Absolutely Buckinghamshire April 2024

Page 1

Buckinghamshire PLUS


The Buckingham singer causing hearts to flutter


Ten of the best places in Bucks to enjoy spring


Meeting some of the county’s top Headteachers

In the NAVY

APRIL 2024 / £3.95
AD - ROBERT GATWARD.indd 2 22/03/2024 10:53



























www.qas.org.uk/visit Discoverexcellenteducation atQueenAnne’s. Kind Hearts. Strong Spirits. Fierce Minds. JOINUSFOROPENMORNING Saturday11May2024 01189187333
Follow Us On Facebook @ABSOLUTELYBUCKINGHAMSHIRE Twitter @ABSOLUTELYBUCKS Instagram @ABSOLUTELYBUCKSANDBERKS Website absolutelymagazines.com For editorial enquiries please email: mark@zest-media.com For advertising enquiries please call 07977 195732 or email: abi@zest-media.com 124 City Road, London, EC1V 2NX, London N1 7EU; 020 7704 0588 Zest Media Publications Ltd. cannot accept responsibility for unsolicited submissions, manuscripts and photographs. While every care is taken, prices and details are subject to change and Zest Media Publications Ltd. take no responsibility for omissions or errors. We reserve the right to publish and edit any letters. All rights reserved.
44 66 APRIL 2024 CULTURE 20 AGENDA The best events in April 22 LADYBYRD The Buckingham singer is the next big thing 26 TEN OF THE BEST Spots to make the most of spring FOOD & DRINK 42 TASTING NOTES The latest foodie news 44 ADAM SMITH On revamping The Barn at Coworth Park FASHION & BEAUTY 50 THE SHOOT Jane's SS24 at Ambers of Amersham 55 JEWELLERY The Artisan approach to design INTERIORS 66 STUDIO DUGGAN Launch their latest collection 71 ORIGIN The benefits of an indoor swimming pool 73 TREND The latest in paint for the home 75 BATHROOMS Five of the best looks 81 GOOD ENERGY Sustaining our homes for the future EDUCATION 90 LEADING HEADS Eight pages dedicated to the county's educational champions 107 WORLD BOOK DAY How our schools celebrated ABSOLUTELYMAGAZINES.COM The online guide to inspirational local living ABSOLUTELY Contents ON THE COVER Jane SS24 (janeatelier.com) 50 13 ABSOLUTELY magazines
Park For boys 11-18 www.mtsn.org.uk Scan to book your place OPPORTUNITY since 1561
2024 10:00am to 12:30pm
Saturday 11th May

LETTER Editor’s


Talking Heads

We meet the county's educational leaders (p90)

ABSOLUTELY’S April issue highlights

Anyone who knows me, knows I do not like winter. Which I find a bit strange as growing up I played football whenever I could and that, of course, is essentially a winter sport. But I vividly remember one game, when I must have been about 14, that was played in relentless rain and it was about minus two. It was a cup match, went to extra time, I got injured, and trooped off to the changing room to find the heating wasn't on and the showers didn't work. I had never felt so miserable.

Maybe that memory has lingered as I truly hate the cold now. And, yes, I am still involved in football, now a coach so I can't even run around to get warm. So when spring rears its beautiful head, the smile spreads across my face and I prepare to put away the hats, scarves, jumpers and coats.

To mark this wonderful time, we have picked out the best places in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire to enjoy spring weather. I shall be heading off to every single one of them

4 Trend


Collect Celebrating an artistic anniversary (p32)
1 Top 10 Places to make the most of spring (p26)
Ladybyrd The Buckingham singer is hot stuff (p22)
the home
15 ABSOLUTELY magazines
The best in ceramics for


10 things we Absolutely love



Samantha Siu creates bold, intricately designed jewellery pieces that spread a message of goodwill and last a lifetime. Each piece is inspired by her travels. samanthasiu.com


Estee Lauder's new Sabyasachi lipsticks come in gilded cases emblazoned with the Bengal tiger in celebration of India. Each shade is named for the Subcontinent: this is Bengal Rouge, £53. esteelauder.co.uk


This ruby and diamond OPEIA pendant from Berry's Jewellers belongs to a celestial-inspired collection of handmade designs by their in-house designer Emily Rose, £5,695. berrysjewellers.co.uk


The Valentina exudes sophistication. With its subtle combination of gold, champagne and white, it looks right at home on the smartest of social occasions, yet equally so on the school run. marloewatchcompany.com

16 ABSOLUTELY magazines


Legs in bright colours are a major trend and we love the selection at UK Tights, £4.99. uktights.com



Fatso's rule-breaking dark chocolate comes in four delicious fl avour combinations. We love Morn'n Glory with its cornfl akes and marmelade, £6.75. sofatso.com


Casa by Josephine Jenno's stylish scalloped tea plates in rosy red create a sense of occasion with a side of fun, £99 for four. casabyjj.com


Diptyque's Do Son pays tribute to the heritage of Vietnamese culture with a harmonious blend of tuberose, jasmine and orange blossom notes, and a new limited edition collection shrouds it all in red. diptyqueparis.com


Vibrant colours, subtle geometries and exquisitely detailed patterns –this is the Pam Weinstock lifestyle. Shaped by far-flung travels, every print is an ode to continents roamed and each creation is testament to a deep love for photography and exploration. pamweinstock.com


Fabulous, French lingerie set including a padded plunge bra and tanga (set £172). Exquisite embroidery and lace gives it that old school glamour look. odettelingerie.co.uk

#YourPlaceAtCC #CCSeniorBoys
Morning 28
2024 | 9am BOOK NOW Op en
9am #CCSeniorGirls BOOK NOW www.clairescourt.com here our place is Y
Open Morning
June 2024 |


Oscar Wilde


Experience the brilliance of Oscar Wilde in this revival of the critically acclaimed play 'The Importance of Being Oscar.' From socialite to outcast this is a beautiful tribute woven with the wit and wisdom of Wilde's iconic work.

Directed by Michael Fentiman (Jekyll & Hyde and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe) and co-produced with Original Theatre. Don't miss this Wilde-ly entertaining night of theatre! readingrep.com

Agenda 20 • Ladybyrd 22 • Top 10... Spring 26
19 ABSOLUTELY magazines

The Agenda


Danny & Fox Easter


The Roald Dahl Museum will be celebrating the great outdoors this Easter with storytelling, crafts and walks inspired by Danny the Champion of the World and Fantastic Mr Fox. Sculpt a Fantastic Feast out of clay or construct a caravan for Danny out of junk. Listen to storytelling from the books and join in with all sorts of nature-related actions and noises. You can also pick up your free trail to explore the galleries. This is what the Easter holidays were made for.



Julie Bennett

Until 23 April


Julie Bennett’s bold, unapologetically confident works are tightly cropped, inviting the viewer to focus solely on the face and the physicality of paint. In contrast to the contrived perfection of digital imagery, Bennett wants to leave the viewer in no doubt that they are looking at a painting when they see her work. arlington-arts.com


Bootleg Beatles

6 April


Regarded the world over as being the Gold standard of Tribute, the Bootleg Beatles return for another nostalgic whirlwind trip through the 60s. With fastidious attention to detail, the band manage to spectacularly recreate the sound and look of the Fab Four through each iconic phase of their illustrious career, with what can only be described as uncanny authenticity. Their rave reviews say it all. whatsonreading.com/hexagon

20 ABSOLUTELY magazines


This Fractured Land

Until 7 July


In this fascinating new exhibition at Discover Bucks Museum, five visual artists explore the changing landscape of England from di erent perspectives. Inspired by its history and imaginative power, the artists – Lian Chan, Ellie Laycock, Jane Peacock, Ellie Reid and Caroline Thomson – look at the land from a geological, historical, social and mythological point of view. discoverbucksmuseum.org

The All About Dogs Show returns to Newbury this month


2-6 April


The legendary production of Susan Hill’s chilling ghost story The Woman in Black comes to Milton Keynes Theatre direct from London’s West End, after an incredible 33-year run at the Fortune Theatre. The production will star Malcolm James as Arthur Kipps and Mark Hawkins as The Actor. Malcolm James returns to The Woman in Black having first played Arthur Kipps on a UK Tour and then at the Fortune Theatre. miltonkeynes-theatre.co.uk

This Month’s Must See

Edinburgh Previews

Reading Rep have a weekend of belly laughs waiting just for you! Catch big name comedy stars ahead of their performances at Edinburgh Fringe. From Huge Davies (Cats Does Countdown) to Lou Sanders (Dancing On Ice, Task Master), not forgetting Bella Hull (pictured), one of the UK’s most exciting young comedians, plus many more. With tickets just £12, what are you waiting for? readingrep.com

Bring your dog to the Newbury Showground on 13-14 April for a weekend packed with exciting arena displays, expert advice, shopping and lots of have-a-go activities – and if you don’t have a dog, there’s plenty of fun for humans too. Your ticket to the All About Dogs Show Newbury will also give you access to the Newbury Garden Show on the same day of entry. Win a rosette in one of the fun dog shows which take place over the weekend. With four Fun Dog Show rings and almost 50 classes to enter, could your dog walk away with the coveted Best in Show trophy?

Join in with a whole selection of fun have-a-go activities. From agility and dock diving to flyball and fastest recall, there's going to be plenty of opportunities for you and your dog to take part and have fun together at the Newbury show. Absolutely is also looking forward to the Meet the Breed section of the show. They are delighted to welcome The Barbet Club GB to this year's Newbury Show. The Barbet breed (pictured) was first recognised in the UK in 2018 and is steadily increasing in numbers. You can also see the Association of Nihon-Ken. Learn about the six native Japanese breeds all designated as 'Natural Living Monuments' of Japan – the Akita Inu, Hokkaido Ken, Kai Ken, Kishu Ken, Shiba Inu and Shikoku Ken. And have you ever wanted to meet a Siberian Husky or Alaskan Malamute? Then don’t miss the chance to meet Saints Sled Dog Rescue, where you'll be able to get up close to the beautiful dogs.

BARKING allaboutdogsshow.co.uk/newbury
“My sound now is this bold, cinematic pop. I am inspired by film music, but I also love electronic elements”
22 ABSOLUTELY magazines


She has nearly 200,000 TikTok likes and 400,000 Spotify streams of her songs released so far — and she hasn’t even graduated from university. Meet Buckinghamshire singer-songwriter Ladybyrd

The future looks exciting for 20-yearold musician

Ladybyrd. The singer-songwriter

– real name

Madeleine “Mimi”

Pearson-Gee – has recently wrapped on recording vocals for a song on a TV soundtrack by Mission: Impossible’s composer, prompted by a chance meeting with Tom Cruise. She’s also released a new single, the anthemic Way Back Home, with the music video having already garnered over 50,000 views on YouTube. Her debut album, which has seen her collaborate with songwriter and producer Ian Barter (who has worked with artists including Amy Winehouse and Paloma Faith), is due to be released in early 2025.

“It’s about the last two years of my life –growing up, moving to London and struggling

with di erent things like insomnia, mental health challenges and complex relationships,” she explains. “I wrote most of the songs in the studio – I sat down and was kind of overwhelmed by the past few years and how my life has changed and developed, and I was like: ‘I need to write about this.’ I would say my sound now is kind of this bold, cinematic pop. I am really inspired by film music and I love orchestration, but I also love electronic elements – synths and stu like that.”

Way Back Home has been described as “at once intimate and explosive, in turns delicate and defiant”. The sensuality of Lana Del Rey is said to meet the drama of Florence Welch in a world inspired by symphonic film scores, with lyrics including “And I will find my way back home to you / My way back home to you / Did you ever really let go? / It’s not like I can let go now”. “The song was written primarily trying to create strong emotion about wanting to find your way back to a specific person or

a specific place,” Ladybyrd says. “Even when I was writing it though, I was thinking: ‘I want to find my way back to myself.’ Most of my other songs are way more about specific things in my life, but with this one, people can leave it up to interpretation.”

Ladybyrd’s music career to date has seen her gain over 150,000 likes on the social media platform TikTok, support the musician Tom Speight and play with BBC Music Introducing and at venues including the Clapham Grand and The Camden Club in London. It’s a career that’s balanced alongside life as a university student, with the 20-year-old also studying for a degree in history and international relations from King’s College London. “I think my degree stimulates another side of me,” she says. “Overall, I’m super thankful to be living the life I am, to be able to study at such an amazing place and to be able to pursue my music in the way I am.”

ABSOLUTELY magazines 23

Ladybyrd hails from Buckingham, having moved to the town from Oxford when she was around seven-years-old. “My dad’s the vicar of Buckingham Parish Church,” notes the former Stowe School head girl. “I grew up in quite a musical family, and I understood music and listened to it from a young age because my dad was always playing the piano.”

Indeed, it was family who influenced Ladybyrd’s stage name. “My grandad called my mum Ladybird as a nickname,” she says. “I never met my grandad, but my mum then called me Ladybird and Ladybug when I was growing up. The spelling’s slightly di erent, and that’s inspired by the British composer William Byrd.”

When the musician was a child, her father suggested that she write her own songs. “I started writing more and more songs about loads of di erent things – about my own life, about characters from books, etc – and I thought: ‘This is something I can actually do,’” she remembers. “I then got a school music scholarship and I started to work with people who could produce music there, and I learnt to produce music and create my own demos.”

Following lockdown (which saw her write a song a day for four months) and after leaving school, Ladybyrd moved to London and threw herself into di erent jobs, including modelling. “I had a bit of an up-and-down relationship with modelling – I struggled with it at times, I would say,” she recalls. “I was in London and kind of on my own on my gap year – it was a bit lonely being in industries where I was mainly self-employed. But obviously,

“My grandad called my mum Ladybird, and the spelling is inspired by the composer William Byrd”

I got to do some amazing stu , and I did a show for Louis Vuitton, which was so nice.” Despite living in the capital and pursuing her music career and degree, Ladybyrd regularly returns to the town in which she spent much of her childhood. “I love Buckingham – it’s really pretty and quite cosy,” she says. “I always used to go to Esquires Buckingham. I also love the countryside around my family home. I love the National Trust Stowe Gardens – exquisite beauty and very inspiring. One of the most beautiful places in Bucks in my opinion! I love dog walks in places like Hillesden village and RAF Finmere. And I love Buckingham high street for cosy co ee shops.”

As for the impact she’d like her music to have, Ladybyrd says that she’s keen for people to “romanticise their lives” through listening to it. “I’m influenced a lot by people like Lana Del Rey,” she notes. “Taylor Swift is a huge influence – I think her lyricism is incredible, especially on her folklore album. I love M83’s cinematic, electronic vibe, and I love film composers:

Hans Zimmer, Lorne Balfe and Harry Gregson-Williams. I’ve also been inspired by Mumford & Sons. I love their lyrics.”

With such a promising start to her music career behind her, Ladybyrd is definitely one to keep on your radar. Whether you discover her songs while watching television, browsing on social media or even at a live music event, it’s clear that this young performer is on the way up – and it just remains to be seen where her adventures as a singer-songwriter will take her.

Open Cage, her latest release, is out on 22 March. For more, visit ladybyrd.com or @ladybyrd.x for TikTok and Instagram

www.originpools.co.uk info@originpools.co.uk THISCOULDBEYOURS

TOP 10

Best of SPRING

ABSOLUTELY magazines

As winter's chill gives way to the gentle warmth of spring, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire blossoms into a vibrant tapestry of colour and life. With its picturesque landscapes, historic landmarks, and enchanting gardens, both counties o er a plethora of opportunities to revel in the beauty of the season.


A designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Burnham Beeches is a tranquil oasis of ancient woodland, majestic trees, and diverse wildlife. In spring, the beech trees begin to leaf, casting a dappled green canopy over the forest floor, where carpets of bluebells and wild garlic bloom in abundance. Follow

Absolutely picks out the places across Berkshire and Buckinghamshire that are perfect to embrace the new season

meandering pathways through the woods, listening to the symphony of birdsong and the rustle of leaves in the breeze. Keep an eye out for deer, badgers, and other woodland creatures that call Burnham Beeches home. With its peaceful atmosphere and timeless beauty, Burnham Beeches is the perfect place to reconnect with nature and embrace the rejuvenating spirit of spring.


Located in the heart of Reading, Forbury Gardens is a tranquil oasis amidst the bustling cityscape, o ering respite and rejuvenation to visitors seeking to connect with nature. In spring, the gardens burst into colour as vibrant flower beds come to life with tulips, da odils, and hyacinths. The central bandstand, surrounded by lush greenery and fragrant blossoms, serves as a focal point for community events and gatherings. Take a moment to relax on one of the park benches, basking in the warmth of the sun and the gentle breeze rustling through the trees.


Nestled amidst picturesque countryside, Waddesdon Manor is a masterpiece of French Renaissance architecture surrounded by immaculately landscaped gardens. In spring, the estate comes alive with a riot of colour as thousands of tulips, da odils, and other spring blooms carpet the grounds in a vibrant tapestry. Visitors can explore the intricate parterre gardens, stroll along the tree-lined avenues, and admire the ornate fountains and statues that adorn the estate. Don’t miss the Aviary, home to a diverse array of exotic birds, or the stunning displays of seasonal flowers in the Manor’s renowned Victorian-style bedding displays. Also, in April, look out for Forever Flowers. In partnership with the Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity, the Aviary Gardens at Waddesdon will welcome a temporary display of 750 bespoke metal red roses, each dedicated to the life and memory of loved ones who are no longer with us. As well as these special connections, the event will also be the perfect opportunity to welcome in spring.

ABSOLUTELY magazines 27


Nestled amidst rolling countryside, Basildon Park is a quintessential English country estate that comes alive in the spring. The park’s extensive gardens boast a diverse array of flora, including carpets of bluebells, fragrant magnolias, and blossoming cherry trees. Take a leisurely walk through the park’s picturesque grounds, admiring the meticulously landscaped lawns and ornamental flower beds. Be sure to explore the enchanting woodland trails, where the air is filled with the sweet scent of spring blooms, and the sounds of birdsong provide a soothing soundtrack to your journey.


Steeped in history and nestled in the tranquil Chiltern Hills, Hughenden Manor o ers a fascinating glimpse into the past, combined with stunning springtime scenery. Explore the estate’s extensive gardens, where fragrant blossoms, including magnolias, camellias, and cherry trees, create a kaleidoscope of colours and scents. Follow winding pathways through ancient woodlands, meadows bursting with wildflowers, and peaceful ponds teeming with life. Hughenden Manor’s charming walled garden is a highlight, with its vibrant flower beds, tranquil water features, and panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.


Painshill is an award-winning 18th century landscape garden where you are invited to walk around a work of art. O ering everything from history to outdoor play, Painshill is a day out which delights every member of the family. Winding paths will take you on a journey to discover a living canvas with beautiful vistas and dramatically placed buildings. Stroll around the Serpentine Lake, wander through woodland and promenade past follies, including the

Ruined Abbey, Gothic Temple and Turkish Tent. Don’t miss the amazing Grotto; covered in sparkling crystals, the cave creates a shimmering space that captivates adults and children alike.


Situated on the banks of the River Thames, Cliveden House and Gardens o er a captivating blend of natural beauty and historic grandeur. In spring, the gardens burst into bloom with a dazzling display of rhododendrons, azaleas, and other flowering shrubs. Explore the intricate parterre gardens, where meticulously manicured hedges and ornamental plantings create a feast for the senses. Stroll along the riverbanks, taking in panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, or embark on a leisurely boat ride along the tranquil waters of the Thames. Cliveden House itself is a marvel of architecture and history, with its opulent interiors and fascinating past adding to the estate’s allure.

“The gardens burst into bloom with a dazzling display of flowers”

Championship Golf at De Vere Wokefield Estate

Discover De Vere Wokefield Estate’s championship golf course; one of the leading golf clubs in Berkshire. Whether you’re searching for a golf break, corporate day or a green fee with friends, this course paired with the state of the art facilities of the Estate, is not one to be missed.


Available from £99, golf break packages include overnight accommodation, dinner, breakfast and 18 holes of golf. The number of rounds and nights is up to you!


Whether it’s a round of golf with friends or an annual society match, we have the perfect package with golf and tea/co ee with bacon baps included as standard.


With plenty of experience running corporate golf days, our packages include everything from golf, 3-course private dinners to competitions and prizes.

To find out more about golf at De Vere Wokefield Estate, please visit our website or contact us using the details below.

Goodboys Lane, Mortimer, Reading, RG7 3AE | wokefield.reservations@devere.com | 0118 933 4042


There are even more ‘Sakura’ cherry trees than before in Greys Court’s Cherry Garden. Every spring it erupts into frothy blossom and, with each year, develops into the blossom tunnel e ect that is the garden team’s ultimate objective. The ancient walls of the Tithe barn adjacent to the Cherry Garden have now been fully conserved and set o the white flowers beautifully. Greys Court’s Cherry Garden looks great in March/April time.


Renowned as one of England’s finest landscape gardens, Stowe o ers a breathtaking backdrop for a springtime escape. As the season unfolds, the gardens burst into life with a profusion of flowering trees, including magnolias,

cherry blossoms, and apple orchards in full bloom. Explore winding pathways that meander through lush greenery, past serene lakes, and classical temples. Discover hidden gems such as the Grecian Valley, the Temple of Concord and Victory, and the Gothic Temple, each o ering a unique perspective on the estate’s rich history and natural beauty. Be sure to climb the historic Palladian Bridge for panoramic views of the gardens in all their springtime splendour.


Spread across 5,000 acres of stunning countryside, Windsor Great Park stands as a testament to nature’s magnificence. In spring, the park bursts into life with a riot of blossoms, as da odils, bluebells, and cherry blossoms carpet

“It is renowned as one of England's finest landscape gardens”

the grounds in a vibrant display of colour. Visitors can explore the park’s numerous walking trails, winding their way through ancient woodlands, serene lakes, and lush meadows. Don’t miss the iconic Long Walk, a tree-lined avenue stretching over two miles from Windsor Castle to the Copper Horse statue, o ering breathtaking views of the castle against a backdrop of blooming flora.

ABSOLUTELY magazines 31
32 ABSOLUTELY magazines


Celebrating two decades of Collect contemporary craft fair

LAt a time when contemporary craft has never been more sought after with an active buying market, Collect continues to o er an unparalleled opportunity to acquire new, museum-quality work from living artists internationally – all made within the last five years, and many commissioned especially for the fair.

Focusing on exclusivity, reputation, rich narrative and thoughtful curation – seeking variety and diversity in its content and vision, a line-up of close to 40 specialist galleries from across the globe, representing over 400 artist makers, have been selected by an expert advisory panel for this milestone edition.

Collectors, interior designers, art advisors and wider enthusiasts, will be vying with arts institutions, such as the Victoria & Albert Museum, to buy and commission the very best in contemporary craft. As well as the seasoned collectors buying at the luxury end of the market, Collect encourages visitors at the beginning of their collecting journey with works starting as low as £500 presented side by side with pieces ranging up to £50,000+.

aunched in 2004 as the first international fair dedicated to contemporary craft and design, Collect is committed and continues to raise the profile of exceptional contemporary craft to the collectors’ market on an annual basis.

The range of disciplines and materials at Collect spreads widely including ceramics, glass, lacquer, furniture, art jewellery, metalwork,


textile and fibre, wood and paper, and pieces embracing more unusual materials such as resin, mica, corn-starch and plastics – as well as reused, repurposed, and recycled materials.

Alongside the international galleries Collect Open, the fair’s platform for experimental proposals and installations by individual artists and collectives, will present 14 exciting new projects by artists hailing from Canada, Portugal, and from all over the UK including Northern Ireland. Collect Open participants are selected by a separate expert advisory panel and are invited to produce work that challenges material, social, political or personal perceptions.

“Reaching this milestone edition reinforces not only Collect’s pivotal position as the authority for contemporary craft and design, but also strengthens the capital as a leading cultural destination for the craft and design sector,” says Isobel Dennis, Collect Fair Director. “The fair has continuously pushed boundaries to bring the best in class of new artworks to the market allowing collectors to buy with confidence. The diverse range of galleries for this edition, representing the most exciting international artists making work today, provide yet again exceptional rich content to explore.”

Designed especially for Collect 2024, British textile artist Margo Selby, represented by Cynthia Corbett Gallery (England), will present a largescale hand-woven artwork, which will hang down the impressive, architecturally distinct Stamp Stair, a five-storey period staircase at Somerset House.

2024 marks 20 years of Collect as the leading authority on collectable contemporary craft and design, presented by the UK’s Crafts Council.

34 ABSOLUTELY magazines
New Adult Learning courses starting now! 01296 382403 www.adultlearningbc.ac.uk studentenquiries@buckinghamshire.gov.uk
from hundreds of one-day workshops and part-time short courses including: • Languages • Creative Arts
Silver Jewellery Making • Fused and Stained Glass • Health and Fitness • Interior Design • Gardening • Pottery • Textiles Enrol now!
“It features a winged Medusa in spectacular colour”


Two formidable women return to Cliveden for very special new house tours

liveden House tours started back on 4 March and featured two additions that certainly catch the eye. The Nancy Astor portrait by renowned artist John Singer Sargent has been restored and returned to Cliveden House, and the Minton Medusa, an impressive centrepiece of Cliveden’s 19th century tiled floor, is now on display in the entrance hall at Cliveden House.


After years of work behind the scenes, a replica of the Minton Medusa is now on display in the entrance hall at Cliveden House. The impressive, 14-inch centrepiece of Cliveden’s 19th century tiled floor features a winged Medusa in spectacular colour, with green snakes entwined in her hair.

The encaustic tiled floor, described in the press at the time as ‘the finest of its kind, ever produced’, was removed in the early 20th century. After Nancy and Waldorf Astor received Cliveden as a wedding gift in 1906, Nancy set about redecorating what she called the ‘splendid gloom’ of the house and she replaced the tiles with flagstones.

The Minton tiles languished in storage until 2008 when a team of working holiday volunteers cleaned, numbered and photographed them before packing them for conservation storage. In 2015 three ‘jigsaw puzzle’ volunteers used the photographs to reassemble the floor

design. However, the roundel centrepiece featuring the head of Medusa was missing. Decorative art collector John Scott had bought the piece, which he described as ‘my most lucky find’. Scott donated his tile collection to the Jackfield Tile Museum and commissioned a replica of the Medusa centrepiece to donate to Cliveden.


The portrait of Nancy Astor by renowned artist John Singer Sargent has undergone a thorough conservation, breathing new life into its century-old brilliance. This iconic painting, commissioned in 1908, is a significant part of the National Trust’s historic collection at Cliveden.

The painting is an example of Sargent’s technique of painting from life, directly in oils without sketching out the figure on the canvas first in charcoal. Infrared imaging before conservation revealed adjustments made during the painting process, highlighting Sargent’s method of refining the composition.

The conservation project, generously funded by the Royal Oak Foundation, took more than 450 hours of meticulous work. The masterpiece returned to Cliveden in early 2024 reclaiming its place in history.


36 ABSOLUTELY magazines
Chiltern Jaguar & Land Rover Specialist PROFESSIONAL SERVICING AND REPAIRS. MOT’s • A/C Regassing • JLR Diagnostics • Key Programming WE CATER FOR ALL YOUR JAGUAR & LAND ROVER NEEDS Unit 1 Independent Business Park, Mill Road, Stokenchurch, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, HP14 3TP MON - FRI 08:30 - 17:30 01442 832932 | service@chilternltd.co.uk
Admission to garden also gives admission to the cra fair. Free entry for Hever Castle Annual Members. 9.30am – 5.30pm Daily (Garden open until 6pm daily) *For advanced booking and terms, see website. cra infocus.com 01622 747325 Purchase direct from 140 of the very best makers in the UK Putting the WOW back into Cra Fairs Demonstrations • Live music 16 – 19 May Hever Castle & Gardens TN8 7NG



in a Pullman Editions’

poster will not only add the wow factor to your home, it o ers a modern glimpse into the past too

Pullman Editions designs, commissions and publishes striking original posters which capture the enduring appeal of Art Deco. Their newlycommissioned posters feature glamorous travel destinations around the world, winter sports in the European Alps, and the world’s greatest historic automobiles on the road and track.

The last few decades have seen enormous growth in the vintage poster market, with prices growing steadily as demand increases for a product with only a finite supply. In the field of vintage Winter Sports posters for example, good posters from the 1920s and 1930s comfortably achieve five-figure sums at auction.

Posters – once described as ‘a visual shout’ – proved an attractive, e ective means of promotion and ‘at-a-glance’ display. Poster display was never more inspired than in the Art Deco period when posters, largely produced by Swiss and French railway companies, graced station platforms and billboards to persuade a uent and adventurous travellers to enjoy the newly-fashionable modern luxury travel. The vast majority of these classic posters were destroyed when replaced by other posters – it is the handful of surviving vintage posters that today fetch such dramatic prices.

Pullman Editions’ modern take on these Art Deco classics provide a more a ordable way to decorate your home. Evoking memories of holidays and special occasions, their posters also make super original gifts. Having recognised the demand for stylish, decorative yet a ordable posters, Pullman Editions is committed to designing and publishing new artworks to provide a modern alternative to the costly original Art Deco posters produced 'in-period'. Executed by leading poster artists, their editions combine originality with the quintessential heritage and dramatic imagery of vintage posters.

Available in strictly limited editions of 280, the posters are printed using traditional techniques on the finest quality 100% cotton fine art paper. They are signed, hand-numbered and bear Pullman Editions’ embossed stamp of authenticity.

Each poster is approximately 97 x 65 cms (38 x 26 inches), and they are supplied unframed in robust tubes, which can be shipped worldwide. A framing service is also o ered for personal shoppers at the Chelsea gallery. Priced at £420 each including VAT (unframed), the limitededition posters may be ordered online at pullmaneditions.com, or collected in person at the gallery near Sloane Square.

Visit pullmaneditions.com to see more

“They are modern takes on Art Deco classics”
ABSOLUTELY magazines 39

Afternoon Tea at De Vere Wokefield Estate

With sweeping views across the lawns, Afternoon Tea in the Mansion House is a genteel and rewarding experience. If the weather is behaving, Afternoon Tea can be served al fresco on our elegant sun-drenched terrace.

Served daily from 1pm - 3pm

£28.00 per person

To view the menu and book, please visit our website, or scan the QR code:


www.devere.co.uk/wokefield-estate/ wokefield.reservations@devere.com

Lane, Reading, RG7 3AE
0118 933 4042




The Vineyard is a five red star hotel in the heart of West Berkshire. On Friday 17 May they’ll be hosting their annual signature wine dinner, The Judgement of Paris. Embark on a culinary escapade with a five course tasting menu, each course paired with two wines; French versus Californian, celebrating the event that inspired the Californian heritage of the Peter Michael Winery. Available to book online at the-vineyard.co.uk

Food News 42 • The Barn at Coworth Park 44
41 ABSOLUTELY magazines


GRAPE news

Wine recommendations for the month

Blanquette de Limoux Méthode Ancestrale, Antech NV

 £10.61

A delightful, sweet and e ervescent Languedoc white, fermented just once in bottle. Refreshingly light, low in alcohol and with a taste reminiscent of apples, this is perfect with fruit-based desserts such as apple pie as well as lightly spiced canapés.

Undurraga Cauquenes

Estate Carignan 2020  £9.95

From 60-year-old, unirrigated bush vines, this ripe black-fruit scented Chilean carignan maintains a wonderful freshness and firmness on the palate. Ideal with the fatty cuts of oxtail, shoulder of lamb or pork.

Bogle Vineyard California Chardonany 2021

 £14.50

A proper California chardonnay, 50% aged in American oak for eight months to give rich vanilla and nutmeg spice. The other half is aged in steel to retain the fresh peach and lemon character.

Since it was founded back in 1874, The Wine Society has dared to do business a little differently. Bringing together a community united by a shared love of wine, The Society is a co-operative and owned by its members. This means there is no requirement to pump profit into annual dividends or bonuses for shareholders – all profits go back into the business. The Wine Society welcomes all wine lovers. Become a member today and receive £20 off toward your first order. thewinesociety.com


The latest launches and news from across the county NOTES

Home comfort


Côte at Home launched a special Mother’s Day treat with a luxurious home dining menu designed by Gordon Ramsay’s former executive chef Steve Allen. The highly respected chef, who has worked at Michelin starred restaurants, created a delicious Beef Wellington, known as one of the hardest dishes to cook at home, with a sumptuous three course meal ready in less than 90 minutes. It was the latest innovative service o ered by the Windsor favourite.


42 ABSOLUTELY magazines

Learn from the best


The Teaching Kitchen at The Langley is a series of culinary experiences giving guests the chance to experience a cooking masterclass from one of their head chefs, followed by a three-course meal held in The Langley’s underground wine cellar. The last planned course of the year will be hosted by head chef Antonio Sanzone, who will share his tips and tricks for the ultimate BBQ feast on 24 April. marriott.com


in the step


The Golden Ball is a Michelin-rated pub-restaurant set within the beautiful Stonor Valley, just outside of Henley-on-Thames. The restaurant normally o ers a choice of a prix-fixe lunch menu (Wed-Sat lunchtime) or an à la carte menu, but one evening a month they host a special tasting menu. These menus are either based around a seasonal celebration or a season itself, such as this coming April when they host 'A Taste of Spring'. goldenballhenley.co.uk


Chocolate treats for the Easter holidays


Chococo's Dino Easter egg is hand-decorated to look like a mottled dinosaur eggshell and cra ed in 47% Colombia origin milk chocolate. Avid paleontologists will discover mini origin milk, white and dark chocolate dinosaurs and ammonites inside. chococo.co.uk


Gelateria Gelupo will be reuniting with bakery and restaurant Jolene for tongue-in-cheek gelato ‘creme egg’ toasted buns, as well as tasty hot cross bun ice cream sandwiches. gelupo.com


Hotel Chocolat's Ostrich Egg is a decadent Easter egg filled with chocolates, truffles, pralines, caramels and more, £85. hotelchocolat.com

Just Desserts


Creams Cafe – the UK’s favourite dessert parlour with locations in Windsor, Reading and High Wycombe – is saying hello to a selection of brand-new menu items. Dessert enthusiasts looking for a pick-me-up can indulge in two new Hot Pockets and the classic Hot Chocolate Fudge Cake, as well as a high-street first: Hot GeLattes. creamscafe.com



The Hinds Head in Bray created a pork pie with a twist to celebrate Pie Week in March. In true Heston style, Pie Week was all finished o with a twist; a specially created pork pie, found curiously sitting on the dessert menu. It was a highly creative take on tradition, as it revealed a filling of sumptuous rhubarb and custard. hindsheadbray.com

ABSOLUTELY magazines


Adam Smith has already wowed us with Woven at Coworth Park, and now another of his restaurants has reopened to plenty of hype. Absolutely takes a look

44 ABSOLUTELY magazines
“The new menus are all about great ingredients, cooked simply”

Q Why was it time to relaunch

The Barn at Coworth Park?

A We hadn’t updated or changed The Barn since it first launched, alongside the hotel, 14 years ago. It’s a successful restaurant, always busy, but it was time for a refresh and to give the food a stronger identity. It’s been 18 months since we launched Woven by Adam Smith, and in that time, we have shown the potential for Coworth Park to be a real food destination. Relaunching The Barn is a continuation of that story.

Q What did you want to change?

A The whole project started with the need to install a new kitchen. The old one was dated and di cult to work in. We are creating a new, positive working

environment for the team, whilst increasing e ciency, and providing the space and equipment for creativity and refinement.

Q What can you tell us about the new design?

A With the new design we have an open pass, allowing that connection between the kitchen and the dining room. It’s beautifully designed, with green enamel plating facing towards guests to show stopping e ect. In terms of the restaurant interior, the bones of the old building are all brilliant, they’re a huge part of what gives The Barn its character, so we’re not changing much there. There will be a fresh lick of paint, new tables setting, a few tweaks here and there, but the main things with this project are the kitchen design and the new menus.

Q How have you approached the new menus?

A The new menus in The Barn are all about great ingredients, cooked simply, and served in a relaxed, welcoming environment. The produce is key. In The Barn, we’re using the same produce and suppliers as we do in our Michelin-starred restaurant, just presented in a very di erent way, allowing the pure quality of the ingredients to shine.

We’re also keen that the menus in The Barn continue to appeal to a wide range of people, tastes and occasions. Guests can take quite a personalised approach to what they eat – for example, all of the fish can be served grilled or beer battered, and all of the main courses can be served

with a wide range of di erent sauces and sides. The Barn is a neighbourhood restaurant. It’s about making people feel relaxed. There’s also a really great Sunday lunch menu, as well as kids menu, and options for larger groups.

Q Can you pick out 2-3 dishes that really showcase what The Barn’s food is all about?

A On the starters, we have Beal’s Farm Mangalitsa Coppa. Mangalitsa pork, originally from Hungary, is prized for its rich flavour and amazing marbling. This ancient breed is also very well suited to the UK, as seen with the amazing products from Beal’s Farm near Tunbridge Wells. We serve their Mangalitsa Coppa very simply with homemade pickles. It sums up our ethos – when the product is this good, you don’t want to do too much with it.

Another highlight has to be the Cornish day boat turbot. It’s my favourite fish, truly the king of the sea. Guests can have it grilled or beer battered, perhaps with our broccoli side dish, or with chips, or both, perhaps as part of a big sharing dinner, or as an extraordinary lunch for one. Lots of options, and you really can’t go wrong with any of them!

From the desserts, it’s got to be the baked cheesecake with Yorkshire rhubarb. Each year, the vibrant colour and intense flavour of forced rhubarb o ers a little ray of sunshine – the light at the end of the tunnel after months of winter fruit and vegetables. We serve the cheesecake

“We’re pushing the boundaries of creativity”

covered in poached rhubarb alongside a rhubarb coulis. Simple, vibrant, delicious.

Q Is there one dish you love right now?

A My favourite dish has got to be the chicken pie. Chicken pie is such a homely classic, with a big hit of nostalgia for me. As a chef, there’s a lot of satisfaction in taking a dish like this and executing it with great precision, so it’s the best version of itself that it can be. All the classic flavours are there, but it’s also a real showstopper. Beautiful Devon white chicken stu ed with herbs and braised so it’s moist and flavourful. We use the braising liquid to make a silky velouté, then mix this through the chicken with loads of tarragon, wild mushrooms, poached quail eggs, all encased in pu pastry like a pithivier. Beautiful.

Q How does The Barn’s o ering di er from Woven by Adam Smith?

A The Barn and Woven by Adam Smith have

the same philosophy in terms of ingredients –using the best possible produce and suppliers. It’s the style that is very di erent. In Woven, we’re pushing the boundaries in terms of creativity and technical ability, to deliver a very refined dining experience. In The Barn it’s more relaxed – great ingredients, simple cooking, and an informal, homely atmosphere.

Q How are things going at Woven?

A It has been an amazing 18 months. We received a Michelin star just six months after opening, and our wonderful restaurant team were recognised at the Hotel Cateys, which was so well deserved. We’ve also just been placed at No.10 in the SquareMeal UK Top 100 Restaurant list. But most importantly, we’re busy, and the team and our guests are all loving the restaurant, and it feels as though it’s really building momentum, becoming known to hotel guests, locals and diners from much further afield.

Q How does your job fit in with family life?

A Sometimes it can be a challenge, but being a chef and having a family are the two most important things to me, so you find a way of making it work. My son is now 14 and my daughter is 9 – they’re so supportive and it’s nice now they’re a bit older they’ve got a better understanding of what I do. They’re also really excited to see me on TV on Great British Menu! As I work weekends, Mondays are a special day together for us. It’s really important to me that we all sit down for a family dinner, usually something simple and classic, like roast chicken. It’s all about that time together at the table.

46 ABSOLUTELY magazines



Sparkle this



Add a touch of sparkle to your spring wardrobe with these gorgeous 18ct white gold marquise diamond flower drop earrings and matching pendant from Berry’s Jewellers. As the birthstone for April, the diamond is said to bring abundance to the wearer’s life along with clarity and balance, perfect if you’re planning a ‘life’ spring clean this season. Discover the stunning range of diamond jewellery at your nearest Berry’s boutique or berrysjewellers.co.uk

The Shoot 50 • Jewellery 55
ABSOLUTELY magazines 49




latest collection from Jane – stocked at Ambers of Amersham – will welcome in
in a bold
bright manner JANEATELIER.COM

use of semi-precious or lab grown stones which o er a huge range of captivating colours, gorgeous shapes and cuts – but minus the scary price tag!

Q What type of pieces can be remodelled?


Absolutely heads to High Wycombe for an Artisan guide to remodelling

Q What is remodelling?

A Remodelling jewellery is the process of reworking the metal and materials of your old jewellery pieces to transform them into something new. Knowing what to do with inherited or old pieces of jewellery can be tricky, but remodelling provides the perfect solution for keeping the sentimental value of your items, whilst also giving them a new lease of life. You can enjoy the best of both worlds by transforming unused pieces into an item you will love; and you no longer have to feel guilty for keeping those sentimental items tucked away in your jewellery box!

Q Talk us through the process….

A Our highly personalised design service begins with a consultation in which you can chat one-on-one with the Artisan team. We work with you to create designs

that excite and inspire, so once your old jewellery has been assessed we will start brainstorming ideas, whittling down all the possibilities to start creating your dream piece. As each job is unique, the process looks di erent for each remodel and so we encourage you to read our remodelling blog posts for multiple step by step guides to the process.

Q How much does it cost?

A Remodelling existing jewellery requires a lot of skill, expertise and time so we recommend allowing your budget to start from £500. The more intricate and detailed the design, the longer the jeweller will take to make it, so the cost will be higher. However, there are many ways in which we can get creative to reduce costs, such as supplying your own metals and also considering the

A Most precious metal jewellery can be transformed into something new, but it’s best to bring your jewellery in for a chat if you’re unsure about what can be achieved – you’ll be amazed by the many possibilities. For example, the ring pictured directly above used to be a diamond solitaire ring, but to honour a significant wedding anniversary, our customer wanted to upgrade her original ring in celebration. New gold was supplied to make the ring, along with additional diamonds to create a half eternity middle band and the incredible pear shaped purple sapphire for the centrepiece. The original diamond was set into the bottom of the ring, sitting alongside a gorgeous bright pink sapphire, providing the perfect example of the endless possibilities that remodelling o ers.


15B High Street, West Wycombe, High Wycombe, HP143AB, 01494 528397




All Eyes


Inventors of the Underlash Technology™, Lashify is the world's first DIY lash extension system. Start with the brand's Control Kit, and then mix and match the Gossamer® sets to create your perfect lash look at home. An absolute beauty gamechanger. lashify.com

CrownWood Dental & Medispa 61 • Products 63
57 ABSOLUTELY magazines


a highly respected and much sought

Doctor Nyla is a skin specialist, trusted by TV personalities, well-known celebrity figures and some of Britain’s most familiar faces in the media industry. Founder and Medical Director of Doctor Nyla Medispa Cheshire is a highly respected and much sought after cosmetic Dermatology GP and is considered one of the top cosmetic doctors in the country. Having practised medicine for over 20 years and having personally delivered over 200,000 treatments with truly exceptional results, she has gained the admiration of the industry.

UK CLINIC OF THE YEAR 2019 TO 2020 SAFETY IN BEAUTY AWARDS @doctornyla | 0162 552 3307 | 0800 009 6661 | www.doctornyla.com
Treat your mother to timeless beauty
UK CLINIC OF THE YEAR 2019 TO 2020 SAFETY IN BEAUTY AWARDS Follow us on @doctornyla | 0162 552 3307 | 0800 009 6661 | www.doctornyla.com



The Transformation Facelift TM is a bespoke treatment from Doctor Nyla, unique to her clinics and combining a variety of incredible anti-ageing treatments to make you look and feel 10 years younger in the space of only six weeks! The next generation, multiplatform transformational facial offered exclusively at Dr Nyla. This treatment offers nonsurgical skin tightening and lifting to treat all anti-ageing concerns – from textured, dull skin, to deep wrinkles and loss of laxity.

The Transformation Facelift TM is a bespoke treatment from Doctor Nyla, unique to her clinics and combining a variety of incredible anti-ageing treatments to make you look and feel 10 years younger in the space of only six weeks! The next generation, multiplatform transformational facial offered exclusively at Dr Nyla.This treatment offers nonsurgical skin tightening and lifting to treat all anti-ageing concerns – from textured, dull skin, to deep wrinkles and loss of laxity.

The treatment programme can combine a number of super technologies dependant upon your specific concerns such as Ultherapy, Exilis Elite radio frequency, Morpheus skin needling as well as tweaking with injectable enhancements where necessary, to give immediate & longterm results with minimal downtime. The skin will begin to feel smoother and tighter after the first treatment and results will continue to improve for up to six months.

The treatment programme can combine a number of super technologies dependant upon your specific concerns such as Ultherapy, Exilis Elite radio frequency, Morpheus skin needling as well as tweaking with injectable enhancements where necessary, to give immediate & longterm results with minimal downtime.The skin will begin to feel smoother and tighter after the first treatment and results will continue to improve for up to six months.



Are you ready to embark on a journey towards a transformed body that exudes confidence and radiance? Look no further than Dr Nyla Clinic’s groundbreaking Transformation Body Lift. This revolutionary treatment combines the power of CoolSculpting Elite and Emerald fat reduction lasers but combined with Em sculpt , ultrasound, and radio frequency needling utilising Morpheus to deliver incredible results that go beyond fat reduction, targeting loose skin, cellulite, and stretch marks.

Are you ready to embark on a journey towards a transformed body that exudes confidence and radiance? Look no further than Dr Nyla Clinic’s groundbreaking Transformation Body Lift.This revolutionary treatment combines the power of CoolSculpting Elite and Emerald fat reduction lasers but combined with Em sculpt , ultrasound, and radio frequency needling utilising Morpheus to deliver incredible results that go beyond fat reduction, targeting loose skin, cellulite, and stretch marks.

The Transformation Body Lift utilizes the latest advancements in technology to specifically target and reduce unwanted fat deposits permanently this treatment helps you can achieve a slimmer and more sculpted silhouette.Dr Nyla Clinic’s Transformation Body Lift is designed to tackle these common issues such as resistant stubborn fat and stretch marks by utilising Cryo lipolysis. It will permanently eradicate fat, as well as stimulating, collagen and elastin,, leaving you feeling rejuvenated and revitalized.

The Transformation Body Lift utilizes the latest advancements in technology to specifically target and reduce unwanted fat deposits permanently this treatment helps you can achieve a slimmer and more sculpted silhouette.Dr Nyla Clinic’s Transformation Body Lift is designed to tackle these common issues such as resistant stubborn fat and stretch marks by utilising Cryo lipolysis. It will permanently eradicate fat, as well as stimulating, collagen and elastin,, leaving you feeling rejuvenated and revitalized.

Choose Dr Nyla Clinic for the ultimate body rejuvenating experience. Reveal a more sculpted figure, smoother skin, and newfound confidence.Your journey towards the body of your dreams starts here.

Choose Dr Nyla Clinic for the ultimate body rejuvenating experience. Reveal a more sculpted figure, smoother skin, and newfound confidence. Your journey towards the body of your dreams starts here.

Please scan QR code to book a complimentary consultation
UK CLINIC OF THE YEAR 2019 TO 2020 SAFETY IN BEAUTY AWARDS Medispa Mayfair : 32 Dover Street, Mayfair, London W1S 4NE
scan QR code to book a complimentary consultation
UK CLINIC OF THE YEAR 2019 TO 2020 SAFETY IN BEAUTYAWARDS Medispa Mayfair : 32 Dover Street, Mayfair, London W1S 4NE
The perfect gift in this extraordinary year Every homeworker deserves a Varier Chair from backinaction www.backinaction.co.uk/bucks or call01494 434343 For Your Perfect Chair BEAUTIFUL DESIGN LED ERGONOMICS On-line, by telephone, over Zoom and in 4 fabulous stores

Just for YOU

With increasing waiting times making it more di cult for people to visit their Doctor for routine appointments, the new Private GP service at CrownWood Dental & MediSpa provides their patients with the convenience and flexibility to book an appointment that suits their lifestyle.

With the arrival of their highly qualified and experienced Private GP, Dr Raj Dhillon, they are now able to o er an extensive range of high-quality health and wellbeing treatments. These include Private GP appointments, repeat prescriptions, referrals and sick notes as well as full body ‘MOTs’, blood tests and weight loss injections.

Q What is the benefit of a full body MOT?

A Regular health checks provide peace of mind and serve as a proactive measure rather than a reactive one. In addition to identifying potentially serious health issues, a check-up can also detect any underlying conditions that may negatively impact your energy levels throughout the day. The 60-minute Health Checks with Dr Raj include a full head-to-toe physical examination, a medical history and family history discussion, detailed lifestyle assessment and advice on nutrition and exercise. A comprehensive blood test is undertaken and you’ll be given a bespoke report with your results, together with a heart risk calculation called Q Risk. A follow-up telephone call to discuss blood result findings is all part of the service.

Q Why are blood tests important?

A Having an annual blood screening is a key component for preventing various types of degenerative illnesses. By providing a snapshot of your current health, a blood screening can catch potential health problems before they fully rise to the surface so they can be managed most e ectively. Blood tests are straightforward to carry out and fast to do. Moreover, they provide a wealth of information that can be beneficial to you. Regular blood testing is one of the most e ective ways to keep track of your overall physical wellbeing.

Q Can weight loss really be achieved with injections?

A Ozempic and Wegovy are highly e ective weight loss solutions, but they are prescription-only treatments and MUST be carried out under the guidance of a highly trained Medical Doctor. It should be remembered that they are not a miraculous solution, but rather a supportive aid to be used alongside essential weight loss components like physical activity and a nutritious diet. With over nine years extensive medical experience, you will be in safe hands with CrownWood’s private GP, Dr Raj Dhillon.

Dr Raj is also a highly experienced Facial Aesthetics practitioner, and along with Dr Victoria Jaminson, the team at CrownWood o ers a wide range of treatments to help people look and feel younger. Routine appointments can be in person, by phone and even by video.

To book, call 01344 300 417 or 07765 333 768 and to find out more visit their website on crownwoodmedispa.co.uk

Improve your health and wellbeing with the new Private GP service at CrownWood Dental & Medispa ABSOLUTELY magazines 61 HEALTH & BEAUTY • PARTNERSHIP

For the fifth year in a row!

'Best Varicose Veins Treatments 2024 - UK'

Beyond the care and compassion that we show each and every one of our patients that visit The Whiteley Clinic, it’s the results that speak for themselves!

If you're suffering from venous insufficiency, contact us today. For more information, visit www.thewhiteleyclinic.co.uk or call 0330 058 1850†

† Calls cost no more than standard landline rates



63 Fresh perfumes for a new season SPRING SCENTS HEALTH & BEAUTY • TREND CRA-YON Caramel Days, 50ml, £75 harveynichols.com ABSOLUTELY magazines PICK ALTRA Dualist, 50ml, £168 gabarmyanmar.com KAYALI Valilla | 28, 100ml, £98 hudabeauty.com CHANTECAILLE Frangipane, 75ml, £158 chantecaille.co.uk SOL DE JANEIRO Cheirosa 59 Perfume Mist, 240ml, £35 spacenk.com GRACE DE MONACO Danse Étoilée Eau de Parfum, 100ml, £220 harrods.com By CARLY GLENDINNING RAHUA Palo Santo Oil Perfume, 10ml, £34 rahua.uk AMPERSAND FRAGRANCE California, 50ml, £58 domesticsciencehome.co.uk BIBBI PARFUM Iris Wallpaper, 100ml, £225 libertylondon.com
Capri Perfume, 100ml, £150 earlofeast.com GABAR No. 1 Float Eau de Parfum, 50ml, £120 beautypie.com
Jessica 1800 SPRING SALE SIZE UPGRADE SUPER KIN G FOR T HE PRICE OF A KING KING FOR THE PRICE OF A DOUBLE Sleepeezee Stockist Visit our Showrooms: Mon to Sat 09.00 – 17.00 22 Redenhall Rd, Harleston, Norfolk, IP20 9ER T: 01379 855456 or 855461 | www.bestpricebeds.co.uk PocketGel Plus Poise Cool Rest 1800




Change up your mood this spring with an interiors update. It’s the perfect time to create a fresh and uplifting look in your home. From one room to whole house makeovers, Sandra Rothwell can give your home a much-needed spring in its step and that all important WOW factor. Call 07799 583 841, email sandra@ sandrarothwellinteriors or visit sandrarothwellinteriors.com

Studio Duggan 66 • Trend 73 • Bathrooms 75
65 ABSOLUTELY magazines

Treasure TROVE

How Trove by Studio Duggan contributes to stylish, personal interiors

Trove by Studio Duggan is a distinctive home and lifestyle brand, reflecting the unique design philosophy of the London-based interior design firm, Studio Duggan. Founded and curated by Ti any Duggan, Trove o ers a range of bespoke furniture, lighting, and accessories, combining a nomadic yet timeless sensibility with an emphasis on quality, craftsmanship and the pursuit of beauty. Studio Duggan, established in 2011 by Ti any Duggan, is known for creating finely

crafted and thoughtfully designed interiors for high-end residential and boutique commercial projects. Ti any’s background in set design and interior styling, alongside her studies in Theatre Practice, Scenic Art, and Interior Design, laid a solid foundation for her creative approach. The studio’s design philosophy centres around creating liveable yet dramatic spaces, combining di erent eras and styles to achieve a perfect blend of form, color, texture, and scale. This approach is underpinned by a deep respect for the client’s brief, ensuring that each project is both holistic and unique.

The Trove collection, launched in 2019, is an extension of Studio Duggan’s signature style. It features a diverse range

66 ABSOLUTELY magazines
“An emphasis on quality, craftsmanship and the pursuit of beauty”
ABSOLUTELY magazines 67
“The studio’s philosophy centres around creating liveable yet dramatic spaces”

of products including headboards, beds, lighting, seating, case goods, and accessories, all designed by the studio. Additionally, Trove includes a curated selection of vintage finds. The collection allows for customisation, o ering a personalised touch to home decor. Trove’s showroom and the Studio Duggan design studio are located on Golborne Road in West London, providing a space where the vision of both entities coexists seamlessly.

Studio Duggan’s work has been recognized and featured in numerous prestigious publications and has received accolades such as the Homes and Gardens Design Award in 2021 for ‘Best Kitchen Design’. The studio’s projects, showcasing their design philosophy and approach, have been included in magazines like House & Garden, How to Spend It, Elle Decoration, Livingetc, and The Telegraph.

Trove by Studio Duggan represents a fusion of artistic creativity and practicality, o ering a unique blend of contemporary design with a nod to historical influences. Its range of products is designed to evolve and mature over time, mirroring the studio’s ethos of creating spaces that are both dynamic and harmonious

68 ABSOLUTELY magazines
Unit 3, Crest Road High Wycombe HP11 1UA Tel: 01494 415263 *Subject to T&Cs, see brewers.co.uk Ennedi Khaki From the Albany Fantasy Wallpaper Collection Over 200 stores nationwide DELIVERY* Your choice for paint and wallpaper and the very best in free advice

Discover everything you need for a greener, more energy independent home. All designed, installed and looked after

with 25 years’ experience.

•Bespoke design, tailored to your home and needs.

•Trusted local installers, no 3rd parties.

• Peace of mind, with 5* rated customer support, premium hardware from leading brands, and long-term warranties. Scan

Call 0333 016 4500 to speak to our expert team
Heat pumps Solar panels Home batteries EV charging Renewable energy
by green energy experts
for more info

Dive into your DREAM

Why an Origin indoor pool is designed just for you

Origin puts the control back in your hands with its clientled construction approach. From style and lighting to ambience and temperature, Origin ensures that every indoor pool they design and build reflects the unique vision and lifestyle of each client. An indoor pool o ers the mental and physical health benefits of swimming coupled with yearround luxury and privacy, transforming your dream of swimming at home into a reality. However, Origin’s indoor pools aren’t merely for swimming; they’re versatile spaces designed with function and aesthetics in mind, meaning you can create a whole new area at home for play, exercise and entertainment. Whether you envision a serene sanctuary for relaxation or a dynamic hub for family fun, Origin’s experts are committed to bringing your vision to life.

“Origin's indoor pools are not just for swimming, they are versatile spaces”

With decades of experience crafting awardwinning indoor pools and over 70 industry awards, Origin possesses the knowledge and expertise to design the perfect pool house. After all, swimming pool design is about creating harmony between your home and pool room, so it’s essential an indoor pool not only looks stunning, but also becomes a seamless addition to your living environment.

Owning a pool from Origin means embracing a lifestyle of comfort, relaxation, and joy. To truly get the most out of your swimming experience, your pool house needs to be well thought out and designed with your goals in mind. Indoor pools have special requirements that must be met to ensure each pool house is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also functional. The good news is, Origin does it all. They eliminate the need to employ separate architects, designers and companies by managing the whole process for you from concept to completion. Their team of experts will collaborate closely with you to create a swimming pool design that harmonises with your home, family and budget. With over 40 years of experience, Origin has completed countless pools and pool houses to a wide range of specifications, earning them a reputation for excellence.

So, whether you dream of a relaxing retreat or a space for the whole family to have fun together, Origin is ready to bring your vision to life in 2024.

info@originpools.co.uk 01895 453996. originpools.co.uk
D I S C O V E R T H E A R T I S T R Y of Fenwick & Tilbrook, a Norfolk-based, truly family-run, premium paint brand. ade to order in si beautiful finishes including a highly breathable Claypaint for lime plaster. Available in over 150 colours. www.fenwickandtilbrook.com @fenwickandtilbrook 01362 684 125




Injecting warm hues like honeyed beiges and blush pinks together with rich blues can transform a space. Consider incorporating hand-painted murals to add a touch of individuality and playfulness. Paint colours used: Rusty Rose, Tarnished Brass, Bridesmaid. fenwickandtilbrook.com


So , cool and calming, Maggie's Cloud is the perfect neutral shade in the Proper Good Paint™ collection for toning down accent walls or completing a naturally styled interior. capietra.com



Rockingham is a brick red paint with warm orange undertones. It's a deep shade that pairs well with a neutral such as Rutland Stone or use Hambleton Sage to add contrast. sophieallport.com



Eco company Francesca's Paints offers a bespoke mixing service with a focus on how colours make people feel. This is Esmerelda's Emerald Green. francescaspaints.com


Benjamin Moore's colour of the year for 2024 is Blue Nova, an alluring mid-tone that features an enchanting duality, capturing the spotlight with endlessly classic appeal. benjaminmoorepaint.co.uk

1 3 4 5 1 2
3 2 4



Featuring a geometric design and simple colour tones, these Ashford tiles are perfect for almost anywhere; they’ll look just as good in a modern bathroom as in a period hallway. porcelainsuperstore.couk


This boat bath offers luxury with functionality. Copper is a superconductor, meaning your bath will stay a lovely temperature for longer, making it perfect for long soaks. ripplesbathrooms.com



The sleekest of toothbrushes, Suri looks good in your bathrooms and gives you the best clean teeth feeling. Accessories include a brilliant magnetic mirror holder, and there are colourways to match your space. trysuri.com


This industrial style brass mirror has a roomy shelf for all essentials and adds a stylish vintage feel to any bathroom. wheresaintsgo.co.uk


Ca Pietra's Deck Chair Porcelain tiles have a playful striped design available in vibrant summer colours. Lay in stripes or in a basket weave pattern on interior and exterior floors and walls. capietra.com

1 3 4 5 2
ABSOLUTELY magazines 75





Stoneware Coffee Cup, £28


Bulgarian Heritage Folk Plate, £66 casabyjj.com



Extra Large Cup in Eau de Nil, £30 handmadeinbritain.co.uk




Extravagant Bow Dinner Plate, £33 spicerandwood.co.uk


Gilded Gala Bowl, £350 sweetpeaandwillow.com

Green Cabbage Leaf Plate, £18 rockettstgeorge.co.uk
Sobremesa collection, from £45 royaldesign.co.uk
Stand, £88 anthropologie.com
Our edit of stylish contemporary ceramics
ROSE & GREY Cherry Tomato Plate, £26 roseandgrey.co.uk
£22.50 nkuku.com
LIVING 70s Ceramics Milk Jug, £11 monpote.co.uk
NKUKU Indigo Drop Cup Saucer,
Ikebana Dinner Plate, £428 for four designersguild.com


01189 930 4898 | englefieldgardencentre.co.uk

Garden Centre, The Street, Englefield, Theale, Berks, RG7 5ES

Opening hours - Monday to Saturday 9
Sunday 10
Welcome ... ...to
ENGLEFIELD_HP_ABS_BB_OCT22.indd 1 05/09/2022 12:41
- 5
4 Tel
Englefield Garden Centre
“Each piece evolves and develops a unique warmth and character”

Finishing TOUCH

How to choose special brassware for your shower, thanks to bathroom design specialist Ripples

It’s important to invest in quality brassware for your bathroom because it’s subjected to a lot of wear and tear. If you love the look of special finish brassware, but are not sure which one to choose, Ripples Newbury Senior Designer, Leanne Robey, is here to give her advice on choosing the right finish for your shower space.


Plated finishes are created through electrodeposition, an industrial process which uses electric currents to coat metal, including nickel and chrome, on a brass base. Plated finish brassware is highly durable, very easy to maintain and available in brushed nickel, polished chrome and polished nickel options.


Living finishes are unprotected and intended to change in appearance over time, allowing each piece to evolve and develop a unique warmth and character. Living finish brassware works beautifully in industrial or more rustic settings, lending itself to older properties where the bathroom scheme is in-keeping with the period of the property. The living finish options of gunmetal, unfinished brass and brushed brass will oxidise and vary in colour over time based on use and the elements in the surrounding environment.


Powder coat finishes are developed with a dry finishing process where a fine powder is applied with a gun on a metallic base and then dried at a high temperature. Powder coat products are resistant to humidity and ultraviolet light and have a long lifespan. In addition to the beautiful texture, the powder coat treatment also reduces the risk of scratching, chipping, abrasions, corrosion and other wear. Powder coat options include: matt black, matt white, olive bronze, vintage brushed brass and satin nickel.


Gold finishes are created by plating 24k gold over a nickel-plated brass surface. The result is extremely luxurious, with a rich depth of colour, perfect if you’re looking for a brightly coloured and highly opulent finish. Both polished and brushed options are available.


PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) is an innovative surface coating process which allows for a very high level of outer hardness, as well as unparalleled resistance to atmospheric agents and detergents. PVD finishes are extremely solid and durable, making them perfect for busy family bathrooms or cloakrooms which have high tra c.

Visit Ripples Newbury at 51a London Rd, Newbury RG14 1JN, call 01635 569900, or head to ripplesbathrooms.com for more information




0742 721 | sbiproducts.co.uk
Ltd has
been providing all
your shelter and shading requirements, since 1998
provide comprehensive awning services, from cleaning and repairs to seasonal maintenance. Get in touch today for the highest quality awning servicing!
Glass Wind Screens for patios, awnings, verandas and parasols !
Verandas • Glass Rooms • Awnings • Pergolas Carports • Solar Garage Doors &
Shutters •
Sail Blinds


Why you should switch to solar for big savings

Good Energy supports local green heroes who want to play their part in the transition to a more sustainable future. This includes the many homes and businesses who are switching to solar energy to cut carbon and cut costs.

Solar power is experiencing a boom in the UK – it adds value to your home and reduces your contribution to climate change as well as your energy bills. Its role in decarbonising our energy system is absolutely crucial.

A recent Opinium survey for Good Energy revealed that more than half of South East residents (53%) would consider installing solar panels on their roof, and more than two thirds (68%) believe they should be included

in all new homes, so we can expect them to become an increasingly common sight.

To satisfy this growing demand, Good Energy owns and operates a network of established installers across southern England. This includes the JPS Group, which have already carved a position as a leading installer – including for larger homes and properties with more complex requirements.

Solar panels – or photovoltaic (PV) panels, to give them their technical name – use the energy from the sun to generate electricity with no waste and no emissions. The electricity can be used directly in the home, stored in a battery or exported to the electricity grid.

Good Energy supports over 180,000 homes and businesses that generate their own power in this way, helping


customers to slash their energy costs and their impact on the environment.

Choosing a solar panel system is literally a once-in-a-lifetime decision. You have to consider the durability of the components to withstand the rigours of at least 20 years of British weather, so it’s important to choose quality.

By choosing Good Energy you can have total peace of mind in your solar panel system, because they only install components that are widely considered to be the best on the market.

Their expert team will make sure the whole process is as simple and seamless as possible. Installers are fully MCS-certified, plus all installations are backed by the Home Insulation and Energy Systems guarantee, for total reassurance.

You’ll be able to see the solar energy you are generating, as well as how much energy you are using in real time, using an app on your smartphone or tablet – meaning you can make sure you get the best value from your home-grown energy.

Good Energy can support your journey towards a cleaner and greener future.

Find out more at goodenergy.co.uk

ABSOLUTELY magazines 81


Situated on the banks of the River Thames just outside Windsor, The Runnymede promises the perfect base for all manner of visits.

Whether you choose to treat yourself to our indulgent Champagne afternoon tea, a revitalising spa day or an overnight escape, our riverside bolthole will remain open as The Runnymede on Thames until autumn 2024. After this date, guests can book an adults-only Warner Hotel break.






If you're heading to the Tirol to ski, why not stop over in Innsbruck? This beautiful city is often seen as simply a gateway to the mountains but it offers lots to do and see. We suggest staying at Alpenrose.

The Travel Director 85
Caribbean Breaks 87
83 ABSOLUTELY magazines



The founder of Rob Kennedy – The Travel Director writes about spreading the joy of travel

Iam one of the fortunate people that gets to work in a career that is also one of my passions: travel. I love creating those bespoke travel needs for a wide selection of people from short romantic city breaks to those ultimate bucket list trips. The packages I can put together are also financially protected for your peace of mind. I have been fortunate to travel extensively throughout Europe, Southern and Central America, and Southern Africa – amassing amazing memories. From tracking elephants in Botswana, cruising the Galapagos Islands, entering Machu Picchu via the Sun Gate at the end of the Inca Trail. I feel blessed to now be in a position to help others achieve their travel goals, and create their own memories. If I was asked to choose my favourite destinations I would struggle, but three of them would be as follows:


I am fortunate that my family has a small apartment in Puerto Pollensa, which has enabled me to have a variety of experiences on this enchanting island. From the streets of the cosmopolitan capital Palma, to the striking craggy Tramuntana mountain range, to the inky blue seas and white sandy beaches along the coast. The accommodation and culinary experiences across the island are wide and varied. I continue to holiday to Mallorca every year, and will continue to do so for the rest of my life.


Peru really struck a cord with me when I originally visited. There is so much to see and experience, but the one constant was the amazing, vibrant, and friendly people. I particularly enjoyed Cuzco and the Sacred Valley, with its rich Inca history. Machu Picchu was a breathtaking experience, starting with a quite spiritual moment walking through the Sun Gate at the end of the Inca Trail. With the sun at my back, illuminating the ruins below, I was lost for words. My trip was capped by an exhilarating Amazon River Cruise – a most rewarding nature experience. Led by experienced, and highly knowledgeable, naturalist guides we witnessed the most incredible wildlife, flora, and fauna.


From the European feeling capital Windhoek, to the scorched earth Sossusvlei, to the wildlife filled Etosha National Park, Namibia o ers a wide variety of experiences. Particular highlights for me were searching for elusive desert-dwelling elephants in the granite landscaped Damaraland, and the barren Skeleton Coast, with its visible shipwrecks and whale bones.

Visit thetraveldirectors.co.uk/rob-kennedy/

ABSOLUTELY magazines 85
Luxury Holiday Rentals at Glenmor Make yourselves at home in the heart of Gleneagles The Gleneagles experience is oneof a kind – you can now enjoy it from the comfort of a Glenmor luxury holiday home, located in the heart of Gleneagles. On your stay you can enjoy complimentary golf for one person, plus access to all of the leisure, dining and pursuits of the 5 star estate. We have 2, 3 and 4 bedroomproperties available, perfect for all the family 3,750 2 , 4,720 3 5,180 4 7 Find out more: GLENEAGLES.COM/GLENMOR + 44 (0)1764 694321 OWN@GLENEAGLES.COM The Timeshare, Holiday Products, Resale and Exchange Contracts Regulation 2010 requires Gleneaglesto provide you with certain key information in relation to the proposed seasonal ownership contract. A standard information form which contains this key information in relation to that contract may beobtained by contacted us via the above methods. SCAN ME! walkthewalk.org



Exploring dream holidays in the Caribbean, made reality by Sandals and Trailfinders

No other place in the world captures the imagination more than the Caribbean.

From Antigua, nicknamed the land of 365 beaches, and Barbados, where high tea and cricket mingle with rum and calypso beats, to the peaks of the Pitons providing a striking backdrop to Saint Lucia’s tranquil bays, a Caribbean holiday is one you won’t forget in a hurry.

When it comes to picking a dream destination, Sandals resorts and Trailfinders holidays come together to o er an unrivalled choice. Sandals boast 18 resorts situated across nine islands in the Caribbean. Their all-inclusive resorts are set along the most gorgeous tropical settings and exquisite beaches in the Caribbean. Stay, play, and indulge to your heart’s content at any of their resorts and experience the best the islands have to o er – featuring unlimited specialty restaurants, unique bars, and every land and water sport, including complimentary green fees at their

golf resorts and scuba diving for certified divers. Here we take a whistlestop tour of four perfect examples of what awaits you.


Voted the “World’s Most Romantic Resort” year after year, adults-only hotel Sandals Grande Antigua is located on Antigua’s best and most famous beach, Dickenson Bay. Explore the Caribbean Beachfront Village, then step into a realm of chic sophistication where European grandeur unfolds from the hillside to villas-by-the-sea at the allsuite Mediterranean Oceanview Village.


Embraced by lush tropical scenery, this destination epitomises luxury, showcasing the prestigious Sunset Oceanview Blu Village – an exclusive resort within a resort. Known as the “Emerald of the Caribbean” because of its sparkling emerald waters, Sandals Regency La Toc hugs a magnificent half-mile, crescent-shaped beach.


Jet-setters flock to Sandals Royal Barbados for the sheer sophistication combined with unrivalled elegance. The posh amenities of this all-suite, all-inclusive Caribbean resort achieve an unprecedented level of extravagance.


Set along a 2-mile stretch of the pristine south coast of Jamaica, this entire all-inclusive resort has been designed to embrace the coastline. Even its innovations are influenced by water, from Over-the-Water Butler Bungalows to an Over-the-Water Serenity Wedding Chapel. In total, Sandals has seven resorts in Jamaica, including Sandals Dunn’s River, their newest resort that opened in 2023.

Speak to one of Trailfinders' travel consultants to book your dream Caribbean escape. The team are on hand 365/24/7 until you’re safely home and your money is completely financially secure. For more information call 020 7368 1506 or visit trailfinders.com

ABSOLUTELY magazines 87




2023 Independent Pre-Prep School of the Year finalist, St George’s School Windsor Castle, is described enchantingly by The Good Schools Guide. “Families who want a liberal, outward-looking education delivered by bright-eyed teachers in a small and nurturing urban haven (plus castle) may find their child’s happy ever after,” it says. Find out why at their upcoming Open Morning on Friday 17 May. stgwindsor.org

Leading Heads 90 • Maltman's Green School 101 • World Book Day 107
89 ABSOLUTELY magazines

HEAD of the GAME

Sid Inglis

BUSINESS : Elstree School WEBSITE : elstreeschool.org.uk

Q Before working at Elstree School, what was your working background?

A I first taught when I lived in Chile for two years after leaving University, an exciting opportunity that also allowed me to explore South America. My career began at Ludgrove Prep School, teaching Latin, Geography and History before being promoted to Deputy Headmaster and finally to Joint Headmaster, a position I held for five years before moving to be Headmaster at Elstree.

Q What inspired you to work in education?

A I was fortunate to have many inspirational teachers at both my prep school, Abberley Hall, and Senior School, Radley College.

Over the next 8 pages, we meet some of the leading headmasters across the county to find out what makes them tick

Q What do you think makes you di erent?

A I like to think that I am a good listener and that I give people time. I hope to lead by example and will always set high standards for pupils, sta and parents. I love seeing ideas come to fruition.

Q How was 2023 for you?

A This was an exciting time at Elstree. As we celebrated 175 years, I was proud to be at the helm of a buoyant and happy school, with exciting plans ahead.

Q Are you introducing anything new for 2024?

A Traditional values, an emphasis on kindness, hard work and making the most of opportunities are principles of an Elstree childhood that will always stand the test of time. We also need to be cognisant of accommodating busy working families and changing parent expectations, all of which encourage us to modernise and develop, and so we will be launching new platforms to make our pupil and parent experience of Elstree easier and more dynamic.

Q On a personal level, what are your hopes and dreams for 2024?

A To remain happy and healthy. I want nothing more than to see the pupils at Elstree happy and thriving.

Jeremy Banks

BUSINESS : Head, Caldicott

WEBSITE : caldicott.com

Q What inspired you to work at Caldicott?

A Caldicott is an all boy, Year 3 to Year 8 prep school with both day and boarding places across those six year groups. Having taught at both co-educational schools and single sex schools, I think the benefits of an all boy prep/junior school experience are significant. From understanding boys, to exploration of their individuality and learning the skills needed to be a great member of society when they are older, whilst operating in a less complicated setting; it all adds up to a compelling case that is unique to boys at this age. Caldicott has had a great reputation for the character of the boys for a long time, so it was no small wonder I wanted to work here. Their love of learning, their engagement with the great breadth of opportunities in sport and the arts, and the fun that comes with a twinkle in their eye is what caught my attention first.

Q What do you think makes you di erent?

A From a personal point of view, with three grown up daughters and a wife who is head of a leading all-girls school in west London, my enthusiasm for

90 ABSOLUTELY magazines

all-boys education becomes easier to understand. The humour, the culture, the interests and dreams are not usually part of my homelife, but I can embrace it all wholeheartedly at work. From a professional point of view, beyond the familiar qualifications for those in headship and the experience gained from over 16 years of school leadership, I recently qualified as an executive coach and I’ve really enjoyed coaching two people new to headship.

Q Are you introducing anything new for 2024?

A The confidence we feel in the relevance of a Caldicott education has given us the strength to recognise that future success can’t be built on the successes of the past. With evolving parenting styles and the boarding market pivoting more than ever to 13+ boarding with more flexible options at a younger age, we are stopping compulsory boarding in September 2024. The news has been received really well by those parents that want a more tailored experience in Year 7 and Year 8, as well as the boarding and day senior schools the boys later join.

Q On a personal level, what are your hopes and dreams for 2024?

A The job of headteacher has changed a lot in these last 12 years. Whilst there are continually new challenges facing the sector, my hopes and dreams for Caldicott will always centre around delivering our brand of prep school experience which we love so much, regardless of any external factors. This year, a lot of my optimisms tie with the introduction of day places in Year 7 and 8 and making sure all the options families can choose in these year groups lead naturally towards our ambitious end goal.

Jake Burnett

BUSINESS: Head, Thorpe House WEBSITE: thorpehouse.co.uk

Q What inspired you to work at Thorpe House?

A There were many factors. Firstly, I had been approached by two di erent professional contacts to look at Thorpe, with the knowledge that the headship was coming up. Both of these contacts told me that Thorpe was a 'gem of a school' and I should take a serious look. I am very glad I did! Secondly, I was keen to return to a part of the world that I knew well, and after 30 years of being away from the UK, it was a wonderful opportunity to return. Finally, with the momentum growing to add a co-educational Sixth Form, thus making Thorpe a full 'through school', the final piece of inspiration was there.

Q What do you think makes you di erent?

A You should ask my students (and colleagues) if you want the truth on this one! However, I have always been told –and I strive to achieve this consistently – that no matter what, I have time for whoever, whenever, however. I am also very focused on ensuring that my composure remains calm, no matter the situation. I also support Stoke City FC, which in South Bucks makes me quite di erent, I can tell you!

Q Are you introducing anything new for 2024?

A This will be a splendid year in many ways. We will be starting the two year journey that will be our Sixth Form and that is an exciting step in itself. Our Year 12 students (and subsequently our Year 13s) will consist of boys and girls – quite impressive after 100 years of being a boys' school. We will also be strengthening the educational technology provision we have in place as well as ensuring that the 'Thorpe Way' becomes a natural part of every area of the school (it defines our values as being Truthful, Honest, Organised, Resilient, Polite and Empathic). Finally we were ranked as the 22nd best school in our category in the Times Best Schools Survey and I am very keen for us to break into the top ten.

Q On a personal level, what are your hopes and dreams for 2024?

A It is a cliche to say 'health and happiness', but this is a strong desire for me personally, but also across the Thorpe House community.

Q Outside of work, what are you looking forward to this year?

A A week without rain would be nice! My wife and I are also looking forward to feeling fully settled in the Gerrards Cross area, whilst spending a little more time with family and friends now that we are back in the UK.

91 ABSOLUTELY magazines

WEBSITE : sunningdaleschool.co.uk

Q What inspired you to work at Sunningdale School?

A Sunningdale is a family business. I grew up at the school and it has always been in my blood. My father and uncle, who were twins, ran the school before me. I joined the sta in 2002 before taking over as Headmaster in 2005. I suppose it was written in the stars that I should run the school, but I wanted to make sure that it was what I really wanted to do and that I would do it well. I trained in Bristol, which is where I really fell in love with teaching (and met my wife!) and I was lucky enough to get my first job, teaching French and Spanish, at Harrow. This was a wonderful grounding and really reinforced my desire to spend my life in education.

Q What do you think makes you di erent?

A I think and hope that it is the personal touch. I am absolutely passionate about making the school as good as it can possibly be and providing an exceptional educational experience for our boys. I also want the parents to feel part of the school. The fact that Sunningdale is a small school, with only 110 boys, means that I can get to know them very well and make sure that we are doing the best by each and every one of them. In the true sense of education, we want to draw out the best of what is inside them.

Q How was 2023 for you?

A We had a wonderful year. Our top year did very well indeed, winning a record number of scholarships and performing superbly across a range of areas. Our sport has always been strong, but it has been a joy to see how our music department is developing. The concert at the end of the year was truly magnificent and I was astonished by the talent on display. One of the brilliant things about my job is that it is always changing and I am constantly surprised by what the boys can achieve.

Q Are you introducing anything new for 2024?

A Yes. We celebrate our 150th anniversary in 2024, which is incredibly exciting. We are building a new cricket pavilion, which I have been dreaming of for a while. We are known for being quite a traditional school, but we do certainly move with the times and we understand that the needs and wishes of parents are changing. We are very proud to be a boarding school, but we recognise that parents want to spend time with their children. With that in mind, we are expanding our weekly boarding provision and allowing pupils to return to school either on Sunday evening or on Monday morning. We will also be running a bus from central London to bring boys to school on a Monday morning. We are also introducing a new bursary for sons of our old boys. They will be entitled to a 10% fee remission which, if not required, will be placed into a fund to support the sons of other former pupils.

William Phelps

BUSINESS : Cheam School

WEBSITE : cheamschool.co.uk

Q Before working at Cheam School, what was your background in education?

A I was previously at Abingdon School, Oxford where I taught Theology and became Senior House Master and Head of Boarding. In 2010 I was appointed to my first headship at The British International School of New York in Manhattan. It was here that I oversaw the implementation of a new academic curriculum, doubled pupil numbers and established strong relationships with senior schools in the UK. In 2015, I became Headmaster of The Beacon School, the largest boys prep school in the country.

Q What inspired you to work at Cheam School?

A Cheam has a fascinating heritage, deep traditions, inspiring curriculum, outstanding sta and facilities that many senior schools would envy. All this within our remarkable 100 acre setting makes us unique among Prep Schools. Being in and leading a community matters enormously to me. It is a privilege to have an influence on the lives of so many young children and to enable them to develop on their journey through Cheam.

Q What makes your school di erent?

A Cheam is an extraordinary school, it o ers what I can only describe as a ‘complete education’. By this I mean two things. The first is that every possible opportunity is available to children through the broad curricular, co-curricular, extended day programme, boarding opportunities and the outstanding grounds and facilities. Second, ‘a complete education’ where we nurture the whole child; their intellectual, emotional and physical growth and we encourage curious minds, kinds hearts and a community spirit. Our pastoral care systems are such that welfare and wellbeing are the bedrock of life at Cheam. Happy and secure children are then able to flourish here academically as well as outside the classroom. Cheam has an impressive list of scholarships year on year to leading senior schools and these are achieved across all areas of school life. Ultimately, we want all of our pupils to look back at their days at Cheam as the best days of their lives.

Q What have been the highlights of the school year to date?

A Most recently we have opened a new wellbeing centre, The Nest, of which I am very proud. The Nest

ABSOLUTELY magazines

supports pupils across the school and empowers them to look after their own wellbeing as well as providing a range of therapies, counselling and sessions from yoga to mindfulness.

This year we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Pre-Prep, which is a thriving department with over 100 children. Other highlights include the U13 Girls, who are the current IAPS National Hockey Champions, the U13 girls are Berkshire and South England County Hockey Champions and our U11 girls won their age category at the Malvern National Cross-Country Event in March 2023.

Our music department provides individual instrument lessons to 90% of our children and we now have children playing the bagpipes and the harp!

Protecting the planet and focusing on sustainability is also high on our agenda. This term we introduced new bus routes across Hampshire and Berkshire and we also have a London bus service.

Q What else is there to come in 2024?

A The school is continually evolving across all areas. However, this year a particular area of focus is our Character Education o ering, through the Cheam Diploma. Cheam children demonstrate many positive character traits and we are keen to give them a greater sense of ownership and responsibility for their own character development, by focusing on respect, resilience, responsibility, reflectiveness and resourcefulness, and relationships. An integrated platform engages children to record and monitor their behaviour and teachers can observe trends and tailor their support accordingly. Cheam School is aspiring to attain the ACE Quality mark and aims to become a gold standard for Character Education.

Rob Grosse

BUSINESS : Herries School WEBSITE : herries.org.uk

Q Before working at Herries School, what was your working background?

A I’ve always worked in education, but being classroom based is much di erent from being at the heart of every decision, as I am now. As with many, I had great aspirations for a career in sport, but starting out as a PE Teacher allowed me to create opportunities for children to experience the highs and lows of sport and indulge my own interest in developing children’s talents and skills.

Q What inspired you to work at Herries School?

A Herries is a small school with huge potential and having the opportunity to lead on, grow and develop its potential really excites me. Providing children with a range of opportunities to express themselves, alongside excellent, focussed attention on the academic subjects, is what we aim to achieve. The location, in Cookham Dean, is so appealing, with the river at the bottom of the hill. I really do look forward to coming to work each day.

Q What do you think makes you di erent?

A Managing a small school means not just developing, managing and future proofing. I also still enjoy being in the classroom some days and currently teach some English to Year 5 and Study Skills.

Q How was 2023 for you?


Last year saw the school go from strength to strength. Pupil numbers continued to rise and this has enabled us to invest that money back into the school, whether through further sta recruitment, developing the technology available to the children or improving the fabric and facilities within the school buildings. A school must continue to evolve and we have an extremely dedicated Board of Trustees who, whilst being financially aware, are supportive of school development and strategic planning.

Q Are you introducing anything new for 2024?

A Navigating the potential VAT on school fees whilst still making them as a ordable and o ering value for money is the biggest challenge on the horizon, but we are confident that we can negotiate this challenge and continue to develop and invest in the school - future proofing the business is a key aspect of my role and the strategic planning side of things motivates me to work with the whole Herries community.

Q On a personal level, what are your hopes and dreams for 2024?

A We are creating some really exciting plans for the development of the school site and I can’t wait to get stuck into the planning and preparation for this. I am keen to leave a lasting legacy at the school that really futureproofs it, for the whole of the Herries community.

93 ABSOLUTELY magazines

Nick Graham

BUSINESS: Head, Thorngrove School

WEBSITE: thorngroveschool.co.uk

Q Before working at Thorngrove, what was your working background?

A I come from a family of teachers and in my younger days, vowed never to follow that path! However, I started working in a school during my gap year and realised that I thoroughly enjoyed it. I spent 10 years working at The Dragon School, Oxford before taking on the Deputy Headship at Thorngrove and now the Headship.

Q What inspired you to become Headmaster at Thorngrove?

A The family ethos and values of the school are very much in keeping with my beliefs. Thorngrove has a welcoming and grounded community that feels unique and radiates through the children, sta and parents.

Q What do you think makes you di erent?

A I have always loved the challenge of leadership even going back to the days when I was captain of my local rugby club. I am a firm believer in empowering people to make their own decisions to benefit both themselves and the community as a whole. Education should be about equipping young people with the skills they need to support themselves throughout their lives and I am fortunate

that we can support this from a foundation stage through to Year 8.

Q How was 2023 for you?

A Challenging at times, amazing at others, but also humbling seeing the whole school come together to raise funds for the Brain Tumour Charity. A pupil in Year 8 developed a brain tumour and was the inspiration behind our challenges that culminated in raising £40,355 for the charity. Not bad for a school of 230 pupils!

Q Are you introducing anything new for 2024?

A In 2022, we introduced an Enrichment programme at Thorngrove focusing on four areas, Be Curious, Be Challenged, Be Creative and Be Community Minded. This summer, we look forward to welcoming four beehives to the school allowing pupils to understand beekeeping alongside developing products from the wax and honey to sell for charity.

Q Outside of work, what are you looking forward to this year?

A Enjoying time with my family and being with my children as they grow up.


James Dahl

BUSINESS : Head, Wellington College

WEBSITE : wellingtoncollege.org.uk

Q Before working at Wellington College, what was your working background?

A Other than a summer working as a punt chau eur as a student at Cambridge, I’ve always been in education in various roles: Head of Department and Head of Sixth Form at Brighton College; Boarding Houseparent at Repton School; and Director of Admissions and Marketing, Deputy Head Pastoral and, since 2019, Master of Wellington College.

Q What inspired you to work at Wellington College?

A In my mind, it is the leading coeducational boarding and day school in the UK. Premier league academic success, a phenomenal co-curricular programme, pioneering in pastoral care and wellbeing in schools, and with a real focus on values, service and leadership. All underpinned by a culture of ambition and aspiration. It’s a remarkable mix.

Q What do you think makes you di erent?

A I pride myself on knowing every single pupil in the school. With 1,100 students, this takes work, but I believe passionately that every child deserves to be known as an individual. As a school, the blend of our rich heritage and a desire to pioneer education to serve and help shape a

94 ABSOLUTELY magazines

better world is unique. To give just one example, the College is not just the national memorial to the First Duke of Wellington, we were the first independent school in the UK to become a Microsoft Showcase School for our innovative use of technology within the classroom.

Q How was 2023 for you?

A Really enjoyable. Children were hit particularly hard by school closures and restrictions in 2020-2022 and the ripples will be felt for years, but it is so joyful to be back to complete normality.

Q Are you introducing anything new for 2024?

A Lots! We have a new Lower and Middle School curriculum designed to nurture greater intellectual curiosity and to take pupils beyond the confines of narrow GCSE syllabuses; we have a new co-educational Boarding House opening, which will ensure we are a 50/50 boys/girls community; and a new Sixth Form Hub will open.

Q On a personal level, what are your hopes and dreams for 2024?

A I am hoping to run my first marathon. I dream of running it in under four hours, but I am recovering from whooping cough so my training has not been ideal.

Q Outside of work, what are you looking forward to this year?

A It’s di cult not to get excited whenever it is an Olympics year. We have two Old Wellingtonians hoping to appear – Morgan Lake in the High Jump and Darcy Bourne with the Women’s Hockey Team – so I shall be glued to my TV.

Oli Knight

BUSINESS : Head Designate, Pangbourne College

WEBSITE : pangbourne.com

Q Before being appointed to Pangbourne, what was your background in education?

unachievable in the maintained sector. Pangbourne is my dream school.

Q How was 2023 for you?

A I have spent the past decade as a Head of inner-city London schools serving disadvantaged communities, who are marginalised and have historically been excluded from the national discourse. I have taken three schools out of a low Ofsted category to be successful and functioning organisations with a strong track record of Oxbridge, Medical School and Russell Group access, alongside degree apprenticeships. Five of my Deputy Heads are now successful Headteachers. I have also written extensively on curriculum design, headteacher decision-making and heuristics.

Q What inspired you to work at Pangbourne?

A Pangbourne’s focus on a holistic education, with the individual sitting within a supportive community, speaks to me both as a Head and as a parent. Pangbourne’s focus on character, on sport, on adventure, on service; these are all crucial aspects of an education, but are often missing or

A Incredible. We took my last school from an Ofsted category of ‘Special Measures’ to ‘Good’, secured access to Russell Group universities at twice the national average for similar schools, and launched a sports scholarship programme with human performance teams from Formula 1. It was a transformative year for the school’s community.

Q Are you introducing anything new for 2024?

A Other than myself as the new Head, I want to get underneath the surface and really understand how the vision and ethos work in reality at Pangbourne. I want to nurture the values-led education model that Pangbourne o ers, as well as help pupils to be academically ambitious through a curriculum that stretches all pupils, regardless of ability.

Q Outside of work, what are you looking forward to this year?

A I am looking forward to moving my family to Pangbourne and becoming fully immersed in the community and seeing my children thrive. On a personal level, I am excited for my regular trips to the high mountains to climb with friends and enjoy the spirit of alpinism –freedom, self-reliance, adventure.

95 ABSOLUTELY magazines

Ed Venables

BUSINESS: Eagle House School WEBSITE: eaglehouseschool.com

Q Before working at Eagle House School, what was your working background?

A Before teaching, I worked in the City in equity and high yield credit research. Then a complete change of direction at the time of the financial crisis took me to Wellington College as an Economics and Business teacher. During 15 years there I was a Head of department, Housemaster and Director of Admissions.

Q What inspired you to work in education?

A I find helping young people to make the most of their talents and understanding who they are as people both fascinating and rewarding. The opportunity to shape the strategy of a school around this is a complete privilege.

Q What do you think makes you di erent?

A I think my background in the City, and my experiences across the academic and pastoral aspects of a very progressive senior school, give me


a unique perspective when it comes to preparing prep-age children at Eagle House for their next schools.

Q How was 2023 for you?

A Busy! Transitioning into a new job, working on devising a whole new strategy and getting to know 350 children, their parents and lots of sta kept me on my toes.

Q Are you introducing anything new for 2024?

A 2024 will see the start of the implementation of our new strategy. This comes with investment into a brand new ‘Wellbeing hub’ and a new PSHE (learning for life) curriculum, a new digital and AI curriculum, updated classrooms and a refurbishment of our boarding house. We are also looking to grow Years 7 and 8 to attract children whose current schools end in Year 6.

Q On a personal level, what are your hopes and dreams for 2024?

A I am hoping to get a good balance between doing all I can for the children and sta of Eagle House, while also finding time to do enough exercise and reading to keep myself mentally healthy.

Q Outside of work, what are you looking forward to this year?

A A good ‘friend’ has signed me up for an ultra-marathon (over two days, luckily) and I am looking forward to training for that! I am also looking forward to A-level, GCSE and Year 8 results respectively for my three children and hoping we survive a stressful Easter holidays!

Jack O'Sullivan

BUSINESS : Assistant Deputy Head, Upton House School WEBSITE : uptonhouse.org.uk

Q What is your working background ?

A All my previous jobs before Upton House have been linked to education in some way. Whilst at University, I chose to take part in the Camp America programme which gave me the opportunity to work at a summer camp for underprivileged children. That experience was very influential on my career and was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life to date. It was the first time I had truly noticed the positive impact that people could have on a child’s education and confidence.

Q What inspired you to work at Upton House School?

A There were many things that drew me to this school. From the moment I stepped through the door, I felt like I was part of a community where students, teachers and parents all shared the same positivity and vision. I was also blown away by the broadcasting facilities and the fact that the children were controlling all the cameras and sound for the live assemblies and events that were being broadcast to family members all around the world. It brought a whole new perspective to problem solving and independence within a school curriculum and that forward thinking approach was something I wanted to be part of. Finally, becoming part of

ABSOLUTELY magazines

a dynamic Senior Leadership Team and learning from a Headmistress who is always keen to innovate.

Q What makes your school di erent?

A Upton House has many unique qualities, but the one I believe is the most important is our incredible broadcasting programme. Our enhanced curriculum is rich with cross-curricular digital innovations and our pioneering live-streamed events run by our Broadcasting Club share our activities with our global family online meaning grandparents regularly tune in to watch their grandchildren perform – this brings much joy.

Q How would you sum up your approach to teaching?

A For me, teaching is all about getting hands-on and linking what I teach to the real world. When children see the relevance and understand the wider context, their engagement automatically increases, and this makes the subject more enjoyable. Creating a classroom with a real buzz and hive of activity is one of my aims whilst also sharing my passion for mathematics.

Q What else is there to come in 2024?

A 2024 has already been a great year as our first cohort of Year 6 boys alongside our girls gained places at a wide range of excellent senior schools with lots of scholarships o ered as well. One of the highlights next term will be our fully immersive digital summer production, Shrek, utilising the children’s creative digital skills.

Philip Barr

BUSINESS : Headteacher, St John’s Beaumont WEBSITE : sjbwindsor.uk

Q What is your background in education?

A Throughout my career, I've been immersed in the field of education. I’ve had the privilege of serving in state and independent schools, within senior and preparatory settings, and have held a variety of pastoral and academic management roles. For the past six years, I held the position of Head at a prominent London day school.

Q What inspired you to work in education?

A Following my A-levels, I embarked on a gap year where I taught swimming to children with disabilities. It was during this time that my passion for teaching ignited. Witnessing the joy of helping individuals accomplish feats they once thought impossible solidified my desire to pursue a career in education.

Q What do you think makes you di erent?

A I approach my role with humility, believing that no task is beneath me; and I foster an environment where every student feels comfortable approaching me, building trust and openness. You’ll often find me on the playground, engaged in a friendly game of table tennis with our pupils, albeit often losing! While I maintain high academic aspirations for all our students, their happiness remains my utmost priority.

Q How was 2023 for you?

A Emotional! Having been at St John’s from 2007–2017, I felt happy to be o ered the chance to return, yet sad to be leaving a headship where I had built a successful and close community.

Q What's new for 2024?

A We’re excited to introduce several new initiatives, as well as continuing our integration of girls as we move towards becoming a fully co-educational school. In terms of curriculum, we’re enhancing our computing program and implementing High Performance Learning strategies. In the realm of extra-curricular activities, we’re introducing M:Tech courses, Mixed Martial Arts sessions, and workshops focused on money management skills. Additionally, our facilities will see upgrades with the addition of a STEAM lab, AstroTurf pitch, and we’re expanding our boarding provisions. These developments aim to enrich our students' educational experience and provide them with diverse opportunities for growth and learning.

Q On a personal level, what are your hopes and dreams for 2024?

A On a personal level, my hopes and dreams for 2024 are twofold. Firstly, I aspire for the St John’s community to thrive further, with our students achieving remarkable results across all domains and maintaining their happiness. Secondly, I wish for my family’s continued happiness and health, alongside a personal goal of lowering my golf handicap, plus improve my proficiency in speaking Spanish

97 ABSOLUTELY magazines


Five things you can do to make a cognitive di erence to your child

Within the Berkhamsted Schools Group, we emphasise the importance of a close partnership between schools and parents to ensure the best outcomes for pupils academically, emotionally, and socially. Children copy their parent’s language, behaviour, values and habits, and this daily habit-forming greatly influences a child's development.

Evidence indicates that adult-child conversations influence children's early language, cognitive development, and wellbeing. EEF research shows that rich oral language environments that explicitly foster talk between adults and children positively benefit young children’s learning and development. Experiencing cues that come with the art of debate, persuasive argument, and using e ective vocabulary is a very powerful lesson.

How adults interact with children is equally important. For example, an experiment was

carried out to compare the di erent outcomes to di erent types of questions, and use of hypotheses, e.g., "Maybe this is a dwarf’s door", versus instructive statements "This is a dwarf’s door" and in combination with open questions "What do you think, why is the door so small?". Children’s responses to hypotheses were longer and contained more self-generated explanations than responses to instructions. Using hypotheses also encouraged children to attach importance to their explanations. Combining hypotheses with open-ended why questions elicited longer responses, but no more self-generated explanations in children than open-ended questions alone. Parents often look for teachable moments like discussing story plots when reading a book. Research has shown that engaged parenting helps children build cognitive and emotional skills. However, researchers found that children of parents who more often stepped in to provide instructions displayed more di culty regulating their behaviour and emotions.

Here's five things parents can do to make a cognitive di erence to your child:

1. Have conversations that expand your child’s vocabulary and ask open-ended questions;

2. Create opportunities for children to experience adult conversations, encourage them to join in by forming views and practising their use of vocabulary;

3. Demonstrate your values through your behaviour routines and habits, e.g. phones away at the dinner table. You are an important role model for your child’s behaviour;

4. Prepare the child for the road, not the road for the child – let children solve problems independently and allow them to explore the world around them themselves;

5. Daily reading or listening to stories together and playing board games for memory and strategy development with adults.

Nicola Nicoll is Headteacher at Heatherton Prep School – see more at berkhamsted.com/heatherton

ABSOLUTELY magazines 99


Jill Walker, the Headmistress of Maltman’s Green School, on their link to the su rage movement and 21st century teaching

Q How long have you been Headmistress at Maltman’s Green School?

A I started at Maltman’s in September 2020. I had heard of the school long before the post was advertised, when I was still Deputy Head at Glendower Prep – an all-girls school in South Kensington (the girls at Glendower would head out to Maltman’s to swim in their magnificent pool). With Maltman’s Green’s strong reputation as a forward-thinking and ambitious school, which prizes both strong academics and the rich contribution its broad co-curricular programme makes to the personal development and happiness of each girl, I knew its culture, ethos and values aligned closely with my own. So, on the news of the retirement of my predecessor, I jumped at the chance of becoming its next Headmistress.

Q When you first stepped inside the school, what was the first thing that struck you?

A I was so impressed and struck by how

happy the girls were – how they loved coming to school, how they spoke with such pride about their school community, how confident and self-assured they were, how positively they interacted with each other, valuing their friendships and how these strong bonds and mutual respect existed between the girls and with their teachers. I observed such a kind and nurturing community and knew this was the place for me.

Q What can you tell us about the history of the school?

A Maltmans’ Green has the most incredible history, which has been embedded in its DNA and still shapes our values and ambitions for our pupils today. The school was founded in 1918 by Miss Elizabeth Chambers – who was an active member of the su rage movement. Her ambition was to provide a broad and innovative education for girls which would ignite their love of learning, encourage them

101 ABSOLUTELY magazines

to speak up and speak out, and open as many opportunities as possible for them. Our school colours – purple, green and white – are of course the colours of ‘su rage’, and a daily reminder of the importance Maltman’s Green places on encouraging our girls to embrace new experiences, believe in their abilities and make the most of all the exciting opportunities being part of our community brings.

Q Today, what do you o er?

A Schools should be guardians of childhood and agents of hope. We take these responsibilities very seriously and our beautiful site means our girls have space to learn and play and really enjoy their childhood. In the early years this might mean donning wellies and waterproofs and heading o into our woodland for some outdoor learning or getting stuck into the mud kitchen at breaktime. For our older girls, the 99 clubs and activities we o er across each week means girls’ passions and interests will be ignited and nurtured, as they learn new skills and have fun with their friends well beyond the confines of the classroom and the normal school day. Academic excellence is a given here and even from the age of 2, our girls receive specialist teaching provision in music, PE and French. This specialist provision gradually increases, so by the time our girls reach Year 4, they are receiving specialist teaching in everything – including maths, English, science and drama. Lessons are interactive,

engaging and fun as we set about fostering an environment where children feel safe to try new things without fear of failure. Weekly sessions in current a airs, interview skills and verbal and non-verbal reasoning means we prepare our girls for the assessments they will need to undertake to secure entry to both top performing state grammar schools (including Dr Challoner’s High and Beaconsfield High) and many of the leading independent schools in the country such as Wycombe Abbey, Cheltenham Ladies, Berkhamsted, Downe House, Heathfield, Queen Anne’s Caversham and St Mary’s Ascot.

Yet, we want to prepare our girls for everything life can throw at them – long after they have left us. Working on real life problems in weekly STEAM sessions (that’s STEM plus the ‘A’ for the arts), means our girls develop those vital 21st century skills which drive their curiosity and mean they can create, collaborate, communicate, reflect, adapt and see a project through from beginning to end.

We know happy children are the most e ective learners. Strong pastoral care is paramount, and we keep our classes small, meaning teachers know each girl inside out. Our well-being programme – where girls are given the skills to become ‘wellbeing warriors’, ‘mindful ambassadors’ and ‘peaceful pilots’ equips our girls with a tool-kit to care for their own well-being and look out for that of others. Leadership

opportunities abound across the age groups, and we value the girls learning that we each have something to contribute to our community and in helping others and ‘giving something back’, we gain so much ourselves.

Q Do you feel privileged to be in your role?

A I feel hugely privileged! I have the good fortune of leading a dynamic and hugely talented group of sta , who support our girls and families every step of the way. Each and every day of our pupils’ time in school presents exciting learning opportunities. To see our girls foster a zest for learning and to know that we have played a part in opening up so many possibilities is perhaps the most rewarding role any of us can play in a young person’s life.

Q What fills you with pride?

A Seeing our girls from the very beginning of their school journey with us develop self-belief, inner confidence (but not be arrogant and have their feet firmly on the ground!), enjoy nourishing friendships that will last a lifetime, explore new things without fear of failure and grow into curious, ambitious learners who are excited about all the big adventures that their life will bring – long after they have left us. This makes my job so worthwhile.


102 ABSOLUTELY magazines

Enjoy the journey

Based in the heart of Windsor, Upton House is a thriving Nursery, Pre-Prep and Prep School for boys and girls aged 2-11 years

With high academic standards, high calibre staff and excellent pastoral care, Upton House children blossom and have a zest for life, continually learning and developing their abilities, interests and talents within a caring and supportive environment. Our children thrive in the modern world and we invite them to think outside the box.

Our enhanced curriculum is rich with cross-curricular digital innovations and our pioneering live-streamed events run by our Broadcasting Club share our activities with our global family online. A proven track record with outstanding scholarship success each year.

01753 862610|registrar@uptonhouse.org.uk|

NACE & IAPS Accredited School


Inspired launches the Nsouli Scholars initiative, paving the way for educational excellence globally with fully funded scholarships

Inspired Education Group, the leading global group of premium schools, is delighted to unveil an exciting initiative that promises to transform lives. The ‘Nsouli Scholars Programme’ is an exciting global initiative that at any one time will provide 50 exceptional individuals a full scholarship for the duration of their education at any of Inspired’s prestigious schools worldwide. The ambition is that the scholarship will provide hundreds of children with an opportunity to receive exceptional, transformative education. This scholarship pays tribute to Nadim M Nsouli, the visionary founder of Inspired, whose commitment to redefining education has set a new standard for excellence in global education.

The Nsouli Scholars Programme reflects Inspired’s dedication to providing world-class education through a holistic, progressive model. Nsouli Scholars will

be extraordinary individuals who, without this award, would not be able to access exceptional educational opportunities. This scholarship enables talented individuals to attend any Inspired Education school, including prestigious boarding schools, for the entirety of their senior school education.

Nadim Nsouli, founder, chairman and CEO of Inspired, says: “At Inspired, we are building communities, and we’re committed to supporting them in extraordinary ways. Already, we support 2,200 students with scholarships and bursaries annually across our 111 schools. The Nsouli Scholars initiative goes beyond anything we’ve done before, reaching out to an even broader community of exceptional students who would simply not be able to access a premium Inspired education without full financial support. My ambition is that this programme will help provide hundreds of children around the world with a life changing opportunity.”

Together, the Inspired existing scholarship and bursary programmes and the Nsouli Scholars initiative will result in an annual €56 million of community giving by Inspired. Eligible students for the ‘Nsouli Scholars’ Full Scholarship must showcase excellence in academic performance and excel in at least one of the other two pillars defining an Inspired education: Sports, and Performing & Creative Arts. Additionally, applicants must be 13 years of age or above, and demonstrate strong personal qualities for future success, including integrity, leadership, ambition, and a capacity for hard work.

In honour and recognition of Inspired Founder Nadim M Nsouli’s Lebanese heritage, a portion of these prestigious scholarships will be awarded to individuals of Lebanese origin. This gesture underscores Inspired’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity, ensuring that deserving individuals from various backgrounds have the opportunity to benefit from this life-changing scholarship.

The Nsouli Scholars is not just an investment in education; it is a commitment to shaping the future leaders of tomorrow. Inspired invites qualified candidates to seize this extraordinary opportunity and embark on a transformative journey.

For more information on the 'Nsouli Scholars' Full Scholarship and the application process, visit inspirededu.com/nsouli-scholars

ABSOLUTELY magazines 105
FRIDAY 10 MAY Independent Prep School Boys Aged 3-13 09:00-11:00 OPEN MORNING beaconschool.co.uk Pre-booked Appointments Required The Beacon | Chesham Bois | Amersham | Buckinghamshire | HP6 5PF PRIVATE TOURS AVAILABLE ON ALTERNATIVE DATES IN ALL AREAS ISI INSPECTION REPORT “Excellent” Scan to find out more


Absolutely explores how some of our schools celebrated World Book Day on 7 March


A mysterious suitcase full of curiosities landed in Reception on Monday morning. It was brimming at the seams with items from fairytales. Rapunzel’s plait, jewelled tiaras and various weaponry were splaying out onto the floor. This suitcase was to be visited by every English class in the school and used to ignite the girls’ imaginations for their Story Writing Competition. The week’s celebrations kicked o with a visit from the spellbinding author, Ella McLeod, who had come to speak to the Upper School Girls and judge the English Department’s long awaited Public Speaking Competition. With speeches

on favourite genres and how women have been portrayed in stories through time, the audience was in for a treat.

The school’s costume parade on World Book Day was as inspiring as ever and this year there were even some fantastic costumes made from fully recyclable materials.

Library lessons were particularly exciting throughout the week as the classes threw themselves into a treasure hunt. Would they identify enough of the authors and characters to be awarded a very special bookmark?


107 ABSOLUTELY magazines


World Book Day at Downe House was a triumph that can be attributed to the passion of their English Faculty and Library Team. They kicked o with a costume parade in the Lower School assembly, which perfectly established the celebratory atmosphere of the day. There was a fantastic variety of outfits, from Willy Wonka to Barbie and Ken!

The weekly library lesson initiative guarantees Lower School pupils quality reading time and encourages the principle of reading for pleasure. For this special occasion, the girls were treated to an origami workshop to craft their own bookmarks.

Meanwhile, Mrs Hill (Library Manager), dressed cheerfully as Mary Poppins, prepared their annual book hunt. The girls loved running around our woodland site to try and be the first to discover a

gift-wrapped book. Congratulations to all the pupils who found a mystery book!

At lunchtime, their English teachers took to the stage to read aloud from ‘Wuthering Heights’ and ‘King of Shadows’. Additionally, the book exchange provided the perfect place for the DH community to browse books and discover a new read.



Students at St George’s School Windsor Castle enjoyed visits from two acclaimed authors during their World Book Day celebrations this year.

Award-winning illustrator and author, Petr Horacek, led three workshops for the school’s youngest students, inspiring the children


from Kindergarten to Year 4 with interactive tales from his childhood and explaining how his experiences had contributed to the stories in his books. He then led Years 1 and 2 in creating a giant collage of artwork, with each child developing a unique character to add to the background he had painted.

One of Petr’s books, Blue Penguin, struck a particular chord with Year 2 children who had extensively researched the birds after adopting a penguin at Christmas. One Year 2 student, Harvey, was excited to tell the author what he had discovered: “I could tell him a lot of things about the blue penguin. I knew it was from New Zealand and it is the smallest penguin in the world. It can even fit inside a shoe box!"

The school’s older children attended talks with Rupert Attlee. Describing his extensive travels across the rugged landscapes of Patagonia, Rupert used a series of images of his experience to illustrate how he developed his books on the subject, exploring the elements of plot, character and setting.In addition to inspiring the students’ future creative writing, he instilled a sense of adventure through his many anecdotes.

Beyond World Book Day, St George’s continues to champion reading throughout the year with regular whole school reading sessions and a wide range of books to choose from across the three school libraries. To help inspire their future choices, the children made book recommendation postcards on World Book Day, sharing descriptions of their favourite books with their friends.


108 ABSOLUTELY magazines
Get ahead! Book your Stay and Play event now Friday 10 May For children aged 2 - 4 heatherton.com Book your place at
Join us for an Open Morning on Friday 17 May Book your place today at stgwindsor.org A place where children may find their ‘happy ever after’ Local bus service now available ST GEORGE’S SCHOOL WINDSOR CASTLE Whole School Open Mornings
7th May 2024, 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Scan the QR code to find out more and book your place.
celebrating 100 years of supporting, challenging and empowering students aged 4-16 to reach their unique potential. Your future awaits at Thorpe House School… Thorpe House Sixth Form CO-EDUCATIONAL Launching September 2024 Scan the QR code to discover more and apply THORPE HOUSE SCHOOL Creating the Future


Nikki Olhausen, Deputy Head (Academic) at The Beacon in Amersham, explains how they prepare pupils for senior schools and life beyond

Preparing pupils for the next step in their educational journey and cultivating vital skills that equip them for life beyond is the future of education. At The Beacon, we adopt a multi-dimensional approach, combining academic learning with a tailored transformative experience. We pride ourselves on nurturing young leaders who actively contribute to their school community. Lessons are taught by secondary trained specialist teachers and our curriculum is underpinned by the Pre-Senior Baccalaureate (PSB) founded at The Beacon in 2007 to replace Common Entrance. We instil a love of learning, whilst challenging more traditional perceptions of what school is like. By championing development of the PSB’s Core Skills, we facilitate pupils to thrive and become resilient in all aspects of life: Communication, Reviewing and Improving,

Collaboration, Leadership and Independence. Cross-curricular work empowers educational development adding value to our Upper School experience. Popular projects include Year 8 study of WW1 poetry in English, exploration of the causes of WW1 in History, a battlefields trip and the culmination of it all in the Remembrance service, led by Year 8. The PSPQ is an assessment model equivalent to A-level EPQ, that boys choose to embark upon. Year 7 pupils identify an area of interest, create a title, then research and present their finished project. Our bespoke ‘Self and Society’ curriculum encompasses RS and RSE providing a unique opportunity in its assessments and evidencing of core skills with Viva-style presentations – familiar to some as undergraduates. Opportunities are endless, such as the immersive and collaborative experiences of MasterCook and BBC Young Reporter’s Day. Annual Art Exhibitions showcase the extraordinary talents and diverse skill sets of boys across the school.

Performing Arts continues its superb work with performance opportunities designed to fit the skills and talents of each cohort of boys. Bi-annually, Upper School boys perform at Edinburgh Festival Fringe. There are openings to help others in the school community. A particularly heartening endeavour involves older boys dedicating their time to assist Year 4 pupils with reading. This “buddying” initiative has been a longstanding success, fostering not only academic growth, but also a sense of camaraderie and mentorship. Through this experience, boys are honing invaluable leadership and communication skills.

Year 8 boys assist with weekly Year 2 MFL lessons. Remarkably, this was entirely selfdirected, showcasing the boys’ autonomy and proactive approach to learning and teaching. Boys demonstrate a strong commitment to social responsibility by organising and leading a food bank collection. This initiative was not spearheaded by the Head Boy team nor Heads of Houses, but by those who felt passionately about making a positive di erence in their community. Their dedication reflects the core values we aim to instil in all pupils – empathy, compassion, a sense of social justice.

We celebrate and support initiatives and are filled with optimism for the future. Guided by shared values and a commitment to excellence, we are confident that Beacon boys will continue to exemplify leadership, compassion, and a steadfast dedication to serving others.


ABSOLUTELY magazines 111
Energising a new generation. www.crosfields.com Nursery - Year 11


The latest from schools across the county

Follow the lead

Local independent boarding school for girls, Downe House, has launched an Aspiring Middle Leaders’ Programme in collaboration with Bradfield College and Winchester College as part of an ongoing strategy to support CPD (Continuing Professional Development) and meaningful career progression for its teachers, while sharing best practice via cross-school partnerships. The programme was launched this month at an event hosted by Bradfield College where delegates heard an address from Headmaster, Dr Christopher Stevens, on the topic of leadership and management in the education sector.

The programme, which will cover topics such as building a team, supporting pupil progress and building a high-performing department, has been created to support academic staff who are looking to step into leadership roles within their schools. All three schools will co-host a range of specially themed interactive sessions that are set to run throughout the course of the year, with an opportunity for delegates to shadow their counterparts across the partner schools. downehouse.net

Girls triumph

St George’s School Windsor Castle’s ‘Sport for All’ philosophy is certainly reaping dividends, with Year 6 students taking home the winners medals at the recent IAPS Small Schools Under 11 Netball Tournament at Framlingham College in Suffolk. The seven-strong team won all seven of their matches on route to the final, before displaying impressive skill and determination to win 5-4 in the event’s nail-biting conclusion.

Aimee O’Donovan, Assistant Director of Sport at St George’s, says: “I’m so thrilled for the girls. Our unique 4Ps sports pathway programme takes the students on a journey through play, participation, progress and performance, both to discover and nurture individual

Hot shot

Seventeen-year-old Milton Keynes College student, Juud Farrant, has just returned home a er being picked for the English Colleges FA team, the football wing of Association of Colleges (AOC) Sport, to play in an international tournament in Italy. Right winger Juud scored one goal against Greece, slaloming through the opposition defence and dinking the ball over the advancing goalkeeper. He also had one assist in the event, with England topping their group, but eventually losing to Wales on penalties in the final. Course Team Leader at the Football Academy, Iain Ellis, says: “Juud’s come on so much since he joined us when he was 16. Representing your country at any level is a remarkable achievement so we’re really proud of him. He always had the ability, but it’s been wonderful to watch him grow in confidence with us.”


talents and also to develop a real love of sport – both of which were clearly on display throughout this tournament.”

Other recent sporting successes for the school have included silver at the Under 11 Girls Football Tournament organised by Newland House and gold in the Under 13 Cross Country Relay at Sunningdale School. stgwindsor.org


Family Traditions

Absolutely meets Julian Walker, co-owner of A.B. Walker, to uncover a unique history and caring approach

Q Tell us about the history of A.B. Walker…

A In 1826, Mr Benjamin Dunn founded a ‘Carriage Masters’ in Marlow that was later acquired by Alfred Blyth Walker and moved to Crown Street, Reading, trading as ‘Funeral Furnishers’. It has since been in the Walker family for five generations and currently operates across nine sites in Berkshire and Oxfordshire, employing 60 people.

Q Were you always going to work in the family business?

A I had not considered joining the business, it was all rather accidental, but I am eternally grateful to have found a real purpose in life that is both challenging and fulfilling in equal measure.

Q Can you give us an idea of how a typical day pans out for you?

A No two days are the same! We all remain flexible to react to the

immediate needs of families, but I mix the attendance and conducting of funerals with funeral arrangement meetings with families, helping them to plan the appropriate personalisation of their funeral event accordingly.

Q What do you think makes

A.B. Walker di erent?

A Being one of the very few independent family funeral services in the region, along with our heritage, long-term commitment, and knowledge in serving the community allows the delivery of a very personal service with each funeral being as unique as the individual concerned.

“We remain flexible to react to family needs”

Q How much support do you o er?

A In addition to the advice and support given during the funeral arrangement, we o er comprehensive bereavement care and counselling for those that wish to investigate their feelings of grief. Further, we can signpost families towards more practical services, such as house clearance and valuations, that might assist in the management of the estate.

Q How do you get away from it all?

A I find cycling and gardening allow me some very necessary time to reflect and re-charge – I love to ski with my family and have always got a couple of books on the go.

Amongst other things, I fulfil duties as both a Deputy Lieutenant for Berkshire and as Honorary County Colonel for The Rifles Regiment, having served some years ago with one of the forming regiments.


114 ABSOLUTELY magazines
GERRARDS CROSS 12F Pilgrim Walk · Packhorse Road Gerrards Cross · SL9 7QE 01753 963 000 THAME Unit 8 Rycote Lane Farm · Rycote Lane Thame · OX9 2NZ 01844 279 900 ridgewayinteriors.co.uk hello@rkiltd.co.uk We o er a complete project-managed Building and Installation service. QUALITY KITCHENS AT A PRICE YOU’LL LOVE
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.