Absolutely Berkshire June 2024

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30 pages of inspiration and insight

SPECIAL s s s s JUNE 2024 / £3.95 Berkshire TIMES Wild PLUS THE LATEST COLLECTION FROM SCAMP & DUDE IS JUST PERFECT FOR SUMMER DAYS OUT GREAT ENTERTAINERS The best al fresco venues, from Wasing Estate to Newbury Showground NEXT IN LINE Meet the chef revamping The Crown at Bray PAST LIVES How 1,000 years of Windsor Castle history is heading into schools STYLISH / INTELLIGENT / ELEGANT
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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. Call Just Shutters today on 0118 9070 102 Shu er Heaven justshutters.co.uk Enhance the style of your home
46 80 JUNE 2024 CULTURE 22 AGENDA The summer events start here 24 WASING ESTATE The story of a unique festival 28 AREA FEATURE 10 of the best al fresco event spaces FOOD & DRINK 44 TASTING NOTES The latest foodie news 46 SCOTT SMITH On taking over the kitchen at The Crown FASHION 52 THE SHOOT Marlow's Scamp & Dude's fun in the sun 57 JEWELLERY Nine of the best emerald gems ABSOLUTELY HOME 68 INTERIORS NEWS Industry launches to get excited about 70 ALEXANDRA DENMAN The Show Director of The Royal Windsor Flower Show takes us behind the scenes 77 ORIGIN Bringing wellness into the home 80 FENWICK & TILLBROOK Their top tips for painting schemes 99 REAL HOME Tollgard Studio take us on a tour EDUCATION 109 WINDSOR CASTLE Bringing history to life in the classroom 113 NEWS & VIEWS From schools aross the county ABSOLUTELYMAGAZINES.COM The online guide to inspirational local living ABSOLUTELY Contents ON THE COVER Scamp & Dude SS24 (scampanddude.com) 52 15 ABSOLUTELY magazines

LETTER Editor’s

5 Agenda

The best events and people heading your way (p22)

Absolutely Home

the interiors inspiration you need (p67)

ABSOLUTELY’S June issue highlights 2

Ivividly remember my first ever day in a professional journalism role. I had received a 2:1 in my degree and had planned on travelling the world, but a job came up in North London and I decided to follow the money. It was a lifestyle magazine, which was what I wanted to get into, so I couldn't turn it down. I turned up on my first day, in a crisp new suit which got strange looks from the rest of the dressed down team, and I was ready for my first assignment... which was to go and interview a radiator designer.

To say I was a little crest-fallen was an understatement. And yet, some 20 odd years later, I now realise it was ahead of its time. The home and all the wonderful design facets that go into creating a delightful abode was just taking off – little did I know then, what we were writing was ahead of the game.

Now, very much in tune with what's hot and what's not, our Absolutely Home special returns with interviews, tips and a few unmissable trends. Radiators may not play a role, but they are never far from my mind. Enjoy the issue



How to bring florals into the home (p74)

1 On
the Mount at Wasing Behind the scenes at a very special festival (p24)
Outdoor entertainment The best al fresco spots for summer events (p28)
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Albaray has teamed up with Wilder & Wren to create a collection of 9 key pieces that celebrate the enduring inspiration of fl owers and nature. Nostalgic prints with a contemporary edge are perfect for the spring/ summer season and beyond. albaray.co.uk

10 things we Absolutely love

Inspired by the botanical treasures of Christian Dior’s Milly-la-Forêt garden, the creations in the Milly Carnivora line are embellished with delicately lacquered fl owers. dior.com

creations are




This beautiful WOLF 1834 jewellery box is a classically elegant yet striking, modern piece, adorned with colourful, intricate floral embroidery. berrysjewellers.co.uk

Floral prints are all over this season's swimwear, and we love the selection at boutique Amelie's Follies. ameliesfollies.co.uk

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This pretty feminine fl ower pendant has been cra ed from luxurious 18ct yellow gold and executed with a stunning surface polish to enhance the fi re and brilliance of each chosen stone. berrysjewellers.co.uk


Meet Romero, hand cra ed in Spain, with natural raffi a embroidered fl owers, cotton ribbon tie, microfi bre lining and padded insoles, it's the perfect shoe to take you through summer, £125. ceciliaquinn.co.uk


Creativity, community and comfort are the three Cs that defi ne clothing brand Lucy & Yak's values. These are sustainably produced, easy-to-wear pieces designed to spark joy. lucyandyak.com


Lalique's new collection of crystal vases create the perfect environment for displaying seasonal blooms. This is the Zebre vase with a satin relief fi nish. lalique.com


Spanish sneaker brand Hoff is celebrating its new store with a fl oral collaboration with Morris & Co. The result? Fabulous fl oral footwear, of course. theho brand.com


Really Wild has launched a spring collection with its own exclusive fl oral prints that include this romantic rose. reallywildclothing.com



Get set for a giant peachy summer at the Roald Dahl Museum. There’ll be storytelling galore from James and the Giant Peach, plus craft and science workshops, behind-the-scenes archive talks and bug hunting walks out into the woods. Look out for special under 5s activities and exclusive SEND days too. Book now at roalddahlmuseum.org

Agenda 22 • On The Mount At Wasing 24 • MK Calling 34
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The Agenda

Between The Covers


For the first time ever, Between The Covers, the nation’s favourite TV book club, is taking to the road with a live version of the hugely successful BBC Two series that brings books to life. The live show will feature three of the best loved stars from Between The Covers: Kacey Ainsworth, Jo Brand, and Stephen Mangan, who will form the fantasy book group alongside bestselling author of Star of the Sea, Joseph O’Connor, who will tell all on his books.


Myth and Mythmaking

Throughout June


This exhibition explores how Victorian Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli carefully curated his own image and used Hughenden as a stage for himself. From the Aesops fables depicted on the library ceiling to the German Forest he created in the grounds, every manipulation was designed to contribute to his personal image. nationaltrust.org.uk

9 June


One of the UK’s favourite TV household names has extended his nationwide tour of his best reviewed show at this year’s Fringe, and his most personal show to date. From the quote attributed to Mark Twain, humour is defined as Tragedy Plus Time. Go and join one of our leading laugh specialists as he tests that formula by mining the most tragic event in his life for laughs. whatsonreading.com

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Cara Gordon


Portrait artist Cara Gordon’s residency recently ended at Discover Bucks Museum, but an exhibition of her work is running throughout the month. Her portraits are really engaging and striking and she has been capturing the faces of Aylesbury residents over recent months. Cara is a renowned and awardwinning artist including winning the RUA Gold Medal at the 2021 exhibition at the Ulster Museum. discoverbucksmuseum.org

Fast Lane

Silverstone Museum pays homage to IndyCars in a new exhibition set to thrill


18-22 June


Winner of Best New Musical (What’sOnStage Awards 2023), Bonnie & Clyde heads to Milton Keynes this month. Bonnie & Clyde The Musical is the story of two small-town kids from the middle of nowhere who became the biggest folk heroes in all America. They craved adventure - and each other. Fearless, shameless, and alluring, this is the electrifying story of love, adventure and crime that captured the attention of an entire nation. miltonkeynes-theatre.co.uk

Take the opportunity to hear world class musicians perform beautiful music in the sumptuous surroundings of the Marble Hall. What's more, be one of the first to hear what exciting plans await us at Hatfield House's main Festival from 10–13 October. Expect songs by Dowland and others performed by Mark Padmore tenor and Elizabeth Kenny lute, plus there will be post concert drinks with the musicians. hatfieldhousemusicfestival.org.uk

otorsport and F1 fans making a pit stop at Silverstone Museum will see some of the world’s most iconic IndyCars for the first time ever, as the venue’s new exhibition gets off the starting grid this month. Announcing its prestigious partnership with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, Silverstone Museum is launching its unique exhibition, The Indy 500: A British Success Story. In a world exclusive, racing fans will be able to see Nigel Mansell’s 1992 F1 World Championship winning Williams FW14B car on display alongside his 1993 IndyCar World Series Lola T93/00.

A stunning 3-litre racing machine from 1922 was Bentley's first entry into the IndyCar series. Douglas Hawkes, the car's owner, put the UK-based car on a steamship bound for the USA – and then drove the car to Indianapolis for the race. The car will be on show too this month.

Designed to race in IndyCar and Formula 1 simultaneously, the Lotus 56 was at the forefront of racing technology and featured a gas turbine engine. Three Lotus 56s were entered in 1968, driven by Graham Hill, Joe Leonard, and Art Pollard, and you can take a closer look during the exhibition. These are a few of the many highlights of the unique exhibition, made possible as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum undergoes a major, multi-million dollar refurbishment, which accelerated the opportunity for Silverstone Museum to bring the iconic IndyCars to the UK.


Must See Summer
This Month’s

Berkshire BONANZA

On The Mount At Wasing took festival goers by surprise last summer, so ahead of its return in June we find out what inspired its initial launch

There has always been something special about the Wasing Estate in the heart of the Berkshire countryside. One of the most diverse rural estates in England, Wasing is truly unique - a special place to celebrate, connect, grow and heal. But we never saw it as the epicentre of festival season in the county, but then again we don’t have the vision of Ollie Rosenblatt.

“The sheer beauty of it,” says the cofounder of live music behemoth, Senbla, on what caught his eye initially about Wasing. “The uniqueness of the space. The treescape creating an environment for live music that I haven’t seen anywhere else, as well as the holistic ethos of the estate that really feeds into the beauty of the surroundings. It’s a perfect place to come and see an artist.”

On The Mount At Wasing was the concert series set in Wasing’s spectacular woodland

amphitheatre that surprised us all in 2023. “The first year always feels like a mountain to climb because you’re literally starting at zero with no assets of what it looks like in concert form and explaining to people where it is,” Ollie says last year. “But now people have come to know how special it is as a place to enjoy and engage in live music. I’m really happy as to how it was received.”

It was yet another feather in the musical cap of Senbla. Ollie launched the company in 2011 and chuckles to himself when he looks back to that time. “A passion for music and a desire to be in control of my own destiny – as well as naivety!” he laughs about what inspired him. “But underpinned with total energy and passion to present music I love, be creative and build a successful business. I wanted to o er a bespoke, hands on, thoughtful approach to how we work with artists that is also creatively focused, looking at areas of business to promote in that other promoters aren’t in.”

It didn’t take long for that ethos to win others over. Looking at the events that

put them on the map, Ollie rounds o : “Nigel Kennedy’s shows early on, our Burt Bacharach shows, our film with live orchestra touring shows, our TV A Life In Song shows including Quincy Jones, Tim Rice, and Don Black. There have been many highs and lows along the way. That’s part of the joy and the stress of promoting shows. Promoting can be the most uplifting and joyous jobs as well as the most heartbreaking.”

Luckily, On The Mount At Wasing slots into the joyous category. Building on what was achieved last year, the 2024 line-up looks like a corker. Australian rock icons Crowded House will kick o the shows on 17 June, Scottish singer-songwriter Paolo Nutini will perform on 18 June, London electronic duo Jungle will perform with their explosive full live band on 27 June, and dance icons Underworld will headline on 29 June. Wasing Estate will also present Solstice On The Mount on 20 June: an immersive celebration of world music and culture with headliners Nick Mulvey & Rodrigo y Gabriela.

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“Wasing is the perfect place to come and see an artist”
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The Mount is a stunning enclave right in the heart of the countryside. “When you’re watching an act surrounded by the amazing treescape that appears after you’ve walked the trail through the spectacular woodland into the venue, you get a truly soul-nourishing experience – all of the artists commented how beautiful and unique it was performing at Wasing,” Ollie adds.

With a career that spans almost 40 years, Crowded House have enjoyed worldwide success. They have sold more than 15 million albums worldwide and, in 2016, the band was inducted into the ARIA – Australian Recording Industry Association – Hall of Fame. Crowded House have also won several national and international awards including being named International Group of the Year at the BRIT Awards. They will release their new album Gravity Stairs on 31 May 2024.

“The audience experience is just breathtaking”

In 2022, Paolo Nutini returned with the release of his fourth album, Last Night in the Bittersweet, which went straight to No.1 in the UK Album Chart. The album contained huge singles Through The Echoes, Lose It, and Petrified in Love, and is certified Gold in the UK.

Jungle are one of the hottest names to emerge in British electronic music for the past decade. The duo comprising Josh Lloyd-Watson and Tom McFarland were shortlisted for the 2014 Mercury Prize with their debut self-titled album. Their fourth album VOLCANO was released to critical acclaim earlier this year alongside a feature-length film of the same name. The single Back on 74 became a huge hit, going viral with over a billion views across TikTok and Instagram inspired by its dynamic music video that millions are recreating.

Underworld are a true one-o , who are just as at home headlining the world’s biggest festivals and events, playing underground techno clubs and warehouses, soundtracking theatre productions or taking over art galleries. Having cemented their place in the 90s underground techno scene, the group’s definitive breakthrough came in 1995 with the release of timeless anthem Born Slippy (Nuxx), which became the soundtrack of a generation when it was featured in the film Trainspotting. The success of that single catapulted the band

from the underground into the heart of the mainstream. The following three decades saw them build on that success while never compromising; selling millions of albums, performing countless sold-out shows, providing scores to productions by Academy Award winning directors Anthony Minghella and Danny Boyle, exhibiting in galleries, and soundtracking the Opening Ceremony to the London 2012 Olympic Games.

“The production values and lighting of Underworld will be incredible in the surrounding treescape,” Ollie adds when we finish going through the line-up. “The intimacy as well as the energy of the site too will work so well for the other acts and I think they will really get the most from being on the site too and be in tune with its ethos. I think the audience experience of going through the woodland trail first, the beauty of the surrounding area and then especially when you enter the main arena area, is just breathtaking and such a beautiful experience.” And, may we add, a unique one too.

Tickets available at ticketmaster.co.ukwasing.co.uk/themount

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OUTDOOR event spaces

ABSOLUTELY magazines TOP 10


Ascot Racecourse, famous for its prestigious Royal Ascot meeting, is not just a venue for horse racing, but also hosts a variety of summer events. During the summer months, Ascot becomes a hub for music concerts, food festivals, and family-friendly events. The expansive grounds provide ample space for large crowds, while the grandstands o er panoramic views of the racecourse. There is no event in the social calendar quite as revered as Royal Ascot, this year running from 18-22 June. After all, it’s reserved for the best; the best in racing, the best in hospitality – and, of course, the best in style. This is racing at its most exquisite.

Ahead of our summer event special in the July issue, here we pick out some of our locations that are the perfect host for entertainment al fresco


The iconic Windsor Castle, the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world, serves as a majestic backdrop for a range of summer events. From outdoor theatre productions in the castle grounds to classical concerts in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle o ers a unique setting for cultural experiences during the summer months. Visitors can explore the castle’s State Apartments and then stroll through the beautiful gardens. This month, on 29 June, don’t miss one of their History Weekends: Royalists and Rebels. Go back in time to the English Civil War and meet the Parliamentarian Garrison of Windsor Castle. Learn about Prince Rupert’s beleaguered assault, the founding of the New Model Army and hear the stories of imprisoned Royalists. Also make sure you don’t miss the amazing Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House, on show now.


Conveniently located next to the junction 13 M4/A34 interchange, Newbury Showground is the ideal venue for outdoor and indoor events. Spread over 150 acres, the largest

events accommodate up to 50 temporary structures, 1,000 sheep, 600 horses, five horse arenas, 400 cattle, a 140m craft marquee, a 75m pig marquee, over 400 stewards, 460 trade stands, eight car parks and much more. Later in the summer, the Retro Festival will be at Newbury Showground from 9-11 August. Step back in time to the evocative music of yesteryear. Whether you seek to capture the lost glamour of the 30s or the nostalgia of the 40s, you can rock n roll to 50s tunes, then get down to some rhythm and blues. There’s family fun for everyone at this epic retro weekender. You can have a whirl on the dodgems, jump & jive at a tea dance, and set your senses alight at the burlesque cabaret show, not to mention ogling the classic and vintage cars that will be on display.


Basildon Park, a stunning Georgian mansion set amidst picturesque parkland, hosts a variety of summer events that celebrate art, culture, and nature. The estate’s expansive grounds provide the perfect setting for outdoor concerts, theatre performances, and family-friendly activities. Visitors can explore

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the park’s woodlands, meadows, and lakeside walks, discovering hidden gems at every turn.

From 8 June, look out for a D-Day anniversary display at Basildon Park. On the 80th anniversary of D-Day, a display in the house at Basildon Park explores the significant connection between the estate and World War II.


The tranquil gardens of Englefield House, a stately home surrounded by rolling parkland and woodland, provide an idyllic setting for summer events and garden parties. From outdoor weddings and receptions to charity fundraisers and corporate functions, Englefield House Gardens o er a versatile venue for a range of occasions. Visitors can wander through the formal gardens, featuring manicured lawns, ornamental flower beds, and scenic water features, while enjoying panoramic views of the Berkshire countryside.

The countdown has begun to Heritage Live’s huge outdoor summer concerts taking place from 19 July-22 July within the spectacular grounds of Englefield House. Expect Madness, Pete Tong, Elbow and the ever fabulous day festival, Flackstock.


Waddesdon Manor, an exquisite French Renaissance-style château set amidst stunning landscaped gardens, is a premier venue for summer events in Buckinghamshire. The estate hosts a variety of outdoor concerts, art exhibitions, and cultural festivals throughout the summer months, drawing visitors from

near and far. With its manicured lawns, ornamental flower beds, and impressive architecture, Waddesdon Manor provides a picturesque backdrop for al fresco dining, live performances, and family-friendly activities.

In June, there’s a distinctly bird theme to proceedings. Throughout the Manor, Aviary and Gardens discover a range of bird-themed exhibitions, events and activities for all the family to enjoy in Flights of Fancy. Highlights include remarkable displays of

Sèvres porcelain, an exhibition of paintings and drawings by Louis-Denis Armand (1723-1796) and paper sculptures by Andy Singleton. In the garden, Waddesdon’s summer carpet bedding will bring to life Armand’s artistry and the Aviary will host a contemporary multisensory art installation, Tell it to the Birds, by Jenny Kendler.


Nestled within the scenic Chiltern Hills, Hughenden Manor is an historic estate that serves as a captivating venue for summer events and festivals. The estate’s beautiful gardens, woodlands, and parkland provide the perfect setting for outdoor concerts, theatre productions, and community gatherings. Visitors can explore the estate’s tranquil surroundings, including the walled garden,

Nestled in the heart of the Chiltern Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Internet Movie Database (IMDb) listing over 50 movies and TV shows lmed in Amersham. Well-known actors such as Hugh Grant, Michael Caine, Dirk Bogarde, Margaret Rutherford, Christian Bale, Andie MacDowell amongst others have lmed scenes in Amersham. visitamersham.org.uk A picturesque country town location, used in many films and television programmes
“Stowe is one of England's most celebrated landscape gardens”

rose garden, and woodland walks, while enjoying live music and entertainment.

We have already mentioned the unique Benjamin Disraeli exhibition opening on our Agenda pages, and there’s plenty more for all the family to enjoy, from Meet the Beekeepers, where you can find out about beekeeping and honey production with their friendly volunteer beekeeping team, to a special Father’s Day craft workshop.


Stowe Landscape Gardens, one of England’s most celebrated landscape gardens, o ers a spectacular setting for summer events and festivals. The expansive grounds feature a variety of classical temples, grottos, and ornamental lakes, creating a picturesque backdrop for outdoor concerts, theatrical performances, and cultural exhibitions. Visitors can explore the gardens' winding paths, hidden follies, and breathtaking vistas, while enjoying live entertainment and family-friendly activities.

The latter is perfectly summed up when, on 29 June, The Big Stowe BioBlitz is held. A ‘BioBlitz’ is an attempt to record as much biodiversity as possible within one day, and they need your help. Join them as they look at all nature, from insects to trees to mammals to fungi to wildflowers to reptiles – and everything in between.


Bletchley Park, the historic site of British codebreaking during World War II, is a fascinating venue for summer events and heritage festivals. The estate hosts a range of

outdoor activities, including vintage fairs, wartime reenactments, and interactive exhibits, o ering visitors a unique glimpse into the past. Guests can explore the estate’s historic buildings, including the iconic Codebreaking Huts and Enigma machines, while enjoying live music, guided tours, and hands-on demonstrations. With the D-Day anniversary upon us, unsurprisingly they will be hosting some special events in June, such as Operation Overlord at the start of the month. This is a day symposium on the impact of intelligence on D-Day – from the planning and preparation, the events of 6 June 1944, and the following days.


The historic ruins of Reading Abbey, founded by King Henry I in the 12th century, provide a dramatic backdrop for outdoor

events and festivals during the summer months. From open-air theatre productions to historical reenactments and community fairs, Reading Abbey Ruins come alive with activity during the summer season. Visitors can explore the abbey’s medieval remains, including the striking chapter house and abbey gateway, while enjoying live entertainment and cultural performances. Look out for a host of outdoor film screenings later in the summer, from Top Gun: Maverick to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. You won’t find many more atmospheric settings for a touch of Hollywood magic.

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CALL Answering the

Some of Buckinghamshire’s finest artists are coming together under the umbrella of MK Calling, opening this month

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To celebrate 25 years at the heart of Milton Keynes’ art and culture scene, MK Gallery is working in partnership with five local community groups to co-curate this year’s open call summer exhibition. This year’s MK Calling features artworks spanning sculpture, painting, photography, installation and film. Over 120 established and emerging artists explore themes including identity, inclusivity, possible futures, heritage, and significant moments across five thematic gallery spaces.

Over the past year, MK Gallery has been collaborating with learners from: MK SNAP, a Milton Keynes-based training provider for learning-disabled adults; the Visually Impaired People (VIP) Group, a group of friends living with sight loss in the local area who have met through di erent local support organisations; Unknown Collective, a group of under 26-yearold creatives who have previously engaged with MK Gallery’s programme; members of the Middle Eastern Cultural Group, a platform which provides social activities and language

tuition to people from Middle Eastern communities living in Milton Keynes; and adults from Q:Alliance, a registered charity that provides support, information, and empowerment for the LGBTQ+ community in Milton Keynes and surrounding areas. Featured artists include: ANDI, Aoccho, Nuha Al Hashimi, Theresa Alix Wren-Enayati Rad, Moe Asari, Sadie Aston, Polly Bates, Sophia Bharmal, Nazira Bibi, Benjamin Bird, Helen Birnbaum, Jared Boechler, Thomas Eke, James Bristow, Anna Brownsted, Roisín Callaghan, Daura Campos, Sophia Chapman,

FACING PAGE: Helen Clarke, Time emitting object(s)

ABOVE: Kàren J Clements, First Date

RIGHT: Nour Huda, Prayer

BELOW: Mark Houghton, Dance the Blues I

LEFT: Akrivi Koukouli, Carrying routes

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Gayle Charlotte Dallas, Clair Chinnery, Paul Chisholm, JMC Anderson, Helen Clarke, Ladina Clement, Liz Cli ord, Sue Cohen, Patrick Ayre and Barbara Ayre (MNID Collective), Allistair Covell, Davies Monaghan Klein, Urban Fabric Architects, Ingrid McLaren, Khulood Dami, Sarah Davis, Vera Doarme, Imo Dunkley, Steve Dutton, Dionne Elizabeth, Deborah Fielding, Darcey Fleming, Sofia Fox Barton, Abie Franklin, Lucy Gregory, Dimitra Gkoutzou, Basak Cansu Guvenkaya, Thompson Hall, Alethia Hayden, Carol He, Cara Heath, Manuel Hechavarria Zaldivar, Mark Houghton, Nour Huda, Yang-En Hume, Kàren J Clements, Ella Jackson, Gity Jamei, Daisy Jones, Helen Jones, Margaret Keeton, Sagar Kharecha, Kishwar Kiani, Simon King, Kyle Kirkpatrick, Akrivi Koukouli, C L Davies, Kwinnie Lê, Alana Lake, Jamie Lee, Dene Leigh, Olana Light, Yingfei Lyu, Chris Madeley, Ana Maria, Lima Dimitrijevic, Zehra Marikar, Nicola McEvoy, Nhlonipho Mchunu, Lois McKendrick, Georgina McNamara, Ryoji Morimoto, Guy Morris, Melanie Mosaics, Tahira Noreen, RosaMaria Nuutinen, Chinwe Osaghae, Stella Ouzounidou, Sharon Paulger, Hannah Pickett, Melissa Pierce Murray, Deirdre Porter-Hanson, Reaa Puri, shunshun qi, Gill Quinnell, Ghosson Rahhal, W. B. Randall, Eliza Rawlings, Tina Reid, Elsie Roderiques, Rekha Sameer, Kathy Santiago, Mat Scott, Maheen Sheikh,

Ellie Shipman, Sarah Simonds, Ricardo Sleiman, Yasmin Conway, Jenny Sta , Emily Stapleton-Je eris, Ruth Switalski, Sebastian Thomas, Lisa Tilley, Emma Ogawa Todd, Mita Vaghela, Ruqaya Wajdi, Siao-Chen Wang, Matt Waruszynski, Sarah Watts, Emma Wilde, Alexa Wright, Natasha Wysocki-Douglas, Xinan Yang, and Soon Yul Kang.


22 June-29 September 2024

MK Gallery, 900 Midsummer Boulevard Milton Keynes, MK9 3QA mkgallery.org/event/mk-calling-2024

ABOVE: Matt Waruszynski, Cobblers

TOP: C L Davies, Conversations

RIGHT: Alethia Hayden, Burnt

“MK Calling features over 120 established and emerging artists”
LEFT: Sofia Fox Barton, Heritage Matchboxes (selection)


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View Food with a

Exploring five National Trust-protected wildflower meadows with great scenery where you can picnic for free across the area

Wildflower meadows, particularly chalk grasslands, are increasingly rare, but vitally important because they support so many di erent species of plants and wildlife. You can find up to 40 di erent species of flowers and hundreds of pollinators in one square metre of meadow – and there are several stunning sites across our local areas, perfect for a picnic as the warmer days come around. Sit back on soft ground speckled with wildflowers and listen to the quiet that’s not quiet at all. The air is literally humming with life. Hear the bird call, the grasshoppers chirp and the gentle white whoosh of the world happening somewhere else in the background. Feel the tickle of sweeping grasses, smell the wild herbs and watch birds wheel overhead and butterflies dance in the foreground. It’s an ordinary, but extraordinary pleasure and privilege to picnic in a wildflower meadow. Restoring and protecting wildflower meadows is a labour of love for National Trust rangers and here are five beautiful spots perfect for exploring or relaxing in.



Winter Hill is a steep chalk escarpment with big views overlooking the River Thames and the areas of Marlow and Bourne End. On the chalk slopes you’ll find orchids, rock rose and other flowers, and you can watch the red kites riding the thermal updrafts. There’s a small free car park at the top of the hill, or you can arrive at Winter Hill from a longer walk taking in the lush meadows on footpaths alongside the river.

www.desirefair.com www.celebratingceramics.co.uk Waterperry Gardens near Wheatley, Oxford OX33 1LA Save £7 on Early Bird Tickets full price £14 see websites Friday to Saturday: 9.30am-5.30pm • Sunday: 9.30am-5pm   19 – 21 July Two Events • One Admission • One Fabulous Venue • Over 200 Exhibitors HELD ON AD J ACENT LAWNS Showcasing the finest artistic talent in contemporary ceramics Stunning contemporary jewellery and unique stylish silverware 2024 Advance Booking Required Waterperry-134x190mm-v2.indd 1 14/05/2024 16:22 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.



Coombe Hill is the highest point of the Chilterns and you can see for miles over Aylesbury Vale as far as the Cotswolds on a clear day. It’s a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest and is home to more than 30 species of wildflower and 28 species of butterfly. There’s a free car park, which can get busy on weekends, and a natural play area where children can let o some steam.



There are fantastic views from West Wycombe Hill over towards High Wycombe and over the designed landscape of nearby West Wycombe Park. The hexagonal mausoleum at the top of the hill is an obvious destination. It belongs to the Dashwood family, who still live at West Wycombe Park today, and includes family dedications along with an urn containing the heart of the poet and Hellfire Club steward, Paul Whitehead. The grass at the base of the mausoleum is a great place for a picnic and has the best views. There’s a free National Trust car park at the top (free) and one at the bottom of the hill (not NT, pay-and-display).



Watlington Hill looks out over the pretty town of Watlington and the Vale of Oxford. There are gentle plateaus of rabbit-grazed turf on the top of the hill that are perfect for picnicking. Alternatively, you can head to the bench at the top of the Watlington White Mark. This chalk figure was created

by a local squire who wanted to view a spire from his home, so he ‘drew’ one on the landscape. As you walk you’ll see gnarled yew trees, silver spotted skipper butterflies and horseshoe vetch – a plant the rangers are protecting to feed the Adonis and Chalk Hill Blue butterflies. You can walk to Watlington Hill or there’s a National Trust pay-and-display car park at the site (please don’t park on the road verges).



Before it was acquired by the National Trust, Holies Down was used for motorbike scrambling. The turf was in a terrible state. The rangers have been nursing the meadow

back to health for decades and today it’s rich with orchids, vetch, wild thyme and rockrose. It’s also a haven for butterflies like the Adonis blue and grizzled skipper. If you follow the walk below, you’ll enjoy panoramic views towards the Chiltern Hills and North Wessex Downs. There’s a free National Trust car park at Lardon Chase.


If you’re venturing into London this month, come and join us at San Carlo.

San Carlo at Regent Street, St James’s is among the finest Italian restaurants in London, combining the highest-quality ingredients, a sophisticated yet friendly atmosphere, and an unparalleled eye for detail to create a dining experience that lives long in the memory.


The summer has started in Bray with the opening of the Hinds Head Terrace. Just a few steps from the bar, it's the perfect position for a relaxed lunch, supper, glasses of fizz or tempting classic cocktails. This season there is a vintage vibe to the bar, with some sinful treats to tickle the tastebuds; chefs have been busy testing (and tasting) delightful homemade bar snacks all with a typical Heston twist. hindsheadbray.com

Food News 44 • The Crown at Bray 46 FOOD


GRAPE news

Wine recommendations for the month



The latest launches and news from across the county

Crémant d’Alsace Cuvée

Julien Dop au Moulin NV


This traditional method fizz comes from a house that specialises in Crémant, in the classic Alsace mix of pinot blanc and auxerrois. It's delicate, and easy-drinking, given extra depth by longer bottle maturation. A delicious start to any meal or counterpoint to smoked fish dishes.

The Society’s Australian Chardonnay 2023


Made exclusively for The Wine Society by Yalumba, this is a convincing representation of modern Australian chardonnay at a very good-value price point. Crisp, citrus-led and light on the palate, it makes for enjoyable refreshment.

Xinomavro Jeunes Vignes, Thymiopoulos 2021


The master of this increasingly modish Greek grape won plaudits from the 2023 Wine Champions judges for fragrance, freshness and sheer personality. Packed with juicy fruit and infused with savoury herbs, it’s eminently chillable too.

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

Chip top


Six by Nico, the innovative restaurant group known for its rotating six-course tasting menus, has announced the opening menu of the new Oxford location at Westgate: "The Chippie". This nostalgic chip shop-inspired menu, an old favourite of the Six by Nico brand, o ers a creative twist on this classic British meal. The menu features re-imagined dishes like Scampi served with brandade, dill emulsion, gribiche, peas and beurre blanc.


44 ABSOLUTELY magazines

Raise a glass

On Wednesday 19 June, Atul Kochhar will welcome wine expert Joe Wadsack to Vaasu for an exclusive dinner and wine pairing. A well-known TV personality, Joe hosts a regular YouTube show, The Drinks Coach UK. The event held at Vaasu will see Joe expertly pair wines from Hattingley Valley in Hampshire with a five-course menu designed especially for the night, showcasing outstanding modern Indian cooking. vaasurestaurant.co.uk

Twist and shout


In celebration and support of Pride month, Giggling Squid Beaconsfield will be donating £1 for every Pride cocktail they sell to MindOut, who provide a mental health service for the LGBTQ community. You have the choice of Margarita Blue - an eye-popping twist on the classic margarita - and Lush Blush, a blend of mango, lime, strawberry and coconut rum. They both go perfectly with the spicy menu options. gigglingsquid.com


Spring cocktails


Lanique Spirit of Rose is a completely natural spirit with aromas of delicate rose, fresh raspberry and cherry, and hints of Turkish delight. Utterly delicious with champagne, look out for it on cocktail menus. lanique.co.uk


At Stereo, a new experimental and vibrant spring menu features aromatic, floral and fruity ingredients. No Ordinary Love is made with Stereogin, rose, Muyu Vetiver liqueur, Campari and verjus. stereocoventgarden.com


The Della Vite Paloma Bellini is a zingy mix of the finest Tequila Blanco, fresh lime juice, homemade sugar syrup, zesty grapefruit soda and Della Vite Superiore Prosecco, the award-winning Vegan premium fizz founded by Poppy, Chloe and Cara Delevingne. dellavite.com

Escape to The Crazy Bear’s pool and al fresco terrace this summer, a unique oasis that perfectly captures the essence of a sun-drenched retreat. Spend your afternoons in the sunshine, sipping decadent cocktails, lounging with an ice-cold beer, or indulging with a glass of bubbly. It’s the ideal spot to enjoy luxurious tranquillity. crazybeargroup.co.uk/beaconsfield

Dishoom has announced the upcoming opening of a new Permit Room, inspired by the permit rooms of 1960s and 1970s Bombay. Following the success of its first opening in Brighton in November last year, Permit Room Oxford will open later in 2024. The Permit Room is an all-day bar-café serving up delicious snacks and larger plates.


ABSOLUTELY magazines
FOOD & DRINK • NOTES PERMIT TO please Set for Summer


Scott Smith has garnered plenty of accolades since taking over the food operations at The Oarsman in Marlowand now he has set his sights on The Crown at Bray

46 ABSOLUTELY magazines

Award-winning chef Scott Smith joined The Oarsman in Marlow from Sugar Boat in Scotland in 2022, bringing with him a wealth of experience from Michelinstarred restaurants across the UK including Arbutus and Wild Honey. Since joining The Oarsman, Scott and the team have won several accolades including most recently being included in SquareMeals UK’s Top 100 Restaurants. Scott is now the Executive Chef at The Crown at Bray, overseeing operations at 16th century pub. Scott will lead the team to deliver highly executed pub food with a focus on seasonal and sustainable produce. Here, Scott tells Absolutely about his culinary journey so far.

Q Before you joined The Oarsman, what had been the highlights of your cooking career up till then?

A Working for some of my culinary heroes in the hospitality industry such as Anthony Demetre and Bryn Williams at Odettes, great people with impeccable standards. Also as a proud Scot I have to also say winning restaurant of the year for Scotland in the AA guide, it is a great feeling when your hard work is recognised and great for the team.

Q Was there one chef who inspired you the most in the early stages of your career?

A I was aware of Fergus Henderson and what he was doing at St John, that heavily influenced me to be very thrifty and very respectful to ingredients. Also Stephen Terry, who was one of the early pioneers of great food in pubs, and of course Bryn.

“I can focus on ingredients and really let them shine”

Q Has your style of cooking evolved over the years?

A I would say less fussy. I started my trade in Michelin starred kitchens where you worry about every detail because it’s not your food, it’s the chefs, and you need to get it right for them. But at The Oarsman I can focus on ingredients and let them shine. You still have to put the work in, but it can be paired back slightly.

Q What originally attracted you to The Oarsman?

A Nigel (Sutcli e) and James (McLean) are incredibly passionate about what they do, and have a vision for both what we do at The Oarsman and the industry. We collectively want to make a great place to work, which we have.

Q What did you quickly implement with the menus there?

A Simplicity, just putting some lovely things on a plate.

ABSOLUTELY magazines 47

Father’s Day Carvery

Celebrate Father’s Day with a delicious 3-course carvery at De Vere Wokefield Estate for all the family.

Sunday 16th June 1pm - 3pm

£24.95 per adult

(3 - 12 years)

www.devere.co.uk/wokefield-estate 0118 933 4050 | wokefield.reservations@devere.com

£11.95 per child
To book, or for more information, please scan the QR code: Each Dad will receive a driving range voucher too!

Q How does it feel to have such positive recognition with the many accolades you have won since 2022?

A Our industry is full of talented people and great restaurants, so to be recognised or even considered to be part of that is inspiring.

Q Did you know much about The Crown at Bray before working there?

A I knew of it and visited it many times, I always loved that it was a proper pub.

Q What excited you about the role?

A Building The Oarsman as a pub/bistro defines a particular style of food, which I’m

“At The Crown I get to cook proper hearty pub food”

all about, but with The Crown I also get to cook proper hearty pub food. I do have to get the right head on, but once you’ve tapped a vein you get into a groove with the team there and go on another journey.

Q What are you looking to o er with the menus?

A Appropriate and familiar British classics that will change with the seasons. I’m presently focussed on opening the garden at The Crown and having some fun with the Robata grill.

Q Will you be using local produce?

A We always focus on local. We have

Chiltern Venison at The Oarsman, Windsor Estate venison for Bray, we use Bill’s lamb from the Hambleden Valley, and we are talking to a gardener at Danesfield to grow specific vegetables especially for us.

Q Is there one dish you have created for the menus there that you really love right now?

A That would be the rabbit with mustard sauce. Classic, simple and is a dish for the pub.

Q What are the plans for the food over the summer?

A We’re very lucky to have outside space at both The Crown and The Oarsman, so we will be looking at some simply grilled ingredients with salad such as lobster and chips, perhaps rotisserie chicken, something good with a cold beer and, of course, something for the little ones.

Q What does the rest of 2024 hold in store for you?

A Well we’ve got a great opportunity to continue to build these two lovely businesses and I guess the focus will be on training and developing the team. Let’s hope we get some good weather and some consumer confidence with the general election out of the way, and start living again.

thecrownatbray.com theoarsman.co.uk

ABSOLUTELY magazines 49


Go with the FLOW


At the heart of the VERVE Collection by Berry’s Jewellers lies wearable fine jewellery, effortlessly transitioning from day to night with timeless elegance. Flowing, simple designs adorned with highly-polished metals are strikingly complemented by the mesmerising allure of diamonds, making VERVE the perfect accessory to your summer wardrobe. Discover the collection at your nearest Berry’s showroom or berrysjewellers.co.uk

52 • Jewellery 57
ABSOLUTELY magazines 51

Flower POWER

Marlow-based Scamp & Dude’s latest collection evokes the joy of the summer months ahead

WINDSOR | NOTTINGHAM | HULL | LEEDS | YORK | NEWCASTLE www.berrysjewellers.co.uk

Spring Greens


Berry's 18ct White Gold Pear Shaped Peridot & Diamond Ring, £1,550 berrysjewellers.co.uk


Berry's 18ct Yellow Gold Green Tourmaline & Diamond Pendant, £7,495 berrysjewellers.co.uk


14K Honey Gold™, Green Apple Peridot™, Chocolate Diamonds®, and Nude Diamonds™ Earrings, £POA levian.com


Maxi Margherita Earrings 9K Yellow Gold and Green Enamel, £2,175 beabongiasca.com


Green Apple Heart Earrings, £88.99 crystalhazejewelry.com


Messika Lucky Move Diamond and Malachite Ring in 18ct yellow gold, £2,130 listerhorsfall.co.uk


Amalfi Pendant 14K Yellow Gold, Peridot, Green Envy Topaz, Lemon Quartz, Green Amethyst, £670 suzannekalan.com


Emerald Heart and White Agate Earrings, £4,442 guitam-jewelry.com


Green Tourmaline Earrings 14k Yellow Gold and Tourmaline, £980 edenpresley.com

freshest shade
Standout pieces in this season's
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Chanel has launched 'Les Beiges Sun-Kissed Powder', a trio designed to give you a healthy summer glow. The highlighter, bronzer, and blush can be worn individually or blended, helping to illuminate your face, warm up your complexion, and give you a pop of rosy colour (as if you've spent the day in the great outdoors), £75. chanel.com

Beauty Notes 63 • Fitness News 65
GLOW getter 59 ABSOLUTELY magazines

Visit our Beaconsfield Showroom and get 10% off

in-store equipment with this advert *

Get mobile for summer

Are you ready to get out and enjoy the summer months? Whether you’re planning park outings, vacations or strolling around town, we have a wide range of mobility equipment to help you.

Visit us, or book a free private shopping experience with our friendly team, via our website or this QR code:

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We Do Mobility


The latest in luxury makeup and skincare


Lifestage specific, Opalore’s five creams treat the root causes of ageing and promote good bacteria. A er testing cream n.2, I’ve noticed a more balanced and radiant complexion. From £180. opalore.com

IThe hairdreser in the Airstream




Emma Lewisham’s new Supernatural

Vitale Face Elixir fills and redensifies the skin, targeting cellular ageing. The light formulation feels luxurious, smells amazing, and we’ve noticed plumper skin too, £85. emmalewisham.co.uk

Shavata Singh has teamed up with Lightinderm to o er immediate redness relief after threading treatments at Harvey Nichols Knightsbridge. Redness magically vanishes using Lightinderm’s groundbreaking LED technology. Complimentary service with a full face thread or £21 with any other threading appointment. harveynichols.com

t’s a bit boring having your hair cut in a regular building. And who doesn’t love a vintage Airstream? Timothy David certainly does. This hairdresser to the stars (Gillian Anderson is a regular) holds court in a converted 1969 Airstream stationed in an unlikely spot in Brentford. The silver trailer is a labour of love, and it’s named Pauline after his late mother, who also loved Airstreams. Appointments in this cleverly converted American classic are intimate (perfect for private clients looking for discretion) and Tim is a great conversationalist. He’s also a great colourist and immediately – even instinctively – knows what to do about my tired highlights and straggly locks. Over a couple of hours we discuss everything from religion in Ireland to Airstream engines via Grace Jones’ hairstyles, and he gives me some invaluable advice on how to care for my hair, while expertly freestyling two carefully chosen shades of blonde through my hair and folding it into sheets of foil. A precision trim leaves my straight and often lifeless hair with new movement and a fresh feel, and my slight natural waves are skilfully revealed with some subtle products and hot air. Timothy is a multi-talent and his career has taken in Hollywood film sets, glamorous events, editorial and fashion work – and he’s happiest when working in the Airstream. Appointments are like gold dust, so be warned.

TIMOTHY DAVID Dock Road, TW8 8AE timothydavid.co.uk

63 ABSOLUTELY magazines
New Hours: Tues-Sat 10am-5pm T: 01494 725711 | E: info@odettelingerie.co.uk www.odettelingerie.co.uk 21 Market Square, Old Amersham HP7 0DG Lingerie * Swimwear * Nightwear ODETTE_HP_ABS_BB_MARCH2024.indd 1 15/02/2024 15:43




With daily mobility routines, the Pliability app's 'Improved Sleep' programme is designed to release deep-seated tension, preparing both body and mind for rejuvenating sleep. £16.95 per month. pliability.com


Developed in collaboration with Davina McCall, Foodspring's Protein + Relax contains 22g of protein, plus vitamins, minerals, and Ayurvedic herbs to help you wind down, de-stress and get a better night's sleep, £32.99. foodspring.co.uk


Used by world-class athletes including Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, the Eight Sleep smart mattress cover improves your sleep by heating and cooling you throughout the night and collecting your health metrics, £2,345. eightsleep.com



Carly Glendinning meets the experts at Eight Sleep to find out why shut eye is so important for fitness

Q How does the Eight Sleep Pod technology work?

A The Pod is an intelligent sleep system that gives you up to 32% better sleep. It cools and warms on each side of the bed from 12°C to 43°C and works with any bed. Powered by the intelligence of Autopilot, as your body temperature changes overnight, the Pod heats and cools to match your body’s natural rhythm, keeping you in deep sleep for longer.

Q Why should fitness enthusiasts track their sleep?

A Since sleep is so important for physical performance, the first step is to assess sleep and recovery quality by tracking

your sleep. Eight Sleep has conducted research showing that people experience a significant improvement in their sleep and, therefore, cardiovascular health after using the Pod.

Q We all know that exercise can help improve sleep, but how can improved sleep help with physical fitness?

A A good night’s sleep can contribute greatly to fitness. After sleeping on the Pod for just one week, subjects with average to below-average resting heart rates (i.e. >70 bpm) had the largest decreases in sleeping HR after using the Pod. A 2 bpm magnitude of decrease in sleeping HR is similar to what you’d expect

to get from a 12+ week-long exercise programme in yoga, tai-chi, or strength training.

Q And finally, if you could share one sleep hack for fitness enthusiasts, what would it be?

A Consistency is the easiest sleep hack. Create a schedule and stick to it, even on weekends. Go to bed within 30 minutes of your desired bedtime every night. Also, make sure the room you sleep in at a consistent temperature throughout the year, a cooler room normally leads to a better night’s sleep.

Pod Cover with Perfect Fit, £2,345 eightsleep.com

ABSOLUTELY magazines







For two decades, through over 300 interior design projects, Tollgard Studio have crystallised their design ethos into signature principle. In each design project they search for the distinctive röda tråden – a unique red thread – that binds people, place and building. Read more about the Beaconsfieldbased designers on page 99. tollgardstudio.com

inside this section
67 ABSOLUTELY magazines




The National Portrait Gallery Shop is celebrating the work of Black British designers and makers this month in a new capsule collection that includes cushions by award-winning designer Amechi. npg.org.uk


Discover the artistry of Fenwick and Tilbrook. Premium paint made to order in six beautiful finishes. Available in over 150 colours with bespoke colour service available. Priced from £27 for 1L. fenwickandtilbrook.com @fenwickandtilbrook

68 ABSOLUTELY magazines



Cult Furniture has teamed up with boutique brand A TOKO, highlighting the traditional skills and practices of Indonesian artisans and launching the stylish Kapu Kapu rattan armchair, £499, that also comes in red. cultfurniture.com




Folkifunki Grimace Vase, £590 micucci.store


Distressed Stone Ceramic Rotund Vase, £95 clickstyle.co.uk


Porcelain Cylinder Vase, £30 notjustashop.arts.ac.uk


Glass Bobble Vase, £28.99 thenookhome.co.uk

SPICER AND WOOD Grid Vase, £30 spicerandwood.co.uk


This blush pink concrete basin with a unique fluted design creates a real focal point within any room, sure to be a talking point when guests visit. Visit Ripples Newbury at 51a London Road to see more. ripplesbathrooms.com



This bedside table is cra ed from materials that are long overdue a comeback: cherry wood and rattan wicker weave. It's cleverly designed with a small footprint and a finish that will develop an attractive patina with age, £175. johnlewis.com

69 ABSOLUTELY magazines

Sowing the


The Royal Windsor Show returns this month, packed with stunning gardens, innovative displays and star speakers. Show Director, Alexandra Denman, takes us behind the scenes

70 ABSOLUTELY magazines

Agarden inspired by King Charles III, children’s marquees, charity initiatives and, of course, Alan Titchmarsh. Such an eclectic list can mean only one thing: the Royal Windsor Flower Show is back. The inescapable quality of the show, which will again be held in the bucolic grounds of Windsor Great Park’s The York Club, ensures this one-day, family-friendly event is quickly becoming a must in people’s summer calendar, this year being held on 8 June.

The sizzling show has all the (green) fingerprints of Alexandra Denman all over it. The Show Director, Alexandra was also the RHS Chelsea Show Manager and then Head of Shows Development from 2006 to 2014, and you can just imagine what the young Alexandra would have made of being in such positions. “I remember

travelling with my Dad to the allotment in his wheelbarrow and then being allowed to sow, plant and play,” she smiles. “Hours that I look back on with such happiness and clarity. Hiding in the runner bean canes, eating carrots straight from the ground and popping peas into my mouth experiencing an intense sweetness. Dirty knees at sundown and not a care in the world.”

It may not be child’s play for Alexandra now, but that enthusiasm for the subject has never dimmed. On her time at the Royal Horticultural Society, she says: “I had the time of my life and made so many friends and contacts that continue to help me today. Gardeners are a good bunch with kind hearts and show great camaraderie when putting on a highly pressured show. I loved the fact that for one week in May horticulture and the amazing people that work in it – nurserymen and women, designers and contractors – come together in Central London and their work is beamed around the globe, making front pages of

pretty much every national newspaper. And in those 15 hours of BBC coverage we get the opportunity to encourage and inspire even more people to look after and develop green spaces.”

Alexandra admits it’s very difficult to pick out just a few highlights of her involvement with the Chelsea Flower Show. “To be able to lead the horticultural content of the world’s leading flower show was an immense privilege and I felt lucky to do so every day,” she says. “I oversaw all the development of show gardens working with complex projects such as Diarmuid Gavin’s Westland Magical Garden, which was a hanging garden of Babylon planted over seven floors of scaffolding on the embankment of the River Thames, to escorting Royalty around the show and having my wedding shoes made by Jimmy Choo (the man himself). But I also loved the basics of marking out the site with spray paint, putting on my hi vis vest and steel toe capped boots!”


It all meant that she was more than prepared when taking over the challenge of revitalising the Royal Windsor Flower Show when she joined the team back in 2019. “I wanted to bring back to life a much-loved show that had lost its mojo and make it not only commercially viable, but a joy for Berkshire residents to experience and get involved in,” she explains. “A place for the community to come together outdoors, immersed in flowers and surrounded by nature. To enable and empower people to have a go at new mindful experiences whether making a flower crown, buttonhole, or entering the competition classes which include crafting, baking and gardening. Trying to show people that if you all have a go then the show becomes greater for it with rows of sweet peas and roses and Victoria sponge cakes or pickles – to make something great together.”

The 2024 plans have certainly whetted the appetite, with two areas particularly interesting to the Absolutely team. The first is the magnificent Central Garden, the focal point and beating heart of the show. Designed by Alan Williams of the multi award winning Landform Consultants, this year’s stunning Central Garden is called ‘What Do You See’ and takes inspiration from a book written in 2010 by HM the King called Harmony – A New Way of Looking at Our World, a blueprint for a more balanced, sustainable world.

“The King calls his readers to look at building a more sustainable world and we have developed that idea for the visitors to look at community orchards, pollinators,

bees and growing fruit and vegetables,” Alexandra explains. “Visitors will be able to walk through this immersive garden and are challenged by the garden name, ‘What do you see?’.”

The second element is linked to this, with the garden set to be relocated to a local school post-event. “We want the garden to live on in a new location to inspire all those children, parents and visitors to the school that biodiversity is exciting and inspiring,” Alexandra says. “For the children to feel that being surrounded by plants and flowers should be the norm, not a sterile tarmac playground.

“[Encouraging the younger generation into gardening] is the main driver for all we do. Every year we engage 12 local schools on our horticultural outreach programme. Sending a trained horticulturist into each

school to help children and teachers on their gardening journey as well as providing nature immersion days at biodynamic farm Waltham Place – where they interact with the herd of cattle, Tamworth pigs and can go foraging for food. I came across this quote by the great David Attenbourgh which I think sums it up: ‘If children grow up not knowing about nature and appreciating it, they will not understand it, and if they don’t understand it, they won’t protect it, and if they don’t protect it, who will?”

What does Alexandra hope visitors take away from the show? “Anyone and everyone has the power to help and support the natural world and by doing so can reap the benefits, both physically and mentally, by being immersed in nature.”


72 ABSOLUTELY magazines
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Treasures 14 Piece Tea Set, £780 micucci.store

ELOISE HOME Foxglove Fabric, £125 eloisehome.com

Woodland Floral Wallpaper, £89 limelace.co.uk

Willow Floral Vase, £35 thewisteriatree.co.uk

LISA CORTI Cotton Cushion, £49 lisacorti.com

Spring Botanical Blanket, £265 wearearcana.com

PALUMBO Poles and Roses Wallpaper, £148 petrapalumbo.com

ANNABEL JAMES Auricula Jug, £39.95 annabeljames.co.uk


90th Anniversary John Fowler Flower Holder, £744 sibylcolefax.com

BUDS Fabulous floral prints for the season
LIBERTY Limited Edition Coffee Machine, £199
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Your DREAM awaits

FWhy an Origin indoor pool can truly change your life

inding moments of relaxation amidst the chaos of daily life can seem like an impossible task. However, what if the key to achieving tranquillity and well-being could be part of your home or garden? Imagine stepping into a space where stress melts away and every moment is an opportunity for self-care or fun. Welcome to the world of indoor pools from Origin –the ultimate home improvement.

Origin's indoor pools are meticulously designed to offer more than just a place to swim; they are a haven for wellness and relaxation. Whether it's a serene morning swim to invigorate the senses or an evening dip to unwind after a long day, Origin provides a private retreat completely tailored to your wants and needs where you can escape the stresses of the outside world and focus on self-care.

One of the most significant advantages of an indoor pool is the year-round accessibility, regardless of weather conditions, this leads to consistency and creates a sense of routine making it easier to incorporate swimming into your daily life.

Beyond the physical benefits, swimming has a profound impact on mental well-being. The therapeutic properties of water have long been recognised for their ability to promote relaxation, reduce stress and improve mood. Immersing yourself in water creates a sense of weightlessness that eases tension in the body and calms the mind, providing a natural antidote to the pressures of modern life. Moreover, regular swimming has been linked to increased levels of endorphins – the body's natural mood enhancers – leaving you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

In addition to the restorative power of swimming, Origin's indoor pools offer a range of features designed to enhance and elevate your home life. From integrated spa amenities like saunas and steam rooms to customisable lighting and ambience controls, every aspect of the indoor pool experience is crafted with your comfort and relaxation in mind.

With their client-led approach, you can create your dream pool while Origin manages the whole process, from concept to completion. Their experts will discuss requirements, guide you through the options and produce a fully costed proposal and design based on your preferences, allowing you to undertake the ultimate home improvement and finally achieve the perfect work-life balance.

Say goodbye to stress and say hello to a sense of serenity – dive in and contact Origin today.

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01895 453996


As he celebrates five years on Berkhamsted High Street, Tobias Oliver discusses how his interiors company has evolved and what the future holds

Q When you launched Tobias Oliver Interiors (TOI) in 2016, what did you want to offer from day one?

A Seamless elegance with a hint of quirk! With every project we take on this is at the core of each design scheme. What separates us from the rest is that we have no ‘in-house’ design style. We draw upon our far-reaching knowledge of suppliers, craftsmen and artisans to produce luxury interiors that are totally unique and, more importantly, reflect the lifestyles of our clientele.

Q How do you look back on the first 2-3 years in business?

A Looking back on the initial years of my business, I view them as both challenging and incredibly rewarding. Those years were a steep learning curve where I dealt with everything from client acquisition and managing finances, to executing complex design projects under tight deadlines.

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Despite the hurdles, these years were crucial for establishing my reputation and refining my design approach. Every project and client interaction taught me something valuable about the practical aspects of running a design business and about my own creative capabilities. Overall, those early years laid a strong foundation for the sustainable growth and success of my business.

Q Why did you open a showroom on Berkhamsted High Street?

A I chose to open a showroom to create a tangible experience for my clients and to showcase the quality and diversity of my work. Having a physical space allows clients to touch and feel the materials, experience first-hand the level of quality and craftsmanship, and visualise their own spaces more effectively. It also serves as a platform for displaying a variety of design styles and solutions, helping clients to better understand their preferences and options. Additionally, the showroom acts as a creative lab where my team and I can experiment with new ideas, keeping our designs fresh and innovative.

Q Why Berkhamsted?

A I grew up in Berkhamsted and have always loved the area. I didn’t realise how fortunate I was to have been brought up here until I lived elsewhere and abroad, so it felt natural for me to return to my roots. Most of my family and friends all live locally and having Ashridge on our doorstep is perfect for walking Otto, my four-legged friend!

Q How has this changed how you work as a business?

A Opening the doors to the retail side of the business was exciting! Probably with the most ominous timing as after just six months we were all hit with Covid and Brexit, along with many other challenges. Ultimately, when life throws you lemons, you make lemonade! We put an enormous amount of effort into the e-commerce side of the business, onboarding luxury brands that synergised with us. Four years on we are now a leading luxury online retailer, which has meant we moved all our stock to a state of the art fulfilment centre and we are now a By Appointment Only showroom. We made this decision for us to re-align our main focus back to interior design, with our online retail shop working smoothly in the background.

Q Today, what would we find in the showroom?

A The showroom is now our private client meeting space, with upstairs now a dedicated design studio. We also hold events and offer the space to hire for third party private meetings in a luxury setting; if you are interested in hiring the space then please do get in touch.

“We want to leave a lasting impression in the minds of our clients”

Q What recent projects really showcase what TOI is all about?

A There are so many it’s difficult to choose. There is a particular one we are working on now that is very special, but it won’t be finished until later in the year, we can tell you more then. But two standout ones we completed last year both won national awards and are very different to each other in terms of design and that is exactly what TOI is all about. We work with our clients’ design aspirations and turn them into reality, ensuring the design is a true reflection of them.

We are working on a variety of projects in the local area as well as across London. They are all very different in terms of design briefs and types of clientele and we love the diversity it brings us.

Q How do you see the future evolving?

A There’s much in store for our brand. We have further developed the website for our online customers. Not only can they now purchase fabrics, trimmings and wallpaper; you now have the option to use these fabrics and trimmings to design and have your own bespoke cushions made. We are developing this functionality further to be able to make roman blinds and headboards using the many thousands of fabrics available through our website. In terms of the core part of our business, this mission will remain the same; to deliver luxury interiors, leaving a lasting impression in the minds of our clients, through exceptional service and sustainable means


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Fenwick & Tilbrook offer


top tips on how best to use paint in the home

When it comes to paint, the hottest trend is ditching the design rulebook and embracing your own personality. Small premium paint brand, Fenwick & Tilbrook, share some of their favourite uses of colour to transition us into summer.


Colour blocking is an easy and effective way to personalise a space. It can break up monotony and creates a dynamic focal point in a room, allowing you to showcase your unique style through bold colour choices or more subtle accents. It can also help to define a zone within a larger space or highlight architectural features.


Painted wall murals can add a personalised touch to your interior design scheme. It gives you the ability to customise a space to reflect your personality and style and can also create the illusion of space, whilst adding a focal point to a room.

This simple, yet transformative way of decorating a space is a cost-effective alternative to traditional artwork or wallpaper, offering endless possibilities for creativity and expression within your home design.


Don’t be afraid to experiment with complementary colours – those that sit opposite each other on the colour wheel can really stimulate the eye, for instant room appeal. So, ditch the design dogma and unleash your inner artist. With contrasting colours, your walls become a canvas for your unique style.

In terms of which colours to use together, refer to a colour wheel as a loose guide for your scheme. Warm orange tones are often paired with their blue-green counterpart (the colour that sits opposite orange on the colour wheel). These colours complement each other perfectly and can create a visually appealing and balanced space.

A great example of a perfect pairing is this living room pictured left bottom, which uses warm tone ‘Pantile’ together with cooler ‘Marram Grass’.

Unleash the power of pigment-rich paint! It’s an investment that goes beyond a simple refresh. We’re talking vibrant, long-lasting colour that transforms your space and endures for years to come...


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Enhancing Lives, Delivering Comfort Regain Your Comfort with an Opera Bed NEW Buckinghamshire showroom now open! Book your visit online at operabeds.com or speak to one of our experts 0808 296 7136 Unit 6, HTF Business Centre, Heath End Rd, Flackwell Heath, High Wycombe HP10 9QH High-Low for Care Back and Leg Adjustment Choose Size, Style and Material Rapid Home Delivery Visit our Buckinghamshire Showroom
“We are seeing more and more demand for mixed lighting schemes”


Ripples on the bathroom trends to look out for this summer

hether your taste is classic or innovative, there are countless ways to add your individuality and flair to a bathroom. Here Senior Designer Leanne Robey, from Ripples Newbury, gives you the lowdown on the biggest trends she is seeing emerge in bathroom design for summer.

A fresh take on fluting

The trend for fluting in bathrooms shows no signs of disappearing, but is certainly evolving. This trend is no longer so prominent on furniture, but is growing in popularity on glass elements such as wall lights, pendant lights, and shower screens.

Light it up

Bathroom lighting no longer needs to be restricted to just ceiling lights or the occasional downlighter. We’re seeing more and more demand for mixed lighting schemes, including a combination of pendants, wall lights, underlighting and sensor lighting. This is the perfect trend for those wanting to create a stylish yet practical space.

Mixed brassware

Mixed brassware is becoming increasingly common. This trend involves using multiple metal finishes within a single bathroom space, such as pairing Brushed Nickel basin taps with a Brushed Bronze shower. This trend creates interest throughout a scheme, particularly as each brassware type will mature and some will even develop their own patina over time.

Adding variety with vanities

We’re seeing more and more colour being introduced through vanity units. Deep, rich tones tend to be the most popular, although pastels work well too. As interiors trends follow fashion trends, we’re expecting brown and yellow to soon emerge as the sought-after colours to try.

Pops of pink

After the colour green has dominated bathrooms for the last few seasons, we’re seeing the re-emergence of pink. Pink tiles are gaining in popularity, particularly on feature walls.

Shape over pattern

We’re seeing an emerging trend for tiles which add interest through shape rather than pattern. After a huge amount of interest for heavily patterned tiles over recent years, we’re seeing the trend move to neutral tones in pentagonal, hexagonal and even triangular formats.

Visit Ripples Newbury at 51a London Road, Newbury RG14 1JN, 01635 569900 ripplesbathrooms.com

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OUTDOOR KITCHEN SPECIALISTS VISIT OUR SHOWROOM Unit U The Rose Business Estate, Marlow SL7 3ND | 01628 290 142 info@marlowsstoves.co.uk marlowstoves.co.uk 3D CAD Design service


Interior designer Jessica Schertle from @by bloom.studio on why St Albans is the destination for styling your home

he quaint cathedral city of St Albans with its Roman history and sumptuous Hertfordshire countryside has evolved into a design hub for all things interiors. I love strolling through the centre, brimming with design inspiration around every corner with a mix of well-known brands and charming independents.

St Albans has evolved into a design hub for all things interiors

Many buildings in the area were built in the Victorian era, which celebrates a style revival in 2024 with characteristics such as chevron flooring, wallpaper and large patterned fabrics. Head to The Radiator Centre for a must-have period cast iron radiator in an accent colour. For rich patterned wallpapers and ornate fabrics Chantilly Interiors have you covered. Visit The Bespoke Flooring Company on the picturesque George Street, where you will find warm, earthy tones including shades of brown, caramel and burnt orange, which are the biggest colour trend for floors this year along with primary-coloured accents. Pick up the latest colour charts and tester pots from Farrow & Ball or Fired Earth, which also stocks a variety of terracotta tiles that are celebrating a comeback too.

In terms of furniture, straight lines meet curves and style mix is a must. A fold of chairs, an eclectic little showroom on London Road, sells unique and skilfully restored finds from the 60s to the late 80s. Their upcycled mid-century icon chairs, lamps and sideboards will sit beautifully with a curved sofa from BoConcept a few doors down. Pop across the road and visit Marks & Tilt featuring a range of modern, contemporary artwork for that special curated look.

Family run antiques store LA James on George Street is a treasure chest for interesting trinkets and coloured

glassware. To add to your collectables, also explore Cositas, not only an independent jewel specialising in original decorative items, but also a pop-up shop for the local creative scene. I can never pass Oliver Bonas’ recently extended store without spotting stylish yet useful home accessories. The eclectic Zoohause at the top of St Peter’s Street is a well-stocked home store where you’ll find timeless ceramic vases, decorative textiles and elegant cookware in muted palettes to enhance your design scheme. Bring it all together by investing in a lasting rug from Rug Maker, who offer a fabulous choice of traditional and modern handmade rugs in beautiful designs.

For larger projects, a multitude of specialist showrooms such as TinkleTorium and C.P Hart for bathrooms, and MoneyHill Interiors and Tom Howley for kitchens, can be found within a 5-minute radius of the city centre. The abundance is remarkable; therefore St Albans is truly worth a visit to plan your renovations.



Tom Howley explains how you can master the art of indoor-outdoor kitchen design

Summer is officially here, which means we’re all now eager to venture outdoors. Most of us are hoping for glorious sunshine and blue skies all season long, this said we can’t rely on the Great British weather for al fresco dining every day. We can, however, bring the outdoors in and give our kitchens a greater sense of space and calm. We’ve turned to luxury bespoke kitchen company, Tom Howley, for advice on how to design a timeless indoor-outdoor kitchen space.


Planning is vital for creating an indoor-outdoor space that’s perfect for your lifestyle. Tom Howley, Creative Design Director at the eponymous kitchen company, encourages homeowners to figure out what brings them the most joy. “A chillout zone in your kitchen with comfortable seating is a great idea for families”, says Tom. “Having similar lounge seating outside too, links the spaces. Choose natural materials such as woven chairs teamed with moody outdoor lighting to create the ideal place for relaxing at the weekend.”


While you are deciding on the overall function of your space, get started on creating. Extending your indoor flooring out into the courtyard or

patio is an excellent option to merge your interior and garden. “By using the same material throughout, it gives the illusion of one seamless space,” notes Tom. “There are so many options for durable tiles, cool greys, textured stones, or concrete effect styles that work perfectly. By choosing materials that fuse naturally with their outdoor surroundings, you can create a sense of harmony and tranquillity. When it comes to kitchen colours, opt for soothing blues or grounding greens for that ultimate sense of cohesion with the garden. These natural shades work beautifully with crisp white worktops that reflect natural light, ensuring your kitchen feels fresh and airy whatever the season.”


“If your kitchen is near your garden, or has a lovely view, make sure the furniture layout makes the most of this by orienting towards the view,” Tom says. “Your sink doesn’t always have to be positioned looking out to the garden, instead consider locating your dining area to face the best view in the kitchen. Creating an indoor-outdoor living space will mean that dinner parties can extend outside into the garden, with all the essentials to hand in the kitchen.”


Finally, it is essential to include as much storage as possible without cluttering and compromising the open feel of your indoor-outdoor kitchen. Tom explains: “Think about incorporating discreet storage solutions for fold-away tables and chairs. It makes reaching for seating much easier when the sun comes out and protects your items from the elements. A good kitchen will honour the same principles – ensuring you have ample storage space for all your well-used culinary items.”


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HEART of the matter

How Audus Kitchens offer everything you need to make your kitchen truly the hub of the home

Discover the epitome of culinary excellence with Audus Kitchens, a company that stands as a beacon of quality and innovation in the kitchen design industry. With 30 years of unrivalled expertise, Audus Kitchens has mastered the art of creating exceptional English and German kitchens, ensuring that every client experiences the highest standards of craftsmanship and design.

At Audus Kitchens, their journey began three decades ago with a commitment to transforming

kitchen spaces into functional yet beautiful areas that inspire culinary creativity. Over the years, they have honed their skills and expanded their knowledge, staying ahead of trends and continuously improving their techniques. This dedication to excellence is evident in every project they undertake, from the initial consultation to the final installation.

Their seasoned designers are at the heart of Audus Kitchens, bringing a wealth of experience and creativity to the table. They work closely with clients to understand their unique needs, preferences, and

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lifestyles, translating these insights into stunning kitchen designs. Whether you desire a modern, sleek German kitchen with minimalist lines or a classic, elegant English kitchen with timeless charm, their designers have the expertise to bring your vision to life. They pay meticulous attention to every detail, ensuring that each kitchen is a masterpiece of form and function.

One of the hallmarks of Audus Kitchens is their impeccable installation service. They believe that the design of a kitchen is only as good as its execution. Therefore, they employ highly skilled craftsmen who take pride in their work and strive for perfection in every installation. They work with precision and care, ensuring that every element of your kitchen is installed to the highest standards. From fitting the cabinetry and countertops to installing the appliances and lighting, their team handles every aspect of the installation process with professionalism and attention to detail.

At Audus Kitchens, they understand that a kitchen is more than just a place to cook; it is the heart of the home, a space where memories are made, and moments are shared. That is why they are passionate about

Visit their new showroom in Lavershot Barns

creating kitchens that not only look beautiful, but also enhance the functionality and flow of your home. Their designs are tailored to suit your specific needs, making cooking and entertaining a joyous experience. Their commitment to quality and customer satisfaction is unparalleled, and they take pride in delivering kitchens that exceed clients’ expectations. When you choose Audus Kitchens, you are choosing a company that values excellence, creativity, and craftsmanship. They believe in building lasting relationships with their clients, and their reputation is built on trust, reliability, and the highest standards of service.

In addition to their design and installation services, Audus Kitchens also offers a wide range of high-quality kitchen products and accessories. From state-of-theart appliances to luxurious countertops and stylish cabinetry, they source only the best materials and products to ensure that your kitchen not only looks stunning, but also stands the test of time. Their partnerships with leading manufacturers allows them to provide clients with the latest innovations in kitchen technology and design.

Discover the difference that 30 years of expertise can make. Let Audus Kitchens transform your kitchen into a space that reflects your personality, meets your needs, and enhances your home. Contact them today to schedule a consultation with one of their expert designers and take the first step towards your dream kitchen. Experience the Audus Kitchens difference – where precision meets perfection, and culinary dreams become reality.

Lavershot Barns, London Road, Windlesham, GU20 6LL auduskitchens.co.uk

For over 30 years Audus Kitchens have been leading the way in the design and installation of the hub of the home
auduskitchens.co.uk Stunning Kitchens designed to suit your style LAVERSHOT BARNS London Road Windlesham GU20 6LL HORSESHOE BUSINESS PARK 01923 670197 Bricket Wood St Albans AL2 2TA SUNFIELD BUSINESS PARK 0118 973 2929 New Mill Road Finchampstead RG40 4QT sales@auduskitchens.co.uk


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Is this the world's best coffee machine? We think so. Choose from the extensive touchscreen menu or upload your own preference and you're guaranteed great-tasting coffee. Maintenace is super simple too. Barista Touch Impress, £1,199.95. sageappliances.com


Are your knives sharp enough? Once you've tried a professional grade sharpener, there's no looking back. This is an easy-to-use, industrial yet unfrightening piece of kit, £330. tormek.com


Another irresistible new shade from KitchenAid is Blue Salt, 2024's colour of the year. If you don't have one of the iconic stand mixers yet, this is the one to buy, £699. kitchenaid.co.uk


Store all your kitchen gadgets out of sight with this bespoke worktop dresser cabinet with bi-folding doors. Perfect for keeping your worktops clutter free. £POA at Dobsons, Cheshunt. dobsonshome.com


There's no more stylish kettle than the Aarke electric one, which has a selection of temperature settings, a removeable limescale filter and a lovely shiny finish, £200. aarke.com




‘Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication’ Leonardo da Vinci.

Saman tha Bartlett Interiors Tel. 0203 0 86 7 10 0 | Mobile. 07595670539 Em ail. studio@samanthabartlett.com Website. www.samanthabart lett.com



Q Have you always been creative?

A Interior design has followed me throughout my life, it has always been a joy of mine. My Grandmother kept my first mood board, which consisted of magazine cut outs, glued onto a sheet of card and then wrapped in cling film. During college, interior design at AS or A-level didn't exist. I took part in an art foundation where you learn a number of artistic mediums and soon after joined University. As part of the degree, the first year we followed the same course as the architecture students so I developed a good base knowledge of buildings and construction. I eventually graduated with first-class honours in interior design, something I was very proud to achieve.

Q How did you want to be different from the competition?

A The construction industry as a whole can be quite daunting for clients who have no knowledge of that world. I want to make the process easy to understand and enjoyable. I like to work with people who want to work together and create a strong team dynamic. I believe this is the key to successful projects.

Q Have you evolved in any way since launching the business?

A As designers we grow every day, that is what keeps our profession interesting. As a business we have evolved from myself working at the dining table, to a small studio. I have had to develop my management skills as I am now responsible for the wellbeing of our team, something that takes new skills and focus that I perhaps hadn’t fully appreciated as an employee.

Q What projects stand out for you in particular?

A PROJECT 1. CHELSEA PROJECT -This project demonstrates how we can work with complex refurbishment projects. This house was taken back to its core, we worked with the contractor to make this house compliant, more sustainable and become a comfortable place to live.

PROJECT 2. SURREY PROJECT - This project demonstrates how we can work to most budgets, with understated luxury. We upcycled most of the house.

PROJECT 3. HAMPSTEAD PROJECT - This project shows how well we manage our larger scale projects. I presented the concept designs to the client in May and we completed this extensive refurbishment project in November. The project won best ‘Luxury Residence in London’ by Design Et Al 2023.

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Samantha Bartlett

Jessica Cox


Q Were you always destined for a career in interior design?

A I have always been aware of the importance of a person’s environment and how it can affect the way you feel. Whether a home, a workplace, somewhere to eat or learn – I’ve always been intuitive in knowing when something doesn’t work and, in my head, I would plan on what I could change to make it feel better. I am passionate about transforming and creating spaces that are not only beautiful, but also functional – in turn improving mood, reducing stress, and enhancing overall wellbeing.

Q Tell us about your first big project...

A My first big residential project was a penthouse apartment, overlooking the Leigh-on-Sea Estuary. An incredible open plan space, over two floors which took a lot of detailed planning to co-ordinate. Using colours from the panoramic views within the upholstery and artwork and designed bespoke joinery and furniture pieces to fit the interiors exactly – which was key to creating a successful scheme that worked perfectly for the client.

Q Which project stands out for you?

A I recently helped the owner of a boutique clothing brand create a new retail space, from an empty concrete shell to a fantastic shop that reflected the brand and clientele. It worked so well and will always be a favourite project of mine. Being able to get to know and help a local business transfer and develop into a shop space was amazing and I am so proud of how it looks.

Q What makes you different?

A Throughout my career, I’ve worked on a diverse range of projects which have given me great experience and a varied portfolio. I like to be involved in both residential and commercial projects and although the knowledge and requirements are very different between the two, I also believe that there can be aspects of both that benefit the other. Combining the knowledge from across the different sectors gives me an advantage to understanding the needs of the clients (often before they know it themselves!) and through this experience, I’ve built up a huge range of suppliers and products to choose from, meaning I know exactly where to go to find the right fit each time.

Q What does the future hold in store?

A I have some very exciting projects in the pipeline which I’ve been working on behind the scenes for a while now. Including a creative technology space in a local college, commercial office spaces and an amazing hotel project in Coventry. In addition to several residential projects and completing my own home renovations, it will be a busy time at Jessica Cox Design!

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Anna Moss


Q Were you always destined for a career in interior design?

A Interior design had always been my true passion, but years ago, it didn’t seem like a feasible career path. After spending over a decade in marketing and advertising, I decided to pursue my dream. In 2019, I earned my Diploma and established Moss Living Interiors.

Q What do you remember about your first big project?

A It was a new build, where we knocked down a bungalow and built a 5,000 square foot property from the ground up. I remember the excitement of seeing the vision in my own head and then taking the clients on that journey to bring it to life through 3D renders, colour palette consultations, furniture design, joinery drawings and so on, so they could envisage the end result, despite standing on a building site for months prior. Seeing my clients move in on the final day was an unforgettable moment.

Q Which project during your career stands out for you the most and why?

A It has to be the Georgian property we recently completed. I just love bringing older, period properties back to life. The house was redesigned to create a timeless blend of historical styles layered with contemporary finishes that were perfectly suited to my client’s way of living.

Q What makes you different?

A I love blending classic and contemporary styles to create a timeless aesthetic. I love to layer and mix textures, colours, patterns and proportions. Ultimately, the spaces in our projects are designed to stand the test of time; every piece has its place, its history and purpose, for a long time.

Q What does the future hold in store?

A It’s an exciting time for us, we have just launched our e-design service, which allows you access to our services virtually all from the comfort of your home. We are also working on a cushion collection for later in the year.

“I love bringing older, period properties back to life”

Kate Lovejoy


Q Were you always destined for a career in interior design?

A Becoming an interior designer was a part lifestyle choice and part creative decision. I’ve always loved design and I left the Royal College of Art with a degree in Theatre Design and an MA in Film Production. I actually worked in the film industry for ten years, creating sets for blockbusters like The Matrix and Troy (yes I did meet Brad Pitt). But home took on a new meaning when I had kids and I realised just how important our day-to-day surroundings are. I completed a colour psychology course and had all these amazing set design skills, so in 2009 I took the plunge and founded Kate Lovejoy Interiors.

Q Which project stands out for you the most and why?

A Maybe not the biggest, but a stand out project involved helping a young couple with a new baby and very different tastes (him ultra minimal/her bold colour).

I used colour psychology and mood boards to create a unique decorating palette that worked for them both, but importantly could also be combined on a traditional floor plan. From there, zoned spaces with punchy orange/ pink upholstery for her, mixed with solid wall colour blocking for him, created their perfect home and the foundations for an exciting new chapter in their lives.

Q What makes you different?

A Two things make me different: client collaboration and colour psychology. I love working closely with my clients, ensuring their homes truly reflect their personalities and lifestyles, rather than just the latest trends. But for me, my colour and design psychology training is really important It means my spaces positively affect my clients’ emotions and the colour palettes I develop are totally unique to them. I think this approach ensures my clients have a truly personalised space they feel connected to, and it gives me an enormous sense of fulfilment.

“My spaces positively affect my clients’ emotions”
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Melanie Tomlinson


Q Were you always destined for a career in interior design?

A From an early age, I rearranged furniture, restyled rooms, and photographed 'before' and 'afters'. At a school reunion, friends said they always knew I'd become an interior designer. To this day, I vividly remember the layouts, colours, and styles of friends' and family homes, recalling details like wall colours and accessories.

Q What do you remember about your first big project?

A Assisting internationally renowned designer Thomas Hamel in Sydney was a highlight of my early career. A project involving bespoke furniture design exposed me to exceptional detail and craftsmanship. This experience sparked my desire to create functional, sophisticated but relaxed spaces for my clients.

Q Which project during your career stands out for you the most and why?

A Our Bondi Junction, Australia project is still a favourite as it encompassed what the MT Design Studio now carry as our mantra of ‘Interiors Inspired by Architecture’. The project was a complete renovation – a collaboration of contractors, architects, interior and furniture designers and landscape designers to ensure a consistent overall approach for the layout through considerate space planning and finishes.

Q What makes you different?

A As a studio we savour working on full refurbishments, bringing our interior design, interior architecture and project management expertise to a project. It’s fulfilling taking a property back to its core and creating a unique living experience, giving a structure new life.

That said, the same feeling can be achieved from a multi-room remodel or single room makeover, all projects are an exciting undertaking for us and experience for a client.

Q Does your local area inspire you in any way?

A Variation in architecture and design is so inspiring and we believe it has afforded us the luxury of never really having a ‘signature style’, something that can happen in the design world.

I also adore much of the American design influence alongside the Australian Modern Coastal vibe. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel the world and take much influence from European design.

Q What does the future hold in store?

A To engage with future clients who have vision and respect for the dedication of our industry.

To expand the MT Design Studio with passionate interior designers and technical specialists, alongside our management team delivering an unrivalled client experience from an award winning studio.

We would welcome working on more boutique hospitality projects such as a café, bistro, bar or hotel in the near future. These are real passion projects which stretch our creativity for Melanie Tomlinson Design alongside our residential projects.

“As a studio we savour working on full refurbishments”
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Our favourite statement table lights HOUSEOF Sand Rechargeable Table Lamp, £109 houseof.com LAGOON Gloster Outdoor Table Lamp,
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Abissal Crystal Glass Table Lamp, £2,490 micucci.store

CREATING a Masterpiece

Beaconsfield residents Staffan and Monique Tollgård have become renowned for their stunning approach to design, such as a recent example with creativity at the core

Born out of a shared passion for design, the Tollgard Design Group is run and managed by Inchbald-educated, husband-and-wife team, Staffan and Monique Tollgård. A background in feature film and documentary production characterises their work: a commitment to the power of story-telling, to the narrative that their clients bring, to the history of the buildings in which they work and the shared stories of the design objects they curate in each interior.

The scale of the questions differs dramatically: from contemporary new builds in Jordan, Kuwait and Portugal, to projects in London where their interior design studio works on listed buildings that

are hundreds of years old. It is in the capital that they recently finished the project pictured over the next three pages, and here Monique offers the inside story from start to completion.

An historic building

The Studio House is set in the heart of the St John’s Wood ‘garden suburb’, and was originally home to a famous family of artists: sculptors and painters who commissioned an emerging architect to shape it to their creative needs.

Add to this historic setting an engaged, creative and resolute client, committed to staying true to the architectural and creative soul of the house, and we had all the ingredients for an inspiring design journey.


The vision

Our client’s minimal and exacting vision for her new home reflects a strong and uncompromising spirit. Together with architectural practice Michael Jones Architects, she embarked on a sensitive refurbishment of this former artist’s studio.

This included a new extension of the glazed sections of the kitchen, and the replacement of the kitchen, bathrooms, fireplace and internal finishes. The ribbonlike central staircase set in a double-height opening was the defining element of the structure added in an extension done in the 1990s, and was the one feature that she was determined for the design team to work around. Our client knew exactly how she would use each area in the house, which gave us a great set of ‘Questions of Living’ to answer clearly.

“The red thread in every project describes the creative design DNA”

Facing challenges

An early idea for the design of the fireplace had a curved chimney breast, and we struggled to reconcile this direction with the more rectilinear shapes of the sunken living room and kitchen. When we introduced a bench that cut through the two spaces we realised this could act as a bridging element and thread through the rest of the house. The curved fireplace stayed in the creative attic, ready for another home.

The red thread

We were engaged to provide a concept – or red thread –through the house, drawing together the environment, architecture and identity. We use the Scandinavian idea of the red thread in every project as a shorthand to describe the creative design DNA that runs through a project. In this project the red thread was defined by strong, clean lines that minimise visual clutter and allow the important pieces to speak clearly and be heard. Not a bad red thread to live by.

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“The flow of the house feels effortless and uncontrived”

The strong line of the connecting fireplace bench is echoed by the monolithic kitchen island, and repeated in the dark stone basins in the house. The contrast of strong sculptural elements – made heavier by their dark materiality – in the light-filled and light spaces is a way of pulling focus on the most important elements in the room.

Room to room

We started with rationalising the split-levels of the living and dining wings of the house, introducing a bench that connected through a contemporary fireplace. These strong lines helped introduce the even stronger lines of the Molteni Dada kitchen. Paying attention to the glazed sections and the opening up into the garden we created a singular kitchen that conceals the entrance to the laundry and side entrance to the house.

The sunken living room was minimally furnished with some Tollgard classics including the Belt from Meridiani and a tailored sofa to fit the challenging corners.

The bathrooms benefited from the resolutely architectural red thread, combining textured and plain silk georgette ceramic tiles, black brassware and white sanitaryware.

On the top floor we used Clayworks as a finish to envelop the master bedroom, using it on the wardrobes as well as the walls. The original wooden beams from the artist’s studio were maintained and a minimal track lighting system added that is respectful of the building’s historic status and construction.

The finished article

Our client’s utter enjoyment of her home is by far the most satisfying moment of the completed project. This, plus the flow of the house, from the private entrance, past the sculptural stair, through the kitchen and into the garden that feels effortless and uncontrived.


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Cleaning UP

Visiting Fields' two showrooms to see how they can solve all your home accessory needs

When your washing machine or fridge freezer dies, it’s never at a convenient time for your pocket or your busy lifestyle.

We’ve all been to the big stores and looked at massive ranges of washing machines. All you want is something to wash your clothes, but which one? You need help, but can you find a sales assistant to help? Or one that knows what they’re talking about. Well, next time try Fields, they can help you choose over the phone or if you want to touch your new machine you can visit their showrooms in Gerrards Cross or Beaconsfield. But will you get a good deal? Nobody wants to pay more for the same machine. Fields are part of Euronics, the biggest buying group in Europe, enabling them to give you the best prices, and faster and friendlier service than department stores or larger chains.

Fields are there for all your household appliances, from small items like cleaner bags, irons and toasters, to the huge American fridge freezers. Fields offer the full service when they deliver your new appliance, they will disconnect your old appliance, recycle it, connect your new appliance, even integrated appliances, test them for leaks etc and all on a day to suit you, plus to make life easier for you they track their delivery van so that you won’t need to stay at home waiting in all day for your delivery. Oh and did we tell you they deliver fast? Order before 5pm and they can often deliver the next day.

Fields stock all the leading brands and have every price point covered, with some machines that are even guaranteed for up to 10 years parts and labour to give you added peace of mind.

Fields first opened their doors in Gerrards Cross in 1996 and then opened their Beaconsfield shop a year later. They have seen the country have some very testing economic times and due to their fantastic

service have survived when others have closed their doors. In fact, independent electrical stores are a very rare breed today, so they must be doing things right for customers to keep coming back and recommending them to their friends. It’s not just the local area that they deliver to, their vans have been as far north as Warwick Castle and as far south as the Isle of Wight. So next time you are driving or walking around town keep an eye out for one of their red vans, or better still pop into one of their showrooms and be amazed at the new technology making machines up to 80% more energy efficient than your old machine – a new machine could pay for themselves in just a few short years.

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Enjoy the journey

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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. Register now for our Virtual Open Morning at 10am on Saturday 24th February.


Holme Grange, a thriving independent coeducational school in Berkshire, provides a unique educational experience for 2 to 16-year-olds. Having recently been awarded the prestigious NACE Challenge Ambassador School status makes it the fourth school in the country and the only independent one to receive this esteemed title, a testament to their commitment to excellence in education. holmegrange.org

Windsor Castle 111 • Education News 113


Windsor Castle brings 1,000 years of history directly into classrooms

In 2024, Royal Collection Trust will o er an expanded programme of outreach and virtual school learning sessions, inviting schools from around the UK and beyond to bring Windsor Castle into the classroom through in-person and online school sessions. These sessions aim to bring the rich history of Windsor Castle to life for children within their own school, making the o cial royal residence accessible to as wide an audience as possible by removing some of the barriers faced by teachers when arranging on-site visits. Sessions are available on subjects ranging from the history of knights to the story of the oldest inhabited castle in the world and exploring Queen Victoria’s life at the castle. All sessions can be tailored for diverse age

groups across Early Years, primary and secondary schools as well as to fit with the curricular aims of each school.

In outreach sessions, Royal Collection Trust’s Learning O cers travel to schools in and around the Windsor area, including Slough, Maidenhead and Staines, to deliver fun and interactive sessions in the classroom about Windsor Castle’s history and its use as an o cial residence by the Royal Family. The team bring along exciting artefacts, replica regalia and armour, and encourage role play, dressing up, storytelling and discussion.

In virtual sessions, Learning O cers bring the interactive workshops o ered at Windsor Castle directly to a classroom via any video conferencing application. The virtual workshops can be for individual classes or whole school assemblies, giving students a

unique insight into Windsor Castle and the people who have lived there over nearly 1,000 years.


In-person visits to Windsor Castle will continue to be available throughout the year, ranging from Early Years storytelling sessions to A-level workshops allowing students to sketch while viewing Leonardo da Vinci’s original drawings. School sessions are available throughout the week, with the option to visit on a day when the Castle is otherwise closed to the public, giving schools exclusive access to the magnificent State Rooms and Learning Centre for a truly memorable educational experience.

Throughout the year, Royal Collection Trust hosts educational visits at the o cial residences of His Majesty The King in London, Windsor and Edinburgh, at the Royal Mews and at The King’s Galleries, with free schools resources also available online. In the year 2022–23, approximately 40,000 school pupils made visits to these sites or attended online sessions. Royal Collection Trust also works with a range of community organisations to make the Royal Residences, Mews and Galleries accessible to as many people as possible.


ABSOLUTELY magazines 111
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The latest from schools across the county

Game on

BSC Education (BSC) and British Esports, the national body for esports in the UK, have announced a unique partnership to run residential esports programmes for British and international young learners aged 12-17 years. The programme, which launches in the summer, has been created to help young people develop their digital and leadership skills while also exploring a variety of career opportunities in the innovative world of esports. This collaboration is the first of its kind and will provide ambitious gamers from all over the world with a transformational learning experience designed to enhance their skills across many popular video games such as Rocket League, Overwatch 2, League of Legends, EA FC, F1 and Fortnite, while developing a range of digital and leadership skills fit for the 21st century. bsceducation.com

In good health

The best schools and teachers across the country have been shortlisted in this year’s Tes Schools Awards. It has now been revealed that St George’s School Windsor Castle has been shortlisted in not one but two categories: Independent Prep School of the Year and Pupil Mental Health Initiative of the Year.

“To be shortlisted in two categories is a real testament to the transformative education we provide at St George’s,” comments William Goldsmith, Head at St George’s School Windsor Castle.

“In a truly exceptional few years, the school has become the first standalone prep school in the UK authorised to

Dress to impress

Felicitas from Lower Sixth, St George’s Ascot, has won the prestigious Royal Ascot Fashion Design Competition and will have her design manufactured by LK Bennett to wear at Royal Ascot. In addition, Felicitas has been offered work experience at LK Bennett. Felicitas was tasked with designing an outfit that fits with Ascot’s Queen Anne Enclosure dress code, inspired by the 2024 Royal Ascot Lookbook, and will now see this outfit made by LK Bennett, a er which she will wear it to Royal Ascot. In addition, Felicitas has been offered work experience at LK Bennett in October, working with their team on the Autumn Winter Coat Collection 2025. The prize also includes £500 for St George’s textiles department. Open to pupils at all Berkshirebased schools and design colleges, Royal Ascot’s competition aims to give young designers, aged 15 and above, an opportunity to break into the fashion and textiles industry. stgeorges-ascot.org.uk

deliver the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme, in addition to becoming a Full Member of Round Square, achieving World Class School status in High Performance Learning and a Distinction in the Green Flag Award.” Winners will be announced on 21 June at a glittering gala awards night in London. stgwindsor.org

why everyone is talking about…

The Old Library

How the Corn Exchange is building a new community hub for Newbury

In March, The Corn Exchange Newbury launched a public fundraising campaign for their Old Library project, which will see the unused historic Newbury building transformed into a new arts hub and home to their creative participation work.

Participation in the Corn Exchange’s creative activities provide a lifeline to many local people: reducing social isolation and loneliness locally; improving mental health within Newbury and the surrounding area; and supporting young people in building confidence and self-esteem. This building is the perfect fit for this work as it was built as a free Carnegie Library with money donated by Andrew Carnegie in 1905. The building served the community until 2000 as the main Newbury library, forming an important part of the social fabric of the town for almost 100 years. Since then, the building has had several uses but has now stood empty for several years after the previous occupant, Prezzo, closed its doors.

The amount of £2.6 million is required to fulfil the Corn Exchange’s plans to open the Old Library in early 2025, £1 million of which has been funded by Greenham Trust, for the acquisition of the building, repairs, and conservation. Support has also been provided by Adrian Swire Charitable Trust, Backstage Trust, Eling Estate, Englefield Charitable Trust, Foyle Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, GJ Ward Charitable Trust, Mobbs Memorial Trust, Newbury Town Council, Payne-Gallwey Charitable Trust, Rivar Ltd and The Syder Foundation. In the first month of the public fundraising campaign, an incredible £51,379.73 was raised. The Corn Exchange Newbury say it is truly humbling to know how much this campaign is valued by everyone who has donated.

The Corn Exchange Newbury will also be holding a number of fundraising events over the summer, including an Open Mic night and Quiz. There will also be An Old Library Fundraising Evening with Thomas Forrester on Wednesday 11 September, where the Bargain Hunt TV personality will share amusing anecdotes from his career and give the opportunity for audience members to bring their own collectables for a chance to have it valued onstage. All proceeds from these events will go towards the Old Library Campaign, a community initiative we should all get behind.

To find out more about the project, learn how you can help and donate visit cornexchangenew.com/oldlibrary

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