Absolutely Essex June 2021

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ESSEX

Essex JUNE 2021 / £3.95

SPECIAL 25 pages of inspiration and advice

JUNE 2021

HAYLEY SPARKES

Celebrity

CHUM The baby gift business wowing Essex’s famous mums

The travel presenter on the joys of Epping, Dedham and Hatfield Peverel

Past to

ABSOLUTELY-ESSEX.CO.UK

PRESENT

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Exploring 1,000 years of history at Down Hall ST YLISH / INTELLIGENT / ELEGANT

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B e d : V i n d ö | Fa b r i c : D e s i g n e r s G u i l d G l e n v i l l e O y s t e r | V i n d ö C a r p e t : L i g h t B e i g e B e d L i n e n : St o r m P e b b l e | B e d s i d e Ta b l e : H o l m e B l a c k 15 WIGMORE ST R EET | LO ND O N W1U 1P E +4 4 (0) 2 0 39 8 2 3 25 2 | m a r y le bo n e @ c a r pedie m beds.co.u k c a r p e d i e m b e d s o f s w e d e n | # m y u n w i n d | w w w.c a r pedie m beds.co.u k

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ABSOLUTELY

Contents JUNE 2021

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66

C U LT U R E 10 ABSOLUTELY LOVES

A B S O L U T E LY H O M E 39 CARPE DIEM

16 HAYLEY SPARKES

44 LEISURE PLAN

What we’re coveting this month

On looking on the bright side of life

20 DOWN HALL

Explore the history of our cover star

Our special kicks off with the finest in beds

Leading the way in outdoor hospitality

48 KITCHEN STORAGE

Stylish ways to hide the pots and pans

FOOD & DRINK 26 KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL

FA S H I O N & B E A U T Y 66 THE SHOOT

28 THE SUN INN

78 BROOKSIDE AESTHETICS

35 EAST COAST DISTILLERY

80 THE GLAMOUR ROOM

News from the industry

Head chef Jack Levine on what's to come

A real taste of Essex

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Hats off to this latest collection

A B S O L U T E LY- E S S E X .C O. U K The online guide to inspirational living that helps you stay one step ahead of the crowd and gives you the chance to win exclusive prizes.

Why this summer can be no sweat

Look your best in Chelmsford

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EDITOR MARK KEBBLE DIGITAL EDITOR LAYLA TURNER ART DIRECTOR PAWEL KUBA SENIOR DESIGNER MIKE ROBERTS MID-WEIGHT DESIGNER REBECCA NOONAN MAGAZINE MANAGER PATRICK DUNNE MEDIA CONSULTANT CELIA GREGORY BRAND PARTNERSHIPS MANAGER NAVINDER LALL FINANCIAL DIRECTOR JERRIE KOLECI CREDIT CONTROL MANAGER ALEXANDRA HVID DIRECTORS CRAIG DAVIES, LEAH DAY, JAMES FUSCHILLO NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ALEXANDRA HUNTER MANAGING DIRECTOR SHERIF SHALTOUT

For editorial enquiries please email: mark@zest-media.com For advertising enquiries please call 07862004024 or email: celia@zest-media.com

Studio G06, Wenlock Studios, 50-52 Wharf Road, London N1 7EU; 020 7704 0588 Zest Media Publications Ltd. cannot accept responsibility for unsolicited submissions, manuscripts and photographs. While every care is taken, prices and details are subject to change and Zest Media Publications Ltd. take no responsibility for omissions or errors. We reserve the right to publish and edit any letters. All rights reserved. Social icon

Circle Only use blue and/or white. For more details check out our Brand Guidelines.

Fo l l ow Us O n Fa c e b o o k @ABSOLUTELYESSEX T wi t t e r @ESSEXABSOLUTELY In s t a g ra m @ABSOLUTELYESSEX We b si t e

absolutely-essex.co.uk

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SIMON BRICE

Welcome

Absolutely Essex is all about the people that make this county special, so we thought we’d ask them to open our magazine. First up is Simon Brice, the High Sheriff of Essex

THE EDITOR'S June issue highlights

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s an Essex man, born and bred, from a farming family, it is a great honour to have been appointed as the new High Sheriff of Essex, the 841st for the county. The Office of High Sheriff is an independent non-political royal appointment for a single year. I have started to take part in online meetings with some of the voluntary organisations within the county, including the Essex Boys & Girls Clubs, Alpha Vesta and Open Road. I have been able to offer Essex Search & Rescue the use of one of our lakes on the farm for training purposes, and will be heading to Rochford soon for a litter pick with the Beaver Scouts. I am also looking forward to taking part in an online event to celebrate volunteers throughout the county, organised by Essex County Council. The ingenuity of the people of Essex to carry on with their good work despite the lockdown restrictions has been remarkable, and I will do all I can during my year to endorse and help to raise the profile of the valuable work so many volunteer organisations do. The High Sheriff has close links with the Essex Community Foundation, who administers the High Sheriff ’s Fund. Since 1997, the fund has awarded 650 grants totalling £614,000 to voluntary groups within the county. Grants to these organisations can make a huge difference and literally help to save lives (groups can apply for funding in September via essexcommunityfoundation.org.uk). I am looking forward to getting out to meet the people of Essex and many of the unsung heroes who do so much to help others and make our county the great place we are proud to live in, and I’m sure you be reading about them in this magazine over the coming months.

Sitting pretty The exclusive work of Leisure Plan

O N T H E C OV E R Photographer: Catherine Harbour Stylist: Antonia Kraskowski Hair & makeup: Caroline Piasecki using Vanderohe Model: Ariana Damant at Nevs Fashion assistant: Gavrielle Weiss Location: Down Hall, Essex downhall.co.uk • Silk gown, £1195, Amanda Wakeley (amandawakeley.com) Suede sandals, £580, Daissy Ornelas (daissyornelas.com) Gold earrings, from a selection, Aaria (aaria.co.uk)

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Glammed up

Meet the founder of The Glamour Room

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Sunshine state

We visit one of Dedham's finest restaurants

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Wish LIST 10 things we Absolutely love COMPILED BY

PENDLE HARTE

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C U LT S TAT U S Couverture's latest arrivals fuse new and emerging designers with more established cult brands. Seasonal favourites include beautiful floral print silk dresses from Christian Wijnants and blooming puff sleeve blouses of Rejina Pyo mixed with slow fashion labels Untitled Co. and Ssone. couvertureandthegarbstore.com

TRUE BLUE Redefining relaxed Scandinavian glamour, Valle&Vik's pared back silhouettes showcase folk-art inspired prints and brilliant colours splashed on perfectly cut luxurious silk. The Cannes Do dress in turquoise, £415 valleandvik.com

EDITOR’S PICK

RARE F LOW E R Guerlain's annual limited edition bottle of Muguet lily of the valley fragrance is an equisite creation by young Parisian textile and paper designer Lucie Touré in a limited edition of 4,500. £450 guerlain.com

F L AT T E R YO U R S E L F This Square Neck Floral Dress from Vero Moda is perfect for keeping cool on sun drenched days at home or away. The flattering neckline and loose style go perfectly with trainers or sandals. Add a denim jacket and you're good to go. £45 sourcelifestyle.com

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ABSOLUTELY • LOVES

O N E T O WAT C H This ladies TAG Heuer watch is part of the Formula 1 collection and features a blue dial with Arabic and index markers with the date function at 3 o'clock. £1,000 bakerbrothersdiamonds.com

STELLA FOR G R E E N P E AC E

G O L D S TA R

Stella McCartney is releasing a capsule supporting Greenpeace’s campaign to stop deforestation in the Amazon. Launched as part of the Summer 2021 collection, the Stella x Greenpeace capsule features graphics inspired by vintage eco activist designs on sweatshirts made from soft organic cotton in pale blue and white marble colourways. stellamccartney.com

We love these 18ct yellow gold and stainless steel Cartier Santos Midi watches. The bezels are customized with diamonds set by Martin Oliva's studio. Available now in store. martinoliva.co.uk

A SPECIAL C U P PA These new stunning initial mugs from Yvonne Ellen will cheer up any coffee or tea break. Each mug has a gold initial decorated with an animal. The animal prints blend harmoniously with each letter, creating a beautiful design that makes these mugs very special. £12.50 sourcelifestyle.com

IN THE SHADE GIGI Studios' new sunglasses designs are made in natural acetate and inspired by the 1970s. All of them have the triangular details characteristic of the Vanuard collection. gigistudios.com

DIVE IN Flattering swimwear is on everybody's wishlist at the moment and Amelie's Follies has a great selection. We love the Hypnotique Bette Miraclesuit in blue. ameliesfollies.co.uk

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C U LT U R E

GO WILD AUDLEY END MINIATURE RAILWAY

Immerse your family back into nature with Audley End Miniature Railway’s “Wildlife Week” event, running at the Saffron Walden location from 29 May-6 June. Their new Nature Corner is a space to embark on an adventure whilst learning about the habitats of different insects and creatures. audley-end-railway.co.uk

Agenda 14 • Hayley Sparkes 16 • Down Hall 20 A B S O L U T E LY m a g a z i n e s

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The Agenda F I L M

Hideaway Cinema From 20 May VARIOUS LOCATIONS Hideaway Cinema is returning this summer, with a host locations dotted around the county and beyond. Film fans are invited to choose from a number of movies to enjoy outside on warm summer evenings in some of the most picturesque locations. Scheduled films include Mamma Mia and Pulp Fiction. hideawaycinema.com

MU S I C

Feel The Music BA R B I CA N • F RO M 17 MAY

After a year with no live events, Barbican has revealed that its Live From The Barbican series will take place from 17 May. The critically acclaimed series will feature performances from Moses Boyd and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. The Barbican Hall will operate at a reduced capacity for a safe and socially distanced experience. Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS barbican.org

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EV E N T

Tandem Skydive

On-Going VA R I O U S Challenge yourself to a Tandem Skydive in aid of Haven House. Before your flight you will be provided with a comprehensive ground safety briefing. You will jump from up to 13,000 feet attached to your instructor using a specially designed dual harness. The instructor controls the freefall, parachute opening and landing, leaving you free to enjoy the view. havenhouse.org.uk

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CULTURE • WHAT'S ON

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By the sea 18 June-17 July H AY L E T T S G A L L E R Y Barbara Peirson has lived and worked in Essex for many years. This exhibition is a collection of glorious seasonal paintings, from crashing waves to families enjoying the beach, to dog walkers out in all weathers to the natural patterns of the coast. One aspect about Barbara’s work we know for certain is that her colour palette will be full of soft magnificent colours, inviting compositions and a strong affinity with our local surroundings. haylettsgallery.com

A DATE WITH

LO N D O N See the city through fresh eyes with a unique tour

TREASURE HUNT EXPERIENCES Take a journey through London with HiddenCity and experience undiscovered places and secrets about the capital. Opt for the Cheshire Cat game and solve a range of clues on an ‘adventure in the strange, surreal and absurd’. inthehiddencity.com

E X H I B I TI O N

ELECTRIC CITY:

GOD’S OWN JUNKYARD TAKEOVER AT LEADENHALL MARKET

This Month’s Must See

26 May - 31 July MONUMENT From 26 May, Leadenhall Market is getting a neon makeover from the brains behind God’s Own Junkyard. Designed to inject colour and joy back into our lives after a difficult year, the exhibition will celebrate the reopening of the market’s 35 restaurants, bars and shops with an immersive technicolour light production. leadenhallmarket.co.uk

N E V I L L E ' S I SL A N D

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22 JU NE - 3 JU LY • QUEEN 'S THEATRE HORN CHURCH

our out-of-condition clueless middle managers are forced on the outdoor awayday from hell. Shipwrecked, wrapped in thick fog and cut off from civilisation with one cold sausage between them, Gordon, Angus, Roy and the hapless Neville are about to experience the misadventure of their lives... Billet Lane, Hornchurch, RM11 1QT queens-theatre.co.uk

GUIDED WALKS Discover the history behind the streets of London with a guided walk. The Jack The Ripper Tour takes you through the dark streets of Whitechapel and Spitalfields, revealing the city's dark history. The tour is dedicated to the victims of Jack The Ripper. walks.com

HOP ON, HOP OFF

Play tourist for the day with one of London’s famous open top bus tours. See London illuminated with a ‘London By Night’ bus tour, or enjoy a night of laughs with ‘Comedy Night On An Open Top Bus’. Tickets are valid for 24, 48 or 72 hours. goldentours.com

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“If you have a platform, it's only right that you use it in a positive way to give back”

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CULTURE • INTERVIEW

R AY OF

LIGHT Need a lockdown lift? As we prepare to get back out into Essex once again, local TV presenter Hayley Sparkes shows why we should all try to look on the bright side of life By MARK KEBBLE

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t may nearly be summer, but as I am talking to Hayley Sparkes, hailstones are slamming into my window. At the time of writing, uncertainty around overseas travel this year remains, so to cheer ourselves up, the conversation moves on to some of the amazing destinations the Essex local has visited during her TV career to date. “I did a documentary series in Taiwan and that did blow me away,” Sparkes says, instantly warming me up. “I also went on a travel influencer trip to Mauritius and I have to say that probably tops everything so far. It’s amazing there. They call themselves the ‘Rainbow Nation’ because of the different nationalities and religions there, who all worship and mix alongside each other and everyone lives in peace. You don’t see any poverty and the wildlife is amazing… It’s just stunning.” For now, Mauritius and its ilk remain a distant dream, but Sparkes is ever an optimist and believes this side of her career will soon be up and running again.

“A lot of my work is travel-based and live events, so pretty much 95% of my work in 2020 disappeared due to COVID,” she sighs. “My life completely changed. I was renting in Epping and I gave that place up to come and bubble up with my family. Then my Instagram got hacked. I had about 24,000 followers and I was bribed, so it was a really horrible situation.” Despite all this, positivity is never far away when talking to Sparkes. “My sister had a baby just before we went into lockdown, so it was lovely to be together and live under the same roof. Watching him grow up every day has been something very positive and lovely to focus on while I was not able to work. I owned a property on the Suffolk/Essex border, which I decided to sell, and now we are busy looking at properties in Hatfield Peverel. So it’s been a rollercoaster of a year!” Perhaps her sunny outlook on life has something to do with health issues she suffered when young. She was diagnosed with the inflammatory bowel disease

Ulcerative Colitis aged seven, and it became so bad that she nearly lost her life at 14, going on to have a life-saving operation and two corrective surgeries. “I always feel indebted to the help that I got from the NHS,” she says on that time. “The amount of emails [I receive] or number of people who contact me to say they are about to undergo surgery like I did, that they have been worried, but they are inspired in seeing how well I am… Being able to support somebody else is one of the good things about social media – for all the negative, you can actually use it for the positive.” It’s why, mixed amongst the TV presenting and writing gigs, you will see plenty of charitable work associated with her. “I just feel so lucky to be in an industry that I love so much,” she says. “Also, when you are in this industry, you do get spoilt a lot of the time with lovely clothes, experiences, travel and the suchlike, and I think it’s only right if you have any kind of platform, connections or network that you use it in a positive way to give back A B S O L U T E LY m a g a z i n e s

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CULTURE • INTERVIEW

DEDHAM IS A FIRM FAVOURITE

“I am a bit of a butterfly, I love variety. I get bored easily so love doing different things” and help others. I am aware that I am not doing a job like our amazing nurses: presenting is very much about promoting yourself. To balance that out I like to do my charity work. I am genuinely passionate about it and I get a lot of pleasure being involved in positive projects.” For over a decade, Sparkes has certainly been building those platforms. You will see her on TV covering a whole host of genres including travel, music, fashion, entertainment, lifestyle, property and beauty, the latter of which has led to her being a regular on ITV’s This Morning. “I always wanted to be a TV presenter, but I had an interest in fashion and beauty, and I felt that having expertise in those areas would be a great way to get into the industry,” she says on the diverse nature of

MAURITIUS IS HER TOP DESTINATION

her career. “There are so many people who want to be presenters, so I thought to have skills and expertise in one area would be a good way in. I did my degree in fashion, worked as a fashion stylist and qualified in make-up, which gave me a foot in the door when I worked at This Morning, which was a good launchpad for my presenting career. Then I have been really lucky I guess. I have other interests in property and travel and I have ended up working in all the areas that I am really passionate about.” With some kind of normality, hopefully, on the horizon, Sparkes is very much looking to the future. “Because I was so poorly when I was younger, I was at the point eventually where I was bed bound, so I couldn’t do simple things like walk to the shops. So to start off your life being incredibly restricted and not able to go anywhere, and to then have the next chapter of your life with a career with so much variety, so much travel, meeting people, is something I appreciate and embrace. I am a bit of a butterfly, I love variety, I get bored easily so I love doing all these things. I do pinch myself because I enjoy my days at work more than my days off.” A ray of sunshine in what has been a very dark time. Hayley Sparkes is now modelling for Janet Reger as their model representing “Confident Beauty Undressed”

Hayley Sparkes’s Essex H O T S P OT S

DEDHAM I absolutely love Milsom in Dedham, and I love the area in general because there are so many beautiful walks around there. Milsom hotel and restaurant is one of my favourite places. The hotel has an outdoor pool that’s heated all year round, and the food at their restaurant is pretty amazing. • EPPING I fell in love with the area when I lived there. I found walking around Epping Forest incredibly therapeutic. If you have any stress in your life, just go round the forest for a couple of hours. I feel completely calm and relaxed when I do that, and in touch with nature. • T H E B LU E ST R AW B E R RY B I ST R OT This is close to where I am moving to in Hatfield Peverel. One of the things I love about Essex is all the country pubs, tea rooms, and quirky restaurants. Living in a beautiful Essex village where you have all these on your doorstep appeals to me and is my idea of living the best possible life.

SPARKES LOVES TO WALK AROUND EPPING FOREST

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M E M O RY LANE T Down Hall Hotel & Spa in Hatfield Heath has quite the story behind it, as we discover by delving into the Norman Conquest, Doomsday and classrooms

By COLIN EXTON

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he manor of Down Hall was in existence during the reign of Edward the Confessor (1042-1066) and we know from Anglo Saxon records that during his reign, it belonged to Ulwin, Thegn of Edmund Ætheling. We also know from these records that Down Hall was one of ten medieval manors in the Parish of Hatfield Broad Oak that were already considered ancient at the time. We can safely surmise that the manor of Down Hall was most likely in existence during the 10th century as well. At one time a royal estate of Harold II, Hatfield fell into the possession of William the Conqueror after the battle of Hastings in 1066. Immediately following the Norman Conquest, King William claimed all land in England as his absolute title and later gave away very large tracts to his leading nobles. He gave the manor of Hatfield Regis to Aubrey De Vere, and along with 14 more manors and lordships, included the manor of Down Hall. In c1135, Aubrey

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CULTURE • COVER STORY DOWN HALL'S HYDRO POOL

THE STUNNING LOUNGE

“We can safely surmise that the manor of Down Hall was most likely in existence during the 10th century” de Vere’s son, the 1st Earl of Oxford, built a Benedictine monastery next to the small parish church in Hatfield. There is little mention of Down Hall after Domesday, but we do find it in chronicles of the late 13th century. Downhall bridge, which spans Pincey brook on the road from Hatfield Heath to Matching, was a well-known landmark by 1274. The brook then, as it does now, forms the Northern boundary of the Down Hall Estate and the road to Matching, then, and as it does now, forms part of the Eastern boundary. Robert Taper is the first person named as having been in possession of the manor of Down Hall in the early 1300s. On 12 May 1323, Taper granted lands and rent in Hatfield to the prior and convent and included the manor of Down Hall. On 8 June 1540, during Dissolution of the Monasteries, William Glascock buys the manor of Down Hall for £630 8s 6d. It passes down the Glascock male line until 1615 when Elizabeth Glascock is born and who is now sole heir to Down Hall and the family estates. By 1630, she is married to John Ballett. They had two children;

Richard, who was born at Down Hall c1635 and John II, born at Down Hall c1640. Elizabeth died at Down Hall in 1649 and Richard succeeded his father John on his death in 1673. Sometime toward the end of the 17th century, Richard has passed away, and without issue, the estate has passed to John, the second son. On 9 June 1720, John sells Down Hall to Mathew Prior for £2,800. Prior was not only a prominent British poet, but also a member of Britain’s diplomatic service. With the financial assistance of Lord Edward Harley, son of the 1st Earl of Oxford, he buys Down Hall which the poet was to enjoy during the remainder of his life and Harley after his decease. Prior commissioned James Gibbs to design a new house and Charles Bridgeman to replan the gardens. Planting to Bridgeman’s designs was in progress before the end of 1720, but the building of the Palladian villa Gibbs had designed had not been started by the time of Prior’s death in 1721. He died of tuberculosis whilst staying with Edward Harley at Wimpole Hall. Edward Harley, 2nd Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer, was a dedicated

collector and patron of the arts. In 1713 he married Henrietta Cavendish-Holles, daughter of the Duke of Newcastle, and the wealthiest heiress in Britain. His collections were extensive and extravagant as he passionately sourced the rarest and most beautiful things. In his obsessive collecting, Harley bankrupted himself, having spent much of his wife’s fortune of some £500,000, and in 1741, was forced to sell Wimpole Hall, Down Hall and all his collections, to pay his debts. Down Hall is bought by William Selwin, a successful skinner merchant in the City of London. He paid nearly £3,000 for Down Hall in 1741. William died in 1768 and Down Hall descended to his eldest surviving son Charles Selwin Esq. Charles took down the Tudor dwelling and rebuilt it in a classical style that was completed in 1777, though some original Tudor fireplace mantels were retained, and which can still be found at the hotel today. Charles Selwin died at Down Hall in 1794 and was succeeded by his brother Thomas as heir. Thomas was the last of the male Selwin line and had left instruction in his will that the Down Hall estate was to pass down to the next male heir on condition they took the name of Selwin. On Thomas’s death, Down Hall passed firstly to his sister Jane, and then to her only child, another A B S O L U T E LY m a g a z i n e s

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GRAHAM NOONAN-CHATHAM

ONE OF THE HOTEL'S SUITES

daughter named Jane, who married Sir James Ibbetson, 2nd Baronet. Down Hall then passed down through the Ibbetson male line with each subsequent heir taking the name of Selwin by Royal license. In 1869, Henry John Selwin acceded to the Ibbetson title as 7th Baronet and resumed by Royal licence the original family surname of Ibbetson in addition to that of Selwin. Sir Henry John Selwin-Ibbetson became a Conservative MP until his retirement from the House of Commons in 1892, where he was then raised to the peerage as Baron Rookwood of Rookwood Hall and Down Hall. Lord Rookwood derived his title from Rookwood Hall that Charles Selwin had bought in 1817 and subsumed into the large Selwin estates. These and the Ibbetson estates were all administered from Down Hall. In 1871, he commissioned Frederick Pepys Cockerell to replace the existing mansion with a sumptuous new one that was completed in 1873. Lord Rookwood was childless at the time of his death in January 1901 whereupon the Peerage and Baronetcy became extinct. Down Hall was inherited by his nephew Captain Horace Walter Calverley. At the start of World War I, Down Hall opens as a Red Cross Auxiliary hospital under the supervision of Louisa Calverley. The hospital was fitted out and received nine English and four Belgian soldiers as its first batch of wounded on 21 November 1914 and continued to receive wounded soldiers throughout the war. In February 1919, the hospital closed, and Down Hall returned to a family home. Horace died on 22 September 1929 at the age of 67. Down Hall re-enters the annals of history in 1932 as Downham school, an upmarket boarding school for girls. Downham was described as a "horsey and

fashionable girls’ school in Essex". Some notable ladies that attended Downham include Pamela Harriman, appointed US Ambassador to France in 1993 by Bill Clinton; Anne Clarissa Eden, Countess of Avon, married to Anthony Eden who was Prime Minister of the UK from 1955 to 1957; and Frances Shand Kydd, mother of Diana, Princess of Wales. Downham is sold in the late 1960s and becomes, in 1967, a conference centre run by a Mr G Liddell. Whether he himself was the owner and whether the business was under the name Downham, or Down Hall, is completely unknown at this stage. What we do know is, that in 1973, St Ouen Antiques had bought the property and announced an opening in early 1974 at "Down Hall" with a display of English and continental period furniture and fine art. Down Hall is sold again and bought by Veladail Hotels, owners of the estate to this day. Over the ensuing years, they have invested millions of pounds in restoring the house to its former glory as well as sympathetically modernising and updating the property to create the contemporary, country mansion you see today. downhall.co.uk EXPECT TOTAL LUXURY

The L AT E S T CHAPTER

Executive chef, Graham Noonan-Chatham, is the newest name to join the Down Hall story Q What attracted you to the role at Down Hall? A Down Hall is a beautiful and unique property, and the extensive grounds offer so much history and opportunity. The team has invested huge effort to develop the outdoor space over the past year, and the kitchen garden has been completely rejuvenated to supply all areas of dining which is incredibly exciting for me. I’m passionate about seasonality, locality and getting closer to the produce that I serve, and can’t wait to showcase this in our menus throughout the year. Q Can you explain the new restaurant concept we will be able to enjoy from July? A The new restaurant will focus on what is in season and wherever possible, the menus will be informed by what we are harvesting from our kitchen gardens. The gardener is writing the menu, essentially! We will change our dishes as many times a week as we need to, to keep everything as fresh as possible. We are also working closely with local producers to source the very best meat, game and poultry. Seafood will be supplied fresh from dayboats across the UK, and we will be working with local foragers to ensure the very best of rural Essex is showcased and celebrated. Q What kind of dishes can we expect on the menu? A We aim to do as little as possible to the produce we have, but enough to make it shine and - of course - be delicious and really special. You can expect dishes such as hand-dived Orkney scallops, asparagus, white miso butter, trout roe and citrus; and pan-roasted pork loin, braised belly, date purée, rainbow chard and apple. Desserts will be a big focus for us too – I’m working on a praline feuillantine, raspberries and mascarpone ice cream dish as we speak. Q What else are you hoping to showcase in the future? A Afternoon tea is a great passion of mine and we will be looking at bringing some of the garden into our afternoon menu later this year. I also love outdoor cooking, so watch out for more chefs outside cooking over real fire!

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The Creek is a multi award winning family run restaurant and bar owned by Terence and Caroline Howard and offering classical British dishes with a European influence using only the best locally sourced ingredients

Fathers Day Sunday 20th June A day to celebrate details to follow

We will be reopening our doors again on Wednesday 19th May, inline with current Government Guidelines. Our new Spring Menus are now ready to view. The Creek The Creek • Flag Hill • Greta Bentley • Colchester • Essex - CO7 8RE Tel: 01206 586435 or 01255 317950

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FOOD & DRINK

SOMETHING BEEFY THE DREAM FACTORY COOKBOOK

The team from Essex-based charity The Dream Factory has launched an amazing ECookBook with 46 mouth-watering recipes, featuring 19 celebrities. Expect to see recipes from Harry Redknapp, Ronnie O’Sullivan, and a tasty rib of beef from the Guvnor himself, Ray Winstone. Turn over the page to see more.

Food Notes 26 • The Sun Inn 28 • The Rare Breed Meat Company 32 A B S O L U T E LY m a g a z i n e s

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WHAT TO DRINK

GRAPE news Wine recommendations for the month

TASTING NOTES

Essex's food news and most exciting openings this month B y L AY L A T U R N E R

By IL VINO

Ferrari Maximum Blanc de Blancs NV  £24 This elegant sparkling white has a gentle, yet persistent bouquet, with notes of ripe fruit. It displays notable personality, with the intense fruity notes that are typical of Chardonnay accompanied by appealing nuances of vanilla and yeast that linger on the palate.

Nyetimber Blanc de Blancs 2013  £49 Lovely pale gold in colour with a fine bead, this Blanc de Blancs has a richer, fuller style and is the essence of pure Chardonnay. The aromas and flavours are in perfect harmony, and a long and complex finish makes this a wine to be savoured.

Bruno Paillard Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru NV  £72 Originally a Champagne broker, Bruno Paillard started his own Maison in Reims back in 1981 – the first new Champagne House in more than a century. This Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs is fresh and bright on the nose with green apple, citrus and white flower aromas.

IL VINO Il Vino is the premier independent wine merchant in West Essex, offering a selection of outstanding wines, champagnes and cognacs and cigars from around the world. Il Vino will also soon be offering customers private tasting events at the shop in Queens Road, Buckhurst Hill.

Feel The Love LOV E B R OW N I E S

Love Brownies, a multi award-winning bakery, is to open a beautiful café and brownie shop in the heart of Loughton, creating not only a new hive of activity on the high street, but also a number of jobs for the area. Established in 2009, Love Brownies is known for its decadent brownies and the Loughton store will be the 12th to open in its rather tasty network. lovebrownies.co.uk

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FOOD & DRINK• NOTES

BRUNCH DATE The booziest brunches to enjoy this month

D E VO N S H I R E T E R R AC E

Mixing it up THE BROADWAY DELI & GROCERY

If you enjoy disco balls and smoke machines , then boogie on down to Devonshire Terrace to enjoy their Disco Brunch. Every saturday from the 29th of May, guests can enjoy bottomless cocktails alongside a brunch dish of your choice. Devonshire Square, EC2

The Broadway Deli & Grocery in Woodford Green is a real foodie haven. With more than 2,500 handpicked food and drink products, often from small producers, organic and natural and a selection of over 250 unique wines from Italy, France, Greece, Portugal, South Africa and many more places, there is something for everyone and every occasion. deligrocery.co.uk

D R EAM DISHES THE DREAM FACTORY

Tuck into 46 recipes, including 19 from a host of celebrities, in this ECookBook which is hoped will raise much needed funds for The Dream Factory. The charity grants wishes and dreams to children, young people and adults between 3-25 years, who suffer from life-threatening, life-limiting conditions or severe disabilities. yourdreamfactory.org/cookbook

T H E A N T H O LO G I ST Sometimes, you just need to have a sing. Lift your spirits by paying a visit to Motown Brunch, the latest offering by The Anthologist. Sing along to classics by Beyonce and Aretha Franklin whilst enjoying dishes including pancake stacks, eggs royale and braised short ribs with polenta masks. Happy weekend. 58 Gresham Street, EC2

PICTURE

PERFECT

Down by the river

ARTCAFE

KITCHEN @ DEDHAM

A daily wide selection of cakes and savoury and sweet pastries are available alongside Kitchen @ Dedham's brasserie style menu from 9am-5pm every day. No bookings are taken during this period for tables less than 8, but they have plenty of seating inside and out. Everything on the café counter from coffee to cake can also be taken away for you to enjoy whether you’re rowing or just walking alongside the beautiful river Stour. thekitchengroup.co.uk

T H E F O L LY West End Drag Brunch by The Folly is set to be an experience like no other. Featuring drag queens from top West End shows such as Kinky Boots, it’s a fun filled day of entertainment. Guests can enjoy 90 minutes of a bottomless cocktail of their choice alongside a range of grazing plates. 41 Gracechurch Street, EC3

Now in its 18th year and just a ‘scone’s throw’ from the beach on Mersea Island, the Artcafé was born out of a love of real, homemade food and inspiring handmade art. A true family run business, the Weavers have created a spot that has become a hub of island life. islandartcafe.com A B S O L U T E LY m a g a z i n e s

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SHINING BRIGHT As he prepares to celebrate a decade at The Sun Inn, head chef Jack Levine reflects on being able to spread happiness in Dedham

By MARK KEBBLE

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FOOD & DRINK • INTERVIEW

“The impression I get is that we have been missed and people are really looking forward to being able to join us again”

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any of us tried to make the most out of having more time at home in 2020. Me? I decided it was time to learn all about dog training (despite the fact I currently have just one very old cat). The head chef of popular Dedham pub The Sun Inn? “I’ve enjoyed taking advantage of having a lot of time off as I’ll never be able to have so much free time again in my life,” smiles Jack Levine. It’s an understandable response as, at the time of writing, The Sun Inn was preparing to fully open its doors once again, and if it’s anything like what life was like pre-COVID, Levine will soon be rushed off his feet once again. “The impression I have received is that we have been missed and people are really looking forward to being able to join us again and resume normal life,” he says. For The Sun Inn’s regular clientele, this year or so without being able to settle into its cosy surroundings has probably felt even longer. The former coaching inn sits in the heart of Constable Country, with

its open beamed dining room a wonderful setting for a meal, open fires perfect in the winter and, more apt for June, a peaceful garden with an outdoor bar and terrace to enjoy the sun. While we have all been twiddling our thumbs or learning how to make a dog sit, it’s been busy behind the scenes at The Sun Inn. “There has been lots going on,” nods Levine. “There’s been redecorating, a new patio area at the top of the garden, some essential repairs to the roof, and I am getting some new equipment to play with in the kitchen, so that’s exciting! As ever, it’s lots of small improvements to keep things fresh.” One thing that won’t change a great deal is Levine’s approach to the menu. “I always try to just keep the food simple, fresh, honest and seasonal,” he says. Although the menu is tweaked on a monthly basis, there are always plenty of pasta and risotto dishes to enjoy, as well as more hearty main courses including game in season, rare breed meat and dry-boat landed fish. The menu always offers three cuts of British rare breed steaks – skirt, sirloin and prime bone-in-rib – and on Sundays there’s a generous roast with seasonal changing accompaniments. A B S O L U T E LY m a g a z i n e s

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FOOD & DRINK • INTERVIEW

“It's important for me to cook within the seasons, that's when produce is at its best and full of flavour”

The latter, in particular, is key when it comes to Levine’s menu. “It’s important for me to cook within the seasons,” he states, “that’s when produce is at its best and full of flavour and vibrancy. The difference in quality is unmatched, which is the case with using local suppliers too. That’s more important now than ever before. We’ve got to support small businesses, keep things in the community and shorten the food miles. There is a lot more care and attention that goes into local produce from small suppliers, and the shorter the journey from field to fork, [the better] the flavour.” As he settles back into work, it’s a good time for Levine to reflect on ten years at The Sun Inn. “I joined on 18 July 2011,” he smiles. “I started as a chef-de-partie and,

after three years, became sous chef. Then, in 2015, I became head chef. I like how we as a company always try to move forward instead of standing still. The company is fair with a good ethos and many benefits.” Levine’s food aside, there is so much on offer at The Sun Inn. Drinks are just as important as the food and are sourced from producers who are as passionate about what they do – you can expect ales from Crouch Vale Brewery or Adnams, and an eclectic award-winning wine list brimming with rarities. There’s also seven beautiful ensuite bedrooms, all individually decorated, that retain their centuries-old character, meaning you can make a weekend of it. You don’t really need any extra excuse to visit, but there’s plenty on the horizon to make the simple joy of going back to the pub even better. It’s been a while since we have been able to sit indoors with friends, so Levine’s FEAST menu – ideal for sharing – is cause for celebration. Then, from 10-11 July, The Sun Inn’s annual free music and beer festival, AlFesto, returns, with 11 bands performing across the weekend, 15 craft ales and cider, a prosecco and gin bar, outdoor games for adults and kids (think Jenga, boules and skittles), and a special festival menu of barbecued burgers, pulled pork, strawberries and ice-cream. “AlFesto is a popular event in the community,” Levine says, “and I look forward to providing happiness to the people of Dedham. There is such a great local community here. And, at the end of the weekend, the whole team gets together to finish any leftover beer well into the night!” You get the impression he’s going to need another break again soon. THE SUN INN High Street, Dedham CO7 6DF 01206 323351 thesuninndedham.com

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EXPECT THE FINEST QUALITY MEAT

FARM toFORK The inside story of how nearly a century of farming in North Essex evolved into The Rare Breed Meat Company B y H O WA R D B L A C K W E L L

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FOOD & DRINK • PROFILE

HOWARD BLACKWELL

F

our generations of the Blackwell family have farmed at Herons Farm, so having been brought up in the farming industry, it naturally became an instant passion of mine. Being the eldest son of a farmer in the late 70s, it goes without saying that you would carry on the family business. It has been and continues to be a great privilege to continue the family tradition of farming. As time went on, I gained a good reputation with local butchers for the poultry I produced. So much so that I decided to also rear pork, which resulted in me buying a small herd of Gloucestershire Old Spots, Oxford Sandy, and Black Pigs. From thereon in, The Rare Breed Meat Company was born. Gradually other products have been added; Colne Valley and Salt Marsh lamb, free range Blythburgh pork, traditional breeds of cattle, free range ducks, venison and game, resulting in clients having a superb selection of niche products from which to choose. It is the belief in our products that sets us apart from the others. Our own poultry is cared for in a free range environment and fed on natural foods, free from any additives or growth promoters. Our livestock is sourced from local family farms, which are THE FARM SHOP HAS BEEN A HIT IN LOCKDOWN

selected for their adherence to very high animal husbandry standards, resulting in clients being certain that all the produce they purchase has complete traceability. Rare breeds need a longer time to mature and do not grow to the same size or as quickly as the commercial continental cross breeds. It is the slow growing nature which gives the meat its flavour and is why it is renowned by top chefs. Over the past year, our wholesale company was still able to supply to butchers, but the hospitality industry is a huge part of our clientele, so with most of these either closing completely or having limited outdoor seating, we did see a plummet for The Rare Breed Meat Company. We source to high-end and fine dining restaurants throughout Essex and London, including The Ned, Trinity, Hawksmoor, and many more. With that being said, our retail side, Blackwells Farm Shop, was fortunate enough to stay open. As local residents wanted to shop closer to home and support local businesses, we welcomed new and existing customers, which saw the shop picking up. We are very grateful for all the support we have had during these difficult times and grateful for our dedicated team. We have many offerings at the farm shop from a butchery and deli counter to fresh local fruit and vegetables, and homemade meals and sweet treats. We have a new seating area outside the farm shop, too, for customers to enjoy a coffee and cake in the sunshine. Rare Breed has already begun to pick up now the hospitality industry can open their gardens – we are feeling hopeful for the next phase when restaurants can provide indoor dining. We will continue to push this side of the business and build

“It is the slow growing nature which gives the meat its flavour and why it is renowned by top chefs” relationships with new and existing clients. The farm shop continues to create many new offerings – throughout the summer we have dinner boxes, afternoon teas, BBQ packs, and meat bundles, available for our customers. We will continue to offer home deliveries too, as this proved very popular throughout lockdown. I do think there is something special about having quality farm food delivered straight to your door. Howard Blackwell runs The Rare Breed Meat Company with his son George – find out more at therarebreedmeatcompany.co.uk A B S O L U T E LY m a g a z i n e s

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FOOD & DRINK • DRINKS ON SITE IN THORPE-LE-SOKEN

THE LAUNCH GIN

Gin

O ’ C L O C K

THE TEAM AT THE DISTILLERY

Q Why did gin inspire you to launch your own distillery? A Nicole North (director): All four of us work in the public sector, and whilst we love our day jobs we wanted something ‘extra’ too. It was actually one Friday afternoon in the office over some chocolate fingers and a cuppa that Ben and I got talking about the possibility of creating something that would enable us to get out and about, meet new people, be creative and get our hands dirty, and celebrate the Essex coast. We quickly narrowed it down to this or a goat farm! We thought a gin distillery would tick all the boxes – plus we each already had a growing gin collection and a fascination about the diversity of the big and growing market. Q What work went into the launch? A Ben Mann (director): Well we obviously had to drink a lot of gin! In all seriousness, all four of us [including Nicole’s partner Simon Burrows and Ben’s partner Lucy

It’s time to meet the people behind East Coast Distillery, who are launching a new tipple with Essex at its heart

Mann] spent a lot of time sampling gin to train our palate and understand what we liked and what we didn’t. We also visited lots of distilleries, undertook training and spoke to a whole range of distillers. It took us about two years to make sure this was what we wanted and be confident about the next steps. Q You launched with your signature gin, Tide’s Fortune. What can you tell us about the make-up of the gin? A Simon: It’s our take on a classic London Dry Gin. A fragrant juniper nose, with the Sea Buckthorn adding a citrus piquancy balanced with the Sea Purslane, which gives it a smoothness. Add to this our home grown fennel for a touch of warming anise and a sprinkling of Lapsang Souchong, you get a smooth, lingering and complex grown up gin. Q How do things work at your Essex distillery?

A Ben: The beating heart of our distillery is Monty, our 500 litre still. He sits in pride of place right in the centre of the distillery. Monty is a modular still built to our own design. A series of copper bubble plates set within the column provide the all important copper contact that gives us such a refined spirit. From here the vapour passes through the botanicals, which are held in wire baskets. It is here that they impart their natural oils giving our gin a long and lingering, yet smooth feel with every sip. Finally the vapour is condensed and collected as the basis of our gin. Q We love the Withnail & I references… A Simon: I knew I’d get along with Ben when he said it was one of his favourite films, and it’s something that Nicole and I have watched again and again. Along with Monty our Still, we have named our two storage tanks Marwood and Withnail. eastcoastdistillery.co.uk A B S O L U T E LY m a g a z i n e s

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Butchery | Deli | Fruit & Veg | Cakes & Bakes | Homemade Meals | Gifts & Hampers | Function Catering Blackwells Farm Shop is committed to supporting local suppliers, with over 90% of the produce being sourced within a 30-mile radius of the farm. The high-quality meats are sourced from local farmers, known, and trusted by Blackwells for their good husbandry skills.

OPENING HOURS Monday–Friday: 8am - 5.30pm Saturday: 8am – 4pm Sunday: 10am – 3pm

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Herons Farm, Colne Road, Coggeshall, Essex, CO6 1TQ www.blackwellsfarmproduce.co.uk 01376 562500

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FOOD & DRINK • PROFILE

Special offers  Their menu is currently 2 courses £23.95 or 3 courses £29.95, but this is reviewed on-going. Happy Hour is 6-7pm, where you can enjoy two cocktails for £10.

Restaurant overview

Number of covers

 A small family-run restaurant (owner and chef Terence Howard, and his wife Caroline runs front of house with their daughter), The Creek is multi award-winning and set in a stunning Grade II listed building on the outskirts of the village of Great Bentley.

 Main restaurant 42, lounge 12, and garden 24. (The current number of covers are lower than stated due to social distancing)

The menu  The focus is simple classical British cuisine with European influences, using locally sourced produce within a relaxed environment and featuring unobtrusive service. Terence Howard trained at the Savoy Hotel, London, worked at Groucho Club in Soho, Home House in Portland Square, The Avenue in St James’s Street and The Washington Hotel in Mayfair. He was most recently executive head chef of The Reform Club, Pall Mall, for over ten years, becoming the youngest head chef in the Reform Club’s 180-year history. Terence appeared on TV alongside Tanya Ramsay, The Hairy Bikers and Gary Rhodes. Both Terence and Caroline were born and raised in East London before opening The Creek in 2014.

Popular dishes  “The Creek” Banana Split (caramelised banana, Norfolk County salted caramel ice cream, Chantilly cream, roasted walnuts and salted butterscotch sauce) has been on every menu since opening in 2014. Many guests have asked to be taught how to make it in their kitchen. Any use of beef, duck, sea bass and shellfish are always popular.

Quirky facts  The Grade II listed building has an estimated build of the late 1600s/early 1700s. It was previously named The Flag Inn prior to 2014, with the name changing in relation to Flag Creek. The pear tree in the garden is an unnatural shape due to being hit by lightning. Legend has it that a seance/ghost hunt was held here. The building does in fact creak and produce some strange sounds in the dead of night, though the family have not experienced anything other worldly. Also, like Tom Kerridge, Terence has a shellfish allergy.

D ESTINATI O N DINING

TERENCE HOWARD

THE CREEK G R E AT B E N T L E Y COLCHESTER

An award-winning restaurant serving up British cusine with a European twist Flag Hill, Great Bentley, Colchester CO7 8RE 01255 317950 / 01206 586435 contact@thecreekgreatbentley.co.uk thecreekgreatbentley.co.uk

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W H AT ’ S I N S TO R E KITCHEN STORAGE

It’s the hub of the home, which invariably means it is stuffed full of too many accessories. However, today there are unique ways to store away all those pots and pans without ruining the kitchen’s aesthetic. p48

inside this section: T H E L AT E S T DESIGN NEWS p43 SECRET OF LEISURE PLAN’S SUCCESS p44

BED REST

How to sleep well – advice from Carpe Diem Beds

A UNIQUE ALL IN ONE PROJECT p56 MAKE THE MOST OUT OF

I N A S S O C I AT I O N W I T H

YOU R GAR DEN p 61

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H O M E | NEWS Compiled by

PENDLE HARTE

I N T H E N E WS U P DAT E S F R O M T H E I N D U S T R Y STAR BURST TO M D IXO N

NEW LIFE

Burst is a new, dynamic and threedimensional array of lighting without lots of dangling wires. Intended for larger spaces and ceiling voids, it's inspired by an interest in molecular structures and the space age with its chrome aesthetic and geometric configuration. tomdixon.net

H A R K V I N TA G E Midcentury glass, ceramics and enamelware as well as Ercol chairs, rattan stools and French posters are all part of the offering at Hark Vintage. It's a great source of unusual and one-off pieces. @hark_vintage harkvintage.etsy.com

GO CASUAL BRIDGMAN

LOCK IN

Summer is around the corner, and gardens become the first choice to relax and spend more time with loved ones. Bridgman offers a variety of furniture styles and designs for outdoor or indoor spaces. The Casual Dining Collection has been crafted with style in mind. bridgman.co.uk

M U S TA R D M A D E New at Mustard Made is lilac, the shade of the moment, adding to the colourful collection. These metal lockers are versatile and stylish, and come in a variety of sizes and shapes. mustardmade.co.uk

PARTY PIECE BAR HAU S This is one for the dancing queens and disco kings, the ultimate home cocktail bar is the Mirrorball Icon. A mini nightclub and bar inside a gorgeous mirrorball on a classic Italian tulip base. From £4,950 barhaus.co.uk

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H u n n e b o D o g B e d : L a r g e | Fa b r i c : Z a r a g o z a E g g s h e l l 15 WIGMORE ST R EET | LO ND O N W 1U 1P E +4 4 (0) 2 0 39 8 2 3 25 2 | m a r y le bo n e @ c a r pedie m beds.co.u k c a r p e d i e m b e d s o f s w e d e n | # m y u n w i n d | w w w.c a r pedie m beds.co.u k

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H O M E | NEWS

ANY TIME, A N Y P L AC E JOHN LEWIS

John Lewis' new ANYDAY collection great edit of stylish, good-quality products at surprisingly affordable prices. Combining real life solutions with great style, it's an excellent new addition. johnlewis.co.uk

CREATIVE

R E V I E W Updates from the industry Compiled by P E N D L E H A R T E

ON THE MAKE SCULPD

Sculpd has enabled a new generation of DIY creators to discover their love of pottery with their clever kits, the latest of which is this filament lamp kit, enabling yout to design and craft a clay-based lamp. £65 sculpd.co.uk

COTTON COLLAB

PAT C H W O R K PA S S I O N COUVERTURE

WO O D C H I P & M AG N O LIA

Quilts are in vogue at Couverture with Tessa Layzelle's one-of-a-kind upcycled appliqué quilts stocked alongside Dorset’s Projektityyny’s handmade patchwork cushions and soft furnishings.

Fearne Cotton has launched an exclusive wallpaper and fabric collection with British design house Woodchip & Magnolia. There are five new wallpaper and fabric designs in an array of timeless colourways exploring the blossoming and romantic beauty of wild spring florals. woodchipandmagnolia.co.uk

couvertureand thegarbstore.com

SUNSET STRIP OT TO TI LE S

The new Sunset collection consists of three new pastelhued geometric designs; Sunset, Sunset Stripes and Beach on handmade encaustic cement tiles. Otto's signature tiles are crafted from recycled and sustainable materials and produced using eco-friendly methods. ottotiles.co.uk

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S I T T I N G P

R

E

T

T

Y

Reasons why Leisure Plan is unique amongst the outdoor furniture industry Words M A R K K E B B L E

A

former congregational chapel, built in 1836, isn’t the most likely of places you’d expect to find a business that supplies to the high end residential and outdoor hospitality market, but you quickly realise that Leisure Plan isn’t like any other business. From starting the business in a spare bedroom, then progressing to an office in Bishops Stortford, in the late 1980s they achieved their long held ambition to open a showroom allowing them to showcase the very best in the outdoor furniture market. After rejecting characterless industrial sites, the opportunity of ‘The Chapel’ was not to be missed, but took a lot of haggling at the time. Owner Chris McCormack and

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his wife still had a mortgage on their house, they were under capitalised like most new businesses, and were heavily reliant on bank support. This proved to be elusive in the purchase of the building, because the bank considered this expansion to be a nonviable plan for the business. Roll on 35 years and it is clear that the bank did not see the potential. Today Leisure Plan is the exclusive UK supplier of three leading brands of high quality, distinctive furniture designed specifically for the

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H O M E | PROFILE

TOP THREE The brands exclusively marketed by Leisure Plan

DEDON

The innovator and pioneer of woven style furniture. By engaging top world renowned designers, and transforming their visions into the most luxurious outdoor brand, DEDON’s influence in setting the highest standards for quality and sustainability has made it the most recognised brand in the world of outdoor living. Recent design developments in mixed materials compatible with Dedon fibre marks a continued drive towards exciting new concepts and product excellence.

E G O PA R I S

“It was important that whoever we were partnering would be the manufacturers” outdoor lifestyle and hospitality market. It was when they moved to the rather unique showroom that McCormack started to tweak the company’s ethos. From the start, they concentrated on supplying specialist retailers in the outdoor furniture market, he says. “Then over a period of two to three years, I was convinced that there was another market who were very discerning – but how to reach them?” Development concentrated on interior designers, architects, landscapers, superyacht designers and specifiers, all with clients looking for something distinctive for their outdoor living projects. This real feeling of exclusivity is apparent when you analyse what Leisure Plan’s product portfolio offers. They are the exclusive stockist and marketing part-

ners to three brands – DEDON, EGOparis and Fischer Möbel – chosen because they share the same philosophy to design and quality, which perfectly complements Leisure Plan’s strategies. “It was always important that whoever we were partnering, would need to be the manufacturers in order to maintain control of quality, reliability and availability. “And supplying a discerning market, quite rightly demands something special beyond simply supplying product,” he continues. “We offer knowledge, guidance and a service which stretches from a ‘white-glove’ national home service to handling deliveries on a door-to-door service to overseas properties.” The service Leisure Plan offer their clients also extends to the in-house manufacturing of the soft furnishings. After being let down on out-sourced cushion production, they set up their own in-house workshop in the early 1990s offering their customers a choice from a broad range of fabrics, enabling them to stamp their own personality on their chosen designs. McCormack says that, despite the global issues we have all encountered over the past 15 months, demand for their products has not relented, and looking at the many different facets of their service that’s not a surprise. From the showroom in a chapel, to championing three leading brands: you won’t find a business with as many unique selling points as Leisure Plan.

EGOparis’s collections are distinguished by an extensive RAL colour palette to individualise powder coated aluminium frames with equally large choices of high tensile polyester meshes. Conviviality is the cornerstone of EGO’s approach to an outdoor lifestyle. Contemporary styling from Kama seating to the nested beach style Cabines creates combinations of style and comfort that can transform any hospitality area.

FISCHER MÖBEL

Standing for innovation quality and functionality, Fischer Möbel’s minimalist design integrity is at the heart of this portfolio. Frames in stainless steel or aluminium, with a wide variety of table tops produced with German engineering and production skills, guarantees long lasting durability from these high grade mixed material. Multiple international design awards confirm the recognition Fischer Möbel products have enjoyed from organisations with a knowledge and passion for contemporary design.

leisureplan.co.uk A B S O L U T E LY m a g a z i n e s

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D E S I G N E D for S L E E P Sweden’s cult sleep brand Carpe Diem Beds is gaining popularity in the UK. Absolutely discovers why

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arpe Diem Beds is a household name in Sweden, associated with the ultimate in sleep comfort. This is a bra nd that has patented a mattress designed by a chiropractor together with a team of medical experts with the aim of offering a lifetime of quality sleep. Relatively new to the UK, Carpe Diem Beds opened a showroom on Wigmore Street last year, where visitors can experience the company’s ethos first hand. The store is dedicated to optimising the bedroom environment to create an oasis of calm. And while choosing the perfect mattress for you is at the heart of the experience, there’s a strong focus on

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bedroom design and streamlining, so that the bed you choose can be housed in an environment that’s conducive to optimum sleep health. For manager Rui Franca, guiding clients through the process involves paying close attention to their needs. The showroom is a very calming place and people are encouraged to take their time. “We like people to come and spend an hour or two trying the beds. We can provide sleep masks, lower the lights and let people rest,” he says. For the UK market, Carpe Diem Beds has introduced 36 different Designers Guild fabrics for beds and headboards that can be colour matched with carpets, cushions and curtains. Franca explains: “In selecting the fabrics we look at colours that are neutral and subtle. Bright colours are energising

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H O M E | PROMOTION

1 K E E P TO N E S N E U T R A L Bright colours are not conducive to relaxation – neutral shades of beige and grey create a sense of calm that will aid sleep.

and we need to be relaxed in a bedroom, so there are no oranges or shiny finishes. It’s all about neutral tones, which are adopted in Scandinavian design to create a sense of calm in the mind.” Fabrics are beiges and greys with some darker tones and maybe some light pinks at the more colourful end of the neutral palette. “In store we have access to side tables, carpets and throw

Neutral tones create a sense of calm in the mind

cushions. We have slick metal side table and lamps too, with finishes in chrome and marble, all in calming soothing tones.” The look is luxurious but minimalist and the neutral tones are designed to be mixed and matched alongside lifestyle products such as kimonos, slippers, sleep masks and scented candles. The latest addition to the range is a matching dog bed, made to the same exacting standards as the regular beds, which achieved immediate cult status on its launch in Sweden. There’s a widespread misconception that a firm mattress is better for you, says Rui. “But we believe that you should sleep in the bed, not on the bed, and our contour pocket system is meant to contour your body so that you feel you’re sleeping on a cloud.” Carpe Diem Beds was founded 25 years ago by chiropractor Börje Thuleskär in partnership with the Spinal Unit at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Sweden. The company’s patented Contour Pocket System has a unique cushioning ability, which gently yields and supports at the same time, instantly moulding to your body’s contours and changing with your every movement. Now the brand is associated with high quality Scandinavian design and innovation. A Carpe Diem bed is a long-term investment in sleep, with a superking model priced between £4,500 and £30,000. If that sounds expensive, Franca says: “We spend a third of our lives asleep and it’s funny that we’re inclined to spend more on our cars than on our beds.” Funny indeed.

2 C L I M AT E C O N T R O L The room shouldn’t be very warm or very cold. 18-20 degrees maximum is a good temperature. Bedrooms should be well insulated and the heating should be off.

3 NO DEVICES! Checking your phone makes your brain active. It’s better to read a book. The ideal sleep experience comes with mental relaxation.

THE WIGMORE STREET STORE

15 Wigmore Street, W1 020 3982 3252 carpediembeds.co.uk A B S O L U T E LY m a g a z i n e s

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W H A T ' S I N S T O R E N E V E R B E F O R E H AV E W E H A D SO MUCH CHOICE WHEN IT C O M E S T O K I T C H E N S T O R AG E AND HOW IT CAN COMPLEMENT MODERN DESIGN By MARK KEBBLE

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Strong as oak GARDEN TRADING

Taking its name from a picturesque village in Gloucestershire, the Oakridge table has been designed as a strong yet contemporary table that can be matched with an array of chairs. Instead of being square cut like traditional dining tables, the Oakridge has a waney edge, showing a natural gentle curve giving it a beautiful point of difference. Its design also sits comfortably in modern kitchens that feature an island and plenty of shelves to put that washing away neatly post-feast. gardentrading.co.uk

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H O M E | KITCHENS

Expect the unexpected K I T C H E N & M A K E O V E R C O M PA N Y

Conceal your bar away in a kitchen cupboard and wow your friends by unveiling your pride and joy with The Connery. Showcase beautiful glassware in glass cupboards or glass racks for an eye pleasing design. enhancing the overall look. The Connery works perfectly if you’re opting for open plan living. masterclasskitchens.co.uk

Hide and seek W R EN K ITC H EN S

When it comes to kitchen storage, you don't want guests to be able to see your pots and pans piled high on top of each other. Subtle storage is the way forward, as shown in this pull-out tower storage. It features here in Wren Kitchens' industrial Autograph range in a textured Flamed Oak colour. Even the bottles of ketchup look fetching, and you'll never have to rummage around for them at the back of a dusty cupboard. wrenkitchens.co.uk

Light the way B R AY E R D E S I G N

You know how it is. The clock ticks past midnight and you are peckish. Rather than blaze a light trail throughout your darkened home, what you need is a cabinet that illuminates as you open it. This pantry cabinet for Felsted kitchen design boasts traditional shaker style doors in 'Strong White' by Farrow & Ball and a contemporary walnut interior with handleless drawers, spice rack storage – and the all important automatic LED lighting. Enjoy your midnight feast. brayerdesign.co.uk

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Free boiling water tap worth £1150 with all kitchens commissioned by 28/2/21 Full terms at davonport.com/quookeroffer

FOR THOSE WHO APPRECIATE THE DIFFERENCE Bespoke fur niture designed & handmade to order in our Essex showroom & workshop

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H O M E | KITCHENS

Fit for a family B R AY E R D E S I G N

Keep things simple. This contemporary design features minimalist kitchen cabinets in a sleek, handleless design painted in Zoffany Double Silver matt lacquer. The kitchen island features an elevated island breakfast bar with bespoke made stools, perfect for tucking away a hearty breakfast with the family. A breakfast station/pantry cabinet with a charcoal oak interior houses small appliances such as the microwave, kettle and coffee machine. All in all, a design fit for 21st century family living. brayerdesign.co.uk

Country living K I T C H E N & M A K E O V E R C O M PA N Y

This pantry is a beloved feature within the kitchen that takes us all back in time, therefore it will come as no surprise that The Lansbury has become such an iconic storage feature. This corner pantry allows you to keep your food and cookware in one place and within easy reach. What's more, it is available in 11 cabinet colour options to give you even more choice. masterclasskitchens.co.uk

Timeless appeal K ITC H EN M A K ER S

Thanks to door styling with quarter round beading, concealed hinges and a delicate classicality, the Somerton collection is elegant and considered, yet can be soon super-sized into a more stylised look, whether across a vintage basement, apartment galley or neobarn setting. Further enhance your open shelving with painted colour. A gentle tonal notch up against the base Fjord Green elevates daily storage into a feature piece delivering on both function and display terms. burbidgekitchenmakers.co.uk

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B e d : S a n d ö | Fa b r i c : D e s i g n e r s G u i l d Z a r a g o z a E g g s h e l l | C a r p e t : L i g h t B e i g e | B e d l i n e n : St o r m P e b b l e & D r i f t w o o d | H e a d b o a r d P i l l o w s : D e s i g n e r s G u i l d Z a r a g o z a E g g s h e l l | B e d s i d e Ta b l e : H o l m e B l a c k 15 WIGMORE ST R EET | LO ND O N W 1U 1P E +4 4 (0) 2 0 39 8 2 3 25 2 | m a r y le bo n e @ c a r pediem beds.co.u k c a r p e d i e m b e d s o f s w e d e n | # m y u n w i n d | w w w.c a r pedie m beds.co.u k

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H O M E | KITCHENS

Wine o'clock R AT I O N A L

This highly innovative kitchen organization system has been designed for use inside units and as a wall-hanging. Created using real woods, such as oiled walnut, anodized aluminium, and a breathable textile material distinguished for being hygienic, food-safe, highly durable and washable, the system includes cutlery compartments, a cutting board, knife block, trays, wine bottle racks, glass hangers, and textile hanging pockets, all of which allow for different sized storage at various levels. rational.de/en

Best thing since... GARDEN TRADING

When thinking about kitchen storage, it's not always about the cupboards and shelves – products, too, can help keep your space clutter free, but also look good too. Garden Trading's contemporary Borough Bread Bin, for example, combines matt steel with a natural beech lid, cleverly doubling as a chopping board for quick and convenient slicing. Choose from two colours – soft Lily White or smart Charcoal – as well as adding to the look with more from the Borough collection. gardentrading.co.uk

Country living K ITC H EN M A K ER S

An imaginative blend of classic elegance and contemporary flair, the Alderley range holds its own against today’s interior trends and lifestyle needs. The design draws on the Burbidge wood-crafting heritage, having been expertly produced in an authentic inframe style and is available in a choice of 16 carefully selected paint finishes, ranging from subtle to bold. It's a design that will complement any kitchen. burbidgekitchenmakers.co.uk

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H O M E | TREND

MADE Asuna Wide Sideboard, £399 made.com

DAALS Clarence velvet green sofa, £309.99 daals.co.uk

EARTHBORN Faerie paint 2.5 litres, £46 earthbornpaints.co.uk

OMG KITTY

HOT POTTERY Salad bowl, £35 libertylondon.co.uk

GREEN LIGHT

Art Print Pink Green, £10 omgkittyclub.com

This summer's hottest shade By P E N D L E H A R T E

NICHOLAS ENGERT Cage Cordless Floor Light Green, £566 nicholasengert.co.uk

WOODCHIP & MAGNOLIA X FEARNE COTTON Pondering Peonies Duck Egg Wallpaper, £99 woodchipandmagnolia.co.uk

ABODE LIVING Fish Fish medium green glass £8.50 abodeliving.co.uk

GLOW LIGHTING Bertie Cluster Coloured Glass Pendant Light, £550 glowlighting.co.uk

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The director of the All In One group, based in Colchester, deconstructs a rather unique project Words C H R I S CA R R O L L Photographer H U G H M E TCA L F   •   Stylist P O R T I A CA R R O L L

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he first thing the client for this project asked was: “Do we spend our money on our bathroom, or is a better investment a home studio?” The answer was simple: a home studio will always add value to your property, especially under the current climate. After this decision was made, the fun part began of bouncing thoughts and ideas between us, keeping in mind how the client needed the space to function. We had to ask questions such as, “Will it only be an office? Can they use it sociably? Will it be big enough to use as a gym?” Once this was all clear, we were ready for the next step. Under local authority rules, there are area and height restrictions, depending on the location of the building. Is it too close to a boundary? Will it obscure a neighbour’s right of way? Are you in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty? Knowing the area and location, it was clear we could

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H O M E | FOCUS

“A home studio will always add value to your property, especially in the current climate” construct a 10m2 building at a height of 2.5m from ground level. There were no plans, no measurements, no layouts; just requirements. This is what we came up with – an office and studio space with a built-in desk area and shelving, as well as a flexible open area to use however the client pleases. A hard-wearing floor, electrics and internet supply were essential. We went for as much glazing as possible, ensuring warmth in the winter and keeping it cool in the summer, including a sky light providing more natural light as well as bonus viewpoint. A wood burner brings a feel of home into the space, and sets a cosy ambience during cooler months, and it’s size is unobtrusive, leaving a generous space as you walk in. It’s the perfect modern take on a wood cabin. From the brief we knew it had to be a Scandinavian style studio, meaning using timber everywhere we could, which determined the products available. Internally we suggested a ply finish, but there are many to choose from. After using a Birch faced ply when constructing and installing a bespoke handmade kitchen, we noticed the continuity of quality throughout the product and the finish it gave, so to utilise this finish once again was a good decision. When cutting around openings, you will always see the edge of the ply; showing off the honest material and having this extra detail to complete the overall look, the clients loved it. Externally, we had to take into consideration many factors. Firstly appearance: it had to be aesthetically pleasing to the customer and the neighbours, who were not only either side, but behind too. The product had to be very low maintenance, but not a man-made product, still keeping in mind a timber finish. There were trees to the side

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Hall Bros. Essential Spring 2021.qxp_Layout 1 11/03/2021 11:24 Page 1

Contemporary Style Created by Traditional Craftsmen For over 50 years we have been creating beautifully-crafted products from wood. Every project is as individual as our client’s brief and designed to complement the home it is for, whether it is a period property, a barn conversion or a contemporary residence. For more information call 01206 735287 / 01473 365167 or visit www.hall-brothers.co.uk

CONSERVATORIES | ORANGERIES | KITCHENS | DOORS | WINDOWS | STAIRCASES | BARNS | CONSTRUCTION | FURNITURE

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H O M E | FOCUS

“The client was delighted to be seeing the timber she had grown up with in full view” and behind, so the timber had to be sensitive and site specific. The best and only product that came to mind was Cedar. It has amazing colour variants and a beautiful grain that runs through it. Our client is Canadian, so when she saw this, she was delighted to be seeing the timber she had grown up with all around her, now in her garden in full view. Cedar has its own defence mechanism, that when it silvers over eventually, it has protected itself from rain and sun damage. To work with it is just as beautiful, and the scent it emanates when cutting will take you straight back to the school classroom when sharpening your pencil. Other than the restrictions that are stipulated by the local authority, the rest was down to location. How to get a supply to the location, how best to construct when close to trees and the general logistics of bringing in materials, operating when constructing, and waste disposal. This studio was built on a one-way street, with parking restrictions and minimal space. When you don’t have the luxury of an open area to store materials and waste, you have to work methodically, and that all comes down to timings and efficiency. The weather plays a big factor as it is all outdoor work, so temporary coverings are a big help in these situations. Currently, building materials are getting harder to get hold of and the cost of materials have nearly doubled across the board in 2021. It was vital for us to be proactively up to date when purchasing materials and working within timeframes. In construction there are so many moving parts – when obstacles occur, you have to be ready to adjust and re-evaluate.

All In One Design and Build Studio 64B Barrack Street, Colchester CO1 2LS 01206 86 86 06 allinone.group

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Need more storage, a home office or dining pod? CEDAR GARDEN ROOMS, BBQ CABINS AND PODS with ten year guarantee, be the envy of your friends and neighbours

Don’t buy a garden building until you have visited Harveys extensive show site at Rayleigh

Harveys Quality Garden Buildings Woodside Garden Centre, A127 Arterial Road, Rayleigh, Essex SS6 7TZ 01268 775770 | harveysgardenbuildings.co.uk

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H O M E | PARTNERSHIP

W HOME from HOME The questions to ask about whether or not you are using your garden to its full potential

hen you ta ke a look at your garden, what do you see? Is it just a neatly mown lawn and borders that might just host the occasional BBQ, or do you see an unused area that could be put to good use for either work or recreation? The recent COVID restrictions have highlighted that having a home office could be more than just a luxury, which could save on time, travelling expenses and your sanity. The points to consider when thinking about a garden building are: What is the building to be used for? Where is it to be situated? How big would you like it to be? Is it to be used all year around? With this information you can quickly see if you need a summerhouse for relaxing or entertaining in, or a fully insulated building to work in all through the year. Harveys Quality Garden Buildings can supply all types of buildings to enhance your garden, from their superior sheds through to rotating pods and the ‘Hobbit House’ barbecue cabin, but there has been a large demand for their fully insulated, double glazed home office complete with air conditioning, which offers a fully functioning office just steps from your back door. During this time of uncertainty around travel it could be a good time to use the money you would have spent having a fortnight in the sun on something that will be of use for many years and add value to your property – and shine a whole new light on your garden. H A RV E Y S Q UA L I T Y GA R D E N B U I L D I N G S Woodside Garden Centre A127 Arterial Road, Rayleigh SS6 7TZ 01268 775770 harveysgardenbuildings.co.uk A B S O L U T E LY m a g a z i n e s

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H O M E | GARDENS

KERB APPEAL

Lechuza shares five tips for successful container gardening Words L E C H U Z A .C O. U K

Think about drainage

This is a key first step because the right amount of drainage can be a matter of life and death for your plants. Waterlogged soil causes a plant’s roots to rot and is likely to kill it. Consider drainage when purchasing the pots you plan to use. The minimum size for a drainage hole is half an inch in diameter for small or medium-sized pots, while larger pots will need holes at least an inch in diameter.

If you’re not keen on watering, then grow succulents

Choose the right soil

Fill your containers with a high-quality potting soil. Don’t use soil directly from your garden because, unlike potting mix, which includes ingredients like perlite and vermiculite to improve aeration and keep soil loose and well-draining, earth from your garden is likely to harden and compact when dry.

Look at your light

Different plant varieties have varying needs and likes when it comes to light so, when selecting your plants, take note of the care tags and make sure you know whether they grow best in sun or shade. You want to avoid mixing sun- and shade-loving plants in the same pot if you are creating an arrange-

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ment. There are also plenty of houseplants that can tolerate low light if you are worried your home may be too dark for anything to thrive. It is worth saving these care tags to remind yourself of feeding and watering requirements.

Feed your plants

Although the perfect consistency for container planting, many potting mixes don’t always contain enough nutrients for your plant, so be sure to fertilise regularly. You can mix a slow-release fertiliser into your soil when you pot up and then regularly treat plants to a liquid plant food added into your watering can when you water. To make your job even easier, some brands offer pre-mixed feed, designed specifically for container gardening, which you can just pour into pots straight from the bottle.

Choose plants that suit your lifestyle

To have the most fun and chance of success, assess how you live before you take the plunge. There will be a type of container garden that suits your lifestyle. For example, if you’re not keen on watering, then grow succulents and other drought-resistant plants. If you want something that will last and return to bloom again next year, choose to plant perennials and be sure to deadhead or chop back when necessary to encourage further growth and keep them blooming. Alternatively, if you like to chop and change with the seasons, plant annual flowers and swap out for new ones, as and when you need to. Just do a little research and find out what works for you.

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Experience summer at The Grove 20 June - 1 September — As a reader of Absolutely Hertfordshire, experience summer at The Grove and enjoy a complimentary welcome drink at the Lounges and a bottle of wine with dinner. Terms and conditions apply. To book, visit thegrove.co.uk/absolutely or call 01923 296010, referencing Absolutely.

The Grove | Chandler’s Cross, Hertfordshire WD3 4TG 01923 296010 | www.thegrove.co.uk

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FA S H I O N

BEST FOOT PENELOPE CHILVERS

Summer shoes at Penelope Chilvers span everything from statement espadrilles, 70s clogs and suede wedged sandals to velvet sneakers, understated flats, and floral platforms. penelopechilvers.com

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SHOW stoppers

Ascot has launched its tenth annual style guide, which celebrates the sustainable fashion movement A S C O T. C O . U K / R O YA L A S C O T

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FASHION • JEWELLERY

Flower power Floral jewels are guaranteed to bring joy B y PENDLE HARTE

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PAREL PAREL

ANNOUSHKA

WILHELMINA GARCIA

Pansy studs, £68 parelparel.com

Diamond and lapis tulip drop earrings, £2,025 annoushka.com

Gold tulip necklace, £170 wilhelminagarcia.com

HELENA THULIN

10 DECO ART

NINFA HANDMADE

Viola Tricolor earrings, £149 helenathulin.com

Chamomile flower earrings, £139 10decoart.com

Tulip earrings, £45 ninfahandmade.com

CLED

MONDO MONDO

PAREL PAREL

Periwinkle trio earrings, £180 thecled.com

Diamond daisy studs, £189 mondo-mondo.com

Morning Glory earrings, £85 parelparel.com

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HEALTH & BEAUTY

O UTE R LI M I TS

ESSEX BOOTCAMP At a time when gyms are now welcoming us back indoors, don’t forget about the benefits of exercising outdoors. Essex Bootcamp host classes across the county and are the best way to get fit outside. essexbootcamp.co.uk

Beauty Notes 77 • Brookside Aesthetics 78 • The Glamour Room 80 A B S O L U T E LY m a g a z i n e s

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new normal, new you.

exclusive offer 20% off with code: AB20

now that the world is getting back to normal, it’s time to focus on what’s important. you. from lashes and brows to manis and pedis, from gut health to skin toning – the glamour room offers a range of health and beauty treatments to suit your lifestyle. book online today and find out why we’re one of the most talked about salons in essex.

14a Baddow Road, Chelmsford, Essex CM2 0DG Terms & conditions apply. Offer open to new customers only.

theglamourroom.co.uk

Dedicated to Beauty and Anti ageing

Brookside Aesthetics Strawbrook Hill Little Leighs, Chelmsford Essex, CM3 1LX

10% OFF* your first treatment, when booking please quote ABSOLUTE MAGAZINE

01245 363889 enquire@brookside-aesthetics.com www.brookside-aesthetics.com

Brookside Aesthetics is a specialist skin, beauty and laser clinic located in a peaceful area of Chelmsford in Essex. We pride ourselves on providing the best and most effective treatment and service for your facial, skin or body concerns, offering the highest quality and safest, cosmetic, medical and beauty treatments

Skin Concerns you may have: Anti-aging Wrinkles Pigmentation Facial Redness Rough Skin Dehydrated Skin Stretch marks

Skin Treatments we offer for your concerns: Visia Skin analysing Consultation Medical Microneedling Chemical skin peels Microdermabrasion Dermalux LED Photo-Therapy Freeze Pen treatments Laser Rejuvenation

*The offer applies to each customers first treatment at Brookside Aesthetics. It does not apply to any subsequent treatments. This offer does not apply to purchase of products. All appointments and consultations must be booked in advance we do not offer walk in appointments. To take up the offer the customer must mention when booking the Absolute Magazine.

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HEALTH & BEAUTY • NOTES

BEAUTY NOTES

The latest in skincare and healthy advice B y L AY L A T U R N E R

FOCUS

HELLO

EDITOR’S PICK

Hydra-tion

Choosing the right hair colour with Vita Krafty

CHANEL

B y L AY L A T U R N E R

The Hydra Beauty range by Chanel is gaining another hero product with the launch of Hydra Beauty Concentrate. The product, packed with radiance-boosting active ingredients, promises smoother, more radiant skin after just one month of use. Yes please.

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chanel.com

Time to smile I M P R OV E YO U R S M I L E

As restrictions are being eased, Improve Your Smile dental practice in Woodford Green, which is fully COVID-safe, offers free face-to-face consultations (or virtually if that’s still your preference) to patients interested in dental implants, facial aesthetics, teeth straightening, teeth whitening and more. improveyoursmile.co.uk

TA K E FIVE REPOSE

The reality is, if you are out of shape, exercise is hard. Start slow, but start today. It is a fact exercising slows down the ageing process and so many chronic diseases can be reversed with a good diet and exercise. And it can start with just five minutes: a brisk walk, walking up and down stairs, dancing, gardening, cleaning. It all counts and can make a huge difference.

MANE attraction e’ve all been there: you secure an appointment with your hairdresser, excited to unveil a brand new look, only to leave feeling less than glamorous. There is more to deciding on a hair colour than just picking out a shade you like. Skin tone plays an important role, and it’s basic rule of thumb that those with a cooler skin tone should stick to a shade with cooler undertones, while those with warm skin tones will match with a colour with warm undertones. Vita Krafty, long time hairdresser based at Head Spa salon, shares her advice on choosing the correct hair colour. "Most people come in wanting to go blonde or refresh their blonde shade. Platinum shades always work best on porcelain-skinned girls, whereas more gold or caramel-based blonde shades look great on those with cooler undertones, too. For those wanting a fresh new brunette shade, fortunately brown hair is a flattering option for most skin tones, while deep brown and black hair looks amazing on those with darker skin tones. For those deciding between blonde and brunette, a balayage is a great way of combining the best of both worlds." For colour maintenance, choose the correct shampoo and conditioner for your shade. Purple shampoo works wonders for blondes, whereas products for brunette hair add shine and dimension. HEAD SPA

headspa.uk • @vitakrafty

repose-space.com

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HEALTH & BEAUTY • FOCUS

KEEP YOUR COOL THIS SUMMER

N O S W E AT

The owner of Brookside Aesthetics in Chelmsford on a common problem facing many men this summer By KAREN CHESTER

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hen summer arrives, we all want to have our bodies looking and feeling great, and when you hit the gym or do any physical exercise your body starts to perspire. The body has a natural thermostat that starts to work harder, regulating our temperatures to make us feel and smell fresh. Summer is a time where we all look forward to being able to dress up, attend outside events, go on holidays, all in the hope of not having to wear jumpers or a coat. Whilst the weather is hotting up so are our bodies, and sweating is a natural part of our everyday life; however, excessive sweating known as hyperhidrosis has become very common in men, and unfortunately comes with some unwanted side effects, one being damp noticeable patches that can stain your clothes and give

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off a bad odour, chafed thighs that become irritated and sore, and skin breakouts that are common on the back and chest. Working in an office sitting at your desk or when you are having a meal with a friend, if the sweating is dictating what you wear and how you are interacting with people, that’s usually excessive sweating. People find sweating is undesirable in certain social situations, and this can also have a mental effect on the individual. Excessive sweating in most cases has no underlying causes and can be present in different areas of the body. As with all sweating this starts at puberty; however, excessive sweating can occasionally be linked to medication, diabetes, thyroid disorder, and can also be hereditary. Excessive sweating can also occur during the cooler time of the year, but it is worse during warm weather. Renowned doctor Aamer Khan from Harley Street Skin Clinic had this to say about treatments for excessive sweating.

“Different treatments are used for different areas of the body. The most common and embarrassing area for men is the arm pits. When speaking to a sufferer of excessive sweating I would look at the medical history and what the patient is currently applying to the area, in most cases I would then initially prescribe a topical antiperspirant. “I would also consider offering medical botox injections in the area of concern, this is a quick non-invasive treatment that has an incredible effect on paralysing the sweat gland and can have an effect from six to nine months. This treatment can give a man an instant up lift and confidence.” B R O O K S I D E A E ST H E T I C S Brookside Farm, Strawbrook Hill, Little Leighs, Chelmsford, CM3 1LX 01245 363889 brookside-aesthetics.com

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Care in your home, just as you like it. You love your home and you feel safe there. Needing additional care and support shouldn’t change that. With our well-trusted care service, you can remain at home surrounded by loved ones and beloved pets and still enjoy your home, garden and community. You may be in a situation where you need an extra pair of hands to help with daily chores, or you may have complex needs that require more dedicated care. We build our care packages around you and your individual needs which means that you and your family can rest assured you’ll receive care and support exactly as you need. Our care ranges from a 30-minute daily visit through to full Live-in care. More detailed information on live-in care can be found at: bluebirdcare.co.uk/live-in-care

Call our friendly team today to see how we can tailor a care package for you. Bluebird Care Epping and Harlow 01279 976360 Bluebird Care Redbridge 020 8989 8444 Bluebird Care Mid Essex 01245 263962

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Q&A

BEAUTY, BABY and BROWS Absolutely Essex meets Krystal Prince, a stylish mum and owner of The Glamour Room in Chelmsford B y L AY L A T U R N E R

Q It sounds like it has been a busy few months for you… A The past few weeks have been crazy. We reopened on 12 April after being closed since Christmas, and it has been so busy – we are open seven days a week to accommodate all of the post-lockdown appointments. Of course, people have been without any treatments for months, so it was a struggle to get everyone booked in. Luckily I have my amazing team of six to help me out. Q You also gave birth recently. How are you finding life as a new mum and running a business? A Going back to the salon after lockdown and trying to juggle work and being a mum was crazy, but it’s something I’ve got used to over time. She comes to the salon with me, she’s like another member of the team.

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Q How nice is it to be able to welcome clients back to the salon? A It’s been amazing – I think of my clients like friends, especially my regulars. We really missed our clients and our clients definitely missed us. I always say, we’re not just beauty therapists, we’re actual therapists. Our clients come in after a stressful week and they can unload, have a gossip and leave feeling glammed up and stress free. It’s definitely a fun and friendly environment to work in. Q For those who are not familiar with you, how would you sum up The Glamour Room experience? A Luxury, friendly and welcoming. I’m sure some readers can relate with having had a bad salon experience at some point – where you walk in and there’s a very cold and frosty atmosphere. We strive to make our clients feel comfortable and welcomed, we like to think of them as our

friends. All of the staff are highly trained and extremely talented at what they do. We pride ourselves on our services and results. Q What types of services do you offer? A We are a lash and brow bar, offering classic lashes, Russian lashes, lash lifts and brow lamination. Recently we have expanded our services to include nails, facials and non-surgical facials, so that’s very exciting. Q What do you think makes you stand out from the competition? A How friendly and welcoming we are, our range of services, the team and the luxury feel. We love our salon – of course we have a boujee sofa and a “too glam to give a damn” sign to offer clients that oh so important Instagram aesthetic. Q How long have you been working in the beauty industry for now – and how would you say it has changed over the years?

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HEALTH & BEAUTY • PROFILE

“Making people feel confident is the best feeling. It makes me happy to offer time out for a pamper”

A This makes me feel old: it will be 20 years this year. The industry has constantly evolved and that’s something I love about it. There’s constantly new trends – for example, ten years ago it was all about thin, over plucked brows, now it’s the fluffier the better. I would say that clients are also more aware about what they are putting on their skin now, there’s a real focus on ingredients in skincare and I think clients are definitely more certain of what they want. There’s always new treatments and solutions on offer, which means there’s always something new for us to learn. Q What’s the best thing about your job today? A Making people feel confident. It’s the best feeling. It makes me so happy to be able to offer that well needed time out for a pamper.

Q Are you thinking of evolving or growing in the future? A Yes – I can’t sit still for too long, I always have something up my sleeve. Actually, in the next few months we are moving and expanding the salon. We have a new location with an upstairs so we can offer additional services such as massages and waxing. During lockdown, I also completed my training qualification to teach all of the services [on offer], and will be launching The Glamour Room Academy in the next few months. It’s definitely going to be a lot of work, but it will keep me busy. Q Finally, what’s your personal favourite beauty treatment? A That’s a difficult one, but I’m going to have to go with lash extensions. Between the baby and the business, I get no sleep, so the lashes help me look human. theglamourroom.co.uk A B S O L U T E LY m a g a z i n e s

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HEALTH & BEAUTY • FITNESS

TOP

PICKS Supplements to supercharge your workout

FITNESS NOTES By M A R K K E B B L E

INNERMOST Innermost’s tasty protein powders are scientifically proven to support your workout goals, whether it’s to increase muscle and strength, or support immunity and recovery. They’re also available in travel size. liveinnermost.com

INDI Indi is designed to fill the ‘nutrition gaps’ which are increasingly common in our diets, such as fibre and vitamins C and D. The powders are plant-based and free from synthetic fillers, additives and sweeteners. indisupplements.com

MUSCLE MARY Quite possibly the most delicious protein we've tried, Muscle Mary’s Chocolate Crush vegan powder can be blended with plant milk to create a creamy, chocolate shake. It also contains superfoods and vitamins. musclemary.co.uk

LET'S ST RETCH Gyms are back — here are four to put you through your paces

T H E GYM C H E L M S FO RD

D AV I D L L O Y D S O UTHE N D

 With an extended free weights area and brand new functional training zone, The Gym Chelmsford has everything you need for your next workout. Whether you’ve been going to the gym for years or you’re a first-timer, they pride themselves on inclusivity and accessibility. The perfect place to start a new regime or pick up where you left off pre-lockdown. thegymgroup.com

 David Lloyd Southend is a first-class fitness destination. Reach your fitness goals in their state-of-the-art gym and improve your game in their unparalleled racquets facilities. Take to the waters in their indoor and outdoor pools, or unwind in the soothing spa facilities after enjoying one of their varied classes. Plus, with a lively Clubroom, there's something for everyone to enjoy. davidlloyd.co.uk

BOX GYM BRENT WOOD  This brand new boutique fitness studio will be running classes of high intensity boxing and circuit training. All their classes centre on a full body workout, and each trainer will add their own style to the workout. It really is a whole new twist on HIIT training sessions. You’re sure to find the perfect training partner too. boxgymfitness.co.uk

FI T N E S S 4 L E S S  Fitness4Less in Colchester is a ‘gym and swim’ venue with a spacious and well-equipped gym, studio and 15m swimming pool. A full-service gym in town, offering great value, they provide over 50 free ‘instructor led’ fitness workshops and classes every week, meaning there is something for everyone. fitness4less.co.uk

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F A M I L Y

PARTY PIECES J OJ O M A M A N B E B E

JoJo Maman Bébé - who have a store in the heart of Chelmsford - have released a brand new collection of adorable summer baby outfits, just in time for lockdown babies to finally meet friends and family. We can't get enough of the butterfly embroidery. jojomamanbebe.co.uk

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LAURA MCBRIDE AND LAURA BOSWELL

FRIENDS like these

We meet the Essex entrepreneurs who launched a baby gift business just weeks into the first lockdown – and are now flying By CAROL DRIVER

FERNE MCCANN IS A BABYCHUM FAN

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FAMILY • FEATURE BABYCHUM OFFER A RANGE OF PRODUCTS

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here have been huge emotional highs and lows.” So says Laura Boswell, who along with best friend, Laura McBride, launched a business at the start of the first lockdown. BabyChum is a curated marketplace selling gifts for parents and children – and it's going from strength to strength. The Essex locals have helped more than 450 sellers throughout the pandemic, including mums who have been furloughed, by giving them a platform to sell their unique products, ranging from £1.20 to £6,500. As well as making a six-figure turnover, BabyChum already has a host of celebrity fans, including Stacey Solomon, Danielle Armstrong and Charley Webb. And now they have organised a collaboration with Ferne McCann, which not only saw their Instagram following skyrocket, but also led to items from the Towie star’s collection selling out. “It’s been such a rollercoaster year for us and we’ve been working every hour under the sun,” says Boswell. “We decided to go ahead with launching BabyChum in April 2020, just weeks after lockdown had been announced – and it was definitely the right decision. We launched with just 300 products and just a handful of sellers. Now, just one year on, we’re up to more than 2,400 products and more than 463 sellers. Not only does BabyChum sell personalised gifts, nursery furniture and decor, but we also provide baby essentials like ecofriendly cloth nappies and weaning plates.” McBride adds: “Every time a person orders from us, they are not only supporting BabyChum, but lots of independent sellers who started their business during a pandemic; who juggle parenthood on top of processing and packaging orders; who wanted to start a little side business to find their sense of fulfilment in this crazy world. They are supporting people’s livelihood and dreams and there is so much to be said for that.” THE HARRODS TOY BOX

"It's been such a rollercoaster year for us" After having her daughter Rosie in 2017, McBride set up a Facebook support page called ParentChum for other mums on Instagram offering practical parenting advice as well as a “shoulder to cry on”. She noticed a gap in the baby products market, especially with the closure of “outdated physical stores” such as Mothercare and Mamas & Papas. The two, who have been friends for ten years, then put together a business plan for an online marketplace that would be a one-stop-shop for must-haves for parents, families and kids. They were both working as virtual PAs when they started working towards the launch of BabyChum in early 2020, with just £2,000 investment each from their personal savings. But then, just weeks before BabyChum was due to launch in April 2020, the country was thrown into lockdown. After consulting their advertising agency, they decided to press ahead with their idea. “We’d given up everything really to get BabyChum off the ground, well-paid jobs, our social lives, literally everything,” Boswell recollects. “So we were worried as there was a lot at risk, but we were also so passionate about the brand and knew if we put in the work we’d see the rewards at some point – knowing that great things take time and patience, we were willing to do what we needed to, to get our businesses where we needed it to be.”

“When we started making sales we were over the moon,” McBride says. “It's a feeling you can’t describe, everything is so new at the beginning and people are buying from a platform you have created – one that isn’t well-known at this point so it is definitely an exciting time.” In June 2020, the women approached Towie star Ferne McCann about collaborating on a kids’ clothing collection, which was launched in November, sending their orders and social media accounts into a frenzy. McBride says: “The Ferne collection was a huge success for our first ever celebrity collection, we had about 2,000 followers on Instagram which then flew up to 26,000, as well as selling thousands of units across the whole range. Sam Faiers took a photo of her little girl Rosie wearing one of our pink 'HAPPY' tracksuits from the Ferne collection and posted it on her Instagram grid and we pretty much sold out. Working with Ferne was a huge step forward for the business and one that got us seen on a large scale.” They also worked hard for six months to secure an exclusive arrangement with Harrods, which has just launched. BabyChum will now be exclusively supplying the department store’s first over-sized gold leaf luxury toy box – a £2,199 design that has been handcrafted using the finest timber and engraved with words in authentic gold or silver leaf. It’s on the strength of the past year that the duo are pushing forward to take BabyChum to the next level. “As a parent when you're tired you want convenience,” McBride says. “We wanted to [also] create a place where an auntie, uncle, godmother or godfather could go to – you don't have to be a parent to shop with us.” babychum.co.uk A B S O L U T E LY m a g a z i n e s

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Winner of the 2019 ISA Award for Outstanding Sport • Finalist of the 2019 ISA Early Years Award for Excellence and Innovation in Provision

The best way to get a feel for Colchester High School is to visit. To book an open day or to arrange a private tour, please call 01206 217116 or scan the QR code. • Discover our Nursery and Lower School – Tuesday 8th June • Year 7 STEAM Taster Day for Year 5 – Saturday 12th June

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FAMILY • EDUCATION

Connecting the

COMMUNITY Karen Gracie-Langrick, head at Colchester High School, on how teachers and pupils fully embraced technology to continue their educational journey

Q Before we begin, could you give us a brief overview of your school... A Colchester High School is a small coeducational independent school, for ages 2½ to 16, where pupils are encouraged to aspire higher and develop a global perspective and mindfulness for social responsibility which last them a lifetime. Q Looking at the past 14 months or so, have you ever experienced a period like this in education? A While an unprecedented and challenging time in education, I am privileged to have been at the forefront of a pioneering generation of pupils and educationalists who have embraced technology, to ensure an uninterrupted educational provision. Q How did Colchester High School cope with the lockdowns? A CHS are fortunate to be part of the Cognita Group, who have significantly

invested in Edtech, providing interactive white boards in all classrooms and 121 devices for all staff and pupils from Year 3 to 11. Operating on the same platform saw an “explosive” development in expertise and application of Microsoft educational technologies, enabling teaching and learning to seamlessly transition from “live” to virtual classrooms. Q How did your teachers cope with working from home? A Teachers have exceeded expectations, embracing the opportunity to use a range of transformational platforms (SeeSaw, Teams, Onenote, Flipgrid and Book Creator), to ensure our pupils remained engaged with their learning. The greatest challenge was ensuring online learning was personalised to meet the needs of all our pupils. Impressively, teachers demonstrated a dramatic growth mindset in terms of experimentation,

adaptation and collaboration, dedicating time to develop and share their own expertise, whilst gaining Industry Standard Accreditations that support our aspiration to become a Microsoft Showcase School. Invaluably, technology also allowed the school to remain connected, continuing with enrichment and events – concerts, student council meetings – and hosting virtual parents’ evenings and school open mornings. Q Did your pupils surprise you in any way? A We have been so impressed with how pupils embraced the new technology, developing digital proficiency and taking greater autonomy and ownership of their own learning. Our Digital Champions cocreated elements of our Digital Citizenship, E-Safety and wellbeing curriculum and helped develop a “visual” protocol for online lessons to aid communication and create a closer representation of their classroom face-to-face experience. Q What’s the greatest thing about having everyone back under one roof? A Re-uniting the school community – hearing the laughter and seeing the faces of our children (and their parents!) light up when they were back with their friends and teachers. Seeing their love of learning still being sparked through the introduction of new ideas, new opportunities and new concepts in the classroom.

K A R E N G R AC I E - L A N G R I C K is headteacher at Colchester High School Wellesley Road, Colchester, CO3 3HD 01206 573 389 colchesterhighschool.co.uk

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FAMILY • LEGAL

“You may need to consolidate for a period of time, including restructuring”

IT'S TIME TO REVIEW YOUR BUSINESS

Looking to the

FUTURE As people slowly start to get back to normal it is hoped the economy will bounce back - however, some sectors have been harder hit than others By L LOY D C L A R K E

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n Essex, we’ve seen a change in how people shop with e-commerce platforms benefiting from the lockdown, yet hotels, bars and clubs have struggled to remain trading. Local service businesses have also had to adapt with many opting to continue to work from home. Digital solutions to the pandemic such as allowing customers to order online, Zoom calls and working from home has been a lifeline to employers, along with the furlough scheme. Nevertheless, you may still need to consolidate for a period of time, including restructuring and making employees redundant. For an SME this can be a daunting experience as you are likely to work more closely with your team members. Therefore, you may benefit from producing a scatter chart, with the two axis representing skill and cost. By using a scatter chart, you can plot employees, based on their

skill (what they offer your business) vs cost (wages, bonus and other expenses). This will also help to remove the emotion from your decision-making process. Objective selection of employees in a redundancy process is key to ensuring fairness. Likewise, you could take into consideration any employees hoping to take early retirement by offering voluntary redundancy, reducing overtime and transferring employees to different departments within your business. Consultation is absolutely key in any redundancy situation. This is when you inform your employees that redundancies are likely and why. The rules around the consultation change if you are making more than 20 employees redundant. In this instance, we would recommend you contact an employment law expert prior to taking any steps. Once the redundancy process has been completed and decisions made as to who will be made redundant and when, you will need to serve notice, giving your employees a period of time before their employment ends. This time period will depend on their length of employment and any notice period contained within their contract of employment. Likewise, their redundancy payment will depend on length of service, age and weekly wage. Due to the complexity and risks involved in redundancy, it is always best to take advice from an employment solicitor at an early stage. This is likely to save you time and money in the long run. At Attwells, we charge a fixed fee for this service and have been rated excellent by Review Solicitors for value for money. Our employment solicitors can help you navigate redundancy with ease. The best way to begin the process is with an initial chat, free of charge, to outline your requirements. If you would like advice on redundancy or any other employment law issue, please call Lloyd Clarke on 01206 239761 or email him on lloyd.clarke@attwells.com

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FAMILY • UK GETAWAY

Beaverbrook SURREY

Helen Baron heads to the Surrey Hills – and takes the kids

THE HOTEL

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refined grandeur is the order of the day at Beaverbrook – as it appears to be throughout this quietly contented corner of Surrey. The magnificent main building, former home of Lord Beaverbrook, has been beautifully maintained. Artworks and antiques jostle for space in the airy central atrium, while the stunning Sir Frank’s Bar is decorated floor to ceiling with landscapes, horticultural paintings and animal portraits from the four corners of the arly modern globe. Our accommodation was in more contemporary quarters a short walk up the drive, two adjoining rooms featuring large, luxuriously appointed bathrooms, walk-in showers, superking beds and views across the estate. Everything, from layout and decor to the choice of family amenities, was perfectly pitched.

THE ACTIVITIES

THE RESTAURANT

THE ESTATE

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he spectacular scale of the grounds is revealed in halting fashion. As you approach the house itself, you only catch glimpses of what’s in store: open meadows and ornamental gardens, a kids’ playground built around a wooden tree-fort. But the full panorama is witnessed for the first time after checking in and making your way to the rear lawns, where shell grottos and tinkling fountains recline beneath stone steps and towering shadetrees. It’s a fine spot to watch the sun set over the wooded slopes that surround the estate.

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e hitched a ride on a buggy to dinner at The Garden House Restaurant (which doubles as a cookery school). The building and its peaceful terrace lead out onto wildflower meadows and one of the most replete kitchen gardens you’ve ever seen, complete with Victorian glasshouse. Our littles loved gambolling around it in the gathering twilight, naming the vegetables that were shortly to be seen again, reconfigured and delicious, on our dinner plates. The food was as magical as the setting and the service warmly attentive – staff were swift and happy to help when a sudden downpour meant we had to abandon our terrace table.

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eaverbrook offers trout-fishing, clay pigeon-shooting and wine-tasting, but there’s lots for families too. Think tennis, indoor and outdoor pools, and a kids club with activities organised by popular entertainers Sharky and George – not to mention this mama’s favourite, the exquisite Coach House Health Club & Spa. Check the website for the different day-spa packages, which are underpinned by a belief and expertise in natural healing.

Rooms start from £385 on a room only basis;

beaverbrook.co.uk

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Great ideas set in stone

Luxury natural stone and handmade terrazzo products 132-136 Ormside Street, London SE15 1TF. 020 7358 0160

diespekerliving.com

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PROPERTY

CLIFF WAY CO13

£850,000

he Round House is perhaps the most notable house built for the Frinton Park Estate, providing beautiful curved elevations allowing panoramic views over the east coast. This Grade II listed building provides a strong architectural statement and offers over 2,000 sq ft of innovative accommodation, including three bedrooms and three bathrooms.

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SAVILLS CHELMSFORD 01245 293 233 savills.co.uk

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PROPERTY • FOCUS AVEY LANE ,

High Beech

WOW FACTOR The

Elliott Lawlor from Elliott James – Prime Residential writes about what makes a truly stunning property

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t is not unusual for a beautiful property to stop us in our tracks. At Elliott James Prime Residential, we have more than our fair share of “wow” moments with the amazing properties we simultaneously advertise. Of course, the smallest of properties can pack a visual punch, but without doubt, the £2 million plus bracket takes you to another level of “wow”. Even though many of these homes are unique, often they share the same characteristics that pique our interest. Number one on our hit list is a spectacular view, whether it is to gaze upon forestry, or a fabulous view of the city, our featured properties all have this in common. Next on our agenda to guarantee instant jaw-dropping appeal is the incredible level of style and luxury found within these properties. Tamara Court, Stradbroke Drive, Chigwell is without doubt a perfect example of a wow factor property. The sheer audacity A B S O L U T E LY m a g a z i n e s

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PUDDI NG LANE

Chigwell, £3,500,000

A LBA N Y M A N O R ,

Buckhurst Hill, £3,500,000

OA K M A N O R, HI G H B EECH

Loughton, £2,950,000

TA M A RA CO URT,

Stradbroke Drive, prices from £1,850,000

and self-belief of the developers, Imperial Developments, has produced a game-changing development of five luxury apartments including a 3,830sqft penthouse at £2,995,000 which is guaranteed to take your breath away and encourage you to contact our sales team immediately. But, of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and our skill at EJPR is bringing out the best in every property and highlighting those features such as exquisite workmanship, fabulous kitchen designs and luxurious bathrooms. We paint a picture with words and descriptions, along with amazing 3D presentations so that every property we market produces that “wow” factor.

VI CARAG E LANE ,

Chigwell, £3,250,000

TORWOOD, H IG H B E EC H

Loughton, £2,600,000

E L L I OT T JA M E S PRIME RESIDENTIAL 165 High Road, Loughton, IG10 4LF 020 8016 5333 ejpr.co.uk

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