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25/5/11 10:14:44 25.05.2011 08:59 Rival Colour LTD


❝Women

make the best ❞ gardeners Who says so? None other than Alan Titchmarsh, the nation’s favourite man of the soil!

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y star chat y e’s famous for his TV and radio shows, his books and most of all his gardening, but in his latest volume, there’s an unexpected accolade – in the flower beds and borders, it’s the skirts who wear the trousers. “Women are much more organised and knowledgeable about gardening than men,” he admits in Tales From the Titchmarsh, which he describes as ‘a sideways look at gardening.’ It’s a selection of his much-loved columns for Gardeners’ World magazine. “Some go back 20 years,” he says. “I was re-reading them and thinking, ‘heck, did I ever write that?’ I’ve left it to the publishers to choose which to put in the book, but they include my musings on such topics as plant snobbery, men on macho lawn mowers, gardeners and cats, and how I think women, on the whole, make better gardeners than men.” When Alan lays down his trowel and the cameras are switched off, there are two other things incredibly close to his heart – his family and his country. “I am incredibly proud to be British,” Alan (61) says. “It’s in my DNA. I love this country with a passion. It’s not something I put on. I’m a great champion of its variety and riches – we’re all so lucky to have them – and I simply couldn’t live anywhere else. “Although I like escaping abroad for a few weeks in the winter to get some sun on my bones, I always prefer to stay in Britain over the summer. This country of ours is so beautiful, why on earth would I wish to go anywhere else? Where’s the joy in staring out at a parched beach and some sea for two weeks when you can be out exploring and walking in the midst of our glorious, diverse countryside? “I’m hugely patriotic about our landscape, especially the Isle Of Wight with its marvellous rocky cliffs, wonderful beaches, rolling

H

downs and exhilarating walks. There’s a lovely walk across Aston Down. It’s like the spine of the island – you can see both sides of it from up there and it’s a glorious walk. I’m lucky to have a second home on the island.” So presumably Alan and Alison, his wife of 36 years, will be spending time there this summer? “A bit of time, yes,” he replies. “But we’ll be at home a lot, too, which means we’ll still get to see something of our two daughters, Polly (32) and Camilla (30). “They’ve left home now, of course, but fortunately don’t live too far away so once or twice a week we’ll have supper together or they’ll come round for Sunday lunch. My family are the basis and raison d’être of my life, and I hope I’m a good dad. I reckon that means I keep out of their hair yet I’m always there when they need me. “There’s no sign of it happening yet, but I’m hugely looking forward to being a granddad. I’m intrigued by the whole thing; how there’s always enough love to go round. When you have your first child, you can never imagine loving another child as much, but you just do when the next one comes along. The love doubles. “I’m thinking it’ll be the same with grandchildren and a whole new family dynamic. We’ll be cograndparenting this little person with other people. How will that work out? Well, I think. We get on great with the in-laws!” His hugely popular TV chat show is off-air for the summer,

‘This country of ours is so beautiful. Why on earth would I wish to go anywhere else?’

Alan and wife Alison love the Isle of Wight (inset)

returning in September, but fortunately for fans, that doesn’t mean the TV will be Titchmarsh-free. “My new gardening programme starts on ITV1 on June 10,” he says. “It’s called Love Your Garden and we’re concentrating on small but beautiful different kinds of gardens. I want it to be a programme that will make even the most unconfident and uninspired gardeners go, ‘Gosh! I can do that.’ It’s about how to make the best of what you’ve got.” Alan’s been gardening in a professional capacity for more than 40 years but he’s just as keen as ever. “Keener probably,” he laughs. “I find myself enjoying it more and more. It’s not like a job and never has been. My own garden is a tremendous solace to me – I don’t know what I’d do without it. Whenever I’ve got any spare time, you’ll always find me pottering around out there.” “I find the whole psychology surrounding gardening quite fascinating and I hope that comes through in the book. I just hope people who read the columns get as much pleasure as I did from re-reading them.” It’s a given, we’d say. D Tales from the Titchmarsh is published on June 9 (Hodder and Stoughton, £16.99). YOURS

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PICS: REx FEaTURES

By Alison James

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y mum in a million y

❝I fostered more th By Carole Richardson he silence in Jean Kentish’s house is still deafening her. For more than half a century, babies have babbled constantly in the background as she’s carried out her daily routine. But reluctantly in March last year, weeks before her 75th birthday, she tearfully waved goodbye to her final foster baby. Like all the others, two photographs of the little boy, who’d been placed in her care at just five hours old, were put into her special album. He was baby number 108 – not counting 106 more tots to teens who have passed through her care. And for someone who once feared a life without children, Jean – who has five of her own including three who are adopted – laughingly has to admit: “I haven’t done too badly, have I?” Exactly a year after meeting at her sister’s wedding, Jean and Jim were married – and planning a family. “I was the eldest of three and Jim was an only child, but we both wanted four children,” recalls Jean, who was then training to be a nurse. “I’ve always loved babies. Even as a child, real babies

T

Just the two of us: Jean and Jim on their wedding day

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As a young bride, Jean Kentish’s arms ached for a baby. Now 76, she’s had to say ‘no more’ but would do it all again…

Natasha with her ‘fantastic mum’ Jean and her own children, Jade and Carl

were better than dolls. At 11, I spent weekends helping a neighbour with twins and at 16 loved weighing the babies in the chemist’s where I worked. There were no baby clinics back then.” After unsuccessfully trying for a family for a year, the pair were devastated Jean wasn’t pregnant. “It felt like the end of the world for us,” she admits. One friend suggested they foster and at 23, Jean became a foster mum. Desperate for ‘one to keep’ they applied to adopt and were thrilled to get six-week-old Steven, now 48. Shocked to discover she was pregnant five weeks later, their first biological child, John (now 47) followed. “Suddenly I had two babies under one!” They carried on fostering while trying to fulfil their dream of four. After an ectopic pregnancy, they’d almost given up hope when Martin (now 43) was born. While yearning for a little girl to complete the family, Christine (now 39) arrived for emergency fostering. When Jean phoned Jim, an engineer, at work, he

dashed home, asking: ‘Where is she?’ “That was it. We both fell in love with this beautiful mixed race baby, so we adopted her too!” Their own family of four was complete, but foster children kept on coming. “I could never say no or turn a child away and I always loved having babies best. Giving them back – usually after nine months – has always been hard; I’ve cried over every one. People say you must get used to it, but you never do.” When Natasha arrived, there was no question of giving her back. A withdrawn little girl when placed at 11 months, Jean and Jim treated her as their own and were upset when she was offered for adoption at two and a half. “It’s no good; I can’t part with her…” she told Jim. “She’d learnt to trust us and had really come out of herself. Being mixed race, I thought she’d be a lovely sister for Christine…” Had it not been for a promise made to Jim, who died 13 years ago, her brood might have been even bigger. Despite Natasha being one more child than they’d

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than 200 children!❞

planned, Jim – thinking in more practical terms – agreed to keep her on condition Jean didn’t ask to keep any more foster children. As soon as she promised, his response was: “All right then…” Incredibly, they continued fostering at their Borehamwood council home in Hertfordshire and Jean reckons she’s probably changed literally hundreds of thousands of nappies. “I had my routine and Jim always helped me. We had three sets of twins – including a pair given at six weeks old. He’d feed one at night; I fed the other.” Proudly, Jim escorted Jean to Buckingham Palace in 1995

when she received the MBE for her services to children. After his death, she fostered another 21 babies alone. But admitted to hospital for an emergency hernia operation in March 2010, her last was placed in a new home and she didn’t want to unsettle him again. “After nearly 52 years of fostering, I hate being without babies and can’t bear to sort out the spare room, which is still full of cot, pram and baby clothes,” she admits. “It is so quiet. “I’m fortunate I’ve always had good babies who’ve slept through by seven or eight weeks,” she adds. “Children just need lots of love and patience. I have never

smacked any of the children – or needed to. I’ve always found talking is enough. My own mum was very placid, patient and loving. I must get it from her.” More than 200 children have reason to be grateful for that. Several keep in touch and one even gave her daughter the name Jean in her honour. And Natasha – now a 33-yearold mum-of-two herself – said: “She’s always been there for me and she never treated any of her children any differently, adopted or not. We’re a close family with a strong bond. My children, Carl (12) and Jade (9) idolise her. She’s been a fantastic mum and still is.” YOURS

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PICS: lUCINda maRlaNd/UNP

‘I could never say no and turn a child away’

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COmPlETE BEa Get ready to hit the beach in style this summer – whatever your shape or size

By Michelle Nightingale

flatten a tummy

hide bigger hips

D Our lovely model Pat wears: kaftan, £16, 1224, Bonmarché; necklace, £2, Primark; hat, £12, Bhs

StockiStS: Bhs 0845 196 0000; Bonmarché 01924 700 100; Debenhams 0844 800 8877; F&F at Tesco 0800 505 555; Fifty Plus 0871 231 2000; George at Asda 0800 952 0101; Isme 0844 811 8112; M&Co 0800 031 7200; Marisota 0871 984 6000; Matalan 0845 330 3330; Monsoon 0844 811 0068; Next 0844 844 8939; Simply Yours 0871 231 2000; Tu at Sainsbury’s 0800 636 262. Details correct at time of going to press

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D Floppy hat, £14, Next; tummy control swimsuit, £22, 10-22, Bhs; print kaftan, £26, 6-20, Next; metal trim sandal, £30, 3-8, Sophie Gray at Bhs

D Striped floppy hat, £14, Next; turquoise print swimdress, £19, 12-26, Bonmarché; embellished kaftan, £16, 8-22, Tu at Sainsbury’s; white bow sandals, £25, 4-9 (available in EEE fit), Viva la diva marisota

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Style notes

EaCH lOOkS

D Straw floppy hat, £15, marisota; embellished swimsuit, £12, 8-22, George at asda; tropical print kaftan, £45, 8-20, Star by Julien macdonald at Debenhams; gold sandals, £8, 3-8, F&F at Tesco

D Oversized sun hat, £14, m&Co; print tankini top, £12, 12-24, and plain black brief, £7, 12-24, both Bonmarché; resort zebra print kaftan £35, 10-24, Isme; tribal cuff gladiator sandal, £14, 3-8, matalan

D White hat, £5, F&F at Tesco; classic spotty swimsuit, £39, 12-32, Simply Yours; sequin tunic, from £35, 12-32, Fifty Plus; white flower sandals, £28, 4-9 (available in EEE fit), marisota

D Floral band trilby, £5, F&F at Tesco; instant beach body swimsuit, £32, 10-22, Bhs; white print kaftan, £65, one size, monsoon; tan weave sandal, £8, 3-8, matalan

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PHOTOGRaPHY RUTH JENkINSON, STYlING JO WINCH, HaIR aND makE-UP SaRaH JaNE GREEN aND OlIVIa FERRER.

suits bigger busts

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Style notes

Cellulite b – do they real 1

2

Weleda Birch Cellulite

The Sanctuary Spa Professional Sculpting Anti-Cellulite Treatment

Oil

By Jade Pickering

(£14.95/100ml) Linda Grime, (62) from Oldham, says: Light and refreshing, this oil was a treat for dry legs. Using WINNER a combination of plant extract and oils, it promised to improve the texture of my skin visibly and it didn’t disappoint. After applying to my thighs, my skin felt softer and more hydrated. Within eight weeks the appearance of my cellulite had reduced slightly and my legs felt firmer – even my husband noticed a difference. I used a body brush too, which I think encouraged the product to work harder. I’d definitely buy this product again – it firmed my thighs, reduced my cellulite and smelt gorgeous, too. 9/10

(£13.53/200ml) Susan McCauley, (57) from Cumbria, says: This gel claimed to break down the fatty deposits in my skin and encourage better circulation, so I was eager to try it. I loved how it felt on my skin and after using it twice a day for three weeks my skin looked smoother and firmer. After eight weeks my skin was still improving, but unfortunately my cellulite hadn’t changed. I wouldn’t buy this product, because although it improved my skin texture I’d hoped for better results. 6/10

Top tips to fight cellulite There are a number of factors which contribute to cellulite, so follow our tips to reduce that orange peel skin from the inside. D Go for a brisk walk to get your heart pumping, burn fat and increase your muscle tone. D Massage your body daily with a large flat body brush. Start at the ankles moving upwards using circular motions towards your heart. 42

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D Drink plenty of water to help flush out toxins and reduce water retention and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables to improve your skin tone. D Avoid caffeine and sugary drinks, which can build up toxins in your skin and cause cellulite.

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e busters 3

BEST FOr FirMiNG

4

L’Oréal Paris Body Expertise Perfect Slim (£11.22/200ml) Pamela Brown, (66) from Nottingham, says: Easy to apply, sinks in quickly and has a pleasant smell, but it didn’t really do the trick. It contains fibre-elastyl, which it says helps reduce the appearance of orange peel skin and improve firmness, but it didn’t do either. The only way I think it would work is if it is used in conjunction with a lot of exercise. After using the product for eight weeks my thighs felt softer but there was no visible difference. I wouldn’t buy it because I could get away with using a body moisturiser.

Templespa Go Figure AntiCellulite and Slimming Gel (£25/150ml) Christine Harris (70), from Kent, says: Despite the slightly tacky feeling it leaves on your skin, this gel was light and had an invigorating smell. It claimed to break down fat and firm and tighten the thigh area but there was no instant change. After three days the tops of my legs looked firmer and softer. I also increased my daily water intake when trialling this product, which may have helped boost results. I think £25 is expensive, but it gave fantastic results, so worth splashing out on as a treat.

4/10

6

5

Jean d’Estrées Stubborn Cellulite Control Booster Concentrate

Avon Solutions Cellu-Sculpt Massaging Anti-Cellulite Treatment

(£12/150ml) Patricia Blakeman (61) from Birmingham says: Avon promised to reduce the appearance of my cellulite and boost circulation by combining roller balls and cream together. It looks a little technical, but it was really easy to use, although the metal balls felt cold and left a slight tingly sensation. I applied it twice a day to my thighs and bum, but didn’t see much of a result. After eight weeks, my skin felt softer but there was no change in the appearance of my cellulite. I was sceptical about cellulite creams before and this 5/10 just wasn’t for me.

(£38/200ml) June Forrester, (50) from Haywards Heath, says: This gel smelt gorgeous! It was light and easy to use and I loved how it left a subtle coating on the skin, which made my legs look smoother. It contains Biosculptine, an ingredient that claims to eliminate toxins in the skin and stop fatty tissues forming. After a couple of weeks of testing, my skin texture improved but there wasn’t a huge difference to my cellulite. It didn’t visibly reduce the appearance of my cellulite, but I would buy it again, because it’s great for improving skin texture just in time for summer. 8/10

8/10

StockiStS: Avon 0845 601 4040 www. avonshop.com; Jean d’Estrées www. screenglam.com; L’Oréal 0800 072 6699; Templespa www.templespa.com; The Sanctuary Spa www.thesanctuary.co.uk; Weleda 0115 944 8222 www.weleda.co.uk; Details correct at time of going to press

Before showing off your summer body on the beach, turn to page 44 for some of our favourite beach looks to suit any shape or size. YOURS

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PIC: GETTY IMAGES

ally work?

BEST FOr Luxury

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Ask us anything… about staying fit at 50-plus

Your complete healt Give your health a thorough overhaul with our guide

to staying fighting

IN YOUR

50s

EssEntial hEalth chEc ks M ake t ime

to re la x tack le me no p au s a l symp toms G e t ch e cke d for diabe te s

Say goodbye to stress If you feel you’re being pushed from pillar to post with caring commitments, looking after your grandchildren, part-time work or just juggling a busy social calendar, it’s no wonder you feel worn out at times. Beat stress by indulging in a little ‘me’ time – just 15 minutes of relaxation a day is enough to help recharge those batteries. And don’t forget to make time for a good night’s sleep which will help to destress you mentally as well as physically.

Beat the menopausal slump Combat menopausal symptoms with a few simple lifestyle changes. “Avoid foods and drinks such as tea, coffee, alcohol and chocolate that are likely to trigger or worsen hot flushes – especially in the evening if you want to banish night sweats,” says Claire Kerr, Head of Healthcare Development for Lloydspharmacy. “Feeling tired and irritable are common symptoms so combat tiredness by not snacking on sugary foods as the sharp rise in your blood glucose level will be followed by a sharp dip, leaving you feeling

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even more drained.” Instead, choose healthy, energy-boosting snacks, such as almonds and walnuts.

Tackle diabetes Now is a good time to visit your GP for a diabetes check. Alternatively, Lloydspharmacy has a free, quick and easy diabetes check-up service that enables you to find out if you are at risk and, if necessary, refer you to your GP. “There are also lots of diet and lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk of diabetes,” explains Claire. “Eating in moderation, sticking to regular mealtimes and including a variety of fruit, vegetables and whole grains in your diet will all help, as will keeping your weight in check and staying active.” “If you do have diabetes, cut back on refined carbohydrates such as cakes, sweets, biscuits and sugary drinks and exercise to control your weight, lower your blood sugar and also lower your risk of heart disease which is a common complication of diabetes.

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Did you

know?

Four slices of Edam cheese contain enough calcium for your body’s daily need

lth guide at 50, 60 & 70+

fighting fit – whatever your age

IN YOUR

60s

By michelle nightingale

Be kind to your bones

The female hormone oestrogen helps protect your bones, but during and after the menopause production slows down so it’s important to take extra care of your bone health at this time. “Try to increase your intake of bone-building calcium to compensate for the lack of oestrogen that makes you more at risk of developing osteoporosis,” says Claire. Don’t just rely on dairy foods to get your calcium quota, try green veg such as broccoli, kale, cabbage and watercress as well as dried fruit, including figs and dates. It’s also important to ensure that you get enough Vitamin D as without this your body can’t absorb calcium effectively. Most of our Vitamin D comes from exposure to sunlight, but top up your levels by eating oily fish, eggs and fortified breakfast cereals.

EssEntial hEalth chEc ks Eat c a lcium-r

ich fo o ds Bo ok a h e art h e a lt h as se s sme n t

Eat to re duce yo u r ch ole s te

keep cholesterol levels in check

If you’re going through the menopause or experiencing post-menopausal symptoms, keep a close eye on your general health because after the menopause you’re more at risk of some health complaints, including heart disease. “Changes in oestrogen levels may affect your heart health, so ensure you follow a healthy lifestyle to keep your heart happy,” says Claire. Book yourself in for a cardiovascular health risk assessment to have your cholesterol, glucose levels and blood pressure checked. Lifestyle factors, as well as your age, sex and family health history will all be taken in to consideration to assess your risk of heart disease.

“Two in three people in the UK have raised cholesterol levels, which puts them at more risk of heart disease,” says Claire. “To help reduce your cholesterol levels, you need to cut down on saturated fats and instead use unsaturated fats such as olive, rapeseed or sunflower oils as well as reducing the total amount of fat you eat. And go easy on the amount of alcohol you drink, women shouldn’t drink more than one to two units a day.” Aim to follow a healthy, balanced diet, use less salt and include lots of fibre from fruit and veg in your diet.

PICS: ThInkSToCk; maSTerfIle; geTTy ImageS

have a healthy heart

Turn the page for more advice YOURS

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rol

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Ballerina cardigan Granddaughters will steal the show in this cute ballerina cardigan – in practical coloured stripes FOR KNITTERS wITh A LITTLE ExpERIENCE

★★

TENSION NOTES Figures in brackets refer to larger sizes (see measurements chart above, right). Where one set of figures is given, this applies to all sizes. If a zero is given, this means you do not need to work these instructions. Circle the size you wish to make before you start.

MATERIALS For long-sleeved cardigan: 3 (3:4:4:6:7) 50g balls of Snuggly Smiley Stripes DK wood (yarn F089, shade 252) For short-sleeved cardigan: 2 (2:3:3:4:4) 50g balls of Snuggly Smiley Stripes DK wool (yarn F089, shade 252) Pair of each 4mm (UK8) and 3.25mm (UK10) knitting needles 60cm (233⁄4in) ribbon 1 press-stud fastener Also suitable for Snuggly DK, Snuggly Baby Bamboo DK and Snuggly Baby Crofter DK. Yarn amounts may vary and are based on average requirements when specified tension and yarn is used. 94

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MEASUREMENTS Age 0-6 6-12 1-2 2-3 4-5 6-7 months months years years years years To fit chest 41 46 51 56 61 16 18 20 22 24 Actual measurement 41 46 51 56 61 16 18 20 22 24 Full length ( approximately) 18 22 24 25 29 7 91⁄2 93⁄4 111⁄2 83⁄4 Long sleeve length (adjustable) 15 17 20 24 29 8 6 91⁄2 111⁄2 61⁄2 Short sleeve length 2 2 2 2 2

22 sts and 28 rows =10cm/4in over stocking stitch on 4mm needles or the size required to give correct tension. Always check tension carefully and adjust needle size if necessary. It is essential to work to the stated tension to ensure success.

ABBREVIATIONS alt – alternate; beg – beginning; cm – centimetres; cont – continue; dec – decrease(ing); DK – double knitting; foll – following; g –grammes; in – inch(es); inc – increase(ing); k – knit; mm – millimetres; 0 – no stitches or rows; patt – pattern; p – purl; rem –remain(ing); rep – repeat; RS – right side; st(s) – stitch(es); st-st – stocking stitch; tog – together; WS – wrong side

BACK Using 3.25mm needles cast on 45 (51:56:62:67:73) sts. 1st row knit. This row will now be referred to as g-st (garter stitch). Work 5 rows more in g-st. Change to 4mm needles.

3

⁄4

3

⁄4

3

⁄4

3

⁄4

3

⁄4

66 26

cm in

66 26

cm in

33 13

cm in

33 13

cm in

2

cm in

3

⁄4

1st row knit. 2nd row purl. These 2 rows will now be referred to as st-st (stocking stitch). Working in st-st throughout work 16 (24:28:28:36:44)rows more in st-st. Shape armholes Work 5 (5:5:6:6:6) rows dec one stitch at each end of every row. 35 (41:46:50:55:61) sts. Cont without shaping until armholes measure 10 (11:12:13:14:15)cm/ 4 (41⁄4:41⁄2:51⁄4:51⁄2:6)in, ending with a WS row. Shape shoulders Cast off 4 (5:6:7:7:8) sts at beg of next 2 rows. 27 (31:34:36:41:45) sts. Cast off 5 (6:6:7:7:9) sts at beg of next 2 rows. 17 (19:22:22:27:27) sts. Cast off rem 17 (19:22:22:27:27) sts.

LEFT FRONT Using 3.25mm needles cast on 45 (51:56:62:67:73) sts. Work 6 rows in g-st.

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yours magazine 116