Absolutely Essex June 2024

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JUNE 2024 / £3.95


On The Apprentice, apps and Essex •


Celebrating the best of Essex's vineyards

• HEAD OF STEAM How Colchester Prep and High School leads the tech way

Interiors features full of inspiration and insight


Followed by live DJ set from THURSDAY 20 JUNE 2024

Renowned for the action on the track and entertainment and fashion off it, Ladies Day is the highlight of the Essex event calendar, where fashion, music, food, and racing combine for a day like no other.

Denise Van Outen

Discover tickets and hospitality packages today chelmsfordcityracecourse.com





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JUNE 2024 CULTURE 18 AGENDA Festival season begins in Essex 20 SAM SAADET The brains behind The Mummy Movement 24 TOP 10... Essex vineyards FOOD & DRINK 34 FOOD NEWS Tasty bites from across the industry 36 RECIPES Dishes from the Italian coast FASHION 44 THE SHOOT The latest bags from Radley London 49 JEWELLERY Nine of the best emerald picks ABSOLUTELY HOME 58 INTERIORS NEWS Launches from across the industry 61 ORIGIN Bringing wellness into the home 62 BATHROOMS What trends to expect in summer 2024 71 TREND Top accessories for the kitchen EDUCATION 82 TALKING HEAD We head to Stoke College to discover how they set pupils up for life 85 ESSEX READING The latest on the literacy campaign 87 INSIDE STORY At Colchester Prep and High School ABSOLUTELYMAGAZINES.COM The online guides to inspirational living and what's on in Essex ABSOLUTELY Contents ON THE COVER Radley London SS24 (radley.co.uk) 36 61 44 11 ABSOLUTELY magazines
Visit www.milsomhotels.com/special-offers or book spa experience on 01206 806102 SPA PACKAGES AT TALBOOTH SPA
Half Spa Days available. Step back, relax and indulge with us. PRICES
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LETTER Editor’s


June issue highlights

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.

Bathrooms The founder of the Albion Bath Co on the trends you can expect to bathe in (p62)
Sam Saadet From The Apprentice to The Mummy Motivator (p20)
The Shoot New bags from Radley London (p44)
4 2
Kitchens Five of the best accessories (p71) Jewellery
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Nine gems in the hottest colour (p49)



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

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


Neill Strain's special gi set includes a Petite Couture design, which displays the blooms in a white glass vase framed with a Clematis vine nest, together with the No.11 fragranced candle, a sweet, floral scent. neillstrain.com



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

things we Absolutely love
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Atelier VM's Bloom collection features fl owers and foliage gathered in bunches, reassembled in a laser-cut metal sheet that are transformed into large, luminous and light earrings. ateliervm.com


A vibrant combination of rose absolute and fresh lychee is accentuated with pink champagne and a hint of raspberry to create Nest's effervescent fruity fl oral Lychee Rose fragrance. sephora.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


Jukebox Jets, 20 Jun Wild Boys!, 21 Jun

Exposé, 22 Jun


Hyde Hall Live BOOK NOW Join us for three nights of outdoor live music.
visit supports our work as a charity.
Agenda 18 • Sam Saadet 20 • Essex Vineyards 24
4 JUNE EVERYMAN CHELMSFORD Absolutely is a big fan of Everyman’s ‘throwback’ events, and this reinvention of James Bond starring Daniel Craig is well worth a revisit on the big screen. After earning 00 status and a licence to kill, secret agent James Bond sets out on his first mission as 007. Bond must defeat a private banker funding terrorists in a high-stakes game of poker at Casino Royale, Montenegro. everymancinema.com James Bond 17 ABSOLUTELY magazines


The Agenda

Foodies Festival


The UK’s biggest touring celebrity food and music festival series returns to Hylands Park with headliners Blue, Westlife and Boyzone supergroup Boyzlife, and the exhilarating Symphonic Ibiza Orchestra with DJs and live vocals. Watch MasterChef and Bake O Champions, Michelin-starred and top local chefs cooking their signature summer recipes in the Chefs Theatre, and learn how to make show-stopping cakes in The Cake & Bake Theatre with expert bakers sharing their best baking hints and tips live on stage.



Ruby Wax

20 June


After a complete sell-out first run in 2023, Ruby Wax's rawest, darkest, funniest and most compelling stage show yet, she returns to Chelmsford Theatre. Ruby says: “The original idea behind this show was based on the extreme journeys that I wanted to take in order to find an antidote to living a frazzled life. Obviously, I didn’t find what I was looking for.” chelmsfordtheatre.co.uk


Art Market

23 June


TAP Galleries presents its first-ever “art market” in Chelmsford. To celebrate, they’ve invited some amazing artists from all over the country to take part, including Joe Webb, Mr. Controversial, Gavin Mitchell, Mister, Alexandra Gallagher (work pictured), Anna Marrow, Simon Kirk and many more. tapgalleries.com

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14 June


Under a star-studded sky, RHS Garden Hyde Hall, is inviting you to an evening out as they get ready to host outdoor live music and theatre evenings. On 14 June, The Importance of Being Earnest takes to the stage. Everybody loves Ernest. In fact, Cecily and Gwendolen are both engaged to Ernest. The only trouble is, he doesn’t exist. Or does he…? rhs.org.uk

ART Lunar Lullabies

8 June-6 October FIRSTSITE

Join Colchester’s own Jane Taylor on a celestial adventure, inspired by her timeless poem, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Embark on a cosmic odyssey as this exhibition commemorates the 200th anniversary of the Essex writer’s passing and discover how science, art and imagination have intertwined over the centuries. firstsite.uk

This Month’s Must See



n collaboration with MacMillan Cancer Support, this exhibition hosted in Beecroft’s Community Space is entitled 'The Raw Face of Cancer - Photographs by Mia Davies'. Through photography and personal accounts, the exhibition explores the di erent experiences of 15 individuals a ected by cancer. Mia’s photographs capture the pain of cancer, but are uplifting too. southendmuseums.co.uk/beecroft

Enjoy a female-first lineup at the UK’s only free beachfront festival LIGHT THE WAY

First Light Festival are thrilled to announce this year’s full line-up and event programme spanning music, art & culture, comedy, science and much more, returning to Lowestoft’s South Beach across Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 June.

Championing local and emerging talent alongside a plethora of international artists with inclusivity and sustainability at its heart, First Light is making its name as the ultimate showcase for cosmopolitan creative talent, accessible to all. This year sees First Light shine a light and showcase a programme of incredible female-led talent including headliners from across the music and entertainment industry with DJ and broadcaster Colleen 'Cosmo' Murphy, one of the country’s finest comedians Shaparak Khorsandi and awardwinning poet Hollie McNish.

This year also sees their first partnership with Latitude festival, whereby one chosen act from those selected to perform on the New Dawn stage at First Light will be given the opportunity to also perform at the Latitude festival.

As Lowestoft is the most easterly point of the UK (gaining the first light of the day), this year’s festival takes inspiration from the Cardinal Points to allow a strong focus on the location. The theme of north, south, east and west will be threaded through the artistic programme, with a strong international line-up with a very cosmopolitan flavour.

For more information, visit firstlightlowestoft.com

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Business SENSE

Essex through and through, Sam Saadet discusses The Apprentice, her unique app for mums, and why Buckhurst Hill really does have it all

Perhaps it’s deliberate – car crash TV is seen as a way to pull in the audiences –but in recent series of The Apprentice, it’s been very easy to dislike most of the candidates. They either come across as incredibly arrogant or ridiculously stupid, so when they are fired, it’s hard not to smile. But Sam Saadet, founder of The Mummy Movement, was di erent. Sam appeared authentic, friendly and, shock, extremely likeable.

“I hadn’t watched the show in years if I’m honest and I feel like that actually worked in my favour because I was completely authentically myself and wasn’t trying to simulate previous candidates,” says the Buckhurst Hill local. “I went in blind and took every task as they came.”

Despite being fired on week six, Sam insists her experience on the show was a positive one. “It was a real life experience,” she says. “I did a lot of things I’d never do, such as jumping into a gorge in the highlands (I am so not an outdoorsy person!). It also taught me a lot about

myself, my resilience and really fuelled the fire in my belly for my business. It’s confirmed to me that being myself is enough and that I am capable of so much more than I thought. When you become a mum it can be easy to have self doubt and it made me realise I've still got it!”

Being a mother is the key element to Sam’s business ventures today, but running things has been natural to her for many years. “I have always been entrepreneurial,” she smiles. “In terms of business experience, I did a bit of everything; it’s where I get my Del Boy nickname from! But mainly sales, I started my first business at 18 in sales recruitment, went on to work in Malta on a whim then spent most of my 20s within sales businesses helping them grow.”

Then came a life change that inspired a new business direction. “When I first became pregnant, I was adamant I’d go back to work as soon as I could. Of course that all changed the second I had my first born and that’s when I decided I wanted to create a business that helps mums in ways that helped me and something that I could

do around my children so I can also care for them,” she explains. “It’s a huge adjustment, but I now have a business that I have a true passion for and I get to be mum at the same time so I couldn’t be happier. I wouldn’t have this or have a real purpose to drive myself if I didn’t become a mum so it really made me who I am today in a positive way.

“When I fell pregnant, I actually wanted to keep fit more than ever because I thought that now is the time to really look after myself in preparation for birth and for motherhood,” Sam adds. “So I started literally just doing pregnancy safe workouts from YouTube because I couldn’t find any information on safe ways to exercise through pregnancy. Once I gave birth, I continued it as a way to look after myself, but also boost my mental health. I found that exercise truly helped me and I wanted to help others in the same way so I took my pre and postnatal fitness qualifications around a baby and came up with The Mummy Movement. That started as simply an Instagram page o ering free live workouts then sending them via Dropbox links – and mums were really loving them.”

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The Mummy Movement has become a real hit, so much so it has evolved fairly quickly. “Today, we have an easy to use app o ering weekly pre and postnatal workouts, a mum and mum-to-be only community chat, help with calories, meal tracking, progress tracker, smart watch sync and just everything you’d want as a mum starting their fitness journey all in one easy app.” How tough is the fitness side after becoming a mum? “It can be a massive hurdle, mainly mentally. But also due to the fact that you can’t just go to the gym if you want, you need to get childcare for it. However that’s why I encourage home workouts and it’s all about not overthinking it. There’s no right or wrong way to workout, as long as you’re doing

it safely and you’re moving then that’s it! No judgement at home, get the kids involved, have them climbing all over you, but at the end of the day those 2030 minutes out of your 24 hour day will make a real di erence to your physical and mental shape as a mum, which you’ll be truly thankful for in the long run.”

The mental side, too, is a key driver behind The Mummy Movement. “I think every mum goes through their own journey, but we all share similar struggles,” Sam says. “I never advise mums to do things the way I do things, but I simply share my real day to day life and I think that makes other mums realise they’re not alone on certain things. It’s ok to have bad days and you’ll also have good days, it’s normal and no mum should ever be judged for it.”

Running The Mummy Movement also gives Sam the opportunity to enjoy the world around here. “Buckhurst Hill is such a lovely community. My little one goes to the local school and I get all the school mums involved too. We also do a lot of walking to keep fit

involving a walk to Queens Road ending up with a nice little co ee,” she smiles.

“I grew up in Chingford, but actually spent most of my time in Loughton where a lot of friends lived. Then at the age of 21, I moved out with two friends to a flat on Loughton High Road and have been in Essex for the past 12 years, having bought a house with my husband in Buckhurst Hill five years ago now and I love it here! I mean, I could list a favourite for everything in Buckhurst Hill; The Three Colts for a drink or roast on a Sunday with a lovely little beer garden for the summer. IG9 for a co ee. The Green Owl for a gorgeous brekkie. Tandoor At The Chambers for the best Indian food you’ll ever eat. Gosht for a lovely Turkish. Unique Nails for a pamper. The Play Hub for the kids to have fun…”

The future, for Sam, looks pretty much nailed on. “To continue to grow The Mummy Movement, continue to be the best mum I can be and just working hard to give them a great life. I just love being able to be myself and truly help other mums. I lead from example, that if I can do it then they can too, and give them the motivation that they are allowed to be the best versions of themselves. I just love empowering other mums.”

themummymovement.com Instagram: @themummy.motivator

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Drink it in

Celebrating the wines of Essex - and where to stay to sleep o the e ects

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Essex has the climate and geology to grow the best vines and boasts over 20 vineyards. This English Wine Week (15-23 June) why not enjoy a wine tasting, visit a vineyard or stay in some of the county’s prettiest countryside. Absolutely has linked up with tourism organisation, Visit Essex, to give you the lowdown on the county’s fine wines and vineyards.

Wine Tastings & Tours


Sa ron Grange is a spectacular vineyard located in Sa ron Walden and sits on the same chalk that runs through Northern France. The unique soil formation combined with the climate and topography makes perfect conditions to produce award-winning wines. Sa ron Grange won a 2023 Wine GB Silver award for their Classic Cuvee 2019 and a Bronze award for their Pinot Noir Rose 2020. Tours and tastings take place regularly. Tickets are priced from £25 per person and are now available for the 2024 season. Tours

run on Thursdays and Saturdays from April to September.Sa ron Grange will also be hosting Seafood Sundays alongside Sa ron Fish Co this year. There will be delicious seafood platters, crayfish rolls and locally sourced oysters. The vineyard’s award-winning sparkling wines will also be available to sample from the Sa ron Grange Tasting Room. Seafood Sundays will take place on 30 June, 28 July, 25 August and 29 September. There’s no need to book; just head to Sa ron Grange vineyard between 11am and 4pm on these dates.


Set on gentle south-facing slopes overlooking the River Crouch, Crouch Ridge Vineyard will host tours and tastings on select dates from May to September 2024. From £15pp, you can do a self-guided wine tasting to sample three of their wines. For a more detailed wine

tasting, led by a trained sommelier, Crouch Ridge also o ers Silver and Bronze wine tasting packages (from £25pp). The Grand Tour & Tasting takes place on selected dates from May to September for £35pp, with a guided gentle walk around the vineyard, learning about the vines and wine-making process, followed by a wine tasting.

Or, for something di erent, go all out with a private vineyard buggy tour and sparkling picnic at £300 for two people, plus two souvenir glasses. There are also a range of party packages and self-guided or guided tastings to choose from.

Five course tasting evenings, private dining experiences and two-course seasonal lunches are all available for visitors to enjoy. All food is freshly produced and sourced locally: freshly caught fish and shellfish is sourced from local fisherman, meat poultry and vegetables from local farmers, cheese from a local dairy farmer and jams and chutneys from local fruit farmers. This summer, enjoy a delicious dinner paired with the finest Essex wines, and sit on the barn terrace to take in the views down to the River Crouch.


Also overlooking the River Crouch and valley, Clayhill Vineyard benefits from sunny climes, relatively low rainfall and proximity to the river to produce tasty wines. Tastings and tours of the vineyard are available during the summer months. Enjoy unrivalled views over the River Crouch at Clayhill Vineyard; from the glazed balcony, you can see the vineyard wind down to the estuary. Families can sit over co ee and cake, or a glass of wine, and take in the views. Visitors can wander between the vines and binoculars, provided in the café, can keep little ones amused; see if they can spot the wildlife that thrives in the area! Contact the vineyard directly to book at booking@clayhill.co.uk.

ABSOLUTELY magazines
“Essex has the climate and geology to grow the best vines”


Bardfield Vineyard is set within a rural estate in North Essex. A vineyard tour, tasting and lunch can be enjoyed on the first Thursday of the month from May to September. For £30pp, you’ll receive a personally guided tour through the estate, information on the work undertaken on the vineyard and a chance to taste their four varieties of wines, followed by a ploughman’s lunch. You can also organise a group visit by appointment and self-guided trails are available to explore the estate independently.

Go on a self-guided trail through Bardfield Vineyard’s estate, with information sheets provided at the vineyard shop. Take in the stunning views of the vineyard, as well as walled gardens and beautiful alpacas.


One of the oldest commercial vineyards in the UK, New Hall Wine Estate has been growing vines and producing wines since the 1960s. Their Barons Lane range won Silver and Bronze awards at the Independent English Wine Awards in 2023. To try New Hall’s award-winning wines, visit their cellar door shop, where you’ll get complimentary samples and special o ers. New Hall’s Open Estate Days are back for 2024. On 15 June and 6 July, New Hall will open its doors and give guests the chance to learn about the wine-making process, stroll around the self-guided vineyard trail or try locally sourced food

and drink. Plus, take part in barrel-top tastings of their award-winning wines. No need to book tickets; turn up on the day and enjoy a summer’s day among the vines.


This family-run vineyard in the heart of East Anglia was awarded Wine GB’s still rose of the year in 2023. The modern, boutique vineyard produces wines that are used in top London hotels and the vineyard thrives with activity during the summer months. The vineyard’s annual ‘Jazz in the Vines’ event will return on Saturday 24 August. Enjoy an afternoon of live music, a variety of street food, plus locally sourced oysters, artisan ice cream – and don’t forget to sample their award-winning wines!

Places To Stay


Stay at the luxurious Great Lodge at Bardfield Vineyard in one of the three converted barns, where visitors can choose from bed and breakfast or self-catering options. There are three accommodation options: the Rose Barn, the Cart Lodges and the Stables. Relax in a cosy room with comfy double beds, stunning wooden floorboards and a contemporary rustic design, with floor-to-ceiling windows. Prices start at £60 per night with a two-night minimum stay.


An exquisite barn conversion containing luxurious self-catering flats, Hall Farm Cottages stands on-site at Crouch Ridge Vineyard. Each cottage o ers spectacular views over the River Crouch and the vines, as well as two bedrooms, a spacious openplan lounge and kitchen area, plus outdoor seating with a barbecue. Prices vary by season; high season runs from 1 April to 30 November and low season from 1 December to 31 March. A stay in one of these selfcatering cottages starts at £150 per night.


Tu on Hall’s six-bedroom converted farmhouse provides accommodation for up to 12 guests. The house contains three large bathrooms, a bright and spacious country kitchen, and a cosy sitting room with a log burner. The property is conveniently located on-site and is well-stocked with all the necessities for a relaxing stay.

Guests receive a large welcome hamper upon arrival with cupboard essentials and extra treats, including a bottle of awardwinning Classic Cuvee, and visitors can upgrade the stay to include a vineyard tour and wine tasting experience.

Farmhouse stay prices start at £1,128 for two nights (two-night minimum stay).

For more, head to visitessex.com

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The Windmill at Chatham Green is hidden away in the beautiful Essex countryside, just outside of Chelmsford, near the city’s racecourses, where Michelin Star chef Tom Clarke and his partner Nancy invite you to discover exceptional modern cuisine, using foraged, seasonal ingredients.

The menu is kept short and changes frequently to reflect seasonality and sustainability, using only the highest quality ingredients.

With a dedicated restaurant area, the pub still remains a pub, where you can enjoy unique drinks, wines and a selection of real ales at the bar or on the terrace.

Monday - Wednesday closed

Thursday 6.30 pm - 8.30 pm

Friday 12 - 1.30 pm & 6.30 - 8.30 pm

Saturday 12 - 1.30 pm & 6.30 - 8.30 pm

Sunday 12 - 3.30 pm

www.thewindmillchathamgreen.co.uk | info@thewindmillchathamgreen.co.uk

The Windmill Chatham Green, Little Waltham, Chelmsford CM3 3LE

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An exhibition of photographs from the Sir Elton John and David Furnish collection goes on display this month

Sir Elton John’s photography collection is legendary. The singer has been passionate about acquiring photographs by the world’s leading photographers since the 1990s and a new exhibition in London at the V&A o ers us all the chance to see highlights from this private collection that tells the story of modern and contemporary photography.

Showcasing over 300 rare prints from over 140 photographers Fragile Beauty: Photographs from the Sir Elton John and David Furnish Collection follows on from the 2016 exhibition The Radical Eye: Modernist Photography from the Sir Elton John Collection at the Tate Modern. This exhibition covers the period from the 1950s to the present day, bringing together an unrivalled selection of the world’s leading

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LEFT © Eve Arnold, USA. Nevada. Marilyn MONROE in the Nevada desert going over her lines for a difficult scene she is about to play with Clark GABLE in the film THE MISFITS. 1960 © Eve Arnold/Magnum Photos RIGHT David LaChapelle, Elton John, Egg On His Face, New York, 1999 © David LaChapelle

Set in the glorious surroundings of medieval barns, with over 100 Exhibitors, Catering, Licensed Bar and Live Music.

Creative Courage For Life® Stagecoach Performing Arts is the trading name of Stagecoach Theatre Arts Limited. Stagecoach Theatre Arts schools are operated under franchise and are independently owned by their Principals. Stagecoach and Creative Courage For Life are registered trademarks of Stagecoach Theatre Arts Limited. Summer Holiday Workshops Stagecoach Chingford & Walthamstow MON 29 JULY - FRI 02 AUGUST 2024 stagecoach.co.uk/chingford01234 709 600 Dance, Sing, Act! A week of creative fun, make new friends and put on a show! WHEN YOU WISH... Age: 4 - 7 year olds Time: 9.30am - 12.30pm Performance: Fri 12.00pm Cost: £135 (£110 for siblings) MAGICAL MUSICALS Age: 6 - 16 year olds Time: 10.00am - 4.00pm Performance: Fri 6.00pm Cost: £190 (£150 for siblings)

photographers including Robert Mapplethorpe, Cindy Sherman, William Eggleston, Diane Arbus, Sally Mann, Zanele Muholi, Ai Weiwei, Carrie Mae Weems and others.

Marking 30 years of collecting, the exhibition celebrates Elton’s and David’s passion for the medium, reflecting their personal taste and unique eye as collectors. Across eight thematic sections, it explores subjects such as fashion, reportage, celebrity, the male body, and American photography. Portraits of stars from stage and screen will feature, including photography of Marilyn Monroe, Miles Davis, and Chet Baker, as well as iconic images from key moments of history from the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, AIDS activism of the 1980s and the events of 11 September 2001. Also on display will be the very first acquisitions made by Elton, fashion


photographs by Horst P. Horst, Irving Penn and Herb Ritts, as well as some of the newest additions to their collection including Tyler Mitchell, Trevor Paglen and An-My Lê.

Sir Elton John and David Furnish said:

“Since we first loaned a selection of Horst photographs to the V&A in 2014, our relationship with the museum has grown significantly. Fragile Beauty takes our collaboration to really exciting new heights, showcasing some of the most beloved photographers and iconic images from within our collection. Working alongside the V&A again has been a truly memorable experience, and we look forward to sharing this exhibition with the public.”

Fragile Beauty runs until January 2025. Discover more at vam.ac.uk

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT 1. Peter Hujar, Divine at the Metropolitan Museum Russian Opening (III), 1976 © 2023 The Peter Hujar Archive, LLC, Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, DACS, London 2. Sam Taylor-Johnson, Crying Men (Laurence Fishburne), 2002 © Sam Taylor-Johnson 3. Herb Ritts, Versace Dress (Back View), El Mirage, 1990 © Herb Ritts Foundation. Courtesy of Fahey Klein Gallery, Los Angeles 4. Tyler Mitchell, Simply Fragile, 2022 © Tyler Mitchell. Courtesy of the artist 5. Adam Fuss, Zachary, 2011 © Adam Fuss. Courtesy of the artist and Fraenkel Gallery San Francisco

If you’re heading to London this month, come and join us at Isola, St Christopher’s Place.

Taking up residence at St Christopher’s Place and just a stone’s throw from London’s Selfridges, Isola by San Carlo Italian brasserie and bar o ers relaxed all day outdoor and indoor dining from lunch through to dinner.



With warmer weather on the way, now is the perfect time to visit trendy Nikkei hotspot Bamboo Mat in Stratford’s East Village to enjoy delicious new delights on their summer terrace. The new menu is full of mouth-watering sharing platters of Peruvian and Japanese delights, so bring a date or some friends and treat yourself to an authentic Nikkei experience like no other. bamboo-mat.co.uk

Food News 34 • Recipes 36 • FIGO Brentwood 41
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Wine recommendations for the month



Food news and the most exciting openings in the industry

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

 £7.50

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

Brunch appeal

Riverside East, a unique and dynamic destination for dining and events, opened its doors in May. Located in the heart of the leafy Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Riverside East’s 300-cover café will cater for all. With a menu designed by Lulu Cox (formerly of Rochelle Canteen, Bocca di Lupo and St John), dishes will align with the venue’s overriding principles of sustainability and wellness, supported with low-waste suppliers.


34 ABSOLUTELY magazines

Holiday fare


Just opened is Fish & Bubbles, a modern seafood and aperitivo bar. Expect gone fish sharing boards, negronis and spritz plus incredible gourmet seafood buns that will transport you to the beachside tavernas of Sicily, Puglia, Sardinia and the Amalfi coast with fresh, vibrant and flavoursome dishes. fishandbubbles.uk

Box of tricks




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




Everyone's talking about Bebe Bob's newest addition to the menu – chicken nuggets. But these are no normal nuggets: for one thing, the batter is made with vodka instead of water. for extra crispness and lightness. Enjoy them with Gochujang mayonnaise and a side of fries.




Koyn's executive chef Rhys Cattermoul has created ‘Hanami Hako’, a luxuriously crafted oak chest filled with six delightful dishes including sea bream, kombujime, irazake, daikon cress; mazaro di value shrimp tartar, rhubarb ponzu, daikon shies pickle and squid salad, ikura, arima sangho dressing, watermelon radish. koynrestaurants.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

AIX Rosé is the result of dedication and passion to make the best possible expression of Provence rosé. Maison Saint AIX is a family-owned brand that was established in 2009 and has become the benchmark for Provence Rosé. The delicious 2023 vintage is now available at Majestic, £20. aixrose.com

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FLAVOUR Mediterranean

Recipes from the Italian coast


Frittata di zucchine

A very thin zucchini and basil omelette

Serves 1–3

I first came across this quick and easy summer dish when I was lunching with friends in a restaurant in southern Tuscany on a baking hot day. We placed our order and happily carried on chatting and sipping chilled wine, getting hungrier by the minute. A er nearly an hour, the waiter realised he’d forgotten to put our order through. He disappeared into the kitchen and almost immediately reappeared with a frittata di zucchine to apologise and tide us over. Needless to say, the sweet basil and zucchini encased in egg and cheese was delicious. If you’d like to offer this as a main, allow one per person and serve with salad.


• 2 organic eggs sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

• 25 g (1 oz) unsalted butter

• 1 tablespoon olive oil

• 1 zucchini (about 150 g/51/2 oz), top removed, sliced into thin discs handful of basil leaves, roughly torn 20 g (3/4 oz)

• Parmesan, finely grated


1 Crack the eggs into a small bowl, add a generous pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper and whisk with a fork. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a wide frying pan over a medium heat.

2 Pick up the pan and swirl the fat around so that it goes up the side of the pan to avoid the egg sticking later.

3 Once it starts to sizzle, add the zucchini and gently toss to ensure it is evenly coated in oil and butter. Leave to cook without stirring for 3–4 minutes.

4 Add the basil and toss, turning all the zucchini slices over to brown the other side. Cook for another 3–4 minutes until the slices are golden on both sides and the basil has wilted. Make sure the zucchini is evenly spaced in one layer over the base of the pan.

5 Pour over the beaten egg, then gently swirl the pan to allow the egg to evenly coat the zucchini and spread slightly up the side of the pan. Cook without stirring for 2–3 minutes. Once the egg starts to look opaque at the bottom, sprinkle over the grated parmesan, then leave for another minute or so until the bottom is completely cooked, the top is set and the cheese has melted.

6 Using a spatula, gently ease the frittata onto a serving plate, cheese side up. Top with some freshly ground pepper and serve immediately.

Panna cotta al


Pistachio panna cotta

Serves 4

Pistachio cream is a staple of the Sicilian kitchen and is used in many breakfast pastries. It is similar to chocolate spread but is (unsurprisingly) green and tastes gloriously of pistachios. You can find jars of crema di pistachio in most supermarkets in Italy, or it’s widely available online. Mixing pistachio cream with panna cotta is an indulgent twist on a classic, bringing a nutty sweetness to the cream as well as acting as a second setting agent, meaning you need less gelatin. I serve these in cocktail glasses and never turn them out, mainly because their green colour doesn’t look as attractive domed on a plate as it does sitting in a glass topped with chopped pistachios or a few fresh raspberries.


• Handful of unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped

• Handful of raspberries (optional) Panna Cotta

• 2 x 2 g (1/16 oz) gelatine leaves

• 400 ml (14 fl oz) double cream

• 30 g (1 oz) caster sugar

• 1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped

• 80 g (23/4 oz) pistachio cream


1 To make the panna cotta, using scissors, cut the gelatine sheets into a small bowl and cover with cold water. Leave to soak for 15 minutes or as instructed on the packet.

2 Meanwhile, pour the cream into a medium saucepan and add the sugar, vanilla seeds and pod. Place over a medium heat and gently warm until it almost comes to the boil, then switch o immediately.

3 Squeeze any excess liquid out of the soaked gelatine and stir into the hot cream until it has completely dissolved. Remove the vanilla pod, then transfer to a large bowl and mix in the pistachio cream until smooth.

4 Divide the panna cotta evenly among four cocktail glasses, then chill in the fridge for at least three hours or, better still, overnight.

5 When you’re ready to serve, top each panna cotta with a teaspoon of roughly chopped pistachios and, if you like, a few raspberries.

6 Serve directly from the glass.


Il risotto di mamma Silvana Silvana’s sa ron

fish risotto with red mullet ragu

Serves 6

This is the signature dish at my friend Anita’s hotel on the island of Salina. Originally hailing from Milan, she and her parents decided to buy a run-down hotel in the place where they spent their summers. It has, of course, taken over their lives. Anita’s husband gave up his job in finance to become the hotel’s baker (his sourdough is legendary) and her mother, Silvana, is now the hotel chef. Dinner at the Principe is a wonderfully convivial affair, conducted on one long table under a pergola overlooking the Tyrrhenian, with the volcano of Stromboli gently bubbling in the distance. Each morning, Silvana writes that evening’s menu on a blackboard in the bar and residents can say whether they would like to join. If they do they are treated to a four-course feast, which regularly includes this delicious fish risotto topped with mullet ragu. If you can’t find red mullet then sea bass is a delicious and slightly more economical alternative. You can also use vegetable stock rather than fish stock, which I find really lets the saffron and the fish ragu sing.


• 20 g (3/4 oz) raisins

• A pinch of sa ron

• 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) red mullet or sea bass fillets, skin and bones removed

• Sea salt

• 2 tablespoons olive oil

• 1/2 small white onion, finely chopped

• 30 g (1 oz) tomato paste

• 30 g (1 oz) flat-leaf parsley leaves or fennel fronds, very finely chopped

• 20 g (3/4 oz) pine nuts


• 1 litre (34 fl oz) fish or vegetable stock

• 2 pinches of sa ron

• 80 ml (21/2 fl oz) olive oil

• 1 small white onion, finely chopped

• Sea salt

• 450 g (1 lb) arborio rice

• 150 ml (5 fl oz) white wine


1 Place the raisins and sa ron in a small bowl and pour over enough cold water to just cover them. Leave to soak and plump up for a few minutes. Meanwhile, cut the fish fillets into 2cm (3/4 inch) chunks.

2 Season with salt and set aside in a bowl for 5 minutes. Heat the olive oil in a wide frying pan over a medium heat,

add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook until translucent. Add the tomato paste, raisins and sa ron, soaking water, and parsley or fennel.

3 Stir well, then reduce the heat to low and cook for about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to medium, add the fish and cook for 3–4 minutes, turning occasionally to make sure it cooks evenly. At the end, stir through the pine nuts. The fish will break up a bit, which will make it a little more ragu-like.

4 Set aside while you make the risotto. Combine the stock and sa ron in a saucepan over a medium heat until the sa ron dissolves. Remove from the heat as it comes to the boil. In a separate pan, bring 300 ml (10 fl oz) water to the boil, then switch o the heat.

5 Everyone needs a di erent quantity of liquid for risotto, depending on the kind of rice, the size of your pan and so on. This is just a back up – you may not need it.

6 Heat the olive oil in a wide, heavybased frying pan over a medium heat. Once it starts to sizzle, add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3–5 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the rice and mix until it is well coated in the oil. Increase the heat to high and toast the rice, stirring often, to allow the starchy outer coating to soften and disintegrate; this should take 2–3 minutes.

7 Pour in the wine and stir until it has all been absorbed into the rice and the alcohol has evaporated. Add a ladleful of the hot stock, then stir until the rice has absorbed it all before adding another ladleful.

8 Repeat this process for 18–20 minutes until most of the liquid has been absorbed. (If you run out of stock, add the boiling water.) Try the rice: it should be cooked but still have a little bite without being chalky. Adjust the seasoning if necessary, depending on how salty your stock is.

9 Remove from the heat. Spoon the risotto onto individual plates and top with a ladleful of the ragu.

10 Sprinkle with a little chopped parsley or fennel fronds and serve immediately.

Recipes taken from Italian Coastal by Amber Guinness, Thames & Hudson, £29.99


Experience the true flavours of Italy in a luxurious setting, on your local Brentwood High Street.


For special occasions, choose between our Green Room or The Loft Bar. Our private hire spaces can host up to 50 guests. The perfect setting for creating lifetime memories.

FIGO Brentwood, 92 High St, Brentwood CM14 4AP 01277 204379 figorestaurant.co.uk brentwood@figorestaurant.com
ARBORETUM&GARDENS The Tree Trail untilSunday30thJune Head out into the Arboretum on your fact finding quest. Discover some of the trees which call Markshall home. www.markshall.org.uk 36-38 Hatch Lane, Chingford London E4 6LQ 020 8524 1821 020 8529 5345 bedsbedsbeds.net London today to explore all our mattresses. One of our knowledgeable staff members can help you find the right mattress and will tell you more about our delivery options. Comfortable, High-Quality Mattresses and Beds Celebrating 50 years of family business

Located in the heart of Brentwood High Street, FIGO Brentwood isn’t just a restaurant; it’s a cherished gathering place where families come together to enjoy the comforting embrace of Italian hospitality and cuisine. Step inside, and you’ll find yourself enveloped in an atmosphere that exudes warmth


“Every visit is an experience to be savoured, from the food to the welcome”

At the heart of FIGO Brentwood lies a commitment to preserving the time-honoured traditions of Italian cooking while infusing each dish with a touch of modern flair. Families flock here for the familiar flavours of home-cooked meals, lovingly prepared by skilled chefs.

As you settle into your seat amidst the restaurant’s beautiful décor, you can’t help but feel like you’ve been transported right into the heart of Italy. It’s the perfect setting for creating cherished family memories. What truly sets FIGO Brentwood apart is its unwavering dedication to providing impeccable service that goes above and beyond to cater to families' needs. From accommodating children’s preferences to o ering personalised recommendations, the attentive sta members ensure that every visit is an experience to be savoured.

Accompanying the welcoming service is the mouth-watering Italian food. From classic pasta dishes bursting with flavourful sauces to crispy pizzas topped with fresh ingredients, there’s something on the menu to satisfy every craving and palate. And for those with a sweet tooth, the dessert selection is simply irresistible, with homemade treats that are sure to leave a lasting impression.

As you share laughter and conversation over plates piled high with delicious fare, you’ll come to understand why FIGO Brentwood holds a special place in the hearts of families throughout the community. It’s more than just a restaurant; it’s a sanctuary where loved ones can come together to create cherished memories that will last a lifetime.

So, the next time you’re in search of a family-friendly dining destination that o ers exceptional food, warm ambiance, and unparalleled service, look no further than FIGO Brentwood. Here, you’ll find all the ingredients for a perfect family outing – and perhaps a few new traditions to cherish along the way.


FIGO Brentwood: the authentic Italian experience


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

The Shoot 44 • Jewellery 49
ABSOLUTELY magazines 43


Radley London’s new collection, available at Braintree Village , will add a little sunshine to your new season outfit


Find us at Liberty London Regent Street London W1B 5AH Ground floor ATELIERVM.COM

Spring Greens


Ring Pop Ring 18K Yellow Gold, Enamel and Diamond, £6,480 mayagemstones.com


Half Moon Green Necklace 18K Pink Gold, Green Tourmaline, Tsavorite and Diamonds, £2,560 clarachehab.com



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


Green Apple Heart Earrings, £88.99 crystalhazejewelry.com

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


Tibes Ear Cu , Green Tourmaline, £1,063 itajewelry.com


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

Standout pieces in this season's freshest shade



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

Dr Nyla 52 • Fitness News 55
GLOW getter 51 ABSOLUTELY magazines
Always a Classic. Designed to last a lifetime, these minimalist bottles have kept people hydrated and happy for years. Our vacuum-insulated Classic is the solution for both cold and hot beverages on the go. This iconic bottle is proof that reusables never go out of style.




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



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

Carly Glendinning meets the experts at Eight Sleep to find out why shut eye is so important for fitness
ABSOLUTELY magazines
over 85 years of experience, we offer a level of expertise and service like no other throughout design, installation and beyond. Leaving you with the perfect seamless finish.
houses bespoke British handmade kitchen furniture in large room sets, showcasing the latest trends alongside premium appliances.
our Villeory
Boch bathroom studio displays the finest in luxury bathing and showering.
an appointment today to visit and discuss your project with our experienced team. Kitchens Bathrooms Windows & Doors Home Renovations Browse our new brochure www.dobsonshome.com Talk to our designers 01992 623066 Visit our inspirational showroom 128 Turners Hill, Cheshunt, EN8 9BN
Our stunning
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EOOS. Simple shapes and skilled craftsmanship make these into lasting pieces. carlhansen.com


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

FENWICK AND TILBROOK 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

58 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

Heathfield & Co's playful and interactive limited-edition Dusk table lamp collection allows users to easily edit the colours on show with a simple twist of the shade. Colour visionary Amy Moorea Wong is behind the considered, mood boosting palette. heathfield.co.uk



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

59 ABSOLUTELY magazines
Ultimate Choice Bathrooms, Kitchens
Washrooms ultimatechoicebathrooms.co.uk 01375 361666 | info@ultimatechoicebathrooms.co.uk

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.

ABSOLUTELY magazines 61
info@originpools.co.uk 01895


The MD of Essex-based Albion Bath Company, Phil Etherden, on their hot new launch and the trends we can expect in bathrooms across homes in 2024

Q How proud are you of your new launch, the Geminus Linea Free Standing Bath?

A I am immensely proud of our new launch, the Geminus Linea Free Standing Bath. It represents the culmination of years of dedication to innovation and craftsmanship in the realm of luxury bathroom design. The Geminus Linea embodies our commitment to quality, elegance, and functionality, offering our customers a truly exceptional bathing experience. Its sleek design, coupled with the unparalleled comfort and durability that Albion baths are known for, sets it apart as a standout addition to our lineup.

Q What inspired the idea behind it?

A The inspiration behind the design of the Geminus Linea Free Standing Bath stemmed from a desire to create a piece that seamlessly blends timeless elegance with modern functionality. As with all our innovations, we aimed to develop a bath that not only serves as a luxurious focal point, but also prioritises comfort

and convenience for the user. The result is a bath that marries classic aesthetics with contemporary design, offering a harmonious blend of style and substance to elevate the bathing experience.

Q What are the unique design touches we can expect with it?

A The Geminus Linea Free Standing Bath is a traditional roll top bath combined with a classical yet modern plinth detail, offering an expansive bathing experience measuring 1810mm in length and 770mm in height. Its sleek and minimalist silhouette exudes sophistication, and its spacious design invites indulgent relaxation, allowing users to immerse themselves fully in luxurious comfort.

This bath boasts a versatile design, supplied without tap holes to accommodate both standpipe and wallmounted tap formats, providing flexibility in installation to suit various bathroom configurations.

To reflect your personal style, the Geminus Linea’s exterior is fully

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customisable. Choose any paint colour from Farrow & Ball or Dulux ranges to complement your bathroom decor, or opt for a luxurious burnished finish in gold, iron, or bronze for a statement-making focal point.

Crafted from Albion’s unique IsoEnamel material, the Geminus Linea ensures excellence in both form and function. This innovative material keeps bath water hotter for longer, promising a more relaxing soak with every use. For added convenience and functionality, there is also the option to pair the Geminus Linea with Albion’s Effusio Over-Bath Shower system. Seamlessly combining practical showering with stylish bathing, this integrated solution enhances the overall bathing experience, providing versatility and ease of use.

Q Is the free standing bath a real luxurious touch to the bathroom?

A Absolutely, a free standing bath is undeniably a symbol of luxury, offering both grandeur and comfort. Luxury isn’t

“There is a growing appreciation for understated luxury in bathroom design”

solely about opulence; it’s about ensuring a comfortable and indulgent experience.

A free standing bath achieves this effortlessly. With its standalone design, it becomes the focal point of any bathroom, exuding sophistication and elegance. These baths are also available in a range of sizes, making them suitable for bathrooms of any size. This versatility ensures that luxury can be enjoyed regardless of the space available, making it a truly decadent addition to any home.

Q What are the colour trends f or 2024?

A The bathroom colour trends for 2024 are embracing a diverse range of hues, with pinks and vibrant colours making a notable appearance.

Alongside these bold choices, soft, nature-inspired tones such as serene blues, earthy greens, and warm neutrals remain popular, reflecting a desire to create a calming and spa-like atmosphere. Adventurous homeowners are opting for bolder finishes and colours like deep navy, rich plum, and daring black, adding a touch of drama and sophistication to their bathing spaces. The trend in bathroom design for the rest of the year encompasses the interplay of classic and contemporary aesthetics, offering homeowners a wide range of options to express their personal style and create inviting and stylish bathroom spaces.

Q Are there any other trends that we can expect to see?

A In addition to the ongoing trends in bathroom colour schemes, several other trends are shaping the landscape of bathroom design for the rest of the year.

Spathrooms: Bathrooms are increasingly being viewed as sanctuaries for relaxation and self-care, leading to the rise of “spathrooms”. These spa-inspired spaces prioritise tranquillity and wellbeing, featuring elements like soothing lighting, luxurious fixtures, and natural materials to create a serene atmosphere reminiscent of a spa retreat.

Biophilia: With a growing emphasis on connecting with nature, biophilic design principles are making their way

into bathrooms. Incorporating elements such as live plants, natural wood accents, and organic shapes helps to create a sense of harmony and connection with the outdoors, promoting relaxation.

Contemporary meets traditional: A blending of contemporary and traditional design elements is becoming increasingly popular in bathroom interiors. This fusion of styles allows for a balanced and eclectic aesthetic, combining timeless elegance with modern functionality.

Mixed materials: Experimentation with mixed materials is a trend that continues to gain momentum in bathroom design. Combining different textures, finishes, and materials such as marble, metal, wood and glass adds visual interest and depth to the space.

Quiet luxury: In contrast to overt opulence, there is a growing appreciation for understated luxury in bathroom design. Quiet luxury is characterised by refined elegance, subtle details, and high-quality craftsmanship that exude sophistication and refinement without being overly ostentatious.

Q In 2026 you will celebrate 30 years of the Albion Bath Company – how have things evolved in that time?

A It’s incredible to reflect on how much the company has evolved since its inception. What began as a modest endeavour, crafting just one bath model, has blossomed into a global enterprise offering an extensive range of over 50 different models supplied to customers around the world. Over the years, we have continuously expanded our product line, innovating and diversifying to meet the ever-changing needs and preferences of our discerning clientele.

Our dedication to customer satisfaction has seen us establish a loyal following both in the UK and internationally. As we look ahead to the future, we are excited to continue our journey of growth and innovation, staying true to our founding principles while embracing new opportunities and challenges in the dynamic world of luxury bathing.


ABSOLUTELY magazines 63
Contact us today for a quote or visit your nearest showcentre to view our full range of products and discounts available 2 Stanway Retail Park, Peartree Road, Colchester, CO3 0LX Poplar Nuseries, Coggeshall Road, Marks Tey, Colchester, CO6 1HR 0800 666 444 www.sehbac.com WINDOWS | DOORS | CONSERVATORIES | EXTENSIONS 50 CREATE YOUR DREAM HOME WITH SEH BAC Make your home a masterpiece of elegance and comfort to truly enhance your property and create your dream living space. ◆As part of One Group Construction.


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.


Fresh start

Traditional charm meets modern performance with stunning replacement windows that will completely transform your property

They say the classics never grow old. And that’s certainly true when it comes to window styles.

Vertical sliding windows, for example, are perfect for older properties due to their replica timber sash window look.

But if you are thinking of replacing your home’s windows, whether they are draughty or simply outdated, then vertical sliding windows are equally adept at completely transforming modern homes too. And, while also looking the part, they provide the modern performance you need from your windows.

Leading South East home improvement company SEH BAC’s recent installation on this beautiful detached property in Chelmsford demonstrates perfectly how modern performance can seamlessly blend with traditional aesthetics. The homeowner loved the character of their home, but their existing windows were letting them down as they were both inefficient and lacking the charm they desired. The finished result

has completely changed the home’s curb appeal and made the property much more comfortable and secure.


SEH BAC completely transformed the front of the home by installing a total of 14 vertical sliding windows. These windows offered the perfect balance: the timeless elegance of traditional timber sash windows, combined with the highperformance benefits of modern uPVC. For an extra touch of individuality, the windows were finished in a stunning Hazy Grey on both the inside and outside. Chrome furniture added a sleek, modern touch that perfectly complemented the classic design.


Despite their traditional appearance, these vertical sliding windows are packed with modern features. The high-performance uPVC material ensures superior thermal insulation, keeping your home

warm and cosy in the winter and cool in the summer. This translates to significant savings on energy bills. But performance isn’t all they offer. For ultimate security, the windows boast innovative internal sash interlocks, anti-jamming bars, and child restrictors. The bottom pane features toughened glass for added peace of mind. Unlike traditional wooden windows, these uPVC marvels are weather-resistant and require minimal maintenance.


The project truly demonstrates the versatility of vertical sliding sash windows. While they seamlessly complement the character of older properties with their period charm, the wide range of colour and finishing options allows them to add a unique touch to modern homes too, with the Hazy Grey colour perfectly complementing the windows' intricate details, adding a touch of contemporary flair that enhances the property's curb appeal.

If you're looking to upgrade your windows and transform your Essex home, then SEH BAC offers a wide range of window styles and colours to suit any taste and budget. SEH BAC has been carrying out installations on homes for more than 50 years. Their experienced team will guide you through the entire process, from initial consultation to installation.

For more information, call 0333 258 5495 or visit sehbac.com


Norfolk Holiday Barns

Self catering accommodation in eight converted barns on a working arable and dairy farm Situated in Waveney Valley adjoining the Norfolk Broads close to fantastic beaches and attractions

01502 677208 | wheatacrehallbarns.co.uk | Wheatacre Hall Barns, Beccles, NR34 0AS

WHEATACRE_HALLFARMS_HP_ABS_ESSEX_APR23.indd 1 20/03/2023 14:36 That holiday feeling. Every day. More Info? markilux Designer Awnings. Made in Germany. Innovative technology and highest quality, outstanding when it comes to relaxing outdoors. Create the most alluring shade in the world. markilux showroom at Business Design Centre London N1 0QH · 52 Upper Street · T: 020 72886810 · markilux.co.uk Visit us NOW! markilux pergola cubic


There are so many reasons to choose

Easy Pools…


Easy Pool’s huge modular range means that there is a shape and size to suit everyone. Gone are the days when building a pool meant having builders on site for weeks on end, not to mention delays caused by rain.

Most pools in the range are completed in a week or two. Compare that to a concrete pool that can take months to complete, during which time your garden looks a mess. Pool sizes range from 4m to 12m with flat or sloped bases. There are currently short lead times as most models are in stock.


Leisure Pools fibreglass swimming pools have a smooth, clean gelcoat finish that is non-abrasive.


The gelcoat finish on a Leisure Pool not only looks great, it is also so easy to look after. The surface is smooth and non-porous so it cleans easily and is very stain resistant.


Leisure Pools offers an exclusive range of seven beautiful colours, each with its own sparkle and shimmer finish, ensuring you will be able to find the ideal colour to suit your home and taste.


Salt chlorinators, chlorine, fresh water systems and ozone systems all work wonderfully well with Leisure Pools fiberglass pools. Whatever your choice may be, it will be compatible.

“The gelcoat finish not only looks great, it is also so easy to look after”


Automatic safety covers comply with all EU regulations. Many pool owners have children or grandchildren, or entertain friends with children. When owning a pool where kids will be playing, safety is a major concern. The side of a swimming pool can often be slick and hard to grasp for children. The safety ledge allows children to stand on the ledge and grasp the side of the pool. This can be helpful for children learning to swim, and can provide parents with added peace of mind.


If you are getting quotes, ask if a lifetime warranty is being provided on the structure of the swimming pool. At best with a concrete pool you will get a seven-year warranty. Do you hope to have a pool for longer than that? The manufacturer is so certain it builds the world’s best composite pool that it offers a Lifetime Structural Warranty and a Lifetime Structural Osmosis Warranty on all swimming pools.

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EASY POOLS For further information contact Easy Pools by calling 01444 411 411 or 07710 402 917, or visiting swimpools.co.uk
01277 890 585 themanorlandscapes.co.uk Garden Kitchens • Planting Schemes Paving & Brickwork Decking • Water Features Garden Lighting • Adventure & Play Areas • Driveways MANOR_LANDSCAPES_QP_ABS_ESSEX_APR2024_FINAL.indd 1 07/03/2024 10:49 0800 0742 721 | sbiproducts.co.uk SBI Ltd has been providing all of your shelter and shading requirements, since 1998 We provide comprehensive awning services, from cleaning and repairs to seasonal maintenance. Get in touch today for the highest quality awning servicing! Verandas • Glass Rooms • Awnings • Pergolas Carports • Solar Garage Doors & Shutters • Parasols • Conservatory Sail Blinds Glass Wind Screens for patios, awnings, verandas and parasols ! SBI_HP_ABS_NOV2023.indd 1 16/10/2023 10:01



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 1 3 4 5 1 2 3 2 4 5


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



Scattered across nine idyllic Caribbean islands discover 18 breathtaking resorts, designed exclusively for adults. Each resort is nestled along the shores of the most exquisite beaches, boasting crystal-clear waters and powdery soft white sands. Experience unparalleled luxury as you float effortlessly in captivating infinity pools or dive into a thrilling new watersport. And when it’s time to relax and unwind your luxurious private sanctuary awaits. The beauty of the World’s Leading All-Inclusive Resorts is that everything is included, allowing you the freedom to indulge in endless possibilities or simply enjoy the serenity of paradise.

0800 742 742 | SANDALS.CO.UK 20 23
Los Angeles 74 • Travel Counsellors 79 CITY OF DREAMS City of Dreams is home to Cyprus's largest pool complex. The four unique pools create an extensive canvas of blue and are designed like a Mediterranean village with interlinking bridges and whitewashed stone arches.


Taking a trip to the glitzy and starry world of Los Angeles

Landing at Los Angeles airport, my Radley handbag contains the travel essentials: tickets, dollars, passport, and Glow Recipe moisturiser. Huge SUVs are pulling up as we leave the concrete jungle and it quickly clears to the suburbs with white picket fences, bungalows, and yellow school buses like in The Simpsons. The purple of the Jacaranda trees peppers the horizon. First day, I head to near Madame Tussauds and Highland Avenue at the Hollywood Walk of Fame where stars and tourists dot the sidewalk. “Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them,” said Marcus Aurelius. Stroll past the tourist shops, walking on pink stars with star’s names. I marvel at Marilyn Monroe’s handprints at TCL Chinese Theatre. The scent of jasmine

fills the air, then a waft of weed. People are friendly in LA and return your smiles.

Arriving at the iconic Chateau Marmont, I’m led to a stunning courtyard with stone columns, wickerwork chairs, drapes and hanging baskets. Opening in 1929, it’s a beloved retreat for actors, writers, musicians, and directors craving a home away from the prying eyes of the public and press. Yet, here I am enjoying a drink!

The fabulous Pendry West Hollywood hotel is on the famed Sunset Strip (opposite Andaz and the Comedy Store).

A Swarovski crystal tree with motherof-pearl leaves is at the entrance, and an incredible mirror hexagonal sculpture is in the foyer. Pendry is a family-owned business, with contemporary luxury, and great service. The vibrant design is Martin Brudnizki, think 50s art déco glam Hollywood (he designed Annabelle’s). Its intimate music venue, The Sun Rose, is sat on the old iconic House of Blues,

and Je Goldblum and Nicole Scherzinger have performed here. For elevated dining, Wolfgang Puck’s Merois is a stylish rooftop restaurant by the pool, serving California Asian. The Bowling Alley at Britely Social Club is open on weekends. A helicopter buzzes overhead, and two crows sit on the glass balcony, as I sip a drink at the casual Italian Ospero restaurant, admiring the LA view and the chequered piazza below. A dark cloud looms over Los Angeles, known as June gloom – it’s called Hollywood!

I wander past Madeo restaurant and PleasureMed cannabis dispensary to cool lifestyle store Fred Segal, then head to shopping mall Beverly Center. Hopping in a cab, I head past the historic nightclub sign of Whisky a Go Go from Daisy Jones & the Six, restaurant Le Petit Four, and stylish design hotel Edition o Sunset Boulevard near The Troubadour.

Boutique Hotel Short Stories has a sundeck overlooking the pool and is in


a fantastic location opposite The Grove and Farmers Market. Walking distance to shopping and dining on 3rd Street and Fairfax Avenue, or take a short cab ride to Beverly Hills, WeHo, and Hollywood.

Friday night is Jetpack Comedy at Bar Lubitsch, a faux 100-year-old Russian bar. We sit chuckling in front of the henchman from RoboCop. Only in LA! Dancing to a fun mini hip-hop disco after, with tunes as fierce as the AC.

On Saturday we see Grace Jones at the Weho Pride Festival. Disco balls swing overhead as tube air dancers (and revellers) flail to the music. Cheeky boys in chaps lay on the inflatables. LA is super clean, even at the festival – I thought people were more

conscientious, but it’s unlawful to litter. Drinks are expensive, which might explain why no one at the festival looks wasted… Oh, there’s one, there’s always one!

We spend Sunday roller skating from Santa Monica Beach down to Venice. Hire out roller skates/blades and bikes at Perry’s Café, Ocean Front Wall. Book a sunbed and text your food and drink order from the beach. A few blocks from Venice Beach, Abbot Kinney Boulevard has fantastic boutiques and Salt & Straw has incredible honey and lavender ice cream.

In Downtown LA, Frank Gehry's steely Walt Disney Concert Hall building looks like silver ship sails. Opposite is the Conrad hotel with a rooftop pool, perfect for dinner or drinks before a show.

‘Art is for everybody’ at contemporary art museum The Broad (except on Mondays when most of the galleries are closed). Opposite is MOCA, check opening hours as they open at 11am in the week.

Down the delightful #accidentally wes anderson Angels Flight Railway funicular for $1. Through Grand Central Market, an artisanal food court. Eggslut is known for its epic sandwiches, grab a taco or burrito at Ana Maria, and a McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream. Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner was filmed at the historic Bradbury Building on South Broadway. Browse ‘The Annex’ for fashion and art books at The Last Bookstore.

A down-and-out shu es past. A hummingbird flits above. I head past jewellery stores and aromatic pretzel stalls on the hustle and bustle of Broadway to tranquil rooftop pool and bar at Hotel Per

La. Bottega Louie is a cavernous cake shop –think Barbara Cartland meets Grand Central Station and Patisserie Valerie. Downtown is immersive Level 8 including a Teppanyaki restaurant, entertainment, and a cathedralinspired nightclub. Take or order a picnic in the beautiful picnic areas at the Hollywood Bowl (their Jazz Festival is on 15 June).

At Runyon Canyon Park, we hike with dogs in the morning smog. A hike is just a long walk in practical shoes. Luckily, I packed my On-running trainers – perfect for sightseeing too and Evidens de Beauté SPF 50. Back in Beverly Hills, I love the quirky modern art at colourful Mr Brainwash, followed by lunch at upscale Italian restaurant Il Pastaio – brilliant for people-watching.

Browsing The Last Line for jewellery, and palm tree-dotted, luxury fashion street Rodeo Drive, which could be a big mistake, huge, for the wallet (with designer stores including Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Christian Louboutin), Golden Triangle, and the Beverly Hills sign for a selfie. Or head to Gri th Observatory and Gri th Park trails… for incredible views and The Hollywood Sign.


To book, contact Abbotts Travel at 134 George Lane, South Woodford, E18 1BA, on 020 8989 9445 or email info@abbottstravel.com

“Rodeo Drive could be a big mistake, huge for the wallet”

Romantic retreats, boutique hotels, award-winning villas, family holidays.

Your time is precious... Our service is exceptional.

020 3282 5125 | simpsontravel.com Book with confidence
The Rou Estate, Corfu, Greece

With over 30 years of industry experience, Vicky Babbs is not just a travel professional, she’s a passionate advocate for personalised service. Starting her journey with a Diploma in Travel & Tourism, Vicky’s career took o at a small agency in Fleet Street, catering to business travellers with precision and care. Her tenure with prestigious brands like P&O and Austravel honed her skills in crafting tailor-made experiences, culminating in her role as Vice President of the USA business. From overseeing branches across North America to launching award-winning programs, Vicky’s expertise knows no bounds. But it was her entrepreneurial spirit that led her to establish her own Travel Counsellors franchise 18 years ago. Free

Dream destinations

Introducing Vicky Babbs: your trusted travel expert based in Essex

from corporate constraints, Vicky thrives on exceeding expectations. Whether it’s securing the best deals with major airlines, hotels and local destination management companies, through to curating bespoke itineraries spanning Europe to long-haul destinations, she leaves no stone unturned.

What sets Vicky apart is her unwavering commitment to her clients. Building relationships that transcend transactions, she goes above and beyond to understand their preferences and anticipate their needs. It’s this level of personalisation that keeps her customers coming back, time and time again.

In a digital age inundated with generic holiday imagery, Vicky o ers a refreshing alternative. Beyond social media facades, she provides genuine expertise born from decades of industry training and first-hand experience. And now, she’s making it even easier to connect with her clients.

Introducing the Hobo Club in Loughton, where Vicky invites her customers to unwind and discuss their travel dreams over a cup or glass of their favourite drink. Because she understands that, sometimes, face-to-face interaction is the key to creating unforgettable journeys.

As for Vicky’s own travel passions, they span the globe, from the idyllic Cook Islands to the enchanting shores of Mauritius. It’s this love for exploration and discovery that fuels her drive to deliver unparalleled experiences to her clients, ensuring that every trip is as memorable as her own.

So, whether you’re dreaming of a secluded beach retreat or a cultural odyssey, trust Vicky Babbs to turn your travel fantasies into reality. With her expertise and dedication, the world is yours to explore.


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Discover for yourself the power of a “STEAM Powered, Future Ready” education at Colchester Prep and High School. Learn about their new state-of-the-art STEAM Centre of Excellence and Innovation, which will be opening in September 2024, and will include ‘makerspaces’ dedicated to textiles, electronics, robotics, food technology and a Climate Science Lab. colchesterhighschool.co.uk

Talking Head 82 • Essex Reading 85
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Jonathan Beckett,

Deputy Head Academic at Stoke

College, on the many di erent ways they prepare students for what’s next

Q Can you tell us a little bit about your career in education?

A My career in education was never planned – I steadfastly refused to look into teaching, as both my parents were teachers. But, fate had other ideas for me. After a number of years working in academia at Oxford University and in startups, the call was too strong. I took up a part time teaching post at Oxford International college, teaching five hours a week – within a month I was teaching 40 per week! Since then, I’ve worked with students from around the world, and can’t think of a better vocation – helping students learn, develop as young people, and move on to the next stage of their education is the most rewarding thing.

Q In a nutshell, what does Stoke College o er?

A Stoke o ers a personalised education that is built around helping students build their skills across all areas – academic, co-curricular, and personal development. These skills will help students prepare for the next stage of their education or lives, wherever that may be.

Q What is The Stoke Approach?

A The Stoke Approach focuses on a personalised pathway to a student’s next step – in Years 7 to 9, students explore as many opportunities as possible, giving them

the chance to understand what options are available to them; in Years 10 and 11, students focus more on areas of interest to them, which will feed into their potential career paths beyond school; finally in the sixth form, students choose three or four A-levels, alongside an optional EPQ. All these sections of the school benefit from targeted careers guidance and personal development. We view a student’s development as an integrated curriculum – every part of the

school’s life builds into the whole, one part will benefit another, and vice versa. Beyond the classroom is just as important as what happens in the classroom, and it shows around the school – students want to come to school and learn, and they are happy here!

Q What would we find if we happened to wander into a typical lesson?

A Engaged students, who enjoy learning. This was the most impressive thing that I

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encountered when I first arrived at Stoke – for me, engaged students who enjoy their lessons, and their school life, are the ones who excel, not only in the classroom, but beyond.

Q Do you o er many opportunities outside of the classroom?

A Yes, we have over 60 clubs and societies running every week, with more on the way next year. These clubs range from academic support, right the way through to car maintenance and bushcraft. We utilise our grounds fully, including using the River Stour, which borders the school, including our River Festival each Summer Term.

Q What kind of boarding experience do you o er?

A We have two small boarding houses, with

a number of full boarders, weekly boarders and flexi-boarders (who board 2-3 nights per week). There are supervised prep sessions each evening, to provide some structured time for boarders to complete their prep, along with activities run by our boarding sta , creating a family feel for the houses. Each weekend, we run flexi boarding activities for students staying over the weekend too, which are open to all students.

Q It sounds like there’s plenty of exciting developments ahead for Stoke College –can you give us a brief overview of this?

A We have a new Principal joining in September, along with plans for new buildings, both boarding and classrooms. These will be state of the art facilities that all students will be able to benefit

from. We are currently undertaking a full review of the curriculum, including support from technology companies that will aid student development far beyond what we currently provide.

Q Ultimately, what will students leave Stoke College prepared for?

A We see a Stoke College Education as preparing for the next stage of life – wherever that may be. If a pupil chooses to leave at 16, then they are prepared to move onto college, or to an apprenticeship, or to study A-levels or T-levels here or at other institutions. If they leave at 18, they are fully prepared to study at University, to enter employment or a higher apprenticeship.

Find out more by visiting stokecollege.co.uk


The next chapter

The latest on Essex County Council's literacy campaign and what follows

The Essex Year of Reading was a £1 million, countywide campaign launched in 2022 by Essex County Council. It aimed to help every child in Essex to become a confident reader and leave school able to read at their age level or better. Essex County Council proudly hosted the National Literacy Trust recently as part of their commitment to upskilling education professionals. The conference brought together over 170 professionals from across the education sector. Attendees heard from keynote speakers such as Scottish children’s author, Elle McNicoll, about the collaborative approach to publishing and how this is driving better representation and authenticity in children’s literature. Government Advisor and Pupil Premium expert, Marc Rowland, also attended to present the Essex Disadvantage Strategy.

Clare Kershaw, Director of Education at Essex County Council, says: “The National Literacy Trust and Essex Year of Reading recognise the importance of literacy as a golden thread for young people and their outcomes. Here in Essex, we champion children to get the best start in life. Whether that’s through the Essex Disadvantage Strategy as presented by Mark Rowland at the conference, our comprehensive inclusion strategy that supports children no matter their background to reach their full potential, or our model for collaboration, both across council services and with external partners. Essex County Council is a champion for children.”

The National Literacy Trust is a charity that aims to empower people with the literacy skills they need to succeed in life. Martin Galway, Head of School Programmes at the National Literacy Trust, says: “As Essex County Council continue to champion literacy as a driver of social mobility and positive life outcomes, we are very grateful that they o ered to host National Literacy Trust’s first in person primary school conference Better Together: raising achievement through a collaborative approach to literacy in the council chambers at Essex County Hall. The conference provided an opportunity, both in form and content, to demonstrate that positive and reciprocal relationships, within and across schools, libraries and communities, are the driving force of improved literacy and life outcomes.”

Essex County Council is continuing to support schools and students with the Essex Year of Numbers. This is a countywide campaign that aims to inspire a love of learning, with a focus on numeracy. It is a year of exciting learning opportunities, fun events and initiatives aimed at children aged 0 to 18-years-old. The events aim to give every child’s maths skills a magic boost.

For more information about the Essex Year of Numbers, visit essexyearofnumbers.co.uk

ABSOLUTELY magazines 85
Nurture Curiosity Creativity Excellence OPEN DAY Saturday 14th September 2024 10 am - 12 noon Register via - www.wgprep.co.uk “EXCELLENT IN ALL AREAS” ISI JUNE 2023 Independent Day School for pupils aged 3-11 Years Tel: 0208 504 5045 Email: admissions@wgprep.co.uk www.wgprep.co.uk SENIOR SCHOOL OPEN MORNING Thursday 13th June 10am See website for details: www.thorpehallschool.co.uk Choosing the right school is a big decision. Our Open Morning, held on a regular school day, will show you first-hand the vibrant and varied life our students enjoy. Come along to see why you can #ExpectMore for your child at Thorpe Hall School. Award-winning local independent education for boys and girls aged 2 - 16 T: 01702 582340 | www.thorpehallschool.co.uk Wakering Road | Southend-on-Sea | Essex | SS1 3RD ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE EXCEPTIONAL PASTORAL CARE OUTSTANDING OPPORTUNITIES Absolutely Essex 134mm x190mm .indd 1 21/05/2024 12:31

Meet the HEAD

Absolutely sits down with Colchester Prep and High School’s Karen Gracie-Langrick

Q Tell us a little bit about your background...

A My educational career has spanned nearly 30 years. Following degrees in Archaeology, Classics and Heritage Management, I began delivering education within museums and sites of historic interest. Moving into a more traditional teaching career, I then taught History and Classics for over 20 years within the independent secondary sector, and more recently overseeing the educational provision for children aged 2-16, as the Headteacher of Colchester Prep and High School.

Q What originally attracted you to working at Colchester Prep and High School?

A The attraction of Colchester Prep and High School is palpable, demonstrated by its excellent academic and holistic educational provision and its strong community and welcoming and inclusive feel. Our distinctive and forward thinking ‘STEAM Powered, Future Ready’ curriculum blends the creative arts with the analytical subjects of science, engineering and maths. Our nurturing

environment develops within our pupils a global perspective and deep sense of social responsibility, creating future leaders and aspirational changemakers of tomorrow’s world.

Q What would we find if we happened to wander into a typical lesson?

A A typical lesson might see our pupils collaboratively exploring real-life issues, and immersed in experiential, project and problem-based learning. Our consistently high quality of teaching and personalised learning, underpinned by high levels of digital literacy, enables pupils to take agency and autonomy in their own learning and outcomes, equipping them with the skills, confidence and belief to challenge, question, explore and create the world they want to see.

Q Do you o er many opportunities outside of the classroom?

A The school o ers a wealth of opportunities beyond the classroom; from dance, musical theatre and sustainable fashion

to robotics and the flight paths of drone club; from Lego Minecraft designers and Microsoft O ce Associates, to budding Rock School musicians and CREST Award scientists; and from the sporting fields of athletics, netball and football to Forest School naturalists.

Q What’s new for 2024?

A We are incredibly excited to be opening our new state of the art STEAM Centre of Excellence in September 2024; providing new and innovative design and makerspaces and courses of study for our pupils to lead on digital/e-sport game design, engineering and electronics, climate and food science, sustainable fashion and textiles, and film, media and animation. As a leading Microsoft Showcase school, pupils not only master digital literacy, but develop emotional intelligence, empathy, and resilience to aspire higher and develop as 21st century learners.

Q Ultimately, what will your students leave prepared for?

A A Colchester Prep and High School education ultimately prepares pupils to thrive in a rapidly evolving digital world of opportunity, with the communication, creative, and critical thinking skills, essential for life and in tomorrow’s workplace.




n Essex home designed by the architect believed to have been the inspiration behind one of James Bond’s most memorable antagonists is now on the market. Hill Pasture in Broxted, near Dunmow, was built by Hungarian born Ernö Goldfinger and is now on sale with Savills. Hill Pasture was built in 1937 and you can read more about it over the page.

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savills.co.uk PROPERTY
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Exquisite modernist house designed by Ernö Goldfinger


Hill Pasture, Broxted, Dunmow, Essex, CM6 2BZ


Designed originally by Ernö Goldfinger 1937, Hill Pasture was renovated and extended by renowned modernist architect John Winter in the 1990s.


The property has been thoughtfully transformed into a family home with flexible spaces for modern living. The first floor has been cleverly converted to a series of elegant and functional bedrooms including a magnificent principal suite with terrace. Entered through electrically controlled gates to a drive with ample parking for multiple vehicles, the home is entered into a hallway leading to the raised garden lounge which is defined by a glass wall, bringing the light and the garden into the space. The fully fitted kitchen includes a stainless steel countertop with inset double sink, Zimbabwe stone surface with inset AEG induction hob, drawers below with oak fronts to Goldfinger design, AEG steam oven and LPG Aga. Upstairs there are 3-4 bedrooms/study that includes the principal bedroom, which was originally a painting studio and is now a light filled ‘loft style' space with high ceilings and floor to ceiling windows to the south.


The separate one bedroom annexe was designed by John Winter in 2001 and was originally designed as additional accommodation. Now used as an o ce, the annexe sits modestly amid a glade of mature magnolia trees. Hill Pasture has an array of outdoor spaces which includes a courtyard terrace and herb garden. Today the gardens are mostly informal, with beds of roses and perennials, an orchard, a natural pond, a spring fed swimming pool with Roman ends, surrounded by a rose clad arbour and the 'Chatsworth' walk with clipped yew hedging leading to steps to a viewing platform with views across the Chelmer valley.


Guide Price £1,250,000


Savills Bishop’s Stortford 01279 756800 savills.co.uk


Opening doors

The Mayor of Redbridge helps unveil Durden and Hunt’s new Wanstead branch

The Mayor of Redbridge, Councillor Jyotsna Islam, opened Durden and Hunt’s new Wanstead branch alongside founders Alexander Durden and James Hunt.

Situated on busy Wanstead High Street, the new location is an exciting expansion for the growing real estate agents, being their first in Redbridge and creating new jobs for the local community.

The new o ce will be managed by Branch Partner Ray Phipps. Ray brings a wealth of local knowledge and exceptional local

experience having worked as an estate agent, for a successful Wanstead High Street Estate Agents, for over 25 years before joining Durden and Hunt. Ray’s team o er a free, no obligation valuation service to help the community better understand the value of their homes and support them in their property moves.

This latest o ce is set to provide full lettings and sales services to residents in Wanstead and surrounding areas, and clients will be able to benefit from expert local property knowledge from its dedicated team.

“Opening in Wanstead was a natural step for us as we've noticed significant demand ”

James Hunt, co-founder of Durden and Hunt, comments: “We’re delighted to be opening our new Wanstead branch and o er our dedicated sales and lettings services to the local area. It has been great to see such a positive response to the launch and we were honoured to have the Mayor of Redbridge, Councillor Jyotsna Islam, o cially open our first branch of 2024.”

Aligning with Durden and Hunt’s stylish properties on o er, the o ce interior aligns with the real estate agent’s luxury signature style, seen in their Loughton, Hornchurch and Ongar branches, whilst remaining in keeping with the area.

As a growing business, with vacancies, Durden and Hunt is always on the lookout for new talent and hopes to inspire the next generation of estate agents with its modern approach that puts service at the forefront.

Alexander Durden, co-founder of Durden and Hunt, adds: “Opening a branch in Wanstead was a natural step for us as we’ve noticed a significant demand for properties in and around the area. With many wanting to leave the city, but still looking to live within a comfortable commuting distance, we look forward to helping people find their dream home.”

Durden and Hunt’s Wanstead o ce is located at 1A High Street,Wanstead, E11 2AA. For further information, visit durdenandhunt.co.uk or follow Durden and Hunt at @durdenandhunt

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Sitting on a wonderful size plot right in the heart of Buckhurst Hill is this generously proportioned detached four bedroom family home. The house has spacious accommodation throughout and to the rear of the south facing rear garden is a large garden room, double garage and further parking.

Situated in one of Buckhurst Hill’s premier residential turnings is this beautifully presented family home. Features include four double bedrooms, the principal room with an en suite bathroom a dressing area, a stylish contemporary kitchen, two reception rooms, utility room and a well stocked west facing rear garden.

Palmerston Road, Buckhurst Hill Guide Price £1,250,000 Roebuck Lane, Buckhurst Hill Guide Price £1,200,000


It’s been a busy start to 2024 for the Haslers Foundation

Established in 2008 by Haslers Accountants, and a Charity Commission registered charity since 2013, the Haslers Foundation is committed to providing grants and services to people in need within Essex and London.

In just the first five months of 2024 the team at Haslers have run half marathons, competed in the Vertical Rush, the Nuclear Race in Brentwood, and their footballers took part in the World Cup on Sea Football Competition in Southend. Haslers also hosted their Annual Big Quiz, which was supported by over 100 people from local businesses and charities.

So far, 2024 has been another busy year for project funding. In January the Haslers

Foundation provided funding to Waltham Abbey-based foodbank, 3Food4U, to cover 8 weeks of fresh fruit and vegetables. Pesh at the charity says: “The Haslers Foundation have been constant supporters of 3Food4U since we launched. It's an amazing show of community support!”

January also saw the Haslers Foundation donate to Sunny Days Children’s Cancer Fund. The funds provided a specialist buggy to a young child, which has delighted him and his family as they are now able to enjoy days out.

In February, the Foundation supported the Chelmer Youth Club to provide young people with two memorable days out. Charity Manager, Paul Spain, says: “The donation has been transformative for the club – their donation has provided two activity days for 20 young people. This gives

“Our commitment to our local community remains unwavering”

young individuals access to activities that otherwise would be out of reach for them.”

In March, the Foundation team were pleased to fund requests from Redbridgebased charity, The Dream Factory, and Loughton-based charity, Freedom2.

Avril Mills of the Dream Factory says: “Haslers Foundation’s generous donation to The Dream Factory sponsored a young man’s dream of going to Center Parcs with his family to spend quality time and create special moments to cherish.”

Mel Manning of Freedom2, a women’s safety charity, adds: “The donation was instrumental in the launch of our pilot project FREEDOM 2 Travel Safely, providing workshops facilitating crucial discussions on creating safe travel environments for women and girls within our local community.”

On the recent donations, Haslers Chairman, Jon O’Shea, says: “Each of these testimonials represents just a fraction of the incredible causes we’ve had the privilege to support this year. With great pride, since 2008, we have donated almost £250,000 to help local charities change lives. With our roots firmly planted in London and Essex since 1951, our commitment to our local community remains unwavering.”

Charities can download the Haslers Foundation application form at haslers.com/foundation

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Enquire today 01279 743 184 www.countrycourtcare.com Moat House Care Home Residential & Dementia Care Our Care Home provides the highest standards of family led residential and dementia care. Our home is luxurious and beautifully furnished, whilst retaining a warm family atmosphere that makes Moat House feel extra special. Great Easton, Dunmow, CM6 2DL RaffingersFunding AdvisoryService Scantofindouthow canwehelpyour business Wearedelightedtoannounceour recentpartnershipwith SwoopFunding Accessfundingacrossequity, grantsandloans


Essex’s leading property show returns, featuring talks, demonstrations and expert advice

Due to popular demand, the Essex Property Show is back with a special jam-packed two-day event, running from Friday 5th July to Saturday 6th July at Charter Hall, Colchester.

The hosts, Belhus Properties, codirected by mother and daughter duo Katy and Lydia Adams, had a vision to bring the local community together – to help support local businesses and help those in the area who may need advice on everything property related. With over 100 stands this show has been dubbed ‘The Ultimate Home &

Lifestyle Show’ where you can find a full range of products and services all relating to the house and home. Expect workshops, demonstrations, speakers on stage (12 talks in total) o ering advice and a dedicated ‘speak to the expert area’ where you can book a private ‘one to one session’ with a local expert. Landlords, first-time buyers and experienced investors, as well as anyone who is interested in making their house a home is invited to the Essex Property Show. Get inspired by the latest trends, find out how best to decorate, renovate and enjoy the ultimate shopping experience for your home – whilst also supporting local businesses at the same time.


The Essex Property Show will take place 11am–3pm on Friday 5th and Saturday 6th July 2024 at Charter Hall, Colchester, with a special BNI networking session taking place between 10am–11am on the Friday show prior to the doors opening at 11am (included in ticket price).


They have a range of speakers speaking on stage o ering 12 talks over the two days – for full details of the speaker line up please visit essexpropertyshow.co.uk


Early Bird tickets, including VIP tickets are available at: bit.ly/Absolutely-EPS

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why everyone is talking about…


The West Essex town has been flagged as a 2024 property hotspot

What makes a property hotspot in 2024? Access to nature, an easy commute and all the amenities needed for everyday essentials on the doorstep have become standard requirements for many homebuyers. Now, Qualis Homes reports that buyers are also seeking to understand the feel of a neighbourhood, as well as the practicalities.

“It’s not just nearby amenities and development quality that are important. Softer factors, such as the local community spirit and the family-friendly nature of the neighbourhood, make a huge di erence when it comes to finding the perfect home,” comments Emily Gilchrist, Sales and Marketing Manager at Qualis Homes.

Epping ticks all these boxes and more, leading the Qualis Homes team to flag it as one of the key property hotspots for 2024. The latest figures from Savills back this up, pointing to Epping Forest as one of the top three destinations for people moving out of London between January 2022 and August 2023.

Epping serves a wide range of homebuyers’ needs, from local residents looking to take their first step onto the property ladder, to families moving out of London and those looking to downsize. At the core of this broad appeal is Epping’s combination of an outstanding natural environment and a bustling urban town centre.

Sited at the north eastern edge of Epping Forest, Epping provides unparalleled access to a vast swathe of ancient woodland, where many of the trees have been growing for centuries. Epping Forest is home to more

ancient trees than any other single location in the country, with 55,000 spread across its 6,000 acres, including many rare species.

This rural haven is balanced beautifully by a thriving town centre, home to M&S, Gail’s artisan bakery, the cosy George and Dragon pub, Pizza Express and all the shops, eateries, bars, and leisure amenities needed for everyday life. Such is the quality of the town’s o ering that it has previously been named one of the best places to live in the UK, as well as England’s second-best small town.

Choices for school-age children are excellent in Epping, with six primary schools, three secondaries and an independent school for ages 3 to 18 within an easy walk or drive of the town. For those pursuing their studies after leaving school, New City College o ers an Epping Forest campus in nearby Loughton.

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