark 7 and return the potatoes and parsnips to the oven for a further 10 minutes to cook until golden brown. 8. Return the chicken and peppers to the pan and serve immediately.


Babease Pistou Soup Recipe: Serves 4 Ingredients • 400g tinned chopped tomatoes • 250ml broth or stock • 400g tinned mixed beans (or any beans will do) • 1 onion • 400g (approx) mixed vegetables diced (e.g. peppers, green beans, courgette, carrots, celery, and kale) • Splash of olive oil • Salt and pepper to taste (optional) Method 1. Place a large pan on a medium heat. Add the olive oil and veg and cook for 2 minutes until slightly softened. 2. Add the broth and cook for 1 minute before adding the tomatoes. Fill 1⁄4 of the can with water, to get every last drop of tomato. 3. Stir in the drained tin of beans and simmer for 10 - 12 minutes before serving.


Beef Stew in Hoisin Sauce Recipe: Lee Kum Kee Serves 4 Ingredients • 400g stewing beef • 100g carrots • 200g potatoes • 20g garlic, finely chopped • 1 tbsp shallots, finely chopped • 3 star anise (optional)

Sauce Mix • 5 tbsp Lee Kum Kee Hoisin Sauce • 2 tbsp Lee Kum Kee Oyster Sauce • 250ml water • 15g rock sugar • 300ml red wine Method 1. Dice the beef, carrot and potatoes up into 2cm cubes. Mix all the ingredients in the sauce mix together in a bowl and set aside. 2. Sauté the garlic and shallots until softened. 3. Turn up the heat, add in the beef, stir fry until browned. 4. Add in the vegetables, star anise and the sauce mix, bring to boil then turn down the heat and simmer for 2 hours or until the beef is nice and tender.



Slow Cooker Chicken Tagine Recipe:

Mild Pea and Sweet Potato Curry

Serves 6 Ingredients • 450g skinless, boneless chicken breast fillets, cut into long strips • 4 cloves garlic, crushed • 1 large onion, chopped • 2 tins chopped tomatoes in juice • 1 tin Del Monte® Peach Slices, drained and chopped • 1 tin chickpeas, drained • Handful of dried apricots, chopped • 2 tsp ground cumin • 1 tsp ground ginger • 1 tsp cinnamon • ½ tsp ground coriander • ½ tsp cayenne pepper • 475ml hot chicken stock • 1 tbsp cornflour • 1 tbsp water • 3 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped • 30g flaked almonds • 3 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped

Recipe: Yes Peas! Serves 4 Ingredients • 2 tbsp vegetable or rapeseed oil • 500g sweet potato, peeled and cut into large cubes • 1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed • 2cm piece root ginger, peeled and finely chopped • 1 tsp ground cumin • 2 tbsp mild Korma curry paste • 1 tin chopped tomatoes • 200ml vegetable stock • Sea salt and black pepper • 300g frozen peas • Juice 1/2 lemon • Handful coriander, roughly chopped Method 1. Heat the oil in a large casserole or deep frying pan. Add the sweet potato and red onion and fry for 5 - 10 minutes, until the vegetables are starting to colour. 2. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a further minute. 3. Add the ground cumin and curry paste and cook, stirring constantly, for another minute. 4. Add the tinned tomatoes and blend in the stock. Season with sea salt and black pepper and bring to the boil. 5. Simmer gently for 20 minutes, stirring regularly and topping up with extra stock if necessary, until the sweet potato has softened and is cooked through. 6. Stir in the frozen peas and cook for a further 3 minutes. 7. Adjust the seasoning and add the lemon juice. Stir through the chopped coriander and serve with steamed basmati rice, warm naan bread, yoghurt and chutney.

Keep in the fridge for a few days or freeze in portions for up to 6 months


Vegg i


1. Place the chicken pieces in the bottom of a slow cooker. Add the garlic, onion, tomatoes, Del Monte® Peach Slices, chickpeas, dried apricots, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, coriander, and cayenne pepper. Pour in the hot chicken stock. Stir once and cook on a low heat for five hours. 2. After five hours, remove the chicken strips and keep warm. 3. Mix the cornflour and water in a small bowl. Stir the cornflour mixture into the slow cooker. Cook on high for about 20 minutes until the sauce has thickened. 4. Now return the chicken to the slow cooker while still on high and heat through for a few more minutes. 5. Meanwhile, place the flaked almonds under the grill for a few minutes until just toasted. 55

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Weekday lunch offer – 2 courses £15.95 The Upper House, The Green, Barlaston, Stoke-on-Trent, ST12 9AE | Tel: 01782 373790


STAFFORDSHIRE When it comes to food, there’s only one county we’re backing - Staffordshire. It isn’t just a steaming bowl of comforting lobby we’re talking about either. We’re a county of undeniable quality when it comes to producing food and drink as well. From the meat and dairy farms of our glorious countryside to the respected brands which were born and bred in Staffordshire but celebrated the world over, it’s a fantastic mix of delicious culinary delights.

Peter Walters, Executive Head Chef at Keele Hall explains: “There is a lot of great local produce. Throughout the year we have a plentiful supply of milk and dairy produce coming up to us from Wells Farm near Stafford, wonderful Cheeses from Staffordshire Organic at Acton and free range eggs from Hungerford Farm in Madeley.”

S TA F F O R D S H I R E ’ S T O P

Foodie Facts

Marmite You may love it or hate it but Marmite had its first factory in Burton-uponTrent. Its actual creation dates back to the early 1900s and since then it has amassed quite a cult following. Lobby Lobby is a stew usually made with beef, diced potatoes and carrots in thick gravy. It was originally eaten by ‘potters’ as a hearty and satisfying meal but it’s a traditional dish we all still enjoy today. Branston Pickle Did you know this tangy cheese sandwich staple actually originated in Burton-upon-Trent? It was named after the village of Branston and was first produced back in the 1920s. Banging bangers Blakemans sausages based in Newcastleunder-Lyme is home to the famous ‘Supreme Sausage.’ Mine’s a pint! Staffordshire is not just a great county of food; it also has a pretty good drinking heritage too! Burton-upon-Trent in particular is known globally as one of the best ale producing towns.

We asked Peter to share some hearty autumn recipes with us using Staffordshire foodie delights! P E T E R ’ S P O S H O AT C A K E S :

Oatcake Arnold Bennett

“You know all the usual fillings for oatcakes but I’ve devised something a bit different and named it after a local celebrity of old. Arnold Bennett was born in Hanley and was a novelist and writer for the theatre of his day. He was so delighted with the egg, smoked haddock and parmesan concoction that chefs at the Savoy created for him, he insisted on it being made wherever he travelled. So how about putting an oatcake twist on it?” Ingredients • 2 oatcakes • 200g smoked haddock • 250ml milk • 40g butter • 40g/3tbsp plain flour • 5g Curly Parsley • 4 eggs, beaten • 50g butter • 1 small leek (approx. 60g), finely chopped • 15g parmesan Cheese Method 1. Poach the smoked haddock in the milk then remove and cool before flaking the skinned fish into large pieces. 2. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour stirring to form a roux. Next gradually add the milk used to poach the haddock. Your result should be a velvety smooth sauce. 3. Add the flaked smoked haddock to the sauce with the chopped leek and parmesan then heat through. 4. Melt the 50g butter in a saucepan and add the beaten eggs. Scramble the eggs without milk, once cooked add to the haddock and leek mixture. 5. Warm the oatcakes in a dry pan or in the microwave before filling with the haddock mixture and rolling up. Spoon over a little more sauce and serve topped with a sprig of parsley.

 Have you made Peter’s posh oatcakes? Share your pictures with us on Instagram using #staffsliving.

Want to make a batch of your own Staffordshire Oatcakes? Follow the QR code to go direct to a recipe by Peter Walters on


(Serves 4)

Ingredients • 4 venison steaks (cut from the haunch, approx. 125g each) • 10g butter • 50ml rapeseed oil • 1 bottle Staffordshire Brewery’s Black Grouse Stout • 8 shallots, peeled • 1 tbsp cornflour • 75ml red wine • 100ml game or beef stock • Sprig of fresh thyme Method 1. Check the steaks for any tough sinew and cut away. Bat the steaks to a thickness of ½cm. 2. Season the meat with freshly ground black pepper and salt. 3. Heat a heavy based frying pan with a little oil and add a knob of butter to melt into it. 4. Sear the meat in the hot oil and butter cooking for 2-3 minutes before turning and searing the other side. Remove meat from the pan to plates and keep warm. 5. Add the whole shallots and brown all over. Turn down the heat and allow the shallots to cook through. Remove when soft and keep with the venison.

6. Pour the excess oil from the pan and add the trimmings from the steaks and fry to caramelize. 7. Add the stock and boil up before adding the stout. Re-boil and allow the liquid to reduce by half. Thicken the liquid with cornflour mixed with a little red wine. 8. Taste and season with salt and pepper. If the taste is bitter add a teaspoon of sugar, then pass through a fine sieve. Whisk in a knob of softened butter. 9. Serve the venison onto plates with two shallots on each then sauce drizzled over. Sprinkle with the leaves of the thyme. Great with Garlic mashed potatoes and savoy cabbage. w w w. sta ffo rdsh i re l i vi n g.c o .u k

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King’s Market

Continental Market

King’s Hall, Stoke, Sunday 24 September, 10am to 4pm.

City Centre (Hanley) 20 to 23 September 9am to 5pm.

Top quality foods and products for those looking for something special. Refreshments. Free parking. Live singer. £1 entry - under 14’s free.


markets in Stoke-on-Trent

The Continental Market is returning to sell the finest foods and crafts from around the world. Free entertainment at the indoor market, see posters or Facebook for details

stokeontrentmarkets 01782 232716


6, 7 & 8 OCT 2017

TASTE He the w re are ei won rd and d food erful p that y airings ou sh be ea ould ting.

DOUBLE ACT! Move over bacon and eggs, chips and dips and peanut butter and jelly (or jam to us), it’s all gone a bit ‘pair’ shaped for the traditional ingredients we’ve always put together - pardon the pun! It’s time to wrap our taste buds around an all new flavour sensation with the newest food pairings taking the culinary world by storm. If you have ever pulled your face in disgust at the thought of pairing two ingredients together, then guess what, it’s probably going to taste good.

dd r an o o A dy n o u d amic

Avocados & chocolate


So prepare yourself because here are the next level food pairings you really need to try!

If you simply pair your avocados with eggs and think you are being creative think again. Avocados have experienced a serious reinvention in the last decade and become a clean eating, health conscious staple. However, pairing it with dark chocolate is also apparently ok – anyone for avo-truffles?

? Marmite & pasta

Strawberry & basil

You’ll either love it or hate it but this strange combination has caught the eye of the masses – sprinkle a little cheddar cheese over the top and you are in taste heaven.

Herbs are making a comeback and the more unusual combinations, the better. Basil may have once been reserved for your Italian Caprese salad, but now throwing it in to your strawberry salad or morning juice can bring about a tasty flavour sensation.

Goat’s cheese & cinnamon

Peanut butter with anything

Goat’s cheese has a big following, there’s no denying that, but would you welcome it with a spiced sprinkle of cinnamon? Add it to your warmed up goat’s cheese but also combine them with honey for a very unusual take on cheesecake!

And we mean anything… there are more than 3.5 million Instagram posts about this nutty spread – it’s one foodie craze we can’t get enough of! It’s being paired not just with fruit, chocolate and jam, but with onions, bacon, and even melted cheese. Go for it, if you dare, nothing is off limits!

Have your say online now! Would you eat these totally bazaar food pairings?


Duck & beetroot

Hazelnuts & hummus

Bacon & peaches

Cooking duck in autumn simply has to be done with a rich and powerful side of beetroot – let the flavour and colours collide in this perfect marriage of ingredients.

We’re all a big fan of dipping our pitta in a pot of hearty hummus but how about adding in some chopped hazelnuts? It’s the next big thing, apparently.

Wrapping your peaches in bacon and frying or grilling them may sound like a crazy thing to do but the sweetness of the fruit matches perfectly with the salty bacon and makes for a truly incredible snack.


Ice cream & olive oil

Egg & pizza

Olives & bananas

Oranges & kale

Yes, the kitchens of the culinary elite are serving up this concoction to the delight of foodies everywhere. But don’t go adding any old oil, find one which has a fruity taste so the finished product is not bitter.

Oh yes, your pizza has evolved – it’s nothing new to the game but nowadays foodies are having their margheritas sunny side up!

Don’t be afraid to add olives to your sliced banana on toast, the different textures and tastes are said to be a really powerful and palatable combination.

Add a level of sweetness to your kale dishes with a few juicy orange segments. Ideal for hot or cold dishes as a pair on their own or served with your favourite meat or fish.

Totally bizarre!

The science bit

There’s a few pairings, we are not so sure about! There is actually an art to food combining which can have a boost to our health. The term Trophology is used to describe a nutritional approach to the way we put foods together. It’s based on the principles that certain food combinations are central to good health and can even help us lose weight. Foods high in protein and starch should usually be avoided together as it causes an unhealthy reaction in our stomachs that is detrimental to our digestion of certain foods. Certain proteins should also not be eaten together, for example fish and lamb should not be eaten together but beef and lamb are ok. Time to examine our cupboards!

Bacon and bananas Can the mushy texture of bananas really make our bacon sandwich taste any better? Jelly and jalapeños How many of us want our sweet jelly spiced up? Pizza and Nutella We all love pizza and we all love Nutella but should they really meet in the mouth? Chips and honey Could you ever swap your mayo for a sweeter dip? Ketchup and dark chocolate Surely this isn’t so!?

Salmon & vodka

Mango & chilli

Porridge & cheese

Lavender & pork

Move over vodka jellies, now you can add the kick of a vodka shot to your cooking but it’s all about flavour. Vodka has the knack of bringing out flavours that water or fat don’t reach without adding the strength and overpowering nature of other alcoholic additions like wine or whiskey. It works amazingly well with the subtle flavour of salmon.

Chilli is certainly not a stranger to fruit, but the overly sweet taste and texture of a mango works wonders to mute the heat of the chilli. Try it on toast for a metabolism boosting breakfast dish one morning.

Making your steaming bowl of oats into a savoury dish is taking comfort food to a whole other level. The Chinese have eaten chicken infused porridge for centuries but test the waters with some grated cheese and crispy bacon and season with salt and pepper.

The strong floral scent of lavender that we have so often associated with our Grandma’s house is back but it’s more fashionable to eat it than it is to smell it nowadays. In fact, lavender goes interestingly well with pork, so chop chop, it’s time to add some purple inspiration to your Sunday roast.

w w w. sta ffo rdsh i re l i vi n g.c o .u k


TASTE Love truffle fries?

Fair Trad e

^ Fair. Juniper Gin £32

New Kalahari ^ Truffle Infused Cruxland Gin £27 Morrisons

^ Bathtub Gin £30


er y

ba sed

shop loca l

Opihr Oriental Spiced Gin £23

in t ox e t e r




Tren d Spice ! it up

Brockmans Gin £36

LET’S BEGIN Try one of these flavoursome varieties – it’s the new gins on the block! Bullards Strawberry & Black Pepper Gin £40


G & Tea? We all love a good brew but should we mix it up with one of our favourite tipples? ^

Masons Yorkshire Tea Edition Gin £39.99 How to make the perfect G&Tea!

^ Williams Pink Grapefruit Gin £38

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Nelson’s Rhubarb and Custard Gin £40 nelsonsgin.

A Gin School experience for two people at Nelson’s Gin Distillery and Gin School. Head to to enter now! Conker Spirit Dorset Dry £35.95

Sloe it down Masons Lavender Gin £39.99

Ingredients • 40ml Bathtub Gin • 20ml Earl Grey Tea (cooled) • 20ml Grapefruit Juice Method

 Tweet us your thoughts @staffsliving #gandtea 62

Add the gin, cooled tea and grapefruit juice to a cocktail shaker. Shake and serve over ice in a highball glass. Recipe Via Stefano Litti

^ Cucumber Gin £35

^ Bloom Gin £24

^ Hayman’s Sloe Gin £25



HOME Autumn Trends

Smart Mind = Smart Homes, “I’ve Got To Have It!” and “What The Tech!?”



£15 George Home at Asda Emma Bridgewater Wallflower 1.5pt Jug £34.95 Daisy Park

Live for

Pie Dish £55 Laura Ashley


September is here and the joys of summer’s alfresco dining are slowly fading away. We may get the odd night here and there that allows us to escape outside, if the annual promise of an Indian summer appears. But actually, we’re not so sad about this because as the days get shorter and the nights a little chilly, we move into a new way of living and there really is no better time to sit around the dining table with family and friends, a bottle of red and a steaming bowl of comforting food to share (see our one-pot wonders recipes from page 52). And it means we get to revamp our homes for autumn, those cosy colours, lifting scents and opulent accessories that warm us inside and out!

£19.50 M&S

£30 Next


Cake Stand £30

This season bring your dining area to life with a rush of autumnal hues, go for the usual deep purples, emerald green and burnt oranges, but experiment with funky pinks and lighter shades of greens too. Add a regal touch to your dining with elegant bronze and gold finishes and fancy floral designs to briskly transition you into the season.

Tea Towel Set of 2 £12.50 M&S

Pendant Light £74.99

Gourmet Cheese Macaroni Dish £16 ^

Milton Butchers Trolley £750 Laura Ashley

LIVING tip: Salt & Pepper Shakers £6 Next Radio £40 Sainsbury’s

Find your favourite autumn blooms in the garden for a table centre piece when entertaining this season.

Cleo 6 Seater Oak and Matt Dove Grey Dining Table £329

Worktop Saver £10 Next




16 Piece Cutlery Set £109.99 Very



Rug £79.99 HomeSense


£12 M&Co

Unwind in the

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BEDROOM When it’s dark, cold and wet outside who wants to go out? An offer of “Netflix and chill?” never sounded so good! So lay back and relax in your autumn boudoir, the bedroom is the new living room this season.

or £16 9 M& S


Lamp £30 Sainsbury’s


Cosy up to one another in decadent surroundings where plush furnishings add a seductive side to your bedroom, perfect for those blustery evenings. Don’t forget to double up on the duvet! You don’t want to be caught out feeling the chill of those autumn mornings.

Tealight Holder £3 George Home at Asda

The key to an autumn bedroom is accessories, keep up your seasonal switch by making simple swaps and a few minimal additions that won’t break the bank but make you feel like you have just the right amount of autumn love. Velvet throws, extravagant rugs and statement lamps in this season’s must -have colours all make up your opulent surroundings for a well-deserved early night. Rich blues, mustard yellows and brass fixtures show off a truly indulgent retreat and provide Scandinavian finesse, just what we’re looking for at this time of year! Add some floral accessories for a more feminine feel to your room.

Bed £989

£850 Next

LIVING tip: Brighten up your room with a quirky piece of wall art in a heavenly butterfly or scenic pattern.

George Home at Asda

19. Cushion £ 50

^ Arrangement in Vase £75 Laura Ashley

& M


£25 M&S

Wall Art £29.50 M&S

Folding Bed £2917.50

Trinket Box £9.50 M&S



Grey is often seen as a negative colour but that couldn’t be further from the truth in the latest interior trends. It’s a stylish and direct approach to design which gives an edgier blank canvas to work from compared to the brighter and more traditional white or magnolia shades. Perfect for the bathroom to give that relaxed spa vibe, just add some flickering candles and you are away.

Debenhams 66 66


£9 Very



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69 £1

£19 Amara

Pot with Plant £34.99 HomeSense

Refresh the


Royal Blue Half Tile G9002 £99.95

Bath Mat £8 Very

There is more colour entering your bathroom than ever before, it’s not just about refreshing yourself inside those four walls anymore! Brightly coloured accessories, vases and towels will add dimensions to your otherwise plain and functional space and revitalise your senses whenever you take time out. Start with a plain base and then go wild with your vibrant decoration. Go bright and bold with your bath mats, elegant and classy with your finishing touches and experiment with metallic frames for a total bathroom overhaul.




Toilet Roll Caddy £30 Sainsbury’s

Nero Shower £575 Frontline Bathrooms

£10 Sain

r y’s

^ Kartell Diffuser £39



If it’s pure privacy you are after, you won’t get more solitude than the time you spend in the bathroom, at least we hope that’s true for you! And whether you are a lengthy bath taker or a quick shower gal, your bathroom is taking on a new form this autumn.



£4 Ikea

For a brand new look and feel, experiment with a deep blue or grey shade for your walls and tiles and go from there. This contemporary twist on the traditional bathroom updates your home with a stylish edge and autumn is the perfect time to do it!

LIVING tip: Towel Rail £98


Try adding some greenery with air cleaning properties like an Aloe Vera plant to complete your healthy makeover.

Knightsbridge Bath £2645 Frontline Bathrooms £34

£9 JD Williams w w w. sta ffo rdsh i re l i vi n g.c o .u k


Bespoke Sofa Manufacture & Re-Upholstery Specialist Our team of highly skilled professional craftsmen, create and manufacture sofas from design, for a living space that is truly unique. Coupled with our huge selection of fabrics we have the ability to create almost any type of bespoke design. Using traditional skills, we can also strip down your old suite or sofa and re-create the original design with our superior re-upholstery which is highly renowned for its finish and meticulous detail.

For a truly unique and individual lounge setting we welcome you to our factory showroom to see what we can create for you. Contact Simon Edwards or Chris Edwards on 01543 505539

Unit 19, Martindale, Hawks Green Business Park, Cannock WS11 7XN

LT Garage Doors as heard on

Email: Web:

01782 533552 01785 748001 07973 572574

Unit 9 Norton Industrial Estate, Bellerton Lane, ST6 8ED Visit our Showroom that has over 35 working doors on display. • Electric Roller Doors • Sectional Doors • Up & Over Doors • Side Hinged Doors • Insulated Side Hinged Doors • Gates, Trellis Grills & Sun Awnings • Spare Parts & Repairs • Industrial Doors

Help to Buy

100% Part Exchange Get full value for your existing home with Lioncourt Homes’ Part Exchange!

Creswell Manor is a prestigious development located just 2 miles from Stafford Station and only minutes from the M6, offering a range of delightfully designed multi-award winning homes. Move up to a selected new home there with Part Exchange*.

l 100% of Market Value l No Estate Agency Fees l Carpets on selected plots l Quick & Simple Come and take a look around our beautiful showhomes, open seven days a week.

2, 3, 4 & 5 bedroom homes available from £170,000 to £500,000

Creswell Manor, Eccleshall Road, Stafford, ST16 1PF Showhomes open every day, 10am to 5.30pm. Telephone: 0845 873 2885† *Part Exchange* available on selected properties only. All offers are subject to terms and conditions, please ask our Sales Executive for full details. Photographs show a typical Lioncourt home. †Calls will be charged at seven pence per minute from a BT landline and may cost considerably more from mobile and other phones. Contact your service provider for more details. Prices and offers correct at time of print.



Bedz Bedzz and Bedrooms Brook Street Brook Street Leek, Staffordshire Leek, ST13 Staffordshire 5JE ST13 5JE

U P TO 2 0 % O F F T H I S AU T U M N P L U S A F R E E L U X U R Y M AT T R E S S P R O T E C T O R *

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W W W. S O M N U S . C O . U K


*Mattress protector offer applies to divan sets only and ends 24th December 2017

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SMART MIND SMART HOME It’s officially the time to wrap up and get cosy but let’s be smart about it. Don’t let energy costs spiral out of control, here’s how to make your home more efficient and ready for winter.

Aurajet by Methren £94.34. Save money with a flow rate that is optimised to be water efficient. The Aurajet Aio handset uses as little as 9 litres per minute.


e’ve been enjoying the warmth of summer for months but winter is coming. Any Game of Thrones fans will understand that this is no joke! But, while we don’t expect to be knee deep in snow like the inhabitants of Westeros (or have to deal with any white walkers, thankfully), we do have to make a few changes around the home to stay smart and efficient. Most of us are resided to the fact that our energy bills will sky rocket from October to February. The more energy we use, the bigger our bills, right? And when the cold weather sets in, is it even possible to save money? But it might not have to be as big of a shock as we think - if we take a few simple steps to make our homes smarter, when winter does arrive, we can relax a little, safe in the knowledge that we have done everything we can to be more efficient.

Think smart But, efficiency is not just a case of how much energy we use and how long we last before we absolutely have to have the heating on in winter! A smart meter will give us a better understanding of our bills but it won’t fix any maintenance problems around the home – taking responsibility for areas in the home where we might be losing heat and sucking energy is also a big factor of efficiency. The Energy Saving Trust (www. states that we could save upwards of a hundred pounds on our energy bill every year by just ensuring a few simple measures are undertaken around the home.

“The first thing to check is that you are not sat on a standard variable tariff and that if you can, you are paying by monthly direct debit as this is likely to dramatically reduce your spend,” says Victoria Warren, Co-founder of Staffordshire based, The Energy Deal.

It says that most homes lose heat via draughts around windows, doors, gaps in the floor and through the chimney and it says that carrying out appropriate draught proofing around the home could save you between £15 and £25 a year on energy bills.

“Having the money to go and buy new appliances isn't always realistic. Simple things you can do are to be strict and educate the household to switch off and unplug things after use, consoles, TV, wifi, lights, chargers etc. For your gas, get a smart meter if your energy supplier will fit one so you can monitor your spend as you go.”

It also recommends being vigilant with switching off light bulbs, even if it is just for a few minutes at a time as this can save around £14 a year on energy. Plus, swapping to LED spotlights around the home can save a further £35 a year on energy.

A smart meter in your home will digitally send 72

meter readings to your energy supplier and provide much more accurate bills, as well as giving you the chance to monitor your energy usage in pounds and pence.

By turning off appliances at the plug when they are not in use, and not leaving in standby mode, could save around £30 a year. And for

every one minute less you spend in the shower, you’re cutting energy bills by £7. But, energy efficiency is not just about saving the pennies either; we can also make our homes more appealing on the property market too, great news if you are considering selling or even renting out your home. “Boosting your home’s Energy Performance Certificate from a band G to E or D to B, for example, can increase a property’s value by 14 percent on average, and by a whopping 38 percent in some areas of England*,” says Melanie McDonald from Anglian Home Improvements. Most homes in the UK are required by law to hold an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). Each certificate lasts 10 years and gives each property a rating from the highest, A, to the lowest, G, based on how energy efficient a home is. It looks at things like the walls, roof, floor, boilers and windows to decide how efficient a home actually is, for example if there is cavity wall insulation, double glazing and the state of radiators. The certificate will also provide a number between one and 100, the higher the number, the less money it will cost to run, and will also provide recommendations on how to improve efficiency. It’s important to make sure your cavity wall and roof insulation is carefully maintained, update any old windows and doors and invest in blinds - these are all ways to make your home more efficient, but there are other easier and less drastic ways too. *Department of Energy and Climate Change


According to The Energy Saving Trust, more than half the money spent on fuel bills goes towards providing heating and hot water.

A+ Energy Appliances

“Fuel costs are rising…so, as winter approaches, it’s important to make sure your heating system is as efficient as possible,” says Jayson Branch, Creative Director at radiator specialist, Castrads. He has these tips to keep costs down:

2. Add valves: You can make your heating

Worcester Bosch Greenstyle Bewdley Stove

system function more efficiently by making it smarter. Installing thermostatic radiator valves will help to eliminate wasteful heating and regulate the temperature throughout a house.

the majority of households in Britain are underestimating appliance usage too, with 78% of respondents believing they used less than five appliances each day.

3. Placement: Putting a radiator in the coldest

Mark Kelly, marketing manager at Appliances Direct said: “We’re addicted to looking for the easiest option; we don’t want to do chores anymore, so if there’s a machine or appliance to reduce the effort we need to put in, then Brits are going to take advantage of that.”

part of a room both heats the cool air and encourages the radiator to work harder by giving off more heat. 4. Knowing your heat requirement: Having

too many or not enough radiators in your home can lead to increased heating bills. The right choice depends on the size of the room it is intended to heat, how well insulated the space is and what the room is used for. Living rooms and bathrooms should be warmer than hallways and kitchens, for example. Duette energy saving blinds start at around £150

ed No ne r fo a ey chimn u or fl e

Lervik Flueless Slide Control Gas Stove £894 B&Q as


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According to new research by e-tailer,, suggests that Brits are addicted to appliances, gadgets and convenience products in a bid to make homes smarter and lives easier. It found the average UK adult uses around nine appliances every day. Furthermore, the data also showed

Time to get cosy


As a result of a falling economy, Brits have had to become smarter with money. After the recession, we were always looking for ways to minimise spend and reduce living costs. But, while we may be more aware of our finances and affordability, it’s not stopping us from buying more technology than ever before for our homes and this could be having a direct impact on our energy efficiency.

Sure enough, the latest tech gadgets (see our tech cleaning feature on page 82) are designed to use energy efficiently but what about our larger domestic appliances, which tend to have a much bigger impact on our energy efficiency? As with our homes, most major domestic appliances like washing machines, dish washers, and even fridge/freezers will have their own energy performance certificate which is often completely overlooked for aesthetics, performance and convenience. It helps consumers assess the energy efficiency of a product, as well as noise level and expected annual cost of running it. “Energy efficiency continues to be of importance when buying an appliance; especially as consumers are constantly challenged to keep their utility bills to a minimum. We are also seeing consumers favouring appliances that can get the job done in the quickest possible time, with the best achievable results,” says Ian Moverley, Brand Communications Director at Indersit.

With an 8kg capacity, this functional family washing machine is one of the most efficient on the market. Indesit MyTime washing machine £249


Addicted to tech

But, making the right purchases can help, says Mark. “Time poor Britons are always on the lookout for solutions to make cooking, housework and entertaining the family more efficient, and advances in technology mean there are more appliances on the market to help them achieve this.”

This integrated electric single oven has an A+ energy rating. Features include a 71-litre cooking capacity (big enough for a large roast), EcoClean steam function, powerful grill and removable glass door. Indesit KFW 3844 H IX £269.99


1. Bleed radiators: If your radiators feel cooler at the top than at the bottom it is likely that air has entered the system and your radiators need bleeding.

Vesuvius Flueless Limestone Surround Wall Hung Fire £648

The Hanbury by Worcester Bosch From £699 Farmhouse Stoves

 Find more energy saving tips at

w w w. s ta ffo rdsh i re l i vi n g.c o .u k


Create space AND REFRESH YOUR WARDROBE Andy Briggs, Spaceslide’s resident interior designer, describes how to get the most out of your wardrobe…



Here we are in September and it won’t be long before you need to set aside your spring/summer clothing and unleash the winter wardrobe. Whilst you’re doing this, why not use this time to refresh your wardrobe by decluttering and thus creating more space?

1. Be bold and remove clutter

Make the most of your space

2. Assess your storage needs

This is where fitted wardrobes come into their own. Making use of every inch of space, you’ll find you can store so much more – especially when applying this to awkward spaces like alcoves or under a slanted roof.

From what remains, organise your clothing into what needs hanging and what needs folding. Does your wardrobe provide the exact storage you need based on the clothes you’ve just sectioned out?

Easy-to-install, Spaceslide’s made-to-measure sliding doors and wardrobe interior kits can be tailored to your exact requirements and include a vast array of stylish, contemporary glass, mirror and wood-effect finishes. By having your wardrobe contents organised and concealed behind sleek sliding doors, you can create a much more open and uncluttered space to rest and relax in, as well as a bedroom that is bang on trend.

Start by removing all the clothes from your wardrobe and sorting them into those you love and those that no longer fit or rarely see the light of day.

3. Examine what you want to achieve Plan what storage you’d like in an ideal world – not just for your clothes, but your accessories also, e.g. double height hanger bars for shirts/jackets.

We are offering Staffordshire Living readers an exclusive promotion of 50% off plus free delivery when you place an order online or in your local Lichfield showroom. Quote code: STAFFS T&C’s apply

Start creating space and book your home design visit now: 03333 448 562

Spaceslide, Eastern Park, Eastern Avenue, Lichfield, WS13 7SY.


£1499 Next £2525

£1549 Newtons Furniture

£649.99 Argos £895 Loaf

£499.99 Very

£1699 M&S

£659 Living It Up From £2544 £899




 Head online to to find out how to style your corner sofa!


£709 Living It Up

“I’VE GOT TO HAVE IT!” When you see it, you know you’ve got to have it but what should we consider before buying those key pieces for the home? Do you suffer from Impulse Buying Syndrome? You are not alone. In fact, most of us will put our hands up to having made a purchase on impulse at one time or another, and some of us will do it regularly. That egg slicer in your kitchen drawer, the exercise ball in the living room which is now used as a foot stool and the gazillion other trinkets you just had to have while out on various shopping trips. Psychology Today states that there are a number of psychological reasons why we might be an impulse buyer - ranging from a love of shopping to not wanting to miss out on a bargain and generally deluding ourselves in to the need to own something. But when it comes to buying the bigger, more substantial purchases for the home, impulse buying really doesn’t have a place unless we want to live inside a mismatched haven, which 76

some of us will! However, in today’s society, where households are spending more on home improvements than ever before, generally our homes have a style or a theme which we work to and this will usually match the style and architecture of the home - and all the décor falls into this. Daniel Mumford, creative director at DAPA Interiors said, “Interior design is ultimately depicted by the internal architecture of a room. Successful interior design always starts, and ultimately ends with how the space will be used and by who and how many. Once you have this nailed down you can start to think about incorporating current trends and thinking about colours, textures and materials.” So what should we consider when making those big purchases?

Ask yourself… 1. Can you afford it?

Before making any big purchases, you should work out what you need against the budget you have to spend. One of the biggest problems with impulse buying is that we will tend to spend more money than we can afford because our emotions take over when we see something we like the look of and once we have this in our minds, price starts to matter less! Shopping online can help as this way you can refine your search criteria to only view products in a certain price range. You also need to consider the quality of a product too, a key piece for the home is probably going to be a long-term investment, unless you intend on changing your sofa every 6 months! Make sure you bag a bargain but don’t go for the cheap option only to find it starts to deteriorate after a few weeks!

Key pieces we love

Tip! “Creating a new bathroom shouldn’t be a complicated or daunting prospect, particularly when you buy from a bathroom specialist who will offer a personal design service.” Helen Shaw, Laura Ashley Bathroom Collection.

£249 £475

£699 £879


Tip! “In an open-plan kitchen and dining area, you should consider the style of furniture carefully to create a seamless flow from one space to the next.” Doug Haswell,

£569 Danetti £249


£549.99 HomeSense

£699 Danetti

£499 M&S


£299 Swoon Editions

£725 Loaf

£329 DFS

2. Do you have enough space?

Cost and space are undoubtedly the main factors to consider when buying any furniture or model for your home. You simply can’t have it if it won’t fit! Consider the layout and design of your space before you decide on the style of your piece. You may have your heart set on a kitchen with an island feature but without the square footage to back it up, you are going to end up disappointed. Measure your space and take these with you when you visit a showroom or have them to hand if you are researching online. The key is to only search for things that are a realistic possibility for your home and you won’t end up buying just for the sake of it! You’ll buy because you love something as well as it being functional. 3. What are your must-haves and nice-to-haves?

Consider what it is that you really want from a piece before you head out to find it. For example, think about the features you’d like in a sofa and rate them in order of importance – perhaps you’d like to have a high back over extending foot stools for instance. Or if you are about to invest in a new bathroom – is it

1. Harptree Kitchen www.Caple. 2. Cage Round Table £609 3. Claremont Slipper Bath £1075.50 Laura Ashley 4. Sleigh Bed £449 Time 4 Sleep 5. Corner Sofa £2445 Loaf 6. Breeze Freestanding Bath £2295 Waters Baths of Ashbourne

more important that you have a free standing tub over plenty of storage? Lay out your musthaves against your nice-to-haves for each piece and always shop around, comparing each one against your list. This way you will have made a careful and considered purchase and not a quick fix decision. 4. Are you buying on impulse?

Stop! Don’t buy the first thing that you come to. You might end up going back to it but you need to have a look around and assess the options first. It’s also likely that if you have decided on a piece within 10 seconds of entering a shop, you haven’t considered our first three questions either. Remember that this investment is likely to be a part of your home for a long time. If you are buying a piece for a home you share with someone else, then make sure you get their input also, they will enjoy it as much as you and they may have slightly different expectations and ideas to you. 5. What do you really need?

If you have more than one key piece on your list then it might not be an option to buy them all at once. Consider what you need the most - perhaps you have a decent enough sofa that

Tip! “Bigger is definitely better when it comes to beds. Many people don’t realise that a standard double bed is 135cm, or 4ft 6in, which gives each person just 2ft 3in of space if sharing – that’s less than a baby has in a cot!” Simon Williams, National Bed Federation (NBF).




you can manage with but nowhere to eat your meals and a dining table might be a better route to take. You should also consider how you might feel about style when you can afford the next piece. Consider your lifestyle and what is going to make life easier for you. If you spend most of the spare time watching TV in bed then that might be the option you go for first. 6. How does this piece work with the rest of your furniture?

Have you styled your home for look or for comfort? You might find that six months after making all of your purchases that you don’t like how they look together. Each purchase you make in a room is likely to have an impact on the next. When you are researching you might find that your taste for one piece doesn’t necessarily match what you already have. Try and style your room with equal measure of design inspiration and living comfort because unless you intend to sell the property, it’ll be your space for a long time and you don’t want to feel uncomfortable! If you can’t resist letting your extravagant side loose, then go wild in one room of your house that you can reserve for entertaining or special occasions and make the rest of your house a happy medium. w w w. sta ffo rdsh i re l i vi n g.c o .u k


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The UK’s largest stocks of Quality Rugs & Large Rugs Ridings Park, Eastern Way, Hawks Green, Cannock, Staffordshire WS11 7FJ Stores also at: Bodelwyddan, North Wales LL18 5TY Lythgoes Lane, Warrington WA2 7XE Vanguard Way, Shrewsbury SY1 3TG Shield Retail Park, Bristol BS34 7BR FrithRugs is a trademark of GH Frith (Bodelwyddan) Ltd. 17b03

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We measure We make We fit Professionally made curtains & blinds fitted by our expertly trained installers for a look that you will love

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Our experienced staff will guide you through every step in choosing your curtains & blinds Professionally made curtains and blinds fitted by our own expertly trained installers for a look that you will love. Cartlidge Street, Shelton New Road, Hartshill, Staffs ST4 6DJ Telephone: 01782 710 777

OPEN 7 DAYS Mon - Sat 9am - 5.30pm Sun 10am - 4pm LARGE FREE CAR PARK

ATTENTION TO DETAIL LOOKS LIKE THIS INDIVIDUAL & UNIQUELY DESIGNED KITCHENS & BEDROOMS Aesthetics meet functionality: our designers will create your dream kitchen or bedroom with timeless beauty Areas are designed perfectly to match the requirements of each home, for a kitchen that provides space for the whole family and not only when it comes to cooking together

Call into our showroom for your free interior design advice

Bridgemere Garden Centre, Bridgemere, Nr Nantwich, Cheshire CW5 7QB

Tel 01270 520 146

Visit us in our Brand New, Outstanding Showroom and be Inspired!! Wharf Design, 133 Congleton Road North, Scholar Green, Stoke on Trent ST7 3HA | 01782 782108 Ansons Residential Property Ad 170 x 256 land:Layout 1



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Not ready for robots?

Cleaning has become less of a chore and much more of a game with these high tech gadgets promising to make it easier to make your home look spick and span. But, how smart is your home? As the dust settles on summer, literally, we all feel the need for a seasonal clean and tidy but wouldn’t it be nice if we had some high-tech help? Enter the smart home – full with the gadgets that promise to make cleaning our home not only efficient but fun too – who would have thought!?



If the thought of leaving your hoovering to a robot sounds way too futuristic for you then fret not, there are still traditional ways to get it done but with a 21st century twist of course! They can now be wifi connected and controlled via an app on your smart phone or tablet – you’ll even receive notifications when it’s time to empty the bin or clean the filters. Hoover Vision One-Fi Pets VR81 OF01 £199

Air cleaning Foobot £170 from

Mark Kelly, marketing manager at says robots are the future of cleaning and we are missing out if we stay with conventional cleaning methods! “We know that no one wants to do the cleaning or wash their windows, everyone's got better things to do with their time and as a society we're becoming more and more time poor. We'll definitely be seeing more robot help appearing in the near future and I'm really looking forward to being able to put my feet up while robots take care of all the chores.”


Awair £179 Available from

In the kitchen Goodbye kettle? The InSinkErator® 3N1 steaming hot water tap offers instant filtered steaming hot water between 88 and 98°C £729 ^

If it’s one gadget we all need to consider it’s the robo-vac, fast becoming the biggest growing trend in the industry. “We love that robo vacs have become common place. They've come on leaps and bounds with massively improved tech from iRobot and Neato and amazing value tech from electriQ,” says Mark Kelly.


With rising pollution concerns, it’s only fair that we want to be breathing good quality air when we are at home. Now there are gadgets which help us to monitor air quality, tracking toxins and chemicals in the air as well as providing guidance on how to improve it. Perfect for allergy or asthma sufferers, the elderly, children or those of you facing the daily smog -filled commute to work. Tip! Add lemon juice and white wine vinegar to steaming hot water for a natural alternative to chemical cleaning products.

The Minky Cordless Window Vac £49.99 promises to give you for glistening, streakfree windows, mirrors and glass surfaces. Hallelujah! ^

Technology may have catapulted cleaning innovation sky high but not all of us are ready to take the plunge into robots and wifi controls, or are we? Here’s a look at some of the technology on the market to offer a helping hand around the home.

Give the cord the boot and go handheld with the Enhanced Gtech Multi £149 s dles Cor ^



Robo.com³ Robot ElectriQ Robot Vacuum Cleaner Anti- Vacuum Cleaner £499.99 Allergy HEPA £99.97

Kobold VR200 Robot Vacuum Cleaner £749 82

Botvac D5 Connected £599.99

Forget weekly workouts on the garden lugging your heavy mower around, there are even robot devices Karcher Portable Cleaner specifically for the garden. £129.99

Automower 450X £3,100



PRESTIGE HOMES Find Your Dream Home In Staffordshire

A selection of the most prestigious homes currently for sale in Staffordshire and the surrounding areas.

Sa le Fo r

Park View, Brook Lane, Endon


• Detached dorma bungalow • 4/5 bedrooms • Modern kitchen / diner • Master bedroom with ensuite • Village location • Open views • Sought after location Have you been dreaming of the perfect detached property in Endon Village with country views? Set back in an idyllic location in the highly sought-after area of Endon Village, this stunning 4/5 bedroom detached property boasts open views of the Staffordshire Moorland. Offering a good-sized plot and high level of finish, this property is not one to be missed. EPC Grade D


Sa le Fo r

Trent Valley Road, Penkhull

Offers in excess of £425,000

• Victorian style property • Four double bedrooms • Two reception rooms • Large conservatory • Double garage • Large plot • In and out driveway Oozing character and steeped in history, this Victorian detached house offers spacious and well planned accommodation. Good road links give access to Newcastle and the Potteries as well as being in close proximity to the Hospital. As a home for entertaining, both indoors and out, this property is hard to beat with two impressive reception rooms, spacious well fitted kitchen and large conservatory. EPC Grade E

Offices in Endon and Festival Park 01782 626522

HOAR CROSS, Staffordshire

Guide Price: ÂŁ995,000 Lichfield Office: 01543 419121

Hoar Cross, Staffordshire A traditional country house in landscaped grounds of approximately 1.78 acres with outstanding south facing rural Staffordshire views. Occupying a slightly elevated position and therefore commanding panoramic countryside views towards the south, Cross Hayes House is a traditional family home offering a generous range of characterful accommodation with the potential (subject to planning permission) to further develop. EPC Rating: F More amazing photos:

Ashbourne 01335 340730 East Leake 01509 856006 Uttoxeter 01889 567444

Ashby de la Zouch 01530 412824 Lichfield 01543 419121 London 020 7839 0888

Barton Un. Needwood 01283 716806 Loughborough 01509 239121

Burton Upon Trent 01283 512244 Stafford 01785 236600

KINGSTONE, Staffordshire

Offers in Region of: ÂŁ595,000 Uttoxeter Office: 01889 567444

Kingstone, Staffordshire A truly stunning detached character cottage providing spacious, well maintained accommodation which retains a wealth of charm and original features. Occupying a delightful plot including a detached former chapel/shop providing excellent potential for an annexe/granny flat/home office (subject to obtaining necessary consents). With established gardens adjacent to fields to one side, located within the heart of the lovely village of Kingstone. EPC Rating: E More amazing photos:

San Miguel, Jack Haye Lane, Light Oaks, ST2 7NG Offers in excess of £600,000 A rare opportunity to acquire a modern and stylish five bedroom, detached bungalow, boasting 4,500 square feet of living accommodation. The good fortune to purchase a property such as ‘San Miguel’ does not present itself very often, so act without haste in booking a viewing. The property boasts exclusive features such as Swimming pool, sauna and Jacuzzi! Sitting in a plot of over an acre, it offers far reaching views over the picturesque Staffordshire countryside, as well as being a short ‘Sunday drive’ to the breathtaking Peak District. This vacant property is ready and waiting for you, available immediately without a chain, almost unheard of with a home in this price bracket! This property and the location has everything to be desired… there’s even a free school bus to Endon High School and is adjacent to the bus route to Newcastle Private School. ‘San Miguel’ is an exceptional home, situated in rural splendour, to make it your new country residence call 01782 958944.

To arrange a viewing call 01782 958944


‘The Old Ramshaw School’, Buxton Road, Upper Hulme, ST13 8UH Offers In Excess of £424,950 ATTENTION IN THE CLASSROOM PLEASE! I HOPE YOU HAVE ALL PREPARED FOR TODAY’S LESSON? OK, let’s begin. Open your textbooks to page 1 and take a look at this beautiful FOUR BEDROOM DETACHED property, look at every inch of detail, from its fabulous arch windows to the stunning scenery and amazing views. THE OLD RAMSHAW SCHOOL presents THREE large living areas featuring exposed beams and a multi fuel burner. As we turn to page 2 you will find a traditional kitchen diner which looks out onto the front garden and patio doors to the rear garden. From the photos you will then see FOUR well-presented bedrooms (one of which is on the ground floor), and the master which has a shower en-suite, and the large ground floor family bathroom which boasts a fabulous free standing bath and separate shower cubicle! ANY QUESTIONS SO FAR?...... Ok, lets continue...Outside you will find marvellous gardens and stunning greenery as far as the eye can see plus views of the famous Winking Man! There’s also a double garage with electric door and a large tarmac driveway. I could talk about this property all day but the lesson has now come to an end. Don’t forget your bags and coats as you leave to make your way to Samuel Makepeace and arrange your viewing!

Rugeley, Staffordshire


A delightful 6 bedroom family home with mature gardens • Master bedroom with dressing room • Large Kitchen/breakfast room • Drawing room/dining room • Stabling with 10 loose boxes

• Paddocks and garaging • EPC rating D

Guide price £1,100,000

Trentham, Staffordshire


An impressive family house with beautiful gardens • Reception hall • Dining room • Guest cloakroom • Drawing room and morning room

• 6/7 bedrooms • Self contained ancillary • EPC rating D

Guide price £925,000

16 offices selling across the UK Stafford 01785 220044

Abbots Bromley, Staffordshire


A handsome and spacious family house • Reception hall, 2 reception rooms, study • Open plan kitchen, sitting & dining areas

• 4 double bedrooms, 2 bathrooms • Outbuildings, stabling, c 4.47 acres • EPC rating E

Guide price £875,000

Colwich, Staffordshire


A Family house with beautiful grounds • 3 substantial reception rooms • 6 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms • 1 bedroom single storey annexe • Beautiful grounds

• Garage, parking • In all about 0.81 acres • EPC ratings: house F, annexe E

Guide price £750,000


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Guide price £725,000

Guide price £425,000

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Guide price £445,000

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Guide price £645,000

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TRAVEL Rediscover The Canary Islands

Travel Africa, Cheshire’s Boutique Gems and Stay Fabulous Darling!

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TRAVEL AFRICA With such a diverse land at your feet, where will your African adventure take you?



Africa is the second largest continent in the world, it’s where you’ll find the world’s longest river – the Nile, which runs for a staggering 4,100 miles from Burundi to Egypt – and where Arabic and English are the most spoken languages followed by Swahili and French. So what’s keeping us from exploring this wondrous land? Fear of the unknown, a media portrayal of conflict and unrest, or a lack of knowledge about the safe experiences that are actually out there for us, perhaps. We’ve all seen Gorillas in the Mist and wondered what it would be like to see these creatures for ourselves, and how many of us have tuned in to David Attenborough on the television? He has spent most of his life bringing home the astonishing African environment for us to marvel at from the comfort of our sofas. At nearly 19 million square miles, Africa is a totally diverse mixture of cultures and ethnicities – there are 54 countries - and it’s this undiscovered beauty that draws us to the travel possibilities. From desert safari, to jungle trekking, from paradise beaches to cultural cities, nightlife, arts and food – Africa is a diverse land with an experience to suit any traveller, explorer and holiday maker. So just how adventurous are you feeling?

Thanda Island

Private Island Paradise

Amphibious adventure in Gabon Gabon is split down the middle by the equator and is made up of dense jungle, rivers and spectacular waterfalls. The amphibious adventure takes you through Gabon’s 3,000km Invindo National Park where you’ll follow the route of the Djidji and Kongou rivers, seeking out some of Africa’s highest and most impressive waterfalls, navigating rapids by packraft and the dense jungle by guide. The park is a natural crossroads of unique ecosystems and biodiversity and is at the heart of Gabon’s conservation efforts. As part of the trip, you’ll also visit and stay at the Institut de Recherche en Ecologie Tropical as well as meeting and travelling with members of The Foundation Internationale Gabon Eco-Tourisme to truly understand the complexity and importance of the environment surrounding you.

This remote and wild expedition might cost you over £3000 but you can expect to encounter some of Africa’s rainforest wildlife, including forest elephants, gorillas, birds and chimpanzees, while you tackle a challenge both on land and rivers working on both your own endurance and that of your team mates. The trip usually comprises of a team of 12 along with in-country guides and a team leader from the trip’s organisers. Find out more at

Opened last year, Thanda is an exclusive private island located in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Southern Tanzania. It’s a 100 per cent secluded destination that you access by helicopter and where you can snorkel the coral reef from your very own white sandy beach, pick oysters straight from the rock and enjoy them with tabasco and lemon juice while your feet are still in the soft white sand. Sound like the holiday for you? Of course, but it doesn’t come cheap, it’s estimated around $10,000 USD, about £7,700, per night for exclusive use of the island. It features just one spacious villa with five suites and two stylish ‘Bandas’ (Tanzanian style beach huts) accommodating a further eight guests, along with an impressive glass rim-flow swimming pool, a boat house full of every water sport imaginable and a tennis court. Off-grid, solar-powered, environmentally sensitive, thoroughly relaxing, and lots of fun, the island is a complete paradise. Activities include swimming with whale sharks, watching turtles hatch and sightseeing excursions to nearby islands. And if this isn’t enough to satisfy the use of your very own island – you can also bathe in a copper roll top bath, outdoors, with the ocean lapping at the shore beside you. Well, why not? Find out more at

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Climb Morocco’s highest mountain Ready for some wildlife spotting? Africa is home to the tallest land animal in the world - the giraffe, and the largest living land animal - the African elephant.

For a quick trip to Africa, why not scale one of northern Africa’s highest mountains, Mount Toubkal, the highest peak in the Atlas Mountains, and explore the bustling city of Marrakech once you are done. Organisers take you on an adventure to summit the 4,167-metre Moroccan mountain in just a weekend, and you’ll have time to explore the vibrant souks and plazas of Marrakech too. You’ll spend a night in a mountain refuge and climb the famous Mt. Toubkal in time to catch the sunrise from the summit. While in Marrakech, you’ll have two nights of accommodation with breakfast in a Marrakech Riad, and get tips on where to experience the cultural city at its best – from the food to the markets. So if you’re fit, and a regular on the hiking scene, although organisers do say no previous mountain climbing experience is required, this mini adventure will be just perfect for you. Prices start from £269 per person, excluding flights, for four days, three nights.

Gorilla spotting in Uganda and Rwanda Fancy channelling your inner Dian Fossey? Tracking for rare mountain gorillas can only be safely undertaken in Rwanda and Uganda and here you can also stay in luxury lodges to make your stay even more epic. Carefully located for optimum sightseeing results, you can embark on a number of unique excursions from tracking the endangered mountain gorillas of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest to summiting volcanoes, or simply sharing the heritage of the indigenous Batwa tribe. Stay in the thick of the Bwindi Forest, or choose to stay below the Rwenzori Mountains on the Savannah Plains at the edge of the Queen Elizabeth National Park, or at the foothills of the Virunga Volcanoes – all situated in Uganda. Or stay in the hilltop lodge overlooking the Virunga Volcanoes and shimmering Ruhondo and Bulera lakes in Rwanda. Each lodge has its own breathtaking views and mystical setting. Tour packages start from £3,890 per person. Find out more at

Find out more at

Experience animal migration in Zambia How about exploring the Liuwa Plains and Kasanka in Zambia with an expert guide? Robin Pope began work in 1975 developing his bush knowledge and guiding skills, and you can join him on a trip to witness two of the natural world’s greatest migrations. First, on the remote Liuwa Plains, marvel at the arrival of thousands of blue wildebeest and zebra, while staying in the luxurious surrounds of the new King Lewanika Camp. Then travel to Kasanka National Park for the gathering of 10 million fruit bats, a spectacle that creates the highest density of mammals on the planet. Aside from the spectacular migrations, guests will also see a variety of birdlife including the rare Pel’s fishing owl, wattled crane and Ross’s turaco. Prices start from £9,995pp sharing, including nine nights of accommodation, most meals, international and domestic flights, transfers, and the services of Robin Pope. Find out more at



The Gambia experience Just six hours from the UK, The Gambia is an upcoming destination that offers beaches and city life with wildlife, culture, and food also a massive part of its destination appeal.

Africa has over 25% of the world’s bird species. From the African penguin to the Long Tailed Widowbird.

English is largely spoken in The Gambia and it has the same time zone as the UK making it a very easy introduction to Africa and perfect for those looking to get to grips with African culture while still enjoying a sunshine beach holiday.

Cruising the Indian Ocean If you want a more exotic Christmas this year, there is always a 14-night cruise of the idyllic Indian Ocean islands. The trip starts in the luxurious Mauritius city of Port Louis, which has its own paradise setting with rich cultural diversity and fantastic cuisine, before you set sail for the breathtaking Seychelles, where Aldabra Giant Land Tortoises, one of the largest tortoise species in the world, inhabit, and you can discover the uninhabited island of Moyenne by catamaran. You’ll also enjoy a scenic sunset cruise by Silhouette Island before arriving at Zanzibar. Zanzibar is known for its fascinating African history, with many historical attractions including slave chambers, the old fort and the House of Wonders. But it also has its fair share of white sandy beaches, scuba diving hot spots and protected barrier reefs, and plenty of chance to spot tropical fish and dolphins. There’s also chance to escape to Renunion Island’s sweeping volcanic landscapes, dense forests and beautiful waterfalls.

Away from the beaches and hotels, there is plenty to explore and being a small country, nothing is too far away. Birdwatching is a particularly important part of The Gambian heritage with over 560 bird species making it a world class birding destination, with special tours by naturalist and broadcaster Chris Packham on offer at selected times of the year. Learn to cook Gambian cuisine, enjoy a river cruise, or bask in the variety of culture and wildlife at places like the Makasutu Forest and the Chimp Rehabilitation Project Camp, among other attractions. Several trip itineraries are on offer and start from £735 per person, including flights and transfers. Find out more at

Journey the Kenyan highlands Experience a 10-day journey through the Kenyan highlands, across the equator and along the Great Rift Valley, in search of The Big Five at four unique game reserves. Look out for zebras, giraffes, lions and crocodiles on a drive through the Samburu Reserve, spot rare forest animals at the unique highland reserve of Aberdare National Park, explore the first national park to be declared an important bird area at Lake Nakuru, and enjoy three game drives at Africa’s oldest and largest nature reserve, the Masai Mara. Prices start from £1,904 per person, including VIP private home pick-up service, flights, transfers, services of a driver/guide, accommodation, selected meals and all airport taxes. Find out more at

Prices start from £1,299 per person for the cruise only. Find out more at

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BOUTIQUE GEMS If you were to define boutique, it's something of a speciality - something that has an air of unusual character and unique charm. You can jump in the car and travel for a couple of hours and come across some enchantingly charming and charismatic places to stay (you’ll enjoy our boutique hotels feature on page 100) but head to neighbouring Cheshire and there are just as exciting escapes to experience.


rade II listed country pub and hotel, The Vicarage, located in Cranage, Cheshire, has launched six luxury signature rooms this year, following its initial opening in 2015 after a hefty refurbishment by the young but dynamic Heywood brothers. They own the Cheshire based hotel group, Flat Cap Hotels.

Special touches include a jar of complimentary homemade cookies, a Nespresso machine, and a 3D compatible 42-inch TV. I wasn’t privy to other rooms but I’m told they all have been individually designed. The bathroom is almost as big as the bedroom, it features a freestanding roll top bath and large walk in shower. Great for couples looking for a romantic break.

There are a further 20 en-suite bedrooms on the site but you wouldn’t know. They are cleverly hidden behind the main building leaving you to enjoy the rustic atmosphere of a traditional olden-style country pub.

The Vicarage sees itself as a food-led destination and with a 150-cover restaurant, bar, library and games room, it’s got local foodie’s excited and with good reason. Steve Tuke heads up the kitchen (ex-Oddfellows in Chester) and offers a seasonal menu that is hearty and country-style with a decent and varied wine list to match. Evening dishes include Shropshire Blue Salas, Salt & Pepper Squid, Lamb Rump, Linguini, Steak & Chips and the signature Vicarage Burger. The food is tasty, the service is good and a bustling atmosphere all contribute to making it a great place for a Cheshire night out. For Staffordshire couples looking for a bit of understated luxury and interesting charm, this would be a great stop for a couple of nights, it’s easy to get to and perfect for a Cheshire mini-moon to get you started with married life.

As soon as you pull in the entrance of The Vicarage, you’re impressed. And not just because you can finally exit the busy Knutsford Road part of the A50, which incidentally gives it an excellent positioning for Staffordshire as well as the North West if you are a business traveller who’d prefer a bit more grace to their working week. On entering the pub, you walk into the most historic part of the building, there are joyful drinkers dotted around the many areas of the interior and you can see that the otherwise quiet Holmes Chapel society are pleased to have somewhere quirky to congregate. There is a grand fireplace area at the foot of an original feature staircase, there are punters playing pool in the library room, and plenty of nooks and crannies to escape into if you’d rather a quiet drink. The signature rooms are accessed from here via a creaky staircase up to the first floor. We stayed in suite number 24, the room reserved for newly-weds and bridal parties. It’s a fusion of styles but it seems to work. A boudoir style king-sized bed is wonderfully comfortable, the original wooden beams and heavy embroidered curtains remind you of the setting, while the vintage touches add another element of design to the room, including pieces of antique furniture selected by the Heywood family.

Prices start from £140 per room per night with a full English breakfast the following morning. The hotel is also dog-friendly, with a £10 surcharge per dog per night. To book at The Vicarage call 01477 533393 or visit for more information.

All Rise! Recently added to the Flat Cap boys’ portfolio is The Courthouse in Knutsford, Cheshire. A refurbishment of the former Knutsford Crown Court which is one of the town’s most iconic buildings dating back to 1818. The Heywood brothers have been limited in what they can do with the Grade II listed Sessions building but keeping original features and architecture has made this property a promising and atmospheric destination. It’s not there yet, they only opened in June, and Dominic Heywood insists they must get it right. He doesn’t want to go big on a grand opening until they are ready to and it’s wise. So many big projects like this lose the impact they hope for by going at it too early. But the Barristers Restaurant & Bar is slowly gaining traction on Cheshire’s social scene. The courthouse setting is a great talking point, the bar sits in the centre and is where the accused would stand (complete with steps leading down to the cells which are expected to open as private dining rooms) and you dine around the edge of the room in the areas that would have been the judge’s bench, the public viewing gallery or the jury box. Everything from the décor to the seating arrangements has been carefully planned to show off the setting while adding a contemporary and vibrant touch to the décor - Flat Cap Hotels even commissioned local artist James Blankhorn to design eight pieces of artwork for the restaurant, the finished portraits of famous past convicts include Marilyn Monroe, Steve McQueen, Sirius Black and Elvis Presley. The lunch menu, also curated by Steve Tuke, is simple but delicious offering lighter bights, ciabattas, salads, ‘Titbits’ and a selection of main dishes but the main draw here is the grandeur of the property. It will be a popular spot for historians, young socialites and for quirky weddings. It’s even featuring as a venue on the Heritage Open Day schedule this 7th – 10th September. Flat Cap is lucky to have this one on the books! The Courthouse property includes 50 en-suite bedrooms, conference and banqueting facilities, Barristers Bar and Restaurant and RoofTop Gardens.

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STAY FABULOUS darling! Small, stylish and trendy – these boutique hotels are just the spot for a romantic getaway for two.

ld Five Go al prov p a r ta S e AA from Th



71 Festing Road, Southsea, Portsmouth Hampshire PO4 0NQ

Henley Road, Medmenham, Buckinghamshire SL7 2HE

Best for young and lively

Best for the gin lover

This funky hotel sits on the seafront end of Festing Road in the popular Southsea resort area of Portsmouth and has a guest lounge, funky cellarbar and the well-travelled experience of its owners – eight nationalities and four generations – bringing a different ambience to this stylish abode. G! Boutique has 14 bedrooms, each beginning with the letter G. From the luxury room, “Gloating you’re not here” to the “Grandoise”, superior double room and the modest en-suite double, “Graceful,” but all the rooms are uniquely decorated and original. There is a small restaurant catering for breakfast, room service and small snacks along with a bar. It’s a great spot for those looking for glamourous budget accommodation if you’re heading down for a lively weekend out and about in Southsea. Standard double rooms cost from £80 per night.

Nicknamed the boutique restaurant-with-rooms, The Dog & Badger is situated in the pretty Chilterns village of Medmenham and has six suites, each quirkily named after gin botanicals - Juniper, Angelica, Cassia, Hibiscus, Honeysuckle and Poppy. The rooms are set in the quintessentially English Gillman’s Cottage, a Grade-II listed former Ale House, in the grounds of The Dog & Badger, dating back to the 14th century and offering the perfect formula for the ultimate in laid back luxury. Blending the best of period features with a contemporary finish, guests can expect all the trappings of a luxury boutique hotel, from king-size beds with high thread count linen to individually controlled air conditioning, Nespresso coffee machines, mini Riva bars, private steam rooms, and bathrooms with underfloor heating and fluffy robes. Rooms cost from £195 per night including full English breakfast.

When you are there: Head to Gunwharf Quays for the bars, seek out the independent shopping outlets and visit the Southsea Castle.



28 Fore Street, Evershot, Dorset, DT2 OJW

The Butlands, Wells-next-the-sea, Norfolk, NR23 1E

Best for pet friendly

Best for beach combers

The Acorn Inn, located in the picturesque village of Evershot in the heart of Hardy’s Dorset, is a 16th century coaching inn that brings historical character and charm to a boutique stay. The pet-friendly and family-friendly hotel has ten en-suite guest rooms that have all been individually and traditionally designed in keeping with the period and each is named with a Thomas Hardy theme. The Acorn Inn is a lively part of the community having regular quiz nights, skittle leagues - there is an original skittle alley on site - and ale drinking challenges in the pub. A double room costs from £115 per night including a full English breakfast.

Just a stone’s throw from one of Britain’s best beaches, The Globe Inn is perfectly situated for a stylish seaside getaway. With just seven individually designed en-suite bedrooms, this 200-year-old inn is an intimate setting but big on character. Each room has a contemporary look with subtle seaside touches to bring your coastal retreat to life. Guests have exclusive access to one of the highly sought after beach huts on award-winning Wells beach – complete with deck chairs, picnic blankets and a locally sourced, freshly prepared picnic, if you want to make a day of it – and Wells’ only rooftop terrace to watch the sun set over the town with a refreshing drink in hand. A double room B&B costs from £110 per night.

When you are there: Explore the Abbotsbury Gardens, try clay pigeon shooting in the Dorset countryside and a take a local cookery workshop.


When you are there: Go for walks at Hambleden Valley, Chiltern Hills and have a picnic by the river at Marlow or Henley-on-Thames.

When you are there: Seal watching at Blakeney Point, sample the Norfolk seafood, and take the coastal walk from Wells-next-the-sea to Cley-next-the-sea.


Small, stylish and trendy – these boutique hotels are just the spot for a romantic getaway for two.



6 Bedford Street, Brighton, BN2 1AN

St Ives Road, Carbis Bay, St Ives, Cornwall, TR26 2SB

Best for a relaxed vibe

Best for foodies

Brighton is a bustling and unique seaside location and The White House is the perfect setting from which to enjoy all of its delights. Situated just 100 metres from the Brighton seafront and a short walk to the centre of the town, you’ll be just where you need to be. There are ten rooms in total, including two single rooms and a suite, with sea views from the south facing rooms, and all uniquely decorated in keeping with the relaxed coastal vibe. The White House also has a courtyard garden for guests to enjoy, especially at breakfast. Rooms start from £80 per night for a small double and £50 per night for a single including breakfast.

The Gannet Inn is a sister hotel to the Carbis Bay Hotel, Spa & Estate and is located just a short distance from the main hotel and Carbis Bay Beach. With 16 boutique bedrooms, many with soaring sea views, The Gannet offers a twist on the traditional Inn with quirky yet stylish interiors to echo the hotel’s location with teal blue furnishings and coastal details. Guests can enjoy a hearty British menu created by Rosette winning chefs at the hotel’s Hungry Gannet restaurant and relax in the bar whilst taking in views of the ocean. Rooms start from £160 per night including breakfast.

When you are there: Indulge in the alternative arts and culture by visiting one of the museums and galleries, stroll through Brighton Pier, and marvel at The Royal Pavilion.

When you are there: Go to the Barbara Hepworth museum, the Tate St Ives and experience The Flambards.



High Street, Ticehurst, East Sussex, TN5 7AS

The Wild Rabbit, Church Street, Kingham, Oxfordshire, OX7 6YA

Best for romantics

Best for tranquillity

The Bell describes itself as ‘the most charming pub with posh rooms in the south east’. It has seven rooms, three lodges, and a “Love Nest,” so it’s a great place for a romantic escape. The seven guest rooms offer a highly individual design, with features including silver birch branches, huge copper bath tubs, upside-down tiles and randomly placed light features. The Bell’s Head Chef, Oscar Fonesca, blends essentially English cuisine with vibrant global influences to create original dishes making the best of what the local countryside provides. The menu features ingredients that show respect for the seasons, for livestock, for local producers and of course for guests. Room rates start from £95 - £295 including breakfast.

Set in the charming and tranquil village of Kingham in the heart of the Cotswolds, The Wild Rabbit offers visitors a welcoming and relaxing traditional pub as well as 12 individually furnished bedrooms, the Beehive and two cottages. Executive chef, Tim Allen, uses his knowledge of homegrown produce to source from quality artisan producers, whether that is monkfish from Scotland, English Asparagus from The Wye Valley or garlic that is foraged from three miles down the road. In October 2016 The Wild Rabbit was awarded its first Michelin Star. Rooms are from £150 per night for a small double room for two people B&B. Dogs are £15 per dog per night.

When you are there: Go to the Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest, the Artichoke Gallery and Pashley Manor Gardens.

When you are there: Visit the Cotswold Wildlife Park & Gardens, visit the picturesque villages and sample the local delicacies.

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THE CANARY ISLANDS How about swapping your usual destination of Tenerife, Lanzarote and Gran Canaria for something a bit more unique? La Gomera is becoming 2017’s top spot for unspoilt holidays and here’s why.


La Gomera?

You may be a regular visitor to this Spanish archipelago, nestled beautifully off the coast of north-western Africa, but you probably have never heard of (or been to) La Gomera, one of the seven main islands on the Canaries. Ranked among the 'Top 50 Holidays in Spain', La Gomera is the place to visit if you want to reconnect with nature. A stark contrast from its neighbouring resort led destinations of Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote, it has only three and four star family-owned boutique properties, but with year round sun, unexplored sandy shores and authentic island villages, as well as palm-lined mountain ridges, lush rainforests and walking trails for miles, it’s offering an inspiring new destination for those looking for an off the beaten track experience. La Gomera is the second smallest of all of the Canary Islands and yet it concentrates the highest biodiversity in Europe. It’s even earned itself a UNESCO-protected World Heritage listing and has become known as one of the best places for whale watching and hiking in the whole of the Canary Islands. Why haven’t you heard of it? Because the island is small and they want to keep it that way: there are no international flights to La Gomera, so from the UK you would fly to Tenerife and then take a ferry or a short domestic flight (about 20 minutes) across. Here are some of the reasons why a trip to La Gomera could be next. 102

Soak Up the Sun & Surf

Spread Your Wings & Fly

For its petite size of just 146 sq. miles, La Gomera offers plenty of places to unwind, and nature lovers will find no shortage of secluded bays and quiet beaches off the coast. Kick things off with an easy swim by heading to the crescentshaped beach of Playa de Santiago, with calm waters and a protective jetty that doubles as a diving platform. Alternatively, you can enjoy a relaxing evening on the gently sloping, fine black sands of Playa de Alojera, where you’ll also find several restaurants offering a true taste of Canarian cuisine, such as traditional specialties of fresh fish. In the west at the town of Valle Gran Rey, whose name means “Great King Valley”, you’ll find some of the most beautiful beaches on the island. It’s also a prime spot for surfing when the waves are good for it, so you’ll definitely want to drop by with your board in tow.

Not only a paradise for nature lovers, La Gomera is also a hub for flying enthusiasts. In fact, it isn’t unusual to see the sky in Agulo and Hermigua painted with colourful paragliders floating between the mountains and the coast. There, you can take off from a height of 450 metres above sea level, take in the incredible bird’s eye views, bask in the unbeatable weather and ride thermal currents that will keep you airborne for hours. From the view point of Abrante, you can even connect Agulo and Hermigua in a single flight.

March to the Beat of Your Own Two Feet La Gomera has one of the most spectacular landscapes on the planet, so you’ll definitely want to bring your hiking gear if you want to fully explore the island’s wonders. For starters, Garajonay National Park offers varied trails through romantic forests and deep ravines. A real treat lies in the heart of the park at El Cedro forest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to El Chorro—the tallest waterfall on the island. In the capital of San Sebastian, history lovers can retrace the footsteps of Christopher Columbus, who stopped there on his journey to discovering the Americas. On La Gomera’s northern coast, winding streets lead the way though the pastelcoloured colonial buildings of Agulo. Meanwhile in the southwest, Valle Gran Rey serves as a great starting base for hikes through diverse natural terrains. For less experienced hikers and those new to La Gomera, you can always count on guided tours through La Gomera’s most scenic routes for picture perfect views and informative lessons about local plant and animal life.

Getting There Thomson offers La Gomera holiday packages starting at just £320pp for three nights, including return flights to select UK airports. See the latest deals at For more information on La Gomera, please visit



ACHIEVE Future Proof

School Directory, The Best Children’s Books Of 2017, Reaching New Heights, State Boarding: The Facts, Sweet 16 Success and Homework For Parents

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FUTURE PROOF High school and sixth form college are over and they’re setting off on their own – don’t panic! Here’s how to prepare your young adults for their next big academic adventure at university.


t may seem like only yesterday that you held your little bundle of joy in your arms as a baby or cared for their grazed knee as a toddler but now the day has come when they are packing up and moving out – and heading to university.

You may well have been to university yourself and know exactly what student life is like, and even if you didn’t you’ll certainly have an idea, so preparing your young adult for the exciting but turbulent times ahead is essential.

responsibility. Let them guide the talk though, they are in for enough lectures when they start studying! You want them to open up about their fears and concerns and to raise any questions they may want answered so you can advise them accordingly.

must be lying in a ditch, right? Wrong. They are just getting to grips with independent living. Ask them to touch base with you regularly with a quick text or phone call so you don’t worry too much but try and let them live their life as you wanted to live yours when you were that age.

For your child, it is likely to be the first time they have had so much independence away from the security of the family unit, which can sometimes lead to reckless behaviour. For you as a parent or carer, your role is to help instil a certain level of responsibility and make sure they understand what lies ahead as well as encouraging them to make memories and enjoy it – it’s a bit of a fine line!

Try and talk about your own experiences at university or when you first lived away from home; how you settled in or the mistakes you made, but remember to keep it an open and honest discussion. They will inevitably make their own mistakes along the way.

Money, money, money: Students these days don’t get a lot of slack on the financial front. And most parents will not have the money to handout either no matter how comfortably we want them to live over the next three or four years. Part of being independent is learning to manage their money and surviving on what they have in the form of student loans and savings. Encourage them to get a part-time job to help with living costs and work out a budget with them so they can clearly understand what money they have to live off. It’s likely they have dipped into ‘the bank of mum and dad’ for most of their lives so far so it can come as a big shock to have to budget and be money wise!

So how exactly can you prepare for the unexpected?

Before they go Firstly, don’t worry too much about preparing them all in one go. You have an entire summer to do it, thankfully. One of the most important pieces of preparation you can do is visiting the university and the area once or twice over the summer. It will not only give you a sense of where they will be living but it’ll help them to get their bearings before they arrive at the start of term. Spend a day touring the local area, have a look at the student accommodation, and walk around the building where they will be studying. You will most likely be able to speak to some of their lecturers and tutors during open days too, as well as existing students, which will help to familiarise both of you with the new surroundings. It may sound a bit old fashioned but having a sit down and a chat with your child about university life will be very beneficial. Here you can discuss about safety, friendships, studying, money and 104

Friendships: It may have been a long time since your child had to make friends but just reassure them that it might be a little awkward and difficult at first but that lasting relationships will come in time. Some of the best friends made at university didn’t always start in halls of residence; they could be classmates or people they meet in extra circular activities so tell them not to worry if they don’t gel with their house mates at first. Safety: Nothing is more important than their safety and while they are away from your care you will no doubt worry endlessly about this. However, your child is a young adult now and they are aware of the dangers that can face them. Educate them on being aware of their surroundings, of drinking excessively, or experimenting with drugs, and reassure them you are always just a phone call away if they get into trouble they can’t handle it themselves. You’re on your own: While jumping in the car and hurtling it down the motorway may seem like a good idea after you haven’t heard from them for a couple of days – well, they

Have a balanced approach: Being ‘let loose’ in a new city with new friends, love interests and social commitments can be very exciting but try and remind them that they also have to study hard to get where they want to be after university. Each year will make a difference to their final grade so while having fun and enjoying their youth is definitely allowed, they also need to knuckle down and get the work done too! The bare essentials: Call it a coping mechanism but going overboard on the packing front is a common mistake parents will make when getting their child ready for university! Research what is and isn’t included in the room and then go from there. There are some essentials they’ll need to take with them but it’s best to travel light – rooms in halls are generally not that spacious!


On the day

As a guide

This is going to be a very emotional day on both sides! You may feel like bursting into tears each time you see your now grown-up child but try and hold it together. They may be a little touchy on the day and in the days leading up to the day but this is normal and you can put it down to nerves. Give yourself enough time to arrive early so you can help to settle them in to their new ‘digs’ if they want you to. They may well want to sort out their room after you have gone so don’t feel hurt if they decide to do this. It’s just their way of getting used to being independent and dealing with the situation.

here are some of the items they’ll need: • Duvet, pillows and bedding set • Bath towel & Hand towel • Homely accessories • Alarm clock • Dressing gown • Clothes for all occasions • Toiletries • Toilet rolls • Hangers

Sainsbury’s Home

• Sauce pans, utensils, and a set of cutlery

Try not to get too emotional but let them know how much you will miss them and that no matter the problem you are there when they need you, any time of the day or night. While they are away, try not to bombard them with phone calls and emails asking how it is going! Let them come to you. Remember, they are young adults and ready to live their life so it’s time to let them go, a little bit!

• A cup, beaker, dinner plate, side plate and bowl • Washing up liquid • Recipe book with cheap nutritious meals (well, you can dream!) • Washing powder and fabric softener • Laundry basket • Clothes horse • TV • Entertainment (books, films and games)

Are you prepared?

• Stationery • Uni bag

Once you have said goodbye, come down from all the packing and preparation, and arrived back home, you may start to feel the effects of empty nest syndrome. You have spent so much of your life devoted to your kids that you can start to feel a little lost at what to do next.

• Don’t forget a few cute little surprises!


Shop together... ...and guide their choices but let your child decide on the style they want to go for. Don’t splash out on expensive items though, they probably won’t look after them as well as they deserve!

TK Maxx

George Home at Asda

9 9.9

Cushion £19 M&Co

Feel proud of the fact you have raised an individual who is happy to stand on their own two feet and relish in your new found free-time! Now you really have the chance to dedicate some time to yourself – take up a new interest or hobby, join a gym or travel. Look into getting a part-time job or any volunteer projects you could get involved with in your area too to keep yourself busy. You can always talk to your GP if you are finding it particularly difficult as they will be able to put you in touch with support groups to connect with other parents.


12 P


Towels from £2 George Home at Asda

Bookmark these websites for you and your child!



er Set £30 Nex inn t for all things student related for information on student loans and financial support for budgeting and money-saving advice

£28 Cath Kidston for everything you need to know about student accommodation to find part-time work £4.99 New Look Mirror £30 HomeSense for tried and tested recipes for students by students! w w w. s ta ffo rdsh i re l i vi n g.c o .u k


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Abbotsholme School The new Headmaster of Abbotsholme School, Matthew Boud-Self tells us about his vision for the future of this wonderful boarding school in a rural setting on the Staffordshire/Derbyshire border: I fully support the School’s aims to provide: knowledge to help everyone achieve and succeed to the best of their individual academic ability; an understanding of the environment; challenges which build strength and test courage; as well as providing stimulating and enjoyable experience and cultural enrichment to widen perspective and awareness of our responsibility to others. We are a small school where pupils are known as individuals. Knowing our pupils means that we can provide each one with just the right balance of challenge and support to enable maximum achievement. Whatever the starting point our pupils should experience a string of personal bests during their time at Abbotsholme, ultimately becoming the best version of themselves as they take their place in the wider world. Pupils will be given regular leadership opportunities as they progress through the School; a growing sense of responsibility to their community and the wider world is the making of the Abbotsholmian. Our pastoral care will be the best it can possibly be, with pupil’s wellbeing at the heart of all we do. Character development is essential to the Abbotsholme education; a great education is more about empowering young people and liberating them, helping them to make wise choices about what they should do in any given situation. We aim to develop character alongside intellectual attainment. The School’s values of honesty, humility, integrity, respect, courage are our guiding principles and as a community we must all hold ourselves to account according to these. As I addressed the pupils on Friday in Chapel I reminded them that an important additional value was that of gratitude, being thankful for what we have makes all other choices simple. The range of sporting and extra-curricular opportunities that pupils have access to allows Abbotsholmians to further develop as individuals and I am committed to the holistic education that Abbotsholme offers, the importance of the Arts, Technology, Farm, Equestrian Centre, Outdoor Education and sporting pursuits in providing an all-round education beyond the classroom. Abbotsholme’s dedicated staff will continue to strive for the highest standards for all pupils in their care and I have been greatly impressed by the passion teachers have for their subjects, the willingness of all staff to go the extra mile and the additional support staff offer to the whole school. Teachers and support staff all have the pupils’ best interests at heart; this is a very special community full of people who truly care. I am totally committed to the future success of Abbotsholme School and I hope to enhance the many great aspects that make Abbotsholme a unique, nurturing and empowering environment for so many pupils to thrive in. Matthew Boud-Self Headmaster

Abbotsholme School. Rocester, Uttoxeter, Staffordshire ST14 5BS 01889 228487

Open Mornings REGI

Founded 1553


Prep School: Saturday 30th September Senior School (13+): Saturday 14th October Please contact Admissions for details 01527 579679

ISI Inspection 2016 - Excellent in every category Outstanding results at IB and A level Academic excellence coupled with a wealth of sporting and extra-curricular opportunities Co-educational, Day & Boarding

930 pupils aged 13-18 500 pupils aged 7 - 13


difference the

Open Morning - Saturday 7 October 10:00 - 13:00 Junior Open Morning - Tuesday 10 October 09:30 - 11:00 Sixth Form Open Evening - Monday 16 October 18:00 Academic excellence Outstanding, supportive pastoral care Rich, diverse co-curricular programme Transport from Congleton, Leek, Nantwich, Swynnerton, Stone, Market Drayton, Uttoxeter, Alsager, Stafford, Eccleshall

Nursery ST5 1DB

Junior School

Senior School

01782 631197

Sixth Form


Ensuring your children have the appropriate skill set for the future.

Bromsgrove School

Newcastle-under-Lyme School

Bromsgrove School’s results are impressive, but Bromsgrove is much more than a place to get good grades, it prides itself on being a happy school where children of all ages can thrive both academically and outside of the classroom. The 2016 ISI inspection of the School found it to be excellent in every category.

An HMC Day School for pupils aged 3 to 18. Set in 30 acres of grounds, the School has been serving children from the local area for generations. The School helps pupils to achieve the very best examination results whilst at the same time developing within them the qualities and characteristics needed in a rapidly changing world. Enquire for additional Open events for Sixth Form and Junior School.

01527 597679 |

01782 631197 |

Malvern College

Packwood Haugh School

Set in a beautiful 250-acre country campus on the eastern slopes of the Malvern Hills, Malvern College provides an outstanding all-round boarding and day education for boys and girls aged 13 to 18. There is a choice between the International Baccalaureate and A levels in the Sixth Form, with approximately 50% of pupils choosing each course of study. Malvern has a comprehensive co-curricular timetable and actively encourages the development of the all-rounder.

Packwood Haugh is a co-educational day and boarding prep school for 4-13 year olds, offering the perfect combination of traditional values and a modern education. It is ‘a top-tier prep school’ (Good Schools Guide 2016), with a reputation for excellence in all areas – academic, sporting and the arts – and for preparing pupils for the future by developing character, grit and resilience.

01684 581500 |

01939 260217 |

Denstone College Prep School Denstone College Prep School is an independent day school which caters for children from the ages of 2 to 11. With over 50 acres of stunning woodland, this is a magical setting in which to inspire and learn. We pride ourselves on using modern methods with traditional values, resulting in a rounded education, enabling each child to fulfil their potential. Visitors are always welcome. 01889 562083 |

Wrekin College Wrekin is a flourishing co-educational day and boarding school. It is an unusually happy place to work and study. Opportunities abound in music, art, sport, drama and DofE, as well as many other activities. Our focus is on academic achievement, producing rounded individuals; with a wealth of skills to enable them confidently enter the world of further education and employment. 01952 265603 |

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Do you have a spare room in your home? Are you caring, nurturing and supportive?

Become a Host Family for an international pupil at a local boarding school

Opening doors to affordable boarding

Attractive daily rates Occasional weekend and half terms only Contact Imogen to find out more on or call 01684 252757

Boarding Taster Weekends available

Home from Home

• A selective state grammar school with boarding for £3,800 per term • A stunning home with acres of grounds to explore

Every year, thousands of school age overseas students are educated at independent schools across the UK. When their school closes for half term holidays and exeat weekends, they need a great host family who will provide a home away from home. Pippa’s Guardians has been providing high quality Guardianship services to international students for over 18 years and understand the value of a good home and how a host family can positively impact on a student’s wellbeing.

• Excellent academic results – 80% A*-B at A-level last year

The families we look for are welcoming and interested in other cultures. Having children of similar ages helps (most students are between 14 and 19 years) but isn’t the most important thing as we have many successful host families who have younger children or children away at University or some that are retired with grown-up children. Internet access is very important and each student will need their own bedroom with a desk or somewhere quiet for homework. Being part of a family and experiencing day-to-day family life enhances students’ study and plays a part in improving their English language.

• Rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted in all four categories

As well as receiving a generous payment, there are many other advantages in being a host family. It is a great opportunity to introduce your family to other cultures and languages. Sharing your traditions and family life with an overseas student and knowing that you are helping them during their time in the UK is very gratifying. Long-term friendships often develop and many host families keep in touch with the students and their families once they are back home. We are very keen to find families locally so please do get in touch on if you would like further information on becoming a Host Family with Pippa’s Guardians.

• Extensive choice of sports and extra-curricular activities

• Boarding places available for Years 7 -9 and Sixth Form entry • New purpose-designed senior boarding house opening September 2017

Adams’ Grammar School @Adams_Grammar


Tel: 01952 953810 Email:

Learn more about boarding at:

Founded 1656



CHILDREN’S BOOKS OF 2017 The CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017 is a British literacy award that recognises talent in books for children or young adults. Here’s who made the shortlist in the 2017 awards.

Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth

The Bone Sparrow

by Frank Cottrell-Boyce M A C M I L L A N ( A G E 8 +)

The Blythes live on a small farm and sometimes foster children. Now Prez has come to live with them. But, though he seems cheerful and helpful, he never says a word. Then one day Prez answers the door to a small, loud stranger carrying a backpack who goes by the name of Sputnik. The family pat Sputnik on the head, call him a good boy and it seems they all think Sputnik is a dog. It turns out that Sputnik is writing a guidebook to Earth called Ten Things Worth Doing on Earth, and he takes Prez on a journey to find them.

by Zana Fraillon

The Smell of Other People’s Houses

The Stars at Oktober Bend


by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

by Glenda Millard


O L D B A R N B O O K S ( A G E 1 2 +)

( A G E 1 1 +)

Born in a refugee camp, all Subhi knows of the world is that he’s at least 19 fence diamonds high, the nice Jackets never stay long, and at night he dreams that the sea finds its way to his tent, bringing with it unusual treasures. And one day it brings him Jimmie. Carrying a notebook that she’s unable to read and wearing a sparrow made out of bone around her neck Jimmie strikes up an unlikely friendship with Subhi beyond the fence. As he reads aloud the tale of how Jimmie’s family came to be, both children discover the importance of their own stories in writing their futures.

( A G E 1 3 +)

A tapestry of four rites of passage stories told across four different seasons against the backdrop of Alaskan life and landscapes. Ruth, Dora, Alyce and Hank each have their own concerns and anxieties to contend with in their home lives. As their stories and characters develop, they begin to discover parallels and interconnections in the stories and secrets they hold.

Wi n

Alice is fifteen, with hair as red as fire and skin as pale as bone, but something inside her is broken. She has a brain injury, the result of an assault. Manny was once a child soldier. He is sixteen and has lost all his family. When Manny first sees Alice, she is sitting on the rusty roof of her river house, looking like a carving on an old-fashioned ship, sailing through the stars. He has a poem in his pocket and he knows the words by heart. And he is sure that girl has written them. When Manny and Alice meet they find the beginnings of love and healing.


Wolf Hollow


Salt to the Sea


by Lauren Wolk

by Philip Reeve

by Ruta Sepetys

by Mal Peet with Meg Rosoff



P U F F I N ( A G E 1 3 +)

W A L K E R B O O K S ( A G E 1 6 +)

It’s early 1945 and a group of people trek across Germany, bound together by their desperation to reach the ship that can take them away from the war-ravaged land. Four young people, each haunted by their own dark secret, narrate their unforgettable stories. This inspirational novel is based on a true story from the Second World War. When the German ship the Wilhelm Gustloff was sunk in port in early 1945 it had over 9000 civilian refugees, including children, on board. Nearly all were drowned. Sepetys brilliantly imagines their story.

Alternating between brutality and passion, Beck is an utterly compelling historical bildungsroman that tells a story of survival, hardship romance and a fight against inequality. Betrayed by those that should have nurtured him, Beck begins a life of servitude. Finding eventual escape, he journeys for freedom and a place where he can belong, encountering trials and prejudice along the way.

( A G E 1 0 +)

( A G E 1 2 +)

Set in Western Pennsylvania in 1943, in a quiet community where everyone knows, or thinks they do, everyone else. Annabelle’s life is turned inside out when cruel and manipulative Betty arrives to live with her grandparents. Betty has a formidable array of means for creating unpleasantness. But, then she suddenly disappears and the suspicion for that disappearance falls on Toby, a quiet, odd character who lives on the edge of Wolf Hollow.

The Great Network is a strange and wonderful world, crisscrossed by sentient trains, travelling across galaxies. It is also a place with great danger - especially for the leading character Zen - a petty thief who steals more than he expects one day, setting him on a dangerous and thrilling journey. But is it Zen or what he has stolen that is also a key to the whole basis of the Great Network, why is he being chased by so many very important people from the authorities and who will be his ally along the way?

Find out more about the awards at w w w. sta ffo rdsh i re l i vi n g.c o .u k


Open Day

Saturday 30th September

“Atop-tierprep school”

Good Schools Guide 2016

Packwood Haugh School

Ruyton XI Towns, Shrewsbury SY4 1HX Telephone 01939 260217

Join us for our

OPEN WEEK Monday 18th - Friday 22nd September, 10am - 12 noon and also our


Saturday 23rd September, 10am - 12 noon Open Week We would like to invite you to join us on any morning between Monday 18th September to Friday 22nd September to see how the school functions on a normal school day. Activities Morning On Saturday 23rd September we’re arranging an action-packed Activities Morning. There are activities for children of all ages and school tours for prospective parents – and of course refreshments throughout the morning. Denstone College Prep School is an independent, co-educational prep school in Staffordshire which, together with our pre-school, caters for day children between the ages of 2 and 11.

Please contact us on 01889 562 083 or email for further details and to reserve an activity place for your child on the Saturday.

‘Excellent’ Rating by Independent Schools Inspectorate for Pupils’ Personal Development


Ensuring your children have the appropriate skill set for the future.

Stafford Grammar School Lichfield Cathedral School Stafford Grammar School and Stafford Preparatory School offer an exceptional education with an outstanding level of pastoral care, providing the encouragement and support necessary to enable every individual to fulfil his or her potential. We believe that everyone can be successful and our ethos of traditional values aims to teach our pupils the value of hard work and discipline within a happy and caring environment.

Lichfield Cathedral School is one of the most highly regarded independent schools in Staffordshire, with a reputation for delivering an exceptional educational experience. We foster a strong work ethic that encourages independence, confidence and leadership. Small class sizes, excellent facilities and outstanding teaching ensure that our pupils reach their full academic potential. Highly recommended by the Good Schools Guide.

01785 249752 |

01543 306170 |

The JCB Academy

Moreton Hall

The JCB Academy is an innovative school for ages 14-18 with an interest in business and/or engineering. The curriculum and learning are unique, allowing students to combine theory with practical activities; putting learning into practice in a purpose-built building with state of the art facilities. The JCB Academy is sponsored by JCB and supported by Rolls Royce and Toyota.

Moreton Hall was established in 1913 and is now proud to be one of the UK’s highest achieving independent schools. Moreton is seen as a forward-looking school where we value academic success and extra-curricular achievement equally. Not surprisingly, the Good School’s Guide reported that ‘Every girl in England should spend at least a term at Moreton’.

01889 506100 | www

01691 773671 |

Chase Grammar School Chase Grammar School is an independent, co-educational, boarding and day school for children aged 2 – 19; providing quality education and delivering excellent results. At the heart of the education we provide a love of learning, which is supported by a healthy body and healthy mind. When students have completed their education with us they will be happy and confident individuals, able to make a difference to society. 01543 501800 |

Derby Grammar School Derby Grammar School is Derbyshire’s leading independent day school for boys aged 7 to 18 and girls aged 16 to 18. At our core are three things: excellent teaching, incredible opportunities, a supportive, friendly atmosphere. These are the things that make us special, and the reasons our pupils come into school each day with a smile, eager to learn and expand their minds. 01332 523027 |

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“Both boys and girls make consistently good progress in lessons... because they receive supportive and well-informed teaching.” ISI Educational Quality Inspection February 2017

Bus routes from Tettenhall and surrounding areas WEEKLY AND FULL BOARDING AVAILABLE

Open Morning September 27th 2017 9am – noon 01952 265603

Sixth Form Open Evening September 28th 2017 6pm – 8:30pm

Wrekin College, Wellington, Shropshire TF1 3BH Registered Charity No. 528417

Senior School Information Evening

Tuesday 26 September 6.00pm - 7.00pm

Year 5 & 6 parents and children welcome

Open Morning

Friday 29 September 9.30am - 11.30am

Sixth Form

Tuesday 10 October 6.30pm - 8.30pm

Academic & Musical Excellence for ages 3 to 18

For more information call Admissions on 01543 306168 Green Gables, Longdon WS15 4PT | The Palace, The Close, Lichfield WS13 7LH

Academic, Art, Drama, Music and Sport Scholarships available


REACHING NEW HEIGHTS Could you change a child’s life as a Beanstalk reading helper?


othing can beat that childhood feeling of getting lost in a good book and finding yourself transported to a world where stories and dreams come to life. Sadly this is not something which every child in Staffordshire has the joy of experiencing. Last year, 42% of children in the Staffordshire area left primary school unable to read to the expected level – equivalent to over 10 children in every class. This can have severe consequences on their future life chances. According to official statistics, 70% of pupils permanently excluded from school have problems with basic literacy, and people with low-literacy skills are less likely to be in full-time employment. But there is a simple yet effective solution to fixing this problem, which you can become a part of. Beanstalk, the national children’s literacy charity, trains and supports volunteers to provide one-to-one support to children in a local primary school who struggle with their reading ability and confidence. Beanstalk volunteer reading helpers transform the reading skills children need to succeed in

their wider school work and in life. But they do so much more than giving the child the skills to succeed, they help create a special love of reading and give a child the self-confidence to dream big and reach for the stars. As Adrian, aged 13, who was supported by a Beanstalk reading helper when he was in primary school, says, ‘I never used to like reading. I never chose the hard books until my reading helper showed me how to read, and now I choose the tricky books. Not only was she someone who helped me to read but she was also a friend. I am now very passionate about reading because it affected my imagination in a good way and I am now one of the top students in my English class!’ The benefits of Beanstalk reading sessions are not limited to transforming the education and self-confidence of children like Adrian. Becoming a Beanstalk reading helper is also a great way of becoming an important part of your local community and staying active. As the headteacher of a Beanstalk partner school says, ‘the children see their reading helpers as an important part of the school community and they are invited to attend assemblies to celebrate and share the

achievements of the children they support’ – it’s no surprise therefore that 88% of Beanstalk reading helpers feel valued for their volunteering. Getting involved as a Beanstalk volunteer reading helper is straightforward and open to all who can spare some time during school hours. Each Beanstalk reading helper works with three children on a one-to-one basis, supporting each child for half an hour twice a week. Sessions are based around making reading fun, with books and conversation based on each child’s interest. Beanstalk is also there every step of the way for its volunteers: providing in-depth training prior to starting in a school and providing each reading helper with a dedicated Volunteer Coordinator who is able to provide any support which is needed. If you would like to help change a child’s life as a Beanstalk reading helper visit www. or call 0845 450 0307 to find out more or to apply!

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THINKING ABOUT THE NEXT STEP TO SENIOR SCHOOL OR SIXTH FORM? Chase Grammar is holding a number of open events to give you the opportunity to meet the Principal, view the school and chat to students. FOR STUDENTS LOOKING FOR YEAR 7 ENTRY


Thursday 21st September - 6pm - 8pm Tuesday 26th September - 10am - 3pm

Wednesday 20th September - 6pm - 8pm Friday 29th September - 10am - 3pm

View the school in action. Please call to book an appointment.

View the school in action. Please call to book an appointment.


01543 501800 • An independent, co-educational school for children aged 2-19 years

“Every girl in England should have at least a term in this environment” Good Schools Guide

Open Day - Saturday 30th September Independent Boarding and Day School - Girls 3-18, Boys 3-11 Moreton Hall, Weston Rhyn, Oswestry, Shropshire, SY11 3EW


01691 773671



Where will your aspirations take you? Students at The JCB Academy go on to do fantastic things. Take Lewis Clarke for example, he joined the academy in 2010 continuing his education in our sixth form. Lewis is now a Higher Apprentice at Bentley Motors working as an Exterior Body Engineer.



DA Y er 2


He helps to style the next generation of Bentley cars, working with the concepts department and also regularly travelling to Porsche in Germany.


“In two years I'd gone from an average student to achieve Student of the Year, because I worked hard and enjoyed the challenges involved.” Lewis Clarke.

To register and for further information please visit

OPEN MORNING SEPTEMBER 30, 9.30AM – 12 NOON Visit Derbyshire’s leading independent day school for boys aged 7 to 18 and girls aged 16 to 18 Book your place at

Ambitious and Achievable – Historic School Redevelopment Plans Are Realised! Work is well under way on a 3 million pound redevelopment project at thriving local independent school Tettenhall College. The historic independent school for 2-18 year olds, which has seen a recent unprecedented rise in pupil numbers is in the latter stages of completing the redevelopment work. Work is currently underway for a striking new sixth form centre, a modernised library, upgraded boarding houses and additional sporting facilities including new squash courts and multi-purpose sports pitches. The contemporary new sixth form centre at the heart of the School will provide the best of both worlds for pupils with a mezzanine ICT and study area and a brand new sixth form common room which is due to be completed by Autumn 2017. The School already boasts excellent sporting facilities including an on-site swimming pool and extensive sporting pitches. These will be further enhanced with the addition of two multi-purpose games areas, for tennis, netball and

football. Due to be unveiled in the autumn term, the School’s squash courts have already been completely refurbished thanks to a former pupil’s generous legacy. Graham Aston a keen squash player and former Head Boy, left a £400,000 legacy to the School to develop the sport at the School, the courts will be officially opened on September 29th at a special VIP reception. Headmaster David Williams said: “We are very pleased that work is well under way on these exciting redevelopments at Tettenhall College. We are already proud of our educational offering to pupils and the proposed upgrades will strengthen this further. “The work undertaken will blend the contemporary with the historic, which supports our drive to maintain traditional values while moving forward with the times.” As part of the works, renovation of The Towers, one of Wolverhampton’s few Grade II* listed buildings, will also be undertaken. The ‘Towers’ were added in 1866 by eccentric owner and inventor Colonel Thomas

Thorneycroft, these days it is houses the School’s theatre where the annual school musical rivals any West End production. With a strong reputation for Performing Arts, this year’s show “Seussical the Musical” was a sell out for all four performances. The audience were packed into the auditorium for the stunning spectacular which involved nearly every member of the Senior School be that behind the scenes or on stage! With the increasing popularity of this hidden gem in Tettenhall, the School’s Open Mornings on 23rd September for Senior School and 17th November for Preparatory School, provide prospective pupils and their parents a fantastic opportunity to take a closer look. Contact the admissions team on 01902 751119 or visit the website admissions for further information.

The Leading Boarding and Day School for Girls aged 4 - 18

Curiosity • Creativity • Challenge

Your story starts here... Autumn Open Morning 30th September 2017 Register now for a place in 2018 Generous scholarships and bursaries available To reserve your place please visit

Tel: 01684 584624


SENIOR SCHOOL OPEN MORNING S AT U R D AY 2 3 R D S E P T E M B E R 10AM - 12.30PM S E N I O R S C H O O L TA S T E R D AY F O R Y E A R S 5 & 6 S AT U R D AY 7 T H O C T O B E R 9AM - 3PM P R E PA R AT O RY S C H O O L O P E N M O R N I N G F R I D AY 1 7 T H N O V E M B E R 9AM -11.30 AM



Are you considering sending your child to a state boarding school? LIVING is taking a closer look at the benefits of this form of education.


hen it comes to education and academic opportunities, there is more than enough choice for us in and around Staffordshire. We have a number of top performing state schools but there are also a handful of independent schools offering children a unique and exciting approach to their school life. There is also another option rising in popularity – a state boarding school. With a state boarding school, the government pays for the education, like it would in any other state school, and you pay for the boarding, which equates to around £4,000 a term for full boarding. In comparison, independent schools, where you pay for the education as well as the boarding, can cost upward of £12,000 a year for fees with boarding costs on top of that. The only catch is that places at state boarding schools in the UK are limited. The HMRC says that priority is given to children who have a particular need to board and each child will be assessed for their suitability before agreeing to a place.

“The unique educational experience provided by a British boarding school affords modern families with a topquality education and a flexible solution to family life.” 120

The unique educational experience provided by a British boarding school affords modern families with a top-quality education and a flexible solution to family life. Increasingly, parents are seeing boarding as a very viable option for their children and a good way to boost their educational achievement. An independent survey carried out by Research Stories for the State Boarding Schools Association (SBSA), surveyed over 1,500 parents of boarders at state boarding schools in 2014, and it found that 93% of parents said their children were happy boarding and that 95% of parents said they would recommend their child’s school or boarding to others. Furthermore, over 80% of parents choose state boarding schools because of high academic quality and the chance for children to fulfil their potential and one in three parents said state boarding schools offer value and help children go to a good university or find a good job. Similarly, the Independent Schools Council (ISC) reported 522,879 pupils were studying at their ISC member schools in April 2017, of which 13.4% of these (70,281) were boarding pupils (Census and annual report 2017), and the majority of these board full time with around 8% of boarders staying on a 'flexi' basis. Interestingly, some boarding studies have shown that boarding is a much more popular course within a certain age group. The ISC in particular reported a drastic increase in the number of full boarders at sixth form with 91% of pupils in this year group staying on a full board basis compared to 48% of its junior boarding pupils.

What help is there for parents looking at state boarding as an option? The State Boarding Forum (sbf),, part of the Boarding Schools’ Association, is an online resource dedicated to helping parents find and choose a state boarding school for their child. It offers advice and tips for choosing an appropriate school for your child and lists all the available state boarding schools in the areas you are focused on. It says there are a number of reasons why we should choose one of its state boarding schools, including excellent educational opportunities, state-of-the-art boarding facilities, and a wide choice of schools across the UK. In addition, state boarding schools generally tend to rate ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted so let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits to this type of education route.

EDUCATION A word from Robin Fletcher, Chief Executive, BSA (Boarding School’s Association)

Benefits of state boarding... Better education All state boarding schools follow the national curriculum, which means your child will take all the same exams as a state day school but performance tables prove that state boarding schools achieve higher results overall.

Quality accommodation Generally, boarding schools (including state boarding schools) have state-ofthe-art facilities and quality boarding accommodation offering plenty of home comforts for pupils and the staff are trained to deal with boarding pupils appropriately.

Flexibility Most boarding schools will now offer a flexible approach to boarding needs. Meaning children can stay on a full, weekly or flexi basis depending on the needs of the child and the parents. This can help if parents have particular busy periods of work commitments or have to travel away a lot with their career.

Building confidence State boarding schools can help to develop your child’s confidence and independence as they stay away from home and learn to cope with situations on their own away from the nest.

Encouraging socialisation State boarders will form a close friendship with other boarders but they will also mix with local children at the school during the day giving them the perfect opportunity to work on their socialising skills as well as encouraging diversity and acceptance.

Promotes stability Having the option of state boarding helps to create a sense of stability and continuity if a child’s parent happen to be away or long hours or your job requires you to relocate frequently.

Character building State boarding schools, like independent schools are renowned for having an exceptional amount of extra-curricular activities such as sporting and dramatics activities which will take place during the evening and weekend.

Life skills The popularity of boarding among 16 years olds as they embark on sixth form education could be down to parents wanting to prepare their children for life at university. Boarding school offers children the chance to build on life skills they will need for future studies and further education.

“The unique educational experience provided by a British boarding school affords modern families with a top-quality education and a flexible solution to family life. Academic achievements are fundamental in this fast-changing, global working world, but the ‘extras’ are what really make a boarding school experience count. “The boarding culture fosters meaningful relationships with peers and house staff enabling pupils to gain independence and experience a breadth of opportunities. Each school will have their own specialism and cater for a wide variety of children but what all will have in common is their care for each individual child. “At the heart of every boarding school is the philosophy to ensure that each child is happy, thrives and succeeds, whatever their interests or talents. Whether on the sports field, the concert hall or in the classroom you can be certain that all boarding schools seek to help all pupils achieve their full potential. The structured environment and extended school days are designed to offer pupils a wealth of valuable life experience, in turn enabling them to gain independence and be well-prepared for life beyond school. “Parents may choose for their child to attend boarding school on a full, weekly or flexi-board basis, according to family schedule. Families also have the choice of independent or state boarding school. A state boarding school is one where you pay for boarding and the government pays for the education as it would at any other state school in England. Visits, support at concerts, pitch-side and events are encouraged, as is communication via Skype, email and FaceTime. “Boarding schools work hard to make the transition from home to school as smooth as possible. A sense of community and a busy life outside the classroom while facilitating contact with home helps a child to settle quickly and enjoy all that school life has to offer. Most pupils will report that ‘spending time with friends’ is the best part of attending a boarding school. “There is no doubt that boarding will not suit every child or family. But for the right child, in the right school, it can offer an enriching life experience, preparing them for life beyond school. “Learning to live with others with respect and tolerance and having the ability to resolve conflict when it occurs are key skills that pupils will need when they enter the working world and experience the challenges of the twenty first century. More often than not, the achievements, friendships and interests cultivated at boarding school, last a lifetime.” For further information about the Boarding Schools’ Association and to search for a boarding school please visit

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Co-educational Boarding and Day (for pupils aged 13 – 18) Achieving outstanding results IB or A levels in the Sixth Form Open Day Saturday 7th October To book a place please contact the Registrar

+44 (0)1684 581 515

See success in action To book a personal visit or for further details, please contact the Registrar: Tel: 01283 559222 Email:









A A Denstone Denstone Education Education Just Justhalf halfan anhour hourfrom fromStafford Staffordand and surrounding villages, Denstone College surrounding villages, Denstone Collegeisis set setininone onehundred hundredacres acresof ofmagnificent magnificent countryside countrysidewith withan anextensive extensivebus busnetwork network for day pupils. The College offers a for day pupils. The College offers arounded rounded education educationwhere whereaawide widerange rangeof ofopportunities opportunities ensures ensuresthat thatall allpupils pupilsfind findand anddevelop developtheir their individual individualtalents, talents,whilst whilstat atthe thesame sametime time providing providingan anexcellent excellentacademic academicfoundation foundation for forthe theworld worldbeyond beyondschool. school.Come Comeand andsee see for foryourself yourselfwhat whataaDenstone Denstoneeducation education can canoffer. offer.

Future FutureOpen OpenMornings: Mornings:

Saturday30 20September May 2017 2017 Saturday Saturday 30 September Saturday 19 May 2018 2017 Saturday 29 September 2018 For more information please call Admissions on 01889please 591415 For more information call Admissions on 01889 591415

Achievement Achievement

Confidence Confidence

Happiness Happiness

Independent Day School for Boys and Girls Junior School ages 7-11 Senior School ages 11-16 Sixth Form ages 16-18


School Open Day (Junior, Senior and Sixth Form) Saturday 7th October, 11am - 3pm Year 3 Open Day Saturday 11th November, 10am - 1.30pm To arrange a guided tour or to learn about one of our open events please contact Mrs Jane Morris, Admissions Registrar tel 01902 422939 or email “This is a remarkable school. The atmosphere we encountered as we walked round with a succession of delightful guides was smilingly friendly. There is a real feeling of happiness.” The Good Schools Guide

01902 421326 Wolverhampton Grammar School Compton Road Wolverhampton WV3 9RB


Ensuring your children have the appropriate skill set for the future.

Repton School Wolverhampton Grammer School Founded in 1512, Wolverhampton Grammar School is one of the oldest schools in the country, providing outstanding education to boys and girls from Year 3 to Year 13 (ages 7-18) across a Junior School, Senior School and Sixth Form. Judged “Excellent” in all areas by the Independent Schools Inspectorate, the School’s 23 acre site blends stunning architecture with creative learning spaces, a dedicated Sports Centre and extensive facilities. 01902 421326 |

Repton School is a thriving boarding and day school in South Derbyshire for boys and girls aged 13-18. With approximately 650 pupils, the school is large enough to create a ‘buzz’ but small enough for all to flourish and to know one another. Each year around 10% of pupils are offered places at either Oxford or Cambridge Universities. 01283 559222 |

Malvern St James Girls’ School

Tettenhall College

An exceptional boarding and day school for girls aged 4-18 years, with full, weekly and flexi boarding available. Every girl matters and our size means we offer a uniquely tailored education where each student achieves her best. Classes are small and lively; students are happy and confident and our girls leave for the most prestigious universities and career pathways. Generous bursaries and scholarships available.

Tettenhall College provides an exceptional learning environment for boys and girls aged between two and eighteen years. Through the remarkable opportunities that we offer with extensive extra-curricular activities, pupils are able to discover their own individual talents and interests and pursue them to the best of their abilities. Academically, our small class sizes and focus on the individual’s learning style ensures that our pupils always achieve their personal best.

01684 892288 |

01902 751119 | or

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Open Morning - October 14th Assessment Day for th 2018 entry - November 7

01785 249752


SWEET 16 SUCCESS Your child might be turning sixteen this year but they are also going to be making some serious decisions about their future. Panic.Mode.Begins.


emember turning 16? It was a big deal, wasn’t it. You were old enough to leave school, uniforms became a thing of the past and you had a rush of independence when you heard those three little words – a free period. What’s that, you say? No one will be recording my presence? I’m reborn.

nights, no matter how many times they tell you that Sir Richard Branson never went to college.

It’s a good idea to remind yourself of this as your little duck sets off for school this September, hormones raging and a countdown to next summer already visible in their eyes. But it’s not all fun and games, to get there they’ve got a real test over the next few months.

Secondly, do they want to go to University and have they got an idea of what they want to do when they get there? If they do, then they need to consider the application process and entry requirements of a certain course or establishment.

That final year of school (at least as they have come to know it), which goes hand in hand with your child turning sixteen, is a tough one. There’s those dreaded final GCSEs to contend with, arguably, the hardest they’ll ever have to take, not to mention the pressure of the English Baccalaureate (Ebacc) now thrust upon our teenagers, mountains of coursework to file, and then our blossoming children must decide how to play out their future. Oh, and did we mention those hormones? Yikes, how did we ever make it!?

What’s there to think about? Ok, so there are a few things to keep in mind for your child during this pivotal year of their education. Technically, they are free to leave school on the last Friday in June, if they will be sixteen by the end of the August. But their education doesn’t stop there, it’s not a free ticket to lie-ins and late

In fact, the government expects our adolescents to stay in full-time education, for example at a sixth-from college, until they are 18, or start an apprenticeship or traineeship, or spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering, while in part-time education or training.

Are they taking the English Baccalaureate (EBacc)? This came about in 2010 and is a school performance measure. It allows people to also see how many pupils achieve a grade C or above in core academic subjects, namely English, mathematics, history or geography, the sciences, and a language. It’s also widely considered by universities as being a good indication of a pupil’s academic potential. While it was initially non-compulsory for students to take all the Ebacc subjects at GCSE, the government announced in 2015 that they intend all pupils who start year 7 in the September of that year to take all the Ebacc subjects when they reach their GCSEs in 2020. Finally, while you may have mapped out your child’s future for them, it might not exactly match their own intentions. And the difficulty is you must somehow manage their immaturity on things like life and consequences with parental responsibility for their future – help!

Tips for keeping it cool 1.

Encourage your children, be on hand to help when they need it and give credit where credit is due. If your child is working hard, they probably already understand the significance of their actions this year so additional pressure is not going to help. However, giving them encouragement and support and praise are sure to keep them motivated. 2. The school will give support but they expect you to work with them. Visit your child’s teacher to find out how your child is doing, and areas that need improvement if you are unsure of where you can help. 3.

Making decisions on how you want your life to go are obviously going to be tough but what’s harder is worrying they are going to be the wrong ones. Here you have the life experience to reassure them that it’s not the absolute and things can and will change. Just being there to guide, advise and support will help them feel secure about the choices they are making.

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HOMEWORK FOR PARENTS a how to guide!

No one wants to have to do work at home after a day at school (or the office) but it still needs to be done. Here’s how to make life easier for you and your children when it comes to school homework!

The summer holidays are drawing to a close and the new school year is upon us and that means a new battle to get the homework done, made even more difficult by the fact that children have been off school for the last six weeks, without having to even think about school work. Added to that, we’ve only just got the kids used to having to go to bed at a certain time again, so they can actually function at school, before we are landed with a series of projects and activities we must complete between dinnertime, bath time and free-for-all play, that’s about 4 hours to do it all - thanks, Teach! Granted, as parents, we are all guilty of avoiding the inevitable confrontation and simply ‘helping’ our children to the point of actually doing it for them - in fact, a study in 2014 found that a staggering one in six parents do the homework on behalf of their children. So how do we get around this lack of enthusiasm over the next few weeks (and probably beyond)? Firstly, let’s understand the reason why homework exists. The idea of homework is to not only to support the learning in schools but also to try and create an environment where parents can play an active role in their child’s education too. There’s no denying that parents who are interested in the homework process have a better understanding of their child’s ability and their academic level at school. Furthermore, studies have found that pupils whose parents were actively involved with homework actually performed better. Secondly, why is it important? There has been a long debate over whether or not homework is worthwhile and there have been countless studies 128

to back up both sides of the argument but children who are able to complete homework on time are much more likely to have a good working attitude later in life, compared to those who just dismiss this learning responsibility as a waste of time and an inconvenience. Additionally, where parents are involved and enthusiastic about homework activities, kids are being taught to take learning and school work seriously. All positive benefits. Finally, what can parents do to help? Whether or not you agree with homework, it’s here to stay, at least for the time being, anyway, so time to jump on board and fly that homework flag! Here’s how: 1. Be there

A study by Epstein and Van Voorhis in 2001 found that parents were generally keen to support their children with homework but at times they found it difficult to know how to help or why they needed to be involved. The fact is, if you show willing so will your child. Monitor or supervise their homework so they understand the importance of doing it but keep your distance. You want them to work through it and not rely on your input to get it done. However, being nearby during homework time also means you can see when they start to struggle or show signs of stress or disinterest – you can be quick to motivate them back to it or help them to understand it better. You can coach them by offering advice and the tools to help them moving forward, especially when it comes to revision for exams. 2. Ask for help

If you are struggling to understand the homework they have been set, or the quality of it, then speak to the school. Do not feel you can’t approach your child’s teacher to find out

more about a particular task especially if you do not understand what it involves. 3. Create the right environment

You need to create an appropriate environment at home and begin a structured approach to homework to ensure that your child sticks to it. Once your child comes home from school, let them have some time to settle and a snack before they begin their homework or make homework time straight after dinner time. For older children, let them take control of their own schedule. In any case, make sure they have completed their homework before they watch TV or go out with friends. 4. Make it fun

If completing homework at home is not going well. Suggest that your child go to a homework club. This can be a great way for them to socialise but will also create the perfect environment for them to get it done. You can find an appropriate after school club on the website or by visiting the child care area of your local council website. 5. Reward success

Rewarding good behaviour and a positive homework success rate can be a good motivational tactic but be sure to instil in your child that the true benefits are a good work ethic and better results.

 Head online to staffordshireliving. for 5 brain boosting lunchbox essentials for children. Follow the QR code to go direct to the page now!



ENTERTAINMENT The Book Corner The Film Club, An Interview With The Hoosiers and Events Calendar


the film CLUB Sit back and enjoy our pick of the autumn blockbusters heading your way!

Kingsman: The Golden Circle




20th September

Matthew Vaughn


© 2017 Twentieth Century Fox ^



20th October

Tomas Alfredson

“Kingsman: The Secret Service” introduced the world to Kingsman - an independent, international intelligence agency operating at the highest level of discretion, whose ultimate goal is to keep the world safe. In “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” our heroes face a new challenge. When their headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, their journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organization in the US called Statesman, dating back to the day they were both founded. In a new adventure that tests their agents’ strength and wits to the limit, these two elite secret organizations band together to defeat a ruthless common enemy, in order to save the world, something that’s becoming a bit of a habit for Eggsy…


Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Charlotte Gainsbourg, with Val Kilmer and J.K. Simmons The Snowman is a terrifying thriller based on Jo Nesbo’s global bestselling novel of the same name. When an elite crime squad’s lead detective (Fassbender) investigates the disappearance of a victim on the first snow of winter, he fears an elusive serial killer may be active again. With the help of a brilliant recruit (Ferguson), the cop must connect decades-old cold cases to the brutal new one if he hopes to outwit this unthinkable evil before the next snowfall. 130

Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Halle Berry, Pedro Pascal, with Sir Elton John, and Channing Tatum, and Jeff Bridges.

© Universal Pictures



6th October

Hany Abu-Assad


The Mountain Between Us


Kate Winslet, Idris Elba



1st September

Geremy Jasper








• L IV


Warner Bros. Pictures © 2017 Twentieth Century Fox ^

PATTI CAKE$ introduces Australian native Danielle Macdonald in a breakout role, as aspiring rapper Patricia Dombrowski, a.k.a. Killa P, a.k.a. Patti Cake$. Fighting an unlikely quest for glory in her downtrodden hometown in Jersey where her life is falling apart, Patti tries to reach the big time in the hip hop scene with original and affecting music. Cheered on by her grandmother (Cathy Moriarty) and only friends, Jheri (Siddharth Dhananjay) and Basterd (Mamoudou Athie), Patti also shoulders her mother’s (Bridget Everett) heartaches and misfortunes.



Danielle Macdonald, Bridget Everett, Cathy Moriarty




Patti Cake$

Stranded after a tragic plane crash, two strangers must forge a connection to survive the extreme elements of a remote snow covered mountain. When they realise help is not coming, they embark on a terrifying journey across hundreds of miles of wilderness, pushing one another to endure and igniting an unexpected attraction. The film is directed by Academy Award nominee Hany Abu-Assad and stars Academy Award winner Kate Winslet and Idris Elba.

Stranded after a tragic plane crash, two strangers must forge a connection to survive the extreme elements of a remote snow covered mountain.


© 2017 Twentieth Century Fox


Mus tsee




8th September

Andy Muschietti


Bill Skarsgård, Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor and Sophia Lillis

Based on the hugely popular Stephen King novel of the same name, New Line Cinema’s horror thriller “IT,” directed by Andy Muschietti is released this autumn. When children begin to disappear in the town of Derry, Maine, a group of young kids are faced with their biggest fears when they square off against an evil clown named Pennywise, whose history of murder and violence dates back for centuries.

Sony Pictures





29th September

Niels Arden Oplev


Marco Grob ^

Ellen Page, Diego Luna, Nina Dobrev, James Norton, Kiersey Clemons Five medical students, obsessed by the mystery of what lies beyond the confines of life, embark on a daring and dangerous experiment: by stopping their hearts for short periods of time, each triggers a near-death experience – giving them a first-hand account of the afterlife. But as their experiments become increasingly dangerous, they are each haunted by the sins of their pasts, brought on by the paranormal consequences of trespassing to the other side.

Goodbye Christopher Robin



29th September

Simon Curtis


Domhnall Gleeson, Margot Robbie, Kelly Macdonald

© 2017 Fox Searchlight Pictures

Goodbye Christopher Robin gives a rare glimpse into the relationship between beloved children’s author A. A. Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) and his son Christopher Robin, whose toys inspired the magical world of Winnie the Pooh. Along with his mother Daphne (Margot Robbie), and his nanny Olive (Kelly Macdonald), Christopher Robin and his family are swept up in the international success of the books; the enchanting tales bringing hope and comfort to England after the First World War. But with the eyes of the world on Christopher Robin, what will the cost be to the family? w w w. s ta ffo rdsh i re l i vi n g.c o .u k



THE FEELING YOU GET WHEN… 10 years on from their debut album ‘The Trick to Life’ reaching number one in the album charts, The Hoosiers are back to do it all over again.




ere you worried about Ray? Pretty much everyone was 10 years ago when The Hoosiers burst on to the indie-pop scene in 2007. They got us bouncing on the dance floors to music that was melodic and cool and we were hooked! The Hoosiers’ debut album went straight to number one when it was released in October 2007 and songs like ‘Worried About Ray’ and ‘Goodbye Mr A’ dominated the radio waves. Marking the 10th anniversary of the album this autumn, the surviving (and we should say original) band members, Irwin Sparkes and Alan Sharland, are doing it all over again, selling a new limited edition vinyl pressing and expanded 2CD edition of their debut and undertaking a huge UK tour that will see them play the album in its entirety, something they’ve never done before. Tension, creativity, democracy, arguments, time apart, coming back together, and then songs. Lots of them. Gone is the self-consciousness of the dog days around their second album; gone, too, the self-doubt. In their place is a deeply rooted – and hard-won – confidence, and a determination to lock back in to the freedom and joy of the early days. Here’s what they had to say about their return...

Q: It must seem like the last ten years

has been a dream! Do you still pinch yourselves that you have come this far?

Irwin: One man’s “too far” is another woman’s “not far enough”, as the old saying doesn’t go. Al and I had been playing our trade in bands for thirteen years before we got big anyway and we still have loads to learn; the thing that astounds me were the confluence of factors that facilitated our rise, including everyone at our label (RCA) doing a mighty fine job and there being any appetite for what we were doing at the time. That’s something you can’t force, no matter how much money a label might throw at marketing. We feel very lucky and know plenty of people in better bands who weren’t so lucky. The fact we’re still making music and gigging ten years after our debut record blows our tiny minds though. Q: What have been your standout

highlights from the last ten years?

I: Playing Glastonbury (with a load of backing dancers), bursting out of an illusionist’s smoke box (not prison slang) for V-fest and getting to gig around Europe and Japan. As well as obviously getting to gaze about my band-mate Al’s beautiful gingery face every working day.

Q: What are the biggest differences

in the day we/I had a desperation about us/ me. I sought approval to fulfil whatever was lacking. It’s easy to mistake approval for success. If we make a record and love it, then it’s a success. I also like the idea of success meaning you have freedom to choose what you do. I’m not sure there’s much freedom if you’re at the apex of commercial success, but you’d have to ask Beyonce, Bieber and Scouting for Girls about that.

Q: So how’s the prep coming along

for the tour?

I: As well as putting together some of the old songs we’ve not played for about eight years, we’re enjoying having a think about how we can make this a celebration people won’t forget and ways in which we can involve people in the action. Karaoke, anyone?

“It (The Sugarmill) was one of my favourite shows of our early touring days!” Q: Your debut album ‘The Trick

for you as a band between then and now?

to Life’ went straight to No. 1 in the UK album charts back in 2007, could it do it again?

I: There’s only two of us! Musically we’ve grown

I: Haaa! Well now you’ve got me

in terms of our taste and broadened in terms of what we’re trying to achieve. I think a lot of that has come down to where we’re at as people. Back

daydreaming. Hadn’t crossed my mind till you said that. Long as we can make a living from playing songs we love then we’re winning. Anything else is a bonus. That said ... now

that you’ve planted the seed I’m gonna (sic) quit music if it doesn’t go back to number one. The thing I remember thinking when we did get to the top spot for a moment, was how exactly the same we all were, it was just other people that treated you differently.

Q: But the album is full of iconic

music we can’t wait to hear again so we think you’ll be sticking around for some time yet! Which songs are you most looking forward to performing from the album?

I: The Feeling You Get When... Q: You’re coming to the Stoke

Sugarmill, by far one of Staffordshire’s most famous and best band venues, have you played here before?

I: It was one of my favourite shows of our early touring days! And I’m not just saying that. I remember we played a special under-18’s night and the energy was sky-high. We were met by some lovely folks outside who asked for some special souvenirs of our encounter. Al gave one a piggy-back and I signed a shoe. I vowed never to take myself down to shoe-level to conduct a signing again. You’ve got to keep it classy when you can. Course now it’s all selfies…

The Hoosiers play Stoke’s Sugarmill on 6th October and tickets are priced at £15 each. For more information, to buy tickets and for vinyl pre-orders visit

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EVENTS CALENDAR Where to go and who to see in Staffordshire and the surrounds

Food & Drink Friday 13th to Sunday 15th October

Music & Theatre

Wednesday 18th to Sunday 29th October

Disney On Ice presents Passport to Adventure

Friday 15th September to Saturday 7th October

The Pitmen Painters at the New Vic Theatre A New Vic Theatre production by Lee Hall and directed by Gwenda Hughes, The Pitmen Painters follows the lives of a group of coal miners. When they begin evening classes with a Master of Painting from Kings College Newcastle, they want to learn about art: what’s good, what’s bad and what it all means. To find out more and to book your tickets visit or call the box office on 01782 717962.

Arriving in Birmingham on the 18th October, this fun filled show visits the settings of four most loved Disney movies; the African Pride Lands (The Lion King), Ariel’s mystical underwater kingdom (The Little Mermaid), Neverland (Peter Pan) and the wintery wonderland of Frozen. There will also be the chance to warm up at the Fit to Dance pre-show featuring Zootropolis! Disney On Ice presents Passport To Adventure will be skating into Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield and London from 22nd September to 30th December. For the complete list of tour dates, head to

Alcester Food Festival

Hairspray at the Buxton Opera House

Ellie Kurttz


The Swadlincote International Food & Drink Festival running from 10am to 6pm (5pm on Sunday) invites traders from around the world, plus some of the best local producers, to showcase their specialist products. A continental bar, as well as live entertainment from professionals, including singers and chefs, will also be at the three-day event this October. The festival takes place in Swadlincote town centre, DE11 9DG. There will be free entry and parking. Contact 01283 222 848 for more information or visit the festival Facebook page @SwadlincoteFood&DrinkFestival. Saturday 21st October

Monday 23rd to Saturday 28th October

The smash hit musical comedy Hairspray is coming to Buxton Opera House. This feelgood show sees Tracy Turnblad follow her dreams and dance her way onto national TV. Hairspray is showing at Buxton Opera House from 23rd to 28th October at 7.30pm, with matinees on 25th and 28th October at 2.30pm. Tickets are priced at £26 - £42. For more details visit or call the box office on 01298 72050.

Swadlincote International Food & Drink Festival

Friday 8th and Saturday 9th September

Alcester is set to host its autumn food festival this October from 9am to 5pm. The town centre will come alive with over 100 exhibitors of quality food and drink including cheeses, pies, artisan breads, cakes, fresh and cured meats and sausages, fruit and vegetables, pickles, oils and preserves, kitchen equipment, a pig roast, award-winning street food and handmade chocolates, as well as local beers, ciders, wines and spirits. The festival is located in the town centre and the post code is B49 5AD. For more information about the festival visit

Sandon Hall Musical Weekend Tickets are on sale for two evenings of ‘Music under the Stars’ at Sandon Hall, Staffordshire, including the UK’s longest running musical concert tour, Beyond the Barricade, which will headline on Friday, 8th September; recreating original West End and Broadway musical hit songs and a cast made up of past principal performers from Les Miserables. On Saturday, 9th September, Gordon Giltrap - widely regarded as one of the best acoustic guitar players in the world – and classical trio, Access All Arias, featuring Sarah Ryan, Helen Hobson and Sarah Eyden will take to the stage. Tickets are priced from £25. For more information and to buy tickets visit

Friday 6th to Sunday 8th October

Stone Food and Drink Festival The Stone Food & Drink Festival returns this October with a full week of food and drink related events taking place in around the market town culminating in a three-day food event on Westbridge Park from Friday 6th – Sunday 8th October. Visitors can browse over 100 stalls, while top local chefs share recipes and tips on the hour, every hour, in the demonstration kitchen. There will also be a series of cookery masterclasses, which are bookable online. For further details about the event head to


Arts & Culture Saturday 2nd September to Saturday 7th October

Sense of Place - Landscape Paintings by Harry Ousey The abstract art of one of the most prolific artists of the 20th Century will be on show at the Nicholson Museum & Art Gallery this autumn. The Harry Ousey exhibition, whose early art is inspired by the dry stone walls and quarry faces of Derbyshire and seascapes of Cornwall, runs throughout September and is called the ‘Lost Works,’ originally featured in the Salford Art Gallery after it marked the centenary of the painter’s birth in 2015. The Nicholson gallery is on Stockwell Street in Leek. Find out more at

Wednesday 20th September to Sunday 24th September

Continental Market, Stoke-on-Trent Stoke-on-Trent City centre will once again host a continental market from the 20th to 23rd September, running from 9am to 5.30pm every day. Featuring a fabulous array of traders from around the UK, Europe and the rest of the World, the market will sell food, crafts and more.

King’s Market, Stoke The King’s market is also taking place on Sunday 24th September from 10am to 4pm and will feature specialist foods, arts, crafts and other goods for those looking for a touch of luxury, a special treat or something unique. A vintage tea room will sell tasty refreshments for visitors. King’s Market, King’s Hall, Stoke ST4 1JH. £1 admission fee with free parking. To find out more about both these events, search for @stokeontrentmarkets on Facebook.

Thursday 7th to Sunday 10th September

Heritage Open Days West Midlands Villages, towns and cities across the West Midlands are finding new and innovative ways to celebrate history. Heritage Open Days, England’s biggest festival of history and culture is expanding this year with a new focus on arts-themed events, as well as LGBTQ history and natural heritage – in parks, green spaces, lakes and beaches. Hundreds of events will take place across the region, including the iconic former headquarters of Coventry Evening Telegraph, Clifford Castle in Hereford, a 19th century clay tobacco pipe factory In Telford, Shropshire and a Son et Lumiere performance on the banks of the River Severn telling the story of Bewdley in narration, story, music and song - with every single walk, talk, opening and exhibition FREE to visit! Find out more about what is happening in the West Midlands at

23rd September to 5th November

British Ceramics Biennial Festival This autumn, the British Ceramics Biennial (BCB) will return to Stoke-on-Trent, the home of British ceramics, for its fifth edition. Running from 23rd September to 5th November, this six-week international ceramics festival will animate the city with exhibitions, installations, new commissions and hands-on activities that will showcase the creative potential of clay, reflecting and stimulating the resurgence of contemporary ceramics. The former Spode Factory site in the heart of Stoke Town will form the main hub of the festival, with the cultural quarter of Hanley forming a second hub across venues including the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, AirSpace Gallery, Bethesda Chapel and Stoke-onTrent Central Library. The festival programme will also link with some of the city’s key industry players: Emma Bridgewater, Burleigh at Middleport Pottery, World of Wedgwood and Johnson Tiles. The BCB programme is launched to coincide with Stoke-on-Trent’ bid for UK City of Culture 2021. To find out more visit

Workshops & Classes Saturday 2nd & Tuesday 19th September & 5th October

Nuffield Health Workshops Nuffield Health Wolverhampton Hospital is offering free information events in September and October with its expert consultants, who will conduct a presentation followed by mini 1:1 consultations. Saturday 2nd September: Let’s Talk Cosmetics, Tuesday 19th September: Cataracts A Patients Journey and on Thursday 5th October: Let’s Talk Varicose Veins. Call Nuffield Health in Wolverhampton on 01902 793269 to book your free place. Wednesday 13th September

Spire Information Evening If you have questions about laser eye surgery or clear lens exchange to correct long or short sightedness, join Spire Eye Centre in Little Aston for its FREE information evening on Wednesday 13th September from 6pm. To book your complimentary place call 0121 580 7171 or email seclittleaston@spirehealthcare. com. Visit for more information.

Wednesday 20th September

The Lyme Trust Network Event 2017 At the North Staffordshire Medical Institute and Conference Centre, the Lyme Trust Network Event will take place between 10am - 4pm with lunch at 12.30pm. Admission is free by pre-registration. Please contact the trust on 01782 634510 to register and for more information visit

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MON 23 - SAT 28 OCT 01298 72190 |

Spooky Family Halloween

ENTERTAINMENT Mrs Osmond by John Banville October 2017 £14.99 Hardback Isabel Osmond, a spirited, intelligent young heiress, flees to London after being betrayed by her husband, to be with her beloved cousin Ralph on his deathbed. After a sombre, silent existence at her husband’s Roman palazzo, Isabel’s daring escape to London reawakens her youthful quest for freedom and independence, as old suitors resurface and loyal friends remind her of happier times. But soon Isabel must decide whether to return to Rome to face up to the web of deceit in which she has become entangled, or to strike out on her own once more.

The Asshole Survival Guide: How to Deal with People Who Treat You Like Dirt by Robert Sutton September 2017 £12.99 Paperback

The Little Book of Lykke: The Danish Search for the World’s Happiest People by Meik Wiking September 2017 £9.99 Hardback A practical guide to what makes us happy from the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen and bestselling author of The Little Book of Hygge. The world has reached unprecedented levels of wealth, but while we have succeeded in getting richer, we have failed in getting happier. While many people live lives of quiet desperation, a few people find themselves at the very top of the scale when it comes to happiness. Their behaviour is different. Their outlook is different. Their priorities are different. What can we learn from the world’s happiest people?

The Break by Marian Keyes September 2017 £20 Hardback At 44 Amy O’Connell thinks she’s seen, heard or done it all. Until her husband Hugh announces he needs a break – from her. He is going backpacking for six months round Asia where he can do what he wants - and this is the scary bit – with anyone he wants. ‘WTAF?’ thinks Amy. What’s she to do? Stay loyal to disloyal Hugh? Allow her ex-husband back into her life? Run away herself? And what about the children? A lot can happen in six months. Will Hugh return as the same man? And will she still be the same woman there waiting for him? 138

From the bestselling expert, The Asshole Survival Guide is a helpful, entertaining and evidence-based guide to dealing with horrible people. Being around assholes, whether at work or elsewhere, can damage performance and affect wellbeing: having one asshole in a team has been shown to reduce performance by 30 to 40%, and research shows that rudeness spreads like a common cold. And social media has only given rise to further incivility - 40% of people have experienced harassment online. But in The Asshole Survival Guide, Stanford professor Robert Sutton offers practical advice on identifying and tackling any kind of asshole - based on Snuggle up and read a research into groups from uncivil civil servants good book this autumn to French bus drivers, and 8,000 emails that he has received on asshole behaviour. With expertise and humour, he provides a cogent and methodical game-plan to fight back.



Only Fools and Stories by David Jason October 2017 £20 Hardback In his first book, David Jason told us about himself from his early years training as an electrician through to making it as one of Britain’s actors. This autumn, in a follow up autobiography, he tells us about the many other lives he has lived – his characters. From Del Boy to Granville, Pop Larkin to Frost, he takes us behind the scenes and under the skins of some of the best loved acts of his career. And in the process he reflects on how those characters changed his life too. The result told with his characteristic charm and wit is funny, poignant, honest and heart-warming.

Ask an Astronaut: My Guide to Life in Space by Tim Peake October 2017 £20 Hardback What’s it like to eat, sleep and go to the toilet in space? And where to next – the Moon, Mars or beyond? Ask an Astronaut is Tim’s personal guide to life in space, based on his historic Principia mission, and the thousands of questions he has been asked since his return to Earth. Accessible, in-depth, and written with his characteristic warmth, Tim shares his thoughts on every aspect of his mission. From training to launch, from his historic spacewalk to re-entry, he reveals for readers of all ages the cuttingedge science behind his ground-breaking experiments, and the wonders of day-to-day life on board the International Space Station.



LIVING Get In On The Craze For Arm Knitting

How To Teach Children About Money, Spend The Day in Nantwich, Happy Halloween, Win A Two-Night Mini-Moon, How To Have The Perfect Autumn Garden! and LIVING Loves Wedding Gift Ideas

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“M does oney n’t on tr grow ees!”


CHILDREN ABOUT money Parents have the responsibility to ensure the next generation will be savvy when it comes to money but it’s not a subject we like to focus on much - where does that leave our children? 140



Encourage them to make choices

hen was the last time you sat down with your child and talked about money? It isn’t a subject we very often take the time to explain. But, it’s becoming more important than ever thanks to uncertain economies and the ability to pay for anything online. The fact is that some children may never even handle money anymore - crumpled envelopes at the bottom of a school bag with the week’s dinner money in, or cash for a school trip are a thing of the past. Nowadays, you can handle all those payments online. Twenty years ago, kids were far too busy climbing a tree or making mud pies to ever worry about what the future holds, and while kids may still be blissfully unaware, it’s more responsible nowadays to give children, especially older children, a lesson in finance. We are more in debt than ever before and in today’s creditfuelled society there are more ways to get access to money through standard loans, pay-day loans, credit cards and hire purchase deals than we care to think about.

Even toddlers can start to understand the idea that they can’t have it all if you encourage them to make choices early on. Obviously, they are too young to know about value and price but it can help to build a positive framework for the future. When your child is a bit older and does have pocket money to spend, you can help them to understand purchases while out shopping by comparing prices and talking to them about saving if they want a toy that they can’t afford. Either way, you don’t want to overwhelm them, let them make the choice and then discuss any repercussions after.

According to new research from the Money Advice Service (, the majority of UK parents (57%) agree that they are the single biggest influence on developing their children’s money management skills – yet 58% admit that they find it difficult to talk to their child about money matters.

Children don’t always consider the value of money and let loose on a world full of moneygrabbing opportunities without having the right information is a scary thought. But it’s not just about avoiding the pitfalls of debt, it’s also about educating our children on savings, investments and other positive ways to handle money.

Many parents have their own worries and fears about money-management skills and wonder how they will ever be able to pass on any good advice but you will, and if anything, your children can learn from the mistakes you made!

“Parents most commonly begin engaging their children with money skills when they are eight years old – this is the average age at which they begin giving them pocket money.”

According to the report, parents most commonly began engaging their children with money skills when they were eight years old – this is the average age at which they began giving them pocket money. However, an older study commissioned by the Money Advice Service at the University of Cambridge found that kids as young as seven were forming money habits.

One of the best ways to help them understand money is to create a fictional environment where they can explore it more. Learning through play has a huge impact on a child’s emotional and physical development. Set up a shop or café at home and give them a pretend till and paper money so they can start to understand about transactions. Don’t be concerned if your child makes mistakes, it’s simply a way to educate them from it. They are bound to spend all their tuck shop money in one go, and this is ok. Just explain the consequences of this and try to avoid letting them make the same mistakes over and over!

Don’t leave it too late

If parents leave it too late to make a lasting impression on their children, the danger is that negative habits have already been formed. Monitor how your child manages their money as soon as they start to handle it, even if that is when they have the odd £1 to spend at the sweetie shop one day. Pocket money Pocket money has been a valuable approach to helping children understand money for decades and children as young as five will benefit from having a little pocket money to help form positive money habits. They don’t need a lot of money but whatever you decide to give them, make sure they understand what the money in their wallet or purse is for - whether it’s for the tuck shop at school or to buy themselves a toy.

Finance for kids

A Recap 1.

The earlier, the better


If you give your child pocket money, make sure they know what it is for and talk about the importance of saving

3. You don’t need a big money chat at an early age, monitor how your child manages money and work from there 4.

Make it a more practical lesson by creating an environment for them to learn through play


Money mistakes can be made at any age, the key is to learn from them!

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DATES FOR YOUR DIARY: Now accepting consignments for Specialist, Fine and Interior auctions!

Beeston and Knutsford Salerooms

RECENT RESULTS SEPTEMBER 5th September – Fine Antiques & Interiors Sale, Knutsford 9th September – Saturday Sale of Antiques & Interiors, Beeston

Sold £12,800

Sold £4,900

Sold £3,800

19th September – General Interiors Sale, Knutsford

OCTOBER 14th October – Saturday Sale of Antiques & Interiors, Beeston 17th October – General Interiors Sale, Knutsford

Sold £9,600

Sold £3,800

Sold £12,400

28th October – Decades of Design Sale, Knutsford


For more information contact either saleroom, Knutsford WA16 6DH – Tel: 01565 653284 or Beeston, Nr. Tarporley CW6 9NZ – Tel: 01829 262150

7th November - General Interiors Sale, Knutsford


11th November - Saturday Sale of Antiques & Interiors, Beeston

Get in touch now to see what your items could be worth, we would be delighted to hear from you.

FREE VALUATIONS Every Friday, Knutsford: 9am – 12pm & 1pm – 4pm Every Monday, Beeston: 9am – 12pm & 1pm – 4pm

21st November - General Interiors Sale, Knutsford

DECEMBER 2nd December - Boutique Christmas Sale, Knutsford


Spend the day in

NANTWICH When was the last time you visited Nantwich? This traditional market town is just a short drive from Staffordshire and is brimming with fascinating culture, tasty foodie delights, exciting shopping and a lively nightlife. LIVING has the perfect itinerary to set you up for a great day out. Enjoy!

on Mill Street is a sure bet. The café has been established since 2005 and is situated on the street which led up to the old Nantwich Water Mill beside the River Weaver before it was destroyed by a fire in 1583. It has won an array of accolades and awards as one of the highlights of Nantwich’s foodie trail. Offering a delicious selection of homemade cakes and pastries including traditional Victoria Sponge, Carrot Cake and Brownies, you will certainly have to indulge a little to experience the best. But, it’s the perfect spot to get the fuel you need for a dose of culture. See more at

11am: Soak up the culture 9am: An early morning swim Nothing sets you up more for a day of leisure than a refreshing swim and Nantwich has just the place - its very own world-famous outdoor brine pool, the result of its salt producing heritage. Brine was naturally produced from springs in the area and became another way to capitalise on salt production (compared to the traditional mining methods), however, it couldn’t keep up and the brine industry ended in the 1850s. However, it did leave behind a rather large pool, which opened to the public in July 1935 and was used as a place of healing in the early 20th century. Don’t worry if you think it’s a bit chilly though, the pool is heated to a lovely temperature of around 27 to 29 degrees celsius and is usually open for most of September. And there is an indoor pool option as well!

10am: Refuel with a coffee and a cake Nantwich is bursting with cafés and coffee shops all with an inviting atmosphere and unique décor but when coffee and cake calls, Ginger & Pickles

There are plenty of places to visit in and around Nantwich which will delve you deep into the interesting heritage of this Cheshire hotspot – from nuclear bunkers, to Snugbury’s Ice Cream and even a zoo. However, if you have time for just two attractions on your visit, the Nantwich Museum and St Mary’s Church are good places to start. The museum is located on Pillory Street and was built on the site of a jail, however, you can get right up to speed on Nantwich’s history and relevance through a series of informative galleries which depict the story of the town through the ages, from its Roman salt making heritage to the great fire in Tudor times and its more recent clock and shoe making industries. Right in the centre of Nantwich is St Mary’s Church, considered to be one of the finest medieval churches in England, it dates back to the 14th Century and is recorded on the National Heritage List for England.

1pm: Spot of lunch Fancy trying something a bit unusual for lunch? Head on down to Street Nantwich, located on Welsh Street, which has been described as ‘bringing a modern touch to Nantwich dining’. Imagine all the best street food from around the globe, including burritos, hot dogs, and noodles, served up indoors. It’s a kind of east meets west fusion of a comfort food binge. Don’t expect much service - you order the food from the bar, collect your food from the kitchen and eat from baskets but it’s a very informal relaxed jaunt to grab a bite of tasty grub and its central location makes it a perfect rest stop before setting off on some well-deserved retail therapy. Find out more at

fashion and accessories, it has something to please all tastes and you can happily browse from one unit to the next without too much hassle! Those of us looking for something a bit special to wear for an upcoming occasion are spoilt for choice, as well as endless places to update your casual wardrobe - you’ll just have to worry you don’t spend too much!

5pm: Head off for some spa therapy After a busy day of mooching and eating, why not treat yourself to a little bit of spa relaxation. Nantwich has many spas to choose from and many of them are housed in the classic black and white medieval buildings giving you a dose of culture at the same time. Go on, you’ve been meaning to get that facial for months!

7pm: Classy dinner If you want to get dressed up and head out for a romantic dinner with drinks afterwards then you’ll want to check out Residence Restaurant & Bar. Established in 2007 and set over two floors, it has a cocktail bar, restaurant, alfresco garden terrace and a private hire suite. Spend an evening wining, dining and enjoying the funky atmosphere with some of Cheshire’s country elite. Find out more at

If you want to make a night of it… Enjoy a little piece of luxury in the country at Nantwich’s Rookery Hall and Spa which has renovated old stables into a spa and swimming pool area too so there is plenty to do to relax and unwind. A classic room at Rookery costs from £111.60 per night, visit

2pm: Boutique hopping One of Nantwich’s highlights must be the collection of boutiques and speciality shops it boasts. From cute crafts and antiques to w w w. s ta ffo rdsh i re l i vi n g.c o .u k



HAPPY HALLOWEEN! We’ll all be celebrating on 31st October but what happens in other countries? How do us Brits measure up in the spooky stakes? Halloween comes at the perfect time of the year – summer has long gone and Christmas is nowhere to be seen. Halloween gives us a reason to get together with friends and family, for kids to enjoy dressing up and collecting treats, and for getting our pumpkin carving masterpieces on show, but what is the real story behind the scare fest?

The history behind Halloween


Halloween takes place on 31st October. There are some conflicting views about where and who originated it. Some believe it is a festival of Christian descent, although many people celebrate it without recognising its religious heritage. The term Halloween is also known as All Hallows’ Eve and All Saints’ Eve and is a festival to honour and remember the dead. Others believe it has pagan routes and was founded in Ireland.

Halloween or ‘dia de los muertos’ (day of the dead) is celebrated across three days in Mexico. A festival begins on 31st October and ends on 2nd November and is designed to honour the dead who are said to return to their homes at this time of the year. The festivities include breads, sweets and food shaped into skulls and skeletons, families often create a dedicated alter in their homes to remember friends and family who have passed and decorate it with an abundance of sweets, flowers, photographs and gifts. Candles with strong smelling incense are lit which helps to guide the dead back home and the graves of the deceased are tidied up and decorated ready for a picnic with family members at the site on the last day of the festival. Similar customs are followed in Latin America and Spain.

Some of the main traditions include dressing up, trick-or-treating, Halloween parties, watching horror films and telling scary stories. More religious followers will light candles on the graves of their loved ones and go to church services. In Britain we love to decorate our homes, dress up and trick-or-treat. Many of us will get involved somehow, even if it is just the odd lighted pumpkin on the doorstep. One of the main customs of the festival is to dress up and costumes range from the moderately scary to the outrageous – fake blood, fangs and ghostly faces are popular ways to add some spooky touches to your look. Another favourite custom on Halloween evening is to trick-or-treat, popular with children who will knock on the doors of their neighbours dressed in costumes to try and scare them in return for a few sweets or gifts. But what about other countries?

“Trick or treat, be so sweet, give me something nice to eat!” 144

Colour by numbers Colour in the grid, matching the colours below to the numbers in the grid to form a mystery picture. Send us your pictures on Instagram using the #spookystaffsliving for your chance to win these delicious spooky treats from Haribo!


Closing date 20.10.17. Editor’s decision is final.

America Americans are pretty good at all festivals but if it’s taking Halloween to the next level we’re after, there is no better place. Everyone celebrates this night to the absolute maximum, from grannies to college students. You’ll find most people getting into the spirit in costumes, not just kids as you see in Britain. If there is a Halloween party to go to, the costumes outdo ours 2-1, where as we tend to stick with scary ghosts or witches and lots of fake blood, the Americans have a much more creative interpretation. Favourite celebrities, characters, anything overly sexy and outrageous are the more popular choices. Houses are decorated with exaggerated scary décor and you can expect to see full on graveyards and haunted houses popping up for this night of horror. Pumpkin beer, frothing punch and candy corns are all favourite foodie delights and if you escape an attack of toilet paper and eggs, nicknamed ‘TP and egging’ on your home, then you really have done well.

1 - aquamarine 2 - orange 3 - beige 4 - brown 5 - purple 6 - green 7 - black 8 - red 9 - grey


Halloween goodies we’ll all enjoy Witch Bauble £3 Sainsbury’s


Asia The more contemporary traditions of Halloween are celebrated in the Asian countries that have an element of western influence, like Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore. Pumpkin carving, trick-or-treating and scary films are all popular ways to enjoy the festival, although dressing up in costumes or decorating homes is not really something that goes on widely, and in countries like Thailand and Vietnam, they are more likely to carve a watermelon than a pumpkin. But a Halloween parade in Kawasaki, Tokyo is particularly exciting and has become one of the main attractions of Japan and the biggest parade in the country. In places like China, Japan and the Philippines, they are big on remembering loved ones at this time of year and offer food and prayers in remembrance. Lanterns are lit in China and Japan and candles lit in the Philippines. Some Chinese will even embark on pilgrimages to Buddhist temples.

^ Paper Cups 10pk £2.50 Sainsbury’s

Table Confetti £2.50 5ft Floating Ghost £6 Sainsbury’s

France Aside from the French love of costume parties, Halloween is is not a tradition they take very seriously. Younger generations will host Halloween parties around this time of year and bars and clubs will host themed nights but this is as far as it goes. The French people believe Halloween is overly commercial and way too American for them! They also have their own holiday called La Toussaint (All Saints Day) on 1st November where they remember loved ones who have passed away with flowers and special church services so Halloween as we know it does not get a look in!



Australia hasn’t always been the best place to be on Halloween, most people would just retire to their homes and watch a scary film or two. However, in more recent years it’s becoming more popular to get involved with the rest of the Halloween loving world. They now have special events, parades, parties and decorations to rival us Brits. It’s very popular for schools to hold Halloween fetes and children trick-or-treating is now the norm.

Pumpkin Drinks Dispenser £35



£35 Biscuiteers Baking

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“When witches go riding, and black cats are seen, the moon laughs and whispers ‘tis near Halloween.”

Halloween is not a traditional festival in Germany but as a result of American expats living here after the war, it has become a staple on the festival calendar. The carnival and parade celebrations are the more popular choices for Germans. Trick-or-treating is rare but Halloween themed parties will almost certainly be taking place among the younger generations. In neighbouring Austria, a pumpkin festival and parade is held around the time of Halloween. Germans get much more excited about ‘Martinstag’ on 11th November though. Children take part in a lantern parade and dress in traditional costumes.


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ab £ 2 .9 9 Ta l k i ng T

Boo Light £15 Sainsbury’s


Skull Candle £10 HomeSense ^

Find some scrumptious recipes for your leftover pumpkin flesh online wwwww. w.sst affo ta ffordsh rdshi re i rel ilvi i vinng.c g.coo.u.ukk

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HELPING MAKE YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE Independent, professional financial advice available right here, in your friendly Leek United branch

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a two-night mini-moon Staffordshire Living is offering you the chance to win a unique countryside mini-moon escape at stunning Malvern hotel, The Cottage in the Wood.

at Cotswolds retreat The Cottage in the Wood

One lucky couple will enjoy two nights of luxury at this rural retreat, located high in the Malvern Hills with spectacular panoramic views over the Cotswolds and the Severn Valley. The prize includes two nights for two people in a deluxe double room with uninterrupted panoramic views, full breakfast from the a la carte menu, and three-course dinner in the hotel’s recently refurbished, award-winning 1919 Restaurant. Nestled in the Malvern Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, The Cottage in the Wood offers guests peace and tranquillity to start their married life in bliss or celebrate an already blossoming relationship. A quintessential English country house hotel, The Cottage in the Wood is the perfect countryside getaway with culture, history, nature and fantastic food in abundance. The destination restaurant: 1919 situated in the main house of the hotel has recently been refurbished to reflect the natural beauty that surrounds it, with nature-themed aesthetics and greys, greens and pinks giving a nod to the grandeur of the hotel’s Georgian heritage. Stand-out features of the design include a floorto-ceiling portrait of Elgar, the great British composer who once performed in The Cottage in the Wood’s Coach House prior to it becoming a hotel, and a 70kg antique mirror hanging in the restaurant, on an interior wall built specially to hold its weight.

Foodies will fall in love with the hotel’s 1919 Restaurant, which relaunched in April with renowned head chef Mark Redwood at the helm. Passionate about local and seasonal ingredients, Mark’s modern British menus allow the fresh flavours to shine through, with tempting options like Wye Valley asparagus with goat’s cheese custard and signature dish, The Cottage pie, using braised shin and oxtail of Herefordshire beef. In the bar, you will be spoilt for choice with a wide range of beers, wines and spirits available, including local ales from The Friday Beer Company and a special ‘Elgar’ sparkling wine from local vineyard Lovells to toast your relationship. Manager Gianluca Rizzo is always ready to recommend something new for guests to try, or to serve his signature gin cocktail with a flourish. Step outside the hotel and discover the rich heritage of the Malvern Hills, where you can walk along the gas lamp trails that inspired CS Lewis to create the magical land of Narnia in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, and take in the scenery that became the setting for JRR Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit. Culture buffs should visit Malvern’s Festival Theatre, where some of the finest theatre performances in the country can be found, including many plays fresh from the London circuit. The Cottage in the Wood is also the perfect place to spend Christmas with an extra-special festive break. Two or three-night stays are available, with cocktails and carol singers to get everyone in the festive spirit on Christmas Eve, a fivecourse festive feast on Christmas Day and guided walks through the Malvern Hills on Boxing Day, with a relaxing afternoon of live jazz in the lounge for those who choose the three-night stay. To book at stay at The Cottage in the Wood or for more information, visit www.cottageinthewood., email or call 01684 588860.

To win this fantastic two-night break at The Cottage in the Wood, all you have to do is answer this simple question.

Q. What famous hill range, a celebrated and protected area of outstanding natural beauty, is The Cottage in the Wood located on? How to enter: Scan the barcode using a QR code reader on your mobile phone or tablet to go straight to the competition page at www. Simply enter your answer along with your name and address details on the form provided for your chance to win! Ts and Cs: Closing date for the competition is 9am 20th October 2017. The competition prize will consist of a two-night overnight stay at The Cottage in the Wood with dinner, bed and breakfast for two people. The prize must be taken by 31 March 2018. Pre-booking is necessary, dates are subject to availability at time of booking. Bookings cannot be made in conjunction with other offers or promotions. Management reserve the right to revise or withdraw the prize at any time. The prize cannot be exchanged for a cash alternative and cannot be taken by anyone other than the named competition winner. The competition cannot be entered by any staff or family members associated with The Cottage in the Wood or Staffordshire Media. The winner will be notified by phone or e-mail. Entrants must be aged 18 and over. For a full set of Staffordshire Media competitions Terms and Conditions please see page 9. w w w. s ta ffo rdsh i re l i vi n g.c o .u k

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ARM KNITTING! If you’re not a fan of the lengthy and intricate detailing of standard knitting but love the feel of woollen accessories in winter then you might want to try your hand (or arm) at the latest hobby to get both young and old fans hooked – Arm Knitting! Roll up your sleeves and get stuck in – it’s addictive!

e’ll all have received a knitted scarf or two off an elderly relative in our lifetime and we’ll accept with glee safe in the knowledge that when winter beckons we’ll love nothing more than wrapping ourselves up in it and feeling snug as a bug.


How to get started 1. Find your pattern: There are a number of arm knitting websites which let you download free patterns for certain designs. Check out Beginners should start with a simple chunky cowl scarf at first while you get the hang of the process.

This is not to say that knitting is just an activity reserved for the elderly though. Far from it, in the last decade or so it has become quite a cult hobby for the geeky chic with many a celebrity claiming to enjoy it too – fans such as Amanda Seyfried, Ashley Olsen, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kate Middleton all happily show off their knitting creations on social media.

2. Buy your yarn: While it may be a quicker and simpler activity, buying the yarn for arm knitting is not cheap. 100% fibre wool jumbo yarn could cost over £30 for 1000g. Check out But who can put a price on super-soft accessories?

But try knitting ourselves and we’re left with a stringy, loose and patchy piece that wouldn’t keep our big toe warm. Why is that!? Try as we might to negotiate those needles around our fingers working the strands of brightly coloured wool, filled with anticipation of a masterpiece unfolding…but it just doesn’t seem to work. Well, millennials can relax, because now there is a new kind of knitting making it big on the wool scene and it is not only a simpler and more manageable process, it’s quick too. Experts say you can knock up a simple scarf using the techniques of arm knitting in less than an hour – while you’re watching your favourite TV programme, perhaps. There are over 40,000 posts dedicated to #armknitting on Instagram, showcasing everything from shawls, scarfs and shrugs to full on blankets and rugs. So what are the basics of this fascinating hobby?

The Basics Firstly, you use your arms and fingers, not needles as with standard knitting. There goes one of the tools that tend to stifle our success already. Secondly, you are working with much bigger and bulkier yarn so it’s a little less fiddly, there are also different textures of yarn depending on the project you are undertaking but generally it is just a magnified version of what we already associate with knitting. Thirdly, once you have cast on and are ready to go, you move through a process of passing the wool from one arm to the next creating thick loops and crosses as you go and forming the pattern of your piece. Finally, it’s usually something you complete all in one go, rather than setting it down and coming back to it later like with standard knitting, so make sure you have enough time to finish your project before you start – but don’t panic, it’s a really quick process once you have the knack! Ready to create quick, easy and cosy accessories for winter?

3. Cut your yarn: When measuring your yarn, it’s best to decide what length you need based on the pattern or project you attempt but for a beginner’s cowl scarf you’ll need approximately two skeins of the yarn at six arm lengths. 4. Cast on: To get ready for arm knitting, you need to first make a slip knot with your yarn and then pass it through onto your wrist. Hold the wool correctly with your other hand and cast on by passing the wool through and pull back to create your first loop. Repeat this process 10 times over.

Ready, steady, arm knit! Now you are ready to go, work through the yarn by passing the loops around your wrist over and back. You’ll move all 10 loops from your left to your right arm and repeat to make around 24 rows. Next you’ll need to cast off, stitch the ends of the scarf together loosely, and tidy any loose ends.


 Get Started! Watch an arm knitting tutorial at – see how to cast on and create a cowl scarf in minutes.

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LIVING No-fuss plants



Planting slow-growing foliage and hardy perennials which flower in winter will help give your garden the luscious look every gardener wants to achieve. If you carefully select plants with a slow grow rate, it means you benefit from a year-round flash of colour. Here are some examples of the best slow-growing plants:

We asked our green-fingered experts how to fulfil your autumn bloom while preparing for the winter months.


ummer is synonymous with gardening, and it seems even people who avoid the outdoors still can’t help but feel green-fingered during sunshine season. You’d be right in thinking the majority of gardening successes happen in the warmer months, but winter time is actually a great opportunity to start laying down the foundations for your garden to bloom all year round. David Jessop, Marshalls plc’s landscaping expert, shares some handy tips on how to prepare your garden for winter.

Low maintenance landscaping Sculpting your garden landscape needn’t be something reserved for the warmer months, as there are plenty of simple ways to create some interest in winter. Segment your outdoor space with an area of colour and consider adding railway sleepers. Robust and beautiful, introducing sleepers add both form and function into your garden, and imparts more height and texture in the colder months. Protection from the elements Plant positioning: With winters here in the UK

appearing to get wetter and wetter, flooding and water-logging could have a damaging impact on your garden. Help protect your plants and switch your foliage to raised beds – the added height helps keep the frost at bay. Pave the way: Choosing the right paving for your garden is an important factor to consider at all times of year, but when winter hits, the right paving can also act as a tool to protect your lovingly crafted outdoor space. You can help prevent flooding in your garden by installing permeable paving, allowing rain water to drain away quickly without the worry of it pooling or collecting on the surface.



With the ability to be shaped and cut into any form you desire, these shrubs offer the ultimate in flexibility. Whether you choose a contemporary finish with buxus planted in a uniformed style, or sporadically planted for a country chic style, this versatile plant can be the finishing touch to your garden.


Perfect for adding height and a touch of colour, winter-flowering heather gives a fantastic texture to both pots and planters, and comes in a variety of different shades, including pink, white and purple.


Considered to be the gardener’s staple, winter-flowering pansies add flashes of individual colour to hanging baskets, beds, and containers.


Beautiful in both colour and smell, lavender returns year after year and provides colour in all seasons. Perfect for the lazy gardener, lavender is incredibly low maintenance and only requires watering a couple of times a week.

Colourful containers Bright hues and lively prints don’t have to just be reserved for the summer months – there are simple ways of adding bursts of colour without tonnes of summertime perennials. Plant pots with a pop of colour help to keep your garden vibrant even in the darkest of seasons. Plastic planters with a bright hue will add immediate interest to your outdoor space if you’re looking to add green foliage. If neutral plant pots are more your thing, consider adding some winter flowering plants such as pansies and heather in there to give an extra pop of colour. For more low maintenance garden ideas, head over to the Marshalls ‘Inspire Me’ section

LIVING Staffordshire’s resident gardening expert, Anita Wright, shares her tips and tricks for brightening your garden this autumn. Herbs “After a hot and rather dry summer, some of our baskets and tubs are ready for a makeover. For both, herbs are a wonderful idea, especially with using them in the kitchen and on the BBQ, as it helps to keep the plants short and always with an abundance of fresh leaves. For baskets, all the Thymes are a must. They tumble over the edges and smell exciting, guaranteed to make your mouth water, plus they flower for months! Herbs grow well in poor soil, not too deep, another reason they’re good in hanging baskets! Plants with Marjoram, often known as Origanum Parsley Nasturtium, have lovely peppery leaves and the flowers filled with cottage cheese are a jewel in any salad. Plant a small Violet for colour, it will also grace any sponge cake or cold drink, and lastly try dwarf Borage, the flowers frozen in an ice cube look so delicate it's worth trying. All this and more can also be grown in a tub or tubs by your back door, not far to go when cooking.” Colour “Crocus, Iris, Cyclamen variegated Ivy, and dwarf Hosta all make a wonderful autumn display for hanging baskets, plant as soon as possible so they have time to establish before the summer hanging baskets have completely finished. Autumn flowering Heathers are plentiful and with a small evergreen or Dwarf Conifer in the centre, it makes a beautiful display for many months, ideal for a Heather lover who hasn't got a peaty acid soil known as ericaceous.”


Something a bit different

“It's just as important at this time of year to keep the garden weed free if possible. We all want our plants to perform well and by giving them the space they want, water and a light feed, you’ll find lots of varieties will keep flowering until the first frost we experience this winter! Your treasured blooms will be long finished now - you will have collected the seeds and stored them for next year but don’t forget to label them as a lot of the seeds will look the same six months on. Now you need to find something to fill that space for a few months…”

Alliums have been bang on trend this year plenty of new weird and wonderful species are coming on to the market and, if you dare, they make good cut flowers. Me, I like to see them growing! Allium Molly is a dainty little girl for planting in a rockery or pots but you can go right through to the enormous football size round-heads! There are about 300 species to choose from so why not give them a whirl for next year. Plant them to grow high above the wallflowers and yours will be a garden to visit!

Autumn blooms “Autumn flowering bulbs add colour and are usually reliable – Daffodils and Narcissi Tulips are probably the most popular, but also remember Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ and other varieties like Monarda and Rudbeckia ‘Green Wizard,’ which have a fabulous seed head too. Autumn is perhaps the time for Dahlia and home-grown Chrysanthemum - the really large ones are best. Lots of plants are now grown in large pots, Dahlia springs to mind. I've never before seen so many varieties at any one time. Vivid colours, which are show-stoppers for sure and instant gap fillers and it’s money well spent because come spring, they can be stored for use next year. Obelisks are also great - there are some beautiful shapes, colours and designs available. You can use on their own as a feature or use two in different sizes for more impact, go for a fantastic tall one but plainer in style and purchase one or even two of the many flowering Clematis available, they will give colour for months to come - and have the added bonus of lasting for years with careful pruning and will add height and colour to your garden.”

Seed Tin £15

Anita’s tips: Remember autumn can be hot and dry but the nights draw in and it can go chilly. It’s now time to plant bulbs. For most get them in early, the better the root system the stronger they grow and the better they flower. Don’t forget to clean the greenhouse glass to let in maximum light. Prepare for winter by cleaning pots and baskets ready to fill with winter flowering bulbs – the winter flowering Pansy is very popular but remember Heathers, Dwarf Conifer, Primulas, and Cyclem, and also add a few bulbs of the Crocus Scilla and Dwarf Narcissi to name just a few. Protect your greenhouse hardy and semi hardy plants. If you have a cold greenhouse then bubble wrap the interior but repair any broken or cracked pains first! This will keep the frost out to a degree and protects those plants that have been saved. Anita lives in Milford and opens her half-acre garden for the NGS twice a year and from May to September for groups and regularly features on BBC Radio Stoke with Terry Walsh. She is also a NAFAS (National Association Flowering Arranging Society) area demonstrator and teacher and holds classes in different areas of Staffordshire throughout the year. Contact her on

Autumn essentials

£24.95 Twine in a Tin £8.95

£5 Wilkinson

Planter £1 Wilkinson

ORLA KIELY Secateurs in Pouch £25 Black By Design

Journal £12 Paperchase

Narcissi Indoor Planter £14 National Trust

Kneeler £17.95

Gloves Multipack £6 National Trust w w w. s ta ffo rdsh i re l i vi n g.c o .u k


The Ultimate Driving Machine

DRIVEN BY AMBITION. FUELLED BY INNOVATION. Combining athletic elegance with exceptional driving dynamics, the new BMW 5 Series is now available from Knights North Staffordshire. Take a 48-hour test drive* to experience a completely seamless connection between car, road and the world around you. Pushing the frontiers of technology. The new BMW 5 Series is more connected and future -thinking than ever. BMW Head-up Display and a range of semi-autonomous driving features keep you safe yet relaxed on the road, while the BMW Display Key can be used to remotely park, check fuel levels and even set the cabin temperature before getting in.

Progressive design. Sporty and stylish, the new BMW 5 Series embodies success through quality design and precise attention to detail – whether driven for business or pleasure, an unmistakable road presence is guaranteed. What’s more, an impressive standard specification ensures aesthetic excellence and state-of-the-art technology go hand in hand.

Class-leading dynamics and efficiency. Where driving dynamics are concerned, the new BMW 5 Series combines power with intelligence. In each model, an aluminium chassis and near-perfect weight distribution promise a truly responsive drive. And, if lowering running costs is your primary concern, the BMW 530e plug-in hybrid model delivers impressively on efficiency without compromising on performance.

Industry recognition. Our latest model has already been recognised within the motoring industry. The new BMW 520d SE was named ‘Luxury Car’ and ‘Car of the Year’ at 2017’s What Car? Awards. The organisation said: ‘Pace, driving fun and practicality. The new BMW 5 Series is an all-round brilliant car that’s far better than the A6 and E-Class.’

To find out more or book a 48-hour test drive*, simply call Knights North Staffordshire on 03300 171633. Knights North Staffordshire Bede Road, Radial Park Stoke on Trent ST4 4GU


Official fuel economy figures for the new BMW 5 Series Saloon: Urban 29.7-64.2mpg (9.7-4.4l/100km). Extra Urban 47.8-78.4mpg (5.9-3.6l/100km). Combined 39.2-141.2mpg (7.2-2 l/100km) incl PHEV. CO2 emissions: 164-46g/km incl PHEV.

Figures are obtained in a standardised test cycle. They are intended for comparisons between vehicles and may not be representative of what a user achieves under usual driving conditions. *Test drive subject to applicant status and availability.

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04/08/2017 16:23


Spotlight IN THE

Wedding gift inspiration for a special couple

Hotel Chocolat Tasting Club 12 Month Subscription £195 Hotel Chocolat ^


Perfect for her bouquet

Jul ien Macdona l dV as

Laduree Love Candle £45 Amara

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Set of 6 Votives £10 Next

B&O PLAY by Bang & Olufson M5 Wireless Bluetooth Home Speaker £529.99 Very

For cosy nights, just for two... Personalised Print £29.99 ^

London Skyline Chess Set £80 The Great Gift Company

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COMING UP Here is a sneak peek at what’s to come in the November | December edition of Staffordshire Living

H I T T I NG S H E LV E S: 20th October

Modern mixology: the cocktails of the festive season

Lagom: the latest Scandinavian trend to swat up on

How to achieve the perfect office to party look

Plus, it’s our Christmas issue! With our biggest and best Christmas Gift Guide to date, delicious festive recipes, home decor tips and tricks, festive travel ideas and more!


ONLINE You can keep up with news, events and exclusive competitions at



The Ultimate Driving Machine

DRIVEN BY AMBITION. FUELLED BY INNOVATION. THE BMW 5 SERIES AVAILABLE AT KNIGHTS STOKE. BMW Select (PCP) Representative example: BMW 520d M Sport Saloon Automatic. Term of agreement

47 monthly payments

On the road cash price*

Customer deposit

Deposit contribution

Total deposit

Total amount of credit

Option to purchase fee^

Optional final payment^

Total amount payable

Rate of interest

48 months










3.9% fixed

Representative 3.9 % APR

To find out more or to book a test drive ¹ , please visit or call 03300 171633. KNIGHTS NORTH STAFFORDSHIRE

Radial Park, Bede Road, Stoke-on-Trent Staffordshire ST4 4GU 03300 171633 | Knights North Staffordshire is a credit broker and not a lender.

Finance example is for a BMW Select agreement for a BMW 520d M Sport Saloon Automatic, with a contract mileage of 32,000 miles and excess mileage charge of 10.07p. Applies to new vehicles ordered between 01 July 2017 and 30 September 2017 and registered by 30 September 2017, (subject to availability). Retail customers only. *On the road cash price is based on manufacturer’s recommended retail price and includes 3 years BMW Dealer Warranty, BMW Emergency Service, 12 months’ road fund licence, vehicle first registration fee, delivery, number plates and VAT. **Credit arrangement fee payable with first monthly payment and credit completion fee payable at the end of the agreement. ^Optional final payment and option to purchase fee not payable if you opt to return the vehicle at the end of the agreement (Vehicle condition, excess mileage and other charges may be payable). Finance available subject to credit acceptance to UK residents aged 18 or over Guarantees and indemnities may be required. Terms and conditions apply. Offer may be varied, withdrawn or extended at any time. ‘BMW Select’ is a form of hire-purchase agreement provided by BMW Financial Services (GB) Limited, Summit ONE, Summit Avenue, Farnborough, Hampshire GU14 0FB. You will have a 14 day statutory right to withdraw from the agreement. Knights North West Limited trading as Knights North Staffordshire commonly introduce customers to a selected panel of lenders including BMW Financial Services. We may receive commission or other benefits for introducing you to such lenders. This introduction does not amount to independent financial advice.1 Test drive subject to status and availability.

Staffordshire Living September/October 2017 - Issue 79  
Staffordshire Living September/October 2017 - Issue 79